This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
The $64,000 question over zooming in is always whether on not the variable detail on top of the offset is important or not. Sometimes even quite small variations can have large effects especially when compounded over a period and acting as the trigger for helper effects.
Actually it can be useful to produce offset or zoomed in graphs with the same visual scale of variation but different absolute scales. Simple reference to the axes helps judge the relative importance or sensitivity to different effects which can be clearer than the full scale representation loosing the "unimportant" detail. Which may not be so unimportant.
I wonder if anyone has actually tried to do an experiment to see what the effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are in a lab situation. I imagine something could be done along the lines of enclosing a suitable surface and atmosphere in a transparent dewar illuminated by suitable radiation. Obviously it would be impossible to simulate the proper free space situation with solar equivalent black body radiation but examining the effect of broad line illumination in the dewars transparency window is quite possible. It would also be possible to examine the effect of illuminating at selected absorption band using suitable lasers. I imagine that an internal electric heater would be needed to establish the baseline temperature. Calibrating the system would not be trivial but none of the losses are terribly hard to deal with. It would at least give realistic estimates for the extra energy capture in the chosen absorption bands.
Once again I can't disagree too much.
Looking at the magnitudes from a distance though to start off IS useful.
A former professor of mine at Oregon State described some research that was being done in the boundary layer. He explained that they were able to transfer huge amounts of energy into water by making the orifices smaller than the boundary layer. I walked away impressed thinking about the application of such technology to water heaters and the like. Then I asked a silly question "How could this be used in real life". My experience includes Naval Nuclear Reactors. The chemistry of hot water is challenging. Some of the most important work done in the Engineering Section is making sure that the system doesn't fail due to corrosion issues. Start pumping water through nano tubes and you are going to find that those tubes are clogged really quickly.
The big picture can never be forgotten.
After looking at JEB's webpage on 'Chartmanship', I think you may be overlooking the issue of the educational level of the audience, Brad.
JEB's concern seems to be the use of chartmanship to fool the 'average lay reader' who is not familiar with graphs, and particularly where graphs are used in newspapers. Now if we look at the webpage where the graph has probably come from (based on the URL) on the Junkscience.com website:
I wouldn't say that the Junkscience webpage is intended to be read by the 'average lay reader', it looks like it would only be understood by somebody qualified to work in some sort of technical occupation.
On the Chartmanship webpage, the global average temperature anomaly curve is used as an example of 'advanced chartmanship'. I've always thought that public support for being concerned about global warming in the UK would show a significant drop if the actual temperature reference level was used in global average temperature graphs, which I understand is about 14 deg C. In England the average annual temperature is 8.5 to 11 deg C, so the sometimes mentioned political target of avoiding a 2 deg C temperature rise wouldn't even take the UK up to the current world average temperature.
On a final note. I've got a feeling that Microsoft are responsible for introducing this comparatively new word 'chart' to mean a 'graph'. I think it comes from terminolgy used in MS Excel.
The effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels is 'consensed' at around 4 W/sqm, so the graph portraying the solar effect on W/sqm correctly operates on the same order of magnitude.