The distortion of science for ideological purposes has a long history, and the results are generally ugly.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Measurement of Temperature

When measuring the mass of an object one places the object on a weighing scale and notes the reading. One is there allowed to state that the mass of object "A" is 10 kg, as an example.

When measuring temperature new problems occur - a measurement of temperature is that when two objects are in thermal equilibrium, (meaning no heat moves from one or the other body). Here we have a thermometer (calibrated in the standard manner) and another object whatever that might be, ice-cube or ice berg.

One then might state that the temperature is 0 degrees Celsius, and one might additionally state that the temperature of the ice-berg is 0 degrees Celsius.

But when a climate scientist states the mean temperature tomorrow is going to be 15 degrees Celsius, what physical object is going to be at 15 dC?

An iceberg and an icecube are both at Zero degrees Celsius but the thermal effect of either is quite significant. So simply stating that something is at X degrees Celsius means nothing physically. Temperature is an intensive variable independent of the quantity of material it is associated with.

Something to ponder over while reacting to a Stern Report.

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