Al Gore/Bill Nye Climate 1010 is here
Anthony Watts experimental disconfirmation of Al Gore/Bill Nye Climate 101 is here
Recent MyFDL diary, on Climate 101, where my comments have been awaiting moderation for 2 days, here

First off, let me say that science – ethical science, that is – depends on reproducibility of experimental data. Trusting in authority figures is not acceptable. That is the realm of religion, not science. If you have any doubt about this notion, I suggest you take a trip to a nearby university physics department, and ask for a few minutes of scientists’ time (OK, you might want to avoid the string theorists, but that is a story for another time).

NOTE: IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE ABOVE, I’D PREFER IT IF YOU DIDN’T BOTHER WRITING ANY COMMENTS TO THIS DIARY. I’M QUITE SURE THAT THERE WILL BE NO SHORTAGE OF RELIGIOUS TYPES OF CLIMATE DIARIES, WHO WOULD WELCOME POSTS EMBRACING A NAIVE, FAITH-BASED APPROACH TO CLIMATE. THERE ARE, IN FACT, MANY OTHER DIARIES WHERE YOU CAN INDULGE A PREFERENCE FOR PSEUDO-REALITY.
GO FOR IT! HAVE ALL THE FUN, YOU LIKE!! BUT DO SO IN THE LOGICAL PLAYGROUND

Indeed, there’s currently another diary at MyFDL, on Climate 101, where my two comments have been “in moderation” for over a day, and it’s obvious that I’m being suppressed. I’m sure additional fawning statements, adhering to the (ill defined) climate catastrophist faith, will be quite welcome, there.

For some experiments, the apparatus is so big, expensive, and/or hard to come by, that of necessity, a higher level of trust becomes necessary. For example, there’s a huge particle accelerator device, run by CERN, that recently nailed down the existence of the Higgs particle. Nobody expects that other experimental groups around the world must build something as large, and verify the Higgs in that manner. There’s a degree of replication obtained by having different groups do experiments on the LHC. I know that some of the experiments used to find the Higgs are quite different, looking at different decay pathways (“channels”). I suppose that this is a form of replication that’s actually even better than running exactly the same experiment, even if by a different group.

However, the exception proves the rule, and if there’s no particularly insuperable barrier to replication, replication is expected, and good scientists will tend to remain tentative in their public expressions of degree of certainty, until independent replication occurs.

Last year, Al Gore presented a Climate 101 video for his big, 24 hour climate shindig. Narrating it was the “Science Guy”, Bill Nye.

At 0:45 (45 seconds) into the video, Nye says, “If you want, you can replicate this effect yourself, in a simple lab experiment. Here’s how.” Please watch at least the next :30 seconds for Nye’s basic instructions. Starting at 1:09 (1 minute, 9 sec) Nye says that (after turning on the heat lamps) “Within minutes, you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher”

Anthony Watts, founder of the wattsupwiththat.com, quickly found signs of fraud in the presentation. In particular, the picture of side-by-side thermometers were actually photoshopped images. Now, if these photoshopped images were accurate representations of real data from a real, carefully and honestly done experiment, then it’d probably be wiser to not make a stink about it. After all, Al Gore is a politician and businessman, and Nye is a media figure (who appears, judging by his wikipedia page, not to have been employed doing any serious science or engineering in quite a while). Both appear to sincerely believe in CO2 climate catastrophism. So, what’s the big deal about a little video fakery, as long as the science is accurate, right?

HOWEVER….More seriously, Watts has since tried to replicate the Nye-narrated experiment experiment (though more carefully and explicitly). This, of course, is quite appropriate, and consistent with general principles of what the word “science” traditionally meant.

Says Watts in Al Gore and Bill Nye FAIL at doing a simple CO2 experiment:

Bill Nye, in his narration at 0:48 in the video says:

You can replicate this effect yourself in a simple lab experiment, here’s how.

…and at 1:10 in the video Nye says:

Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.

So, I decided to find out if that was true and if anyone could really replicate that claim, or if this was just more stagecraft chicanery. I was betting that nobody on Gore’s production team actually did this experiment, or if they did do it, it wasn’t successful, because otherwise, why would they have to fake the results in post production?

The split screen video at 1:17, a screencap of which is a few paragraphs above shows a temperature difference of 2°F. Since Mr. Gore provided no other data, I’ll use that as the standard to meet for a successful experiment.

Watts was obviously more careful in his methodology than what was apparent (which wasn’t all that much, in any case) in the Nye video. E.g. instead of just putting a CO2 tube into a jar, and loosely resting the cover on top of that (leaving a large gap, which allows CO2 to escape easily) Watt’s used a sealing ring, with a cutout for the CO2 tube. Watts also used instruments to measure CO2. (The accuracy of these instruments was +- 50 ppm, which, while not impressive, is small enough compared to the CO2 measurements that Watts made in the 2 glass jars.)

As you can see from Watt’s web page, using oral thermometers, there was no discernible difference in temperatures between the two jars. Repeating the experiment with digital thermometers, Watts found that the jar with regular air led the jar with added CO2, in both runs.

Watts then replicated the experiment using a NIST calibrated digital logging thermometer, which has a 0.1F resolution. Once again, the jar with air LED the temperature rise of the jar with added CO2 – contrary to what Nye claimed. At 18:04 into the experiment, the temperature of the air jar was 117.3F, while the temperature of the jar with CO2 was 116.7F.

Watts goes on to offer an explanation of the general results of both his and the Gore/Nye experiment. Basically, neither the Gore/Nye experiment (if it was actually done, which is highly doubtful, given the evident false result claimed, as well as the misleading photoshopped {cough}{cough} results), nor the Watts experiments, provide evidence for the Green House Gas effect*. This doesn’t mean that the Green House Gas effect doesn’t exist, or that CO2 is not a Greenhouse Gas. It simply means that Nye was making up crap about his “simple experiment” actually demonstrating the effect he claimed, and Al Gore was silly enough to show this video.

Well, actually, Gore’s not being silly, because as propaganda, it’s quite effective. For purposes of duping the public, one could even say it’s stellar.

Watts took care to emphasize (in an update):

I should make it clear that I’m not doubting that CO2 has a positive radiative heating effect in our atmosphere, due to LWIR re-radiation, that is well established by science. What I am saying is that Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project did a poor job of demonstrating an experiment, so poor in fact that they had to fabricate portions of the presentation, and that the experiment itself (if they actually did it, we can’t tell) would show a completely different physical mechanism than what actually occurs in our atmosphere.

No broader take away (other than the experiment was faked and fails) was intended, expressed or implied – Anthony

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The good news is that you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire like Gore do this experiment. You do need some $$ – more than I have to spare. However, you will hopefully be in good enough financial shape to decide, in the spirit of authentic and ethical science, whether or not Nye/Gore OR Watts OR both have conducted good experiments. Watts has kindly provided equiptment source information, and details on how to do the experiment.

Should you replicate this experiment, and find out that Watts has been dishonest, or else done a sloppy and inaccurate job, by all means post your results somewhere on the web, and then invite your friends and family to independently conduct the experiment, themselves.

If you find out that, on balance, it is Watts that is the fraudster (and not Gore and Nye), please do the world a favor by making this widely known. The internet is good for that sort of thing…..

* turning off the heat lamps, Watts showed that the jar with added CO2 cooled more slowly than the jar with just air. So, maybe this can be construed as GHG evidence. Regardless, the Nye propaganda film’s central claim had to do with the rate of temperature increase during the illuminated phase.