Response by Qing-Bin Lu to “Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs”

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Prof. Qing-Bin Lu, author of the journal article "Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules: Culprits for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change," has drafted a response to the critique of his article by Climate Nexus, which was posted on this site on May 31. The text of the response is posted below.

See Climate Science Watch guest post by Climate Nexus, "Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs" (May 31, 2013)

Q.-B. LU, COSMIC-RAY-DRIVEN REACTION AND GREENHOUSE EFFECT OF HALOGENATED MOLECULES: CULPRITS FOR ATMOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGEInt. J. Mod. Phys. B DOI: 10.1142/S0217979213500732 (Abstract; the full article is behind a paywall)

The following post is by Qing-Bin Lu, PhD, Professor in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (text in PDF format here):

A Response to a postQing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs” by Climate Nexus in Climate Science Watch on May 31, 2013

My new paper recently published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B (IJMPB) draws some public attention. In a recent post by Climate Nexus in Climate Science Watch, entitled “Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs”, the anonymous author lists several “facts” to criticize my paper.  Before I give my response to the criticisms, I will first give a summary of the review process and the main content of my paper.

Peer-review processes

The original version of my manuscript was submitted to the IJMPB on October 15, 2012, which was also simultaneously submitted to the well-known electronic preprint archive (arXiv) for physics, cross-listed in the categories of Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics, Atomic and Molecular Clusters, and Chemical Physics [http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.6844v1].

1) Although the arXiv is not peer reviewed, the arXiv moderators, who are experts in their fields, make the evaluation based on the content of each submission and the policies of arXiv.  For my submission, the arXiv moderators approved the publication of my manuscript on October 25, 2012, about 10 days after the submission of my manuscript, which was then made available to the public. My preprint immediately generated some interest to the readers and I received very positive feedbacks even before I received the reports of the reviewers from the IJMPB.

2) However, the peer-reviewing process of my manuscript in IJMPB went slow, far slower than I expected. At one point in January 2013, I sent an email to the Publisher to express my complaint. But the review process did not go faster. Finally, I received the reports of two reviewers from the journal in the middle February 2012 (four months after my first submission). Both reviewers commented that my paper is “interesting”, “convincing”, “solid” and “valuable”, but they also raised some major concerns. I found the reviewers’ comments critical but very helpful, which significantly improved my writing of the revised manuscript in many places.  The main comments included the suggestions to make the discussion of the CO2 warming models more quantitatively, to present the differences between the present paper and my earlier publications more clearly, and also particularly, to include a discussion on the 2011 Atmospheric Environment paper by Grooß and Müller, which criticized my work. I took the comments seriously and made the corresponding revisions. The revised manuscript was resubmitted to the journal on Feb 27, 2013, and went through the second-run review process. The Editor and reviewers found my responses satisfactory and my revised manuscript suitable for publication in IJMPB. It was finally accepted on March 12, 2013, and published in IJMPB on May 30, 2013.

3) For another purpose, in fact, the first version of my manuscript posted at arXiv was also sent to other three independent peer reviewers by another source.  And I was provided with the reviewers’ reports even before I received the reviewers’ reports from IJMPB. I was encouraged that all the reviewers’ reports are very positive!

Main content of my IJMPB paper

Firstly, my paper gives brief reviews on the CRE theory for O3 depletion and the warming theory of halogenated molecules for climate change.  Secondly, natural and anthropogenic contributions to these phenomena are examined in detail and separated well through in-depth statistical analyses of comprehensive measured datasets of quantities, including cosmic rays (CRs), total solar irradiance, sunspot number, halogenated gases (CFCs, CCl4 and HCFCs), CO2, total O3, lower stratospheric temperatures and global surface temperatures.

It is shown that an analytical equation derived from the CRE theory reproduces well 11-year cyclic variations of polar O3 loss and stratospheric cooling, and new statistical analyses of the CRE equation with observed data of total O3 and stratospheric temperature give high linear correlation coefficients ≥0.92.  After the removal of the CR effect, a pronounced recovery by 20~25% of the Antarctic O3 hole is found, while no recovery of O3 loss in mid-latitudes has been observed. These results show both the correctness and dominance of the CRE mechanism and the success of the Montreal Protocol.

In-depth analyses of the observed data clearly show that the solar effect and human-made halogenated gases played the dominant role in Earth’s climate change prior to and after 1970, respectivelyRemarkably, a statistical analysis gives a nearly zero correlation coefficient (R=-0.05) between corrected global surface temperature data by removing the solar effect and CO2 concentration during 1850-1970.  In striking contrast, a nearly perfect linear correlation with coefficients as high as 0.96-0.97 is found between corrected or uncorrected global surface temperature and total amount of stratospheric halogenated gases during 1970-2012.  Furthermore, a new theoretical calculation on the greenhouse effect of halogenated gases shows that they (mainly CFCs) could alone result in the global surface temperature rise of ~0.6 °C in 1970-2002.  These results provide solid evidence that recent global warming was indeed caused by the greenhouse effect of anthropogenic halogenated gases.  Thus, a slow reversal of global temperature to the 1950 value is predicted for coming 5~7 decades if there is no emission of new greenhouse species into the atmosphere.

All the observed, analytical and theoretical results presented lead to a convincing conclusion that both the CRE mechanism and the CFC-warming mechanism not only provide new fundamental understandings of the O3 hole and global climate change but have superior predictive capabilities, compared with the conventional models.

Responses to “the facts” in the post by Climate Nexus in Climate Science Watch

1) “This theory has been considered and dismissed before. A 2010 report by the National Academies of Science was commissioned by Congress to examine all the evidence surrounding global warming including the theory that cosmic rays might influence Earth’s climate. It concluded that “a plausible physical mechanism… has not been demonstrated” and “cosmic rays are not regarded as an important climate forcing.”

Response: This criticism is irrelevant because it does not disagree with one of the conclusions in my paper: “the natural factors have played a negligible effect on Earth’s climate since 1970”.

2) “In 2011, a peer-reviewed paper [namely the 2011 Atmos Environ (AE) paper by Grooß and Müller] found that Lu’s conclusions “are based solely on correlation… do not have a physical basis… and the findings of the IPCC… remain unchallenged.”

Response: Prior to the submission of my manuscript to IJMPB, I had already given a detailed response to the AE paper by publishing a preprint at http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1498, in which I showed that the “data” reported in the Grooß and Müller AE paper as well as their 2009 PRL paper could not be found in the given data source. And one can find the following paragraph in the introduction (pages 6-7) of my published IJMPB paper:

“It should also be noted that Müller and Grooß87,88 recently criticized the CRE and CFC-warming theories by presenting the so-called “ACE-FTS satellite data”.  However, Lu89 has pointed out that there exist serious problems with their presented data because the Canadian satellite carrying the ACE-FTS instrument has essentially not covered the Antarctic vortex in the presented months (especially the winter months when the CRE reactions are supposed to be most effective) and that their criticisms cannot stand from the scientific facts in the literature.  Most recently, the pair has published a Corrigendum in one of the journals,90 in which they state "The months for which the data were shown were not correctly indicated. ... the data do not cover this complete latitude range especially they do not extend to the South Pole".  Since they now agree that their presented ACE-FTS data for the winter Antarctica cannot be correct, it is surprizing to read their statement that "We note, however, that all conclusions of the paper remain unchanged".  To discern the more data and arguments presented in the papers by Müller and Grooß87,88, the readers should refer to the recent publication by Lu89.”

3. “Several different scientists interviewed by the Vancouver Sun each said that Lu’s conclusions “[go] against 150 years of very fundamental physics.”

Response:  I do not think this criticism makes sense.

4. “Critics point out that Lu’s paper fails to make the leap from correlation to causation, one of the most basic and most common scientific failings. This error is simply illustrated in the classic fable of the rooster who believes the sun rises because he crows. Two things may happen at the same time, but this does not mean one causes the other. A “physical mechanism” by which the two events are connected must be known, in order to fully understand causation.”

Response: The physical mechanisms for the CRE theory of the ozone hole and the CFC warming theory have been given in detail not only in my new IJMPB paper but in my 2010 Physics Reports and J of Cosmology papers [see the main content of my paper in the above].

5. “In contrast, there is strong experimental evidence of the physical mechanism by which CO2 warms the planet, evidence that (as scientists have mentioned already in response to Lu) dates back 150 years.”

Response: I do not know who has done such experiments. However, one can find a discussion on various climate models in Section 11 of my IJMPB paper.

Qing-Bin Lu, PhD

Professor in Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Waterloo

200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1

CANADA

Website: http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/

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11 Responses to Response by Qing-Bin Lu to “Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs”

  1. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Skeptical Science also have a substantial rebuttal of Qing-Bin Lu's paper here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/lu-2013-cfcs.html

    Some questions for the Author.
    You refer in your paper to CO2 'Saturation'. Please explain your understanding of what you mean by this since the way you have worded it in the paper is quite vague. In particular are you referring to the oft debunked claim that the GH Effect contribution of CO2 is saturated and cannot increase any further

    Why are you correlating CFC's against surface temperatures as an indication of what might be occurring rather than against total change in the heat content of the entire system? Atmospheric temperature change only constitutes around 2.5% of the total heat accumulation in the Earth's systems. Ocean heat build up is around 35 times greater as shown here: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ (select page 2 of the display) and has not slowed down at all. Isn't correlating against something that constitutes only 2.5% of the heating when one is looking for the source of the heating a rather meaningless exercise? Essentially isn't that ignoring the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.

    You cite Anderson et al 2004 as supporting the idea that observed OLR spectrum changes in the 600-800 cm-1 range differ from that expected. Here is the text from Anderson et al on that subject:
    "The spectra in Fig. 8a are the result of a superposition of two different effects. First, there is an increase of greenhouse gases from 1970 to 1996 that gives rise to recognizable bands in the observed spectrum. This effect
    is known and understood theoretically and is the basis for the climate forcings of all GCMs. Harries et al. [38] showed that the expected bands could be detected in the observed IRIS/IMG di6erence spectra, confirming the capabilities of the two observing systems. But the important problem for modern climate science is to predict and to measure the response of other atmospheric variables (temperature, humidity and cloud) to a climate forcing. These changes also leave characteristic imprints on the outgoing thermal spectrum. The requirement is to separate FORCING and RESPONSE, and to compare the response to theoretical predictions. The response spectrum emphasizes the window region (800–1200 cm−1). This region is strongly
    affected by errors in instrument calibration. IRIS and IMG were calibrated before flight, but no details are given, and there is no reason to believe that the calibration was maintained during flight. One degree calibration error shared by the two instruments is not implausible. Consequently, information from Fig. 8a in the window region is of limited value for determining the atmospheric response over 26 years, whereas a system with the measurement accuracy discussed in this paper would yield important information on atmospheric behavior." (my emphasis)

    Anderson does not seem at all to be claiming that expected changes are absent; rather that there are 2 aspects to the expected changes; changes due to CO2 and then changes due to the thermal response of the atmosphere to the increased CO2 and that it is difficult to separate the two effects. Particularly they discuss the limitations of the existing sensor platforms. This hardly surprising since Anderson et al 2004 is a paper primarily about exploring the limitations of existing satellite systems and what the needs are for future satellites. They aren't really reporting on the observed changes at all.

    Also Anderson et al focus substantially on to 800-1200 cm-1 range. The graphs in fact only go down to 700. How can you draw any conclusions regarding what they report fo 600 to 800 from this?

    Please explain how the claim you make for Anerson et al's results seems to be in conflict with what Anderson et al actually says.

  2. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Professor
    " I do not know who has done such experiments. "

    You might want to read:
    Conrath et al 1970. "The Infrared Interferometer experiment on Nimbus 3"

  3. Eli Rabett says:

    Major points

    1. Your figures showing correlations pretty much rely on using fat lines that obscure the actual data See Figs. 5, 6 and 7 for a start.

    2. You use the land+ocean global temperature record, which ignores the fact that the oceans have not equilibrated to the current forcings including CFC. See Fig 11

    3. Further, your prediction of future climate warming ignores the effects of HFCs, whose growth counterbalances the fall in CFC concentration

    4. As Glen Tamblyn implied, your understanding of the greenhouse effect is totally wrong. Here is an explanation which starts from your level but gets it right

    5. Your statistical analyses are little more than "look at that", unfortunately (see point 1) when we look, we find hocus pocus.

    Minor points:
    1. Posting to arXiv is trivia and there is no end to the amount of nonsense there, so please, understand that you are fooling no one by appealing to their standards for posting.

    2. IJMPB is a laughingstock of a journal as far as climate goes and not very well regarded in other physics areas either.

  4. Alsee says:

    Wow. You might be a crackpot if...
    peer review states your work goes against the laws of physics, and you reply with an entirely non-responsive "I do not think this criticism makes sense".

    This Lu guy is nothing but a numerologist. He mines vast quantities and combinations of data to locate entirely random false-positive statistically significant correlations.

    • Dan Cummings says:

      The Vancouver Sun is a daily newspaper. They did not reveal their full conversations with scientists (that is, what they asked, the responses, and whether those they asked had actually read the paper), nor the complete list of whom they contacted (and the complete record of responses, and whether, indeed, any of those they contacted had read the paper, which is unlikely as it wasn't yet publicly available). This makes the sensationalist report in the Vancouver Sun next to useless, especially when the people they quote have their entire careers invested in an alternate theory.

  5. anonymous says:

    "Climate scientist Dr. Murry Salby, Professor and Climate Chair at Macquarie University, Australia explains in a recent, highly-recommended lecture presented at Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany, why man-made CO2 is not the driver of atmospheric CO2 or climate change"

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.sg/2013/06/climate-scientist-dr-murry-salby.html?m=1

  6. angered says:

    what angers me about the media response to this paper is that people could get weird ideas and start thinking it's okay to burn c02 because it doesn't warm the planet...even if that were the case which I'm prety sure it's not...WHO CARES.. the oceans are mopping it all up, becoming so acidic they will soon be unable to support life, which will affect billions. irresponsible science and irresponsible media reponse.

  7. Noneintelligent says:

    You won't convince many residents of the interior of Alaska that GW is real:

    Nov 2013 Cantwell -40F. Looks like a record going back at least 30 years.

    The winter that wouldn't end: Winter 2012-2013 was a record for longest in Fairbanks, and other interior communities I'm familiar with. Winter didn't end until late May. On May 13, I saw frozen over lakes and rivers in Anchorage - that's unheard of; it's usually almost ice-free in April. I was unable to hike in Denali State Park in late May, because of snow. ADOT didn't open the Denali Hwy until June. Summer was, except for a few brief heat spells, cold.

    Winter 2011-2012 was the coldest in maybe 50 years or more. Temps in -50 to -60F. An old Indian in Denali Borough said it was the coldest he'd ever seen - he's in his 70s, and lived there his entire life. Three years ago he told me all claims of -60F in his community were bogus. Then he told me it was, as I recall, -65F during Winter 2012. He used to believe Gore. Not sure if he does now.

    Summer 2012 was so cold folks I talked to didn't feel we had one. Ditto for Summer 2011.

    Your CO2 theory doesn't look so good to me. I'll go with the rooster crowing. At least Dr. Lu's facts seem to fit reality.

    • Rick - Climate Science Watch says:

      First of all, Qing-Bin Lu doesn't say there is no global warming -- he attributes it to non-CO2 factors in a way that is rejected by the most credible climate science experts. Second, you are describing climate variability and weather extremes in Alaska that have an unclear relationship to anthropogenic climate change. Some climate scientists believe anthropogenic global warming is affecting the jet stream in a way that could help explain some of the patterns observed in Alaska, as well as at lower latitudes. I am not an expert on Alaska, but apparently earlier this year there was record-breaking heat in parts of Alaska, e.g., the town of McGrath hit 94F. Just a few weeks earlier, the same spot was 15 degrees.

      Alaska Summer Weather 2013: Record High And Lows Tied To Undulating Jet Stream
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/alaska-summer-weather-2013_n_3495850.html

  8. Noneintelligent says:

    I appreciate your comments BUT a couple of brief warm spells (which I mentioned in my previous comment), or even the warm October 2013, don't negate the past 3 years of record cold weather.

    2010 was the last "normal" year - still cold. Recent 24/7-365 data from WUG:
    2010 Fairbanks 29F, Healy 29F, Coldfoot 24F, Deadhorse 14F
    2011 Fairbanks 28F, Healy 30F, Coldfoot 23F, Deadhorse 13F
    2012 Fairbanks 24F, Healy 20F, Coldfoot 20F, Deadhorse 13F
    You should note the almost unbroken trend towards colder temps. Also note that Coldfoot is well up in the Arctic, and Deadhorse is on the Arctic Ocean.

    Used to be there were some folks here who accepted GW, but it's been years since I heard any interior Alaska folks say they believed in GW. The usual response is it's a joke. Well, we're the ones who suffer the cold.

    From the way I understand Dr. Lu's thesis, the above Alaska temp trend is to be expected.

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