The Truth About the Truth About Greenhouse Gases

REVISED

I’ve been asked to comment on William Happer’s “The Truth about Greenhouse Gases“, and finding no competent discussion of it anywhere on the first three pages of hits have agreed to take it on.

To give you an idea of the tenor of the document, it starts off modestly, like this:

“The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the

most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been

excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to

show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and

gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,” wrote Charles

Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular

Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I want to discuss a contemporary

moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations

of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous

consequences for mankind and for the planet. This contemporary

“climate crusade” has much in common with the medieval crusades

Mackay describes, with true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry

governments, manipulators of various types, and even children’s

crusades.

Yes, Happer, who holds a named chair in physics at Princeton, is of the paranoiac school of skepticism, the one that would rather believe in a grand conspiracy than to consider for a minute the possible need for collective action on this matter.

After this blistering start, he takes some time to get warmed up. A few pages go on about how plants like CO2 and CO2 is necessary for life, so we shouldn’t call it a pollutant until we start suffocating. This, before taking on the climate question, is plainly putting the cart before the horse, but it takes up a few pages. And by now we are convinced that the reason the fellow is not getting around to making a point is that he hasn’t got one.

That is to say, William/Belette/Stoat’s point is basically the right approach:

So the question is, how can Happer not be aware of this? He is not obliged to agree with the IPCC report, but he cannot but realise that it is the authoritative voice of the position he disagrees with; he is obliged to at least know what it says and (if he is being honest) he is obliged to report (and then, if he can, refute) its arguments. It is dishonest of him to substitute strawmen.

I summarize the case at greater length than William does:

  • Most of the constituent gases of the atmosphere are transparent at the frequencies of the earth’s thermal radiation.
  • Most of the opacity in the infrared (“greenhouse effect”) is due to carbon dioxide and water vapor, and clouds (liquid and solid water emulsions) which of course are also opaque to incoming radiation
  • Human activity directly increases carbon dioxide, mostly due to fossil fuel consumption, but also through deforestation and chemical processes related to manufacture of cement. Human activity also affects the radiative properties of the atmosphere via a few other trace greenhouse gases, and via increases in aerosol dust.
  • Finally, human interference in surface processes over land can have large regional effects.
  • As these perturbations increase in rough proportion to economic activity, the carbon dioxide comes to dominate over time because of its long residency in atmosphere-upper-ocean-land system. Though exchanges among these reservoirs is large, that does not reduce the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. To a first approximation, carbon is removed on the time scale of the deep overturning of the ocean, on the order of a thousand years.
  • While of course the sun is by far the dominant energy source for the system, its variability is small (measured in energy) compared to the disruptions due to greenhouse gases and aerosols. Climate forcing is dominated by anthropogenic effects, of which warming is expected to increasingly dominate.
  • Water vapor feedbacks are well characterized and are known to approximately double the temperature sensitivity of the system. Cloud feedbacks, which potentially might be ameliorating or exacerbating, remain poorly characterized.
  • Various forms of evidence are in rough agreement that sensitivity is on the order of 2.5 degrees per doubling, but the uncertainty has proven stubborn. Probably this is correct within a multiplicative factor of 2, i.e., almost certainly between 1.25 C and 5 C per doubling.
  • Simulation of the atmosphere (using GCMs) is a useful tool within science, but its results should not at present be considered as reliable projections of the future, even given emission scenarios. Simulations are tuned to the present day, be expected to understate risks and fail to represent unprecedented configurations of the climate system.
  • Very little is known about the potential geochemical feedbacks which clearly exacerbated the glacial cycle in the geologically recent past. These could potentially greatly amplify the dangers without actually affecting the sensitivity as usually measured. It is expected and hoped that these feedbacks would take a long time on human scales to appear, but we may be committing future generations to deal with them.

I think all the above is uncontroversial. Happer addresses none of it. What does he come up with instead?

At the bottom of page four we come to the first mention of climate, and we are well into the fifth page before the famous physicist manages to construct the following argument:

The argument starts something like this. CO2 levels have increased from

about 270 ppm to 390 ppm over the past 150 years or so, and the earth

has warmed by about 0.8 C during that time. Therefore the warming is

due to CO2. But correlation is not causation. The local rooster crows every

morning at sunrise, but that does not mean the rooster caused the sun to

rise. The sun will still rise on Monday if you decide to have the rooster for

Sunday dinner.

There have been many warmings and coolings in the past when the CO2

levels did not change.

Yes, after five pages he leads with a version of the “dinosaurs had no SUVs, QED” argument!

What’s more , he defends it with the “wine exported from Greenland” meme. I myself am responsible for tracking this one down to an archaeologust who showed that wine was imported into Greenland. A horse of a different color, you’ll admit.

So by the time we reach page five we have four pages of waffling, a stunningly weak fallacy, and an incorrect anecdote raised in support of it. Hardly an auspicious start.

Bah. My bad. It was wine “exported from England”. I jumped to a conclusion because the whole Greenlandic wine incident tickles me so. I have found lots of evidence, by the way, that wine was produced in the south of England in the middle ages for local consumption, but so far no evidence of any export. But that’s a quibble.



But it’s all in service of a ludicrous claim. Nobody has ever said that CO2 is the ONLY influence on global climate. This is a childish bit of misdirection, not befitting a scientist.

En passant, it’s worth noticing, Happer manages this howler:

Yet there are strident calls for immediately stopping further increases in

CO2 levels and reducing the current level (with 1990 levels the arbitrary

benchmark).

There are no such strident calls. Everybody knows that CO2 will continue to rise for some considerable time. It is emission levels that form the arbitrary benchmark. Again, the whole reason that CO2 is the key to anthropogenic forcing is that concentrations are approximately cumulative, that the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere/upper-ocean/land-surface system is very long.

Then

another rationale for reducing CO2 is now promoted: to

stop the hypothetical increase of extreme climate events like hurricanes

or tornados. But dispassionate data show that the frequency of extreme

events has hardly changed and in some cases has decreased in the 150

years that it has taken CO2 levels to increase from 270 ppm to 390 ppm.

Hurricanes and tornados have very noisy statistics with components at interannual time scales. There is also contention about the theoretical expectations, particularly regarind hurricanes. It will be some considerable time before we have much confidence in what the trend is.

But do we have theoretical and modeling reasons to expect increased floods and increased droughts in the greenhouse-enhanced world, and here the record is strongly supportive of those expectations. Happer carefully tiptoes around this evidence.

But these records show that changes

in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that CO2 levels were

an effect of temperature changes. Much of this was probably due to

outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans or the reverse on cooling.

That the effect goes one way does not preclude it from going the other way. That, in fact, is what “feedback” means. There remains much for the scientific community to learn about the glacial cycles of the geologically recent past. But we are certain that it cannot be explained without the greenhouse effect. The energetics do not add up otherwise. Accounting for the CO2 brings temperatures back into balanace.

During the “Younger Dryas” some 12,000 years ago,

the earth very dramatically cooled and warmed — as much 10 C in fifty

years — with no apparent change in CO2 levels, and with life — including

our human ancestors — surviving the rapid change in temperature just

fine.

Um. No. The 10C in fifty years was the temperature shift in Greenland. Most life was not affected by it.

Our present global

warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history,

No, though it is unusual in human history. But this is not the point. The anticipated rate of CO2 increases, especially in the absence of a globally supported mitigation policy, are unprecedented in geological history (with the possible exception of the disastrous K-T PETM transition which nearly wiped out all ocean life, probably in a burst of ocean acidification). And the rate and duration of the incipient CO2 spike lead to a strong expectation of a very large shift in temperature to be anticipated over the coming century.

The organization charged with producing scientific support for

the climate crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the

past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record

This is tendentious nonsense. Research advanced. The graph in the 1990 report was a rough schematic.

[M & M] showed that the hockey stick was not supported by observational data.

They nitpicked. The millenial preindustrial data remains unexciting. The evidence for a global Medieval Warm Period remains marginal and roughly irrelevant. And its removal has negligible impact on any serious estimation of the prospects. It’s really not in any way significant whether or not these events occurred. It would merely be incorrect to claim that they are in the global record, though to be sure regional changes did occur on this time scale.

One of the most consistent themes of the e-mails is the need to hide raw data from anyone outside the team. Why the obsession on withholding data? Because the hockey stick lost credibility when it was possible to see the raw, unmanipulated data on which it was based.

This, I am sorry to say, is not just vicious but quite wrong. The reticence is based on a distaste for cooperating with people who had shown themselves to be rude and malicious. There is a long story here with raw feelings on both sides, but one side of it starts with a desire to avoid what was perceived as unpleasant people and time-wasting interactions. But the general outlines of the hockey stick remain. Numerous independent procedural investigations have concluded that no data was altered or misrepresented, and numerous scientific investigations have confirmed the general outline of the result, albeit some with a bumpier “shaft” to the hockey stick, a perfectly ordinary point of research contention.

But finally we come to the central myth of post “Climateg*te” bunk:

Peer review in climate science means that the ”team” recommends publication of each other’s work, and tries to keep any off-message paper from being accepted for publication. Why this obsession with cleansing the “scientific” literature of any opposing views? Because it allows climate extremists to claim that they represent all of science and anyone who questions their message is at war with all of science, except for a few “flat-earthers”, “deniers,” or others scorned with carefully researched epithets, designed to discredit dissenting scientific opinion

This is simply begging the question. If there is in fact legitimate scientific argument that the consensus position is wrong, then it is wrong for people to keep these positions out of the literature. But if the so-called skeptic papers are garbage, scientific flat-earthism, it is the legitimate function of editors to keep them out of the literature and out of the literature review.

This can only be addressed by actually looking at the science, which Happer refuses to do. He simply repeats the usual political talking points, trying to justify doing so by his position and his reputation. But his reputation is as a physicist, not as a politician. He does himself and us no favors by repeating shabby talking points from the political press.

It goes on. Shabby attacks on the models:

John von Neumann once said, “With four

parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle

his trunk.” Climate models have dozens of parameters, not unlike the

epicycles of Ptolemaic astronomy.

Yes, but with dozens of parameters, climate models simulate systems with millions of degrees of freedom at the implementation level, and at least thousands at the physical level. This can only be possible with an actual underlying physical model. It cannot be a coincidence.

No model predicted the lack of net warming of the

earth’s temperature that we have experienced over the past ten years

Well, we don’t have a date on this publication, or I didn;t find one at least. For a brief moment in 2008-9 one could actually make this case without being blatantly dishonest, but of course even so it is just cherry-picking. In other words, it is at best a truth of a mendacious sort. As has been explained many times, there is unforced interannual variability which can mask the trend over relatively short time intervals. If Happer had any genuine interest in the material, he would know this. And indeed, a later paragraph shows that he does understand how this works, yet he repeats the flawed argument in the very next breath.

All of the proposed controls that would

have such a significant impact on the world’s economic future are based

on computer models that are so complex and chaotic that many runs

are needed before we can get an “average” answer. Yet the models

have failed the simple scientific test of prediction.

etc. etc.

The last several pages are reduced to conspiracy-mongering of the worst kind and make no pretense to engaging the science at all. As with Dyson, the points of actual substance are few, incoherent, and ill-informed. But at least Dyson manages an air of decency and humility. Happer is blazing with anger and contempt, without showing any signs of having listened to the people he is criticizing.

It’s true that the intellectual style of earth science is different from that of pure physics. But it’s not as if Happer were remotely as intellectually lazy as this empty attack would indicate. Politics seems able to override reason. This is a pile of political talking points, not any sort of engagement with the evidence. It’s a shame.

Climate science could well do with competent criticism. It increasingly appears that serious concerns about the science must be impossible, because all the critiques are so spectacularly non-serious.



pic: William Happer from his lab’s website

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And What’s Wrong with This Picture?

I accidentally hit a site that is promulgating this graph; not the first time I’ve seen it.
Note that it’s perfectly true, and that the vertical scales and start and end points have been carefully chosen to yield a misimpression. Does this constitute lying? To a political or legal mind, I think it doesn’t.

(Update: also note that the two curves have different time filters applied. Consider why this would be so. Hint: it is related to the choice of vertical scale.)

In a blog comment exchange here, I casually mentioned “cherry picking” and “Ted” elaborated:

The summary reference to “cherry-picking” says a lot. What it illustrates, more than anything, I think, is the different sorts of argument that count as acceptable in science and in political discourse.

In science, the assumption is that it’s not okay to treat evidence selectively. You’re supposed to *try* to account for all the evidence.

In political discourse, I’m afraid, the de facto assumption seems to be that it’s fair to pick up whatever data point happens to be handy and throw it at your opponent, while (of course) ignoring and evading the data points they throw at you.

George Will’s recent column was an excellent instance of what happens when you take the norms of political discourse and apply them to science. Will may have thought he was just “spinning” — which is more or less what he gets paid for — but he was spinning a topic where “spin” counts as culpable distortion.

Update: Here’s the same data without the three bugs. Consider plotting the above graph for 1996- 2006 instead of 1998-2008.


Stop the presses, huh?

See also How to Tell Different Stories with the Same Data.

More on George Will

Much, much, much more… All tolled, (and not yet all told) this is the first major league blogstorm emerging from the non-denialist climo-blogosphere and is thus a historical event regardless of your position on it.

If there’s one thing you should understand about this event it is this one: Jonathan Schwarz tells an old Noam Chomsky story about George Will in an article entitled “So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet”.

So she looked it up and called me back, and said, “Yeah, you’re right, we found it there; okay, we’ll run your letter.” An hour later she called again and said, “Gee, I’m sorry, but we can’t run the letter.” I said, “What’s the problem?” She said, “Well, the editor mentioned it to Will and he’s having a tantrum; they decided they can’t run it.” Well, okay.

Of course there’s more from Joe Romm. Especially consider this comment from “agog”:

The great mystery to me is why in the age of the interweb does anyone bother with US journalism. As disgraceful as these George Will columns have been, after its support for the Iraq war how could any sentient reader of WaPo have credited it with any journalistic or moral integrity? The NYT and WSJ are no better and anything on US television is a waste of time.

For English speakers surely the FT, the Independent, BBC, Channel 4 or Al Jazeera are better alternatives: none of them come close to being perfect but if one consumes critically it is possible to cherry pick the best of them depending on the issue. And, of course, there is the blogosphere where sites like this usefully both contribute and critique.

Americans seem to be living in an information bubble (or is it vacuum?): their own version of The Truman Show. From abroad, the world looks very different. Equally f**ked, but somehow in a way that one can make more sense of.

Then there is Curtis Brainerd on no less than the Columbia Journalism Review. This mostly consists of a clear and cogent history of the episode, but ends with a jawdroppingly muddled piece of journalism-insider blathering:

Revkin quoted American University communications professor Matthew Nisbet, who argues that the wave of criticism of Will “only serves to draw attention to his claims while reinforcing a larger false narrative that liberals and the mainstream press are seeking to censor rival scientific evidence and views.”

There is some truth to that. Indeed, because of the hullaballoo, Will is now writing about climate change for the second time this month. On the other hand, this whole affair raises a number of important questions about how the press, particularly columnists, cover climate change. The most important seems to be: can inference rise to the level of such absurdity that it becomes subject to the same rigors as evidence?

Carl Zimmer

What has kept me hooked on this saga is not George Will’s errors. Errors are as common as grass. Some are made out of ignorance, some carefully constructed to give a misleading impression. What has kept me agog is the way the editors at the Washington Post have actually given their stamp of approval on Will’s columns, even claiming to have fact-checked them and seeing no need for a single correction.

The climax to this part of the story came yesterday, when the Columbia Journalism Review was finally able to get Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor at the Post, to speak directly about the ice affair:

It may well be that he is drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject–so, you know, fine, I welcome anyone to make that point. But don’t make it by suggesting that George Will shouldn’t be allowed to make the contrary point…I think it’s kind of healthy, given how, in so many areas–not just climatology, but medicine, and everything else–there is a tendency on the part of the lay public at times to ascribe certainty to things which are uncertain.

I’ve heard that line before…the one about how people can look at the same scientific data and make different inferences.

I’ve heard it from creationists. They look at the Grand Canyon, at all the data amassed by geologists over the years, and they end up with an inference very different from what you’ll hear from those geologists.

Would Hiatt be pleased to have them writing opinion pieces, too? There is indeed some debate in the scientific community about exactly how old the Grand Canyon is–with some arguing it’s 55 million years old and others arguing for 15 million. Would Hiatt consider it healthy to publish a piece from someone who thinks the Grand Canyon is just a few thousand years old, with just a perfunctory inspection of the information in it?

At this point, it’s hard for me to see how the answer could be no.

Senator John Kerry makes a sympatico pronouncement on HuffPo:

Let’s be very clear: Stephen Chu does not make predictions to further an agenda. He does so to inform the public. He is no Cassandra. If his predictions about the effects of our climate crisis are scary, it’s because our climate is scary.

Amen. Even the best of our J-school friends seem incapable of getting a grip on that.

Andrew Siegel has more and a huge supply of links, enough to fill your whole rainy day if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere they still have those.

Opinions Expressed by My Employer

My opinions aren’t necessarily those of my employer, and the opinions of my employer aren’t necessarily mine, either.

My employer, the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas, has invited Fred Singer to give a talk this Thursday to a public lecture series that has required student attendance. The lecture is entitled “Nature — Not Human Activity — Rules the Climate“.

I feel rather lucky that I will be out of town and unable to attend. I would be tempted to make a scene. I intend to say nothing further about this event, except for the easily surmised fact that this is not an invitation I would have made.

Any opinions out there?

We Need a New form of Outreach

American Thinker has a particularly compelling and polished version of the usual vile garbage, put together in what starts to look like a coherent argument. Of course it is built on the usual foundation of overvalued nitpicking:

“We can’t even believe in “official” measurements, as data sets relied upon to track global temperatures have again been shown to be contaminated and otherwise compromised.”

misdirection:

“Remember the sea ice that doomsters warned would soon be gone? It’s now at the very same level it was in 1979.”

and outright lies:

“this IPCC report, much-hyped-and-hallowed by alarmists and media-drones alike, represents the combined work of only 52 carefully cherry-picked UN scientists”

Unfortunately, amidst all this garbage they score a legitimate political point here. The public’s confidence in the scientific consensus as somewhat understated in the IPCC reports is, by various measures getting worse. That part of the article is not lies.
Although Obama is closely enough connected to the scientific community that he understands the tragic dynamic behind this situation, and although he has a lot of power, he is probably not going to make much of a dent in this situation anytime soon. Yes, green jobs will help, and it does help that people see peak oil as real. The alliance between fossil fuel (especially coal) people and an especially malicious and divisive streak among market fundamentalists goes on. They are not going to make our lives any easier, and so the sort of unmitigated nastiness seen in the American Thinker article is not going away or even abating. Worse, as it triumphantly crows, it is succeeding.
We need to reinvent the relationship between science and the public. That is an absolutely crucial step and it needs to happen fast. This is outside the capacity of NSF, which likes to support what it calls outreach but does so in a structurally ineffective way.

New mechanisms for communication between science and the public are desperately needed.
Dr. Chu? Dr. Holdren? Hello?
Update: Churlish of me to complain on a day when Obama takes such strong positive steps. For which I am grateful; I wasn’t aware this was coming.
And what do you expect of a country where people don’t “believe in” evolution anyway? Still I hate to see these polls headed south and I think it’s an important long-term goal to reconnect (or at least connect) science and society.

Update 1/28: Some related points on a comment by Gavin Starks on Tim O’Reilly’s “Radar” site:

We’re all aware of the emotive language used to polarize the climate change debate.

There are, however, deeper patterns which are repeated across science as it interfaces with politics and media. These patterns have always bothered me, but they’ve never been as “important” as now.

We are entering an new era of seismic change in policy, business, society, technology, finance and our environment, on a scale and speed substantially greater than previous revolutions. The sheer complexity of these interweaving systems is staggering.

Much of this change is being driven by “climate science”, and in the communications maelstrom there is a real risk that we further alienate “science” across the board.

We need more scientists with good media training (and presenting capability) to change the way that all sciences are represented and perceived. We need more journalists with deeper science training – and the time and space to actually communicate across all media. We need to present uncertainty clearly, confidently and in a way that doesn’t impede our decision-making.

On the climate issue, there are some impossible levers to contend with;

  1. Introducing any doubt into the climate debate stops any action that might combat our human impact.
  2. Introducing “certainty” undermines our scientific method and its philosophy.

When represented in political, public and media spaces, these two levers undermine every scientific debate and lead to bad decisions.

A tough nut, indeed.

Not about religion

Back when Irene’s Mom used to live in Mississippi and we were in Wisconsin, we’d find ourselves driving through the deep south on occasion. A couple of times I heard some pretty extravagantly strange preachers on the radio. One I’ll always remember said something like

“We have nothing against freedom of religion. Everybody should be free to believe whatever they want, and no religion should get special treatment. But when it comes to the Bible, we aren’t talking about religion. The Bible is the revealed truth of God.”

Based on that, I find it easier to understand evolution denialists than climate change denialists. As far as I know, the Bible makes no specific claims about the radiative or thermodynamic properties of atmospheric trace gases. A pity.

If you find yourself in a position where it is very rewarding to take the Bible literally, though, an unreasonable model of the earth prehistory is pretty much explicitly  included. Once you “believe in” that, it is necessarily the case that great swaths of earth science and biological science are wrong. You are very much seeking the charlatan who will tell you in vaguely realistic terms how and why the science is wrong. It turns out the world has a sufficient supply of shameless and complaint and/or self-delusional PhD’s to provide cover for you if you want to “believe in” science and “believe in” the Bible at the same time.
Having achieved that, you will perceive any person advocating evolution as at best mistaken, but likely evil and probably to be damned to hell. This will be reinforced by their arrogant refusal to consider alternatives to their dire mistake in the classroom and in public discourse.
I see this as all about the dichotomy between how things are decided in science vs how they are decided in politics. In science, not every voice carries equal weight. This makes some people uncomfortable as it seems to go against the tenets of democracy. I think the best answer is Daniel Moynihan’s: “You are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts.” 
Anyway, given the many similarities in tactics, including what seems to us a willful refusal to debate honestly, it’s worth it for us in the climate trenches to pay close attention to the evolution nonsense. One thing that all this makes clear is that there really is a quasi-religious, dogmatic belief that it is impossible that restraint on any human economic activity can be a good idea. This belief is, in some circles, as beyond challenge as the Bible is to a fundamentalist. 
It must be; this can account for their approach to evidence and I don’t believe anything else could. A small number of them must be lying through their teeth (as must some of those testifying against evolution). The number of consciously bad actors may be very small, though.

The third most important, version 87

I saw the following in comments on Steinn Sigurðsson’s blog in his article on the new sunspot minimum:

Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with global warming or cooling either; in fact, CO2 in the atmosphere trails warming which is clear natural evidence for its well-studied inverse solubility in water: CO2 dissolves in cold water and bubbles out of warm water. The equilibrium in seawater is very high, making seawater a great ‘sink’; CO2 is 34 times more soluble in water than air is soluble in water.

This seemed oddly familiar. There really is no sensible way to make methane more important than CO2, so it stuck with me. I could swear I had just recently replied to someone making the same mistake.

Specifically, there are 87 occurrences of “most important green house gas followed by methane”, an odd rendition (owing to the two words in ‘green house’ as well as the indefensible position.) Here are the first five:

#
The Warming Earth Blows Hot, Cold And Chaotic – Care2 News Network
Jan 2, 2009 … Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not …
http://www.care2.com/news/member/510010530/1004181 – 106k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
Way of the Woo: The Pandemic vs. The Maunder Minimum
Dec 22, 2008 … Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not …
wayofthewoo.blogspot.com/2008/12/pandemic-vs-maunder-minimum.html – 86k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
Sunspots? | Clipmarks
Jan 1, 2009 … Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not …
clipmarks.com/clipmark/6E413CB1-C680-4FE8-BCB6-73C24995526B/ – 36k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
insciences.org – Sunspot data vital clue to climate change
Dec 22, 2008 … Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not …
insciences.org/article.php?article_id=981 – 27k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
China Encourages Innovation by Awarding Top Scientists – Two …
Jan 12, 2009 … Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate …
news.softpedia.com/news/China-Encourages-Innovation-by-Awarding-Top-Scientists-101765.shtml – 48k – Cached – Similar pages –

and for completeness, the last five:

#
GREENIE WATCH
Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with …
antigreen.blogspot.com/2008/12/worst-climate-predictions-of-2008-2008.html – 91k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
Something about everything: Doomsday-the end of the world on Dec …
Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with …
survival-of-d-fittest.blogspot.com/2008/12/doomsday.html – 75k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
Western Civilization and Culture: Documenting the global warming fraud
Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with …
westerncivilizationandculture.blogspot.com/2008/12/documenting-global-warming-fraud.html – 170k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
Blame the Sun for a Cloudy Day? – All Scientific
Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with …
allscientific.blogspot.com/2008/12/blame-sun-for-cloudy-day.html?showComment=1229868960000 – 104k – Cached – Similar pages –
#
weather conditions
Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane. The third most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and it does not correlate well with …
ocracoke-island.net/search/more.php?id=20090102022841AAWDw5X&search=weather+c… – 13k – Cached – Similar pages –

Now the idea that someone would post the exact same (incorrect) words on the web 87 times strikes me as odd. Presumably this is a paid agent provocateur. Does this pattern come up elsewhere? Or is someone cutting corners on his work?

But I could swear I had responded to it recently, so I looked again. Sure enough, here it is:

Water vapour (0.4% overall but 1 – 4 % near the surface) is the most effective green house gas followed by methane (0.0001745%). The third ranking greenhouse gas is CO2 (0.0383%), and it does not correlate well with global warming or cooling either;

So here is a slightly different version. And there are some other variants like “third important” vs “third most important”. And a mispaste “WateWater vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane.”

A couple of sites are so lucky as to get it twice!

Many are anonymous or signed by “Francis” or Francis M” but some get a full name: Francis Manns, sometimes with a PhD claimed.

So the first Google hit on “Francis Manns” will be a bio or a research page? Well, sort of. And, I see he is not new at this technique.

I hope he is getting paid for all this tedious effort since he apparently needs the money.