The Greenhouse and Beyond - Part 1: Sabine "Sagan" Hossenfelder

Posted On: Friday - March 10th 2023 10:28AM MST
In Topics: 
  Global Climate Stupidity  Media Stupidity  Science

Peak Stupidity's illustrious, poetic, and highly-literarily-aware commenter Dieter Kief suggested the viewing of a 20 minute video on the "Greenhouse Effect" by German Astrophysicist Sabine Hossenfelder for our possible erudition. I watched it, and this one is worth a post on, what, with 20 minutes invested already.

I will not present any diagrams, due to laziness and my not getting paid a cent for any of this. I'm not claiming a degree in Astrophysics. I'm not claiming a degree in Climatology. I do know about engineering though, and specially heat transfer/thermo, enough to not necessarily refute or support Dr. Hossenfelder's talk, but to to be able to point out where I think she is missing knowledge and missing the big point on the alleged Climate Calamity™.

The entry to the whole world of Climate Crises is the so-called "greenhouse effect". Our youtube speaker would probably agree with the term "so-called" (but for not as many reasons as I do - more on this) as her main point in her video is that this effect (the absorption by high-atmospheric CO2 of surface or lower-level emissions of IR radiation) is not exactly what happens in a greenhouse. She admits to not understanding the real process till now, and she explains this in I Misunderstood the Greenhouse Effect. Here's How It Works..

From the get-go, that title alone is bound to turn off some skeptics of the Climate Calamity™ narrative, as in "if you didn't understand this till now, Doctor Hossenfelder, why do you expect us to believe you just now got it all figured out?" In her defense, she is neither a Climatologist nor Atmospheric Scientist, but just a country (Germany, that'd be) Astrophysicist, Jim! Mrs. Hossenfelder's field does include the understanding of radiation absorption and emission to the molecular or atomic level. That's what she gets into in this video. She must have detailed knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere to related this to the long-term Climate, as in, the energy balance of the Earth.

This post was to address the science/engineering only, which is all I had in my head until a few minutes ago. Since I decided last minute to look up Dr. Hossenfelder's marital status for the use of "Mrs." vs. "Miss"*, I got some more background on her in the process. The first part of the short wiki page is discouraging:
Sabine Hossenfelder (born 1976) is a German theoretical physicist, science communicator, author, musician and YouTuber. She is the author of Lost in Math: How beauty leads physics astray, which explores the concept of elegance in fundamental physics and cosmology, and of Existential Physics: A scientist’s guide to life’s biggest questions.
Uh, uh, is that what this is about, another "sciencey" person, using the status of the field to push wokeness rather than actually DOING science? No, but she has a good resume, as far as university education, and her work has been actual science... until... Well, yeah, what you see from wiki and what I found on her blog, called Backreaction tells me that Sabine Hossenfelder has designs on being the next Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan was an Astrophysicist too, an American who got popular in the 1970s and '80s (partly from being on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show) and let it all go to his head. His big, big "nuclear winter" push was the point when his political mind ate up the remains of his scientific mind. Oh, yeah, major nuclear war would be bad ... mmmkaay... we got that. However, his scenario that the fallout, dust, or whatever changes to the atmosphere would cause a deep cold "nuclear winter" was far-fetched. This is when the American public started switching from "Choose Life" T-shirts to "Choose Beer" T-shirts. (That was along the lines of "Nuke the gay whales for Jesus.")

Uh, uh!

I looked over Sabine Hossenfelder's blog, and yes, I see she wants to be a Carl Sagan. It's that same maniacal belief system, with that intelligence and love for science but that inexperience with the reality that the world is more complicated than even she says, and that same attitude that "we should", "Germany shouldn't", or "the world's gonna need to!" do some massive centrally-planned projects and massive changes to the economy based on some cool physics phenomena. Exhibit A: An Air Condition for the Planet: How Could It Work? It's not a 45 Gazilion ton window unit, but still, it's pie-in-the-sky stupidity.

Again, for Mr. Kief in particular here, I want to state that it was not my intention to even look anything up about Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder. My intention was to address the material in the video. I don't know if you'd call this post so far an ad hominem attack of any sort, but I now do know that she's got an agenda besides just popularizing science (of which I've got nothing against, if it's done right - more on that too). There's a point in the video that I can't help feel would be not be at all necessary had this science popularizer not had a political agenda. Perhaps it's more a personal agenda, as she may be going for that Carl Sagan style scare-the-Bejesus-out-of-people fame and fortune.

OK, that latter bit is bordering on the ad hominem. With the scientific points in my head still, I'll end this post here and start on that from here, keeping it all to the science (except that one little thing). If I don't finish that today, it'll be on here tomorrow. I left the video, as the reader may want to watch the whole thing before the next post.

* Yes, I'm (purposefully) old-fashioned like that. I could have just used "Dr." everywhere, I guess.

Al Corrupt
Tuesday - March 14th 2023 6:21PM MST

The naz…. Germans have a lot of experience estimating weather with the V2 experiments…
Saturday - March 11th 2023 6:31PM MST
PS: "You wear it well. Jaqueline O'kea got nothin' on you ..."
Adam Smith
Saturday - March 11th 2023 1:57PM MST
PS: Good afternoon, everyone,

Where Eagles Dare
Saturday - March 11th 2023 12:12PM MST
PS Only Sabine and the esteemed high powered intellect Dr Jill Drapes on the couch pattern can save us now.
The cosmos sent the faculty lounge Ubermensch to build the glorious free rainbow stew bubble up utopia where everyone is free from joblock and equal at the people's dumpster dive café while waiting on dwindling cargo cult goods from mommygov apparatchiks.
Relax, the dumpster is located within the 800 meters climate lockdown you are allowed to travel each day, comrade.
This is the golden Great Leap Forward where we will all enjoy the CCP workers paradise Venezuela socialism lifestyle!
Rights and freedoms? Constructs of the white male capitalist pig patriarchy and obsolete for this time of terminal Peak Stupidity.
Forward! Yes we can.
The Alarmist
Saturday - March 11th 2023 6:05AM MST

I hear you, Robert. I miss giving my number out as “REgent 4-1234” and having people know what I am talking about.

@Mod, I’ll try watching her later ... can’t wait to hear the atmospheric “evidence.”

BTW, I don’t disbelieve Anthropogenic Climate Change. If I dig in my garden, I’ve changed the climate. Not all climate change is bad. But I really hate the AGW freaks who whine about CO2. Most plant life on Earth evolved in periods where the atmospheric CO2 level was six times the current value. If we actually managed to reduce CO2 to below 175ppm, we’d turn the Earth into a dead snowball. I’d rather err to the upside.
Saturday - March 11th 2023 5:02AM MST
PS: But, yes, Dieter, if you keep those weather stations in urban areas that used to be remote but are now in the middle of Wal-Mart parking lots (I jest, a bit!), then you may very well show a warming trend. This is one of the objections that we "climate deniers" have when it comes to the supposed observations of warming trends.
Saturday - March 11th 2023 5:00AM MST
PS: See, now Dieter, that idea of heating up the Earth simply via the energy released in combustion (or nukes, if you want to include them, depending on your agenda) was also in on of Mrs. Hoffenfelder's posts on her own site.

This one would be very easy to do a calculation on, with the worst-case assumption that ALL the energy stays within the confines of the Earth or lower atmosphere, wherever it should matter to us. Of course, it WON'T all stay, but that worst-case calculation is a lot like the deal with the Nordstrom pipeline release of Methane. Sounds like a fun post too!
Dieter Kief
Saturday - March 11th 2023 3:56AM MST
More infos about global warming and carbondioxide by Climate expert Dr. William Soon

Super clear thesis of Dr. Soon: Global warming exists - - - in the form of urban warming!

His proposal: The IPCC modelers should take out the urban warming phenomenon - well known since 1822 (!), when earth scientist William Howard descibed it already in all scientific scrupulousness - - - they, Dr. Soon says, should take out this urban warming phenomenon of their models, because that is what makes these models work - work supposedly, as high energy, heheh, Dr. William Soon insists!
Saturday - March 11th 2023 3:43AM MST
PS: "The theoretisation of physics is one of the reasons that physicists give bad advice in the climate science context: They have lost their touch with reality!" Yes, that could be the case, but it doesn't have to. I mean, having enough knowledge of radiation heat transfer to correctly model this ONE PART of the story of the Earth's climate is something I would expect out of a physicist, but not if his area of concentration is that "out-there" particle stuff. He (she here) might forget that there is lots more to the picture in actual accurate prediction of the changes in the climate of the whole planet.
Dieter Kief
Saturday - March 11th 2023 2:38AM MST

PS - - system, oh system, why don't you let me be?

Mod. just to add to this topic "beauty in math" - you say

 Uh, uh, is that what this is about, another "sciencey" person, using the status of the field to push wokeness rather than actually DOING science?

and I add: She is onto something really interesting here - namely the fact that lots of research in the field of theoretical physics is - making curls on a bald head, as the German saying goes.

The emptiness, the fruitlessness of lots of theoretical math & physics, that's what she is after here - and that was also a point, Friedrich Kambartel did mention from time to time and wrote about too***. - Pirmin Stekeler Weithofer and your's truly had Friedrich Kambartel as their professor - and - small world: It is very well possible, that Sabine Hossenfelder knows Kambartel's work and critique of the theoretical outskirts of math & physics****  too, since he taught in Frankfurt, when she studied / researched there.
***Philosophy of math/logic is also one of Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer's fields of special interest: He carries on Friedrich Kambartel's torchlight of reason (Paul an essay, that connects Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler... and - - - his attempts to make sense of -- - Bob Dylan (Sabine Hossenfleder is also into music...all things hangtogether...(Knight of Schelling - - -Hegel's Tübingen Stift (=pietist)roommate....)).

I linked an interview Jordan B. Peterson made with physicist and climate science-critic Richard Lindzen - and Richard Lindzen too shares this view, that theoretical physics has reached a plateau that is rather distracting - and detached from reality, actually. Richard Lindzen makes a very good point in this context: The theoretisation of physics is one of the reasons that physicists give bad advice in the climate science context: They have lost their touch with reality! - That's what marks the difference between scientists like  - - -- - GW Leibniz -and lots of today's academic crowd. - See also Peter Turchin's elite-overproduction theorem in this context - and see - - - -  -- - - - - Douglas Murray's observation of a big exhaustion in the West****.
****pseudo-science is economically a comfortable niche - but it also nags on your soul. - Everybody who has been to a university can tell you stories about this phenomenon: There is a strong sense/stream of fruitlessness lurching underground in lots of places...

Blogger and twitterer eugyppius is writing about this feeling of mind-numbing fruitlessness in academia these days quite often, since he decided to leave academia not least because of the absurd routines, the part-emptiness of lots of the scientific work these days and the laziness and flat out mind-numbing standstill this all produces.

See also Peter Boghossians critique of academia in total lately: He last week recommended to not send kids to universities at all these days for that reason (wokeness being an emanation of this corrosive process).

Lots of univesities have turned into a toxic environment, he said. - he is going to far here,m methinks, but nevertheless in the right direction. Heheh!   
Friday - March 10th 2023 8:03PM MST
PS: Haha, Robert, the "1" think is a mystery. I've never had to dial the "1" first on cell phones, as far as I can recollect. The old ones would insert it, but, as you say, if the software knows which way it should be, it shouldn't have to ask you to do it.

The service will suck here until morale improves. ;-}
Friday - March 10th 2023 8:00PM MST
PS: Should that be "Ice Axe Trotsky"? You are quite right that it's all about control. Only the very gullible, including the poor school children that get subjected to this alarmism, really believe that this will hurt anyone. I note that the most ardent Climate freaks don't ever move away from houses at sea level or up to locales in Canada. Nobody seems to give numbers as to how much higher T's will be, except, well, if the oceans will boil... hmmm, that's HOT, baby!

I believe this lady believes the Climate Crisis science, Mr. Blanc. Otherwise, I don't see why she'd spend so much time and energy on that, including the name calling. (I'll get to that in the post.) I don't think she really does have a handle on how complicated the climate is. I have some questions about her version of the greenhouse effect, but even if she's (well, and the guy she learned this from) got it down, this is nothing but the radiation heat transfer, as if that's all there is to the climate. I'll get to that too...
Friday - March 10th 2023 7:54PM MST
PS: Alarmist, Dr. Hossenfelder shows evidence from the temperature of the Stratosphere to show that variances seen (supposedly warming) cannot be due to variances in solar radiation influx. However, I agree with your general point.

I am still about only about 1/3 done with the post, as I had only an hour or so of time to concentrate. I want to make sure I attribute what I think is just a poor job of explanation to that, and then the points that involve her not seeing the big picture of the Earth's climate to that. I'll have time to finish tomorrow afternoon.

I hope you will take the time to watch this and give your opinion.
Friday - March 10th 2023 6:18PM MST
PS: "too bad"

I want an editor. As a fully paid-up subscriber to this fine site, I want better service, dammit.
Friday - March 10th 2023 6:16PM MST
PS: Okay, off-topic here, but since you (Mr. Moderator) didn't get to the topic anyway, I don't feel to bad about it.

Why is the phone company so stupid? My phone number is of the form:

Sometimes, for a local number, I can dial:
and get told, 'You must dial a one before calling this number.'

Other times, for a number in the next town (thirty minutes away), I can dial:
and get told, 'You must NOT dial a one before calling this number.'

OK, if the phone company knows when I have to dial a one or not, why can't they just do it for me? (Maybe ask me for permission first?) Why does the caller ID dealy bob not insert a '1' when it is needed?

I want my five digit dialing back.
Friday - March 10th 2023 12:01PM MST
PS I’ve watched some of her videos. Occasionally, they’re informative. As you say, she’s more popularizer than research scientist. Which is fine. It’s good that there a people who understand current scientific research who have the ability to explain it to the masses (or at least the educated fraction of the masses). I guess she does that okay. She’ll never be a Carl Sagan, because network television doesn’t have the reach that it once did. So, she’s limited to YouTube. Maybe she’ll make a few euros out of it. As far as an agenda goes, maybe she really believes the Climate Change narrative, maybe she doesn’t. But if she wants to be accepted by the elites, she has to say she does.
Ice Ice Trotsky
Friday - March 10th 2023 11:39AM MST
PS Climate Lockdown is gonna make the COV-LARP seem like a Sunday afternoon in the park.
The issue is never the issue with comrade lefty and his never ending lies about the egalitarian workers utopia.
The issue is always about power and control.
Long March Comrades don't give a rip about the environment unless it has some political utility.
Burning down the world by any means necessary for the nihilistic death cult known as leftism.
The Alarmist
Friday - March 10th 2023 11:25AM MST

I haven’t watch her yet, but as a degreed Aerospace Engineer who specialized in remote sensing, who has seen more than his share of terrestrial versus space sourced temperature data, my money is on there being little actual climate change attributable to the greenhouse effect, and any measured change is likely to be attributable to orbital variations and variations in the internal atomic processes in the Sun, both of which are on long-term cycles that so-called “climate scientists” refuse to even acknowledge as being relevant.

Atmospheric CO2 levels lag temperature rises most of the time. Current climate change worriers are talking out of their asses.

As a former Cold Warrior, I can tell you that “Nuclear Winter” was discredited in the mid ‘80s, when we and the Sovs had roughly eight times as many nukes as we both have now, so I’m even less worried about that, though I would prefer to not see the balloon going up anytime in my lifetime.
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