How not to edit wikipedia

Wiki isn’t as exciting as it used to be – the days of vast opposing armies swirling across the blood-soaked plains of global warming laying waste to innocent and combatant alike have faded into myth. Nowadays we (or rather they; I don’t even need to join in) have exciting discussions about exactly how to portray the 97%-of-scientists-agree stuff.

But now and again something interesting happens, and it has just recently, culminating in a chap called Andrewedwardjudd getting himself indef’d for legal threats. This throws up a couple of interesting issues. The first is, that though wiki can look rather free-n-easy, and while it is possible to be completely useless, do nothing but get in the way of other productive editors, and still not get blocked for years on end; there are some things that wiki does care about and that will get you instantly indef’d: and making legal threats, or things that can be interpreted as such, is one of them (see WP:NLT). The offending text is There are laws against libel, and Wiki should not be encouraging this kind of law breaking by so openly supporting such stupid behaviour. That gets you You have been blocked indefinitely from editing for making legal threats or taking legal action. If you would like to be unblocked, you may appeal this block by adding the text {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}}, but you should read the guide to appealing blocks first. The correct response, and the expected response from people who were acting in good faith but got rather carried away, is “oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to make a threat, please accept my assurances that what I wrote was misinterpreted, and just to be on the safe side I now withdraw/rephrase what I said”. The incorrect response (at least, incorrect if you want to be unblocked) is to make the threats explicit.

This may be a good place to point out that “indef’d” – as in, indefinitely blocked – just means “blocked with no explicit duration”. It doesn’t always mean “blocked for a long time”, either (it can sometimes, but not in this case; it just means blocked-until-you-come-to-your-senses).

Soooo… how did this regrettable situation arise?

It is all a fight over wording on the Greenhouse effect article. Oddly, it isn’t a “skeptic”-vs-science fight; Aej was, he thought, just correcting the science; or perhaps the wording – he never managed to make his point quite clear (I’m not going to bother go into the details, since they aren’t the point; some of the 2nd-law-of-thermo-stuff you see around; for example, this). However, what he did manage to do was to break WP:3RR, which is the don’t-revert-more-than-3-times-in-24h rule (I remember the “good old days” before this rule came in; things could be utter chaos. Indeed, even after the rule came in it was initially interpreted quite tightly; you could edit war for weeks on end unblocked, as long as you stuck to 3-per-24h. But nowadays admins would call that “edit warring” and warn-then-block you for it fairly soon). He got a warning about it, which he ignored; he got a note that he’d broken it and an offer to hold off if he’d take a break; he got a note from a heavyweight admin advising him to take a break and he ignored it all; so I reported him for edit warring.

And he got a 48h topic ban. Which was a fairly lightweight result – most people could expect a block for all that; but there was a fairly clear sense that he was trying to do his best and could potentially be valuable. At this point, anyone sane is expected to get the hint, back off, and lie low for 48h. The motto coming here is, if you can’t do that, you need to step gently away from they keyboard. But he didn’t, he just broke the topic ban instead. And so he got blocked for 48h instead. This, again, should have been a hint to stop escalating but no; he just responded with more fire which lead to his indef. The lesson here is that wiki is looking for some hint that you are prepared to work with others; to act reasonably; to de-escalate; any of those, combined with some kind of decent editing, can be made into an unblock. The reverse – continual escalation all the way up to legal threats, then digging in even deeper (amusingly headlined “You guys just dont know when to give up do you?”) is doomed. Once you start talking like that, people know what to do with you and what pigeon hole to put you in, and getting out again is hard (did someone mention self-awareness?).

So children, remember: if you want to edit wiki, please do, but if you start getting heavy hints that you are out of line, its best to cast around for some advice rather than just keep on digging.

(Incidentally, since I’m here, Photon polarization looks like it needs help from someone competent).

Update: the saga now includes the final step in the process: if you make enough unblock requests without thinking, and continue the legal threats, then your talkpage access will be revoked.

Update: I was wrong! There is a further step in the saga, one I should have anticipated. The next step is for the banned user to either (a) WP:SOCKpuppet or (b) get someone else to post for him, aka WP:MEATpuppetry. We’ve now got (b): [1], [2] is “Andrewswife” who has been thrown into the middle of this dispute to defend her husband (to be fair, I doubt they even knew this wasn’t allowed; neither seem terribly familiar with the rules). That isn’t a tenable position; fortunately Vsmith has drawn a veil over the process, hatting the discussion with Proxying for indef blocked user and blocking “Andrewswife”. That is, arguably, a bit harsh, as I doubt she knows what is going on.

Update: just to make it clear that there is nothing desperately exciting about this, here is another chap, just indef’d for edit warring at Free will. And another, for edit warring at Angle trisection.


* A childs garden of wikipedia
* Over in the comments at Rabett Run – Eli being a bit cruel.

87 thoughts on “How not to edit wikipedia”

  1. It is all a fight over wording….

    The lack of detail is a bit tantalising.

    [Oh all right then. I’ve added a diff inline -W]

    I clicked on the gh article and found it to be mostly excellent. So I’ll raise a minor (OT) point which is not restricted to Wikipedia.

    The simple picture assumes equilibrium. In the real world there is the diurnal cycle

    In transport theory, and irreversible thermodymamics it would be ‘assumes steady state’ ,i.e. independent of time, ‘local equilibrium’ would also be uninformative. Not very important but a footnote could deal with it.

    [Could be either. Yours is probably clearer; I’ve changed it -W]


  2. There is no ‘skeptics vs science.’

    [Indeed, you are correct. That is why I didn’t write it -W]

    Only true believers like yourself would make such an ignorant claim.

    Perhaps you should write a Wiki article about it… oh, wait.


  3. The changes which have not yet been included.

    I’m posting here because these points are of general interest.

    Most of this is basic physics in the sense that it does not require knowledge of much climatology, except perhaps to an appeal to lapse rates. Physicists should be concerned if it is proposed to rewrite the whole subject in a defensive way. Why should every co-existence of hot and cold be accompanied by statements that this does not violate the 2nd law?

    Anyone interested in politically motivated misunderstanding might be directed to SOD where it is all discussed at length.

    Furthermore is this just a question of ‘wording’?

    the greenhouse effect itself is hugely more important nearer the surface, than higher in the atmosphere

    I suspect that this would undermine the rest of the article. Wouldn’t it require that ‘nearer the surface’ was as cold as the top of the atmosphere? I did not follow the reference to Tyndall; he was good, but surely a bit early to quote as a valid source, without explanation. His famous experiment on CO2 necessarily omitted the vital role of temperature on the gh effect.

    [I think what he means by “important nearer the ground” is that there is more thermal radiation there. Which is true, cos its all hotter. But that doesn’t make the GHE important there -W]


  4. Given that Wikipedia has a long and awesome history of siding with Satan (Justia-gate + Obama comes to mind, for a VERY recent example), why are you pretending that this is all about love and roses, and ‘working with others’ is their oh-so noble goal?

    Something similar happened to me on CreationWiki. Like many others, I came to the realization that the VAST majority of evolution-fanatics are, to put it very very mildly, dishonest.
    I was told, sorry – nicely commanded, that saying such things was completely unacceptable: bad for ‘leading them to the Lord’, don’t you know.
    I counter-argued by asking if they had actually read how the BIBLE describes such people… oh well, apparently the Lord has not yet learned that He is like, uncouth, rude, and downright mean and nasty. That He is, like, oh-so inferior to the great goodness that is modern Christianity. Get with the program, ‘bother’, or leave us to our holy task.

    Of course, I had missed that ‘hippie’-ness is just as much present amongst so-called ‘Christians’ as elsewhere in the world.

    What a waste of time it all was.

    In any event, I guess I could go poo on my principles, go back and apologize, and then operate within their ‘working with others’ spiel. You know, be an adult about the whole thing.

    But I think not. Wikipedia has shown its predeliction for corruption MANY times. Ditto for Creationwiki. Ditto for Justia. I fail to see how someone who actually has principles can handle working with those sub-human ‘people’.

    The fact is that the Wiki’s (and similar) are run by soulless bastards, who had better pray that the Living Lord never comes back, given His, shall we say, ‘serious objections’ to those who play at compromising scripture.


  5. Perhaps cb’s comment gives us a clue on the mindset of the persistent Wikipedia antiheroes. To them, it’s all about winning the “eternal holy war” that’s raging in their head — facts, evidence, fairness, and rules be damned.

    — frank

    [I was tempted to add some comment to that comment, but really couldn’t think of anything it hadn’t already said so well -W]


  6. it is a very small world

    [Oh hello. I was wondering if you might show up. I almost posted a link to this on your talk page, but decided it might just look irritating -W]

    Of course you conveniently forgot to mention that reference 9 on the page totally supported what i was talking about as did the skeptical science link you said was good.

    [I’ve deliberately avoided talking about the scientific context here; it isn’t really relevant. But if we want to talk about conveniently forgetting things: you’re the one who started the “trust me I used to be a glider pilot” stuff; if you’re going to talk like that, you really ought to have some respect for “yes but I used to be a climatologist” -W]

    And i see you have further defamed me by calling me insane.

    [No I haven’t -W]

    The libel laws are pretty good in the UK. Why do you have to behave in such a consistantly rude and unpleasant manner towards me?

    [I think you need to take a look in the mirror. Read your own words about me on your talk page. Perhaps try showing them to some friends of yours that you can trust to offer you impartial advice. But I think you already know that you’ve behaved badly. As I’ve said in this post, you’ve achieved a level of banning that many a petty vandal fails to achieve in years. And all that from experienced admins with impeccable reputations.

    If you’re interested in advice on how to get unbanned, do let me know. Although you’ve effectively been given it already, by me and by several admins. You just need to listen to it -W]


  7. Utter rubbish. For reasons unknown you and your gang did your best to get me to align with a version of reality that is most odd. Little wonder that you consistantly refuse to talk about the science and prefer to talk about how I am confused insane rambling incoherant blah blah blah.

    [I assume this is Aej again? You really need to step back and read some of this stuff before you write it; or get someone you trust to read it. It doesn’t look good -W]

    Reference 9 explains to those who can read that the surface is heating the atmosphere. Your chum Dave Souza regarded that as my ‘odd unsourced opinion’

    What I cannot work out is if you are just confused and nasty or if you are just nasty

    [Hopefully, in a while you’ll look back at this and regret writing it. But while you are talking like this, there is little point trying to discuss the science -W]


  8. Never once have you ever made a genuine honest attempt to talk to me about science. You prefer bleurgh or wrong or i cannot construct sentences or i will regret what i said.

    Science seems to be a problem for you.

    [And yet… I wrote most of the GHE page on wiki. And large amounts of the GW page; and the Instrumental temperature record page. Or if you prefer real, peer-reviewed science, you can look at my publication record.

    You had a chance to talk about science on wiki, but you blew it. But it can’t possibly be your fault, obviously, so you need someone else to blame. While you’re acting like that, you’ll get nowhere.

    We can talk about the science here, if you like. But you’ll have to drop all the attitude, and all the casual insults you’ve got so used to throwing around. Its up to you -W]


  9. Your attitude is unreasonable. You know exactly what my point of view is. You say you do not. You know i think it is silly to say the atmosphere is warming the surface. You know that your associate Dave Souza said I had an ‘odd unsupported opinion’ that the surface was heating the atmosphere. You know the references 9 and the skeptical science pages say just that.

    Whatever i say you turn it into an attack upon me.

    Until you fix your attitude all you are going to do is keep repeating there is something with me.

    You had everything you needed to know, to realise exactly and precisely what I was talking about many days ago.

    All my attempts to talk about science on wiki were silenced by your endless repetition of wrong…wrong wrong..

    I have no idea why you think i am wrong.

    [You’re right. You do indeed have no idea of why I think you’re wrong. Because you won’t listen to what I say. You’re too busy talking about my “associates” and my “stupidity” you have no time to actually read what I say. If you want to have a polite conversation about the science, we can do that. But, you have to drop the rude words and the attitude first -W]

    And in your post here, you keep up this stupidity that you dont know what my point of view is.


  10. And i never said trust me i am a glider pilot. I was simply pointing out that my use of ‘thermals’ might be confusing to a person who was not familiar with what a ‘thermal’ was. I said also that years ago I got a degree in analytical chemistry and if there anything that you did not understand then please ask me to clarify it. Instead you just shut me down with the lame yeah and you were a climatologist ditto.

    [Perhaps we both misunderstood each other there. who knows? Dwelling on it won’t help -W]


  11. It is totally unreasonable for you to say i will not listen to why you think I am wrong. You have never explained to me why I am wrong

    All you do is say the references are correct and i am wrong and cannot interpret them correctly and produce this smokescreen where you ***refuse*** to say why i am wrong

    [You’re so busy talking you can’t listen. All I’m waiting for is one post from you, where you drop all the attitude, and simply and politely ask me to explain my position -W]


  12. “Aej was, he thought, just correcting the science; or perhaps the wording – he never managed to make his point quite clear ”

    How many more time are you going to repeat that i never made my point absolutely crystal clear?????

    [On this blog posting I’ve said it exactly once -W]

    All you ever did say was wrong wrong wrong…the others have said you are wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    [No they haven’t -W]
    And now you insult me further by saying i never listened to what you said.

    You said i was wrong wrong wrong wrong


  13. This is a small world, and is that my name being taken in vain? Perhaps Andrew might care to ponder this gem of prose from one of his edits:
    “Since the heat loss is reduced by the additional radiation from the colder object, the hotter surface becomes warmer due to being heated. The cold upper atmosphere cannot heat the lower surface or lower atmosphere, because the heat loss is always from the warmer layer to the colder layer.”

    I think we’re all agreed that greenhouse gases absorb infrared, and re-radiate it in all directions. The re-radiation going down towards the surface (backradiation) results in the surface and lower atmosphere being warmer: in English we’d normally say it heated the surface, but Andrew says it can’t.

    [That seems to be the crux of the matter. It is why I tried to suggest that we merely differed over the wording. Aej has already said he accepts the maths on the Idealised greenhouse model page, so really there is nothing but words to argue over, since accepting that page means we agree on the science -W]

    What puzzles me is that the Sun heats the Earth by radiation including infrared radiation, the backradiation is in the same spectrum as some of the radiation from the Sun. How does the surface know which infrared radiation comes from the Sun, and can warm it, and which comes from backradiation and can’t possibly warm it?


  14. Dave,

    If you face the sun then backradiation from you is being absorbed by the surface of the sun to cause the surface of the sun to become infintessimally warmer, because the energy to heat the surface comes from inside the sun

    You are not warming the sun, the sun is warming you.

    I already explained to you, that at the macro scale you cannot say an absorption from a cold object is warming a hot object, if many times that absorption is happening as an emission that is warming a hot object.

    You told me i had an ‘odd unsupported opinion’ when the references agree with me and do not agree with you.

    Do you understand the difference between a macro view of an object being heated by the sun and a microscopic view where heating and cooling are happening simultaneously so that emissions from your face are heating the surface of the sun?

    Does the earths surface warm the sun?

    Backradiation from the earth is causing the surface of the sun to become warmer because the suns surface is internally heated.

    How about you read the references I provided please.


  15. Dave, you said,

    “Since the heat loss is reduced by the additional radiation from the colder object, the hotter surface becomes warmer due to being heated.”

    How many more times do i need to repeat or ask you to read the references that tell you that the sun or something other than the atmosphere heats the hotter surface??????????

    If you blow on the surface of an egg it gets colder at the surface because the cooling rate is higher, if you reduce the cooling rate, by stopping blowing, the surface gets hotter because it is heated by the internal energy inside the egg and the cooling rate is lower.


  16. in case it was not clear there was a typo in this:

    “I already explained to you, that at the macro scale you cannot say an absorption from a cold object is warming a hot object, if many times that absorption is happening as an emission that is warming a hot object.”

    the last two words should be cold object


  17. Backradiation from the earth is causing the surface of the sun to become warmer because the suns surface is internally heated.

    Wait, seriously?

    William, you deserve a medal for putting up with this guy for as long as you did.


  18. I am reminded of a an old Australian tax case where a Taxation Board of Review member (Dr Paul Gerber) said of an applellant

    “Having patiently endured this hearing, I am satisfied that for an admission charge of two dollars, a taxpayer, determined to persecute his own appeal, gets the cheapest entertainment in town.”

    Andrew also seems determined to persecute his case rather than prosecute it.

    [I’m hopeful that Aej might actually listen if a few other people tell him that -W]


  19. To sum up the science here.

    1. In heat science we talk about the tiny atomic or microscopic scale and the larger object or larger body macroscopic scale.

    We do not say two bodies exchange heat. We only talk about a flow of a quantity of heat (ie something that can be measured) from the hot body to the cold body.

    [What is this “heat science” of which you speak?

    In radiative physics, we consider the flows of radiation. A hot, and a cold, body facing each other will both emit and absorb radiation. And there will be a net flow as well. You already know this, because you agreed with the picture presented at the Idealised greenhouse model page -W]

    2. It is true that some molecules at the surface of our skin are heating some molecules at the surface of the sun. It is not true that our skin is heating the surface of the sun. The sun is heating us without any question of that. The sun also unquestionably heats the Earth. However some molecules of the surface of the earth are heating some molecules at the surface of the sun.

    3. When we talk about radiation we describe the two way flow of energy between two bodies in net radiation terms as being the amount of energy that is transmitted from one hot body to a colder body. The amount of energy flowing in net energy terms is easily estimated using a Stefan-Boltzmann calculator

    4. If you face the sun at sunrise on a hill top, then the backradiation from your face is absorbed by the suns surface,

    [No, that isn’t true. We already know that the atmosphere is opaque to IR radiation at the sfc. You can rescue your picture by imagining the person to be in empty space, or in an IR-transparent atmosphere -W]

    and therefore the suns surface did not cool to outerspace by this amount of energy, because this cooling energy was intercepted by your face. Because the suns surface is heated from inside the sun, and it is not cooling as rapidly as before, because your face came between the sun and space, the surface of the sun rises in temperature by some infintessimally small amount. But unquestionably you are not heating the surface of the suns surface. The surface of the sun is unquestionably heating you.

    [I think where we’ve got to now, it is clear that we don’t really disagree over the physics, merely over the words. You insist that in the usage as you’re using it, “heat” has a certain meaning. Other people don’t quite accept your meaning, and allow “heat” to have a rather broader meaning. Given that this is English, where words are mutable and do not have strict definitions, I don’t see how you can believe that your insistence on the narrow use of the word “heat” is going to override everyone else’s use -W]

    5. The Earths surface layer is heated by the Suns direct energy and/or is heated by the stored energy of the Earth. The atmosphere is mainly heated by the surface of the Earth.

    6. The warmed atmospheric greenhouse gases emit at the Stefan-Boltzman rate for each frequency of their emission. Some of this radiation from the colder atmosphere reaches lower surface levels as backradiation. As in the earlier examples this backradiation means that the lower surface has not cooled by the amount of the backradiation.

    [Again. You wanted to use “not cooled by” when other people would say “is heated by”. But it is all just words -W]

    7. If you reduce cooling of a heated surface, then it must rise in temperature until it can cool at the previous rate or it would just get hotter and hotter. Since emission rises exponentially with temperature, a few degrees of warming is sufficient to ensure the old cooling rate can be re-established.

    8. We all know that if we reduce cooling of our hot food by reducing the cooler air we blow upon it, that if the food stills remains hot inside, then the foods surface quickly becomes hotter again once we stop cooling it so rapidly. We do nothing to get the surface to be hotter again other than reduce the earlier cooling rate. The same is true of the cooler greenhouse gases. They dont heat the surface of the hot ‘food’, they just reduce the cooling rate of the ‘food’, so that the heated ‘foods’ surface rises in temperature.

    9. In summary, dont confuse micro and macro. Dont confuse two way radiation transfer with transfer of heat quantity, where heat quantity transferred is always from a hotter object to a colder object and is zero for objects of the same temperature and is never regarded as heat exchange for bodies at the macro level where one body is in contact with another body via only one path. A hotter body always heats a colder body when they are in radiative contact. Heat never flows from the cold body to the hot body at the macro level. If you say **the** surface and **the** atmosphere you are **only** talking in macro terms. **The** Earth cannot warm **the** sun. The cooler higher atmospheric layers cannot warm the hotter lower surface layers.

    [Don’t confuse words with reality, don’t get hung up over definitions, it is unproductive -W]


  20. Weasel, you sure that AeJ ain’t Kramm in drag? It’s the same nonsense. Of course now Eli gets to ask AeJ to define this heat word that he tosses about with abandon.

    [I don’t think this is the same nonsense. Aej is entirel happy with backradiation; there is no claim that it doesn’t exist, or doesn’t do anything. I think he is just hung up over words -W]

    On a more serious note the Rabett was struck by the same statement that Geoff was that the greenhouse effect operates most effectively near the surface. On reflection this is true if by near you mean ~ 8 km or whatever the effective level for radiating to space is. Have to think of a simple way of saying this.

    [I don’t think that is what he means by it, though I could be wrong. I think he just means there is most IR there, which is trivially true -W]


  21. The issue that devides is most certainly not just words or semantics.

    So called Back-radiation from any colder body near a hotter body with an otherwise heated surface, in air or in space, causes the surface temperature of the hotter body to be higher than other parts of the surface of the same hotter body.

    This can be demonstrated even in air, by heating a mass and allowing it to begin cooling and then later, while the hot mass is still cooling, placing a cold mass near it that is the same temperature as the surroundings of the hotter mass. The hot mass heats the colder mass and then the surface temperature of the hotter mass rises slightly. The hotter mass is now cooling more slowly. The cold mass is not heating the hot mass.

    The greenhouse effect is most important near the surface because

    [Oh, OK, if you’re still insisting on this then you’re wrong about the science too, not just the words -W]

    1. most of the water vapour is relatively *very* near the surface. Tyndall said that one tenth of the surface emissions are absorbed in ten feet of air.

    [No-one is arguing that there isn’t a lot of IR near the sfc, and that there aren’t a lot of active GHG’s near the sfc. But all that is besides the point.

    The point you’re missing is “how important is the GHE to the energy balance of a layer” – this is the issue, not “how much radiation flow is there”. Near the sfc, there is more radiation flow, because its warmer, and (as you say) there is plenty of WV.

    And the answer is: near the sfc the GHE isn’t important. In the sense that if you neglect the IR flows, you’ll get much the same answer. Because so much is carried by sensible or latent heat -W]

    2. Tyndall said the nature of water vapour is it spreads out over the land and seas when water is heated and provides a blanket thru which radiation cannot easily pass. This means that rising hot air colums that go onto produce clouds have their origin in the heating by radiation of water vapour. And even as the columns of air and water vapour begin rising they are still strongly heated by the cooling radiations coming from the surface and water vapour below where water vapour emissions are almost totally absorbed by water vapour. Our common experience is that it is unpleasantly warmer on humid days near the surface than a few hundred feet higher.

    [All this is besides the point, as I’ve explained above, and on wiki -W]

    You guys have to stop ridiculing science and think about things like the back-radiation from the earth towards the sun causing the sun to be warmer. And realise that the earth is not heating the sun for that to happen.

    [You have to start treating others with some respect, to realise that you’re really a novice in all this, and that you don’t really know what is going on. Only if you start reading what other people are writing, rather than just repeating what you’ve already said, will you learn something -W]


  22. 4. If you face the sun at sunrise on a hill top, then the backradiation from your face is absorbed by the suns surface,

    [No, that isn’t true. We already know that the atmosphere is opaque to IR radiation at the sfc. You can rescue your picture by imagining the person to be in empty space, or in an IR-transparent atmosphere -W]

    Your own wiki GHE page says

    The reality is more complex: the atmosphere near the surface is largely opaque to thermal radiation (with important exceptions for “window” bands)

    [Sure, and I wrote that. But “largely opaque” is correct -W]


  23. I said: “As in the earlier examples this backradiation means that the lower surface has not cooled by the amount of the backradiation.”

    [Again. You wanted to use “not cooled by” when other people would say “is heated by”. But it is all just words -W]

    It is not just words. The surface has no ability to become a higher temperature unless it gets heat from *another* source, other than the atmosphere.

    Imagine I have $20 and I begin earning $1000 per hour.

    If I begin throwing away $1000 per hour into outerspace then I am constantly in the same position of having 20. and I am gaining nothing.

    If you catch 500 per hour of the 1000 that I throw away and you give 250 per hour to me, and throw 250 to space, I am only now lose 750 per hour, but you are not making me richer, but I am now gaining 250 per hour, because i was earning 1000

    Do you pay me if you pick up my wallet i just dropped?.

    Isnt that just returning what I lost?

    You are arguing you pay me.


  24. A couple of fragments for this discussion (not Wikipedia).


    There is a huge difference between saying correctly that the green house effect acts to cause the surface to become warmer and making the false claim that the atmosphere warms the surface.

    But … is this hugely wrong?

    ’causes X to warm’ = ‘warms X’

    Now add a subject:

    ‘Y causes X to warm’ = ‘Y warms X’
    Simple but very useful special case for most of discussion;
    Steady state. ‘Y warms X’; ‘X warms Y’; are both false. *

    Time dependent case.
    Isn’t this another topic?? **

    Surely it is dodgy to omit the div operator. It is actually the positive/negative divergence of the radiation flux (or energy flow) which cools/warms the atmosphere. In the case of the ground the volume divergence has to be replaced by a surface term. This is just the difference between the incoming and outgoing energy flows there.
    * On the other hand, the case for more detail is based on the fact that the back radiation is an observable. But when it comes to the book-keeping, its contribution to the net energy flow is exactly cancelled.


  25. [Only just rescued from the spam filters; sorry -W]

    If the first ten feet of air absorbs one tenth of the emissions then your claim that heat loss is mostly all latent heat and convection is false. The surface emits at the SB rate for that temperature. Surface emission is relatively huge unless you want to falsify SB.

    You are still keeping up the wrong wrong wrong mentality

    The atmosphere according to you is not totally opaque so my hill top comments are valid. But you say they need modification. Why do you refuse to concede? How much smaller rise in temperature do you want to get than infintessimal? 🙂

    And if you want to say the near surface is opaque then the surface emitts at the SB rate into a total barrier where the surface emissions are relatively huge.

    Seems to me you want to warp reality while keeping up the theme i am totally ignorant. That is not the way to learn.


  26. Re : #25 i.e. my previous comment.

    I hope I don’t fall prey to the warning at the end of Ely’s comments about anonymice, at least not on this thread.

    [Eli? -W]


  27. WMC said

    [No-one is arguing that there isn’t a lot of IR near the sfc, and that there aren’t a lot of active GHG’s near the sfc. But all that is besides the point.

    Not a lot of active GHG’s near the surface? I imagine you have heard of the extraordinary absorption capabilities of water vapour?

    [Sigh. Read what is written. You’ve got confused by the negatives. “No-one is arguing that there isn’t a lot of IR near the sfc, and that there aren’t a lot of active GHG’s near the sfc” means “there are a lot of GHG’s near the sfc” -W]

    And you keep on going on about the amount of IR flow near the surface like that is meant to mean something. It is the near opaque absorption near the surface that means something to me and the modellers. There is only plenty of IR flow near the surface because there is plenty of emission near the surface. What aspect of opaque do you not understand??

    [You’re veering off into impoliteness again. anything more like that and I’ll get bored with you -W]

    You go on:

    “The point you’re missing is “how important is the GHE to the energy balance of a layer” – this is the issue, not “how much radiation flow is there”. Near the sfc, there is more radiation flow, because its warmer, and (as you say) there is plenty of WV. ”

    So there is plenty of WV but there is not much active GHG’s??

    [See above. You’ve misread what I said -W]

    And again you go on about the radiation flow! There is almost total absorption! The near surface atmosphere is being strongly heated by the surface and the surface cannot cool so well because the surface is strongly heating an emitting atmosphere!

    Then you have the insolence to tell me that you cant parse what i say, i dont know what i am talking about and i need to say less. You appear to have no idea at all about this subject.

    How can a climatologist produce such a muddled combination of ideas as you just produced??

    Plenty of water vapour but hardly any active Green house gases??

    Man oh man.


  28. RE : #21 Andrew.

    Thought experiment. Lets disregard all forms of heat transfer from the surface except IR. This is only so as to focus the discussion.

    Edward Wegman once suggested that the CO2 might concentrate near the ground. Suppose he had been right, and that it formed a thin dense layer near the ground. Do you think that there would be a residual CO2 driven gh effect?

    Surely the CO2 would absorb everything. Yes, it would also be ‘very warm’ in that layer. So warm in fact that its temperature would be almost equal to that of the surface. It would also re-radiate an amount determined by its temperature which as I have just stated would be almost the same as that at the surface. Someone flying about higher up looks down and sees

    (a) No CO2 on the ground; IR emitted from the ground at temperature say 15 degs.C.

    (b) after the CO2 has been added near the ground. IR emitted from the dense layer of CO2 at ~ 15 degs. C.

    So the CO2 has had almost no effect on the upward flowing IR. Wegman could have celebrated.

    I remain puzzled by what Tyndall is supposed to have thought. Its a pity he didn’t consider a desert at night time where the temperature falls much more than usual because of the lack of water vapour. In ordinary circumstances there is water vapour which can keep us warm because it emits so much less ,where it is high and cold .

    Ref. Brian Cox brief TV a desert. Its a pity that he never mentioned CO2.


  29. >>[No-one is arguing that there isn’t a lot of IR near the sfc, and that there aren’t a lot of active GHG’s near the sfc. But all that is besides the point.

    The point you’re missing is “how important is the GHE to the energy balance of a layer” – this is the issue, not “how much radiation flow is there”. Near the sfc, there is more radiation flow, because its warmer, and (as you say) there is plenty of WV.

    And the answer is: near the sfc the GHE isn’t important. In the sense that if you neglect the IR flows, you’ll get much the same answer. Because so much is carried by sensible or latent heat -W]”

    If the surface is a constant 288K in the model then the surface with an emissivity of .7 emits a constant 273Wm2 where most of that is absorbed near the surface. Therefore the reason it is 288K near the surface has much to do with that almost total absorption which makes the air warmer and causes the surface to have a higher temperature.

    Then there are other factors which you have already chosen to ignore many many times.

    [OK, let me try a totally different tack: why are you still here talking? It is a big wide internet: there must be other people out there who care, and whom you might convince. It must be obvious to you by now that you aren’t going to convince me. So, why bother? Whatever happens here makes no difference to whether you get to edit wiki again – I didn’t indef you, and I can’t undo it either.

    If you were to post to, say, WUWT in the comments with “Hey, I had an argument with WMC about the GHE and you know what: he was totally wrong, and refused to admit it!” you’d get loads of people agreeing with you. If that’s what you want -W]


  30. Geoff

    If C02 was a perfect absorber then an observer would just see something like the surface when viewing from above.

    I dont see how this ties in with what William is saying however. My point and your point is that if the C02 was the same temperature as the surface and there is almost opaque absorption then the surface has almost no ability to cool unless it can punch out of that C02 blanket.

    As for Tyndall. Wrote in detail about how certain areas were dramatically cooler at night because of absence of water. Tyndall collected observations from explorers such as Dr Livingstone. on 2nd June 1845 Mitchell found in central australia it was -11.6C at sunrise and 19.6C at 4pm. Livingstone found in June the natives were freezing and by their fires until 9 or 10am away from the zambesi with a daily range of 48F, but only 12F inside the zambesi valley where immediately they noticed the rains were warm.


  31. I may eventually regret asking this, but Andrew, what is your basic concern here? I’m interested in this as an example from a teaching and “public understanding of science” perspective. There’s been so much back-and-forth that I can’t pick out the main point, so if you could restate it in a clear and concise manner it would help.


  32. The reason i am here is that william insulted me in what amounts to a public place and refused to explain why he was insulting me.

    Anybody who has made a tiny effort would by now know that I said the cold atmosphere cannot heat the hotter surface.

    They will also know that reference 9 agrees with me, as does the skeptical science link i provided where nobody has challenged those links

    Instead i just get more crap about how hard i am to understand.

    It seems you all have some kind of agenda about the atmosphere heating the surface and that is all you want to here talked about.

    I think it is true that William **knows** the atmosphere cannot heat the surface. But instead i get endless obfuscation about what difference does it make and so forth.

    Either way this does not appear to be an intellectually honest environment either here or on Wiki. Nobody talks about reference 9. Instead they all put up some force field of nonesense as if suddenly i am going to agree with nonesense.

    It is most odd that you can find this such an important subject to defend with such vigour that abusing people is just fair game as long as you get a result.

    What actually are you protecting?

    [We are the Sekrit Kabal (but we’re cunning, we hide in broad daylight, except… have you seen the pic on my talk page? Its a hint) and we are protecting the Truth. How could it be otherwise? Here is another hint -W]


  33. William

    I dont think it is going to be too difficult to get somebody like Yochanan Kushnir to review what i have written and give a statement as to its relative merit.

    [Bit of an odd choice, but do let me know what he says -W]

    At some point in time [Redacted – WMC].


  34. Thanks Andrew. Thats a very common misconception, so let’s see if I can walk you through it.

    The atmosphere has a temperature above absolute zero, and a non-zero emissivity. So it emits energy as radiation.

    The surface absorbs some of this radiant energy. This causes it to be warmer than it would be otherwise.

    The important point is that when the surface (or any other substance) absorbs energy it is warmer than it would be without that energy. The surface doesn’t care where the energy comes from. It could come from the sun, or from the atmosphere, or from anywhere else. More to the point, it could come from an object that’s cooler than the surface itself. All the surface sees is incoming energy.

    An imperfect analogy is heating a house with a “heat pump” system. The system extracts energy from the air and releases it into the house even when the outside air is cooler than the air in the house.

    Does that help?


  35. Re #31.

    Your 2nd paragraph appears to suggest that Tyndall anticipated Brian Cox’s desert based argument. Good. But how does that relate to the possibility of a gh effect from low lying water vapour?

    My point and your point is that if the C02 was the same temperature as the surface and there is almost opaque absorption then the surface has almost no ability to cool unless it can punch out of that C02 blanket.

    I think that you are neglecting the fact that IR is emitted in all directions by vibrating CO2 molecules, at all depths, within the slab. This would enable the ‘punch out’ you are seeking.

    But for the sake of rigor, the conditions of my thought experiment, zero temperature drop acoss the slab, no heat transfer except by radiation, and infinite optical depth might be a bit inconsistent. My main point remains , that the gh effect requires that the gh gas emits less than the ground and that this requires that it should be colder.


  36. Please don’t pursue the heat pump analogy. It is so extremely weak that it could have the effect of pouring oil on the above flames.


  37. Bishop of Stratocaster

    You like the others refuse, or will not allow, the reality that more energy is transfered to the atmosphere by the hotter surface. The cold atmosphere **cannot** warm the hotter surface. The hot surface **is** heating the cold atmosphere.

    The surface is caused to be warmer because the surface is heated by the sun, and the energy loss from the surface is reduced by the surface heating the emitting atmosphere.

    The analogy is of the atmosphere operating a heat pump to take heat from the surface and taking it back to the surface. There is no ability to heat a surface with such a method. However, if the same heat the heat pump takes to the atmosphere was being lost to space then now there is less cooling of the surface and the surface heated by the sun rises in temperature. Reference 9 Explains this. If you dont discuss reference 9 I will know you are here to talk nonesense.


  38. Geoff

    And we use a stefan boltzmann calculator we can work out what will happen.

    If we begin with an average temperature of the Earth without greenhouse gases of 255K with constant half power sun with e of .7 it emits 167wm2 that is lost to space.

    Therefore, the opaque near surface C02 is **heated** by 167m2 and becomes hotter and eventually emits 83 towards the surface.

    The system inside the greenhouse layer is however only losing energy at 83W to space compared to surface emissions of 167W

    The C02 with e of 1 must therefore rise in temperature to 233K until it emits all of the 167 watts from the surface.

    A 255k surface of e of .7 in contact with a 233k surface of e of 1 will lose at most 50W. Therefore the surface, which is heated by the sun is forced to rise in temperature to 291K to maintain the previous cooling rate of 167W

    And this means the C02 will be hotter. So unless the heat accumulating in the C02 can punch out of that smothering blanket the surface will become very hot indeed.


  39. William

    I said

    “I dont think it is going to be too difficult to get somebody like Yochanan Kushnir to review what i have written and give a statement as to its relative merit.”

    [Bit of an odd choice, but do let me know what he says -W]

    He wrote reference 9.


  40. Geoff

    Correction: Ignoring the greater surface area of the near surface C02layer, the hottest the surface can get is 291K, since the limiting temperature factor was already determined by the 233K needed to remove 167Wm2 from an emitting layer of e of 1.

    So if we take Tyndalls comments from the 1871 heat as mode of motion: page 421

    “water vapour acted like a blanket, screen, or local dam, which lies close to the earths surface, and checks radiation below this barrier, by which the temperature of the earth’s surface is deepened: the dam, however finally overflows, and we give to space all that we receive. He added that the warm air charged with vapour, rises to create columns of air which penetrate the vapour screen which hugs the earth, and the head of each column wastes its heat by radiation into space.”


  41. Andrew, it seems that you simply are forcefully restating your premise, i.e. “The cold atmosphere **cannot** warm the hotter surface. The hot surface **is** heating the cold atmosphere.” This is sometimes called “proof by repeated assertion.”

    Really, I think you are making this more complicated than it needs to be. Can we agree that because the atmosphere radiates energy to the surface, the surface is warmer than it would be if the atmosphere were not there? In the end that’s all the greenhouse effect means.


  42. Bishop of Stratocaster

    We can agree on your wording.

    But a correct description of the GHE effect *must* say that atmospheric absorption causes the atmosphere to be heated by radiation emitted by the surface. Reference 9 says this.

    It is false to say the atmosphere heats or warms the surface. The atmosphere has no ability to prevent heat leaving the earths surface. All the atmosphere can do is slow down the loss of heat. Like a blanket slows down the loss of heat.

    Wiki and other on line texts say the atmosphere warms or heats the surface.

    And evidently beliefs on this topic run very deep indeed.

    William has twice said dont talk about blankets.

    Tyndall and reference 9 talk about blankets


  43. I phoned Dr Yochanan Kushnir who confirmed he had written reference 9.

    Dr Kushnir fully supported my comments. He also, without any prompting by me, repeated the comparison of the GHE to a blanket.

    I can only ask people to check out some of the ideas that have been so strongly expressed both here and on the Wiki talk page, and realise that the GHE is fully supported by ordinary thermodynamics and requires no special considerations.

    As soon as you begin saying the colder atmosphere is heating the surface you invite comment from skeptics that the GHE is not possible.

    If anybody has any questions that I can reasonably ask Dr Kurshnir by email please let me know in the next 24 hours

    [You have realised that ref 9 is just some kind of on-line-y thing, and isn’t definitive, I hope -W]


  44. I always check my views against quality references and modify my thinking as necessary. Kurshnirs opinion does not mean much to me other than he did not disagree.

    Yesterday I contacted Scientific Alliance,

    [Oh dear, why? They are a bunch of wackos, at least as far as climate change is concerned. Although not, as far as I can tell, very prominent ones – at least, I’ve never felt any inclination to write about them -W]

    but earlier today I asked them to allow me to pursue this in my own way as that was more my style. You had published my later comments, even though earlier ones did not always get past you,

    [Odd, I thought I’d published them all. Looking in the spam filters I see two were trapped. You could help yourself by actually using the field for “Commenter”. I’ve published one, and burrowed the substanceless whingey one -W]

    and I was more inclined to be forgiving and assume, as Scientific Alliance believed, you were genuinely just an activist and there was not much more to it than that. However since you and Souza both want to continue by ridiculing the references already on the page and both of you are determined never to discuss the science of reference 9 my options and patience are drawing me to a conclusion that further pressure is needed on you to realise you were out of line.

    [Woo! That sounds good. Don’t keep me in suspense too long -W]

    As you can imagine your behaviour is now being viewed fairly analytically.

    [It would make a pleasant change -W]

    I cant begin to imagine what motivated retired local authority architect and history buff, Souza to respond like that to my wifes comments.

    [You mean, why he responded politely, kindly and considerately? I hope you’d find it easy to understand why he did that. Mind you, getting your wife to post for you was a bad idea. I’ve updated my post -W]

    Nor can I begin to imagine what would make you dismiss Kurshnirs online page as just some kind of on line y thing. There are endless Dr K’s who can be wheeled before any enquiry. He just happened to be the guy who wrote the reference that cannot be discussed on wiki or here.

    The whole saga is most odd. As with the Wiki banking experience, the saga is more interesting than the content.

    But then such is life. Life is interesting no matter how mundane and unthankful it can often appear to be.

    [“So it goes”, indeed -W]


  45. The [[Scientific Alliance]] seems an odd organisation to turn to, on aggregate.

    [Yes; or at least, if you want to know anything. I rather suspect that Aej meant it in the sense of “I’ll expose you to the S. A.” -W]

    My response to the editor claiming to be Andrewswife pointed out that Wikipedia needs published sources, and relayed conversations don’t count.

    [I feel rather sorry for Aw. Probably fortunately for her, Vsmith has taken pity and indef’d here -W]

    Dr. K did indeed write a brief summary in course notes for Columbia Uni which have been published online, his analogy of a blanket remains questionable. A blanket blocks conduction and to some extent convection, the atmosphere warms from the effect on “greenhouse gases” of infrared radiation, which comes both from the Earth surface and from other parts of the atmosphere in a feedback cycle which results in more backradiation than solar radiation. The analogy of a blanket just seems too wooly for that mechanism.

    [:-) -W]


  46. My wife felt it unhealthy that i spend so much time with people who would be so quick to trash a phone conversation as a way of nullifying the written reference already on the page – that i might add cannot be talked about on wiki or here.

    The response was fairly extreme. Hard to believe [irrelevant personal details redacted – WMC] would be so motivated to respond so consistantly poisonously

    [I find it weird that you are so sensitive to slights against yourself, but feel free to casually insult DS, who has done his best to be polite (far more so than me) and helpful. How you could possibly regard his response to your poor wife as “poisonous” is beyond my ken. You should also be aware that people don’t really like to have irrelevant personal details bandied about; don’t do it again -W]

    *and* find it funny to be involved in the immature rouge cabal or whatever it is called *and* manage about 20 posts a day for the last god know how long. Fairly evidently I am hated for some reason.

    [No, you’re pitied by all concerned. But you probably don’t want to know that, and will I expect refuse to accept it -W]

    You know it is personal that when unknown supporter arrive that they have to be greened out for not contributing. That was just so weird. Souza has consistantly not contributed ever. Souza is what you call a tool. But a tool for what purpose? That is the odd thing.

    [He is a tool of the Sekrit Kabal. Of course; what else. So are you, of course, bwa-ha-haaa! -W]

    Was Souza the super powerful admin you mentioned above or was that NW.

    [I can’t recall mentioning any “super powerful” admins, and I doubt I would have, since there aren’t any. All people called just “admin” have the same powers. I think I said “well respected” or somesuch; and if I was referring to the people that warned / blocked you, that would be NW, Dw, whoever did it. DS is an admin, but generally doesn’t, I think; he is more a contributer -W]

    NW seemed well ‘briefed’ with your supplied text

    [Try reading (and applying) WP:AGF sometime -W]

    that I had potential but needed to read more and should not rely on ‘on line y thing’ but should instead align myself with truth and monty python or whatever it was you were going on about yesterday.

    Hey, but before you know it, I am wrapped up in your world and totally forgetting all about the science.

    [Indeed. So we’re back to “why are you still here”? The internet is full of sites that will allow you to create your own blog in order to expound your views to a doubtless wide audience -W]


  47. I was inclined to think that Geoff Wexler sounded genuine so managed to track him down to a meeting that supposedly took place involving ‘sceptic’ Martin Livermore. Martin however did not know Geoff and said he was unfavourable received at the meeting. Anyway Martin was surprised that William still had some kind of God authority on Wiki and felt he could help.

    So far you guys are being most cooperative. Even Mrs Judd got the bad faith treatment and a reply that was sufficient to turn her blood cold.


  48. William said

    he got a note from a heavyweight admin advising him to take a break

    William said

    I can’t recall mentioning any “super powerful” admins, and I doubt I would have, since there aren’t any. All people called just “admin” have the same powers

    [“Heavyweight”, yes. Some admins are more highly-regarded than others. But they all have the same powers -W]

    And of course the atmosphere heats the surface but it does not matter either way. It is just a game of words and on-line-y-thing.

    [Remember what Frodo said to Gollum. BTW, I’ve just found this re blankets -W]


  49. Meatmuttery

    In breaking news Wiki has declared that Andrew Judds wife M.Sc has been bannished to outer darkness for supporting the verified scientific comments of her husband Andrew Judd B.Sc, supported by the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory Senior Scientist, Yochanan Kushnir Ph.d, that the surface heats the atmosphere


    Wiki confirms on main article the shocking sordid truth.

    atmosphere with greenhouses gases absorbs some of the heat being radiated upwards from lower layers……further warms the layers and ultimately the surface below.

    Wiki editor Dave Souza was left reeling and declared ‘how could Wiki editors have written an odd supported opinion? We did everything we could to prevent that appearing in print’

    He added ‘Regrettably Wiki has shown a remarkable ability to adhere to the published sources, I hope we can find ways to improve our wording’

    [I usually find that anyone putting their, or their sources, degrees behind their name has gone wrong -W]


  50. The reference for that wiki text is shown as

    This text says the writer of the wiki greenhouse effect page is talking nonsense for two reasons.


    Does the atmosphere trap radiation?

    No, the atmosphere absorbs radiation emitted by the Earth. But, upon being absorbed, the radiation has ceased to exist by having been transformed into the kinetic and potential energy of the molecules. The atmosphere cannot be said to have succeeded in trapping something that has ceased to exist.

    Wiki prefers to disagree however.

    “This trapping of long-wavelength thermal radiation”

    2. Does the atmosphere reradiate?

    One often hears the claim that the atmosphere absorbs radiation emitted by the Earth (correct) and then reradiates it back to Earth (false). The atmosphere radiates because it has a finite temperature, not because it received radiation. When the atmosphere emits radiation, it is not the same radiation (which ceased to exist upon being absorbed) as it received. The radiation absorbed and that emitted do not even have the same spectrum and certainly are not made up of the same photons. The term reradiate is a nonsense term which should never be used to explain anything.

    Will you get rid of the nonsense re-radiate term in your article?

    “re-radiated both upwards and downwards;”

    “It re-radiates in all directions, both upwards and downwards”

    The Wiki GHE further reading section also likes the nonsense version.

    Henderson-Sellers, Ann; McGuffie, Kendal (2005). A climate modelling primer (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-470-85750-1. “Greenhouse effect: the effect of the atmosphere in re-reradiating longwave radiation back to the surface of the Earth. It has nothing to do with glasshouses, which trap warm air at the surface.”

    To be fair most people do not understand the nature of radiation and think that thermal radiation is a particular type of heat radiation, rather than a description of the wavelengths of EMR, which are particularly able to generate thermal energy upon upon absorption.

    And this then leads to the muddled idea of macro heat exchange which is a invalid description and against the idea of the second law of thermodynamics. We only talk about heat exchange at the micro level. We talk about radiation exchange at either level.

    If you are making changes you might as well do this page too:

    [You could have been useful copy-editing, you are good at spotting minor inconsistencies in wording; its a shame you got confused between the words and the science. I still don’t think you really understand what you’re reading, nor are you able to analyse your own words in anything like the same detail you apply to others. You want Bickmore’s Second Law of Being Biased -W]


  51. You are mixing ideas.

    Radiation is a two way exchange of energy.

    Heat is no longer used in thermodynamics other than to mean quantity of heat transfered. Either way, however heat is defined, heat can only flow from a hot body to a colder body. It cannot be exchanged or flow from cold to hot. A hot body cannot warm a cold body. What is important is that the opposite is true and the hot body warms the cold body.

    Your constantly repeated unsupported opinion that I dont know what i am talking about and you do, is disproven by my ability to talk intelligently to a leading scientist, where he and I can entirely and absolutely agree on everything that we discuss on this topic.

    I also said the GHE is like a (one way) blanket or like a (one way) insulator. It is *not* an insulator. But it acts like one radiatively. A one way blanket is an imperfect comparison. However it is far better comparison than to say the atmosphere warms the surface. The idea the GHE is like a one way blanket is a method to stimulate the mind into comparing a blanket with an absorbing emitting layer so that the differences between them can be seen, but also the similiarities can be seen. A person who only focuses on differences can learn nothing from the teaching method.

    Your approach is to shut down people with comments like blankets are a horrible idea, dont talk about blankets, and then go on to keep repeating wrong wrong wrong, you dont know what you are talking about.

    William, it is you who needs to learn more about these basic parts of climatology. And evidently you are not alone in needing to learn this.


  52. Andrew Judd, at some point you should seriously consider the possibility that spending hours angrily throwing invective and conspiracy theories around is probably not an appropriate response to a disagreement about whether “A warms B” and “without A, B would be colder” mean the same thing.

    (By the way, on cold days I often say, “Go put on a sweater, it will warm you up.” This is simply a well-accepted use of the verb “to warm” in English.)


  53. JBL

    William insulted me. What aspect of that is so hard for you to understand? Do you not have blood running thru your veins?

    And why do you come here to tell me that an incorrect description should suffice for the greenhouse effect while telling my emotion is unjustified?

    The page contains errors. Evidently that is not important to you, but it was to me, and while attempting to educate the ignorant people who attacked me by saying my opinion was odd and unsupported, and I could not read, I should listen to the experts, and other garbage from William and his other personalities and friends, I was blocked from continuing the discussion where I was fully supported by references.

    William continues to tell me that he does not think i know what I am talking about even after i fully discussed the topic with a fully qualified climate scientist who totally agrees with me.

    James Annan tells me I am a loon. The very immature William simply laugths.

    At some point you people are going to have to deal with the consequences of your behaviours.

    Why is it so important to you all that the Wiki version of the Greenhouse effect is wrongly presented and mixes ideas and concepts as if the writers are clueless of the topic they are writing about?

    Why do you all prefer to be ignorant rather than be educated?


  54. By the way James Annan, I am surprised that somebody pursuing a career in climate science and living in Japan would so openly want to associate himself with scientific ignorance and dishourable comments against another man. I wonder how that will go down in Japan if your coworkers find out what you get up to on the internet? Please be more respectful in future. If you have a point of view on the science then lets hear it.

    1. Do you think climate science needs a special version of the second law of thermodynamics as expressed on Williams talk page by one of the team more or less the day I first arrived to comment on GHE?

    2. Do you think the cold atmosphere can heat the hotter surface?

    If you dont have such peculiar beliefs then how about showing some integrity and explaining that to the likes of Dave Souza who is happy to insult my wife while probably thinking I never noticed it.


  55. The most amazing revelation on this thread is that the [PA redacted – WMC] Andrew is, in reality, old enough to *have* a wife.

    [I think we all need to restrain ourselves a bit. Do what I say, not what I do, I’m afraid -W]


  56. The second of the following sentences from the article appears to be problematic:

    “Each layer of atmosphere with greenhouses gases absorbs some of the heat being radiated upwards from lower layers. It re-radiates in all directions, both upwards and downwards; in equilibrium (by definition) the same amount as it has absorbed.”

    The troposphere is not in radiative equilibrium. The lapse rate maintains its equilibrium temperature above the level at which radiative equilibrium would occur and so has a radiative deficit. This is compensated for by sensible and latent fluxes from the surface.

    [You’ve missed the Within the region where radiative effects are important the description given by the idealized greenhouse model becomes realistic… which starts that paragraph -W]

    The sentence is not false in itself, but misleading in so far as it suggests a state of affairs that is commonly not the case. It is also unnecessary.



  57. William:

    Actually I hadn’t missed it. Unless it refers to a region other than the troposhere the final part of that statement is still misleading, and importantly unnecessary.

    The deficit persists on average throughout the troposphere, it is almost the definition of the troposhere.


    [Sigh. Trying again. The key is the description given by the idealized greenhouse model becomes realistic. That is what it is talking about -W]


  58. William, Once again you are drawing attention to your confusion. The text reads:

    “Simple presentations of the greenhouse effect, such as the idealized greenhouse model, show this heat being lost as thermal radiation. The reality is more complex: the atmosphere near the surface is largely opaque to thermal radiation (with important exceptions for “window” bands), and most heat loss from the surface is by sensible heat and latent heat transport.”

    Your text makes it clear that the large amount of radiation emitted by the surface is almost totally absorbed near the surface to warm the atmosphere near the surface. That warming then has a huge impact on the temperature of the surface because the surface cannot cool while heated by the sun or stored heat.

    How long are you going to keep insisting that this near surface greenhouse effect is unimportant??


  59. William:

    I obviously haven’t understood. For clarity can you locate for me the region of our atmospehre where the idealised model becomes realistic and hence the statement concerning radiative equilibrium holds.


    [I didn’t say there was any such region. The text is talking about the idealised model, and how it behaves -W]


  60. William, your text clearly reads:

    It is more realistic to think of the greenhouse effect as applying to a “surface” in the mid-troposphere, which is effectively coupled to the surface by a lapse rate.

    Your response to Alex does not make any sense.


  61. Firefox+Greasemonkey+KILLFILE works for this blog, sadly not all, but it is still better than nothing, if not as good as USENET newsreaders.

    People can be anonymous if they want, but posting under “Anonymous” rather than a handle just wastes people’s time, especially when threads have several people posting as Anonymous. Ideally, Anonymous would be automatically Burrowed, but for now, KILLFILE.


  62. William,


    The first sentence of that bullet point introduces the domain for becoming realistic followed by a colon and a statement about Earth and some of its properties.

    A literate reading most commonly expects the initial statement up to the colon to be followed by a statement that is consequential to, illustrative of, or explanatory.

    It is difficult to read the second statement as not referencing the first by way of illustration and hence for the remaining sentences to reference both the domain of realism and the Earth.

    It seems I was correct to think the section was misleading rather than false and now we know why.



  63. “I wonder how that will go down in Japan if your coworkers find out what you get up to on the internet?”

    If they found out what I’m really up to on the internet, they would be jealous 🙂

    But I’d have to kill you if you found out about that.


  64. Some random errors .. not all mine, and comments.

    1. The printed exam questions went out and one of of them had a bad mistake. Then on the day itself, a correction was published which amplified the error. (No, not mine)

    2. #28. Another faulty correction. The message I wrote was #26.

    3. #24. Faster than light? The correction seemed to precede the error which underwent spontaneous decay before being observed.

    4. #51. Livermore was received politely rather than ‘unfavourably’, but that was because his comments may have been relatively moderate compared to his later output. When the Swindle ‘GGWS’ documentary came out many people did not realise that he had been Durkin’s scientific advisor. I have no evidence that he or Lindzen distanced themselves from the tricks.

    Contrast that behaviour with our host who tries to correct non-rigorous or mistaken arguments when they are made by people
    with whom he might otherwise agree.


    The term reradiate is a nonsense term which should never be used to explain anything.

    Isn’t it a bit harsh to ban the terminology of classical electromagnetic wave theory? The complementary picture, used elsewhere, involving reference to individual photons, commonly involves greater educational simplifications. How often do people refer to ‘single photons’ as if they had a definite phase ? Such terminology is more problematic than the wave example because it can’t be represented in either the particle or wave picture. Educational physicists have to be tolerant.

    The prefix ‘re’ is not quite redundant because it discourages the reader from forgetting about the conservation of energy, especially but not necessarily in the absence of non radiative processes such as convection.


  65. Geoff Wexler

    1. Livermore is simply a useful person for me who has contacts I do not. He could be scientifically illiterate, but it does not matter. And once again I want to emphasise at this point in time I am trying to resolve this on my own. I am still assuming that reason will prevail.

    2. The point about re-radiate began, as I already clearly explained to the readers here, because the same reference used by William to decide blankets were unhelpful to explain GHE, also decided to say re-radiate was a nonsense term. The reference said blankets, re-radiate and ‘heat trapping’ should never be used to explain GHE. William uses both these other terms, but refuses to allow anything to do with blankets or screens or local dams as described by Tyndall and others. I explained earlier why a one way radiative blanket could be a useful term to enable a person to think about the GHE process.

    3. Our aim on Wiki is to clearly describe something to the Wiki reader. Wiki say editors should realise the reader could be a child or an elderly person, and descriptions should be addressed so that ordinary people can understand what is being described if they have the willingness/ability to understand it. Words to that effect.

    4. Maxwell in 1871, would not be entirely happy with re-radiate because he would know that a colder gas containing a minor amount of GHG being warmed by a hotter surface is not directly re-radiating all of the emissions it receives but instead some heat gets transferred by the GHG’s to other non-GHG’s and then from there to other GHG’s. Additionally there is no instantaneous cooling of the heated GHG’s so that we can justify the use of re-radiate. Re-radiate seems like a mix of reflection and radiate.

    On several levels re-radiate is unhelpful.

    5. What is more correct, rather than to say re-radiate, is to say that the absorbing heated atmosphere emits at the rate described by the Stefan-Boltzmann law for that temperature and atmospheric emissivity.

    6. If you wish to emphasise the simpler Mid historical wave model that came after the Newtonian particle theory of light and which preceded the quantum theory of light, that seems more reason not to talk about the impossibility of the cold atmosphere heating the hotter surface. Surely the only reason people are talking about the cold atmosphere heating the hotter surface, is because they are imagining quantum packages of heat travelling to the hotter surface so they can justify the claim of the cold atmosphere warming the hotter surface, where presumably people like Dave Souza on Wiki, *do* actually fully know that the hotter surface is heating the atmosphere?

    7. If you like the idea of conservation of energy, and you think that it is important that the reader understands that, then you should not be spending so much time and effort defending a rather silly description of the greenhouse effect that implies, or directly says the cold atmosphere, that is warmed by the surface is warming the surface. Even Nasa online pages say the greenhouse effect involves the atmosphere heating the surface, and there is no end to that comedy to be found in other online documents.

    8. Since the fairly well known James Annan is quite happy to call me a troll and a loon, and say that if I found out what he talks about on the internet he would have to kill me, implying he works for the MOD,

    [I see you’ve discovered that JA has a short way with trolls. And yes, chasing someone to their home blog and repeatedly re-posting unwelcome comments is trolling.

    As to the “But I’d have to kill you if you found out about that” – that is what we in the trade call a “joke“. You seem to be entirely humourless so you may have missed that. Just to be clear, my refs to the Sekrit Kabal were also not-to-be-taken-seriously (or were they – ha ha, you will never know) -W]

    it suggests strange beliefs are fairly deeply embedded in the scientific/government/industrial community. Wiki policy should describe both the point of view of Dr Kurshnir as well as the James Annan point of view. However to be clear here, I really have no idea what the James Annan point of view is other than he think I am a looney Troll. The same applies to Williams point of view. What is it? I have no idea so far. The wiki page is so muddled up, I just cannot work out what he believes, and have to rely on others comments to try and work out what they are saying, where obviously these editors are not relying on the references to create the page we are reading.

    [OK, I think that was a pretty clear and long statement of your views. I’m bored with you now. Unless you have anything new to say, your comments will not appear.

    If you take the trouble to write up your views somewhere, you may feel free to comment with a link to your site -W]


  66. William, Since you have;

    1. Been very unpleasant towards me,

    2. told me I am wrong,

    3. told me multiple times I dont know what I am talking about and

    4. have refused to say why I am wrong, even when my views are entirely supported by Wiki GHE page reference 9, and the writer himself, Dr Yochanan Kushnir who fully supported my comments in a telephone conversation, to which you obfuscated one more time by saying:

    [You have realised that ref 9 is just some kind of on-line-y thing, and isn’t definitive, I hope -W]

    5. You think it funny when other public figures such as James Annan call me a loon or a silly troll

    6. Conspired with others, or with manifestations of yourself, to get me banned from Wiki.

    7. Endlessly baited me and endlessly allowed others to bait me, as if you and them are teenagers who just discovered the internet:

    “The most amazing revelation on this thread is that the [PA redacted – WMC] Andrew is, in reality, old enough to *have* a wife.”

    [I think we all need to restrain ourselves a bit. Do what I say, not what I do, I’m afraid -W

    As to the “But I’d have to kill you if you found out about that” – that is what we in the trade call a “joke”. You seem to be entirely humourless so you may have missed that. Just to be clear, my refs to the Sekrit Kabal were also not-to-be-taken-seriously (or were they – ha ha, you will never know) -W]

    7. It is now clear to me you have no intention of apologising or allowing that page to properly reflect the scientific references.

    Either you change course now, and prove you can change, and allow that page to properly reflect the scientific references, and remain that way, or this is going to the British newspapers tomorrow morning.

    Your behaviour was disgusting, as was that of many of your associates, and was without any justification. Clearly you, and the so called David Souza, and others, who may well be just manifestations of you, are out of control and need to come to your senses somehow by some method.


  67. #71. Much too busy to reply now.

    But the words Stefan Boltzmann stood out. Isn’t its use in your point 5 a poor approximation for a non grey gas… unless you torture it? There is a Planck factor whose temperature dependence is not T^4.

    Not read the rest.


  68. Geoff

    The point is that a warmed emitting gas, emits. So even if it is warmed by convection arising from a lower altitude that becomes mixed with the colder gas, the warmed gas emits and is not re-radiating.

    Any cold air contacting the hotter surface emits more due to contact with the surface, where in reality very little air actually contacts the surface molecules, but rather a substantial amount of energy is transfered to the colder air because the hot surface is radiating a large amount of absorbable energy. Even a surface cooled by a wind that heats the air is still heating that air radiatively and the emissions of the air arising from whatever warming the air gets then cause the surface to cool less slowly and therefore be warmer than if those emissions were not happening.

    It is entirely wrong to say the greenhouse effect is not important near the surface, and words like re-radiating only add to confusion and difficulty in learning what is going on.


  69. Given that in 1871 no one had a clue about quantum states, HTF would Maxwell have know #4? Grab a glass of clues. #6 is merely confused, #8 is clownish and the rest is just blather.


  70. Eli Rabett

    There is nothing in 4 that refers to Quantum states. Maxwell knew about emission and absorption and knew emission was proportional to temperature. He would know that an absorbing gas will warm, so will know it is not simply re-radiating.

    Your comments on 6 suggest you are mixed up about something or other.


  71. Poor Andew seemed upset about being called a loon, is he or she a quinie? (in the Doric dialect of Aberdeenshire)

    More on-topic, as an ignoramus on this topic I’d love a bit more clarification about the backradiation from layers of atmosphere causing the surface to warm, and being about double the downwards radiation received from the Sun.

    Does Andrew’s argument that cold atmosphere can’t heat the warmer surface have any merit in the slightest? Is it better to think that IR radiation warms anything that absorbs it, regardless of relative temperatures of its source, and that the surface doesn’t distinguish between backradiation and solar radiation of the same frequencies.

    There’s also the interesting question of whether greenhouse gases absorbing IR radiation are heated by it, or simply emit the same amount of IR (at slightly different frequencies) without the gas being warmed. The argument about “re-radiate” raised that doubt in my mind.


  72. But then again Michael Shermer, has provided a skeptics basic check list of ten easy mind probing questions, in his “Baloney Detection Kit” :-

    The 10 Questions:

    1. How reliable is the source of the claim?

    2.Does the source make similar claims?

    3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?

    4. Does this fit with the way the world works?

    5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?

    6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?

    7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?

    8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?

    9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?

    10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

    AJ’s reaction to being corrected, is most telling:

    1/ An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.

    2/ The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.

    Polonius(Hamlet) Act 1 Scene #3 :- This above all — to thine ownself be true;
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.


  73. An example from a review.

    Re: ‘re’; I seem to have become sensitised. I was just considering another topic and stumbled on a couple of “re’s” here:

    Hence, in general, RT equation has an integro- differential form. Physically, the coupling arises due to the scattering process during which photons absorbed at a certain line frequency and in a certain direction can be re-emitted at other line frequencies and in other directions, getting a chance to travel very large distances before being reabsorbed.

    My italics.

    English may not be his native language but he avoids being too wordy

    The reader can see that his term ‘scattering’ includes the inelastic version. Its a matter of taste but I quite like the above text.


  74. I wrote Re: ‘re’ just before.
    [I wish the software would just reject comments without Names]

    [You almost got rejected as Aej. I’ve turned off the complete-anonymity, I think -W]


  75. ‘I’ve turned off the complete-anonymity, I think -W]’
    I hope so. That is a feature that “fills a much-needed gap,” as ken once wrote.

    [:-). Mind you, all that does it force you to provide some text, not anything verifiable -W]


  76. Andrew Judd is now trawling the internet and making complaints about you (amongst others on Klimazwiebel). You are, once again, considered all powerful!

    [Here?. Oh dear, I do hope he isn’t going to dedicate his life to this -W]


  77. Well, William, considering the obsession he showed here, I think he will. I noted he also went over to WTF (on the Tips and Notes thread, even claiming you and Dave Souza may be one and the same person).

    If he behaves like he did here, I guess you might get lucky, and he’ll shift his next obsession to Watts…

    [They are quite welcome to him, I am not at all jealous -W]


  78. #75 does not apply to the problem under consideration. In that case one is looking at a single molecule which lives for a finite time in an excited state before emitting. In the visible this is sometimes called fluorescence scattering. When a greenhouse molecule absorbs an IR photon, it loses that energy by collision to the bath (e.g. the rest of the molecules in the atmosphere), but OTHERS are thermally excited by other collisions and then emit.

    Eli recalls that this was discussed somewhere, somewhen in the Wiki.

    The problem dear AJ is you think you have a clue, and what you are holding in your hands is an anchor. DO NOT JUMP INTO THE WATER


  79. Oh dear! Our secret is out, I am Wm and he is me as you are he as you are me and we are all together, goo goo ga joob.. oops where was I?

    Oh yes, intrigued by this I had a look at our respective first edits on Wikipedia, and lo: William’s first edit summary:
    “Change “reflect” to “re-radiate” in desc of GHG”

    [Those were the good old days.

    I think the objection is twofold: firstly that the same (or an equivalent) photon may not be re-radiatated (because it may be at a different frequency) and second and moreimportant because the absorbed energy is likely to be transfered by collision to another molecule, likely several times, before it is radiated again… or re-radiated, perhaps. So the existing language isn’t wrong it just hides this subtlety. We could ad that to the “things are more complicated” section -W]


  80. Re #80

    #75 does not apply to the problem under consideration.

    Yes, I quoted the example from stellar atmospheres as an illustration of usage elsewhere.
    By the way, at first I had thought that ASJ’s intention was to build a fence of words, around the greenhouse , separating it from anyone who had been tempted by Gerlich & Tscheuschner’s nonsense. But if he had thought it out, he would have realised that his proposal to ban ‘re-radiation’ would have made his ‘problem’, worse.

    Its removal might have made it less likely that newcomers would have been able to keep in mind the co-existence of simultaneous and opposing energy flows (more additional words). The magnitudes of these two flows, although apparently independent, would have to be linked in any complete treatment (still more words).
    By the way, I’m sorry to grumble, but the display partially hides the names of the authors, an effect which is enhanced for long comments.

    For example, #71 begins with my name in the place where Realclimate places that of the author. It is displayed in a larger and darker font than the ‘signature’ which comes at the end of the comment which bored readers might never reach. This may add to the confusion caused by Anonymous. Normally I couldn’t care less, but that is no ordinary comment.

    [I don’t think I have any control over the formatting like that. Part of the trade-off for being part of a collective -W]


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