Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Solar (UV) Variation and Terrestrial Climate

"Simplify, simplify!" is the famous admonition to writers, in Strunk and White's "Elements of Style". It should equally be taught to students of physical science, as the necessary tool of every good scientist.

The following is my response to an article on "Solar Variation and Terrestrial Climate" at the climaterealists site, in which the subject of simplicity of hypotheses came up:

"Many of the mechanisms proposed at the workshop had a Rube Goldberg-like quality."

Yes -- the examples given above, and the "busy" yet strangely irrelevant "Atmospheric Structure" figure (which doesn't even include UV, but only cosmic rays and solar protons) well demonstrate the incompetence of scientists today. Obviously, if the temperature lapse rate (decreasing temperature with increasing depth) in the stratosphere is due to the decreasing effect (molecular smashing) of UV absorption with increasing depth, and the tropopause merely marks the altitude (or altitude range) of balance between the opposing lapse rates of stratosphere and troposphere, then the first hypothesis that needs to be considered is that an increase in solar UV would tend to force the tropopause (whose temperature would be a constant, -53°C) closer to the Earth's surface, thus decreasing the temperature at the surface (and a decrease in that UV would act to increase the surface temperature). Even if that hypothesis is quite wrong, it needs to be aired, and aired FIRST, in a public forum like this.

Of course, it also needs to be emphasized, yet again, that my view is that of the independent scientist who did the first proper Venus/Earth comparison of temperatures (fully 19 years after the necessary Venus data was obtained, and before any climate "expert" apparently--since it is so easy--even thought of doing it):

Venus: No Greenhouse Effect

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