Conrad Michael's $10,000 reward to prove him wrong about contrails.

Asylumkid

New Member
Conrad Michael has posted an interesting Youtube video. He claims he is using science to disprove persistent contrails. I hope there is someone here who can debunk his "science" and take his $10000.00



 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Well I'm up to 2:41 and he's already made a major blunder.

He says "the process by which a contrail is formed is sublimation. The process by which a persistent contrail is formed is the opposite: desublimation."

Totally incorrect. Sublimation refers to a solid turning directly into a gas, eg when CO₂ dry ice turns back to gas, or snow "evaporates" on cold dry days with no melting.

So how can a contrail form by sublimation? That would suggest solid (ice) turning to gas (water vapour). Ice is visible. Water vapour is invisible. Sublimation is actually the process by which contrails DISAPPEAR.

Both persistent and non-persistent contrails initially form by the opposite process: water vapour turning into solid ice (via the liquid phase).

If the surrounding air is dry, the resulting ice will then sublimate and disappear. If it is humid, then water vapour will deposit (or desublimation) into the ice instead, making a persistent trail.

Next: the parameters he gives at 3:40 are not correct. The altitude is irrelevant. What is important is the temperature and the humidity. You can get persistent contrails well below 30,000 feet in cold regions.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Ok well his statement at 4:15 is easily refuted. He says you need all three parameters:

1) altitude above 30,000 feet
2) temperature below -40°C
3) humidity above 100% RHi, which he equates to 60% RHw.

The Appleman chart extended to ground level clearly shows that persistent contrails can and do form where not all those parameters are met.

image.jpg

If it's cold enough, the altitude can be lower (30,000ft = about 300mb).

Likewise, if the temperature is below about -33°C then you can get persistent contrails at sea level (1000mb).

And, from the chart, if the temperature is low enough you will ALWAYS get contrails, regardless of relative humidity (RHw). He is showing values way below -50°C. Not true - see below


He also quite clearly doesn't understand that radiosonde data has a dry bias in the upper atmosphere.

I could do with $10,000 right about now. Thanks Mike! :)
 
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Henk001

Active Member
Ok well his statement at 4:15 is easily refuted. He says you need all three parameters:

1) altitude above 30,000 feet
2) temperature below -40°C
3) humidity above 100% RHi, which he equates to 60% RHw.

The Appleman chart extended to ground level clearly shows that persistent contrails can and do form where not all those parameters are met.

View attachment 13734

If it's cold enough, the altitude can be lower (30,000ft = about 300mb).

Likewise, if the temperature is below about -33°C then you can get persistent contrails at sea level (1000mb).

And, from the chart, if the temperature is low enough you will ALWAYS get contrails, regardless of relative humidity (RHw). He is showing values way below -50°C.

He also quite clearly doesn't understand that radiosonde data has a dry bias in the upper atmosphere.

I could do with $10,000 right about now. Thanks Mike! :)
Congratulations.
Do you have a link to this Appleman chart? Is this from the Appleman 1953 article? I tried to find it (with google scholar) but I can't find the article itself, only later articles referring to it.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Congratulations.
Do you have a link to this Appleman chart? Is this from the Appleman 1953 article? I tried to find it (with google scholar) but I can't find the article itself, only later articles referring to it.
The Appleman chart extended to the Earth's surface is from http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/contrail-edu/resources-activities-appleman_student.php

Appleman's original paper is not available in full online as far as I know. The abstract and opening page is here: http://www.attivissimo.net/sciechimiche/appleman01copertina.pdf
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
OK, on watching the video again, the temperatures weren't as low as I said, although it is hard to see as he deliberately pans the camera down quickly and often avoids showing the temperature column.

His whole video, though, is based on the misconception that a single atmospheric sounding characterises the atmosphere over the whole area for several hours. That is quite clearly nonsense. Even if the sounding provided a reliable measure of the humidity (which it doesn't), the humidity can change from near zero to total saturation within just a few dozen miles and/or a few hours.

For instance see these upper-air humidity charts for the USA today. They show the humidity at 300 millibars, or about 30,000 feet. The two charts are just six hours apart.

output_8E859a.gif

Notice how (a) the humidity varies hugely over small distances, and (b) there are many areas that go from dark browns (10-20% RH) up to dark greens (80-90% RH), or vice versa, within six hours. Look, for instance, at western Nebraska and northwestern Wyoming on these maps.

Clearly, using a twice-daily weather sounding in a single location to characterise the humidity is pretty hopeless.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
Ok well his statement at 4:15 is easily refuted. He says you need all three parameters:

1) altitude above 30,000 feet
2) temperature below -40°C
3) humidity above 100% RHi, which he equates to 60% RHw.
Of these three parameters, only the last one is 'absolute', as this is the necessary condition for persistence (i.e., deposition of ice to the ice crystals in contrail). At the ice-supersaturated humidity conditions the contrails will persist and spread out regardless of their origin: engine exhaust (from jet or turboprop aircraft, rocket etc.) or aerodynamic contrails.

The first two parameters are related to the formation of exhaust contrails. Basically, these are
sufficient conditions for the engine exhaust mixing with ambient air and cooling down 'faster' than expanding, so it achieves water-supersaturated humidity at some point and condenses, then freezes into a linear cloud of ice crystals. The main parameter here is the temperature of ambient air, whereas the altitude is largely redundant, as the temperature at altitude above 30,000 feet is normally below -40°C. The other important parameter here is the temperature of exhaust gases, which is determined by the engine. The cooler the exhaust, the higher the limit for the outside temperature for contrail formation. For example, some of the modern turboprop engines are are known to produce contrails at 23,000 feet, where the air temperature is about ten degrees "warmer", -30°C.

In addition, aerodynamic contrails also can form well bellow 30,000 feet and persist in the super-saturated ambient air at temperatures above -40°C.
 
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Belfrey

Senior Member
Clearly, using a twice-daily weather sounding in a single location to characterise the humidity is pretty hopeless.
In addition, it is recognized in the scientific literature that the sounding measurements from most observation points are unreliable for RH at high altitudes, as was discussed here.

Edit: But I do give the guy in the video credit for having put in some effort to look into real scientific sources on the issue.
 

Balance

Senior Member
I got 10 bucks says he won't pay up lol

p.s. Is water vapour invisible? I keep thinking of fog and mist and even my kettle boiling, I can see it just fine. What I misunderstanding?
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
I got 10 bucks says he won't pay up lol

p.s. Is water vapour invisible? I keep thinking of fog and mist and even my kettle boiling, I can see it just fine. What I misunderstanding?
What you see is condensation. It is not an invisible gaseous water vapour but an aerosol of tiny liquid water droplets.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I got 10 bucks says he won't pay up lol

p.s. Is water vapour invisible? I keep thinking of fog and mist and even my kettle boiling, I can see it just fine. What I misunderstanding?
If you look closely at the spout of the kettle you will probably see that right above the spout you don't see any "steam". That's the water vapour. You only see what we call steam once the vapour begins to condense into tiny droplets.



The same principle applies to contrails, where you don't see the visible trail until some distance behind the engine.
 
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Hevach

Senior Member
Honestly, I'd be happy with a cheese stained Taco Bell napkin with "TEN THOUSEND DOLLERS" scrawled on it with a crayon if it meant admitting he was wrong.
 
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NoParty

Senior Member
No way.

I got 100 American dollars says he doesn't pay.

Listen to how he sets up the criteria...guy with zero credentials will only deal with PhD holders!

Oh, wait! PhD in meteorology! (maybe Atmospheric Sciences or Physics, depending on his mood)
Only! Let's get the pool of potential winners infinitesimally tiny to begin...
then pile on so many conditions, that it's inconceivable that they could all be met,
without this guy arguing that some minor point wasn't "really" met.
This guy has set it up so that it's unwinnable...he says so himself:
"I know they can't do it, what I'm asking them to do." (14:09 in)

The whole thing smells funny. I keep saying "this guy" because I don't know if his name is actually
"Conrad Michael" or Mike McCoy"...both are claimed. Here and elsewhere on the 'net.
Makes it pretty hard to look "this guy" up and see who and how credible he is.


Even the 'nam Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol hat he flashes struck me as odd.
"This hat fits me" he cryptically asserts...his sole claim of credibility in a 21+ minute video.
Obviously, he's trying to lead viewers to assume he served, well, in LRRP...
but all he's actually said is that a particular hat fits his head...sorry, but I have no reason
to believe that "Mike's" (or "Conrad's") headgear didn't come from the local surplus store.

It's weird and oddly compelling video...but I think this vid's 15 minutes of fame should be over...
 

Ross Marsden

Senior Member
Hard to go past this:

(Somewhat off topic)
I've always had difficulty with this meme.
Yes, fogged breath and contrail are different things.

But they have 3 important things which are the same:
  1. the condensation is the result of a mixture (exhaust and environment) reaching water saturation
  2. if the environment is cold enough, water saturation and condensation will occur
  3. at least one phase change is involved in the formation
For the anti chemtrail myth effort, all of these are important to get across to demystify contrails.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
(Somewhat off topic)
I've always had difficulty with this meme.
Yes, fogged breath and contrail are different things.

But they have 3 important things which are the same:
  1. the condensation is the result of a mixture (exhaust and environment) reaching water saturation
  2. if the environment is cold enough, water saturation and condensation will occur
  3. at least one phase change is involved in the formation
For the anti chemtrail myth effort, all of these are important to get across to demystify contrails.
I don't think I could fit all that in the image :)

That's all in the "condensation" phase, which is included on both sides of the image. Yes, the condensation is the same. The difference is in what happens after condensation. Contrails freeze, and that's what the full article is about, I point out the similarities, and then explain the differences. It's deliberately written in simple language to get the point across.

http://contrailscience.com/contrails-are-condensation-but-not-like-your-breath/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Why can't breath freeze as well if it's cold enough?
It can, it's just not usually cold enough, as I noted in the CS article:
http://contrailscience.com/contrails-are-condensation-but-not-like-your-breath/
 

skephu

Senior Member
People will ask why it doesn't freeze below 0 °C. I know, it's supercooling, but that's another concept to explain.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
People will ask why it doesn't freeze below 0 °C. I know, it's supercooling, but that's another concept to explain.
well things dont freeze instantly when you put them in the freezer. If they did the beer drinkers would be bummed.

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
does his explanation help? maybe someone can explain his error.

View attachment 13817

https://archive.is/oi2ZJ
His errors is in assuming the trails are directly above the ridge. They are several miles behind it, probably over 20 miles.

He says "The trails is not as high above the ridge as the ridge is above the camera". That makes no sense, you could get the exact same image with a 20' high house instead of a ridge, and it would not mean the trails were at 40'. You need to account for the distance to the ridge, and the distance to the trails.

 
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