Thursday, December 24, 2009

TV Can Drive You Nutzo

Last night I was watching Venus Unveiled on the Science channel, halfway expecting them to blame CO2 for Venus's super hot (by earth standards) climate. Which they did, of course, without mentioning the inverse squared law affecting the amount of sunlight hitting Venus. Or mentioning that a liter of atmosphere from Venus contains not double or triple the number of CO2 molecules of a liter of earth atmosphere, not even ten times, or a hundred times, but roughly 232,000 times the number.

But what came next was an "experiment" that had me throwing remote controls and dogs at the TV set. The "experimenter" performed pretty much the same experiment as this one: You fill one container with air and one with an unknown amount of CO2. In this case the container was filled with a long blast of pure CO2 from a soda fountain. Then you set the containers in the sun and record the temperature after an hour or so. I'm guessing that the high-CO2 container was something like 90% CO2, so the 2° or 3° C. rise wasn't unexpected.

Sure, a couple degree rise in an atmosphere that is too saturated with CO2 to sustain life. Oh, and then she said something like: "And that's just a temperature rise in a single bottle, multiply that by a whole planet's worth of greenhouse gas and you've got Venus." Sheesh.

Anyway, I was pleased to check Watts Up With That this morning and find the same "experiment" (this one from the BBC) taken down. Good. It's important to call Shenanigans early in the game, before the soi disant science lovers' frauds can be embedded in the culture.

(also - if this experiment shows anything, it's that we can increase our CO2 concentration over a thousand fold without more than a few degree rise -- assuming their CO2 bottle was 50% mixture of CO2, being kind here; that is roughly 1200 times the CO2 in normal atmosphere)

Ah, found it. Here's the experiment.