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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fun with Physics - Toying with RealClimate

I love messing around with people. The worse sense of humor they have the more fun they are to pick on. Really, you need a sense of humor and inside jokes are often the best :)

The guys at Real Climate have very little in the way of a normal sense of humor. So I love picking on their fallen scientific Icon Arrhenius. He was much like they are, humorless, incorrect and over confident.

So when I do my posts, I prefer use things that humorless, incorrect and over-confident individuals will blow off because of some preconceived notion. Like the thermodynamic frame of reference.

The thermodynamic frame of reference is the most basic of basics in thermo. That is because it simplifies understanding of the problem be allowing a constant baseline on which other baselines can be formed. These new baselines are boundary layers that may or may not be physical boundaries. Anomalies between the base reference and the selected boundary are information providing clues to unknown phenomena or calculation brain farts. Brain farts, errors in theory or application, are often interestingly highlighted early in analysis if the proper frame of reference is selected. With an incorrectly selected frame of reference, novel thermodynamic relationships can result in Alice in Wonderland adventures which while entertaining are usually incorrect. Perpetual motion or mystery energies are typical Alice adventures.

The neat thing about the selected baselines is that they can be unitless or non physical as long as they are consistent with the initial frame of reference. Atmospheric R values which imply a delta T/delta F are unitless until defined. I can use degree K and F=Wm-2 but I could invent ThermZits per phonon as long as I am consistent. Then if in one state I have more ThermZits per phonon that another, there is a reason or clue to be explored. Since my ThermZits have some ambiguous unit, I can define them at the end of discovery or at anytime I wish.

Arrhenius, since his sense of humor was suspect, decided he needed a definitive answer. Being a know it all that assumed he was part of the master race, ambiguity was not part of his realization of the physical world. He had binomial thinking, yes and no, the real world includes maybe. He assumed that since he was such a genius, that what happened in his world, Scandinavia, had to happen in the same way in all worlds. So to him there is A climate sensitivity to CO2 due to RADIANT responses based on his world performance. This is why a real scientist should not make an Arrhenius out of himself :)

Much like Arrhenius, the RealClimate crew are dedicated to their theory which was yes and no, but now have more maybes than expected. The maybes are clues for the curious but, "within the confidence interval of the models" for those that have the utmost respect for the Arrheniuses of the world.

So by noting that Arrhenius may not have been the sharpest tack in the scientific box, that implies that the followers of Arrhenius' theory may not be as sharp as they consider themselves to be :)

So I am considering ThermZits per Furlong-grain as the new unit for the Atmospheric R values. Which will be based on reflected and unabsorbed photons instead of absorbed long wave photons.

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