Okay......... I've spent a couple more hours pondering the ancient Garetz article.
The Garetz-Nickerson formulae are indeed based on Arrhenius as I mentioned previously, but they claim that degradation reaction rate doubles for every 15 C, not every 10 C as many other reactions do and that I mentioned before. Okay. I can accept that.
The data and equations were finalized in about 1993. I believe hop harvest and storage technology has come a little ways since 1993. As such, I propose that the Storage Factor SF from Table IV might be as low as 0.25, or for fun let's say it is 0.33, i.e., a little bit better than the 0.5 minimum possible back in 1993.
Digging a little deeper and pulling up some old Nickerson references, it appears both alpha and beta acid losses are accounted for here, not just alpha. So, part of the loss I think is beta. But for conservatism, we can ignore beta and assume it's all alpha that is lost. Alright.
Now for average hops' sake, I won't assume every hop is as bad as Cascade for storability per Table I (Cascade was said to be determined to lose 50% alpha and beta at 68 F over 180 days). Let's go with an average joe hop that loses an assumed 33% alpha (ignoring beta) after 180 days. This is what Garetz calls "%Lost".
From %Lost, go to Table II (which I verified accurate), and you get a rate constant k of 0.00222 for 33% lost for average-joe hop.
Now, storage temperature..... I know I have my freezer set at exactly 5 F. Others might have their hops stored in the refrigerator at say 35 F. Let's see how that computes..... For 5 F, Table III (also verified accurate) says the Temperature Factor TF is 0.198. And at 35 F, TF would be about 0.430. Hmm. Let's see what effect that has....
Pumping all the numbers into the bastardized Arrhenius equation, let's say for average-joe hop of initial 6.4% alpha, stored at 5 F or 35 F for 180 days, the maths look like this:
future alpha = 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.198*0.33*180) = 6.24% alpha (5 F) or
future alpha = 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.430*0.33*180) = 6.05% alpha (35 F)
So, whether stored in the fridge or in the freezer, I figure we've lost at most 0.35% alpha for average-joe hop after 6 months.
This all assumes a vacuum or nitrogen sealed pack, which I think most of us are doing these days. If not, it would be beneficial.
The same hop back in 1993 might see a loss more towards... 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.430*0.5*180) = 5.87% alpha
which I'm saying would be due to hop growers back in the old days not doing as good a job of packaging hops early after harvest, and the less stellar packaging materials and methods compared to today.
What does all this mean?
To me it means that the freezer is still better than the fridge, but in either case, let's keep that oxygen out of there if we can, m-kay? I haven't run a lot more numbers but you can see that if you are storing your hops as well as humanly possible, you're really NOT going to lose much alpha at all over time, and they'll keep for YEARS in either the fridge (pretty good) or freezer (awesome).
And there now you have the results of my geekiness to ponder for your enjoyment.
EDIT: And I still don't know exactly what makes different hop varieties SO very different on Table I. I don't really believe the variance can be so much, from 15% loss with one hop to 50% for another. I'll bet those percentages are good to about a half a sig fig -- they seem pretty rough -- but I don't have the source data to know that for a fact either.