I'm sure all the CO2 isn't exactly HELPING, but...
June 3, 2013 3:52 PM   Subscribe

 
I read about this here.

TL;DR: Lu shows correlation, not causation.
posted by sutt at 3:57 PM on June 3, 2013


"The climate in the Antarctic stratosphere has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact. The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO2 but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs - a correlation coefficient as high as 0.97."

Data recorded from 1850 to 1970, before any significant CFC emissions, show that CO2 levels increased significantly as a result of the Industrial Revolution, but the global temperature, excluding the solar effect, kept nearly constant.


I'm so confused. Obviously there are tons of studies that show CO2 levels have skyrocketed in the modern era -- but isn't there also data that correlates CO2 levels with global temperature increases? Does this study throw the entire "CO2 as primary culprit" theory out the window?

Also, is the International Journal of Modern Physics B peer-reviewed? If so, how did this extraordinary claim get past the peer review process?
posted by averageamateur at 3:57 PM on June 3, 2013


Yeah, he doesn't provide any compelling evidence of how CFCs would operate so well as greenhouse gasses at their present concentrations. We've got plenty of evidence of how CO2 does. He doesn't have long-term records of CFC concentration, like we do for CO2. GCMs that include CO2 as a forcing effect work and make predictions in line with observation - they haven't required CFC forcing to do this. And claims of recent temperature decline are a little bit...dodgy.

It's science. But it is incomplete, and extremely over-played.
posted by Jimbob at 4:02 PM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is a garbage paper that has already been discredited here, here and here for starters.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:05 PM on June 3, 2013 [33 favorites]


Spurred by averageamateur's query, a quick search on '"International Journal of Modern Physics B" peer review' brings up this thread on Physics Forum about when peer review fails which mentions a previous paper in the "International Journal of Modern Physics B" as an example of such failure.
posted by straw at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2013


I think the paper exists solely to provide a place in an abstract for this line:
Thus, a slow reversal of global temperature to the 1950 value is predicted for coming 5~7 decades.
This is political pundit bait and nothing more.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo's Faculty of Science"

Is Lu a super polymath, or does Waterloo do a lot of 3- or 4-way appointments like this?
posted by zippy at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leading climate scientists have challenged these findings
My assessment of this is the study is completely wrongProfessor David Karoly -- Lead editor of the 4th IGCC report

There are several problems with this analysis. The notion that global cooling has been occuring over the last few years is not borne out when one peruses the full range of empirical data--John Cook--Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland

The Ottawa Citizen has a number of quotes from other climate scientists expressing skepticism of the claims
posted by humanfont at 4:14 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have never, and I mean never, been linked to a legitimate story at phys.org, it's always some stupid bullshit that anybody with a bachelor's in biology would probably realize is bunk.

Apparently it's the same in other fields. It's strange that such an unreliable science site has such sticking power.
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo's Faculty of Science"

Waterloo's science departments are not that big - "physics and astronomy" is one department and I believe "biology and chemistry" is another. His past papers have been about radiation effects on human tissue, thus I guess he works in both departments.

Still, as a Waterloo alum, not Waterloo's finest hour. Yay for academic freedom I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 4:34 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh, whoops, I guess I really should check first - biology and chemistry are separate departments, but as I said, science overall is relatively small at Waterloo compared to engineering, math, arts and lots of other stuff. It's a solid school, but it's not Waterloo's backbone.
posted by GuyZero at 4:36 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he doesn't provide any compelling evidence of how CFCs would operate so well as greenhouse gasses at their present concentrations.

I would guess that it wasn't as much a matter of CFCs/ozone depletion creating a 'greenhouse effect' in the sense that the're acting to trap heat as much as it's a matter of letting a lot more heat in in the first place, just in the form of UV not IR. (as UV photons have about um (quick math) ~6-8 times the energy of IR photons, this could add up quick) Once the UV hits the ground it can be re-emitted as heat...like being microwaved :D

Of course, I have no idea how much more UV we're getting thanks to the hairsprays of the 70's as far as how much heat that translates to.

So yeah, I was on the fence about posting this, and am prepared to file it under 'utter BS', but I could also easily see this as at least a contributing factor to global warming even if it's not the everything's-gonna-be-just-fine replacement culprit.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:43 PM on June 3, 2013


As a Waterloo alum, it's pretty embarrassing that UW has applied its PR apparatus to this paper. Plenty of good science gets done at UW, but I guess its marketers think contrarian articles in third-tier journals are good press.
posted by parudox at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am not a scientist but the first graph looks like it might just barely support the conclusion at this current instance of time and that there's a hell of a lot of future just "hanging out" on the right hand side.

..and when I think University of Waterloo, I think engineering. Then, that the biggest employer of engineers in Canada is probably the resource sector and that the biggest thing in resources is probably oilsands development. It really colours my opinion.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2013


It is my understanding that molecule for molecule, CFC's are far more potent "heat trappers" than CO2. But the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is much higher than CFC's. So these two factors compete for control.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:50 PM on June 3, 2013



..and when I think University of Waterloo, I think engineering. Then, that the biggest employer of engineers in Canada is probably the resource sector and that the biggest thing in resources is probably oilsands development. It really colours my opinion.


So everyone's entitled to their opinions but this is crazy talk. Waterloo has a tiny department for geological engineers and that is really, really far removed from the Science faculty. Waterloo's CS department helping NSA wiretapping? Borderline probable. Collusion with oilsands producers? Extremely unlikely. There are numerous Canadian universities far more involved with the oilpatch than Waterloo, primarily due to simple physical proximity.
posted by GuyZero at 4:52 PM on June 3, 2013


University of Waterloo study says oil A-OK!

I'm sure all the TransCanada, Suncor, PetroCanada, ConocoPhillips, and Imperial Oil money was given out of the goodness of their hearts and could not possibly influence the interpretation of data.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:53 PM on June 3, 2013


But the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is much higher than CFC's.

The elephant in the room, however, is that while CFCs are decline because they have been replaced by HFCs, HFCs are just are serious greenhouse gases as CFCs. The author's claim that everything will be hunky-dory because of the Montreal Protocol shows a serious error, above and beyond the physics.
posted by Jimbob at 4:54 PM on June 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


But the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere is much higher than CFCs.

Much higher in the sense that an elephant is much bigger than an amœba, that is.
posted by ambrosen at 5:03 PM on June 3, 2013


Echoing what GuyZero said, this talk about Waterloo being bought off by the oil industry is rank horseshit. Point to a donor page that shows big energy companies like to donate to schools that churn out really good engineers? My heavens! And how clever of you -- you've seen through their ruse, you meddling kids.

Anyhoo, the University of Waterloo is also home to the Centre for Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation, the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, a fantastic Environment and Resource Studies department, and who knows what all else. It is, in other words, a top-tier public university sponsoring a wide range of research. And one physics prof who does sloppy-as-hell research on climate change, evidently.

Suggesting the whole damn school is in the bag for Big Oil doesn't make you sound wise and knowing; it makes you sound like you haven't a clue what you're talking about.
posted by gompa at 5:12 PM on June 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


And now that I look at it, the smoking-gun list up SysRq links to is a water pistol. ConocoPhillips donated less than 100K, which to a global energy firm isn't even a quarterly catering budget. I'm sure they spend nearly that each year just on the logoed ice sculptures they put on the banquet tables at self-congratulatory galas here in Calgary.
posted by gompa at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


And assuming Lu has tenure, there's not really anything the university can do to stop him from publishing this even if the board of governors is all rolling their eyes.
posted by GuyZero at 5:24 PM on June 3, 2013


ConocoPhillips donated less than 100K, which to a global energy firm isn't even a quarterly catering budget. I'm sure they spend nearly that each year just on the logoed ice sculptures they put on the banquet tables at self-congratulatory galas here in Calgary.

First of all, way to cherrypick the smallest donation. Did you notice the $600,000 (minimum; potentially $1.249 million) from Suncor? Not to mention all the other oil companies on the list, and whatever individual donors they may have also funnelled through?

And, seriously, your line of reasoning makes zero sense. Being easily able to afford a donation doesn't mean the recipient isn't grateful for it.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:35 PM on June 3, 2013


I work at a university that has several researchers who are highly regarded for their work on climate change. That same university, in some cases the same department, has no problem accepting money from the oil industry to fund various activities as long as there are no strings attached to that donation.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2013


I'm confused about why Lu asserts that global temperatures have cooled since 2002. Most of what I have read agrees with this. Is Lu referring to the little dip at the end and concluding that that little short series is evidence of cooling? If so, he has major problems in understanding how time-series work.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:48 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd bet good money that Lu knows full well how time-series work.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:56 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ozone is in terrible condition
From fluorocarbons in our atmospheeeere
They love to eat our ozone it's their favorite dessert
And if you don't have an ozone then the sun can really huuuuurt
R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle!


For anyone who grew up watching Rocco's Modern Life, this is hardly a surprise.
posted by phunniemee at 6:05 PM on June 3, 2013


And, seriously, your line of reasoning makes zero sense. Being easily able to afford a donation doesn't mean the recipient isn't grateful for it.

Just how do you imagine that general donations to a University fund of a few hundred K translate into research favorable to the donor? I mean, spell out the pathway that gets from the University President being made aware that X-donor donated, let us say, 200K to the campus to research favorable to that donor's business being published in a peer-reviewed journal by an academic at that university.
posted by yoink at 6:09 PM on June 3, 2013




It is my understanding that molecule for molecule, CFC's are far more potent "heat trappers" than CO2. But the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is much higher than CFC's. So these two factors compete for control.

I heard one theory (from a real atmospheric chemist), that the proliferation of "new" molecules was a serious problem. There are thousands of compounds with measurable concentrations in the atmosphere that are 100% man made. While the concentrations are low, the problem comes from the fact that they absorb at many different places on the spectrum, and the fact that it's the first little bit that absorbs the most (Beer's law - transmission is log proportional to concentration).
posted by 445supermag at 6:19 PM on June 3, 2013


I think global warning is caused by the increase in human height experienced over the last century... Think about people!
posted by edgeways at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just how do you imagine that general donations to a University fund of a few hundred K translate into research favorable to the donor?

It's not that it's a bribe, with the money up front. That would be highly unethical.

But positive/negative reinforcement after a flattering/unflattering study makes a big splash? ("It'd be a shame if your generous benefactor were to become alienated...") Let's just wait and see.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2013


And, seriously, your line of reasoning makes zero sense. Being easily able to afford a donation doesn't mean the recipient isn't grateful for it.

Well, it does make zero sense that way. My point was not that those donations were insignificant to a single recipient but that they weren't directed to individual recipients -- they were small and seemingly unspecified donations. And when the wildly lucrative fossil fuel industry wants to buy influence at a university, it does not make a general donation in the low six figures or smaller to a whole school; it does stuff like this.
posted by gompa at 7:00 PM on June 3, 2013


Is there some reason it couldn't do both?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:08 PM on June 3, 2013


No surprise there, everyone knows that carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature.
posted by halogen at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2013


I imagine that the average person will think this is real after Fox News and their ilk proclaim it from the rooftops.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:34 PM on June 3, 2013


The main reason CFCs don't cause global warming is that there's just no way the same dude could be responsible for leaded gasoline, the ozone hole, and catastrophic climate change.
posted by Jpfed at 8:39 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I for one don't see any reason why all these CFCs, CO2s, cow and frozen ground farts can't get together to turn the planet into a nice desert hothouse.
posted by nowhere man at 8:41 PM on June 3, 2013


I imagine that the average person will think this is real after Fox News and their ilk proclaim it from the rooftops.

That's the thing. Sources of funding for Waterloo from the fossil fuel industry are probably irrelevant to this. But you can bet your ass the author has got some junkets with Lord Monkton lined up.
posted by Jimbob at 8:43 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The main reason CFCs don't cause global warming is that there's just no way the same dude could be responsible for leaded gasoline, the ozone hole, and catastrophic climate change.

Don't forget all the cancer!
posted by sexyrobot at 8:44 PM on June 3, 2013


carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature

Gotta love that one. Rebuttal: You can have all the artificial co2 sources in your backyard. Enjoy your 'natural' environment :)

In the 1970's they called the shit that went into the air 'air pollution'. The fact that we have to build pipes to take the byproducts of human activity away from our lungs or nose should tell us that limiting the byproducts, if not the activity, that makes those pipes necessary is a nice idea all on its own.
posted by vicx at 9:19 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well played Harper. Well played.
posted by benzenedream at 9:38 PM on June 3, 2013


Oh, this again. He's been working on this theory on and off for years now and still hasn't really come up with a plausible physical mechanism for it.

If there really is global cooling starting now (which is statistically dubious) then we'll know for sure in a few years (much more likely is that it's a blip in a few but not all of our best global temperature time series that'll fade away) and then maybe his theory will bear further examination).

That said, the idea that this is somehow being sponsored by Super Sekrit Tar-sand Agents is a straight up Alex Jones style Shire pipe-weed fever dream.
posted by atrazine at 1:32 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


No surprise there, everyone knows that carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature.

That woman is as dumb as a log of wood.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:47 AM on June 4, 2013


I'm Going To Miss The Arctic
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on June 7, 2013






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