CO2 Domes and Charlatans

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“Any scientist who can’t explain to an eight-year old what he is doing is a charlatan.” – Dr Felix Hoenikker, nuclear scientist.

“Write it down, then ask yourself ‘Would it make sense to my Grandmother’?” – Ken Dixon expounding his “Grandmother Test”.

A Stanford University study has concluded that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations – discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago – cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air.  The overall conclusion is that CO2 domes in US cities are responsible for an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California , and even more,  300 to 1,000 more premature deaths in the contiguous 48 states.

How is this established?  By data-evaluated numerical computer modeling of CO2 feedbacks and health impacts for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area, to determine the increase in the death rate from air pollution for all three regions compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted (See Appendix below).

That’s it – no hard data.  Nothing testable.  They built a complex model predicting heating impacts, made assumptions about the health consequences of that heating, and then made recommendations about carbon taxes based on the model’s estimates.  So CO2 causes the urban heat islands (UHI)!  Not concentrations of people and services and central heating and power and motor vehicles and concrete and stone, but CO2!  Come on – cities are hotter than the countryside simply because they are cities.

But no -we gotta blame CO2.  Carbon taxes are depending on it.

Pity the scientists didn’t try explaining it to their grandmothers.  Or failing that, to an eight-year-old.  They might have realised just how ludicrous their “study” really is.

References:

pdf of the Stanford study:  http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/CO2loc0709EST.pdf

WUWT Post on the story:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/stanford-urban-co2-domes-mean-more-death/

Appendix:

This is what they claim to have real-world modelled to a standard of certainty sufficient to predict the urban death-rate due to CO2:

Example CO2 feedbacks treated include those to heating  rates, thus temperatures, which affected

  • (a) local temperature and pressure gradients, stability, wind speeds, and gas/particle transport
  • (b) water evaporation rates
  • (c) the relative humidity and particle swelling
  • (d) temperature-dependent natural emissions, air chemistry, and particle microphysics.
  • (e) photosynthesis and respiration rates
  • (f) dissolution and evaporation rates of CO2 into the ocean
  • (g) weathering rates
  • (h) ocean pH and chemical composition
  • (i) sea spray pH and composition
  • (j) and rainwater pH and composition. Changes in sea spray composition, in turn, affected sea spray radiative properties, thus heating rates.

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