Honestly this is pretty awkward and hard to put in words. And certainly it is a bit reminiscent of the fairy tale "The Emperors New Clothes". Also it will put me into a role where I might be considered a narcissist maniac, who believes to be smarter than all the experts. Anyhow, what needs to be done, needs to be done.
I have a little bit of a restless mind syndrome. If there is something I do not understand, or looks contradictory to me, I can not help but to identify the cause. I just need to find out if I am too stupid and where I am wrong, or whether there is a flaw in the subject matter, which I always consider an option. Before it is settled, there will always be this tickle and no peace of mind. So digging and digging and digging comes natural, I just can't help it. I might add that I am highly gifted and have some experience in system analysis.
In climate science there are a lot of issues which likely even trigger the simple minded. A part of it is due to social patterns everyone easily recognizes. If alarmism sounds like home shopping offers, then you will not need to know about the physics to turn sceptical. It is simply cheap to blame everything on global warming and alarmists serve their agenda no favour by doing so. It is stupid rhetoric that yields opposition.
If you take a closer look, these patterns do not really change. The physics of "climate change" contain plenty of cheap shots - simplifications, assumptions and exaggerations which are not accurate. I mean if Greta, Al Gore or Mr. DiCaprio talk non sense, you can hold that against them, but not against the science. They are advocates in some way, but not experts (though Al Gore would call himself one). But if the top notch scientists and institutions get it wrong, it becomes hard to find any excuses.
Let us discuss the situation based on a very real and significant example. Surface emissivity of planet Earth is about 0.91. I am going to provide a lot more information on this specific question, just not here and now. This figure is extremely important to assess even the magnitude of the greenhouse effect. "Consensus science" has this figure at 1.0, assuming Earth was a perfect black (actually black!) body. It does so in order to emphasize and exaggerate the significance of greenhouse gases, and it avoids any discussion of the subject like the plaque.
And then we have the "critical" side. Let us pick a statement by Dr. Roy Spencer as example. I mean I don't want to talk him down, he is doing a great job with the UAH temperature record. However the statement represents well the problems the professional "critical" side has in general.
As the #9 on his list of stupid skeptic arguments:
THE EARTH ISN’T A BLACK BODY. Well, duh. No one said it was. In the broadband IR, though, it’s close to a blackbody, with an average emissivity of around 0.95. But whether a climate model uses 0.95 or 1.0 for surface emissivity isn’t going to change the conclusions we make about the sensitivity of the climate system to increasing carbon dioxide1
Impressive, just about everything is wrong with this statement. First of all it is not a stupid, but a perfectly reasonable argument. Second, every time someone claims without GHGs Earth was 33K colder, they mean the surface had an emissivity of 1 indeed. The same is equally true if someone claims surface emissions were 390W/m2, or even higher. And these claims are not made by "no one", but rather by almost everyone in climate science, and definitely by the IPCC. Then if emissivity was 0.95 indeed, the GHE would instantly shrink to 29K and surface emissions to 370W/m2. These are significant differences. Fourth it is not 0.95, but 0.91, and in another place Dr. Spencer assumes it to be 0.982 btw. And finally of course our assessment of the magnitude of the GHE has a direct impact on all climate models. Essentially global warming is nothing but an enhancement of the GHE due to an increase of GHGs. You will not predict this enhancement, if you do not know the original magnitude.
However, the problem is actually more profound. Dr. Spencer, as most of his colleagues, thinks there is no possible exploit and so he does not care. It is a classical mistake to make if you think the things from the end, as Angela Merkel would put it. The problem is, you do not know the end and what or who will have a role to play before getting there. What we do know however, is that you are supposed to know the basics of your discipline. How could you be a master hairdresser, if you can not hold a scissor? How could you be a chef if you fail on scrambled eggs? And how could you be climate scientist, if you do not know surface emissivity? It is simply ludicrous.
You need to know the basics and you must not substitute them with assumptions. I mean what if (spoiler alert!) the alleged flaw with surface emissivity is not a single, isolated problem? What if there was a number of issues, all pointing in the same direction and accumulating? Then these pesky little details might make all the difference in a series of unfortunate events. The only precondition left for disaster to happen, is ignoring the tiny flaws from the start.
Eventually we have a third party here, the unprofessional critical side. Even though there may be noble exceptions, it is mostly a flat earther like shit show, where people argue like "I do not understand it, so I have proven it wrong!". Next to less relevant side shows, that is what is dominating alternative climate sites.
Fubar might be an (in-)appropriate term to describe the situation. One side is misinforming by intent (which does not rule out sheer incompetence), the other side does neither care nor understand. Climate discussion, as far as it even occurs, is a vacuum of intellect. And even trying to bring some sanity into this void will be met with suspicion, if not straight forward hostility. It is that point where you realize, either you do it yourself, or it will not be done at all. It is a job for intellectual heavy weights, not for, well, the opposite.
So this shall be a source of education for everyone who is interested in the all important, but usually ignored details of the GHE theory and related issues. We will explore these questions not because it is easy, but because it is hard to do and no one else seems to have what it takes for the job. It is a fact finding mission, not a theory building one. Yet, with all the new shiny tools, of course it will be mandatory to add up one and one and name the obvious. And of course this shall be a resource for climate scientists, nobel laureates, institutions like NASA or IPCC, to finally get a clue of the very basics of climate science (not that they would necessarily like to).