Wednesday 19 May 2010

Has the greenhouse effect been falsified?

Reduced image from A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, by G. W. Petty.

My latest blog is a guest blog at the excellent site Skeptical Science, by John Cook.

My contribution is now one of the collection of pages showing what the science actually says about some of the arguments used by so-called climate skeptics. It can be found at Has the greenhouse effect been falsified?

The main source of this claim is the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner, uploaded at arxiv in 2007 and then, incredibly, published in a physics journal in 2009 as an invited review paper.

Now in fact, this is not a particularly common skeptic argument. It has been picked up by a few people who will latch on to any argument, however ridiculous, if it can be seen as a way to combat the science behind the discovery and study of global warming. But its spread has been rather limited, since the argument has been quietly ignored by most skeptics with any background in science.

More sophisticated critics of conventional science tend to recognize that there is such a thing as a greenhouse effect, and then take some other line of denial, such as to dispute the existence of positive feedbacks in the impact of a changing greenhouse house effect, or the contribution of carbon dioxide to the effect, or something else.

My essay dives in head first to scrape from the bottom of the barrel of climate denial, and then simply holds up for comparison what the science actually says on the subject. I'm very happy with the end result, and encourage any readers I might have to take a look at the new page on Skeptical Science, and if you are new to that site then have a look around the rest of it as well! It is an excellent resource.