Posted by: graemebird | May 5, 2007

But It Works Just FINE In Flatland: Alarmist Climate Science Falls Down Like A Winded Fatman.


“This, to me, is the crux of the matter. With no feedbacks at all, the sensitivity to doubled CO2 is about 1C, based on the well-understood radiative physics.”

Supposing we were on the planet flat-land. Twice as far from the sun as the earth is and its always noon with flatlands tilt. Always high-noon at the height of summer everywhere in flat-land.

And on flatland the scientists are conducting an experiment and they have sophisticated lab equipment. They have a laser and tubes and they have gasses. They have isolation-rooms that keep a steady temperature going.

So they run a weak laser-light that is the exact width of the inside of the gas-filled tube THROUGH that tube. The laser-light is rigged to have the full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation as does the sun. And at the bottom of the tube there is absorption material that absorbs the energy, does a bunch of calculations, and then produces another laser going back the other way of primarily long-wave radiation.

((((That last bit is a particularly clumsy construction. But I’ll leave it at that. Since I want the experiments to mimic in some way climate assumptions.)))))

Then the flatland-scientists measure an equilibrium temperature that the gasses finally reach.

Then they do this with differrent homogenised mixtures of gasses. And then they do this again with larger tubes. They do this with a different temperature for the isolation room….

….. Now after getting all the results from all this experimentation and after crunching the numbers…. the flat-land scientists have themselves a really well worked out body of knowledge which they are calling “radiative physics”.

The flatland scientists know that if they increase the relative amount of CO2 in the tube, then the CO2 will absorb some parts of the spectrum and the gasses within the tube will reach a slightly higher equilibrium temperature.

So they now use their calculations for their own planet… Because they have come to be concerned about industrial-CO2-release on Flatland…. And Lo they find the following:

“This, to me, is the crux of the matter. With no feedbacks at all, the sensitivity to doubled CO2 is about 1C, based on the well-understood radiative physics.”

You see what James is saying WOULD WORK JUST FINE IN FLATLAND.

Because in flatland you don’t have to make the simplifying assumptions that would make such a calculation possible.

I ASKED James for the simplifying assumptions.

But you see, he knows that I’ve been giving him a very hard time, putting it about that he’s the arch triangulator and “GOOD GERMAN” of the climate-science-world… and he wiped my question.

In Flatland the temperatures are averaged out. There is no night-and-day. No temperature climbing in the morning or dropping in the evening. No frost on the ground in the early morning.

Water vapour is there by immaculate conception…(to mimic earth) as there are no oceans. But the water vapour is dispersed evenly.

James statement works fine in Flatland. But it makes no sense whatsoever on planet earth.


What about the “specific heat capacity” JUST FOR ONE EXAMPLE…. what about the specific-heat-capacity of the various liquids and gases… and of MIXTURES of the various liquids and gasses????

Well specific-heat-capacity (the amount of energy a substance can absorb for every 1 degree increase in its temperature) makes no difference in Flatland.

For starters, in flatland there is no ocean and the water vapour is there through immaculate conception.

Only the implied equilibrium temperature BROUGHT ABOUT ENTIRELY BY GREENHOUSE CHARACTERISTICS OF GASSES matters-in-Flatland since everything is averaged-out and constant.

The sun is sitting eternally overhead in a FLATLAND sky, and if the suns brightness oscillates-a-little this is reflected in the implied equilibrium temperature which quickly acts upon the atmosphere of Flatland.

And of course if they add industrial-CO2 to the atmosphere, this too increases the implied-equilibrim temperature and “forces” the actual temperature up to that level.

Because of the constant movement to equilibrium, Flatland scientists have started to use phrases like “solar forcing” and “CO2-forcing” and “CO2-equivalent-forcing” that make absolutely no-fucking-sense on the planet-earth and therefore would never EVER be taken into general climate-science parlance here-on-earth.

And I suppose all of you readers know that this terminoligy HASN’T been taken up here-on-earth……..and for that we can be truly fucking-grateful.

On flatland climate-prediction falls down to a TWO-FACTOR-EQUATION.

On flatland things are conveniently simplistic.

All we worry about on flatland is electromagnetic radiation passing through some-or-other-mixture of atmospheric gasses.


For some reason the flatland scientists have decided that the suns brightness is insufficiently invariable to worry about. So they’ve reduced the whole thing down to the COMPOSITION of the gasses in the flatland atmosphere ALONE!!!!

And this simplification appears to work after a fashion……. ON FLATLAND…. UNDER THE FLAT-EARTH-CALCULATIONS!!!!!

Nothing else need be taken into consideration except as a tacked-on-afterthought.



You see once you’ve got days and nights, and other oscillations, then suddenly specific-heat-capacity (just for one example) and very-many-OTHER realities become CRUCIAL…. Yet specific-heat-capacity and other REALITIES just don’t matter, and are swept aside, in James Annans VERY………FIRST……..ASSUMPTION.

James then begins to build one assumption on top of another. But when you do this LINEAR-induction-building, and none of your assumptions are really quite right, after two or more steps you will end up with NONSENSE.

With linear-induction-building you might still have a worthy prediction model at one-step. But it will be a reduction-to-absurdity by three-steps in all likelihood.

This is one way of looking at the reason why you cannot get to have confidence in any human knowledge without CONVERGENCE……

…..When you build one assumption on top of another in a linear fashion like Annan is doing here…. then it would be a pure fluke if you wound up with anything resembling a real world model at the end of the process.

Now before going on to James’ second assumption, which is almost a bipartisan climate-science assumption, let us find out a bit about the capacity of the air to hold water vapour in relation to its temperature.

You see the-HIGHER the air-temperature the greater-is the capacity-of-the-AIR to hold water-vapour.

I want you to open up another browser and use the following link:

Keep this graph in mind at all times. Its critical to understanding the rather miraculous way our world works.

Well lets take a look at James Annans next assumption. We will check how this next assumption pans out in flatland. And then see how it pans out in the real world.

“It is also obvious that a warmer atmosphere has the potential to hold more water vapour (itself a GHG of course), and although the magnitude of this effect isn’t known with certainty, the most plausible first-order estimate (supported by models and data) would be that relative humidity will stay roughly constant.

This gives another 1C, making 2C in total.”


In flatland the ability of the air to hold water doesn’t reduce at night-time because its always noon. In Flatland the water vapour and temperature is the same everywhere. And the ACTUAL humidity is always massively less then 100% humidity. Since by flatland magic the water vapour is equal-to the averaged-out water-vapour of the planet-earth.

Now on earth we have tropical areas wherein the relative humidity is usually pretty close to 100%. But in flatland there is always and everywhere massive upside to how much water vapour could stay in the air. To be sure the water vapour increases the average warmth of the tropical areas. It takes the edge off the peak heat of the day but it keeps the warmth in at night-time.

You won’t get many plus-45-degree days in Singapore but at night-time you are lucky when the heat ever drops below 30 degrees. I think at least this would be true most of the year.

So there is no question that water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas. But in tropical areas like Singapore… might it not be the case that the greenhouse effect of this water vapour may have reached DIMINISHING RETURNS?????

Yes I do believe that diminishing-returns from extra water-vapour would USUALLY be PRECISELY!!! the-case in full-on-tropical areas like Singapore… And in all nearly all ocean-areas near-the-equator most-of-the-time.

In fact the flat-earth-assumptions would appear to nearly MAXIMISE the degree to which there would be knock-on increases in water-vapour……… which then in turn increase the temperatures.

The averaging assumptions are stupid assumptions and they greatly exaggerate the potential for knock-on effects.

If water vapour in these areas and most of the ABOVE-OCEAN-AIR in a broad span either-side of the equator is typically within a range where EXTRA-WATER-VAPOUR is reaching some sort of diminishing returns……. then the standard-climate-science approach that James Annan is parrotting makes no sense at all… at least for the areas we have discussed so far.


Lets see how the assumptions pan out in some other areas.

Lets look at the Sahara…….. Just as a SECOND example lets look at the Sahara.

How does this area stack up to standard climate sciences core assumptions, the assumptions that presumably all these bogus models have at their core with reality tacked on at the periphery like an afterthought.


“It is also obvious that a warmer atmosphere has the potential to hold more water vapour (itself a GHG of course), and although the magnitude of this effect isn’t known with certainty, the most plausible first-order estimate (supported by models and data) would be that relative humidity will stay roughly constant.

This gives another 1C, making 2C in total.”

Well that works just fine in flatland James. But this deal falls down like a winded-fatman when we take the marginalist approach borrowed from the great Menger (and others).

Because just look at the Sahara?!?!… The Sahara CAN take up limitless more water vapour. But its just not GOING-TO because of wind patterns and geography.

Still to be fair. If there is ENOUGH of a change in climate we could get lucky with the Sahara. We could wind up if we were damn lucky with a serious increase in water vapour over Antarctica (and that would hardly be a bad deal now would it?)

Well what about Antarctica????

Supposing the feeble sunlight that makes it to interior Antarctica is supplemented by some extra increase in ambient air temperature? Now elsewhere I’ve explained why thats NOT going to happen at ground level. But suppose it DOES happen?

Look at the diagram again. And consider that most of the interior, most of the time is well below -20 degrees Celsius. So is the extra ambient air temperature, supposedly brought about by CO2……….

…. Is that going to increase the amount of water vapour in the air enough to have a significant knock-on-effect????


So in reality none of James Annans assumptions…. and these are core BI-PARTISAN assumptions of climate-science……….Well none of James Annans assumptions pan out AT!!!!!!!! ALL!!!!!!!!!!

Yet these assumtions are built on top of eachother in a linear way. Thus magnifying the degree to which each individual assumptions’ UNREALITY contributes to an impression that is quite literally out-of-this-world.


The reason that the alarmist bullshit didn’t pan out James, is not because of some laundry-list of “denialist” EXCUSES!!!!

Its because the alarmist assumptions had nothing to do with the real world in the first place.



  1. What next Mr Soon?

    You going to link to Das Kapital and call that “economic evidence” for your support for the carbon tax?

    We don’t put up with links to book-sized sites, or otherwise wild-goose-chases posing as evidence around here.

    This has got to be the easiest science-fraud to see through that there has ever been.

  2. With 600 mirrors this Spanish solar power plant generates enough electricity for 6000 homes. These need to be implemented in Australia immediately. See that it is done Grae Bags!

    We dont need a tax or trading etc, we need a ban and limits on fossil fuel burning and replacement with plants like these. That would make deprivation, trading or tax arguments irrelevant.

  3. GMB, you were just nominated to be President of the US. Check the thread “What poster would you vote for it they ran.”

  4. I ordered Flatland the Movie, they entered my zip code wrong- leaving ovv the first zero- so I have not gotten the 30-minute movie. When I emailed them about it, they replied that it was unfortunate but that they noticed in my email I mentioned my classroom and that “it was illegal to show it to my students and Seth (that’s his name) would adjust my order accordingly [to upgrade to the $150 version].” Are they kidding??? Flatland doesn’t fit into the Boston Public curriculum; I wanted to show it for entertainment! What a junk company.

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