| Published: November 14, 2011 – 9:31 pm
O my friends, I have received numerous messages asking about the voice-over I did for the Climate Reality Project. My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that Iâ€™ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)
The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didnâ€™t test it very well. One of our strident climate change deniers seized on their corner cutting and showed their demonstration didnâ€™t demonstrate anything. I considered this part of healthy discourse: people cut corners; they got called on it and taken to task. Since it was my voice, I was considered to be a co-conspirator in the plot to fool the world into believing that our climate is changing. Thatâ€™s reasonable in its way.
The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When Iâ€™ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results.
As the famous Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston remarked, â€śOne test is worth a thousand expert opinions.â€ť Try it; try your own version, and see if you measure a temperature difference.
One thing to note though, the guy who called us out on this drew an incorrect conclusion, or he made an erroneous claim. He says any change would have been caused by â€śâ€¦ a completely different physical mechanism than actually occurs in our atmosphereâ€¦â€ť Thatâ€™s wrong. It is this mechanism. The model has to be set up properly. Keep in mind that our troposphere is several dozen kilometers thick, and it doesnâ€™t comprise pure carbon dioxide. This is a model, a demonstration. Real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex.
Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.