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on 1 June 2016
I would strongly recommend this book. The dodgy arguments and misunderstandings behind the IPCC 'climate' models are nicely exposed. The physics of the IPCC models and the 'greenhouse effect' are shown here to be wrong. You do need some background in the physical sciences to fully understand the arguments, but I think the general drift of the book would be understood by general readers.
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on 28 August 2015
A good introduction to the problems with the man made global warming claim. Some of the chapters do go into a lot of scientific detail, my mathematics was too rusty to fully follow some of the equations. If nothing else, the politics of the green/environmental camp leave a lot to be desired, and in some chapters the book clearly shows how science is abused by scientists.
Diagrams are sometimes too small to follow clearly.
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on 13 January 2012
Summary

This is a book that purports to discredit the hypothesis of man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels. However, it contains much of what I would term "crackpot science" and so the book cannot be taken seriously. Worse than that, it is seriously misleading if used as a source of scientific information. Finally, it enables CAGW believers to say "Deniers are talking nonsense as usual".

My own position

My review of "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory" is not complimentary so, for the avoidance of doubt, let me make my own position clear:

- I think that belief in catastrophic man-made climate change is akin to a religion which has many passionate believers, whose belief is based on faith rather than evidence.

- I think that the global warming mass delusion has resulted in immense harm in numerous ways.

- The evidence for global warming was based on analysis of temperature data with numerous problems of reliability but in any case the data has failed to show continued global warming for the past ten years or so.

The evidence for CO2 being a threat is non-existent. The only "evidence" is computer models, which have been programmed by people with a strong desire to produce evidence for a strong relation between CO2 and global temperatures. But, as someone said, a computer model is an illustration of a hypothesis, it is not evidence.

I am sure that, at some time in the future, perhaps not in my lifetime, the whole thing will be recognised as the greatest mass-delusion of all time. However, there are now so many people and organisations who benefit from it, not to forget a generation of indoctrinated school children, that I don't think this will happen soon.

Let me make clear my understanding of thermal radiation, because the explanations in the book differ very greatly from radiation physics as taught in normal texts. Here is how it is normally understood:

- A black body absorbs all radiation that impinges on it, irrespective of the temperature of the black body or the wavelength of the radiation. Equivalently, every photon impacting a black body is absorbed by it, irrespective of the energy of the photon or the temperature of the body that emitted the photon. The temperature of the black body absorbing the photon is irrelevant to anything - it absorbs all photons whatever its temperature.

- A spherical black body emits radiation whose total power is determined solely by its surface area and its absolute temperature, the radiated power being proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. The spectrum of its radiation is described by the Planck's law formula.

The book has numerous explanations of radiation that disagree totally with what I have written above.

Review

Nine chapters, covering about 50 pages, are by Alan Siddons generally dealing with radiation, greenhouse effect and claiming to expose misconceptions of physics that are to be found in climate science.

There are two chapters by Tim Ball "Analysis of Climate Alarmism" parts one and two which reviews how climate research became politicised and how the IPCC came into existence as an organisation whose mission was to convince governments that they needed to introduce policies based on the danger of man-made global warming. I found these chapters interesting and informative.

There are ten more chapters, by six other authors, including two by Claes Johnson, entitled "Climate Thermodynamics" and "Computational Black Body Radiation".

The book contains numerous misconceptions of physics. To correct or explain all of them would need a document almost as long as the book itself. I will focus on two examples from two chapters. However note that misconceptions abound throughout the book - it is not simply a matter of just one or two errors here and there.

"Examining Greenhouse Theory" by Alan Siddons.

This chapter starts with a diagram from a Washington University course. Many readers of this review will be familiar with similar diagrams showing:
- 342 W/m^2 arriving as solar radiation
- 102.6 W/m^2 being reflected to space immediately
- 239.4 W/m^2 continuing downwards and then warming the earth (taken to be 240 W/m^2 in the text)

The earth then re-radiates 240 W/m^2, as it is in thermal equilibrium.

It is assumed that the 240 W/m^2 radiation leaving the earth is absorbed by an atmospheric layer and re-radiated 50% upward and 50% downward, so that 120 W/m^2 goes to space and 120 W/m^2 goes back to earth, where it is absorbed and the 120 W/m^2 is then re-radiated.

I see no problem with this. Of the 120 W/m^2 re-radiated by the earth, 60 W/m^2 returns again, then 30 W/m^2, and so on. So we have going spaceward 120 + 60 + 30 +... = 240 W/m^2. This is the same as originally arrived at the surface, so things are in equilibrium, with as much power being radiated spaceward as originally arrived at the surface directly from the sun. Of course, it's just a model that neglects numerous effects that are important in reality - transport of heat by convection, for example.

Nothing wrong with the analysis of this simple model that that I can see. The earth's temperature is being maintained but it is not receiving any additional heat from anywhere - including the cooler greenhouse gases above its surface so there is no need to argue that cold objects do not heat hotter objects.

Yet Alan Siddons immediately says "If people are gullible enough to believe such a scenario, and apparently millions do, they deserve what's coming down the road at them."

Then he says "Substitute an infrared filter for that layer of 'greenhouse gases.' Direct a radiant heater at an infrared filter, then. (sic) According to greenhouse physics you will now have the equivalent of two radiant heaters. (...) Two heaters for the price of one. But no, that's not all. Remember that the radiant heater will be heated by its own re-directed energy (...) It's not only a perpetual motion machine - it accelerates to boot!"

This is a spurious argument. The earth is not equivalent to a radiant heater generating its own heat and radiating it. The greenhouse gasses are not equivalent to an infrared filter.

Other chapters by Alan Siddons contain many misconceptions. Most can be translated as equivalent to a belief that photons emitted by cool body cannot be absorbed by a warmer body.

"Computational Blackbody Radiation" by Claes Johnson
At a quick glance, this chapter seems to be a detailed discussion of radiation physics from a mathematical viewpoint, with plenty of mathematics - no shortage of integral signs and formulas. But looked at in any detail, it is simply nonsense - scientific sounding nonsense but still nonsense.

In section 1.1 he says "The purpose of this note is to show that particle statistics can be replaced by deterministic finite precision computational wave mechanics. We thus seek to open a door to restoring rational physics including climate physics, without any contradictory wave-particle duality".

Immediately my alarm bells started sounding. Anyone who announces that he will replace the physics of the twentieth century with a new alternative immediately runs the risk of being thought to harbor delusions of grandeur. "...contradictory wave-particle duality." Sounds impressive but does it mean anything? I don't think so.

He says "A blackbody thus can be seen as a system of resonators with different eigen-frequencies which are excited by incoming radiation and then emit radiation. An ideal blackbody absorbs all incoming radiation and re-emits all absorbed radiation below cut-off"

This is simply rubbish. See my note above as to what a black body actually does.

He says

"As a transformer of radiation a blackbody thus acts in a very simple way: it absorbs all radiation, emits absorbed frequencies below cutoff, and uses absorbed frequencies above cut-off to increase its temperature. A blackbody thus acts as a semi-conductor transmitting only frequencies below cut-off, and grinding coherent frequencies above cut-off into heat in the form of incoherent high-frequency noise."

"We here distinguish between coherent organized electromagnetic waves of different frequencies in the form of radiation or light, and incoherent high-frequency vibrations or noise, perceived as heat."

This all sounds impressive but it is simply gibberish. It is nonsense. A black body acts as a semi-conductor? Does he know what a semi-conductor is?

A blackbody grinds coherent frequencies above cut-off into heat? This is meaningless waffle. As I said, see above for my note of what a black body actually does.

Conclusion

I've taken just two snippets from two chapters. It's too bad that the book is filled with scientific nonsense like this, as there is plenty of global warming pseudo-science that needs to be debunked.

But you cannot debunk global warming pseudo-science with gobbledegook science. Worse, it enables The Faithful to say "There you are, you see? Deniers talk nonsense".
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on 5 December 2011
Do I have any authority to write a review here? I have a degree in theoretical physics and I teach atmospheric thermodynamics and radiative transfer at university and have written a textbook about it. My research speciality is thermodynamics of the climate system. Am I in cahoots with the climate change lobby? I am not at all a fan of the IPCC (and am not part of it) and its processes and I am generally very critical of many of the climate panic predictions from some of the models, and I disagree with the Kyoto protocol, BUT:

Funny, how people with no apparent knowledge of even the basics of the physics of radiative transfer think they have the authority to write a book about it. The "science" presented in this book is of a laughable Mickey-mouse level and is mostly wrong and presented in a misleading way at pretty much every level. The "reviews" you can read here of the climate change deniers are often equally laughable with a truly staggering display of lack of ANY basic knowledge of thermodynamics or radiative transfer. It truly boggles the mind that people with not even the very basic knowledge required to understand the greenhouse effect believe they can pontificate about the matter. I suppose that is post-mdernism for you.

Don't waste your mental effort on this pathetic excuse for a science book.
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on 4 January 2011
I agree with Derek.

The book sets out, chapter by chapter the reasons why the theory of AGW is not only incorrect, but cannot possibly be correct.

The co-authors have impeccable scientific credentials, and spare none of their expertise in demolishing accepting notions of climate systems.

The fraudulent methods and assumptions of the IPCC are comprehensively exposed, and replaced with proper science, not speculative junk science that underpins AGW models.

Some of the last chapters are unintelligible if you don't have a good grasp of advanced maths (I certainly don't) but this doesn't detract from the fact that over 90% of the book will be understood by most people who care to know the truth.

The fallacies of the AGW brigade are shot down using real life examples, not computer models relied on so much by the IPCC.

PLease read this book, tell your friends about it, and together we may be able to stop the insane'carbon reduction' schemes currently in operation or being planned.
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on 31 January 2016
One of the best books I have read because of the range of topics and the different authors. The science needed varies with some sections more complex but in general it is easy to understand. One issue is the poor quality of the illustrations which are not sharp when enlarged. Another is that some of the links do not work.
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on 2 November 2016
A brilliant book, with the same theories backed up by non other than Roy W Spencer...

Roy W. Spencer -

received his Ph.D. in Meteorology, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming.

Dr. Spencer’s research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE.

Aren’t Natural CO2 Emissions About 20 Times the Human Emissions? Yes, but nature is believed to absorb CO2 at about the same rate it is produced. You can think of the reservoir of atmospheric CO2 as being like a giant container of water, with nature pumping in a steady stream into the bottom of the container (atmosphere) in some places, sucking out about the same amount in other places, and then humans causing a steady drip-drip-drip into the container. Significantly, about 50% of what we produce is sucked out of the atmosphere by nature, mostly through photosynthesis. Nature loves the stuff. CO2 is the elixir of life on Earth. Imagine the howls of protest there would be if we were destroying atmospheric CO2, rather than creating more of it.

Is Rising CO2 the Cause of Recent Warming? While this is theoretically possible, I think it is more likely that the warming is mostly natural. At the very least, we have no way of determining what proportion is natural versus human-caused.

Why Do Most Scientists Believe CO2 is Responsible for the Warming? Because (as they have told me) they can’t think of anything else that might have caused it. Significantly, it’s not that there is evidence nature can’t be the cause, but a lack of sufficiently accurate measurements to determine if nature is the cause. This is a hugely important distinction, and one the public and policymakers have been misled on by the IPCC.

[...]
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on 5 April 2011
The expectation for anyone reading this book is that the green dragon would be dead at the end, and for most readers that would be their wish. Unfortunately, it may be mortally wounded, especially it's name, but it still breathes fire. After repeatedly (8 times usually) going over many very interesting and informative climate changing mechanisms and the physics (not to mention the out of reach , even if necessary mathematics), the whole book is like a journey up a mountain where you never get to the peak, but go round and round, occasionally seeing the peak and even heading directly to it sometimes, only to turn and go around again.

The objective seems to be mainly to prove that the "greenhouse effect" is falsely so called, and that it couldn't apply to a planet anyway. This falsely called "greenhouse effect" cannot be responsible for the warming because it doesn't exist as such, and therefore Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is impossible. However, just because the name and analogy is wrong, doesn't mean that there is no mechanism for warming from erroneously called "greenhouse gases".

In the final chapter, the climate scam is shown to be unravelling rather fast with both Climategate and Kiwigate explored, and the reader is left in no doubt that much of the so called science is "bent".

Occasionally, the authors mention the "blanket" theory of warming, and then just dismiss it, then also admit to heat being reflected back to the ground, but they never really deal with the global averaging of it. We all know from experience that the more something is insulated, the less heat loss there is, therefore in terms of a planet, the more insulation it has the more it will warm up. Clearly it will never get hotter than source heating it (depending on distance and available energy), but there seems to be plenty of room for a planet to heat up. This doesn't effect the balance of the equation of heat in and heat out any more than the water flowing into and out of a dam changes after the transient period of filling up. This is not addressed as such in the book because the principle of heat transfer from cooler things (atmosphere) to warmer things (land or sea surface) is logically impossible and so overrides the question yet this is nothing to do with insulation and prevention of heat loss.

It is shocking to see the charts from the IPCC and even NASA showing the heating effect, much like trying to pull yourself up by your boot laces, but I can't help wondering about who is misrepresenting whom.

In the end, it is clear that water vapour is as much a cooling "greenhouse gas" as it is a warming one, and the role of CO2 is barely significant, if at all.
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on 20 October 2011
It saddens me to have to rate a anti-AGW book one star (and to be accurate, I base this in the sky dragon threads I have read) but this is not the way to disprove anything. The arguments presented here are just as bad a mis-understanding as any other. The proponents seem scientifically illiterate, and unable to differentiate between confusing terminology which is in common use, and bad physics. Read this book if you want a view into the real extreme fringe of what people can convince themselves is true.
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on 14 June 2011
By attacking the scientific community for perpetrating the global warming "hoax," the authors of Slaying the Sky Dragon are doing what psychologists call "projection." For a clue why, one only has to examine the academic and professional credentials the authors claim.

Timothy Ball, for example, has repeatedly been caught padding his resume with false and misleading claims -- such as being the first Canadian to have earned a PhD in climatology and having been a professor at the University of Winnipeg for 32 years. His PhD was in geography and he was only a professor for 8 years. Even more troubling is John O'Sullivan's claims of being a "highly successful litigator" in NY and federal courts and being "a member of the American Bar Association" -- which if true would mean he is licensed to practice law in the United States. According to the ABA's membership office, Mr. O'Sullivan is NOT a member. He recently joined as an associate member, which anybody who wants to support the association can do. He certainly is not licensed to practice law in NY (or possibly anywhere else). In addition, he claims to have published "more than 150 major articles" around the world including the National Review and Forbes magazine when he has not.

The authors do not publish their global warming-denial theories and attacks in peer-review publications. Instead they self-publish, as they did in this book. They then try to persuade the scientifically-naive public the reason they self-publish is that there's a world-wide conspiracy of scientists who are trying to keep the truth from them. In doing so, they have earned a place in history's rogue's gallery of pseudoscientists and kooks who have argued that their failure to convince the science community is proof that their crackpottery must be true. Why else would there be a conspiracy to keep their ideas from being published?

The credibility of researchers and authorities in the scientific community -- as well as reporters who write about science -- depends on their unflinching commitment to telling the truth. Whenever they abandon that commitment, it's time to toss their work into the dustbin of history, alongside the blather of phrenologists, flat earthers, and eugenicists.

For a better understanding how a small cabal of fringe scientists and their mud-throwing accomplices can gain so much news attention and create so much confusion among the public, I highly recommend an astonishingly important new book written by Naomi Oreskes, professor of history and science studies at UC-San Diego, and science writer Erik M. Conway.

The book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, is a virtual genealogy of denialism.

http://www.amazon.com/Merchants-Doubt-Handful-Scientists-Obscured/dp/1608193942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308008722&sr=8-1

Oreskes and Conway trace the origins of today's powerfully-effective disinformation machines back to three leading, government scientists, Robert Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, and S. Fred Singer, who as scientific advisers to the U.S. government pushed for ever-increasing stockpiles of nuclear weapons. When the nuclear arms race ended with the signing of the nuclear arms treaty, these "Cold War Warriors" found themselves, to put it succinctly, underemployed. So they turned their talents and powerful connections in Washington, Wall St., and the major news media to set up a highly effective disinformation machine to serve corporations by attacking scientists and their research in order to block any regulatory action that would lower the profits of their corporate allies. The quality, safety, or social worth of the products being sold was irrelevant. What counted to them was the uncompromising defense of liberty and free enterprise.

One of their first customers was the tobacco industry. Indeed, one of the tobacco industry documents that came to light after years of lawsuits is a memo that clearly identified the chief goal of scientists defending their tobacco industry clients: "Doubt is our product."

These were the Fathers of False Doubt who helped to establish right-wing "think tanks" through which corporations could launder money to support a small number of scientists, who churned out "data" and editorials promoting the interests of their corporate customers. First it was in defense of the tobacco industry and the Strategic Defense ("Star Wars") Initiative. Then they worked to block restrictions on acid rain pollution, ozone-destroying chlorfluorcarbons emissions, environmentally deadly DDT, and passive smoking -- which was sickening and killing tens of thousands of men, women, children, and babies every year.

They also employed journalists, often under the table, to help sow the seeds of public doubt on matters of settled science. These hired guns greatly helped to cast aspersions on the science and on the scientists who produced it and to fool the public into believing there is no scientific consensus.

In his review of Merchants of Doubt, Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University, says:

"There can be no science without doubt: brute dogma leaves no room for inquiry. But over the last half century, a tiny minority of scientists have wielded doubt as a political weapon to halt what they did not want said: that tobacco kills or that the climate is warming because of what we humans are doing. `Doubt is our product' read a tobacco memo--and indeed, millions of dollars have gone into creating the impression of scientific controversy where there has not been one. This book about the politics of doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway explores the long, connected, and intentional obfuscation of science by manufactured controversy. It is clear, scientifically responsible, and historically compelling--it is an essential and passionate book about our times."

Today, thanks to the Internet, the merchant of doubt disinformation machine is now able to recruit armies of barely literate no-nothings from libertarian and other anti-government groups to set up "blogs," self-publish "books," and pose as legal and scientific experts. They are flooding the Internet making it difficult for the public to search for and read information that passed the inspection of the scientific community. Slaying the Sky Dragon, is a perfect example of such work produced for the sole purpose of confusing the public with scientific-sounding mumble-jumbo like this babble from co-author Claes Johnson:

"A cold body can heat up by eating/absorbing high-frequency high temperature coherent waves in a catabolic process of destruction of coherent waves into incoherent heat energy. A warm body cannot heat up by eating/absorbing low-frequency low-temperature waves, because catabolism involves destruction of structure. Anabolism builds structure, but a blackbody is only capable of destructive catabolism (the metabolism of a living cell consists of destructive catabolism and constructive anabolism)."

Stripping away the babble, Johnson is basically arguing that you can't heat something up to a high temperature by bombarding it with low-frequency/low energy radiation. Anyone who has made the mistake of microwaving a food container with metal foil attached has learned what nonsense this is. Microwave ovens heat food with electromagnetic waves in the range used by radar. These wavelengths are more energetic than radio waves but far, far less energetic than visible light waves - or even invisible infrared light. Yet, if you accidentally microwave a bit of metal foil in your oven, in a matter of a few seconds you'll see the foil glow white hot - giving off light rays hundreds of times more energetic than the microwave rays heating it.

Not surprisingly, readers who are able to get past two chapters of Johnson's math-strewn mush will find no relief in the rest of Slaying the Sky Dragon.
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