Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Political Meltdown Over the Arctic

UPDATE Aug. 30, 2012: This post is pathetically wrong in its basic physics. Total internal reflection occurs in the medium with the larger index of refraction, not in the lesser. No excuses, since my internet writing is not about me, and I can only admit my mistakes, to lessen the likelihood of others being misled by them; in this, I am happy to say, I differ from virtually all others on the internet. Sorry for this, to those who wish me well.

The climaterealists site has an article, by a global warming alarmist, on a supposed Arctic meltdown, to which I have responded there with the following comment:

Look how easy it is to disprove what Mr. Monbiot is trying to make the public believe, just a small example that any high school physics student can understand:

Monbiot says: "... As the ice melts...exposing the darker sea beneath, heat that would previously have been reflected back into space is absorbed." Because of melting Arctic ice, he thinks "What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet."

Very basic physics denies this completely. The arctic circle is an imaginary circle surrounding the North Pole, with a radius of approximately 23.5° (the angle subtended at the Earth's center, from the pole to the arctic circle), so it is at latitude 66.5°. The Arctic, within the arctic circle, is cold because the Sun's rays don't strike the ground "head-on" there, that is, perpendicular to the surface, but at a relatively large angle. This means, not only that the Sun's energy is more spread out due to the angle at which it strikes the surface, but in the autumn and winter months the Sun never even gets above the horizon, so no energy hits the ground at all.

Now here is some high-school physics: Light impinging upon water at a large enough angle (from the perpendicular to the surface) will not be absorbed, but will be reflected totally. For water, with an index of refraction of 1.33, the critical angle, beyond which total reflection occurs, is Arcsin(1/1.33) = 48.75°.

Even at the height of summer, and even as far south as the Arctic circle itself, the angle of incidence (measured from the perpendicular to the surface) of the Sun's rays is at least 43° (this is just 90° - 47°, with 47° being the angular diameter of the Arctic circle). The Sun's light will hit the surface at the critical angle of 48.75° just 5.75° further north, that is, any sunlight hitting a water surface at 66.5° + 5.75° = 72.25° latitude or above, will be totally reflected. And that is just the area where hysterical people like Mr. Monbiot think "transformation of the atmospheric physics of the planet" is occurring, due to melting ice -- an area where the Sun's rays are totally reflected anyway, even if all the ice were to melt.

Mr. Monbiot's fear is unfounded, but much worse, it is clearly obsessive, and is in fact a mass hysteria among those who accept the politically-sponsored (not scientifically competent) "consensus" on global warming. It is a form of insanity, politically promulgated worldwide now, that threatens the peace of the world. I urge believers in runaway global warming to stop spreading incompetent science; stop this hysterical belief in its tracks.

And there is no greenhouse effect, of increasing atmospheric temperature with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. See

Venus:  No Greenhouse Effect

The climate science communtiy itself is fundamentally deluded about how the atmosphere is warmed, and fundamentally deluded that it is at all unstable, subject to either runaway global warming OR cooling. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were, of incompetence in current scientific thinking about the Earth.

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