Sunday, July 18, 2021

Chuck Wiese Explains It All

Well, of course he doesn't, but he does try to explain the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave without, of course, invoking manmade climate change, which he doesn't buy, but it's a hilarious case of numerology, so let's have a laugh.

In this case, over on Ed Berry's blog Chuck pulls numbers in from all over the solar system to figure that Portland's monster hot day in 2021 of 116°F wasn't really any worse than previous high temperatures in 1965 and 1981, writing,

On August 8th, the total surface radiation is 2.0920000 x 10^7 Jm-2 and likewise, over a 14-hour solar day gives an average surface solar insolation of 415 Wm-2. The difference between these two numbers is substantial at a whopping 46 Wm-2!

But this difference is mitigated some due to the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun which between June 27th and August 8th adds an additional 8 Wm-2 of solar insolation to TOA or 6 Wm-2 to the surface at the perpendicular angle to the atmosphere. With the noon solar angle of the sun calculated at 60.49 degrees above azimuth on August 8th, that reduces those values further at Portland’s latitude to 5.2 Wm-2, with the final difference in solar radiation being 40.8 Wm-2 further reduced to 36.72 Wm-2 with a surface emissivity of .9. This is still quite substantial.

If we divide this difference into the rate of change of flux with respect to temperature of 6.45 Wm-2K-1 given above, we get a surplus temperature of 5.69 deg C or 10.2 deg F compared to the earlier heatwaves of record on July 30, 1965, and on August 8h and 10th of 1981. Add this to these old records of 107 deg F and you get 117.2 deg F. That comes within 1.2 degF of what the new all-time high-temperature record is that was just set for Portland at 116 deg F yesterday.
Even though some of these numbers are given to only one significant figure, like 8 Wm-2, Chuck somehow comes up with a temperature good to four significant figures, 117.2 F.

But let's overlook that for a moment. While Chuck is carefully (kinda, sometimes, sort of, maybe, well not really) keeping track of forcings to an accuracy of 0.01 Wm-2, let's look at all the Wm-2 he's not keeping track of:
  • differences in CO2 concentrations above Portland itself, which he assumes are just the annual difference in the global number ("What about atmospheric CO2? In 1981, the Mauna Loa CO2 level was given as 341 ppmv whereas today it is 416 ppmv."), but of course we know it's much more complicated than that, varying by time of year, day of year, hour of the day, etc. A difference far larger than his 0.01 Wm-2, and even much higher than this.
  • What about the other greenhouse gases too -- methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, all the dozen other or so? Chuck says they don't matter, even 40 years later.
  • Any difference in total solar irradiance, where the Sun is in its solar cycle? Not according to Chuck.
  • What about pollution over Portland's temperature sensors, aerosols that can lead to cooling? Completely ignored.
  • The urban heat island effect? Has it increased in the decades since the earlier records in Portland? Not according to Chuck. Or perhaps he didn't even think about it.
  • Anything I haven't though of? Probably.
In other words, Chuck came up with an answer that was close enough for his purposes, and then ignored all other factors that might get in the way of the conclusion he wanted to reach, which was that global warming had nothing to do with Portland's heat wave -- a conclusion experts (which Chuck is most assuredly not) from World Weather Attribution have concluded.

Actually, this phenomenon, where scientists stop working on a problem when they reach the conclusion they had in mind, is a real, existing problem, for both theoreticians and experimentalists. It probably has a name, which philosophers and such might know about but scientists, who actually work in the field and are actually guilty of the problem, don't (as is usually the way). 

Except Chuck Wiese isn't a scientist, and never has been.

But here he's guilty of the problem nonetheless. Very guilty. 

Punishment: Read and work-through all of Pierrehumbert's textbook, or Dessler's, from cover to cover, to learn about all the many forcings. By the new year. Write a book report no shorter than 5,000 words. Publish on Ed Berry's blog.


Phil Clarke said...

It’s happening. Again. For the fourth time in five weeks, a punishing heat wave is set to bake the West and adjacent western Canada. This time, the most exceptional heat is expected to focus in the central and northern Rockies, developing this weekend and peaking around Monday.

The heat wave is forecast to bring triple-digit temperatures to at least 16 million people, challenging and breaking records into Canada. It’s also targeting an area where numerous wildfires have flared up and a smoky haze fills the skies. The arrival of even hotter, drier conditions could compound the situation.

Preliminary forecasts suggest highs in the northern United States and southern Canada could reach 20 to 30 degrees above average values for mid-July, which in many places is already historically the warmest time of year.

- Washington Post.

This is exactly as forecast by the IPCC. But that's hardly a cause for celebration. Maybe we can look forward to some free entertainment from Judy, Cliff, Willis, Anthony and the rest of the gang as the heat waves roll in and they are obliged to explain, case by case, why none of this is down to AGW. A Bittersweet experience.

David Appell said...

Especially Anthony. After all, he's the one getting paid for blogging, isn't he still (by the Heartland Institute)?

Phil Clarke said...

Well, he is a 'Senior Fellow'

And he does the occasional podcast for them, and they have published his risible 'reports' in the past, although I think he is on record as saying he does not receive a regular salary.

He doesn't seem to do much in the way of actual blogging these days, most posts are by 'Guest Blogger', which generally turns out to be the infantile David Middleton, Eric 'Wrong again' Worrell, Willis 'You cannot be serious' Eschenbach or Lord Monckton with his disinformation, pseudoscience and amusing threats to sue journal editors for not publishing aforementioned pseudoscience..

It's a far cry from the Halcyon days of 2012 when Anthony suspended the blog for days and cancelled a vacation to announce the 'pre-publication' of his paper that would show half of measured warming is in fact artificial and demolish the AGW scan once and for all. Sadly Watts et al 2012 had to be postponed for a few minor corrections - little things like allowing for Time of Observation bias - but once it is finally published (surely any day now), his place in the history of climate science will be guaranteed.....

Entropic man said...

"this phenomenon, where scientists stop working on a problem when they reach the conclusion they had in mind, is a real, existing problem, for both theoreticians and experimentalists. "

One major reason for pre publication and post-publication peer review. We keep each other honest.

Entropic man said...

Would it be a form of confirmation bias?

Entropic man said...

Have you read Carl Sagan's book, " The Demon Haunted World" ?

Balázs said...

@Phil Clarke
I can never decide whether Watts is an actual idiot or he knows well he's bullshoting but likes the money he gets for this. Okay, he is payed to entertain a not particularly demanding audience, for sure; but still sometimes he "publishes" genuinely and obviously stupid things one should avoid even during this kind of "scientific" work.
For the rest, David Simpleton, Eric The Ignoramus, "Wannabe Bruce" Willis, Ed The Fleeing Dutchman, and of course Lord Monckey, they are surely what they look like.

David Appell said...

EM, yeah I think you would call it confirmation bias.

I did read Sagan's book, but long ago....

Phil Clarke said...

Balazs...I'm old enough to remember when Mr Watts did a comparison between the various global mean temperature datasets, finding it very suspicious that the NASA estimate was the 'odd man out' - warmer than the rest - without realising it uses a different baseline.... so you have to give 'dumb' a chance as an explanation. Dunning Kruger.

His Lordship is another fascinating figure. He has been 'debunking' climate science ever since an error-filled 2006 article in the Sunday Telegraph (His sister Rosa Monckton was married to ex-editor Dominic Lawson) complete with the remarkable claim that 'There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none.'.

Every so often he discovers a fatal flaw in the science that everyone else has somehow missed, when it becomes clear that the flaw is no such thing, and his calculations are wrong, he has misrepresented his sources and misunderstood basic principles, he fires off threats of legal action (which never materialise), attacks his critics in florid language, then retires for a while before bouncing back again with another mad theory. Again, this cycle has happened so many times now I genuinely don't know if believes himself to be some kind of scientific David facing down the IPCC Goliath, or he just relishes the acclaim and 'likes' he gets from the WUWT fanbois....

Balázs said...

@Phil Clarke, thx for your answer and the links.

Phil Clarke said...

No cure for stupid