Author: Ted Holden I claim that empirical evidence involving Venus is being doctored and f

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

====================================================================== Author: Ted Holden ====================================================================== I claim that empirical evidence involving Venus is being doctored and falsified at every turn because it does not fit with scientists' pre-conceived ideas involving the age of our solar system, and because it does not match any of the logical requirements of Carl Sagan's "super-greenhouse" theory. Carl Sagan and Immanuel Velikovsky are the only two authors of theories which attempt to explain the intense surface heat of Venus. Velikovsky claims that Venus is simply a new planet, which has not had time to cool; a wealth of historical evidence supports him. Sagan claims that the < 2% of solar energy which somehow finds its way through the thick CO2 clouds of Venus to the surface is forever trapped there and cannot re-radiate as infra-red flux and thus escape. This he claims causes the intense heat; he even manages to keep a straight face. "Super-Greenhouse" REQUIRES that Venus be in thermal equilibrium. Is it? Robert Anton Wilson's "The New Inquisition", page 73 quotes T.B. Pawlicki to the effect that Jupiter, like Venus, gives off more heat than it absorbs from the sun, and cites Funk and Wagnall's encyclopedia as a source. ....................................................... The Nov. 13 1980 issue of New Scientist contained an article entitled "The mystery of Venus' internal heat", which read as follows: "Two years surveillance by the Pioneer Venus orbiter seems to show that Venus is radiating away more energy than it receives from the sun. If this surprising result is confirmed, it means that the planet itself is producing far more heat than the earth does. F.W. Taylor of the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford presented these measurements at a Royal Society meeting last week. Venus surface temperature is higher than any other in the solar system, at 480 C. The generally accepted theory is that sunlight is absorbed at Venus' surface, and re-radiated as infrared. The later is absorbed in the atmosphere, which thus acts as a blanket, keeping the planet hot. It is similar to the way a greenhouse keeps warm. Pioneer has shown that there is enough carbon dioxide and the tiny proportion of water vapor needed to make the greenhouse effect work -- just. If this is the whole story, the total amount of radiation emitted back into space, after its journey up through the atmospheric blanket must be exactly equal to that absorbed from sunlight (otherwise the surface temperature would be continuously changing). But Taylor found that Venus radiates 15 percent more energy than it receives. To keep the surface temperature constant, Venus must be producing this extra heat from within. All the inner planets, including earth, produce internal heat from radioactive elements within their rocks. But Taylor's observations of Venus would mean that the planet is producing almost 10,000 times more heat than the earth, and it is inconceivable according to present theories of planetary formation, that Venus should have thousands of times more of the radioactive elements than Earth does. At last weeks meeting, Taylor's suggestion met with skepticism - not to say sheer disbelief - from other planetary scientists. Taylor himself has no explanation for his result. He simply points out that the discrepancy seemed at first to be simply experimental error - but with more precise measurements, it refused to go away. More measurements are needed before astronomers accept the result, and most planetary scientists are obviously expecting - and hoping - that the embarrassing extra heat will disappear on further investigation. Astronomers now claim that Venus is "within error bounds of thermal equilibrium" and cite the noted astronomer Tomasko as a source. I will explain how this works momemtarily. ............................................................. Consider then what happens as probes descend deep into the atmosphere of Venus towards the surface. I am looking at two articles from Icarus magazine dated 1982 and 1985, the first by H.E. Revercomb, L.A. Sromovsky, and V.E. Suomi of the Space Science and Engineering Center, Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison, the second by the same three gentlemen along with R.W. Boese of NASA-Ames (Icarus 52, 279-300 and Icarus 61, 521-538). Both of these articles involve the infra-red flux sensors on the Venus probes which landed in Dec. 1978, so that even by the time the first article was written (82), these people had quite awhile to think about what the probes had told them. Three small probes carried net flux radiometers carried externally, and a larger probe carried an infrared radiometer internally, which viewed the atmosphere through a window. All of these instruments measured the infrared flux of the Venereal atmosphere. In the upper atmosphere, all of these instruments showed infrared fluxes which the scientists could at least think about living with; as they descended, however, all began to show very large net fluxes UPWARDS, which is what you might expect if (HORRORS) Velikovsky's view of Venus were the correct one: "Below the Venus cloud deck both LIR and SNFR flux measurements appear to affected by serious errors..." "...Although the LIR [large probe enclosed instrument] measurements might be correctable, using the multispectral information of the data to deduce the magnitude of the asymmetry, no reliable corrections have yet been obtained [by 1982 three years after the fact]... Thus we cannot at this time make use of the LIR results..." However, if the scientists lacked imagination in forcing the large probe data into a suitable uniformitarian, Saganesque mold, no such lack occurred with the data from the probes carried on the three small probes: "The magnitudes of the corrections for both instruments are determined by forcing agreement with a range of calculated net fluxes at one altitude deep in the atmosphere, where the net flux must be small because of the large density of CO2. "Must be small" based on the known facts of uniformitarianism and "Super-Greenhouse". The idea that four separate instruments of two different sorts, three carried externally and one internally all telling the same story MIGHT possibly just be correct does not even occur to the scientists. Religious belief overrides evidence; the round evidence must be pounded into the square hole. .............................................................. But then, we know that Venus is "within error bounds of" thermal equilibrium in its upper atmosphere (as a number of the t.o regular crew members delight in noting), and so these lower atmosphere figures cannot possibly be right, no? No indeed! The astronomers and others are citing Tomasko's article on pages 611 - 612 of THE BOOK (VENUS, Hunten, Colin, Donahue, Moroz, Univ. of Arizona Press, 1983). This monstrosity is a size-equivalent to War & Peace, GWTW, and the Bible, and costs $80 in North America. They aren't making it on volume... One notes also that they clearly intend that ordinary hoodlums (such as myself) should not have access to the book; it turns out, this could cause some embarassment to the astronomers. It turns out, that there are two articles on thermal equilibrium, the Tomasko article on pages 611 - 612, AND the article by F.W. Taylor on page 658. It turns out that only by adopting the most myopic view which it is possible to take can you get thermal equilibrium from this story, and that is precisely what Tomasko does. For thermal equilibrium to pertain, two numbers must match up; the first is an emissions number which all parties involved agree reads right at .76. The second number is a planetary albedo. Tomasko claims (pp 611-612) "For the whole planet to be in equilibrium with absorbed sunlight, the bolometric albedo would have to be .76..." Nobody anywhere appears to disagree with that statement. Now, the Pioneer Venus readings on albedo (Taylor's article, page 658) was .80 plus/minus .02, and the calculations from Venera data (also page 658) are .79, plus .02, minus .01. The closest you could get and stay within error bounds is .78. Now, you might ask, what's a lousy .02 amongst friends; doesn't sound like much... This is one of those cases in which a little bit appears to go a long way. Consider what Taylor claims would be required to be believed if the .80 figure for albedo were to hold good (also page 658): "Clearly, the Pioneer measurements of emission and reflection are not consistent with eachother if radiative balance applies. A source inside Venus equal in magnitude to 20% of the solar input (i.e. accounting for the difference between A = 0.76 and 0.80 is very unlikely since Venus is thought to have an Earth-like makeup which would imply heat sources several orders of magnitude less than this. Also, even if such sources were postulated, it is difficult to construct a model in which these fairly large amounts of heat can be transported from the core to the atmosphere via a rocky crust without the later becoming sufficiently plastic to collapse the observed surface relief. This could only be avoided if the transport were very localized, i.e., via a relatively small number of giant volcanoes. Although large, fresh-looking volcanoes do appear to exist on Venus (see chapter 6), and the content of the atmosphere is consistent with vigorous output from these, a simple comparison with terrestrial volcanism shows that the volcanic activity on Venus would have to be on an awesome scale to account for the missing 10^15 W or so of power." That, of course (the little thing about "awesome" volcanic activity), is more or less what Magellan tells us. Taylor, naturally enough, does not particularly care to believe what the data is telling him. Nonetheless, the data IS telling him that there is no way that Venus is even within error bounds of thermal equilibrium. How then does Tomasko make such a claim? Tomasko cites one 1968 calculation of albedo of .77 +- .07 without bothering to tell you that that estimate was later revised upwards to .80 +- .07 in 1975 (Taylor tells us that on page 657), and notes that Taylor indicates that the .02 error bounds for the Pioneer reading (the most recent, and done with the best instruments from the best distance) may be "too small". Taylor indeed notes (page 758): "A more acceptable alternative is that the preliminary estimate of 0.80 +- .02 for the albedo from the PV measurements is too high, since the uncertainty limit is now known from further work to be too conservative (J. V. Martinchik, personal communication). A fuller analysis of PV albedo data - still the best in terms of wave length, spatial and phase coverage, and radiometric precision, which is likely to be obtained for the forseeable future, is likely to resolve this puzzle. In conclusion then, the best thermal measurements of Venus, with the assumption of global energy balance, yeild a value of the albedo of 0.76 +- .01; this is the most probable value." Tomasko is basing his entire case on one entirely outdated calculation, and upon a "personal communication from Martinchik". That's hear-say... worthless. Tomasko is thus seen as nothing more than a source of misinformation on the entire topic of thermal equalibrium on Venus. It gets funnier; the last time I posted any of this to talk.origins, one of the regular t.o crew, and apparently one with serious astronomical credentials, replied that I needed to read something else of Tomasko's. The question then becomes: "How much misinformation is required before one begins to truly this business?" Taylor is saying that the best measurements available tell us that thermal balance is not to be had on Venus, and that Sagan and his super greenhouse theory are FUBAR, but that that can't really be, that he and others are probably, hopefully looking at something the wrong way, but he doesn't know what that something is. That's a long, long way from claiming that Venus is "within error bounds" of equilibrium. The only thing in the world which should cause a non-prejudiced reader NOT to question the integrity of these two, particularly Tomasko, is the fact that, in all likelihood, both are blithly unaware that there is a competing theory for origins of Venus, which positively predicts and calls for such a lack of thermal equilibrium. They are both trying to bring the numbers into conformance with the only cosmological base system they know.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank