Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lurgee's paradigm XI: Hansen says the oceans will boil!

You've got to love Anthony Watts, the denier's denier, the gift that keeps of giving.

The latest nugget of excrement to be deposited on his website is a claim that 'unhinged' James Hansen is saying AGW will cause the oceans to boil!!!!!! Like on Venus!!!!! Even though the 'AGW friendly' Wikipedia has a page where John Houghton says, "[there] is NO POSSIBILITY of [Venus's] runaway greenhouse conditions occurring on the Earth"!!!! OMG!!!! Madness!!!!

Or bullshit.

First of all, a minor point - the interview with Hansen is from 2009, if not earlier. It has always been available on the interwebnet. Why is it only now being honoured by Watts? Is he, perchance, finding very little at the bottle of that barrell he is vigorously scraping?

If you actually read what Hansen said, he did not claim Earth's oceans are going to boil as a result of human activity. The crucial passage:
A runaway greenhouse effect means once the planet gets warmer and warmer, then the oceans begin to evaporate. And water vapor is a very strong greenhouse gas, even more powerful than carbon dioxide. So you can get to a situation where it just -- the oceans will begin to boil, and the planet becomes so hot that the ocean ends up in the atmosphere. And that happened to Venus.
He's describing, in response to a direct question asking him to explain what the runaway greenhouse effect was, what a runaway green effect is. he is not saying this will happen on Earth. He cites Venus as an example. He is not saying this is what will happen on Earth, and he is not at odds with Houghton.

Watts tries to shore up his shonky argument with a bit of misdirection, bringing up the very tired, CO2-levels--were-higher-in-the-past-and-the-oceans-didn't-boil-then-did-they non-argument. Yes, Anthony, and the atmosphere was very different then, full of all sorts of particulate crap from volcanoes, and probably unbreathable. That balanced out the CO2. But I don't think we want to go there, since our lungs aren't adapted to breathing in that sort of gunk. Anyway, it is a strawman. Hansen is not claiming Human CO2 will cause oceans to boil. He says massive increase in atmospheric water vapour, from melting icesheets, will cause the oceans to boil. The question is, whether the temperature increase from CO2 released from human activity, will be enough to start the processes.

Still, this seems to be a popular meme -of-the-moment. But at least we can be assured anyone referring to it is a hard core, braindead denier.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indeed, if one takes the time to read the transcript as provided on Big Think, it's very clear that Hansen is not predicting boiling oceans. He states that "if we allow emissions to continue at a high rate, in this century we're going to see ice sheets begin to disintegrate." Ice sheets will not disappear tomorrow! Hansen talks about what a runaway green effect could entail, not what it will be. And on Earth, it's only "conceivable" that we could have a runaway greenhouse effect "over a period of several centuries."

Nonetheless, the denier idiots that infect the Watts Web site eat whatever Watts feeds them. The Watts version of the video seems edited to remove the questions, and in all the videos I've seen the audio is way too low.

I've been trying to debate a denier, pointing out the transcript, but he insisted Hansen is "shamelessly lying", at which point I terminated the blog debate with him. Basically, when you cut deniers off at the knees, they call you and everybody else that disagrees with them a liar. I guess that passes for informed debate for them.