That was the week that was: Personal perspective

Posted: January 25, 2012 by tallbloke in flames, Philosophy, solar system dynamics

Well! After a week which started with a bit of a laugh over something funny Gavin Schmidt said (more on that soon), things went rapidly downhill, with Wyatt Erp Willis Eschenbach getting “a bit gruffy” about my decision to prevent Joel the AGW phantasy phixated physicist from making the threads here “a bit ragged and Shore worn”. What this self proclaimed “climate heretic” wants with the sheriff’s job is beyond me. Who ever heard of heretics getting into law enforcement? Is it a case of  “If you can’t beat em, join ’em, and beat someone else up”?

The following day, the “reformed cowboy” let fly with another blast against Nikolov and Zeller, the two scientists who have wandered casually into the climate blogosphere with their interesting and promising  ‘Unified Theory of Climate‘ first published here at the end of last year. They thought they would get a welcoming reception from the sceptical side of the climate community because their theory shows that ‘greenhouse gases’ don’t have a whole lot to do with warming planetary surfaces up. They didn’t expect that some of the most prominent lukewarmers guest posters on the world’s biggest climate site would completely misrepresent what they were saying and try to strangle the newborn babe and bury it pronto. Why would this be? they wondered. Don’t we all?

Meanwhile, old hand Hans Jelbring watched patiently and kept up work on his new paper, which the Talkshop proudly presented to the world on his behalf in the small  hours (UK time) this morning. Konrad Hartmann conducted a simple and nicely executed experiment verifying N&Z’s theory section on atmopheric temperature enhancement. I’ve  been seriously busy overseeing the culmination of two years work, and British Telecom screwed up my internet connection so I’m back to using a mobile phone and a netbook again.

Climate blog butterfly and troubador Markus spotted a nice quote from new WUWT guest post star Robert Brown (originally promoted here at the talkshop after a stonkingly interesting comment at WUWT), in which Robert seems to be retreating from his earlier hardline anti N&Z position. Willis of the wild west has had to swallow a couple of setbacks in his anti N&Z tirades too. A large number of WUWT commenters have given up in disgust and headed on over here for a pleasanter debate. They are  welcome.

So where will it go from here? Nikolov and Zeller plan to publish the second part of their ‘response to comments’ here at the Talkshop in a week or so. Willis would rather crawl across broken glass to have red hot needles poked in his eyes than visit a site which has barred him from gobbing off there, so we might get a few days peace to consider it in too. Meantime, a few of the consequences of their theory are  starting to emerge in the thoughts of out of the box thinkers like Harry Dale Huffman, Bill Gilbert, Lucy Skywalker, Wayne job and Stephen Wilde among many others. The future for climate science is looking clearer and brighter to me, thanks to the solid work of real scientists who remain unmoved by the hystrionics of amateurs whose pet theories are in danger of being made irrelevant. We wish them well with their plans for eventual journal publication and keep our door open to considerate airspace sharing people with genuine, thoughtful, and polite contributions to make.

  1. colliemum says:

    Nice and to the point – a great review.

    Mind – Lucy Skywalker deserves an honourable mention in that list of yours above.

    Looking forward to Ned & Karl’s Part II – by which time I hope to have grasped the maths of Part I, integers or not …

    [Reply] Good call, done.

  2. Nick Stokes says:

    I hope N&Z part 2 will have information on where they got their observed temperature information, and how they calculated an average. I’m particularly curious about Europa and Triton. A but more information about the sources for observed pressure and some estimates of uncertainty would also help.

  3. davidmhoffer says:

    Well written Tallbloke, and thanks for injecting some sanity and civility into the N&Z discussion. There’s things I don’t agree with in N&Z, but I remain shocked at the vitriol levelled against them, but more shocked still at the willingness of their detractors who have long been high profile leaders of the skeptic side, to throw the baby out with the bath water. In fact, more appropriately, babies. There are several important aspects to their theory that alter the debate entirely, even if parts of their theory are eventually shown to be incorrect.

    The fact remains that they are spot on in terms of pointing out the misaplication of SB Law to determine the blackbody equilibrium temperature of earth, the total insanity of averaging both insolation and temperature across both time and space, and the unbelievable errors that these practices have injected into what we used to think we knew about the magnitude of the greenhouse effect.

    If we took nothing out of their work except that, it still turns the entire GHG debate on its head. That N&Z’s detractors are more interested in screaming about the manner in which they integrated across a sphere or how many free parameters they have in their equations is shamefull. If N&Z are wrong on those points, then an effort to improve their work by suggesting alternate approaches would be of value to everybody. Burying the things they got right in order to win some sort of ego contest over the things they MAY have gotten wrong is precisely the bad behaviour that we have accused the warmist community of these last several years.


  4. Arfur Bryant says:


    I fully agree with davidmhoffer’s comment above. I am not ashamed to admit I am one of those who have made a conscious decision and ‘headed over’ from WUWT. That is not to say I will not visit that site but I am also appalled at the level of vitriol being delivered toward N&Z for daring to come up with a possible alternative theory. I have also been particularly unimpressed with WE’s level of debate toward you and them – which is a shame as I had hitherto respected him.

    As far as I am concerned, any attempt to seek an alternative theory to the truly ridiculous notion that 0.04% of the atmosphere could exert a significant, let alone catastrophic, effect on our climate – especially when there is no real-world evidence to support it – should be welcome on any intellectual level.

    I have grown tired of pointing out the illogicality of the cAGW stance on lukewarmist and warmist blogs and having them run away from a reasoned debate. So be it. (Although tired, it won’t stop me from trying though!)

    I look forward to ‘a pleasanter debate’.

  5. James says:

    I tend to agree the recent shenanigans at WUWT have been a great eye opener to me. it’s almost as if they feel the need to agree with the AGW but just say it’s not as bad as all that . One good thing (that is an understatement) though is that they pointed me to your site and also Harry Huffman’s.

  6. I too have been shocked by Willis’ behaviour.

    In my case, I’ve always wanted to consolidate the good science in Climate Science much as the much-beloved and much-missed John Daly did. I’ve tried really hard to keep the balance between professional acuity and Citlzens’ Science that is open to all, and with that in mind it has always seemed essential to have good learning material available at all levels, from a source the whole climate skeptics community could stand behind to endorse. It always seemed to me that this would be something it would be harder and harder for orthodoxy to ignore, and would thus facilitate the reclaiming of integrity in Science at the orthodox level.

    So I figured out long ago, it has to be a wiki. But heck, who am I to say that let alone do it? I wrote a primer (click my name) but I’m as little formally trained as Willis. But now I think I have a better nose and a lot more patience. Finally, a year ago I set up a Wikipedia-lookalike wiki to be like a “seed” out of which a proper quality skeptics’ climate science wiki could, hopefully, be grown by us skeptics, organically, endorsed by us all. But I had too little response so I shelved the project… until now.

    The appalling treatment by some, lack of discernment, lack of vision to spot the game-changer in N&Z, and the sheer amount of diversions, all drove me back to the wiki project, certain now that we needed a protected environment in which N&Z’s science could be developed together with the important supportive inputs from others like Graeff and Huffman, to properly birth and nourish this young paradigm, and equip it with FAQ’s to meet the Willises and Joels of the adult world.

    I have been sure for a while that a properly configured wiki could do just this, protect and support the actual development of the science, in nodes of interest around controversial paradigm-shifting material. Now this is a radical departure from Wikipedia’s No Original Research rule, which is so crippling to controversial material. But I have figured out possible ways and means. If it works, this way of using a wiki would IMHO be an important new tool for science. I think it can work, and I want to find ways that we can all get it to work.

    I’ve been working on this for the last few days, and a few others are interested but I’ll let them speak up for themselves if they want to, the whole project is of necessity under wraps, because I believe that at this point it has to be for supportive skeptics to set up, and therefore by invitation only, but if you feel it calling you too, please email me via the link obtainable by clicking my name. I think that’s the best way to proceed for now. Oh, and I don’t feel my work is anything but bringing this project to birth. If it is to work, in the fullness of time it has to be owned by all.

  7. Stephen Wilde says:

    The N & Z findings were bound to affect sceptics too because many have formed their own concepts which look like becoming redundant. There isn’t much scope left in the climate debate for those committed and hard working sceptics who have unfortunately failed to appreciate that sunshine and pressure rule both the air and the oceans.

    I have often had problems with fellow sceptics just as much as with AGW proponents when my ideas appear to cast doubt on theirs.

    Willis Eschenbach and Bob Tisdale come to mind (though I do find Bob’s oceanic data highly impressive and very useful) . Unfortunately both are too heavily invested in too narrow a range of phenomena.

  8. tallbloke says:

    James, I understand WUWT’s stance in trying to be ‘the credible face of climate scepticism’. I think the balance has swung too far though, when they attempt to dismiss credible theory before it has been given a proper assessment. Among the more ludicrous criticisms being levelled against Ned and Karl was the limited number of datapoints in their dataset. Does Willis think they should have conjured up an extra 30 planets with atmospheres in the solar system or something? 🙂

  9. Eric Barnes says:

    I enjoy the civility of Talkshop and its openness. It’s a nice contrast to what WUWT.

  10. hotrod (larry L) says:


    I also have decided to take a break and come over here for a little less strident “debate” and a return to some reasoned discussion.

    I don’t have the advanced math skills to dissect all the math presented by N&Z but I am sure that those who do will properly validate that part of the discussion. The proposition that a temperature gradient should exist in a gravity field make perfect sense to me at this point in my examination of the subject as you trade potential gravitational energy for kinetic thermal energy, as illustrated in my other post that perhaps the perfect gas laws need to add a term for potential energy to account for this effect, as in PV=Nkt +PEg

    It certainly makes far more sense than all the magic required to make conventional AGW theory work.

    It seems to me an extension of the experiment you posted a link too earlier using a tube filled with gas and glass beads to suppress convection (right now I cannot find it) that detected a gravity induced temperature gradient in a vertical tube should settle the issue if folks are willing to view the results rationally.

    Instead of a single tube, construct an array of 2 tubes at right angles to each other. Instrument them as in that experiment, and orient them with one vertical an the other horizontal.

    If the gravity induced thermal gradient idea is valid you should see a thermal gradient on the vertical tube and uniform temperature on the horizontal. Monitor the array for a suitable period of time, then rotate it 90 degrees so that the originally horizontal tube is vertical and the original vertical tube is horizontal. If the theory is valid, the temperature gradient should move to the now vertical tube and disappear from the now horizontal tube.

    Monitor for a suitable period of time, and then repeat 2 more times so the array is measured in all 4 possible orientations to eliminate biases.

    Seems to me a simple straight forward experiment that would easily demonstrate the temperature gradient following the vertical orientation. It would also be easily falsified if that did not happen.

    If validated, the shoe is on the other foot and those that contend the gravity field induced thermal gradient is not possible would have to try to explain why the results fit the N&K theory but due to some other mechanism.


  11. Dan in Nevada says:

    I really think what Ned and Karl have offered is going to be a game-changer, at least in some respects. While I don’t have the competence to even have an opinion on whether their hypothesis that the long-accepted IGL governs planetary temperatures, it really feels right to me. I guess we’ll see how that plays out.

    But already they’ve shown that some assumptions that undergird the current understanding are completely wrong. I have no doubt that their claims regarding what the Earth’s temperature without an atmosphere would be would be rejected out of hand if not for the NASA Diviner data. Interestingly, none of the so-called skeptics that have commented on N&Z have addressed this , even fleetingly. That to me is very remarkable. It sounds like the kind of “team science” you would expect at CRU, where if the real-world data conflicts with “theory”, then “adjust” it to fit or ignore it.

    Since no thread would be complete without multiple posts by Joel, let me finish with my impression:

    Yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, Look, you have 240 W/m^2 of energy coming in and 390 W/m^2 going out. Where is the extra 150 W/m^2 coming from? yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada.

  12. Brian H says:

    W.’s thunderstorm-thermostat theory seems valid on the face of it, at least insofar as it describes actual heat flows. I note that N&Z are explicit that their theory leaves the actual mechanisms of such transport etc. wide open. The core point I take from W.’s theory is that the intense insolation directly under the sun as the Earth rotates gets so much energy that it’s gotta go somewhere, and water’s superb heat transport characteristics do the rest.

    It would and eventually will be fascinating to get an actual breakout of the changes in energy distribution in the daily lifecycle/perpetual travelling wave of the mid-afternoon T-storm band. Latencies, pressure, wind, potential energy, kinetic drop motion, etc. make a dramatic and complex show.

  13. AusieDan says:

    The more work that I do on the N&Z theory, the more I am impressed.

    I have recently finished reading a book by Nicholas Washott about the controversity that surrounded the Keynes – Hayek economic debate of the 1930’s.

    When it had finished, Keynes had invented the new dicipline of Macroeconomics.
    Hayek went off to worry about the encroaching nature of democratic socialism, became one of the founders of the Chicago school of monetarism and is still influencing the left – right political debate in many countries today.

    During those long years of debate, Keynes honed his economic theory in debates with graduate students, fellow economists, both pro and anti, and also with informed members of the general public, That eventually crystalised in his “General Theory” which was publishhed in 1936.

    Today we are privilidged to have presented to us the first version of “The Unified Theory of Climate”. This is clearly the beginnings of a new Paradigm – the dicipline of Macroclimatology.

  14. Brian H says:

    hotrod (&/or TB);
    I seem to have missed the glass-beads-in-a-tube posting, and don’t see it on the sidebar. Link?

  15. Dan in Nevada says:

    AusieDan says:
    January 26, 2012 at 2:55 am

    “Hayek went off to worry about the encroaching nature of democratic socialism, became one of the founders of the Chicago school of monetarism and is still influencing the left – right political debate in many countries today.”

    Finally, something I know something about. Dan, Hayek won a Nobel for his work in economics, was incredibly insightful and prescient in demonstrating why socialism was doomed to fail (if you haven’t read “the Road to Serfdom” you haven’t had a proper education), and (hopefully) is still influencing modern debate, but he was no monetarist. I’m guessing you’re thinking of Milton Friedman, who had a lot of good things to say about liberty, but unfortunately had the same profound trust in the infallibility of modern, progressive governance that Keynesians have.

    Keynesians are to fiscal policy what monetarists are to monetary policy and they are the two sides of the Fascist (in the economic sense) coin that have got the Western world into the incredible mess we are in now.

    Hayek, a student of Ludwig von Mises, sits proudly in a long line of a school of economic thought known as the Austrian school. They’re on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Keynesian/monetarist monstrosity that dominates what passes for economic thought these days. The Austrian school emphasizes a libertarian free-markets, individual-choice type of thinking that is not only correct in a pragmatic sense, but just as importantly from a moral standpoint. The Austrians alone predicted the collapse we are currently in the middle of and have the only solutions for getting us out of it. I’m pretty sure nobody will pay attention until it’s far too late.

    For more information, please visit You may end up not agreeing with what you see (although I doubt that), but you will definitely learn something. If you don’t read anything else, Google up “Austrian Business Cycle Theory”.

    For what it’s worth, it was my realization that the Austrians were correct and the mainstream was wrong that gave me the confidence to challenge a supposedly “hard science” concept like the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming “theory”. In the end, I’ve found that CAGW promoters are the same people pushing Keynesian thought and for the same (evil) reasons.

  16. hotrod (larry L) says:

    My apologies the link was posted by Lucy Skywalker in this thread:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    January 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Archonix says: January 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I find it hard to believe this sort of experiment hasn’t been performed before. There must be something in the literature about this

    That’s exactly why I put in a reference to Graeff’s experimental work. AFAICT “this sort of experiment” is exactly what Graeff has done, and done superbly.

    This is the pdf that describes the experiment.

    Click to access graeff1.pdf

    Roderich W. Graeff
    Private Scholar
    Prof.-Domagk-Weg 7, Königsfeld, Germany
    102 Savage Farm Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850-6500, USA


  17. Tallbloke, neat summary and it needs to be said. David Hoffer, you are completely correct about the misapplication of the S-B blackbody equation. It does not and can not apply to the atmosophere and gases in the atmosphere because a gas does not have a surface and no gas has 100% absorption/emission over the complete Planck spectrum. This should be obvious but the climate pseudo-scientists and their hangers’ on and apologists keep on about well established physics and “settled science” which they clearly do not understand.
    The following needs to be said
    1/ A gas can absorb radiant energy waves from a higher temperature source (which is normally a surface) in particular wavelengths eg for CO2 mainly around 14.8 micron
    2/ The absorption in 1/ depends on the temperature and emissivity of the source, example for CO2 if the source has zero emission in the wavelengths around 14.8 micron there will be zero absorption.
    3/ The radiant emission of a gas depends solely on its temperature and the emissivity at its temperature.
    4/ From 1/, 2/, & 3/ it should be clear absorption and emission are not equal. Kirchoff’s law only applies to the same surfaces of the same material at the same temperature eg aluminium paint at about 900K has an absortivity and emissivity of about 0.3.
    5/ At a particular time and place radiant energy input does not equal radiant energy output. Input heat can be retained through heat capacities, heat fluxes (inward and outwards) can occur by conduction, convection and phase change, and heat can be transformed into other energy potentials eg kinetic energy, height (gravity) potential, chemical potentials, electrical and magnetic energy.
    6/ Radiant energy can only be absorbed from a higher temperature source and be emitted to a lower temperature receiver. The same heat flux direction applies to conduction and convection.

  18. Ronaldo says:


    Many thanks for maintaining a calm atmosphere (no pun intended!) on your blog and providing a forum for civilised debate.

    I too have migrated here for some non-histrionic discussion.

  19. markus says:

    The troposphere is the condenser, the tropopause is the separation device and the stratosphere is the fridge cabinet of outgoing heat, cooling incoming rays, as they warm to the gravitational pressure of the atmosphere, after preceding through the thermostat of the mesopause, and then onto the thermostat of the tropopause, before again heating closer as pressure increases at the Earths surface, until the force of pressure on the thermodynamics of the enhanced potential energy completes the system back to the separation device of the tropopause.

    I predict no warming by greenhouse, but certainty of cooling by refrigeration.

    “Markus, you are but a troubador, why do you think you can relate Philosophy to the Science of Physics?”

    I can’t, but it seems, neither can they.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Larry L: Graeff’s experiments need replicating at an accredited laboratory. I suggested this to Robert Brown twice, but he ignored it.

    As well as the .pdf you link, there are links on the Loschmidt thread to photos I took of P.D. Sheehan’s descriptions of Graeff’s experiments which contain extra information. Graeff did turn cyclinders end for end to see how quickly the gradient re-established itself, and to eliminate instrumental bias.Your idea of setting the tubes horizontal is good on the face of it, but would have required quite extensive changes to graeff’s setup to provide any validation.

    General comment: This site is different to WUWT and both styles have strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I find WUWT too fast paced and busy to keep up with on controversial threads. WUWT also banned discussion of my main area of interest (currently on the backburner while we get our heads around N&Z and Hans Jelbring’s work).

    It is still the biggest and best climate site in the world though, and I admire Anthony’s stamina and fortitude in the face of vicious opposition. Unfortunately, he has been misguided by some of the WUWT team regarding the N&Z theory, and being as busy as he is, he hasn’t had time to better inform himself of what the theory does and does not claim.

  21. steven mosher says:

    Yes Nick

    It would be interesting to see there sources. Looking at the physics of the Diviner platform
    it looks like the data that N&Z rely on was created by physics they deny.

    hint; sensors in space dont measure temperature. they measure brightness. which is ‘turned into” temperature using physics models… models that … well.. say N&Z are wrong.

  22. davidmhoffer says:

    hint; sensors in space dont measure temperature. they measure brightness. which is ‘turned into” temperature using physics models… models that … well.. say N&Z are wrong>>>

    which models say N&Z are wrong? Diviner data supports N&Z so I am presuming you are speaking of different models than that?

  23. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    I agree with your summary and also with the above comments. This week has held highs and lows for me too. The N&Z work is the most exciting for a long time and I do hope it goes from strength to strength. I was very disappointed by the way it was received at WUWT and by the attitudes of some. I was surprised by the widespread obsession with GHG even when the subject was the Gas Laws. After being an occasional visitor here over the years, I am now a committed regular.

    Keep up the good work! I hope N&Z make Part 2 bullet proof.

  24. markus says:

    Hi Steven,

    Look, I know you think I need meds, and I agree, but, I was just wondering how does physics, model greenhouses, when it’s hotter on the outside, or do we not consider the mesosphere and stratosphere in the equation.

  25. tallbloke says:

    Hi Mosh.

    Please could you specify the model required for measuring the brightness of an airless celestial body, and how you think this might prove N&Z wrong. You frequently use this line, and I’m calling BS on it this time.


  26. malagaview says:

    Dan in Nevada says: January 26, 2012 at 3:28 am

    For what it’s worth, it was my realization that the Austrians were correct and the mainstream was wrong that gave me the confidence to challenge a supposedly “hard science” concept like the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming “theory”. In the end, I’ve found that CAGW promoters are the same people pushing Keynesian thought and for the same (evil) reasons.

    My perspective is that Settled Science and Keynesian Economics are just two [of the many] 20th century illusions that are moving society towards a new Dark Age of ignorance, poverty, serfdom and servitude.

    The good news is that both Settled Science and Keynesian Economics are on a collision course with Reality and are slowly collapsing under the weight of their own contradictions.

    The bad news is that this disintegration will have a significant human cost in the short term. However, the introduction of this reality check into Science and Economics will be beneficial in the longer term.

    Intellectually, I am with Edmund Burke:
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    Historically, the lesser of two evils principle seems to prevail where evil is used to fight a greater evil as demonstrated by Winston Churchill:
    If Hitler were to invade Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons..

    I perceive Tallbloke’s Talkshop as a courageous and courteous bastion of integrity. Unfortunately, recent events over at WUWT confirm that science has unquestionably descended into the realm of Realpolitiks.

  27. Chris M says:

    Congrats on your principled stance Tallbloke! Longtime lurker on WUWT, Bishop Hill et al, nervertime poster – until now. I’ve been thoroughly disgusted – not alone I am sure – by Willis’s antics, and am pleased to see much more civil discourse here. Of all the many thousands of words I’ve read on this topic, a huge proportion on both sides of the fence seem to me to be utter obfuscatory and/or insight-challenged nonsense. Nikolov and Zeller, on the other hand, are amazingly lucid science communicators and I sincerely hope they are fully vindicated in their work.

  28. A. C. Osborn says:

    Tallbloke, have you or any of the other posters, like Lucy asked Dr. Pierre R Latour if he has any actual papers with reference to this Thread

  29. Hans says:

    malagaview says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for your opinions to which I agree.
    “Intellectually, I am with Edmund Burke:
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    A verification of this statement was quite clear when visiting the concentration camp of Auschwitz (Oswieciem) at the age of 22 which was then behind the iron curtain (Poland). What was left of it was some of the housing, some owens, the “hospital”, the execution yard and the underground prison where people were made standing until they died packed in cells. The cells were cleaned out every forthnight. It was a considered a privilidge to get shoot or hanged (only for VIPs with bad luck).

  30. björn Eriksson says:

    I welcome the barrage of critizism towards the new principal for atmosphere heating. It is a blessing in disguise. Good luck to Nikolov and Zeller, i have a good feeling about this.

  31. Arfur Bryant says:


    “This site is different to WUWT and both styles have strengths and weaknesses…”
    It is still the biggest and best climate site in the world though, and I admire Anthony’s stamina and fortitude in the face of vicious opposition. Unfortunately, he has been misguided by some of the WUWT team…”

    Those comments are both (IMO) accurate and magnanimous. WUWT is an excellent blog and has done some great work. I think the current problem – and apparent loss of support – arises from they way it has allowed W.E. to virtually run it as his own.

    A balanced and polite approach should always succeed in the end.

  32. Tenuc says:

    Yes, Rog, it has been an odd week. However, while some found it surprising or shocking to see a division in the sceptical camp, I found it both illuminating and amusing.

    First we had those who wanted to deny N&Z’s empirical planetary evidence, which was what first attracted me to the idea and encouraged me to plough through the maths, even though this is not my strong suit and took me some considerable time to understand. The ‘N&Z planet temperature’ deniers where soon dismissed and the attack moved rapidly into new territory.

    This started with a dubious ‘thought experiment’ from Wills, which failed abysmally to disprove N&Z hypothesis. Then several people, including Willis, seemed incapable of understanding that the maths were correct, and proceeded to dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole until they became buried… 🙂

    The good thing to come out of all this is that the N&Z hypothesis has stood up well to the many attempts made to disprove it. This will help them refine their paper going forward and is a game changer for all of us in developing a better understanding of climate.

    As the saying goes, no pain – no gain!

  33. tallbloke says:

    Hey Tenuc,
    Yes, it’s good to see. I kind of got a jump start on it all because I simply suspended judgement on the maths, trusting that they had got it right, and got on with thinking about how the wider logical framework of their theory hangs together. It looks good to me. So I am pleased to see their maths stand up to the determined efforts made to find any errors so far.

    The next question hangs on their empirical data, which of course they have referenced. I hope the trust they placed in the preliminary data from the lunar MSU team is well founded, and that no-one leans on them to bend results. The tie up with other solar system bodies is the icing on the cake. I asked a rather sulky Willis towards the bottom of his EQ8 thread whether he or anyone else could get a GHG driven lapse rate theory to lie along a smooth curve for the same eight bodies. I haven’t been back to see the reply, but I bet it isn’t pretty… 🙂

  34. hotrod (larry L) says:

    I agree that all the recent discussions will in the long term will help N&Z refine their statement of what is going on, and help them anticipate common misunderstandings and deal with them up front.

    If you go back into scientific history many of the classic theorems, laws and such went through some very ugly and long running battles for recognition. Some of them sufficiently acrimonious to end / strain friendships.


  35. Stephen Richards says:

    One of the enduring features in the science community over the last century has been the ever- present literary scientist with the ability to bring together many apparently disparate theories under the umbrella of an overarching macro-theory thus unifying what I would term subset theories.

    What I mean by subset theories are those like Stephen Wilde’s tropical TS thermostat. The N&Z proposition seem sto me to be close to the overarching theory.

  36. tallbloke says:

    Larry: I’m still on good terms with Anthony Watts. Willis, not so much at the moment. But as I said to Leo Hickman a little while ago, a little bit of genuine apology goes a long way with me. So we’ll let time do some healing and see what happens.

  37. tallbloke says:

    Stephen R: I think you mean Willis’ Tropical TS hypothesis don’t you? Are you trying to start another battle?? 🙂

    Anyway, I agree, and in the headline post where I said ‘irrelevant’ I should have said ‘less central’.

  38. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hello Stephen (Richards).

    Actually the Tropical Thermostat is Willis Eschenbach’s.

    Mine is far more wide ranging and seeks to integrate the whole climate system from top down solar to bottom up oceanic and the interaction in between.

    The N & Z data and theories fit in very well because I have always regarded the so called greenhouse effect as a pressure phenomenon rather than a radiative one and that is essential to my similarly entitled earlier work as here:

    Click to access TheUnifyingTheoryofEarthsClimate.pdf

    Originally published 8/1/09 but revised 4/09/11

  39. Stephen Richards says:

    Yes I did mean Willis’ but the error was genuine, honestly ;). I seem to remember Stephen W proposing something along the same lines. I genuiningly believe that we are closer to providing a road map or more appropriately, a guide which will enable other more talented scienctists, prepared to leave the ‘establishment’ behind, than I can remember in 40 years of following the climate. I too like your site but find WUWT a very useful data source. I am happy to ignore normal human failings but find it almost impossible to ignore the likes of Nick Stokes (although even he has become much less annoying) and J Shore. It’s the Al Gore thing of mis-representing the data deliberately as I see it. AAAAAAAAAAHG it really gets my cheeeevre.

  40. Tenuc says:

    tallbloke says:
    January 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm
    “…The tie up with other solar system bodies is the icing on the cake. I asked a rather sulky Willis towards the bottom of his EQ8 thread whether he or anyone else could get a GHG driven lapse rate theory to lie along a smooth curve for the same eight bodies. I haven’t been back to see the reply, but I bet it isn’t pretty… 🙂 “

    LOL… 🙂

    Yes, Willis does seem to have lost the plot a bit recently. Understanding N&Z seems to be causing him as much trouble as understanding that IR can only heat the top < 1mm of the ocean… 😉

  41. hotrod (larry L) says:

    Yes Willis was the first that proposed a coherent presentation of thermostat function of thunderstorms in his post;

    We had been dancing around the edges of it for a couple months, I specifically mentioned the concept of the immense amount of energy a thunderstorm could move to high altitudes and its secondary effect of suddenly creating a sun shade with its cloud structure 2 months earlier in this post.

    The thermostat hypothesis was I suspect a result of that informal online collaboration among several individuals as we traded observations, that occurred during those discussions on wattsupwiththat in the spring of 2009.

    As a former storm chaser here in Colorado, it was always obvious to me the function that thunderstorms had in suddenly transporting huge amounts of heat to high altitudes, I was sort of surprised at how many folks thought the idea was new and interesting. After the fact I realized that most people do not live in areas where strong thunderstorm development is routine, and Willis did a great job of packing up those ideas as a coherent structure in that post.


    Tallbloke: I was not trying to imply that there was any strain between you and Anthony only that that sort of thing has happened historically in scientific debate and we should not be surprised about it showing up in the blogs. I also have great respect for Anthony and for that matter all the regular posters over at wattsupwiththat but increased popularity has also made it more difficult to carry on a reasonable conversation about highly controversial subjects with out it getting dragged off into the bushes by tangent discussions. I will continue to post over there but just needed to take a break from all the drama of recent days and find your blog a pleasant place to find thoughtful discussion of this concept without unnecessary distractions so I can get my head around its strengths and weaknesses and also help me clarify my own understanding of the concepts with constantly being in a defensive mode dealing with those tangent issues.

    I say thumbs up to both you and Anthony and many more other sites which unfortunately I seldom have time to really explore like chiefio.

  42. I follow the Climate debate reasonably closely, although I tend to read far more than I comment.

    I saw Willis’ “trap” but didn’t recognise it as such. Since I didn’t feel I was sufficiently conversant with the NZ paper, I didn’t comment.

    Later I saw his post which “sprung” the trap, and thought it crass. One doesn’t do that kind of thing.

    But: that was just a mistake. Not one he will apologise for, or perhaps even recognise (his later apology was insincere; evidently Willis doesn’t realise how big a faux-pas he committted – and he focussed on the wrong thing – moderation.) But that isn’t important. What is important is that he – and you – and N/Z – are willing to discuss N/Z’s research. You don’t agree with one another. That’s a GOOD thing. That’s how science works. It’s the CAGW-crowd who are pressured into agreeing with scripture all the time. Real science progresses via disagreement and disproof.

    Nobody gains anything by name-calling; that just creates animosity and puts up barriers. Maybe I missed something subtle – it wouldn’t be the first time. But for what it’s worth, I’d say: forgive (but remember) and move on.

  43. A. C. Osborn says:
    January 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Tallbloke, have you or any of the other posters, like Lucy asked Dr. Pierre R Latour if he has any actual papers with reference to this Thread

    I respect Pierre Latour who is a registered chemical engineer. I have seen a good article from him on another website ( could have been -do not agree with Sowell’s stance on nuclear energy or his religious thoughts but that does not mean there are not some good posts) a few years ago.
    I have made a comment on the post at climaterealists mainly to correct a typing error.

  44. dadgervais says:

    >Dan in Nevada says:
    >January 26, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I agree. Isn’t it funny (peculiar) how politicians/governments push pseudo-science (keynesianism, CAGW, etc) over real science because it serves their (though not our) self-interests.

    If the gov’t employed real economists and scientists, we would be spared so much misery caused by foolish policies. But they do not, because they only hire those willing to say what the politicians and bureaucrats want to hear. As they say, “He who pays the piper…”

  45. […] about the logical outcomes of Nikolov and Zeller’s ‘Unified Theory of Climate‘, a couple of ideas emerge which turn conventional climate science ‘wisdom’ on its head. It has long been believed that […]

  46. Chris M says:

    Ned Nikolov in his reply thread on WUWT expressed his frustration that so many of the posters were displaying their woefully deficient maths and science literacy. This is a direct result, I believe, of the decline in educational standards over the past 30 years or so. Everyone wants to be an expert, without a solid grounding in the basics. So many so-called skeptics are more likely to accept the first guff that’s dished out to them, e.g. AGW due to “downwelling longwave radiation” from CO2 (while disputing the size of its effect), and resist any alternative paradigm such as N&Z’s, as that would undermine their self-professed expertise.

    One upshot of the current kerfuffle is “beware the enthusiastic amateur”. This includes, unfortunately, some scientists and researchers who have jumped onto the CAGW bandwagon through political adherence; scientific objectivity then has zero relevance.

    Science blogs are great when they further public knowledge and understanding of important or even just interesting issues, but not so great when they descend into spats between ignorant, disingenuous, and politically motivated people. We should never close our minds to new ideas, as our knowledge of the world will never be complete. Lord Kelvin, one of the greatest of scientists, very nearly made that mistake when he contended that the sun was a gigantic ball of burning carbon which would burn itself out in some millions of years (I recall about 30 million), unless there was some undiscovered process to refute the known physics; he knew his calculations were correct.

    Of course that was just before, or contemporary with, the discovery of atomic energy. I’m not sure that he lived long enough to accept that he was wrong.

  47. Stephen Wilde says:

    “e.g. AGW due to “downwelling longwave radiation” from CO2 (while disputing the size of its effect),”

    I fell for that for a while on the basis that the energy from molecules above the surface would partially offset energy from molecules at the surface leaving a net upward flow but reduced compared to what it would have been.

    However many AGW proponents actually mean that there is a net downward flow which is clearly impossible.

    The former remains correct but I was clearly at cross purposes with those who believed the latter.

    My position now is that the ATE in amplifying kinetic (heat) energy at the surface does reduce the net upward flow but it is nothing to do with downward radiation.

    It is clearly a pressure phenomenon as I always believed.

    Sensors pointing up just record the temperature of the molecules right in front of (above) them and not a flow of downward energy from the sky.

    I find that many professional scientists suffer from the poor scientific education of recent years and not just enthusiastic amateurs.

    In fact such amateurs of over,say, 40 years of age seem to have a better grounding and a wider perspective than the narrowly focused professionals that have been churned out more recently.

    So I would say ‘Beware the overspecialised professional scientist’.

    Even our friend Robert Brown seems shaky outside his own area of expertise. In fact we are all vulnerable and need to be cautious.

  48. davidmhoffer says:

    Stephen Wilde;
    In fact such amateurs of over,say, 40 years of age seem to have a better grounding and a wider perspective than the narrowly focused professionals that have been churned out more recently.>>>

    That, for me, is a big part of the issue. The younger the scientist, the more easily they seem to accept what they were taught in school as being immutable fact, and to do so without question. But the greater problem I see is that they grew up with a lack of experience with the real world. I remember sitting in engineering classes decades ago, that were 50% kids off the farm. They requently had a poorer grasp of the fundamentals of math that they should have had command of from high school, because their tiny rural school divisions just couldn’t build up that expertise. What I also noticed however, is that when it came to problem solving, they thrashed their better educated city slicker raised counterparts in the blink of an eye.

    Knowing how to pitch a 30 kilo bale of hay over an 8 foot fence 50 times an hour to feed the cattle in morning is an excellent lesson in physics. Half of maximizing crop production is trying not to die of boredom while driving the tractor around in circles on the fields. The other half is chemistry. Even “all natural” techniques are just chemistry. You can’t maintain a healthy herd of cattle over a period of years without understanding a fair bit of biology and genetics. The farm boys had a superior grasp of how the real world works, they grew up as generalists and problem solvers.

    But the ratio of “farm kids” to “city kids” has changed, and changed a lot because rural pupulations have been declning while city populations have exploded.

    I’m 51 years old, over weight, and out of shape. If some 20 year old kid in peak physical condition who has never pitched a bale in his life wants to take me on pitching 50 or 60 bales over an 8 foot fence, I’m game. There should be an ambulance handy with a difribulator because if the poor chap tries to keep up without first learning the physics involved, he’s going to need it.

  49. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @davidmhoffer : thanks for the above.
    I grew up near one of those tiny schools on a 300 acre alfalfa hay farm. 16 in a high school graduation class. Our farm produced over 1,000 tons, 22,000 bales per year. And I handled every one at least once. Problem solving was a daily requirement for survival. The understanding of natural science a necessity in everyday decisions. The ability to keep track of the small things is very important on a farm where profit and loss is so narrow but you have to know where to draw the line of too small to worry about. CO2 @ 388 ppm, or 0.0388% is way too small to have any real effect on atmospheric heat energy. Greenhouse Gas or not! It is way too small an amount to be significant! WATER, H2O is the substance that is important on this planet. Understand H2O and you understand how everything on the surface of this planet works. pg