David Middleton has written a Guest posting in the WattsUpWithThat (WUWT) blog titled “Science lessons for Secretary of State John F Kerry”. Middleton opens with this: “Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s recent remarks on climate change at the Atlantic Council were so scientifically illiterate that I find it difficult to believe that he managed to barely get a D in geology at Yale University. As a US citizen and geoscientist, I feel it is my patriotic and professional duty to provide Secretary Kerry with a few complimentary science lessons.”
Here is some of what Kerry said:
So stop for a minute and just think about the basics. When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that. Science also tells us that when the water temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns to ice. No one disputes that.
So when science tells us that our climate is changing and humans beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, “Well, I dispute that” or “I deny that elementary truth?” And yet, there are those who do so.
To this Middleton responds: “Well Mr. Secretary… The Theory of Gravity can be empirically tested with such repeatability that it has become a Law and can be expressed with a simple equation… It can even be tested and confirmed on the Moon…
The freezing point of water (phase transition) can also be empirically tested and demonstrated with ample repeatability. However, the freezing point of water is not always 32°F. The freezing point is dependent on both temperature and pressure…”
Scientist and engineers have a course named thermodynamics where they become familiar with phase diagrams.
Chart from Wikipedia—Water Phase Diagram
Examining the water phase diagram you will note that water can be vapor, liquid or solid. Most people are aware of that at atmospheric pressure (1 bar) and 0°C water can be solid or liquid. And at the same pressure, at a temperature of 100°C, it can be either vapor (steam) or liquid. Look along the 0°C line and note that the changing pressure can result in water being liquid, vapor or solid. And uniquely at the triple point, vapor, liquid and solid water coexist.
Middleton goes on in detail to show that climate computer models are unreliable and have almost no predictive skills. This blog, Climate Change Sanity, has discussed this issue in detail so I wont rehash it here. But I would still recommend to the reader that a look at the details that Middleton provides to make his point are well worth the time to read.
Then Middleton discusses the “scientific consensus “ that the warmers use —an appeal to authority—- rather than opening up their catastrophic man-made global warming theory to debate.
“Now folks, we literally do not have the time to waste debating whether we can say “climate change.” We have to talk about how we solve climate change. Because no matter how much people want to bury their heads in the sand, it will not alter the fact that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”
To this, Middleton responds: “Well Mr. Secretary… The SkepSci bloggers who claimed the bogus 97% consensus don’t even assert that “97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”
“The fact.is that less than 1% “of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”
The f0llowing chart appears in Middleton’s blog, showing a peer-reviewed study of the studies that made the original claim that Kerry cites. (Click on charts to enlarge.)
http://m.iopscience.iop.org/1748-932…91datafile.txt (click here to link the studies reviewed.)
The study found that just 0.5% of the studies explicitly endorsed AGW and said it was the main cause of warming. Another 32.1 % seemed to believe that AGW was happening but did not state it was the main cause. The majority of the papers held No Position on whether or not warming was man-made.
Middleton also discusses Kerry’s claims about recent years being the “ warmest in all of history”. Kerry, saying he does not want to sound haughty, gives an inaccurate account of what the greenhouse gas effect is. Middleton says:” Don’t worry Mr. Secretary… You don’t sound haughty. You sound like a guy who got a D in geology and would have gotten an F in physics”.
Then Middleton describes the greenhouse effect.
Middleton sums up his critique of Kerry’s lecture as follows:
“The laws and theories of gravity and phase transition are not even remotely analogous to the fatally flawed AGW hypothesis.
97% of peer-reviewed climate studies do not conclude that humans are largely to blame for recent climate changes.
There is no evidence that 14 of the last 15 years are the warmest in all of recorded history.
A greenhouse works by retarding convective cooling. The greenhouse effect works by retarding radiative cooling. Secretary Kerry’s lack of scientific literacy will work by retarding our economy”.
I am not through with Kerry’s lecture. Tax filing is next but after that I have a few things to say about his lecture that Middleton did not cover.