Misunderstood Basic Concepts and the Greenhouse Effect

January 1st, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

If you Google the phrase ‘greenhouse effect definition’, you get the following at the top of the returned results:

green•house ef•fect
Noun
The trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet’s surface

Actually, the greenhouse effect would still operate even if the atmosphere absorbed just as much solar as it does infrared. When even Google gets the definition so wrong, how can mere mortals be expected to understand it?

The so-called greenhouse effect, which is an infrared effect, is admittedly not as intuitively obvious to us as solar heating. Every layer of the atmosphere becomes both a “source” as well as a “sink” of IR energy, which is a complication not faced with understanding solar heating, with the sun as the source.

To understand the greenhouse effect’s impact on surface temperature and the atmospheric temperature profile, there are some basic concepts which I continue to see misunderstandings about. If we can’t agree on these basics, then there really is no reason to continue the discussion because we are speaking different languages, with no way to translate between them.

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, just the issues which people most commonly misunderstand, and so represent stumbling blocks to an understanding of how the greenhouse effect operates. (I have phrased them as the way in which I believe things really work.)

1) The greenhouse effect does not necessarily require solar heating. If the climate system was heated by intense geothermal energy rather than the sun, the greenhouse effect would still operate.

2) Temperatures in the climate system are the result of energy fluxes gained versus lost. An equilibrium temperature is reached only after the rate of energy absorbed by a layer (of atmosphere, soil, or water) equals the rate of energy loss. This is contrary to the common misconception that energy input alone determines temperature.

3) The greenhouse effect does not violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Just because the greenhouse effect (passively) makes the surface of the Earth warmer than if only (active) solar heating was operating does not violate the 2nd Law, any more than insulating your house more can raise its interior temperature in the winter, given the same energy input for heating. Very high temperatures in a system can be created with relatively small energy fluxes into that system *if* the rate of energy loss can be reduced (see #2, above). Again, energy input into a system does not alone determine what the temperature in the system will be.

4) The rate of IR absorption by an atmospheric layer almost never equals the rate of IR emission. IR emission is very dependent upon the temperature of that layer, approximately increasing as the 4th power of the temperature. But IR absorption is much less dependent on the temperature of the layer. So, for example, if you irradiated a very cold layer of air with intense IR radiation, that layer would warm until the rate of IR emission equaled the rate of absorption. But in the real atmosphere, other kinds of energy fluxes are involved, too, and so in general IR emission and absorption for a layer are almost never equal.

5) Each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward. There are people who try to attach some sort of cosmic significance to their claim that the atmosphere supposedly emits as much IR energy upward as it does downward, which is only approximately true for thin atmospheric layers. But the claim is false. Ground-based, upward-viewing IR radiometers measure much stronger levels of downward atmospheric emission than do space-based, downward-viewing radiometers of upward atmospheric emission. The reason is mostly related to the tropospheric temperature lapse rate. If the atmosphere was isothermal (vertically uniform in temperature) then upward and downward emission would be the same. But it’s not. Even if you restrict the analysis to very thin atmospheric layers, the upward emission will be slightly less than the downward emission, because it originates from an average altitude which is slightly higher, and thus colder (except in the stratosphere). (As an interesting aside, many models actually do make the approximation that their individual layers emit as much IR radiation upward as downward, yet they still successfully create an atmospheric temperature profile which is realistic).

6) The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect. While it is true that convective overturning of the atmosphere leads to the observed lapse rate, that convection itself would not exist without the greenhouse effect constantly destabilizing the lapse rate through warming the lower atmosphere and cooling the upper atmosphere. Without the destabilization provided by the greenhouse effect, convective overturning would slow and quite possible cease altogether. The atmosphere would eventually become isothermal, as the full depth of the atmosphere would achieve the same temperature as the surface through thermal conduction; without IR emission, the middle and upper troposphere would have no way to cool itself in the face of this heating. This scenario is entirely theoretical, though, and depends upon the atmosphere absorbing/emitting absolutely no IR energy, which does not happen in the real world.

I’ll be happy to post corrections/additions to the above list as warranted. I also apologize in advance for the inevitable snarky comments you will find a few people posting. I believe in letting people speak their mind.


432 Responses to “Misunderstood Basic Concepts and the Greenhouse Effect”

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  1. Docmartyn says:

    You are going to have to explain why:-

    5) Each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward.

    is true. Ignoring the curvature of the layer, one would expect IR to be emitted equally in all directions.
    The fact that phenomenologically asymmetries are observed is very interesting.

    • Kasuha says:

      Atmospheric layers are not homogenous objects. They have non-zero width and along that width they participate on atmospheric inhomogenity – they are more dense and warmer at bottom than on top because of pressure and temperature lapse.
      The situation is similar to an insulated house in winter, you can measure more IR radiation on the inner side of the wall than on the outer side of the same wall. If there were two walls (layers), you’d get medium temperature in between the walls and again there would be difference in IR from each side of each wall.

  2. Bil Danielson says:

    Dr. Spencer, happy New Year! Thank you for all your hard work here and elsewhere; your blog and your studied observations and interpretations thereof are extremely helpful, educational, and enlightening!

  3. Stephen Wilde says:

    Nothing there to explain what the greenhouse effect actually is.

    We can see from the giant gas planets of Jupiter and Saturn that it arises from mass and gravity interacting and is a consequence of the properties of gases under pressure.

    Even with very little solar input both those planets achieve high temperatures in their centres such that the centres contain more energy than arrives from the sun.

    However, for a solid planet with a relatively thin atmosphere (including Venus since its atmosphere is thin compared to a gas giant) the issue of solar input becomes more important as the source of available energy.

    So the greenhouse effect for a non gas giant is a function solely of atmospheric mass, the strength of any gravitational field and the level of energy input from the sun.

    It has been proposed that the radiative characteristics of constituent gases make a difference but I do not believe they do.

    There is nothing in the science relating to the gas planets that mentions thermal sensitivity to so called greenhouse gases. It is all a matter of mass.

    I have just explained in the previous thread what really happens and why.

    Quite simply, radiatively active gases expand the atmosphere making it less dense so that more kinetic energy leaks to space and less is returned to the surface through adiabatically warmed descending air.

    The reduction in KE returning to the surface through the adiabatic loop offsets the thermal effect of any extra DWIR in the air which would otherwise have increased the insulating properties of the atmosphere to warm the surface.

    GHGs might hold more energy but in the process they reduce the insulating properties of the atmosphere to an equal extent.

  4. Gras Albert says:

    Best wishes for 2013 Dr Spencer

    Have you seen this article?

    http://klimaforskning.com/forum/index.php/topic,1148.msg21543.html#msg21543

    which has a nice explanation of GHE, assuming thermodynamic equilibrium

    Real-world climatic significance of ’the enhanced greenhouse effect’

    - The Sun can ONLY change (raise/lower) the surface temperature directly, that is by changing the net energy input – heat gain.

    - The atmosphere can ONLY change the surface temperature indirectly, that is by changing the net energy output – heat loss.

    a) If the solar input increases, the Earth’s surface will warm directly. That means the surface temperature will rise first. And THEN, as a response, the total heat loss from the surface will start increasing. To catch up. It will potentially increase until the heat gap is closed and balance is restored.

    b) If the atmospheric forcing is strengthened, for instance by increasing the optical depth to surface IR radiation through a rising atmospheric content of GHGs, the Earth’s surface will warm indirectly. That means the total surface heat loss will be suppressed (reduced) first. And THEN, as a response, the surface temperature will start rising. And it will potentially rise until the heat gap is closed and balance is restored.

  5. Claes Johnson says:

    Hi Roy: I posted the following question on my blog: What is your description of the greenhouse effect?

  6. RW says:

    Roy,

    “Each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward.”

    For sure, but none the less the energy balance at the surface is sum of all the fluxes – not just the radiative fluxes from the atmosphere and Sun. Just because the atmosphere directly radiates more power to the surface than it does out the TOA does not mean all of this direct radiative power is adding energy to sustain or modulate the surface temperature.

    This fundamental point seems to elude the atmospheric science community. For a state of energy balance, for a temperature of about 287K, the sum of all the fluxes cannot be more or less than about 385 W/m^2 (i.e. that temperature is slaved to power in W/m^2 by the Stefan-Boltzmann law).

    Moreover, only the flow of energy that is going Sun -> space -> atmosphere -> surface -> atmosphere -> space is adding energy to sustain or modulate the surface temperature. That which is only flowing surface -> atmosphere -> surface, is energy which is circultating with the system, and NOT adding energy to the surface.

    The key point is, for a state of energy balance (for 287K), all power in excess of 385 W/m^2 incident on the surface has to be exactly offset by power in excess of 385 W/m^2 leaving the surface, and that the surface specifically emits 385W/m^2 of radiative power solely due to its temperature (and emissivity, which is really close to 1). Moreover, any non-radiative power leaving the surface has to be in excess of that directly radiated from the surface, otherwise the surface temperature would be higher, where as there is no such requirement for the proportions of radiative and non-radiative power incident on the surface from the atmosphere. Thus, the net energy (i.e. power) supplied to surface cannot be more (or less) than about 385 W/m^2 to sustain 287K.

    From wikipedia, the GHE is defined as “a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface and the lower atmosphere, it results in an elevation of the average surface temperature above what it would be in the absence of the gases.”

    All of the re-radiation of the absorbed energy is isotropic regardless of where it occurs in the atmosphere, which means only the half re-emitted back downwards is causing radiative resistance to cooling and acting to warm the surface, causing it to warmer than it would otherwise be in the absence of such absorption.

    • RW says:

      Put more succinctly, the atmospheric science community doesn’t seem to know that for a state of energy balance, the additive superposition principle must apply the effects of energy and power on the surface temperature. And that this is independent of how it is ultimately manifested at the surface (i.e. independent of the proportions of radiative and non-radiative energy incident on and leaving the surface).

    • RW says:

      The other key point is the energy balance at the surface is the sum of radiative flux and a non-radiative flux, where on global average the surface receives more direct radiative power from the atmosphere and Sun that it emits, but much of this direct radiative flux is replenishing non-radiative flux leaving the surface but not returned, making it net zero energy flux entering the surface (i.e. part of the energy that is only flowing surface -> atmosphere -> surface and circulating within the system).

    • RW says:

      Roy,

      Can we at least agree that the GHE at its core is that of radiative resistance to cooling? That is, the absorption of upwelling radiation that would otherwise pass into space which is absorbed and subsequently re-radiated back downwards? If not, then what is the fundamental mechanism?

      The non-radiative processes (latent heat and convection) on average accelerate surface cooling – they don’t cause warming, right?

    • RW says:

      I fully agree with everything you state in no. 5, BTW.

    • RW says:

      BTW, here is summary of what I’m getting at for anyone besides Roy who might be interested:

      The fundamental issue is whether or not additional GHG absorption can be considered to be equal to that of post albedo solar forcing in its ability to act to warm the system and ultimately the surface in particular. I want to make it absolutely clear that I fully agree increased GHG absorption raises the average radiating altitude to effectively cooler levels, reducing the outgoing LW flux at the TOA, which in turn requires the atmosphere and ultimately the surface to warm in order to re-establish equilibrium with space.

      That being said, here is the issue layed out in as clear a way as I can think of to put it:

      Firstly, my understanding is the atmosphere effectively serves as the intermediating body between the surface and space, where the overwhelming majority of energy in the system is stored below the surface:
      http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/atmosphere-vs-ocean-heat-capacity.jpg
      (*And it’s the flow of energy in and out of the surface that ultimately determines what the surface temperature will be).

      This makes for a dynamic where the atmsophere is primarly acting as a radiative flux filter between the surface and space, where absorbed radiative power (or energy moved into the atmosphere non-radiatively) is fairly quickly re-radiated (or initially radiated), eventually finding its ways either radiated out to space or to the surface in some form – in a relatively short period of time (often after multiple absorptions and re-emissions). Now, most importantly and key to the whole issue, all of the energy that enters the atmosphere has the potential leave the atmosphere over twice the area it arrives from. That is, in from the top (Sun) or bottom (surface) but then potentially out the top (TOA) or bottom.

      Put in the simplest way possible. Effectively, energy only flows in and out of the surface one way, but energy can flow in an out of the atmosphere two ways:

      surface space
      surface -> atmosphere <- space (Sun)

      In addition to being the only significant source of energy, post albedo solar power is all downward radiated in and continuously acting to warm:

      surface <–Sun
      atmosphere <–Sun

      Where as, radiated power flowing upward that is newly absorbed, when re-radiated (either via 'spotaneous' or 'stimulated' emission) always has a 50/50 probability of going up or down. When any of the newly absorbed energy is re-radiated up, it is in the act of cooling not warming (i.e. the flow of the energy is away from the surface towards space). Moreover, any time the newly absorbed energy is re-radiated back up it has the potential to pass into space, where as post albedo solar power never has this potential, because it's continuously downward radiated in.

      Basically, the reason, as I understand it, is because not all the increased energy from absorption that effectively warms the atmosphere will ultimately flow towards the surface like post albedo solar power does. It has equal potential to end up flowing away from the surface towards space.

      • RW says:

        That should say:

        “Put in the simplest way possible. Effectively, energy only flows in and out of the surface one way, but energy can flow in an out of the atmosphere two ways:

        surface space
        surface -> atmosphere <- space (Sun)

      • RW says:

        The html coding won’t let me draw two arrows going the opposite way (i.e. from the atmosphere to the surface and from the atmosphere to space), which is really annoying since this is the most critical thing I’m trying to illustrate, but this should say:

        “Put in the simplest way possible. Effectively, energy only flows in and out of the surface one way, but energy can flow in an out of the atmosphere two ways:

        surface <- atmosphere
        space atmosphere <- space (Sun)"

        • RW says:

          My goodness.

          Should be “surface (arrow pointed toward the surface) atmosphere (arrow pointed towards space)”. Depicting that energy can leave the atmosphere over the twice the area it arrives from. Hopefully this is clear.

      • RW says:

        I think I may have figured it out:

        It should say:

        “Put in the simplest way possible. Effectively, energy only flows in and out of the surface one way, but energy can flow in an out of the atmosphere two ways:

        surface space
        surface -> atmosphere <- space (Sun)"

  7. Nullius in Verba says:

    “Without the destabilization provided by the greenhouse effect, convective overturning would slow and quite possible cease altogether.”

    You’ll need to explain why the differences in insolation by latitude and diurnally wouldn’t result in continued convection. The main convective cycles are the Hadley cells, which are based of the latitude-dependence of heat input, are they not?

    • coturnix19 says:

      The hadley cell would probably still be present, however the hadley cell *is not* a convective process in the same way a thunderstorm cloud is.

      Everywhere in the hadley cell, even in today’s one (excepting the regions where moist convection happens) the atmosphere is stable (unlike thunderstorm), and some papers i’ve seen somewhere on the web say that without water vapor, the earth atmosphere would not have convection altogether, but the hadley cell would still be present.

      • Peter Champness says:

        Coturnix19 says , way back when
        “January 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM
        The hadley cell would probably still be present, however the hadley cell *is not* a convective process in the same way a thunderstorm cloud is.

        Everywhere in the hadley cell, even in today’s one (excepting the regions where moist convection happens) the atmosphere is stable (unlike thunderstorm), and some papers i’ve seen somewhere on the web say that without water vapor, the earth atmosphere would not have convection altogether, but the hadley cell would still be present.”

        My view is that the Hadley cell is the Thunderstorms, and the Hadley cell would not exist with out thunderstorms. The Hadley cell does not exist in the uniform ciculation depicted in the textbook diagrams. It is a highly non uniform and localised process.

        The rising air depicted in the textbook diagrams seems to be a gentle and gradual process of rising air in the tropics and gently decending air in the mid latitudes at about 30 degrees from the equator. In reality the rising part in the tropics is a rapid localised and violent process, occuring mainly in the tropics in which thunderstorms transport enormous amounts of air, water vapour and heat into the atmosphere, 40,000 to 60,000 feet up. From there the air spreads out at the top heading east and south ( in my hemisphere), and then gradually descends in areas of high pressure.

        The Australain Bureau of Meteorology has animated satellite images on their website, where you can watch the process in action.

    • great question! I’m not sure what the answer is. I agree that even if the atmosphere was vertically isothermal, the tropics would be warmer than the poles, which would give rise to planetary scale overturning of the atmosphere from horizontal pressure gradients. I guess a global model would be needed to look into what might happen in such a case.

      We have done some limited 1D modeling to examine what happens as the greenhouse effect is reduced to near-zero, and it is a surprising difficult problem to model “realistically”, probably because the assumption that air emits/absorbs no IR is so UNrealistic.

  8. Kasuha says:

    Happy New Year and best wishes to 2013, Dr. Spencer. Thank you for your continuing support and providing one of few places where reliable scientific information rather than emotions and beliefs can be found on internet.

  9. Luboš Motl says:

    Excellent, Dr Spencer! I am probably the first commenter who would subscribe to every word of yours here, see

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2013/01/greenhouse-effect-doesnt-contradict-any.html?m=1

    so it may be useful for me to indicate that such people exist among the skeptics, too. ;-)

    • RW says:

      I certainly agree that the GHE doesn’t violate any known laws of physics; however, I would say that considering additional GHG absorption to be equal to that of solar forcing (as the climate science community does) in its ability to act to ultimately warm the surface does violate the 1st law of thermodynamics. At least this is the case in the current approximate equilibrium state, and I know of no physics that would fundamentally alter this for a change in the energy balance that would eventually lead to a new equilibrium state (however small or large of a change that may be).

      • I understand your point, but I disagree. This is one of my main points, and maybe I should have included the 1st Law in the discussion as well. Temperature has little to do with the rate of energy input…it has to do with rate of energy gain AND loss. If you can reduce the rate of loss, you can raise the temperature, even to extreme levels. Energy is still conserved.

        I received an interesting e-mail from someone who pointed out that the nuclear reactions at the core of the Sun produce energy at only 1/3 the rate that our bodies do through metabolism. But because the loss of this energy outward is so slow, exceedingly high temperatures are produced.

    • RW says:

      Mind you, I still fully agree with everything Roy says above.

  10. Stephen Wilde says:

    Lubos and Roy.

    I have a problem with the idea that without greenhouse gases there would be no lapse rate.

    Clearly the lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect but it does not follow that the greenhouse effect is anything to do with radiative gases.

    Even without GHGs there would be a reduction of temperature with height because pressure reduces with height and so the higher up that molecules of gas are situated the less weight there will be upon them from the atmosphere above so more of their energy will be potential energy rather than kinetic energy.Potential energy does not register as heat.

    As long as there is a reduction in pressure with height there will be convection and a circulation because gases heated at the surface by the sun will become less dense and thus lighter than the gases above and will rise.

    That can even happen without a change in solar input on Earth because evaporation occurs constantly when there is less than 100% humidity and water vapour is lighter than air.

    So I think item 6 needs suitable clarification.It is the reduction of pressure with height which reduces temperature with height and leads to the lapse rate. That is the true greenhouse effect. It is gravity dependent because the rate of decline of pressure with height is determined by the strength of the gravitational field.

    • Kasuha says:

      The idea of temperature lapse in a gas column in thermodynamic equilibrium caused solely by gravitation field (i.e. without any other external forcing) breaks known laws of physics, particularly second law of thermodynamics.

      You can read more here:
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/11/uah-v5-5-global-temp-update-for-october-2012-0-33-deg-c/#comment-66620

      and I am open to further discussion about the matter as long as we stick to physics.

    • Stephen, this is why I wrote the post. What you are missing is that, without radiatively active gases, the convective warming of the upper troposphere has no way of being dissipated. It cannot cool.

      The greenhouse effect DEstabilizes the atmosphere by allowing the upper troposphere to cool to outer space.

      The convectively induced lapse rate only explains changes resulting from convective overturning. But if the processes which give rise to convective overturning go away, then so does the lapse rate.

      The average temperature at any altitude is, again, a matter of energy gain and energy loss, not air pressure.

      Imagine you have a very cold atmosphere, then the sun turns on. Solar heating of the surface will cause convective warming of the atmosphere. But if the atmosphere cannot cool to outer space, it will warm up by conduction until it is no longer convectively unstable. It will eventually become isothermal.

      I understand your misconception, because coming from a meteorological background I had the same misconception.

  11. Guenter Hess says:

    Stephen,

    you write:
    “So I think item 6 needs suitable clarification.It is the reduction of pressure with height which reduces temperature with height and leads to the lapse rate.”

    That is your claim that needs clarification.

    why should a reduction of pressure lead to a reduction of stationary temperature in an open system that is heated with approximately constant power?

    Best regards
    Guenter

  12. Peter Norman says:

    Interesting thread this.
    If I understand the basic of the above correctly, we could simplify the main greenhouse temperature effects on Earth to:
    1. Gravity causing warming
    2. Atmospheric convection (water vapour mainly) causing cooling
    So how would a minute change in Carbon Dioxide mix in the air cause any measurable effect on surface temperature?

    • RW says:

      I would say by causing an increase in radiative resistance to cooling, which would then require the atmosphere and ultimately the surface to warm to some degree in order to re-establish equilibrium with space. At least this is the theory as I understand it.

  13. Rick says:

    Stephen, you seem to have found a new law of nature- that the kinetic energy of a molecule varies with pressure alone.I think that you can have two samples of air at different pressures and they could have the same temperature (molecules with the same average KE) they travel further before hitting another molecule.

  14. Nullius in Verba says:

    Peter Norman,

    There’s a better explanation here:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/#comment-16901

    Short version:
    1. The Earth’s visible surface tends towards a temperature that radiates as much infrared energy as it absorbs from the sun. This is about -18 C.

    2. This ‘visible’ surface at infrared wavelengths is 5 km up because of greenhouse gases. This level approache -20 C.

    3. Temperature differences between one part of the Earth’s surface and another drive convection cycles, forcing air to rise and fall, and compression/expansion warms/cools it as it does so. (Same principle as a refrigerator.)

    4. This compression/expansion causes a vertical temperature gradient of about 6.5 C/km.

    5. The solid surface is about 5 km below the IR-visible surface, and thus is at a temperature of about -18 C + 6.5 C/km * 5 km = 14.5 C.

    6. More greenhouse gases raise the average altitude of emission to space, increasing the height difference between the surface and the level that will approach the right temperature to radiate the right amount of energy to space, increasing the temperature rise from compression between those levels, raising the surface temperature.

    7. It’s all a lot more complicated than this.

  15. Peter Norman says:

    Roy,
    Do you mean by that statement the absorbtion and transmittance of IR by the carbon dioxide molecule somehow directs heat downwards to the Earth’s surface rather than in every direction?

    • An infinitesimal parcel of air emits in all directions, but the fact that ANY infrared at all is emitted in the downward direction changes the energy budget, and thus temperature. This is why the concept of “back radiation” is so fought against…it is what warms the surface an lower atmosphere to temperature greater than would would be observed without back radiation.

      • Tom in Oregon City says:

        Would it not be better to describe the “back radiation” contribution to the system as “slowing of cooling” rather than “warming”? Since insolation (gain) is offset by emission (loss), reducing the net loss through radiative return causes slower nighttime cooling, but does not mean more net energy is delivered to the surface than by insolation (and, for the moment, leaving aside the more complex daytime negative feedback effects by GHGs on insolation itself). Some folks get exercised by the term “warming”, interpreting it as a declaration that the sun’s energy input is somehow amplified to be MORE energy by the atmosphere’s absorption and re-emission, instead of relaxing a bit, and understanding that it’s really a declaration that the surface emissions are simply not as quickly shed to space.

  16. Peter Norman says:

    Nullius in Verba,
    I have no difficulty understanding how an atmosphere will raise temperature of a planet’s surface. My issue is why will a small change in carbon dioxide concentration of that atmosphere affect the surface temperature by several degrees (as IPCC models suggest)?

  17. Nullius in Verba says:

    Peter,

    The IPCC models claim that the direct rise in temperature due to CO2 (item 6 on my list) increases the evaporation of water vapour, which also is a GHG and therefore raises the emission altitude further, causing more rise in temperature and more evaporation, and so on. About 2/3rds of the proposed change is due to this water vapour feedback, not the direct CO2 effect at all. And there’s a lot more going on besides.

    It is in these feedback effects where the real argument lies. They are poorly understood, scientifically. But some people drive everybody mad arguing about the CO2 bit, which isn’t even the issue. You may well understand how an atmosphere raises the surface temperature, but a lot of people don’t.

  18. Dr No says:

    A good summary. However, some people think that the lapse rate is a consequence of greenhouse gases. It is not. Remove radiatively active gases and the temperature will still decrease with height. The surface temperature will be a colder 255K so the troposphere will be much colder also.
    Remember that space is a bitterly cold zero K.

  19. Stephen Wilde says:

    Rick said:

    “Stephen, you seem to have found a new law of nature- that the kinetic energy of a molecule varies with pressure alone”

    There needs to be a power input at the base hence the inclusion of insolation as one of the factors creating the lapse rate. Solar heating of the surface is adequate. Then it is a matter of moving a parcel of air with the kinetic energy acquired at the surface up through the gravitational field. It is well known that KE and PE are interchangeable when an object rises or falls.Total energy remains the same however (PE plus KE).

    Kasuha said:

    “The idea of temperature lapse in a gas column in thermodynamic equilibrium caused solely by gravitation field (i.e. without any other external forcing) breaks known laws of physics, particularly second law of thermodynamics. ”

    An energy source at the surface provides the necessary external forcing.Sunlight will do just fine.

    Guenter asked:

    “why should a reduction of pressure lead to a reduction of stationary temperature in an open system that is heated with approximately constant power?”

    What stationary temperature?

    At any given moment half the atmosphere is rising and half is falling.

    It is movement through a gravitational field that produces the effect.

    Reading about the thermal temperature profile of planetary gas giants would be helpful to some.

    These principles are only applicable to gases and liquids because fluids around a rotating sphere readily set up internal circulations which then run both with and against the gravitational field in a constant loop

    Indeed, it would be difficult to envisage any sort of fluid not having a circulation.

  20. Pat Frank says:

    Roy, it’s been known for at least 50 years that, at 1 atm pressure, the collisional deactivation of vibrationally excited CO2 (15 micron) is about 10^4 times more efficient than radiative decay. Even John Houghton published on that.

    This means the energy of the 15 micron excitation, 667 cm^-1 = 8 kJ/mol, is immediately converted into kinetic energy in the surrounding atmosphere. There can be no re-radiation back downward — at least not of 15 micron radiation — because it’s all collisionally channeled away before CO2 can radiatively decay.

    The greenhouse effect of CO2 is that it converts upward radiating 13-17 micron photons into molecular kinetic energy, which is dispersed into the surrounding atmosphere. The surrounding atmosphere then becomes warmer due to the injection of that excess ~8 kJ/mol into kinetic energy, which is over and above that produced by the upward thermalized IR flux.

    When [CO2] increases, the requisite quantity of vibrational energy is deposited into the kinetic energy of a smaller volume of atmosphere. Because the kinetic energy density thereby rises, air temperature increases. This is how surface air temperature rises with [CO2] even without any increase of insolation, or even without any increase in land surface temperature.

    The collisional decay rate of CO2 wasn’t known in Arrhenius’ day, so he could not have calculated that effect. Given the high collisional decay rate of CO2, I believe the purely radiation-physics explanation of the surface-air greenhouse effect is mistaken. It achieves the correct answer because of the strict relation between T and blackbody h-nu in the S-B equation. But the implied mechanism of heating due to back-radiation seems wrong.

    The greenhouse heating is due to the fact that vibrational energy in CO2 is a kind of latent heat. CO2 is a transponder that converts vibrational energy into kinetic energy. In each atmospheric layer, it converts 15 micron photons into kinetic energy. This leads to a higher air temperature and greater thermal blackbody radiation than would be present in the absence of CO2.

    Your explanation about upward vs downward radiation, by the way, implies that at the limit of an infinitely thin band of atmosphere, radiation is isotropic and equal energy is radiated in each direction. And it must be so. However, the spherical surface of Earth requires that isotropic radiation is always more intense downward than upward. So, even with local isotropic radiation the lower atmosphere always has a higher energy density and is always warmer than the upper atmosphere. This last wouldn’t be true if Earth were flat (apart from the energy lost to space).

  21. Stephen Wilde says:

    Nullius.

    Your description is very similar to mine and I thought it was settled science over 30 years ago.

    My novel approach is to try to explain that such a description also explains why radiative characteristics have zero effect on surface temperature and then I go on to describe (elsewhere) the circulatory consequences that do occur instead of a rise in surface temperature.

    I agree with your diagnosis in your 2010 post as regards the difficulties of overcoming the more recent purely radiative presentation since it is now in all the text books and has been taught in schools for some time.

    A return to the old knowledge is required.

  22. Stephen Wilde says:

    Pat Frank said:

    “When [CO2] increases, the requisite quantity of vibrational energy is deposited into the kinetic energy of a smaller volume of atmosphere. Because the kinetic energy density thereby rises, air temperature increases. This is how surface air temperature rises with [CO2] even without any increase of insolation, or even without any increase in land surface temperature”

    Yes.

    And the depositing of more kinetic energy into the air expands the atmosphere upwards converting more KE to PE and reducing the amount of KE that can then be returned to the surface by compression of descending air.

    The reduction of returning KE offsets the warming effect that the CO2 would otherwise have had.

    The reduction of KE downward only lasts as long as the equilibriation period and then the old temperature and KE flow is rstored at the expense of a miniscule change in atmospheric height and circulation.

    Which leaves atmospheric mass, gravity and insolation in absolute control as per the earlier settled science.

  23. Peter Norman says:

    Nullius in Verba,
    Yup,I agree. Carbon dioxide is a “red herring” and let’s face it, water vapour in the air is a better GHG but it also makes atmospheric convection more efficient and creates more cloud cover giving more albido sun reflection too. Try computer modelling that!

  24. Guenter Hess says:

    Stephen,

    it was your claim that pressure reduction leads to temperature reduction:
    as you said.
    “So I think item 6 needs suitable clarification.It is the reduction of pressure with height which reduces temperature with height and leads to the lapse rate.”

    The lapse rate is caused by cooling on the top and heating on the bottom which leads to turbulent mixing due to convection within a gravitational field.

    Greenhouse gases and clouds are responsible for cooling on the top. The sun is responsible for heating on the bottom.

    Your sentence makes an incomplete physical statement which is easily refuted by observing the stratosphere and the tropopause where pressure still declines but the lapse rate changes the sign.

    Best regards
    Guenter

  25. Nullius in Verba says:

    “It is well known that KE and PE are interchangeable when an object rises or falls.Total energy remains the same however (PE plus KE).”

    Consider a 1 kg parcel of air that drops 10 km, losing mgh = 10 kJ of potential energy. The specific heat capacity of dry air is about 1 kJ/kg.K so if this energy was all converted to thermal energy the temperature would rise about 10 K. But the lapse rate over 10 km is more like 65 K (and for dry air would be roughly 100 K). We seem to be an order of magnitude out.

    The energy is supplied by the work done on (or by) the gas, by the force driving convection. The rising and descending parts of the cycle offset one another so the energy demands to drive it are not huge, only needed to overcome ‘frictional’ losses.

  26. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Dr. Spencer.
    First of all I wish you and your loved ones a very happy 2013.

    I don’t really agree with:
    “Each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward.”
    So, does the radiation of a single layer changes upward or
    downward?
    Must I imagine a molecule which know he is emitting photons up or down?

    I would understand if the statement was:
    “Each layer of the atmosphere does not receives as much IR upward as it does downward.”

    Again, to all have a happy new year.

    Massimo

  27. Fred Pontius says:

    Thank you for the work you put in on this blog. I am puzzled by the fact that weather ballon measurements do not show a “hot spot” in the atmosphere….whereas you would expect to see some physical evidence of the “greenhouse” effect….How would you reconcile this difference?

  28. Nullius in Verba says:

    Oops. Can’t multiply.

    mgh = 100 kJ. So it does work out.

    But I think it might still be a coincidence, due to air being close to an ideal gas. The adiabatic lapse rate in water is about 0.1 K/km, 100 times smaller, but the specific heat capacity of water isn’t 100 times bigger.

  29. Nullius in Verba says:

    “I am puzzled by the fact that weather ballon measurements do not show a “hot spot” in the atmosphere….whereas you would expect to see some physical evidence of the “greenhouse” effect….How would you reconcile this difference?”

    The ‘hot spot’ is a consequence of the water vapour feedback, not the greenhouse effect per se. So the easiest reconciliation would be to suggest the water vapour feedback is smaller than modelled. That doesn’t mean the greenhouse effect itself is wrong.

  30. Massimo PORZIO says:

    The thing that leave me really dubious about the isothermal atmosphere in absence of GHG is that as the gas molecules rise they should progressively transform they vertical speed to horizontal speed to keep their KE constant. If that’s not, there should not be a TOA at all, and the gases should escape to the outer space.
    Does anybody know if someone as described such phenomenon
    somewhere?

  31. Nullius in Verba says:

    “…the isothermal atmosphere in absence of GHG is that as the gas molecules rise…”

    Why would they rise?

  32. Nullius in Verba says:

    Massimo,

    If you mean bulk motions, there shouldn’t be any because the isothermal atmosphere is all at the same density.

    If you mean by diffusion, as molecules bounce around they sometimes go up/down, then molecules slow down when they rise, but they pick more up from collisions with molecules at that higher level. The faster molecules rise higher and more often, and the speed of molecules is vastly more than the speed loss resulting from the slight increase in height, so the spreading-out effect of faster/slower molecules is much more effective than the gravitational ‘sorting’ effect.

    • Rick says:

      Why would an isothermal atmosphere have constant density? The pressure would drop with altitude so the density would also drop.

  33. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy, one of your statements has been proven to be incorrect with over 800 empirical experiments carried out only this century.

    It is also proven incorrect because the laws of physics demand that entropy cannot decrease.

    That incorrect statement you make, Roy, is “The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect.

    The thermal gradient (lapse rate) develops even in still air in a sealed cylinder. That is now a fact proven empirically. The reason is that, whenever a molecule is in free flight between impacts with other molecules, its flight path is affected by the force of gravity, just like any object thrown at any angle.

    The laws of physics dictate that entropy cannot decrease – anywhere, any time. This means the sum of potential energy (PE) and kinetic energy (KE) cannot decrease, in the absence of other energy gains, losses or changes such as chemical or nuclear reactions.

    So, when a molecule moves spontaneously upwards, its extra PE comes from its own KE, which thus decreases, leading to cooler temperatures which are a measure of mean KE in a region. The reverse happens when there is any downward component in its direction of movement.

    A simple calculation already posted in this comment deduces the thermal gradient -g/Cp where Cp is specific heat. This calculation is not based on expansion or pressure changes: rather it is based on PE+KE=constant. The links to the empirical evidence are in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” easily found on Google.

    It is mostly the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere which provide a “blanket” effect, simply because the thermal gradient has to be maintained autonomously due to the effect of gravity acting during molecular free flight.

    With an atmosphere of just 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen, the “lapse rate” would still be almost identical to the dry adiabatic lapse rate, so the surface temperature would be warmer (without any moist lapse rate anywhere) because the thermal plot swivels around a weighted mean between its ends as it acquires a steeper gradient without the cooling effect of water vapour and suspended water droplets. These reduce the lapse rate partly through release of latent heat, partly because of their higher specific heat and partly because they radiate some heat to higher layers in the atmosphere.

     

  34. This is the kind of posting which I find most interesting – namely an explanation of the Greenhouse Effect (GHE) itself. – But, until I have a clear understanding of how it is possible for tri-atomic gases [other than H2O, in the form of Water Vapour (WV)], to keep the Earth’s temperature at whatever level it finds itself I cannot help but to state a few relevant things of what I learnt on this subject some 60 years ago. – And I am afraid the (assumed) infra red (IR) back radiation from CO2 does not “cut it” with me. As far as I am concerned the whole argument/ question is; “does an increased atmospheric Carbon Dioxide level increase the Global Atmospheric Temperature (GAT)? –

    Well, it looks to me as if the opposite is true when it comes to the only GHG that matters,namely WV, is concerned. – At the moment, in the spot from which I am writing; it is 22.55 PM, atmospheric moisture content is 87%, temperature (T) 7.4 deg. C and max. T during sun-up hours was (max) 10.2 °C. That makes the temperature difference between day and night a pitiful 2.3 °C. – I am of course talking “local” and not “global” T here. –
    In places like the Sahara Desert however, where the atmospheric moisture level is very much lower than here (maybe, a concentration is, say 15 -35 %) it will, not because of intense “Geo-thermals”, but because of less atmospheric WV (which means less cloud cover day and night) and less of an effect of whatever WV does always, in it’s place between the surface and the clouds. It will be warmer during the day- and much cooler during night-time.

    My argument is therefore: Fourier was right in 1824 when he wrote:
    “The heat of the sun, coming in the form of light, possesses the property of penetrating transparent solids or liquids, and loses this property entirely, when by communication with terrestrial bodies, it is turned into heat radiating without light”.

    In other words; Water – even in the form of vapor – that is in contact with the earth’s surface blocks the “dark radiation” from the ground – .

    Good job then that the increased vibrations which the surface molecules endure as a result of increased energy absorption, during the day, is conducted further down into the earth and eventually back into the atmosphere during the night.

    Oh, and by the way, as the various IR absorption wavebands is closely, or heavily, dependant on the surface temperature, then why does anybody believe that CO2 has got anything – at all – to absorb in places where H2O is doing all the “absorbing that we know about?”

    And one question I would dearly like to have answered is: “Is there a “ radiation detector” in existence that can detect IR radiation “side on”?

    With “side on” I mean “seeing or detecting” the actual ray of IR radiation without pointing the “Thermo-pile derived instrument” directly at the source of the perceived radiation. If there isn’t then I suggest that my mentor Joseph Fourier was correct.

    Where Joseph F had an advantage was that he had never even heard of Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR).

  35. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Nullius in Verba
    “Why would they rise?”
    because they get their KE from the contact with the ground (it’s the only way they have, do you remember? The precondition is: no GHGs)

    The gravitational field is still there, so there must be some downward molecular flow due to the planetary attraction.
    Thus the main heat transfer from the gases should be normal to the ground surface to counteract that downward molecular flow (we are in an isothermal equilibrium, no?) .
    That heat transfer should throw the gases molecules primarily in a vertical trajectory because the downward flux has that direction too, due to gravity.
    This, in case of constant KE along the supposed whole isothermal atmosphere, is a never-end-escaping trip, if the vertical speed isn’t slowly changed to horizontal speed.
    If that is true, it really makes me wonder.

  36. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Nullius in Verba
    “If you mean by diffusion, as molecules bounce around they sometimes go up/down, then molecules slow down when they rise, but they pick more up from collisions with molecules at that higher level. The faster molecules rise higher and more often, and the speed of molecules is vastly more than the speed loss resulting from the slight increase in height”

    So, what happen at the very last layer where the molecules “pick more up from collisions with molecules at that higher level”?
    I mean how could they stop their vertical motion if they get their KE from the molecules below?

    There has been always something that I still don’t understand in this hypothesis.

    Have a great 2013

  37. Doug Cotton says:

     

    OHD, Roy (and others)

    Firstly, OHD, see my comment above yours, which you would not have read when writing yours. You are correct in saying water vapour provides an overall cooling effect, but the reasons are different.

    Even Roy still makes the mistake of assuming that radiation always transfers thermal energy.

    The reason this is incorrect is explained in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published March 2012.

    Radiation from a cooler atmosphere slows down that component of the rate of cooling of the surface which is itself by radiation. However, less than a third of the actual heat transfer out of the surface is by radiation. The other two-thirds of the cooling (by non-radiative processes) cannot be slowed by back radiation. In fact, it increases in order to compensate, as it must for reasons explained in my comment above. So there is no net effect on the rate of surface cooling that is due to back radiation.

    You all need a paradigm shift in your thinking, because it is the automatic creation by gravity of the thermal gradient which determines planetary surface temperatures, not radiation imbalance, the latter being the result of natural climate cycles, not the cause.

    Most of the upwelling radiation from the surface is merely returning the back radiation which can only be immediately re-emitted by a warmer surface. Its electro-magnetic energy is not converted to thermal energy in the surface. So it is very different to radiation from the hotter Sun which certainly does transfer thermal energy to the surface which is far cooler than the Sun. The reasons, proof and links to computations are all in my March 2012 paper.
     

  38. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy wrote “the full depth of the atmosphere would achieve the same temperature as the surface through thermal conduction”

    This is an incorrect statement, Roy.

    The conduction process (usually called “diffusion” in a gas) is affected by the force of gravity, and a thermal gradient is automatically produced and is -g/Cp for reasons explained in this comment above.

    Prove me wrong, Roy, in the face of evidence in over 800 experiments, or I rest my case.
     

  39. Doug Cotton says on January 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM:

    “It is mostly the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere which provide a “blanket” effect, simply because the thermal gradient has to be maintained autonomously due to the effect of gravity acting during molecular free flight.”

    Fine Dough, I accept that, after all in the “Thermosphere” N & O gases apparently absorb solar radiation up to a point where they reach a temperature of some 2000 – 2500 Deg. C.
    So – if that is the case, and if more GHGs means higher temps. Then why, if a the few molecules of Oxygen and Nitrogen in the Thermosphere mean, or has been measured to be, at a molecular temperature of 2000 deg. C then why do many 1000nds more N and O molecules loose a couple of thousands of deg. C.
    Is there perhaps something we do not know much about? Say climate forkings perhaps?

  40. For forkings, see forcings.
    It may be similar things though

  41. Oh, and a happy new year to you all

  42. Just as a closing statement from me tonight I would like to state:

    “your ceiling is 2 ( or thereabouts) deg. Fahrenheit warmer than your floor.
    That’s called conduction – not radiation,
    OHD

  43. Doug Cotton says:

    OHD I know it may seem surprising, but temperature does not depend on the density, only the mean kinetic energy of the molecules in the region. So Wikipedia is right in this item about the thermosphere, which has a high temperature, but would not make you feel hot.

    It is UV radiation from the Sun that increases its temperature. However, there is still plenty of UV getting through and penetrating the troposphere, where it is also absorbed by air molecules at all altitudes.

    Over the life of the planet there has been plenty of time for the Sun to warm the atmosphere up to the point of radiative balance.

    But, at the same time, gravity has been working on the individual molecules in such a way that all the conduction (diffusion) in the atmosphere has to have established the thermal gradient.

    It is primarily this process which does so, and thus determines surface temperatures, not any greenhouse back radiation.
     

  44. 1. Doug Cotton says on January 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM:

    OHD, Roy (and others)
    Firstly, OHD, see my comment

    Thank you Dough, I will read your inputs to this discussion in full and I shall comment upon it later, but you have contributed quite a lot so bear with me, your writings deserve more than a cursory glance, and I did ask for explanations, so I shall either side with you, or ask for more later.
    I am not ignoring you but I am a slow thinker.

  45. Doug Cotton says:

    (continued)

    To answer your question, OHD, I think you must be assuming that the thermosphere would radiate a lot back because of its high temperature. But it is not a blackbody, and the amount of energy absorbed and emitted is small compared with lower layers of the troposphere, simply because of the difference in density. Hence the thermosphere does not contribute much to overall radiative balance.

  46. 1. Doug Cotton says:
    January 1, 2013 at 7:32 PM
    OHD I know it may seem surprising

    “I am not in any way saying that if one molecule can warm to 100 deg. C then why cannot 2 molecules warm 50 deg. Or taken from the opposite direction why not to 200 deg.
    My question is simply this: If the N & O molecules can absorb solar energy while they are in the “Thermosphere” what is the procedure that stops them doing so while they are in the troposphere?”

  47. And just before I go to bed, could all you IR radiation fanatics point your remote thermo sensors at the floor, and then at the ceiling – and I shall bet you a pinch of poo to a pound of $hit that the difference in temperature is ca. 2 deg. F. the ceiling being the warmer place. That ladies & gents is due to conduction & convection. “Never heard of it?”
    - Well that makes sense.-

  48. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, OHD, as I wrote at 7:32pm above, there is plenty of UV absorption in the troposphere. There’s a chart showing atmospheric absorption in Section 6 of this paper.

  49. RW says:

    Roy,

    Can you agree that the fundamental mechanism of the GHE is one of radiative resistance to cooling? That is, the absorption of upwelling radiation acting to cool that would otherwise pass into space that is subsequently re-radiated back downwards?

    If yes, can you also agree that the primary energy supplied to the surface is by radiation either from the atmosphere or Sun?

    If no to either or both, can you explain in the context of your article above?

  50. Doug Cotton says:

     
    RW Obviously the Sun supplies energy to the surface. However, a cooler atmosphere does not actually supply energy (transfer heat) to the warmer surface. What is does is slow down the rate of cooling of the surface, so it doesn’t get as cold as the Moon’s surface at night.

    The atmosphere is usually just a little cooler than the surface at the boundary, so heat cannot transfer up that temperature step.

    However back radiation slows the portion of the rate of surface cooling which is by radiation (less than a third of all surface cooling) and the close temperature of (mostly) nitrogen and oxygen molecules slows the rate of non-radiative cooling because, as is well known in physics, conduction and evaporation reduce as the temperature difference reduces. So the atmosphere “supports” the surface temperature.

    The temperature of the atmosphere itself is determined mainly by solar radiation and the need for radiative balance for the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system. However, gravity acting on individual molecules, has now been proven to create the observed temperature gradient, thus ensuring that the base of any similar troposphere will be warmer than the top.

    As I have mentioned above, Roy is quite wrong in saying that no lapse rate would exist without WV and GHG. He has no empirical proof of that, whereas there is now empirical proof that the opposite is the case.
     

  51. Dr No says:

    I agree with Doug. (A first!).
    Roy is wrong about the existence of the lapse rate.
    (1) The dry adiabatic lapse rate is a property of the air, and has nothing to do with WV and GHG.

    (2) The planetary radiative equilibrium temperature (Te) is determined by the balance between solar and terrestrial radiation and has nothing to do with WV and GHG.

    (3) The height where this occurs does depend on the presence of WV and GHG.

    (4) The surface temperature is simply Te plus (this height times the lapse rate).

    The more GHG, the higher the height and the warmer the surface (e.g. Venus).
    The absence of any GHG means that Te occurs at the surface.
    On Earth, this height is somewhere between 5 and 10 km.

  52. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No.

    The whole temperature plot has to move up or down in parallel in order to retain the thermal gradient. But its overall mean temperature is set by solar radiation, and balance is automatically achieved with outward radiation.

    More CO2 has insignificant effect on the weighted mean specific heat (Cp) in the dry lapse rate (thermal gradient) -g/Cp being only one molecule in about 2,500.

    However, water vapour and suspended water droplets do have higher specific heat, and do release latent heat, and are well known to cause the less steep wet adiabatic lapse rate as a result. So water vapour lowers the equilibrium surface temperature. If CO2 increases water vapour, it has a cooling effect as a feedback.

  53. Rick says:

    Doug, if the surface is cooled by radiation and conduction and both heat the atmosphere with GHGs mixed in how does back radiation only slow the cooling due to radiation?

  54. Doug Cotton says:

    Rick The reason takes several pages to explain, but is in Sections 1 to 5 and Appendix Q.7 of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published March 2012 here.

  55. Doug Cotton says:

    The lapse rate and the thermal plot

    The point around which the thermal plot in the troposphere “pivots” is not the point where the amount of radiation happens to equate to the solar radiation. This is because radiation relates to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. It also relates to emissivity, which obviously increases with density of the air, because there are more molecules doing the radiating. Radiation from the surface direct to space through the atmospheric window also complicates the calculations which can only be done with calculus and complex modelling. The theoretical plot is not even linear, and on Venus it has a very distinct curve, because specific heat varies by over 30% at different temperatures.

    But, overall, the radiating altitude which climatologists talk about is not the point around which the whole plot pivots if the thermal gradient were to change. It is in fact much closer to the surface.

    So, consider the troposphere in the tropics which is fairly moist and about 17Km in height. The temperature falls from nearly 30 deg.C at the surface to about -80 deg.C at the tropopause. This is close to the 6.5 K/Km wet adiabatic lapse rate.

    But in Roy’s hypothetical atmosphere with no WV or GHG the lapse rate would be closer to -g/Cp which is about 9.8 K/Km. Clearly if the plot pivoted around a point, say, 5Km up, then the surface temperature without water vapour would be much warmer.

    Here again is how we can calculate the thermal gradient caused by the exchange of kinetic energy (KE) and potential energy (PE) as each and every molecule moves in free flight between collisions.

    The change in PE as a molecule rises a distance H is the work which is done (force x distance) where force = mass x acceleration, so we can deduce that, for mass M and acceleration due to gravity = g the extra …

    PE gain = M.g.H

    but there will be a loss of KE equal to the gain in PE if the process is adiabatic (conduction, diffusion or convection) and this loss equals the negative of the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature by T degrees. From the definition of specific heat Cp this energy is ..

    KE loss = -M.Cp.T

    So, equating the PE gain and KE loss and cancelling M we get

    g.H = -Cp.T

    so the absolute value of the temperature gradient is

    T/H = -g/Cp

  56. Kasuha says:

    Doug Cotton, it’s okay if you don’t agree with Dr. Spencer’s conclusions, but one post is enough for expressing that.
    You have your own page and it would be really nice of you if you kept discussion of your theories in there and stopped polluting discussion beneath every single Dr. Spencer’s article by your lengthy and numerous posts. Their size and count is not going to increase their scientific quality.

  57. Doug Cotton says:

     
    So you, Kashua, don’t think I have any sort of “right of reply” to Rick, Dr No, RW or Stephen Wilde, let alone yourself I take it? If you disagree with the physics I express, then prove your reasons. There has been quite enough false physics aired in the AGW arena that those who understand physics are joining forces in PSI (for example) where they now number about 200 well qualified and experienced members.

    If I appear to have a lot to say on all the various aspects relating to both physical mechanisms and climate data, then perhaps it’s because I’ve spent thousands of hours of my own time studying all aspects and pinpointing all the fallacies in the arguments put forward by climatologists, most of whom display limited understanding of the relevant physics.

    I contribute because I have concern for the millions who will be affected, and even die, because of the biggest scientific mistake in all of history.
     

  58. Doug Cotton says:

    Kashua said: The idea of temperature lapse in a gas column in thermodynamic equilibrium caused solely by gravitation field (i.e. without any other external forcing) breaks known laws of physics, particularly second law of thermodynamics.

    This is simply not correct. The Second Law of Thermodynamics in its extended form relates to energy and, in particular, states that entropy cannot decrease.

    If there were homogeneous temperatures (ie zero lapse rate) then every time any molecule moved upwards against the gravitational field it would have to maintain all its kinetic energy, whilst gaining potential energy. Thus energy would be created, Kashua.

    Besides, over 800 experiments with gas and water in sealed cylinders have proved you wrong.

  59. Doug Cotton says:

    Pat Frank I agree with your comment regarding carbon dioxide absorption leading primarily to warming of a local region. However, water vapour molecules in that region will also be warmed and have a greater propensity to radiate energy away.

    Downward radiation will not transfer heat to any warmer atmosphere or surface below. It will slow radiative cooling by supplying electro-magnetic energy for some of the radiation “Quota” as per SBL, but its energy has to be immediately re-radiated and can never be converted to thermal energy. That’s how and why the Second Law works for radiation, as in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published March 2012.

    You also mentioned that the lower atmosphere has a higher energy density. That’s true, but not a very precise statement. Is that energy in the form of PE, KE or just sheer numbers of molecules? The issue is temperature, so we need to explain why the mean KE of molecules there is higher than those at greater altitudes, regardless of the density of molecules, which has no bearing on temperature. (For example, the thermosphere has high temperatures, but you would not feel any significant warmth.)

    So this is where the concept that, for every movement of a molecule in free flight between collisions, the sum of PE+KE must be constant, explains the thermal gradient in the atmosphere. Hence those molecules that head downwards (by any amount at any angle) gain KE which translates to higher temperatures, whilst those that head upwards become cooler. This happens even in still air and even in a sealed cylinder. Several comments of mine above discuss this in more detail, as does my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    • No, IR radiation absorbed does NOT have to be immediately re-radiated. As I stated in my post, the rate of absorption is mostly INDEPENDENT of temperature, but the rate of emission is VERY DEPENDENT on temperature. This is a fundamental point that really needs to be understood.

  60. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Although Stephen Wilde in his December paper echoes my November paper regarding the effect of gravity on atmospheric thermal gradient, he mistakenly thinks pressure causes and maintains higher temperatures. Pressure relates to molecular density, whereas temperature relates to mean kinetic energy of molecules. You can expand a gas, as happens to an extreme in the thermosphere, and yet still have very high temperatures.

    I have provided empirical proof that Stephen is wrong in his description of the process of convection supposedly going both upwards and downwards. Konrad has also proven Stephen wrong with experiments explained in this comment.

    i have asked Stephen for empirical proof in this comment, so we can all wait and see what he comes up with.
     

  61. Stephen Wilde says:

    Konrad has not proven me wrong.
    See my response to his comment.

    See the science relating to the planetary gas giants for empirical evidence that atmospheric mass and pressure from gravity is sufficient to heat the cores beyond what could be caused by solar input.

    For a gas giant or indeed any agglomeration of gas in space the internal temperature will rise as the gases become compressed by gravity.

    The original energy source is simply the fact that the temperature of space is above absolute zero.

    In the beginning it is assumed that matter was evenly distributed through the then volume of the universe.

    As the universe expanded it cooled but the energy did not vanish. Instead the energy became concentrated within agglomerations of gases.

    The larger the agglomeration the stronger the gravitational field and the more heat developed in the centres leading in many cases to fusion reactions and star formation.

    The planetary gas giants are large bodies of gases that never achieved enough size to become stars and the heat within them is due to mass and the pressure caused by gravity.

    Rocky planets with gaseous atmospheres follow exactly the same principles but the gravitational field is suplied by the rocky portion rather than other gases.

    The temperature at the surface of a rocky planet with an atmosphere is therefore determined by atmospheric mass and gravity in the first instance but modified by any additional sources of energy such as solar input and geothermal energy.

    It is not in any way affected by the radiative characteristics of component gases because the air circulation changes to negate their thermal effects.

    That change in circulation induced by GHGs would constitute a climate change but in my view it would be far too small on Earth to distinguish the CO2 effect on circulation from natural solar and ocean induced variations.

    With regard to the temperature of clouds of gas out in the universe or in planetary gas giants or in the process of star formation no consideration is given to radiative characteristics.

  62. Nabil Swedan says:

    Happy new year Dr. Spencer.
    The Greenhouse gas effect has been around for over 150 years. No one has ever measured it or mathematically modeled it, including the great Furrier. It simply does not exist. The effect does violate the laws of thermodynamics: 1) external energy, or work, is needed to transfer energy, or infrared radiation, from the upper atmosphere to the warmer surface. 2)It creates energy out of the blue and energy cannot be created. 3) Atmospheric layers cannot exchange radiations with each other or the surface because they are in intimate contact with each other.Only convection and conduction is expected from masses in contact with each other.

  63. pochas says:

    Respectfully disagree with

    6) The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect.

    A look at Venus clearly shows convective bands. Even if the top of the atmosphere were the only zone heated (opaque atmosphere) convection would still operate because of the temperature difference equator-to-pole.

    We have all been seduced by the rent-seekers promotion of their radiative fairy tales. Surface temperatures are determined by the gas laws and gravity with only a secondary effect from radiative imbalance, because such imbalance does provide the temperature driving force for convection. Any miniscule effect from a ppm addition of CO2 will be attenuated by the necessarily negative feedbacks from convection / water cycle. The IPCC positive water cycle feedback is simply an egregious error they cannot now retract.

    You mention the second law of thermodynamics. What that does is to absolutely prohibit positive feedback factors due to convection in the atmosphere. A spontaneous process (such as convection / water cycle) can proceed only if it is energetically favorable, that is, if it increases the entropy of the sun/earth/space system. Such a process must cool the planet; the entropy change for radiating a calorie of heat is earth – 1/290, universe + 1/4 cal/deg K.

  64. Dr. Spencer thank you for the post about the greenhouse effect. You have substanciated just about everything I believe to be the case, and believe to be correct.

    The likes of Doug Cotton being completly wrong.

    Again I am so glad you did this greenhouse effect post. Thank You.

  65. I echo Kashua sediments, Doug you have made your case over and over and over again. Many of us don’t agree with it, and will never agree with it. That is how it is, disagreements are the rule in this field ,not the exception.

    There is indeed a greenhouse effect, but it has limits.

  66. Dr. Spencer , again thanks for bringing accurate information to this greenhouse effect subject.

  67. Mac says:

    Happy New Year Roy, Thanks for everything you do.

  68. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Salvatore del Prete
    “I echo Kashua sediments, Doug you have made your case over and over and over again. Many of us don’t agree with it, and will never agree with it. That is how it is, disagreements are the rule in this field ,not the exception.”

    Maybe you don’t realize how bad sounds this statement in a scientific context: “disagreements are the rule in this field”.
    If we follow your statement then we should accept the IPCC doctrine of the consensus and stay silent.

    Instead, since I’m not a scientist, I would like to know where you disagree with Doug’s case; and I would like that you (or one of the ones who disagree, included Kashua) write here where Doug is wrong. I encourage you to report here the physical laws which debunk Doug’s theory, the ones which you seem to know but I don’t.
    And I would like Doug politely discuss your point of view in a scientific field based on known laws which should be verified by reality via the experimental method.

    Have a very happy 2013.

    Massimo

  69. If you go back to last month and read what I had to say, and what Christopher Game had to say,and others you will have all the answers as to why we think Doug is full of BS.

    Which he is. He is clueless when it comes to applying what he knows about physics to the climate, to weather to the greenhouse effect, his case for Venus, and on and on.

    His explanatins for climate are especially pathetic

    for lack of a better word.

    Dr. Spencer has it right ,Doug has it wrong.

  70. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Salvatore, maybe I lost some important point you made in last month, but for example I would like to know the experiments done which should confirm the isothermal atmosphere in absence of GHGs.
    I know that Maxwell on page 330 of it’s “Theory of heat” wrote about the supposed isothermal column of gas, but even there I don’t find an explanation of why it should be that. Maxwell’s perpetual machine made of two columns of different material is based on his belief that the gravity field didn’t impose any gradient on the gas. I would like to know which measurements he did those time to confirm his theory.
    If you know, I really appreciate if you tell me where to read about the experiment Maxwell did for that.

    Thank you in advance.

    Massimo

    P.s. Please, don’t use terms as “full of BS”, by my point of view it is inappropriate here.

  71. Again I maintain it is the atmospheric composition ,combined with the intensity of solar radiation,
    the amounts of solar radiation coming into the earth ,versus how much of that incoming solar radiation is reflected back to space due to atmospehric compostion and clouds and surface make up, snow cover verSus land for an example ,which will determine the surface temp. of the earth and the characteristics of the laspe rate.

    How eFfective the greenhouse effect is or wiLl not be depends upon the amounts of energy present in earth’s climatic system.

    The Greenhouse Effect is likely limited from here due to the fact that CO2 is close to the saturation point in the olr it absorbs, and water vapor due to the very limited positive feedback it has with CO2 is probably going to be unable to increase in concentrations in any significasnt manner in the atmosphere thus limiting any further effects from it ,as far as it’s contribution to the Greenhouse Effect goes.

    If SO2 were to increase in the atmosphere do you think that would effect the laspe rate and thus surface temperatures?

    If ozone were to increase in the atmosphere or change in the altitude in which it’s concentration is the greatest do you think the lapse ratre would change, and surface temperatures?

    If the earth were covered with all snow do you think the surface temperature and lapse rate would change?

    If the earth had a desert enviroment with no oceans do you think the lapse rate and surface temperature would change?

    If the earth were covered in oceans entirely ,do you think the surface temp. and the lapse rate would change?

    If you answer these questions no you agree with Doug, if you answer them yes ,you agree with myself and others.

  72. Massimo, I say if you say yes to the questions I put forth you agree with me,if you say no to the questions I put forth you agree with Doug.

  73. Massimo, let me clarify one thing here. I think the IPCC is as wrong as Doug is. They are just wrong in the two extremes ,the IPCC saying the Greenhouse Effect is much greater then it is, and Doug saying there is no Greenhouse Effect at all.

    Both 100% wrong. Temperatures will be going down this decade, due to the prolong solar minimum which started in year 2005, while co2 concentration increases from here will have no further effects on the temperatures increasing in any siginificant way going forward.

  74. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Uhmmm… I have a different kind of view about the concept of “science”.
    At this point I don’t want to give answers to your questions because I’m not entitled to give just my opinion about it.
    Because yes, if I gave you the answers I just give you mere opinions of an electronic engineer which is highly qualified in electronic designs, but is very ignorant in the fields of the questions you posed.
    My point is that the isothermal atmosphere is not as marginal as you seems believe. All your questions could depend on the existence or not of that background physical effect.
    Just to say, some month ago I did an experiment in my home workshop.
    I put a 2 inches dia first surface boro-silicate mirror (a very expensive toy) on a 1 kW heater. Using a temperature controller I fixed the mirror temperature to 50°C. Then I placed two identical K junctuon thermocouple at 1 mm from the two sides of the mirror which it was placed vertically.
    Around the system there was a thermal barrier made of aluminium to keep uniform the air flow. The room was at about 25°C.
    So one themocouple measured the convective flow of the first mirrored face and the other measured the other scarcely reflective side.
    Using a radiometer-based-IR-thermometer I seen that while it was almost precise measuring the temperature on the non reflective side of the mirror (not so much precise because its read was about 6°C below the mirror temperature, but that was surely due to the emissivity of that side of the mirror, which I didn’t know) it was absolutely unable to read any radiation on the mirrored side (it read few tents of °C indeed).
    But both the K-thermocouples showed me almost the same temperature on both sides (I don’t remember well, but the difference was below 1 °C).
    This means that in the atmosphere the heat exchange from solids and gases works the same ways independently by the type of transfer and it is fixed by the delta temperature not by the kind of transfer, of course.
    In fact one side (the mirrored one) transferred the heat via convection only, while the other transferred it via convection and radiation (the IR thermometer was measuring almost right there), but nothing changed to the temperature of air fluxes on both sides.
    This seems to confirm the hypothesis that heat escapes from warm bodies to cold ones the better way it found.
    Doing a parallel to the GHGs, maybe that it no matter if the heat escapes all at the ground level or via GHGs at higher altitudes, it could be that it’s just a matter of displacement of the exit point.
    I’m not here telling that I’ve the truth about that, I just say that Doug’s point about lapse rate should be made clearly verified by someone.
    Maybe it has been already done, so go ahead with it.

    And please don’t put it on a personal level, I don’t want just agree with you or Doug.
    I’ve been always a curious guy, and for that I just want to know more on things that intrigue me.

    I still would have an answer from someone about my question about how should receive their KE from the below the very outer layer molecules, this keeping their vertical speed zero in an isothermal athmophere. Since in a gas the KE should be the molecular speed; and the very outer layer molecules must haven’t vertical speed, my conclusion is that the whole KE should be only tangent to the atmosphere there. But even if that was true, how did those molecules go there?
    I “fell” a strange discontinuity case in that.

    Have a nice day

    Massimo

  75. Steveta_uk says:

    Massimo, I’m confused about why you think the outer layer of molecules should behave differently from the rest.

    Image a loud speaker playing a low frequency tone, with a flat tray placed across it. Into this tray, place a large number of small light balls.

    The balls will be pushed upwards by the tray’s vibrations, and will collide with each other, and drop back to the surface. It’s true that at the highest level, the balls will have no remaining vertical velocity component, while they may have a horizontal component.

    I don’t see why this leads you to ask “how did those balls get there?” What’s the problem?

  76. I understand, but the answers to those questions will prove who is right and who is wrong.
    Doug can talk all the physics he wants, but he can’t prove the answers to any of those questions I submit is no.

    He can’t show or prove anything that he says. Especially when it comes to the reasons why the surface of Venus is so hot.

  77. RW says:

    It doesn’t look like Roy is going to participate in this thread. Maybe he’s busy or there are just too many to reply to.

    May I ask:

    Does everyone who generally agrees with Roy’s summary list also agree that the fundamental mechanism of the GHE is that of radiative resistance to cooling? Specifically the absorption of upwelling radiation acting to cool that is absorbed and subsequently re-radiated back downwards?

    If we can’t agree on this basic starting point, then agreeing on more complicated aspects would seem unlikely.

  78. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Steveta_uk.

    Sorry, maybe I was not clear in my previous posts.
    If you analyze you example, you reproduced exactly what Doug Cotton is saying about the effects of the gravity on the atmosphere vertical thermal profile (the adiabatic lapse rate).
    That is, the Kinetic Energy (KE) impressed by the exciting loudspeaker to the balls, throws them vertical at higher speed and slowly the balls change their speed to Potential Energy (PE), reaching their maximum high which is imposed by a simple law of physics (h = v^2 / 2g ; where v is the initial speed imposed by the loudspeaker, g is the acceleration of gravity and h is the final height, excluding frictions of course).
    But since in gases KE is the temperature, if you make that example then your conclusion should be that the gravity field imposes a natural lapse rate.
    In the isothermal atmosphere instead (which seems to be considered a fact by climatologist), your balls should posses always the same speed independently by their height, because they seems to be unaffected by gravity. Since the balls have to stop their raising somewhere (they escape away otherwise), the only possible situation is that they must change their initial vertical speed to a full horizontal speed.
    That’s because I “think the outer layer of molecules should behave differently from the rest”. The balls above the others, seems to stay horizontal and moves at the very same vertical speed of the balls in contact with your loudspeaker.
    My “how did those balls get there?” is referred to how that balls reached that height the first time, when your loudspeaker started to emit the tone.

    Have a nice 2013.

    Massimo

  79. Dr No says:

    Again I maintain it is the atmospheric composition ,combined with the intensity of solar radiation,
    the amounts of solar radiation coming into the earth ,versus how much of that incoming solar radiation is reflected back to space due to atmospehric compostion and clouds and surface make up, snow cover verSus land for an example ,which will determine the surface temp. of the earth and the characteristics of the laspe rate.”

    WRONG – the lapse rate is not a function of temperature. Temperature is a function of the lapse rate.

    How eFfective the greenhouse effect is or wiLl not be depends upon the amounts of energy present in earth’s climatic system.
    WRONG – IT ONLY DEPENDS ON THE RADIATIVE PROPERTIES OF THE ATMOSPHERE>

    The Greenhouse Effect is likely limited from here due to the fact that CO2 is close to the saturation point in the olr it absorbs, and water vapor due to the very limited positive feedback it has with CO2 is probably going to be unable to increase in concentrations in any significasnt manner in the atmosphere thus limiting any further effects from it ,as far as it’s contribution to the Greenhouse Effect goes.
    WRONG

    If SO2 were to increase in the atmosphere do you think that would effect the laspe rate and thus surface temperatures?
    NO

    If ozone were to increase in the atmosphere or change in the altitude in which it’s concentration is the greatest do you think the lapse ratre would change, and surface temperatures?
    NO

    If the earth were covered with all snow do you think the surface temperature and lapse rate would change?
    THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE WOULD CHANGE BUT NOT THE LAPSE RATE!

    If the earth had a desert enviroment with no oceans do you think the lapse rate and surface temperature would change?
    THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE WOULD CHANGE BUT NOT THE LAPSE RATE!

    If the earth were covered in oceans entirely ,do you think the surface temp. and the lapse rate would change?
    THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE WOULD CHANGE BUT NOT THE LAPSE RATE!

    If you answer these questions no you agree with Doug, if you answer them yes ,you agree with myself and others.
    NO! I DISAGREE WITH YOU, ROY, DOUG AND ANYBODY WHO INSISTS THAT THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE DETERMINES THE LAPSE RATE

    THE IDEA OF AN ISOTHERMAL ATMOSPHERE IS NONSENSE. AT THE TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE, THE TEMPERATURE MUST APPROACH ZERO KELVIN.

  80. Doug Cotton says:

    For a gas giant or indeed any agglomeration of gas in space the internal temperature will rise as the gases become compressed by gravity.

    No, Stephen. The temperature at the base of the atmospheres of Earth, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune gets hotter because of the effect of gravity on individual molecules in free flight between collisions, not because of the pressure increase.

  81. Doug Cotton says:

     

    All of you would do well to read about these experiments which I cited in my paper. They are the 800 experiments which proved Loschmidt right and Maxwell wrong. A thermal gradient develops in a sealed cylinder of air without convection – just with gravity.

    If you say this does not happen, then you are claiming that both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics can be violated and entropy can decrease, because that is what would have to happen if Roy were correct in claiming that uniform temperature would exist in an atmosphere of pure nitrogen and oxygen. Molecules moving upwards cannot maintain the same kinetic energy whilst gaining potential energy, any more than you can throw a ball into the air and it would just keep going up at the same velocity.
     
    That’s what the experiments prove. You cannot argue against them without doing 800 yourself to prove otherwise. That’s the inconvenient truth of correct physics.
     

     

  82. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Salvatore del Prete.
    “I understand, but the answers to those questions will prove who is right and who is wrong.”
    I don’t agree, those questions in my opinion are not so easy to be answered because all of them rely on the global temperature measurement.
    Long time ago there was a professor of applied physics who, when started to explain the thermometer, used to say to his students something like this “guys be aware: the thermometers tell always the temperature of themselves!”
    Someone told me that he was surely referring to the mercury thermometers. But no, that is valid for the most accurate multi-point platinum based devices, especially if your measurement involves turbulent fluids or gases.
    I’m absolutely skeptic about the reliability of the current global temperature databases, even the ones from satellites.
    The Aqua satellite experience should teach something about the reliability of noise reduction algorithms when you don’t know the origin and the behavior of the superimposed noise.

    “Doug can talk all the physics he wants, but he can’t prove the answers to any of those questions I submit is no.”

    I don’t believe he reply no to all your answers, and some of them (the one Doug probably replied no) it seems to me that can’t be proven to be yes too.
    Because they are just theory, never proven by practical experiments.

    About the lapse rate issue: note that despite I currently haven’t seen any proof of the so called GHGs induced warming; if Doug was right maybe that the famous “missing hot spot” at middle tropical troposphere could be due to the simple fact that the Doug’s natural lapse rate is currently greater than the GHG effect, so we don’t detect it.
    So maybe that if Doug is proven right, he could open a new possibility to detect the GHG effect in the measurements.
    I’m open to any possible evolution of the research in this field for two reason:
    1) Climatology seems to be at the very beginning
    2) I’m very ignorant in this field

  83. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Dr No I’m not one of those who says the surface temperature determines the lapse rate.

    The fact that I say the opposite is perfectly clear in my video here and of course in my November paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” So please don’t accuse me of saying the opposite of what I have in fact said. We actually agree on that point, Dr No.

     

  84. Coldlynx says:

    “The atmosphere would eventually become isothermal, as the full depth of the atmosphere would achieve the same temperature as the surface through thermal conduction; without IR emission, the middle and upper troposphere would have no way to cool itself in the face of this heating. ”

    The temperature the atmosphere would get in this isothermal theoretical example would be close to the earth surface maximum temperature. Not the average temperature. Maximum temperature from some desert in summertime.
    Otherwise would the convection not stop.

    This high temperature atmosphere is in fact the baseline for a atmosphere without GHG. A warmer atmosphere without GHG.
    Surface temperature may be lower but atmosphere will be warmer than now.

    Add GHG and the atmosphere start to cool. And that start convection, add humidity, condensate vapor and all other processes that reallocate energy on our planet.
    But the bottom line is that GHG cool the atmosphere. Note i state the atmosphere not the earth surface temperature.

  85. Dr. NO, I say you are wrong on every count.

  86. Thanks, Dr. Spencer, for the Good article.
    Happy, Healthy, New Year!

  87. Dr. No, what happens to the lapse rate in the stratrosphere,where ozone concentrations are at their highest ?

    Why is it different then in the troposphere?

    Dr. No what happens to the lapse rate of the stratosphere when large volcanic eruptions take place, and admit vast quantities of so2?

    Dr. No what happens to the temperature of the surface of the earth following large volcanic eruptions admitting vast quantities of so2?

    Dr. No ,if the earth were covered in snow the surface temperature would have to be below freezing. Do you agree?

    Dr. No, if the earth were covered with tropical ocean waters the temperatures at the surface of those oceans would have to be say 80F or around 27 C. Do you agree?

    Dr. No if the lapse rate cools DUE to decreasing pressures as air rises in altitude, how do you get the same lapse rate in a column of air in contact with a surface covered with snow with a temperature reading below freezing, versus a column of air in contact with the surface of the earth covered in tropical oceans? Explain how the laspe rate or character of it is not effected?

    Dr. No, what would happen to the lapse rate if there was no energy imparted from the sun to the earth ‘s climatic system? According to you it would not be effected at all.

    Dr. No, don’t you think clouds and the atmospheric composition go a long way in dertermining the radiative properties of the atmosphere? If you answer no, what then do you think determines the radiative properties of the atmosphere?

    Dr. No, if the amount of solar insolation at the top of the atmosphere changed ,you say it would not effect the lapse rate, why?

  88. Doug Cotton says:

    Salvatore

    The effective lapse rate is not caused by pressure differences.

    It is caused …

    (a) by gravitational force and mean specific heat Cp as shown in the well known formula -g/Cp which results from conduction, diffusion and convection. All give the same result, because they are all based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics acting in adiabatic conditions and thus creating an isentropic situation at every level of the atmosphere

    (b) by intra-atmospheric radiation and absorption.

    In the case of the troposphere, (b) reduces (a) from about 9.8K/Km to around 6.5 to 7 K/Km.

    However in the stratosphere (b) dominates because of high absorption of UV by ozone and other resulting chemical reactions. In the thermosphere it dominates even more. The temperature in the thermosphere is very hot, even though it wouldn’t feel hot up there.

  89. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Why Roy is wrong in his point (6)

    A line has a gradient. That’s the thermal gradient (AKA “lapse rate”) in the troposphere. But if you don’t know any point on the line then the gradient tells you nothing about its position. Solar insolation (and a few other considerations such as albedo, clouds, surface reflection etc) affect the height of the line. But these factors (such as total cloud cover for the whole Earth) vary only slowly and tend to follow natural cycles for reasons not yet fully understood, but seemingly related to the timing mechanisms built into planetary orbits.

    Some of Salvatore’s questions are pointless. For example, if there were no Sun, then the whole atmosphere would solidify and drop to the surface. If the oceans froze there would be no clouds.

    But, even if the atmosphere were 80% pure nitrogen and 20% pure oxygen, then gravity would still form an even more uniform thermal gradient close to -g/Cp in the troposphere and the thermal plot would intersect the surface at a higher temperature because the gradient would be steeper.

    And, no, not all radiation would be from the surface as some may think. Because oxygen and nitrogen can in fact absorb direct Solar insolation in the near infra red (close to the visible) and in the visible and UV frequencies, they can also re-emit radiation with such frequencies. In other words, just a few molecules get heated to much higher temperatures (as happens in the thermosphere) and the underlying thermal plot becomes a base so that that particular level of the atmosphere radiates just enough for its mean temperature to fall back to the calculated thermal plot.

    So this is the mechanism which determines the temperature of the atmosphere at every level, quite independently of the surface temperature. (It clearly has to have been this way on Venus, for example.) And then the surface temperature has to be close to the pre-determined temperature at the base of the atmosphere. Because of day/night variations, the surface can remain slightly hotter because of conduction into the solid crust.

    This is the new paradigm, based on physics which has only been confirmed empirically in this 21st century, even though it was first postulated by Loschmidt in the 19th century. Maxwell had no empirical evidence in those days with which to dismiss it, because the technology was not available to measure temperature with sufficient accuracy.

    But climatologists have based their greenhouse conjecture upon Maxwell’s unfounded rejection of what Loschmidt claimed (because it suited their agenda) and that is why Roy still says what he does in (6) above. But is it wrong, Roy, and proven wrong empirically this century. So get up to date and observe the inconvenient facts of physics.

     

  90. Dr No says:

    Dr. No, what happens to the lapse rate in the stratrosphere,where ozone concentrations are at their highest ?
    Why is it different then in the troposphere?
    IN THE STRATOSPHERE OZONE ABSORBS SOLAR RADIATION.
    AND
    MIXING AND HEAT TRANSPORT BY CONVECTION CAN ONLY OCCUR WHEN TEMPERATURE DECREASES WITH HEIGHT. THE TROPOSPHERE – WITH CONVECTION ALLOWED – IS TURBULENT AND WELL MIXED. THE STRATOSPHERE WITH ITS TEMPERATURE INCREASE WITH HEIGHT IS STABLE, STRATIFIED INTO LAYERS AND RELATIVELY POORLY MIXED.
    Dr. No what happens to the lapse rate of the stratosphere when large volcanic eruptions take place, and admit vast quantities of so2?
    IRRELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION
    Dr. No what happens to the temperature of the surface of the earth following large volcanic eruptions admitting vast quantities of so2?
    IT DECREASES BECAUSE LESS SOLAR RADIATION IS ABSORBED, THE RADIATIVE EQUILIBRIUM TEMPERATURE (RET) DECREASES, THE LAPSE RATE IS UNCHANGED, THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE IS LESS
    Dr. No ,if the earth were covered in snow the surface temperature would have to be below freezing. Do you agree?
    YES
    Dr. No, if the earth were covered with tropical ocean waters the temperatures at the surface of those oceans would have to be say 80F or around 27 C. Do you agree?
    YES
    Dr. No if the lapse rate cools DUE to decreasing pressures as air rises in altitude, how do you get the same lapse rate in a column of air in contact with a surface covered with snow with a temperature reading below freezing, versus a column of air in contact with the surface of the earth covered in tropical oceans? Explain how the laspe rate or character of it is not effected?
    IN BOTH CASES WE CAN ASSUME THAT THE RET HAS CHANGED. IN THE FIRST CASE BECAUSE THE ALBEDO IS SO HIGH, IN THE SECOND CASE BECAUSE THE ALBEDO IS LOWER. THE LAPSE RATE STAYS THE SAME, BUT THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE CHANGES
    Dr. No, what would happen to the lapse rate if there was no energy imparted from the sun to the earth ’s climatic system? According to you it would not be effected at all.
    EXACTLY. AN ISOLATED AIR COLUMN WILL STILL BE COOLER AT THE TOP THAN IT IS AT THE BOTTOM. THE IDEA THAT IT BECOMES ISOTHERMAL IS WRONG.
    Dr. No, don’t you think clouds and the atmospheric composition go a long way in dertermining the radiative properties of the atmosphere? If you answer no, what then do you think determines the radiative properties of the atmosphere?
    ANSWER IS YES
    Dr. No, if the amount of solar insolation at the top of the atmosphere changed ,you say it would not effect the lapse rate, why?
    AGAIN, THE PRIMARY EFFECT IS TO CHANGE THE RET. THE LAPSE RATE IS UNAFFECTED BUT THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE CHANGES ACCORDINGLY

  91. DarrylB says:

    From a retired H.S. Physics,chem instructor
    This must be one of the most interesting and informative (climate related) threads I have read – and will reread and use as a source for other info, including Doug C’s work. Thanks Dr. Spencer for initiating it. Climate Audit, Climate etc. and WUWT are for me also very informative. Real Climate and getting skeptical-not so.
    However, distancing oneself from winning an argument (which is not as important) and looking at what is really important for the decisions to be made; it seems everyone here is very cool to the idea of making decisions based upon the hypothesis that there is a significant anthropogenic forcing to any global warming, that is climate change, er climate disruption.
    Comments–anyone?

  92. Richard Pearson says:

    Why does Dr Spencer speak of the atmosphere as having thin layers – alright in models, I suppose- but the atmosphere I live in is not an onion.
    It is really well beyond time for a clear definition of the greenhouse effect theory to be stated in words and mathematical form – if such a definition exists. Prof Steve Sherwood told me one needed to study the physics of radiation for 100 hours, the equations of Chandresaker and Sagan etc to begin to understand the GHE. All that means to me is it must be fallacious.
    Obfuscation, analogies ( usually hopelessly inadequate), induction, rejection of experimental evidence and ignorant over unity interpretations of thermodynamics are no longer good enough – even from professors or the non sequitur ‘climatologists’. I for one do not recognise experts in the ‘post normal science’ of climate change and its underpinning thesis – the greenhouse effect theory – as scientists. They defy all the tenets of the philosophy of science based on empirical falsification that has carried us so far forward with Western civilisation.
    Climate change and the greenhouse effect theory sit in the pseudo-science box with Marxism and psychoanalysis – theories which claim a scientific basis and into which almost any proposition can be made to fit. Just so with the GHE and climate change. Yet they are false- science. They do not tolerate or stand up to tests of falsifiability or criticism. Indeed with GHE and climate change in its post normal science incarnation, criticism is forbidden. Like all scientific theories they are myths. The GHE myth was rejected by experts in the atmospheric physics field until given a political life by activist ‘scientist/s’ like Hansen in the late 1980′s. Margaret Thatcher, one of my political heroes, has a lot to answer for in regards to the politicisation of science in 1988.

  93. Doug Cotton says:

     

    All should note Richard’s wise words.

    The concept of carbon dioxide sensitivity is totally and utterly dependent upon the false assumption in Roy’s (6) above, namely that there would be zero thermal gradient in the troposphere if it were pure nitrogen and oxygen.

    It all goes back in history to the conflict between Loschmidt and Maxwell. Loschmidt postulated that KE and PE would interchange, thus causing molecules at the top (with more PE and less KE) to be cooler, and vice versa for those at the bottom of a sealed cylinder of air.

    Loschmidt’s concept is totally in keeping with conservation of energy (First Law of Thermodynamics) and the more general form of the Second Law which relates to energy, simply because PE+KE=constant and so isentropic conditions must prevail. In other words, it’s a choice of either a temperature gradient due to gravity, or non-isentropic conditions violating the First Law.

    Logically, Loschmidt was obviously correct, but it went against what Maxwell had said about diffusion of energy, and Maxwell refuted it without any empirical evidence.

    Now, in the 21st century, Roderich Graeff has carried out over 800 experiments proving that a temperature gradient does form. Graeff got his computations wrong because he incorrectly multiplied by degrees of freedom (as explained in my November paper and its Appendix) but that did not invalid the overall results which did confirm warmer temperatures at the base and cooler at the top, due to gravity acting on molecules whilst in free flight between collisions.

    So, when the real surface temperature would have been even warmer (without WV and GHG) than the present (as in my comment at 7:20pm) then we see water vapour has a cooling effect, and carbon dioxide has no significant effect either way.

     

     

    • Truthseeker says:

      Doug, you say that it is gravity rather than pressure that determines temperature. Surely greater pressure means greater molecular density and therefore higher measurable temperature for a given average level of molecular KE?

      Can I correctly interpret your argument by saying that gravity is the cause and pressure (and therefore temperature) is the effect?

      Just for clarification …

  94. Stephen Wilde says:

    I am pleased to see that I agree with Doug that there would be a lapse rate with height even with no GHGs in the atmosphere and that therefore GHGs must have a net cooling effect all other things being equal (but of course they are not)because GHGs offer an additional radiative window for energy loss to space which a non GHG atmosphere does not have.

    I am puzzled by so many reputable and experienced scientists thinking one could ever avoid a lapse rate within a gravitational field.

    I only differ with Doug as regads the mechanics of energy transfer within an atmosphere which has a lapse rate.

    I see adiabatic rising and falling of air within the gravitational field as the main mechanism whereas Doug relies almost exclusively on conduction.

    In the end though we are all arguing about angels on pinheads because once one admits that the entire atmospheric mass is involved in the so called greenhouse effect then GHGs are reduced to insignificance in any event since they comprise such a tiny proportion of atmospheric mass.

    Does anyone really deny that the entire atmospheric mass is involved ?

  95. Rick says:

    Doug, I now understand your explanation for the lapse rate although I don’t agree with it. The slope of the line on a Temp vs. height graph is the lapse rate regardless of what causes it so we don’t disagree about that point.

    The part of your explaination that I don’t understand is that you say that the temperature in the atmosphere is independent of the surface temperature (the Y intercept in the graph). What point in the atmosphere sets the temperature offset? Given that most of the solar radiation that hits the earth goes into heating the surface and the surface and the bottom of the atmosphere are at about the same temperature how can the surface temperature be independent of itself?

  96. Rick says:

    If the solar energy reaching the surface were 10% higher or lower wouldn’t the surface and all of the atmosphere hotter or colder?

  97. AlecM says:

    The GHE is seriously misunderstood by Meteorology/Climate science because they are taught incorrect physics. There is no ‘back radiation’, ‘DLR’ to the Meteorologists. It’s a failure to understand that a ‘pyrgeometer’ measures temperature, not energy.

    The internally generated signal is what you would get from an isolated body of the same temperature as seen in the view angle of the detector. The Trenberth Energy Budget with 100s of man years of failed experimental back radiation data is total bunkum. Only net IR can do thermodynamic work.

    These people have been making this mistake for 50 years. Do a simple bit of MODTRAN work and use correct radiant heat transfer theory and it’s easy to show that most GHG emission bands from the surface are annihilated by the near black body IR from the near equal temperature atmosphere.

    There can be no CO2-AGW. The real GHE is the rise in surface temperature because its emissivity falls to ~0.34. Most [83% average] surface heat transfer is convection and evapo-transpiration. Of the radiation, one part is thermalised mainly at clouds, the rest goes out through the atmospheric window AW.

    The only radiation calculations in the atmosphere of any use are the thermalisation of IR at clouds, there can be no direct thermalisation: basic IR physics. This thermalisation to grey body emission puts part of the IR into space via the AW so clouds cool the atmosphere from low down. It’s all so simple when one uses correct physics.

  98. Stephen Wilde says:

    Rick.

    There is more than one actual lapse rate because the temperature change with height varies right up the vertical column due to composition variations.

    There is only one ideal lapse rate set by gravity and on average both types must match if there is to be thermal equilibrium at top of atmosphere.

    So if composition causes the actual lapse rate or rates to diverge from the ideal lapse rate anywhere in the vertical column the global air circulation has to reconfigure itself in order to bring both back into line but only on average from top to bottom so there will still be a collection of actual lapse rates at different levels each diverging from the ideal lapse rate but not diverging from the ideal lapse rate if taken collectively.

    However if more energy is available from more solar input, more atmospheric mass or a stronger gravitational field then both surface temperature can rise AND the slope of the lapse rate stays the same, just as you suggest.

    In my view that is the most important point of all because it explains why radiative characteristics do not change surface temperature. They change the slope of the actual lapse rate instead and the air circulation then changes to adapt to the new slope thereby bringing the average net slope of all lapse rates in the vertical column back into line with the original surface temperature and the ideal lapse rate set by mass, gravity and insolation.

    That is what climate changes are. The process of the atmospheric circulation altering energy flow rates through the system in order to retain top of atmosphere radiative balance.

    Climate change is the visible process of circulation changes acting negatively against any disruptive forcings so as to keep the system stable.

    The atmospheric circulation is like a bag containing ferrets. Constantly moving to and fro in the face of constant disruption from a multitude of potential forcing elements.

    Of course the bag (climate) changes shape over time but it always holds those ferrets in and in climate it is the force of gravity that holds it all together rather than a bag.

    Is gravity a bag ? – Discuss.

  99. Doug Cotton says:

    Stephen still hasn’t produced evidence that winds which do have a downward component, warm by as much as the adiabatic lapse rate would suggest. Such winds are not adiabatic. They move much faster than the required slow speed of upward adiabatic convection, that speed being less than 0.04Km/hour. Downward winds (due to the funnel effect when approaching the poles) would be expected to over-ride the lapse rate by my calculations, but not by Stephen’s, because he still thinks it is all about pressure and density.

    So one simple question, Stephen: Why is there no thermal gradient above the South Pole, despite the pressure changes over the full 7Km of the troposphere. How can the top of the troposphere there be about -50C whilst the ground has a mean of about -57C?

    Rick can find the answer to his question in my video or the November paper, though Venus provides a clue. If the surface set the temperature, then gravity and specific heat set the thermal gradient, how on Earth or Venus could you be sure there would be radiative balance when summed over the whole surface plus atmosphere system? Try putting the Venus surface temperature on Earth, or vice versa. After all, Earth receives at least 10 times as much solar radiation at its surface, compared with Venus. Then see if you would still have radiative equilibrium. Hardly!

    AlecM You would find my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” interesting. Don’t go overboard and try to claim that there is no downward radiation from the atmosphere. There is, but it does not transfer thermal energy to the warmer surface. So it can only slow about a third of the surface cooling that is by radiation. (This is why you get emissivity ~0.34.) The other two-thirds by non-radiative processes speeds up to compensate, because the thermal gradient and thermal plot are pre-determined.

  100. Stephen Wilde says:

    “So one simple question, Stephen: Why is there no thermal gradient above the South Pole, despite the pressure changes over the full 7Km of the troposphere. How can the top of the troposphere there be about -50C whilst the ground has a mean of about -57C?”

    My contention is that for equilibrium to be maintained it is necessary for the multiple actual lapse rates within the atmosphere to all net out to the ideal lapse rate set by gravity.

    That leaves scope for infinite variability in actual lapse rate slopes within the vertical column in three dimensions around the globe as long as they all net out to the required slope set by gravity.

    One of the features of Earth’s circulation is that above the South Pole descending air brings the stratosphere virtully to the surface and the stratosphere contains ozone which gives it warming with height rather than cooling with height.

    Furthermore being at the centre of a vast land mass it is easier for temperature inversions to occur at the South Pole.

    So there are two explanations for the observation but in any event the observation is irrelevant because of the infinite variety of actual lapse rates that could exist within a single planetary atmosphere.

  101. Doug Cotton says:

    Rick I have already answered the question in your second comment (3:23am) in the very first paragraph of this comment above.

  102. AlecM says:

    Doug: I do not claim there is no DOWN atmospheric IR. Most is thermal from GHGs and is completely annihilated at the slightly warmer surface. There is ‘back radiation’, from the 23 W/m^2 IR but it comes from clouds in the atmospheric window because there can be no direct thermalisation.

    When you predict net IR flux from the difference between two S-B equations, you are really using the Planck Irradiation Function, hence you get to individual wavelengths.

    Climate Science messes up particularly badly with the atmospheric window Poynting Vectors 660 – 1170/cm. These equilibrate either with the 2.7 °K cosmic microwave background [clear skies] or with clouds at ~10 °C.

    In that latter case, you need to get rid of an extra ~30 W/m^2 by convection and evapo-transpiration hence the surface warms a few degrees. This is primarily why the meteorologists imagine there is a heat flux downwards. The reality is that the Poynting vectors in the AW lose a lot less energy to space.

    You can consider this as an extra impedance to heat flow.

  103. Doug Cotton says:

    No Stephen, the tropopause is not lower than about 7Km in summer at the South Pole. The plain fact is that the pressure is higher at the surface, as well as the density, yet there is no lapse rate, and the reason has nothing to do with ozone absorption. It is because the wind is far faster than adiabatic processes, be they diffusion or adiabatic convection.

    If your conjecture is sound, Stephen, you should be able to explain all observations at all locations, as my theory can.

    The very reason that effective lapse rates vary (within reason) is because of weather conditions and things such as downward winds which return the air that warmed by rising convection.

    You have never proven the existence of substantial quantities of downward convection anywhere in the world, Stephen. It’s all a figment of your wild imagination.

    There is no continuous energy supply at the tropopause to send convection downwards. But there is at the surface to send it upwards. Furthermore, we don’t even need convection.

    There was no convection in those 800 experiments, yet the thermal gradient still formed autonomously by all those little molecules dancing around, maintaining isentropic conditions as required by the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. They do it anyway in the atmosphere – but wind unsettles things temporarily.

    Cold air does not sink, any more than water runs uphill. Warm air rises and pushes air at the top sideways to form winds which then head towards the funnel effect (approaching the poles) and that funnel effect sends some winds downwards. You cannot deny that this has to happen. The “funnel” is demonstrated with elementary geometry.

  104. Doug Cotton says:

    AlecM Yes, I know what you are saying, The reasons, at the molecular level, are explained in my paper published March, 2012. Likewise, the reason for the one way heat transfer, and the quantification therof, are also covered in detail, in a way which may surprise you. That’s why I suggest reading that paper.

  105. Truthseeker says:

    The gaseous composition of an atmosphere is not a significant variable in the determination of the ambient temperature of a planetary atmosphere. This has been amply proven with this definitive analysis by Harry Dale Huffman. Nikolov and Zeller also extend this concept to the other planetary bodies with atmospheres in our solar system.

    The IPCC view of the greenhouse effect is precisely that the CO2 in the atmosphere acts like a sheet of glass. This is obviously ridiculous and yet it is how the alarmists use the “greenhouse gas” terminology to push a political agenda.

    A real greenhouse works by blocking convection as a heat transfer mechanism. There is no such mechanism in an open atmosphere so anyone who uses the term “greenhouse gas” or “greenhouse effect” clearly does not understand the physics involved.

    It is bad terminology and a bad analogy. Stop using it.

    I also recommend this site that has a ongoing series of posts completely debunking the idea of an atmospheric greenhouse effect.

  106. Stephen Wilde says:

    Doug.

    I see that I was misled by another blog post about tropopause height at the poles but nonetheless my other points apply.

    The temperature profile at the poles is just one of many potential variations in actual lapse rates that can be displayed by a circulating atmosphere.

    I trust that you do realise that wherever atmospheric pressure is higher than 1000 mb (about half the planet) there is a net descent of air ?

  107. Stephen Wilde says:

    Truthseeker.

    The term ‘greenhouse effect’ was in my recollection in common usage 50 years ago as referring to the effects of gravity and pressure.

    It was then hijacked as a term for the greenhouse gas effect which is how it is now used.

    Due to the corruption of the term one should perhaps now use the N & Z term of ‘Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement’ but it will always be the old greenhouse effect for me.

    • Truthseeker says:

      Stephen Wilde, my recollection is that Carl Sagan used the term to explain the temperature of Venus and that is where the hijacking was first done. Perpetuating a mistake because it is familiar is not a valid justification.

      We need to stop using the term because it will always have the wrong connotations and will always be used to distract people from the actual physics which are not as palatable or as easy to digest.

  108. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:

    The next time I see a horse and cart arrive somewhere I will know, by your logic, that the cart got the horse there. A jockey carrying a horse over the line will indeed gain new meaning in horse racing.

    While crossing a hot bitumen road, prior to the new year, my instant thoughts were of some of your comments as I knew the hot feeling up my shorts had nothing to do with the shapely lass in front of me nor the blistering hot road; it was all related to the lapse rate.

    The heat and hot air I felt up my jocks just follows the “flow of existing hills” – created by the lapse rate because “the lapse rate comes first” as you say. I say nonsense!

    And as day turns to night the lapse rate is causing the tarmac, surface and the air above it to cool.

    Lapse rates just falls into place instantly when a surface receives heat from the sun on a summer morning because you believe in an instant linear formula controlling such matters:

    “Natural temperature plots with natural adiabatic lapse rates (gradients) form first and then determine planetary surface temperatures.”

    You now claim that simply plugging numbers into a formula without thinking shows that substituting water vapour (WV) into the lapse rate formula actually shows surface cooling. Really now!

    We can work it all out from the lapse rate – no need to think at all. I suggest you walk around in the middle of the night – say 4am – in swimwear in dry central Australia and compare that with say Singapore? Ideally do it around August when you will really feel the warmth as your teeth chatter!!

    Ok let’s do it on comparable T max days – it won’t matter much.

    One may remember all these things as the likes of SS tear you to shreds if you persist with some of your notions. No, that would not please me or others who have posed issues with some of your thoughts.

    The lapse rate formula is derived under conditions for a rising parcel of air under adiabatic conditions. You wish then to throw away the constraints and apply it universally and instantaneously and define diffusion as achieving exactly this.

    Perhaps you should address experimentally whether “diffusion” is any faster than convection. If it was much, much faster I would sense that quite quickly at the other end of the room or in the ceiling with your oil heater convection “thought experiment.” But I don’t! Self evidently neither convection nor diffusion could be distinguished as having different speeds in this experiment.

    A lapse rate can never of its own accord give the T of the surface. It is simply the gradient under given conditions. Your notion of a some midpoint T height being the same if one changes the gases is just not logical (from your earlier statement where one can change the H2O vapour variable and readily determine the effect on surface T – nonsense I say).

    The Graeff experiment in my view is meaningless because you have decreased the entropy to start with by turning the tube from a horizontal state to vertical. You counter that the PE changes are balanced when it swivels around the midpoint as the gain in the top half is negated by the loss of PE in the bottom half. I suggest that is a nonsense as it is the relative PE difference imparted to the isolated system which is the issue here – the creation of a PE gradient from top to bottom which did not exist while in the horizontal plane.

    This does not mean I disagree with a gradation of T wrt gravity; just that it is difficult to carry out such a controlled experiment.

    Doug, some of what you say is indeed apt and original; the problem I feel is when you over reach and hang on stubbornly.

  109. pochas says:

    Truthseeker says:
    January 3, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    “The gaseous composition of an atmosphere is not a significant variable in the determination of the ambient temperature of a planetary atmosphere.”

    Agree, except that the lapse rate does depend on humidity. It is temperature that initiates convection, not atmospheric composition, but that does not completely obviate the greenhouse effect, which restricts the clear radiation window and so increases slightly the amount of heat that must be removed by convection in daytime and reduces cooling rates at night when there is no convection.

  110. Bevan says:

    Whether or not we have an agreed meaning for greenhouse effect, surely the important point is that the public has been lead to believe that this is the cause of anthropomorphic global warming which has more recently morphed into catastrophic climate change and that it is derived from CO2, an important greenhouse gas. Because of this, the world is being told to eliminate “carbon pollution” and to “decarbonise industry”, in other words, massively change our whole lifestyle. Hence we need clear evidence that CO2 does or does not cause warming of the Earth’s surface.

    The Web site of the World Meteorological Organisation contains the section World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases at:
    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/wdcgg/
    which contains data files for 348 sites across the globe. The record for Barrow in Alaska contains CO2 concentration and temperature measurements at hourly intervals. Daily averages for the period 1996 to 2006 inclusive (representing one Sun cycle) gave a clear picture of the relationship between the two variables.

    The correlation coefficient between the variables was -0.74 while cross correlation gave a maximum of 0.83 for a 153 day lag of CO2 with respect to temperature and a minimum of -0.86 for a 333 day lag. That is, a strong correlation exists between temperature and CO2 concentration but the effects occur about five months apart.

    The lowest temperatures occurred in the early months of the year with a minimum of -29.7 deg.C on 03 February during which time the CO2 concentration was near its peak. The temperature rose during May to July to a maximum of 6.2 deg.C on 16 July but CO2 concentration fell to a minimum of 361 ppm on 10 August. Thereafter, temperature fell while CO2 concentration rose to a maximum of 379 ppm on 31 December. The maximum rate of decline in temperature occurred a few weeks after the maximum rate of increase in CO2 concentration.

    My interpretation of the record is that the temperature directly relates to the Sun’s radiation while CO2 concentration relates to the biological cycle which is driven by both temperature and incident radiation for photosynthesis. As temperature increases, biological activity commences and consumes CO2 from the atmosphere. After the temperature maximum, biological activity declines and decay of life forms takes place causing an increase in CO2 concentration.

    I see no sign of CO2 concentration causing warming. In fact the reverse takes place. Both temperature and CO2 concentration are jointly controlled by the seasons and must, on an annual basis, reflect the magnitude of the insolation. The data from Alert in Canada gave a similar picture.

  111. ilma says:

    Doug,

    There is a very simple mathematical rebuttal of the GH effect (where back-radiation is claimed to further increase the surface/near-surface temperature).

    If 1 unit of heat energy (i.e. temperature) is radiated by, i.e. lost from the surface, and a fraction of that (0.x) is radiated back, the net surface heat energy level / temperature is -1 + 0.x, NOT +1 + 0.x, i.e. cooler, NOT warmer.

    It seems all the radiationists here (excuse my word invention) have not understood that basic sign error. To count the original unit of heat energy/temperature lost by the surface as +1 instead of -1 creates 2 units of energy out of nothing, which most definitely violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    To the compositionists, that equation makes no assumptions about composition and would be true even if the atmosphere were 100% CO2.

    Note I have not used ‘scientific’ language, as no ‘science’ is required (apart from understanding that energy cannot be created or destroyed), but is a maths issue.

  112. Dr. No, to my second set of questions you agreed with me, and yet when I asked the same set of questions in a previous post you did not agree.

    I said the same thing in both post.

  113. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @ilma,
    It is not so simple, no one does that misunderstanding of that simple energy balance.
    The ones who accept and support the GHGs theory just imply that the back-radiation needed to balance the radiation fluxes is absorbed and converted in heat by the very same body which originally emitted it.
    In my opinion no one has really demonstrated that this is true and possible.
    Indeed,I still have great doubts on how scientists measured the outgoing radiation at the TOA, which is the starting point for who support the existence of the GHG effect because they say “look there is a missing outgoing energy there”.
    In fact, I always seen spectrometer graph which show the so called CO2 absorption pit; but that’s just what the satellite’s LW IR eye sees. In my opinion it’s no way close to the real amount of energy that leaves the atmosphere, that’s because satellites have a narrow field of view and for that they are absolutely blind respect to the scattered radiation produced by the so called GHGs at the TOA.
    It’s a long time that I found a research made by Franch/Italian scientist which reported this:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/6/5025/2006/acp-6-5025-2006.pdf

    Look at fig.1 and note that finally they applied a mirror at the spectrometer input slit. That mirror allowed the spectrometer to move its field of view from nadir (which is the common satellite view) to the so called “limb” view.
    I expected to see exactly what fig.3 shows. That is, there is an outgoing peak exactly where at the nadir the spectrometer sees the so (in my opinion wrongly) called CO2 absorption pit. In my opinion it’s just a scattering
    pit.

    Note also that they used that measurement just to evaluate if they was at the LW-IR TOA, they just trashed those measurements for other purposes. While they should integrate all the spectrometer field of views on a looking-down-half-spherical view) to get the whole outgoing radiation for
    any single point of the TOA; and it is possible that it finally results in an almost perfect Planck’s body shape (it’s just a bet, I can’t be sure of that of course).

    Have a great 2013

    Massimo

  114. Doug Cotton, will go to any lengths to try to prove the greenhouse gas effect does not exist, while indeed it does exist. He will do this because he wants to prove the AGW theory is wrong, but that theory can be proven wrong, even if one believes in a GHG effect.

    My goal is to prove the AGW theory wrong, even though there is indeed a limited GHG effect.

    The effective lapse rate is determined by the amount of solar insolation coming into the earth at the top of the atmosphere versus how much of that incoming solar radiation coming into the earth at the top of the atmosphere gets reflected directly back into space, which depends on the composition of the atmosphere,the surface of the ground make up, and clouds, along with greenhouse gases.

    In additiono the amount of water vapor in the air, effects the lapse rate, as it rises through the troposphere and cools as a result. Once saturation being reached ,causing the air to cool at a much smaller rate, in contrast to when saturation is not obtained as the air parcel rises, which of course will have a direct impact on the lapse rate of that column of air.

    In addition if incoming solar radiation is radiated out from the earth’s surface as olr ,but gets absorbed once again due to the make up of the atmospheric composition,and cloud amounts ,thatin turn is going to impact the lapse rate and the surface temperature.

    As Dr. Spencer rightly points out, if you add insulation to your house the interior will heat up without the need of any additional outside energy.

    The same for a car , if the windows are rolled up, the glass will let the visible sunlight in while trapping the olr being radiated from the interior of the car. The result is the interior of the car heats up without any additional solar energy coming in contact with the car.

    Two examples of how the greenhouse gases act in a similar manner, when it comes to earth’s climatic system.

    Greenhouse gases are absorbing infrared radiation and not allowing it to go directly out to space. That infrared radiation instead, is directed back down through the atmosphere which results in making the atmosphere warmer then it would be if it were allowed to escape directly into space.

    I agree with everything Dr. Spencer has said.

  115. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Greenhouse gases are absorbing infrared radiation and not allowing it to go directly out to space”

    GHGs absorb energy and then send some up some down and some sideways.

    The portion sent up goes out to space.

    Non GHGs can only absorb via conduction and everything they absorb by that means has to go back down to the surface by conduction in order for it to escape to space.

    The conductive process takes longer for non GHGs than does the radiative process for GHGs so GHGs must potentially have a net cooling effect.

    But it doesn’t matter in the end for two reasons:

    i) Radiative characteristics do not affect a planet’s temperature beneath an atmosphere. The circulation always changes to prevent it and

    ii) All the mass of the atmosphere is involved via radiation (for GHGs) and via conduction and convection (for non GHGs) and so the tiny proportion of GHGs renders the whole issue insignificant.

  116. RW says:

    Roy,

    What is the support for 1.1C of ‘zero-feedback’ at the surface for 2xCO2? It appears the IPCC’s definition of RF only quantifies the net absorption increase, where as I thought it quantified the net amount downward re-radiated. The language seems convoluted, which is big part of the problem.

    I maintain the claim of 1.1C at the surface is arbitrary per the IPCC’s definition, and does not have a genuine physical or logical foundation.

  117. Doug Cotton says:

    TonyM Lapse rates just falls into place instantly when a surface receives heat from the sun on a summer morning

    I am quite aware most people think that, and I used to myself. Now explain how less than 10W/m^2 solar insolation reaching the surface makes Venus over 700K.

    I suggest you read the links Truthseeker has provided, and some day actually read my paper.

    Stephen Yes, and all that “falling air” is mostly doing so at more than 0.04 Km/hour, and is thus not having an effect on the adiabatic lapse rate. Instead, like the downward winds at the South Pole, it just blows cold air down towards the surface, making the South Pole about 50 degrees colder than your conjecture would suggest. It seems your “physics” only works where it works.

  118. Here is a prediction that will be correct.

    No one is going to convince the other one that he or she is correct ,while others are wrong.

    We all have our thoughts, and they are not going to change.

    • Truthseeker says:

      Spoken like a true zealot.

      A real scientist starts from the premise that they do not understand the universe around them. It is the only way that they can look at real observational data with an open mind.

  119. Stephen Wilde says:

    Doug.

    I never said the falling air has an effect on the adiabatic lapse rate. In fact it is the adiabatic lapse rate that has an effect on the descending air which warms as it becomes more compressed however quickly or slowly it descends.

    At the South Pole air at the surface is still cold despite the adiabatic warming that took place on the way down because it was so cold to start with. It is just less cold than it otherwise would have been.

    Then there is the issue of inversions in the centre of such a large cold continent which produce colder air at the surface than higher up despite the descending air at higher levels.

    Your South Pole example does not in any way suggest a flaw in my diagnosis.

  120. Jon the Technologist says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    This is still the best d*mn classroom I have ever been in.

    Happy New Year

    Jon

  121. Doug Cotton says:

    Stephen wrote about air descending: which warms as it becomes more compressed however quickly or slowly it descends. No it doesn’t if it descends more quickly than about 0.04 Km/hour. You have no proof. What you say is a physical impossibility.

    The adiabatic lapse rate has nothing to do with compressing or expanding air. Did you see any such considerations in my computations? No. I merely equated PE loss with the amount of energy required to warm the gas, but there are implicit assumptions that no external energy is added or removed. That’s why the gradient is -g/Cp., but when wind blows it is no longer an adiabatic process, and so you can’t apply the calculations that assume it is an adiabtic process. Elementary, my dear Stephen.

    You say what you say because you don’t understand the molecular processes involved in creating the thermal gradient in any gas, whether still or in motion. Molecular processes take time due to the speed that molecules move, the mean free paths, and statistical considerations. This is why Graeff did not see results even within an hour or two. The winds at the South Pole easily traverse 7Km in that time. If the winds did warm by 50 degrees I can assure you the surface would have to be warmer. It doesn’t happen Stephen. Air rises very slowly by convection (0.04 Km/hour in the tropics. It then becomes high winds under the ceiling of the tropopause, and the funnel effect (whereby 680,000 cubic Km of air between two lines of latitude 1Km apart, reduces to 7 cubic Km by the time it gets to the poles) has to force some of the wind downwards, and then it travels horizontally near the surface, back towards the tropics in Trade Winds (near the tropics) and Polar Easterlies near the poles. All this is well known atmospheric physics.

    I am not going to keep repeating all this. If anyone chooses to believe Stephen, I will just refer them to this comment. The thermal gradient due to gravity has developed over many years by slow adiabatic processes which can, and do occur, even in still air. It is stable for the very reason that the processes act slowly.

  122. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Dr. Spencer, I re-read your point #5 “Ground-based, upward-viewing IR radiometers measure much stronger levels of downward atmospheric emission than do space-based, downward-viewing radiometers of upward atmospheric emission.”

    Have you considered the effect of distance from the target in the evaluation of the Ground-based-upward-viewing IR radiometers vs the space-based-downward-viewing radiometers?
    I mean, at the same field of view angle, the more the target (GHGs) is far from the radiometer the more it is blind respect the scattered radiation.
    The ground based ones are very close to the most important GHG (the WV), while the satellite are very far from the troposphere where the most of the GHGs scattering is concentrated.

  123. Doug Cotton says:

    Ilma Yes what you say is of course correct, and I am very much aware of it, as you could infer from my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” where I explain why the EM energy in back radiation is not converted to thermal energy in a warmer surface.

    Thoes who think there is a “runaway greenhouse effect” on Venus need to consider what you say. There is less than 10W/m^2 of direct Solar insolation reaching the surface of Venus, so back radiation has to be less than that, and it can’t transfer heat back to the surface anyway. But 10W/m^2 corresponds to only 155K by SBL, so why is the surface over 700K? The answer is in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” and my video which over 300 have viewed since Christmas.

  124. Stephen you are making sense in what you are trying to convey to Doug, but it is not going to do any good.

    Every thing Doug says, is wrong, wrong ,wrong.

  125. JWR says:

    Dear Dr Spencer,

    You have made a lot of points and a lot of people have given their opinion.
    I have made numerical experiments, starting on the back of an envelope, of a one-slab model of a semi-transparent atmosphere.
    In particular I have implemented in a model the one-way heat propagation formulation, after having compared the one-way formulation with the two-way formulation, for the one-slab model. I find spurious absorption in the two-way heat propagation formulation, which is compensated by back-radiation.
    From that spurious absorption in the two-way formulation I conclude that it has to be avoided, and doing so we have solved the problem of the huge absorption and the huge back-radiation in K&T type of global and annual heat balances.
    A K&T type of diagram results not with 390 Watt/m^2 LW surface flux, but only 68, of which 52 trough the window and 16 as LW surface flux into the atmosphere.
    The model gives 100 Watt/m^2 as convection from sensible and latent heat from the surface, in total 168Watt/m^2 from the surface. We find a predominance of convection as compared to radiation.
    The model gives 72 from absorption from incoming sunlight.
    In total 240 as OLR.
    The model has been applied to a hypothetical planet without an atmosphere but with the absorption as found on earth as well as a planet with an isothermal atmosphere at a temperature equal to the surface temperature. These examples show clearly the play between convection and radiation.
    The model is based on the environmental lapse rate.
    A sensitivity analysis have been carried out giving a deltaT =0.08 C for doubling the CO2 concentration.

    http://www.tech-know-group.com/papers/IR-absorption_updated.pdf

  126. Geoff wood says:

    Stephan, I know you understand the adiabatic so this is ‘for your argument’, not against, please understand that. I feel that I would like to add to your statement to clarify.

    I find myself almost at the point of despair. This is ‘Occam’s Razor’

    The adiabatic describes the vertical thermal profile of any gas, or mixture of, in equilibrium with ANY energy input, within a gravitational field.

    Understanding the basic derivation of the adiabatic and it’s physical consequences relieves the need for ‘any other process’ (GHG included ) to describe the atmospheric temperature gradient.

    1) The atmosphere has to obey basic Newtonian mechanics.

    2) It has to obey the conservation of energy.

    At any point in the atmosphere, for any derivable body of mass, energy has to be conserved. That can be a mole of gas or a single molecule to molecule collision. If massive amounts where due to radiation then that would mean that the measured adiabatic profile of the atmosphere would not hold. It does so because most molecular collisions do not distort the molecules enough at these temperatures to produce significant accelerated charge.

    The basic derivation is down to;

    1) force = mass x acceleration
    (Acceleration here is gravity.,g)

    2) energy= force x distance
    (Energy= -gravity(-g) x vertical heigh(h)

    3) energy= mass x heat capacity(C) x temperature difference(T)

    These are indisputable physical facts. through equating we can easily derive the adiabatic lapse rate,

    dT/ dh = -g/C Where C is the heat capacity of the gas as a function of pressure. This is the documented adiabatic lapse rate.

    No radiative component.

    No back radiation implied.

    Please re read the last two statements of fact.

    Still, – g/Cp describes our tropospheric temperature distribution. With 0.04%CO2

    It says that all the atmosphere up to a certain level (~ 226mb pressure) conserves energy largely and therefore’ has’ the same ‘total’ thermal and ‘potential’ energy to a high approximation

    It would behave largely the same if it where Nitrogen alone. That is what measuring other atmospheres has told us. Within a coupled thermal system at these temperatures and pressures heat transfer is NOT a radiative process.

    Please re read and absorb that FACT.

    Mean temperature. Sea level and top of atmosphere. Up to 226mb. It’s adiabatic. All the same total energy.

    The documented mean adiabatic for Earth’s atmosphere is -6.5deg/km, so, ( modified due to waters ability to triple phase and dump massive amounts of latent heat),

    -50.5degC at 10km
    Is the same total energy as
    -18degC at 5km
    Is the same total energy as
    14.5deg C at sea level.

    And that reads ‘full stop’ . All in perfectly natural THERMODYNAMIC equilibrium with the solar flux

    Venus’s temperature distribution is the same. Despite 95.6%CO2

    Mars’s temperature distribution is the same.

    All measured atmospheres are the same. That includes stars outside of the nuclear core.

    All thermodynamic. All include ALL means of thermal transfer NOT JUST RADIATION, that answer to the environmental thermal gradient forced by gravity! The reason they are here!

    Radiation is present in all, but, and here is the crux, it answers to the thermal gradient that is ‘SET BY GRAVITY, MASS AND ENERGY’

    Radiation only dominates when opacity tends to zero.

    In a coupled thermal system, heat can travel by ANY available means. Radiation does not dominate at these temperatures and thermal gradients. At ambient temperatures conduction and coupled convection overwhelm radiation which is part of the same heat transfer process. We all know this from the way our own domestic heating systems work.

    If we introduce opacity the atmospheric response will instantaneously an seamlessly result in convection and negate the change in the throughput of energy.

    Roy, the lapse rate would exist without any net displacement of any body of gas. Any physical displacement or vibration down to a quantum level has to answer to gravity. It’s vertical energy profile will convey that information. Molecule to molecule. Every collision. It’s a physical requirement of it’s gravitational confinement.

    The notion of an equilibrium state tending towards an isothermal column within an atmosphere DOES NOT CONSERVE TOTAL ENERGY. You are forgetting the force of gravity and its draining effect on thermal energy with acquired height. However, the adiabatic notion of conservation does a very good approximation above 226mb of pressure.

    Please comment.

  127. A quote from Dr. Spencer, which is so true.

    “If we can’t agree on the basics , then there really is no reason to continue the discussion because we are speaking in different languages,with no way to translate between them.”

    Doug and myself are such a case. We speak through one another not to eachother. That is why I can’t continue or won’t continue a discussion on this issue with the likes of Doug. It is impossible to study something somone else is saying if basic priciples can’t be agreed upon.

    Dr. Spencer said all that he is going to say ,I believe on this issue. I am glad he has the same basic beliefs that I have when it comes to the GHG effect.

  128. You cannot compare or use Venus to try to justify what you are trying to say for here on the Earth.

    Geoff wood, we know next to nothing about VENUS, nevermind the Earth .

    Using Venus to try to promte ones argument for the lapse rate and whatever else for here on earth, is laughable.

    What a joke. A bad joke.

  129. Atmosphere of Venus

    Not a nice place to visit, and you wouldn’t want to live there.
    Venus has a very thick atmosphere:

    air pressure at surface ~ 90 atmospheres.
    Here is a comparison of the atmospheric composition of Earth and Venus. I list the number of molecules per m2 of surface area of the planet in each planet’s atmosphere relative to the total number of molecules per m2 in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Earth Venus
    N2 0.79 2
    O2 0.20 < 0.001
    Ar 0.01 0.005
    CO2 0.0003 64
    H2O ~ 0.02 0.003

    Total 1.00 66

    ————————–
    H2O 3 km 0.5 mm
    liquid
    + vapor

    (A technical note: This is based on a pressure ratio of 92/1,
    a surface gravity ratio of 0.91/1.0, and a mass per molecule
    ratio of 1.5/1.0 for Venus/Earth.)

    Note that the amount of nitrogen in Venus's atmosphere is a little larger than in Earth's atmosphere, but the amount of oxygen is much less and the amount of carbon dioxide is much more. Also, if you count the oceans on Earth, Venus has a lot less water than Earth.
    Venus has clouds 50 to 70 km above surface containing H2SO4 (sulfuric acid).

    Where did Earth's CO2 go?

    On Earth it was cool enough for water vapor to condense.
    CO2 dissolves in water.
    At the Earth's surface it could combine with chemicals in the ocean to make rocks. (“chemistry'' in the picture.)
    Now living things help get rid of CO2.
    Venus doesn't have any living things and it is too hot for water vapor to condense.
    Where did Venus's water go?
    H2O vapor in the atmosphere can be dissociated into H2 and O.
    H2 escapes.
    Oxygen is very reactive and combines with other gasses or with iron on the surface.
    On Earth, plants make O2 for us.
    ASTR 121 Home

    Davison E. Soper, Institute of Theoretical Science, University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403 USA soper@physics.uoregon.edu

  130. What is the atmosphere of Venus like?

    The atmosphere of Venus is very thick and is about 90 times more massive than Earth’s atmosphere. It is mostly carbon dioxide gas (about 96%), with some nitrogen (about 3%) and a very small amount of water vapor (0.003%). Venus also has a thick layer of sulfuric acid clouds. The sulfur in the clouds gives Venus its yellowish appearance. The clouds in Venus’s atmosphere also move very fast, reaching speeds of 220 miles per hour (350 km per hour).

    THE ATMOSPHERE OF VENUS IS 90 TIMES MORE MASSIVE THEN EARTH’S.

    It’s temperature distribution is not the same as the earth’s.

  131. Doug Cotton says:

     

     
    Geoff Wood is saying exactly what I am saying. His calculations are the same as in my comment above. And Geoff says what I have been explaining to Stephen …

    “Roy, the lapse rate would exist without any net displacement of any body of gas.”

    Over 200 well qualified and experienced members of Principia Scientific International are all convinced that carbon dioxide has no effect, because the thermal plot is pre-determined by the force of gravity, the mean specific heat and incident solar insolation levels. This “overpowers” radiation effects which can do little more than level out the gradient with some intra-atmospheric radiation. So the moist adiabatic rate is less steep, and the irony of that is that, in the long-term, water vapour causes a lower surface temperature. Yet the IPCC depend upon positive feedback by water vapour to magnify their claims about carbon dioxide. What a shame it works the other way.

  132. 1.Savant says:
    2.
    May 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    3.
    Steve,

    4.
    You have almost got it now — here is the relevant question:

    5.
    For Earth and Venus (as you note) the adiabatic lapse rate is similar; For Earth and Venus, the planetary equilibrium temperature is similar (Venus is closer to the sun but has a higher albedo). So now the question: To what altitude does the atmosphere mix vertically from the surface close to the adiabatic lapse rate (note on Earth that the true lapse rate is ~6.5o/km, e.g. the atmosphere is slightly stable)? You assume in your posts that it must be to the same pressure — but where does this assumption come from? On Earth, the temperate at 50 km is ~250K, if your 10K/km held to this altitude, the surface of Earth would be 750K — clearly something amiss. The answer is that at the tropopause OLR balances the incoming solar: outgoing energy (emission) from the atmosphere by cooler greenhouse gases and from the warmer surface (in the IR windows) balances the solar headed down.

    6.
    So the important question for Venus is why is the tropopause at 60Km? You make the assumption that it is because this is (approximately) the same pressure as the tropopause on Earth. But there is no physical reason why the tropopause must be at the same pressure on other bodies. As on Earth, the tropopause is where the atmosphere must mix vertically to achieve thermal balance (e.g. read very nice discussion of radiative-convective models by Manabe). If instead of being made of IR absorbing constituents, the atmosphere was made only of N2 (even if it was as massive), the surface temperature would be much colder (and there would be a large day-night difference).

    7.
    There is not much to this (at zeroth order) beyond the first law of thermodynamics in a compressible (nearly-ideal) gas.

    8.

  133. SAVANT MAKES MY POINTS.

  134. Why is the atmosphere of Venus 92 x greater then Earth’s, if as everyone is trying to say they are so ,so similar to one another . Real similar. Next joke.

  135. Doug in your dreams. What you are saying is false.

  136. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Regarding Venus: Russian probes have been dropped onto the surface of Venus, measuring data at various altitudes and on the surface itself. We do know quite a lot about the temperatures up there.

    Firstly, it is totally impossible for the mere 10W/m^2 of incident Solar radiation that has been measured reaching the surface to heat that surface from 155K to over 700K. Back radiation resulting from that insolation cannot be more than 10W/m^2 and it does not generate new energy to transfer heat to the surface anyway.

    So we face a huge dilemma when we consider Venus. The only possible explanation is that the atmosphere warms at each level (by absorbing incident solar radiation) to an equilibrium point pre-determined by the calculated thermal plot, for which we can use the same gradient formula -g/Cp as on Earth, with a minor reduction of about 10% to 30% due to the levelling effect of intra-atmospheric radiation from warmer regions to higher cooler regions.

    So the thermal gradient (AKA lapse rate) on Venus is about 8 to 9K/Km which is not much steeper than Earth’s gradient. It is steeper only because the specific heat of carbon dioxide is lower than that of air. (If there were a GHE, it would be less steep.) The force of gravity is slightly lower, and solar insolation at TOA is about double that of Earth. So these are the parameters we can then use to calculate the Venus surface temperature, just as we can for Earth and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

    Coincidence? Hardly! The only possible explanation is that the pre-determined temperature at the base of the atmosphere sets the surface temperature.

    I absolutely defy anyone here or anywhere in the world to successfully rebut my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” which has been online for open peer review by anyone in the world since late November.

     

  137. Geoff wood says:

    Salvatore, please go back to basics. This is Newtonian mechanics and Occam’s razor. Physics easily describes the thermal profile of any atmosphere. They’re all the same. Irrespective of composition. Jump up and see what affects you. Radiation or Gravity.

  138. The lapse rate is dependent upon the composition of the atmosphere and the amount of solar insolation recieved at the top of the atmospehre and how much of that get’s absorbed at the surface,and by the atmosphere as oppossed to how much of it escapes directly to space.

    That is what gives the basic lapse rate.

    The ozone in the stratosphere versus the lapse rate of the stratopshere, versus the lack of ozone in the troposphere versus the lapse rate in the troposphere proves my point.

    If ozone were present in the troposphere to the degree it is present in the statosphere, the lapse rate of the troposphere would be completly different.

    It would be different due to the compositional make up of the troposphere.

    Prove me wrong. You can’t because the lapse rate of the stratosphere versus the tropospehre proves my point.

    That is the experiment laid out for us, in our own atmosphere, along with the observed lapse rates.

    ALL DEPENDENT UPON THE COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE!!!

  139. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:

    Are you for real?

    My comment is designed to take the mickey out of you. It is a sarcastic repeat of your statement not mine. You left out the bit which states that you (i.e. Doug Cotton) believes it. My full text read:

    Lapse rates just falls into place instantly when a surface receives heat from the sun on a summer morning because you believe in an instant linear formula controlling such matters:

    “Natural temperature plots with natural adiabatic lapse rates (gradients) form first and then determine planetary surface temperatures.”

    The latter quote is your own statement taken from one of your comments.

    Follow the story! That will prevent going around in circles.

  140. Stephen Wilde says:

    Geoff wood says:
    January 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Geoff,

    I am in agreement with all that. It is also the portion of Doug’s account that I agree with.

    I think I was the first in this thread to point up the error in Roy’s point 6 but that point is only in error if by ‘greenhouse effect’ Roy meant radiative gases.

    If in fact he meant the gravity and mass induced effect then point 6 would be correct but he has not clarified that issue.

    My difference with Doug appears to be in relation to the energy transfers within the atmosphere and the relative significance of conduction as against convection.

    I think one needs an adiabatic energy loop which can vary in speed in order to counter the thermal effects of any elements that cause the actual lapse rate from the ideal lapse rate set by gravity.That could be any forcing elements other than mass gravity and insolation and not just radiative gases

    Doug thinks conduction (he calls it diffusion) is sufficient and I disagree on that point because in any fluid a convective circulation will form and be more efficient than conduction at transferring energy up and down the vertical column especially near the surface (our troposphere).

  141. Stephen Wilde says:

    Geoff Wood said:

    “If we introduce opacity the atmospheric response will instantaneously and seamlessly result in convection and negate the change in the throughput of energy.”

    Isn’t that exactly what I have been saying for 5 years now ?

    Any change in radiative characteristics will be negated by circulation changes involving convection.

    Either the temperature is affected by radiative characteristics or it is not and I have been arguing that it is not since 2008.

    I thought that was established science 50 years ago and I have now additionally worked it into a new description of climate change which gives a much more plausible alternative to the radiative gases theory.

    I won’t bore you with the details here.

  142. Doug Cotton says:

     

    The huge mistake made by Roy and climatologists is expressed in Roy’s (6) above. For new readers, this comment explains why Earth’s surface would not have been 255K for a pure nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere. In fact it would have been warmer than it is – maybe about 300K mainly because of the lack of a lower adiabatic lapse rate caused by water.

    ¹

  143. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Stephen said I think one needs an adiabatic energy loop which can vary in speed in order to counter the thermal effects of any elements that cause the actual lapse rate from the ideal lapse rate set by gravity

    Both Geoff and I say you don’t.

    Geoff said Roy, the lapse rate would exist without any net displacement of any body of gas.”

    The reason is that each and every molecule repairs the damage, as explained in my paper and video.

    So Stephen you, without any science degree, are arguing against the two of us on this issue.

     

  144. Doug Cotton says:

    Geoff Wood I appreciate your support on this thread. Just one minor thing: you should say “specific heat, Cp” rather than “heat capacity, C” because you are multiplying by mass. Specific heat is the heat capacity per unit mass.

  145. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Salvatore still thinks The lapse rate is dependent upon … the amount of solar insolation recieved [sic] at the top of the atmospehre [sic]“

    Do you see anything about insolation in the formula -g/Cp? Maybe you’d like to see it derived the long way round in the section headed “Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate” in this Wikipedia item. Hop in and edit Wikipedia, then get back to Geoff and myself with the news about your new calculation for the thermal gradient of any atmosphere.
     

  146. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Roy – this is for you.

    Let’s look closely at what you say …

    6) The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect.

    Yes it would, because each and every molecule loses KE when any component of its free path movement is upward, and gains KE when any component is downwards. So diffusion of KE during collisions automatically creates the thermal gradient which both Geoff Wood and I have calculated in exactly the same way to be -g/Cp as also calculated in a round-about way in Wikipedia.

    While it is true that convective overturning of the atmosphere leads to the observed lapse rate,

    Well, that’s what Stephen Wilde thinks is necessary, but, as Geoff and I say, it can happen “without any net displacement of any body of gas” because it happens at the molecular level.

    convection itself would not exist without the greenhouse effect constantly destabilizing the lapse rate through warming the lower atmosphere and cooling the upper atmosphere.

    Convection would exist, especially in the tropics, because of the continual flow of energy by molecular collisions at the surface/atmosphere boundary as the surface sheds energy absorbed from insolation.

    Without the destabilization provided by the greenhouse effect, convective overturning would slow and quite possible cease altogether. The atmosphere would eventually become isothermal, as the full depth of the atmosphere would achieve the same temperature as the surface through thermal conduction

    No, No, No. Thermal conduction (“diffusion” – call it what you like) creates the thermal gradient -g/Cp. If it created isothermal conditions in a vertical plane then you would have an entropy gradient, and regions where entropy would have decreased. That never happens and would violate the extended version of the Second Law. So this is by far the most invalid statement you could have made. Ask a physicist if what Geoff and I are saying is not true.

    without IR emission, the middle and upper troposphere would have no way to cool itself in the face of this heating.

    There would be emission. Do you think there is no emission in the thermosphere, or that only carbon dioxide molecules emit up there? No. When nitrogen and oxygen absorb high energy UV, visible and near IR radiation they get very “hot” and can re-emit similar frequencies. So there will also be some molecules at any level of the troposphere which can do likewise. Some of them won’t re-emit, but instead will diffuse a lot of energy to other molecules in the region. Each region radiates energy away until it cools to that temperature at which it should be, as is determined by the calculations of the overall thermal profile, or “plot” as I have called it elsewhere.

    This scenario is entirely theoretical

    No, it’s entirely imaginary and in violation of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.

    I’ll be happy to post corrections/additions to the above list as warranted.

    I’ll be happy to see you do so. Spend 10 minutes here.

     

  147. Konrad says:

    It has come to my attention that Doug Cotton posted a link earlier on this thread to a diagram I posted at the Talkshop. This diagram http://tinypic.com/r/6zy1ky/6 was produced on the basis of empirical experiment results. It is intended to illustrate the physical impossibility of AGW. However the part of the illustration showing “atmosphere without radiative gasses” only shows the beginning of convective stagnation and collapse after removal of radiative gasses and is not intended to illustrate the state of an atmosphere that has been without radiative gasses for any great length of time. It was certainly not intended to show that the current lapse rate would be sustained in a non radiative atmosphere with no vertical convection.

    A temperature lapse rate is largely the result of two things. Radiative energy loss at altitude and vertical convective circulation. I have found by empirical experiment that removal of radiative gasses from the atmosphere will result in the collapse of convective circulation. A strong vertical convective loop in a gas column with a vertical pressure gradient (and relatively constant average temperature) requires energy loss at a higher altitude than energy input. It should be noted that adiabatic cooling and heating of air masses play absolutely no role in driving convective circulation.

    To put this diagram in context it is based on this simple empirical experiment – http://i48.tinypic.com/124fry8.jpg – that you can all try at home. Build two insulated boxes with a number of heating and cooling aluminium water tubes running through them. In box 1 run the cooling tubes at the top and the heating tubes at the bottom. In box 2 run both the heating and cooling tubes at the base. For tubes at the base, keep them as low as possible to the interior base of the box. Run 1C water through the cooling tubes of both boxes and 60C water through the heating tubes of both boxes. Observe the significant temperature differential between the two boxes using K type thermometer probes and a dual probe digital thermometer. Box 1 models an atmosphere with radiative cooling at altitude. Box 2 models an atmosphere without radiative gasses that can only cool via conductive contact with a radiately cooled surface.

    My latest variant of the experiment can be seen here – http://tinypic.com/r/15n0xuf/6 – Cooling tubes at ground level and at altitude have been combined into the same box, with valves to vary the flow between each level. Two thermometer probes are now used and this to some extent allows the changes in air flow to be “observed”. It should be noted that the larger you can build the boxes, the better the experiment works as temperature equalisation due to diffusion and conduction are minimised as in the real atmosphere.

    What can be learned from this experiment is -
    1. Without energy loss at altitude, strong vertical convection collapses in a gas column heated from the base and temperatures rapidly increase.
    2. Conductive energy loss at ground level has little effect on the temperature of a gas column with a vertical pressure gradient.
    3. The average temperature of a gas column heated and cooled at separate locations ground level is related to surface temperature maximum not surface temperature average.
    4. The average temperature of our atmosphere will not be “33C cooler” with the removal of radiative gasses. It will be dramatically hotter.
    5. AGW is physically impossible on planet Earth. If removal of radiative gasses will cause dramatic heating, how could adding more also cause heating?

    This diagram http://tinypic.com/r/6zy1ky/6 shows what would initially happen after removal of radiative gasses from the atmosphere. However shortly afterward atmospheric super heating would occur. O2 and N2 are poor absorbers of SW however they are also poor IR emitters. A “non-radiative” atmosphere exposed to solar SW will reach an equilibrium temperature approaching thermosphere temperatures.

    BTW – Doug, your posting on this blog seems to go far beyond thread bombing. I would suggest “Operation Linebacker III” would be a more appropriate description ;)

  148. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, but Konrad, you have not done (and cannot expect people to do at home) experiments of the calibre of those 800 done by Roderich Graeff. As one who is obviously keen to confirm things empirically, I am surprised that you don’t seem to take notice of his work.

  149. Bevan says:

    @ Massimo PORZIO, January 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Massimo, herewith are two examples which I believe prove that backradiation does not cause a rise in temperature of the source for the radiation.

    Firstly, consider filling an ordinary household thermos flask with boiling water and replacing the stopper. The mirrored inside surface of the outer casing must radiate the infrared rays emitted by the water back into that source. If this backradiation caused heating of the source (near- boiling hot water) then the contained water would boil and blow the stopper out of the thermos flask. This does not happen. I suggest that the backradiation merely slows the rate of cooling of the hot water.

    Secondly, consider a cylinder of hydrocarbon gas such as a barbecue gas bottle. Radiation from the inside surface of the bottle will be radiated back to that surface. If the backradiation caused heating of the container then it would slowly get hotter than the surrounds especially if enclosed in a confined space. This also does not happen. In particular consider the giant storage tanks in the Arabian Peninsular which stand in the searing heat. If backradiation from their interior caused heating of the shell then they would have exploded into flames long ago.

    Backradiation cannot cause heating of the source because this would imply that long wavelength, low frequency, low energy photons impinging on the source would cause the source radiation to move up the temperature scale thus emitting shorter wavelength, higher frequency, greater energy photons to be emitted by the source. That is, creating energy out of nowhere as the absorption of low energy photons cause the emission of higher energy photons. This accounts for part of the scam put about by the IPCC.

  150. JosephWieg says:

    Since when can the planetary greybody temperature be 25K warmer than the tropopause? The 255K figure seems suspiciously calculated…I mean, we’re assuming the entire thermal profile is governed radiatively.

    It’s not like the planetary oceans aren’t essentially a greenhouse fluid, either…containing 99.99% of the thermal budget in the absence of a diurnal cycle.

  151. Konrad says:

    Doug,
    You miss the point entirely. Graff’s experiments while interesting (and surprisingly counterintuitive) relate to slow second order effects. While I do have access to vac chambers, q-cell insulation, custom vacuum metalising and much more, the point is not to use this. What is needed is to show the basic impossibility of AGW and the sniveling stupidity of all who supported the hoax with an experiment highschool students can replicate.

  152. Doug Cotton says:

    If your “convective circulation” implies any existence of significant downward convection at any significant speed (like that of wind) Konrad, then all my comments to Stephen apply to yourself. Without those “slow … effects” you cannot demolish any GHE.

    Neither upward nor downward winds establish adiabatic lapse rates, as we see at the South Pole. Make that your next experiment. Just try a hot fan heater blowing warm air upwards in your backyard. Does the air above it cool as fast as the air at a similar height a few metres away?

  153. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad: In your Box 1 the warmed air rises straight up from the heating element and almost completely misses the thermometer which is not located above any part of the heating element. It then flows horizontally under the “ceiling” and of course exits via the cooling device. Tilt the box by, say, 40 degrees, so the warmed air flows over the thermometer and you’ll get a hotter temperature reading. In Box 2, of course, you get more diffusion throughout the box, simply because the warmed air goes up to the top and down the other side, dispersing around the thermometer which it missed when the first box was not at an angle. I explained this in a previous comment at least a month ago. Your experiment proves nothing about convection or radiation in the atmosphere.

  154. Stephen Wilde says:

    Funny how Doug keeps harping on about my lack of a formal science education (but a lifetime of informal weather and climate self education) yet then goes on to place his own skills ahead of those of Roy Spencer.

    As I have said twice already, if in point 6 Roy means the gravity and mass induced effect then he is correct. If he means the proposed (by AGW theory) GHG gas effect then he is wrong.

    Also, as far as I can tell, Geoff Wood clearly supports the convective scenario.

    “If we introduce opacity the atmospheric response will instantaneously and seamlessly result in convection and negate the change in the throughput of energy.”

    so it is not right for Doug to claim that Geoff supports him.

  155. Konrad says:

    Doug,
    The renderings are concept illustrations for discussion. Look again at the photo of the built experiment. Multiple thermocouple entry points. I have built more than one test chamber. I would not be posting instructions and images if I was unsure the results were robust. I expect others to be able to replicate my work. Will you step away from the keyboard and build an empirical experiment? Or are you all type? A flurry of excuses as to why it proves nothing and you don’t need to do the work perhaps?

  156. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Roy

    I don’t really feel that there is a need to repeat what I have already written in earlier comments in response to Stephen. But, in light of his comment pertaining to yourself I do wish to say sincerely that I respect you, Roy, and appreciate your painstaking efforts presenting climate data to the world and helping to present the facts thereon. And of course I recognise that your experience and knowledge in climatology extends well beyond my own.

    I also respect the fact that you recognise the intricate intertwining of physics in the study of climate, because everything from the atomic and molecular levels upwards that relates to heat transfer mechanisms, convection, radiation, conduction (or diffusion) and more requires not only knowledge, but also understanding of the physics involved. It is all too easy to lift the laws and equations of physics out of textbooks and apply them inappropriately without recognising the limitations and prerequisites for them to be applicable.

    For example, the amount of radiation measured from the surface does not represent the rate of energy transferred out of the surface by radiation. Much of it is merely “pseudo scattered” back radiation being sent back to the atmosphere. And far more energy leaves the surface by non-radiative processes.

    Furthermore, just because there is a thermal gradient that can be caused by adiabatic processes, we cannot assume that it will just happen when winds blow in upward or downward directions. That’s why I suggested that Konrad direct a blower heater up into the air, thus emulating the effect of warm winds blowing up the side of a mountain.

    And when physics derives a result based purely on an adiabatic interchange of potential energy and kinetic energy, it means just that. There is no external energy being added or internal energy being removed, or even any net air movement. Furthermore, when physics says the gradient is g/Cp then only specific heat and the acceleration due to gravity are creating the thermal gradient (AKA lapse rate) and not the rate of energy added at the bottom and removed at the top. Convection may be thought of as extra water flowing over a sloping rock creek bed, that slope having been set over many years by the slow molecular processes described, which I prefer to call diffusion, so as not to be confused with conduction in solids. The very fact that they do act slowly means that the gradient is well stabilised.

    So I do sincerely hope, Sir, that you have not taken anything I have said to be personal criticism in any way. I have said what I have in the interests of science – the right science which I am confident will eventually be accepted, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. But we must speak up, show up errors in physics, and explain the facts which physics dictates loud and clear for those who understand, or science will never progress.

  157. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad: This is the type of experiment I would suggest: Obtain two cylinders about 1 metre tall, and in the base place similar amounts of clay (30%) and sea water (70%) and fill one with dry air (on a clear day) and the other with 20% pure oxygen and 80% pure nitrogen. Place transparent lids on the cylinders and warm them in the Sun. Temperatures should be measured just a few mm above the surface of the clay and water, and the aim is to wait until they are equal in each. Then move them simultaneously into the shade of a large building (late afternoon would be best) and remove the lids. (This could only be done for a short while, so that not too much air infiltrated the N2 and O2 cylinder.) Observe the rate of cooling of each to ascertain if the net effect of back radiation is different. If you wish, also measure temperatures about two-thirds up the cylinders.

  158. Bevan says:

    In another attempt to relate the Greenhouse effect to what is happening across the Earth, herewith the results from comparisons between annual increments of the mean CO2 concentration as the independent variable and annual increments in the mean temperature as the dependent variable, derived from data on the World Meteorological Organisation Web site specified in my entry above, January 3, 2013 at 8:24 AM.

    The data treated, so far, are:
    Alert, Canada, 1976 to 2006 inclusive, correlation coefficient 0.1703,
    Barrow, Alaska, 1977 to 2007 inclusive, correlation coefficient -0.0262,
    Mauna Loa, Hawaii, 1978 to 2007 inclusive, correlation coefficient 0.3883,
    Amsterdam Island, Indian Ocean, 1993 to 1995, correlation coefficient indeterminate due to the small sample size,
    Cape Grimm, Tasmania, 1977 to 2011 inclusive, correlation coefficient 0.1673,
    South Pole, 1978 to 1995 inclusive, correlation coefficient 0.2021.
    Combining all six sites gave a correlation coefficient of 0.1106.

    My interpretation of this sample result is that there is a small correlation between annual increments in each of the CO2 concentration and the temperature due to both being driven by the Sun’s activity, as shown at January 3, 2013 at 8:24 AM above and no indication of the CO2 concentration driving the temperature as proposed by the Greenhouse Effect. This may be backed up by the data from Mauna Loa in the tropics, having a correlation coefficient roughly twice that of four of the other sites because the Sun passes directly overhead twice per year whereas the Sun reaches a maximum only once per year for sites outside the tropics – pure conjecture at this stage.

    Clearly there is a lot more that could be done but surely the WMO data must contain the answer to the validity of the Greenhouse Effect conjecture.

  159. Let’s look at ozone versus the lapse rate.

    If ozone concentrations in the troposphere and statosphere were reversed does anyone still think the character of the lapse rate would be the same, as it currently is?

    If ozone concentrations were increased throughout earth’s atmosphere does anyone still think the lapse rate would decrease with height at the same dry and wet adiabatic rates, it decreases now?

    I say the answer is NO, to both questions which proves Doug wrong.

    If you answer the questions yes, then explain why the lapse rate in the stratosphere does not decrease in height but actually rises with height, the opposite of what it does in the troposphere,if what Doug and others say about what causes the lapse rate to be what it is ,is correct.

    It is not correct what Doug says,because as we see in the example of the lapse rate in the stratosphere versus the troposphere they are entirely different,atmospheric composition trumping other causes for the lapse rate, and further if the distribution of ozone or concentrations of ozone in earth’s atmosphere were to change ,the lapse rate of earth’s atmosphere would be entirely different, despite the other processes Doug talks about that cause the lapse rate to be what it is, according to him.

    Atmospheric composition will trump all other processes when it comes to the lapse rate. Convection, being a product of atmospheric composition,which makes for a stable or unstable atmospheric situation.

  160. I agree with Konrad’s statement entirely, which is the lapse rate is the result of two items radiative energy loss, with altitude,and the vertical convective circulation.

  161. Stephen Wilde says:

    Salvatore.

    It is good that you pointed up the increase in temperature with height in the stratosphere due to the composition which includes ozone.

    Likewise the troposphere lapse rate is about 6.5C per km as opposed to what it ‘should’ be which is the dry adiabatic lapse rate of about 10C per km. Again that is a result of composition but in that case water vapour plus a little CO2 and other trace GHGs

    Taking both those layers together the actual lapse rate from surface to stratopause is distorted well away from that set by gravity.

    To maintain equilibrium the ideal lapse rate set by gravity must be matched by the net of all the actual lapse rates from surface to the height where energy in equals energy out.

    It therefore follows that all the necessary adjustments need to be effected from stratopause upward, namely in the mesopause which shows a decline in temperature with height until one reaches the thermosphere.

    So far I have not been able to find details of the DALR or actual lapse rates for the mesosphere, nor do I know whether the much reduced density would make a difference to the slope required to compensate for the distortions lower down.

    Nor do I know whether the slope in the thermosphere assists with the adjustment process.

    That all deserves more investigation by those with more resources than me.

  162. Massimo PORZIO says:

    I still have understood if Dr. Spencer “Ground-based, upward-viewing IR radiometers measure much stronger levels of downward atmospheric emission than do space-based, downward-viewing radiometers of upward atmospheric emission.” takes account or not of the free-space path loss which must be applied to the radiometers detected signals.
    The rule is that the received EM flux fall down with the square of the distance from the emitter. It is the very same reason the scientists have to calibrate the satellites radiometers for the orbital decay which Aqua satellite doesn’t have.

    The MODTRAN simulation doesn’t do it, it just shows the values as seen from a fixed field of view sensor, so that value are meaningless for compute any radiative balance.
    And it doesn’t show that “each layer of the atmosphere does not emit as much IR upward as it does downward”, it just shows what a radiometer installed on a balloon will see if it look upward or downward at the specified height.
    Which is very different matter.

  163. Doug Cotton says:

    Go back to this comment.

  164. mk says:

    It’s a pity that Dr. Spencer’s efforts are wasted on so many of his followers, who are driven by political ideology rather than a scientiic spirit and so they cherry pick anything that fits their beliefs and reject the rest.

  165. Kristian says:

    For a different approach, from the following link:
    http://klimaforskning.com/forum/index.php/topic,1148.0.html

    “I find it peculiar that everyone is so taken in by the whole notion of the so-called ’radiative greenhouse effect’ being such an ingrained necessity, such a self-evident, requisite part, as it were, of our atmosphere’s inner workings. The ’truth’ and the ’reality’ of the effect is completely taken for granted, a priori. And yet, the actual EFFECT is still only a theoretical construct.

    In fact, when looking at the real Earth system, it’s quite evident that this effect is NOT what’s setting the surface temperature of our planet.

    The whole thing is actually pretty obvious.

    The Earth, a rocky sphere at a distance from the Sun of ~149.6 million kilometers, where the Solar irradiance comes in at 1361.7 W/m2, with a mean global albedo, mostly from clouds, of 0.3 and with an atmosphere surrounding it containing a gaseous mass held in place by the planet’s gravity, producing a surface pressure of ~1013 mb, with an ocean of H2O covering 71% of its surface and with a rotation time around its own axis of ~24h, boasts an average global surface temperature of +15°C (288K).

    WHY THIS SPECIFIC TEMPERATURE? BECAUSE, WITH AN ATMOSPHERE WEIGHING DOWN UPON US WITH THE PARTICULAR PRESSURE THAT OURS EXERTS, THIS IS THE TEMPERATURE LEVEL THE SURFACE HAS TO REACH AND STAY AT FOR THE GLOBAL CONVECTIONAL ENGINE TO BE ABLE TO PULL ENOUGH HEAT AWAY FAST ENOUGH FROM IT TO BE ABLE TO BALANCE THE PARTICULAR AVERAGED OUT ENERGY INPUT FROM THE SUN THAT WE EXPERIENCE.

    It’s that simple.

    The higher the net energy input at the surface, the higher the potential surface temperature and the more powerful the convection – the higher the tropopause is located (pushed). This is all intimately connected and readily observable – compare the tropics with the polar regions.

    The convectional engine simply transports the heat generated by the Sun at the surface up into the atmosphere as far as gravity allows. From above this level the heat will then be freely radiated back out into space.

    This level is the border between the troposphere and the stratosphere. In the first one, convection reigns supreme. In the second, above the convection top (set by the surface atmospheric pressure, gravity and net energy input/heat), radiation takes over. Radiation does of course work all the way from the surface to space. But in the troposphere it’s just there – a second order heat transport mechanism in the midst of all the latent and sensible heat transport lifting the surface heat up and away from the ground to maintain balance.

    There simply is no way radiation can ever control what’s going on temperaturewise at the surface, nor at the tropopause or anywhere in between. This can only occur where there is no convection – above the tropopause.

    The surface is directly convectively coupled to the atmosphere above it. The atmosphere is warmed mainly by surface processes, primarily through latent and sensible heat transfer (deep convection). THIS is the ’blanket effect’ of the atmosphere. It insulates the surface simply by being warm. And by weighing down upon it, restricting evaporation and convection.

    The dayside of the Earth receives vast amounts of solar energy, much more than it needs to reach ’actual’ daytime temperatures. The excess energy, mainly in the tropics, goes into driving the atmospheric circulation (through convection), bringing part of the heat north and south … and to the nightside. That’s why the Earth has much cooler days and much milder nights than the Moon – the constant spreading around of received heat. The atmosphere in this way simply evens out the temperature highs and lows and as a consequence raises the mean surface temperature of the Earth compared to that of the Moon.

    The Sun manages perfectly well to heat the surface of the Earth to the +15°C that we experience.

    The whole 255K (–18°C) warming from the Sun is a total illusion. This is the simple point that Joe Postma is making. I find it hard to grasp why people are so against his realistic model and so clinging on to the unnatural notion of the evened out solar input. There simply is no need or room for any ’extra’ atmospheric heating. That is, beyond the fact that it’s there, having a mass and a heat capacity, being warmed by and convectively (and hence, by temperature gradient) bound to the surface.”

    Also, much in the same vein:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/tropopause-rules/

  166. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Kristian is getting close but not close enough.

    Pressure does not raise the temperature at the surface, because the derivation of the lapse rate in this comment does not consider pressure.

    You all also need to explain the process that leads to the “higher net energy input at the surface” because on Venus, for example, there is only about 10W/m^2 of direct solar insolation reaching the surface. Convection from a less hot atmosphere cannot transfer heat to a hotter solid surface. You will find detailed explanations of what must be happening in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    By the way, disregard Salvatore because he doesn’t even read and understand my comments, such as this one which refers to intra-atmospheric radiation affecting the lapse rate, especially in the stratosphere.

    If anyone wishes to ask genuine questions about the content of the paper I will be watching and will respond, though it may take a couple of days due to infrequent internet access during my holidays from 12th January.

     

  167. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Stephen and Dr No also fail to read and understand my previous comments. For example, they each talk about the height where radiation equals the mean radiative input and output, without realising that this physical altitude has no physical significance, as I explained in this comment above.

    It is pointless responding to those who make no effort to understand another person’s point of view, but instead just keep re-iterating their own conjectures without answering valid contra arguments which, unlike their own, are based on sound physics.
     
    Douglas J Cotton, B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin
     

  168. Kristian says:

    Doug, you say: “Pressure does not raise the temperature at the surface, because the derivation of the lapse rate in this comment does not consider pressure.”

    You might well be right, but isn’t the rate of evaporation (and the lifting of air directly heated conductively by the surface – convection) controlled by surface temperature AND atmospheric pressure (total atmospheric weight pressing down on the ground/sea) as per the Clausius-Clapeyron relation?

    And if so, under a certain pressure ‘regime’, won’t the temperature need to reach a certain level for this evaporative-convective engine to be able to shed adequately the heat generated at the surface …?

  169. Doug Cotton says:

    Apart from variations in Solar intensity, albedo and related factors which set the overall level of the thermal profile in the troposphere, nothing else changes surface temperature unless it changes the thermal gradient (lapse rate) which is -g/Cp with a further adjustment due mainly to latent heat release and intra-atmospheric radiation.

    That said, the support mechanism is described in my November paper and it makes mention of the fact that the rate of evaporation, as well as the rate of conduction (diffusion) from surface to atmosphere, will reduce as the temperature gap reduces at the boundary. The variations in pressure are relatively minor on a percentage basis, and so the Clausius-Clapeyron relation causes fairly insignificant differences in rates of evaporation compared with those caused by temperature differences and wind. In general, whatever variation there may be in evaporation will be compensated for by changes in conduction (diffusion) which still happens at water surfaces, not just land surfaces. These variations will not affect the adiabatic lapse rate.

    In a nutshell, gravity acting on individual molecules, sets and stabilises the thermal gradient. It then does not matter what the rate of convection is as warm air rises, “flowing over” the pre-determined thermal profile, like water flowing down a hillside: regardless of flow rate, the gradient stays the same. However, all this only applies whilst the flow is still adiabatic. Once you add energy by way of wind with any vertical component (up or down) in its velocity, then you temporarily over-ride the adiabatic lapse rate in that region, as I have demonstrated with a fan heater pointed upwards into the air. You need to remember that the rate of convection is probably less than about 0.04 Km/hour, so anything with greater air velocity is wind.

    But variations in pressure and wind are just weather factors which tend to average out in climate considerations. We can see this, because satellite measurements do in fact show very similar temperatures both low in the troposphere and around the top of the troposphere at the same time each year. So the effective (or “pseudo”) lapse rate is very stable. For example, view 14,000 feet and 36,000 feet for all years since 2002 at this NASA site.

  170. Doug Cotton says:

    If that NASA link doesn’t work, try this …
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

  171. Stephen Wilde says:

    Revisiting my post of 9.43am on the 4th Jan.

    It occurs to me that the slope of the actual lapse in so far as it diverges from the ideal lapse rate set by gravity in one layer would not need to be compensated for by an equal and opposite distortion in the other direction in another layer if the affected layer expands instead.

    So if the actual lapse rate in the troposphere is reduced to 6.5C instead of 10C by the presence of water vapour then the thermal effect would be offset by the tropopause height being higher than it otherwise would have been.

    The reason being that it is density that affects the throughput of energy and an expanded atmosphere is a less dense atmosphere which lets energy flow through faster.

    So if water vapour reduces the troposphere lapse rate from 10C to 6.5C that slowing down of energy throughput results in a higher, less dense troposphere than would otherwise have been the case and the less dense troposphere then allows energy through faster to offset the thermal effect of the water vapour.

    So, my original contention was correct in principle in that the system has to compensate for divergences from the ideal lapse rate if an atmosphere is to be retained but the appropriate adjustment is made by altering the density of the affected layer through expansion rather than by having an adjustment in another layer.

    The Ideal Gas Law controls the rsate of energy throughput and not radiative physics.

    The less dense layer would also allow a freer convective circulation because it would be less viscous than a denser atmosphere and would also increase the speed and efficiency of our water cycle.

    Doug’s reliance on diffusion runs into problems at that point because he would need faster diffusion to offset the thermal effect of GHGs but faster diffusion needs more density not less since it relies on closeness between molecules and that would reduce when the layer expands.

  172. Doug Cotton says:

     
    First Stephen says: “an expanded atmosphere is a less dense atmosphere which lets energy flow through faster.”

    Then he says the following “faster diffusion needs more density not less since it relies on closeness between molecules” but he really means “convection” because diffusion does not move a mass of air, only convection.

    So, when it suits Stephen, less dense means faster, or, if you prefer, more dense means faster.

    Make up your mind, Stephen.

    Meanwhile, it seems there is no wind in Stephen’s world.

    Go back yet again to this comment and this time think about the leap-frogging in (b).

  173. Doug Cotton says:

    When you heat a gas its molecules get more kinetic energy, and so they move faster. That is what determines how quickly temperatures adjust in still air by diffusion, or how fast a surplus of molecules moves upwards by adiabatic convection, which happens when there is a continuous supply of new kinetic energy at the surface/atmosphere boundary. The air being more dense or less dense has nothing to do with the “speed” of these very similar adiabatic processes. Diffusion would thus be faster in the very hot, but very thin thermosphere.

    It is a good thing that diffusion is a slow process, and adiabatic convection only moves at about 0.04 Km/hour. This ensures a relatively stable thermal profile in the troposphere. Weather conditions just create a few “waves” on the top of the ocean. Over the life of the planet, diffusion has built temperatures up by nearly all of the 288K degrees near Earth’s surface, or over 700K degrees near the surface of Venus.

    Variations in solar intensity between day and night allow the surface to get a little warmer (with the ratchet effect I talk about in my paper) and so we do get a heat flow by diffusion from the solid or liquid surface to the base of the atmosphere, thus causing convection with rising air – not falling air. The Sun could not have warmed the surface to 288K on Earth (or over 700K on Venus) without the “support” of the temperature at the base of the atmosphere, which was itself established by diffusion.

    Now it seems that I have just about re-written the whole of my paper on this thread. You could have saved me the trouble if you’d read it a month ago.
     

  174. Doug Cotton says:

    Using the actual incident Solar radiation that gets through the atmosphere to warm the surface, SBL gives less than 240K for Earth and less than 120K for Venus. In fact these temperatures would be even lower for the real spherical planets, rather than the flat ones used in energy diagrams.

    Back radiation has not warmed either surface. Convection causing falling air has not warmed either surface. Downward winds from a cold atmosphere have not warmed either, as we see at Earth’s South Pole.

    The only possible process is an autonomous thermal gradient formed by diffusion, so that, when the whole thermal profile adjusts its level to create radiative balance, then the base of the atmosphere rises to about the observed surface temperatures. Then that temperature of the base “supports” the surface temperature, allowing the Sun to warm it a bit more by day, and preventing it cooling as fast and as much as it otherwise would have.

    There is no way these planetary surfaces would have reached the temperatures they have without the slow-acting silent, motionless process of adiabatic diffusion acting at the molecular level.

  175. Kristian says:

    Doug,

    Could you please answer my question posed here

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-67993

    more directly. You seem to be talking about changing/varying an already set mean global temperature level. I’m talking about what’s setting that mean global temperature level in the first place. Are you telling me this has got nothing to do with surface pressure constraining/restricting the average rate of evaporation and convection?

  176. Doug Cotton says:

    Surface pressure does not constrain convection or affect the thermal gradient (AKA lapse rate) because there is no mention of pressure in the calculation of the thermal gradient due to gravity, as you can see in my calculations in this comment.

    Don’t let Stephen mislead you with his wilde conjectures about air warming when it supposedly “falls” into regions of higher pressure. Does the hot air from a fan heater pointing upwards cool as quickly as surrounding air because the pressure decreases?

    The very existence of the pre-determined thermal profile means evaporation and diffusion of heat from the surface to the atmosphere, as well as subsequent convection (rising air) will all be regulated such that the total energy eventually radiated away will balance the energy input.

    Sometimes there will be slight imbalance at TOA. For example, Roy’s figures show net cooling from 1998 (0.419) to 2012 (0.161) so there has probably been net radiative loss to space in that period, much to the disappointment of AGW proponents.

  177. Doug Cotton says:

    Kristian and others, I am not going to answer questions that are already fully answered and explained in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures – A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” Either read that paper and all the cited references, and maybe watch my 10 minute video, as 370 have since Christmas, including one who commented “You are entirely correct as far as I am? concerned.”

  178. Kristian says:

    Doug, thanks for answering. You say: “Surface pressure does not constrain convection.”

    Maybe you’re right.

    But it does constrain the rate of evaporation, doesn’t it? If there were no surface pressure (no atmospheric weight), then the oceans would boil away.

    There seems to be a balancing act going on between the world ocean’s mean surface temperature, the mean surface pressure and the rate of evaporation (the main heat loss mechanism of the oceans) from that same surface.

  179. Doug Cotton says:

    If there were no atmosphere, temperatures would vary such that the mean would be much colder, as on the Moon where it is about freezing point. The atmosphere keeps the surface warmer as explained in my paper.

  180. Doug Cotton says:

    The net heat loss from the oceans from evaporation is not as great as you think, because, by the time rain gets back down to the surface, it is not much colder than the water from which it originally evaporated. The oceans lose more thermal energy by diffusion (molecular collision) into the adjoining air. That is why the temperature of the air just above the ocean surface is very close in calm conditions. Of course there’s some radiation loss as well, so diffusion and radiation eclipse the net loss by evaporation.

    The “oceans would boil away” you say? It’s a pain how real physics puts a spanner in the works.

    Now read the paper.
     

  181. Stephen Wilde says:

    The ocean would boil away in the absence of pressure restraining it because it is pressure that fixes the temperature at which water boils.

    Remove the atmosphere and the boiling point would fall to ambient ocean surface temperature and they would soon be gone.

    In the meantime another ‘ding’ moment.

    The rate of cooling that an atmosphere needs to achieve in order to match energy in with energy out at top of atmosphere is not tied to the DALR either. The ideal lapse rate is different again to that.

    It is clear that radiative characteristics do affect the actual lapse rate so it must follow that ANY radiative ability will distort the actual lapse rate away from the ideal one.

    That even applies to Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydrogen, miniscule though the distorion would be.

    So removing ALL radiative ability gives us the true ideal lapse rate set by mass, gravity and insolation alone. Has that ever been quantified ?

    That ideal lapse rate is never seen in reality because all mass has some radiative ability.

    Therefore the height of the atmosphere up through the vertical column is not just dependent on the energy coming in from sources external to the atmosphere such as solar and geothermal but is also dependent on radiative characteristics.

    It is established science that it is atmospheric density that controls the surface temperature needed to arrange that energy in equals energy out.

    It is an obvious fact that the total number of molecules (or amount of mass) does not change when an atmosphere expands.

    Thus expansion reduces density which increases the ease with which energy can move up the column by whatever means.

    The decrease in resistance from the lower density is all very well but in the end the energy still has to get past the same amount of mass so overall the surface temperature must stay the same.

    The reduction in density is local to each height but there is then more height for the energy to traverse and so the net thermal result of of those density reductions within the vertical column (caused by radiative characteristics) at top of atmosphere and at the surface is zero. The only change is within the atmsphere itself.

    Only the slope of the actual lapse rate changes as a result of adding radiative characteristics to an atmosphere that has no radiative ability at all.

    Nothing else.

    The thermal effect of the change in the slope is completely offset by the change in total atmospheric depth. The slope changes but so does the distance that it has to traverse.

    The error to date has been that no one has ever considered the concept of an adiabatic lapse rate as it would be in the complete absence of any radiative ability for the constituent molecules. It has not been considered because no such molecules exist.

    Until now that concept has never been needed for any specific purpose but it should have popped into the mind of whoever it was that first proposed a net thermal effect from more GHGs and all his or her scientifically qualified successors.

    They never stopped to think how radiative characteristics could have a net thermal effect for an atmosphere around a rocky planet when they never did for gas clouds in space, sun formation and planetary gas giants.

  182. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think Doug’s work has a serious problem because there is no discrete physical process known as diffusion. It is simply a name for the outcome of varied multiple physical processes that result in the energy within an object or system becoming more well mixed (diffuse).

    In a solid, diffusion results from conduction and direct radiative transfer from molecule to molecule.

    In a liquid, one can add convection.

    In a gas, one can add collisional activity.

    That is all there is.

    So Doug’s diffusion process in an atmosphere is dependent on all those processes combined yet his work reads as though only direct molecule to molecule transfer via conduction is required.

    He said that he uses the term diffusion to describe conduction but in a gas.

    Sorry, can’t do that.

    It is entirely unphysical

  183. Doug Cotton says:

    “Heat conduction, also called diffusion, is the direct microscopic exchange of kinetic energy of particles through the boundary between two systems.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_transfer

    When you decide to read my paper and discuss the content, I’ll respond.

    Meanwhile, the calculations for the “ideal lapse rate” are above in a comment of mine that I’ve referred you to twice, and also in my paper of course.

    And they have nothing to do with insolation, as you just claimed.

  184. Doug Cotton says:

    “Diffusion does NOT need energy, or ATP”

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_definition_for_diffusion

    Convection does need energy. Radiative transfer does need energy. Transport by wind does need energy. Insolation adds energy.

    Yes, “only direct molecule to molecule transfer via conduction is required.”

    When that happens in a gravitational field an ideal lapse rate (thermal gradient) of -g/Cp results, and can be subsequently reduced (in absolute magnitude) by intra-atmospheric radiation from warmer layers to cooler ones above, as explained in previous comments.

    The calculation of the ideal lapse rate is in a comment above, and does not involve pressure, density, insolation or the addition of any energy.

     

     

  185. Stephen Wilde says:

    From Doug’s link:

    “The fundamental modes of heat transfer are:

    Conduction or diffusion – The transfer of energy between objects that are in physical contact

    Convection- The transfer of energy between an object and its environment, due to fluid motion

    Radiation- The transfer of energy to or from a body by means of the emission or absorption of electromagnetic radiation

    Advection- The transfer of energy from one location to another as a side effect of physically moving an object containing that energy.”

    Conduction or Diffusion refers to objects in physical contact. The molecules in a gas are not in physical contact except when colliding and reduced density reduces collisions.

    Thus the reduced density from expansion caused by GHGs prevents diffusion from eliminating the thermal effect from GHGs.

    Using the diffusion concept for gases doesn’t work. One must apply the other modes of heat transfer in priority to conduction or diffusion if one is to eliminate the thermal effects of GHGs.

    Convection is therefore dominant and leads to up and down movements as a side effect of which one also gets lateral movement (advection).

  186. Stephen Wilde says:

    Doug said:

    “Meanwhile, the calculations for the “ideal lapse rate” are above in a comment of mine that I’ve referred you to twice, and also in my paper of course.

    And they have nothing to do with insolation, as you just claimed.”

    Does your calculation of the ideal lapse rate assume zero radiative characteristics or just refer to the DALR which still contains the effect of the limited radiative characteristics of non GHGs ?

    The one I am seeking strips out ALL radiative effects.

    Agreed that insolation doesn’t affect the slope but it does affect the height.The slope is set by gravity and the starting temperature is set by mass and insolation.

    GHGs affect both slope and height which is why their effects self cancel.

  187. don penman says:

    Is comparing the GHE in the atmosphere to insulating your house simply wrong? Your house does not have a near vacuum outside its walls it has a warm atmosphere outside which it is in equilibrium with.If the atmosphere warms from surface heating then it must lose more energy to space ,the top of the atmosphere does not reach any real equilibrium with space.The earth could radiate more energy to space if its internal heat decreased and less if its internal heat increased.

  188. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The earth could radiate more energy to space if its internal heat decreased and less if its internal heat increased.”

    Correct, it could and does whilst changes in atmospheric volume adjust the lagging convective processes so as to regain equilibrium.

    GHGs both increase the insulative properties of the atmosphere by absorbing more energy but at the same time reduce the insulative properties by expanding the atmosphere and reducing density at the level where they are located.

    Doug’s diffusion process has the wrong sign to achieve the required effect because the efficiency of diffusion reduces with expansion.

    One has to have a process that becomes more efficient with expansion which is where convection comes in.

    The process of convection juggles the relative proportions of KE and PE in an expanded or contracted atmosphere so as to maintain thermal balance despite the presence of GHGs.

  189. DOUG, won’t answer the questions I pose which prove he is wrong. I wil pose more question following this post which again wil prove him wrong.

    Doug, can’t address the fact or explain in an adequate fashion why the lapse rate in the stratosphere differs from that of the troposphere, IF what he says is correct?

    Doug, states it is gravity as one of the main contributors to the atmospheric lapse rate.
    We know that is a contributor butno tthe main contributoe just by comparing the lapse rate in the stratosphere versus the lapse rate in the troposphere. The two different lapse rates in each level of the atmosphere show atmospheric composition which is the main driver of the lapse rate.

    Doug ,also won’t address because he can’t address it ,based on his thinking, what kind of a lapse rate would the earth have if ozone concentrations were as high as they are in the stratosphere ,throughout all of earth’s atmosphere from the surface, to say the Thermosphere.

    Oh that is right Doug, according to your theory it would make no difference.

  190. Dr. Spencer says,if one irradiated a very cold layer of air with intense IR ,the air would warm as the IR is absorbed, until emissions of the IR absorbed, became equal.

    This is exactly what the greenhouse gases do in the lower atmosphere,where they absorb IR, and emit it back down to the lower levels of the atmosphere ,more then they emit IR,to the upper levels of the atmosphere and out to space, causing a COOLING of the upper atmosphere.

    My question is, if the emissions of IR ,out to space result in a COOLING effect of the upper atmosphere because IR emissions(with it’s heat content due to absorption of the IR by greenhouse gases to begin with) is going out to space,why is it then that the emissions of IR (with it’s heat content due to the absorption of the IR by greenhouse gases to begin with) when emitted back down in the atmosphere ,where the IR does NOT escape to space,does would not have the opposite effect, causing a warming of the lower atmosphere?

    How could IR escaping to space cause COOLING,if it were not
    causing warming,if it did not escape to space?

    I mean, if IR did not or does not cause any warming to begin with, then it should follow it would not cause any cooling, if directed out to space.

    How could something that DOES NOT cause any warming (according to you),cause cooling?

    How do you conclude the one way street, by those who say IR ,escaping to space causes cooling,IF on the other hand
    IR, being emitted in the lower atmosphere and NOT escaping to space doesn’t have any warming effect?

    How does one reconcile this?

  191. don penman says:

    Would the upper atmosphere not cool anyway as it lost energy and energetic particles to space?If the IR from the lower atmosphere was sending more energy to the surface of the earth than it was getting from the surface of the earth then it would have to cool also.Some people believe that the only form of energy transfer in the atmosphere that is worth considering is radiation.How does radiation heat a dessert near surface so intensely that a mirage forms.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirage
    I am sure that kinetic energy has something to do with mirages.

  192. Stephen, your statement which I agree with is as follows:

    To maintain equilibrium, the ideal lapse rate
    set by gravity must be matched by the net of all the actual lapse rates frm the surface to a height where energy in, equals energy out.

    I agree with that,but the question is what causes all the the actual lapse rates as one proceeds through the atmosphere in altitude to look the way they do or to be the way they are? What factors determine the altitude ,to find where energy in and out are equal?

    What determines that,is the question that needs to be answered, and it is not gravity or mass of the planet and everything else Doug, and a few others are trying to argue for.

    What determines all of the actual lapse rates and the altitide where energy in, equals energy out is the composition of the atmosphere ,combined with how much incoming energy from the sun is absorbed versus how much is reflected out, how much IR radiation is absorbed versus how much is reflected out, which again goes back to atmospheric composition in large degree.

    Not to mention the role of cloud cover(atmospheric albedo) ,the surface albedo, due to the character of the land surface, that being ice,snow, soil,water,jungle etc etc., and the strength of solar insolation to begin with, at the top of the atmosphere.

    That is the practical application of the factors that will determine the lapse rates as one proceeds through the atmosphere with increasing altitude and the amount of convection that may be present ,which will reflect upon the climate.
    Stephen do you agree with what I have just said?

    Yes mass and gravity plus insolation may set the overall absolute paramenters of the net/net lapse rate, but not the character of it as one proceeds in altitude in the atmosphere, and how the lapse rate interacts, with causing the climate to be what it may be.

    The stratosphere lapse rate characteristics, versus the troposphere lapse rate characteristics ,confirms what I am talking about.

    Completely different,even though mass and gravity are constant unchanging forces,in both areas of the atmosphere where these different lapse rates are found.
    They,mass and gravity , having nothing to do with giving a particular lapse rate in a particular part of the atmosphere ,or over a particular surface of the earth.

    Zero to do with that.

  193. Doug’s contradiction, on everything he says. Read his post dated Jan.02,2013 at 6:47 pm

    lapse rate (b) by intra-atmospheric radiation and absorption.

    Then he goes on to further say, however in the stratosphere (b) dominates because of the higher aborption of UV light by ozone.

    Doug, my point exactly, the atmospheric concentration trumps everything else in determining the characteristic of the actual lapse rate as one goes up in the atmosphere in altitude.

    You just said that, so Doug you can’t have it both ways. It is either your point a or point b the way you frame your arguments.

    You can’t have it both ways, the way you frame all of your arguments on this subject.

  194. Doug, let us take it further. You said in part b the lapse is rate determined ,by intar- atmospheric radiation and absorption.

    Show me how the lapse rate will not be changed when you apply your part a ,to part b,if the entire atmosphere of the earth had ozone concentrations similar to that of the stratosphere?

    Prove using your point a, how the lapse rate would not be changed, in response to part b being changed.

    Doug, it is one or the other ,for the way you frame things.

    Doug, is it point a or b, which will be the trumping factor in determining the character of the lapse rate?

    Doug,it has to be one or the other,yet you admit it is point b when it comes to the character of the lapse rate in earth’s stratosphere, agreeing with what I have been and continue to say. Just read your post and then read mine ,you are agreeing with me in point b,but you want it to be both ways. There is one trump,when it comes to the character of the lapse rate.

  195. Stephen Wilde says:

    Salvatore:

    Simplifying to an extreme:

    Radiative characteristics of constituent molecules in an atmosphere affect both the slope of the actual lapse rate so that it moves away from the ideal lapse rate set by gravity but additionally affect the height of the atmosphere (thereby reducing density where the GHGs are located) so that the change in distance that the lapse rate traverses moves the system as a whole back to the ideal lapse rate set by gravity for a self cancelling effect.

    The mechanical process that does the work is convective ascent and descent which is caused by GHGs and stimulates the rise in the height of the affected layer so as to achieve self correction.

    Thus the tropopause is higher than it would be without water vapour.

    The stratopause is higher than it would be without ozone.

    The entire atmosphere is higher than it would be if the constituent gases had no radiative ability at all.

    The reduction in density from expansion allows energy to flow through faster thereby offsetting the slowing down induced by the GHGs absorptive capabilities.

  196. Konrad, is wrong when he says without radiative gases are planet would be hotter. It would be colder.

    Water Vapor releases latent heat into the atmosphere does that increase or decrease the lapse rate with increasing altitude?

    My post Jan. 05 at 09:18am, answers that, from another point of view in addition to the question I just posted in the above. Again you can’t have it both ways. Everyone wants to have it both ways.

    Geoff wood, is wrong when he says radiation present answers to the the thermal gradient set by gravity ,mass and energy.

    Tell that to the stratosphere.

  197. Stephen that is essentially what I am trying to get across to these people. The net/net lapse rate is set by gravity but how you get their is determined by atmospheric composition amongst other things.

    How you get their comes into play when applied to the climate, and how it will function or be.

    The net /net lapse rate for lack of a better term, having nothing to do with how the local climate subject to a particular lapse rate will be.

  198. doug peman good post. The particular lapse rate over a desert is entirely different then a particular lapse rate over a tropical jungle or ocean.

    Reason is because radiation parameters, top gravity ,and mass in giving a particular lapse rate in a particular area ,which again translates into defining the climate characteristics for that particular area.

    This is why often in polar regions, extreme inversions set up where the lapse rate from the surface to several thousand feet rises, rather then falls.

    In this latter case ,it is an example of the surface characteristics of the land trumping all other factors when it comes to a particular lapse rate,over a particular region. Which again defines the climate for that region.

  199. Many of the people on this board talk in the abstract and cannot apply it to the climate in any serious manner. They sound good, on the surface and even brilliant until you look into it, in greater depth.

    They may know there physics ,but either can’t apply it to the climate or just have very limited knowledge when it comes to the climate.
    I am not the best when it comes to physics, but I know my climate.

  200. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Konrad, is wrong when he says without radiative gases our planet would be hotter. It would be colder.

    Water Vapor releases latent heat into the atmosphere does that increase or decrease the lapse rate with increasing altitude? ”

    Not so fast, Salvatore.

    Water vapour in the troposphere smears the available energy across a greater height by reducing the actual lapse rate.

    I believe it is reduced from the DALR of 10C to about 6.5C.

    The decrease in density from the consequent expansion results in less KE in the atmosphere which offsets any warming effect. What happens when an atmosphere expands against gravity without an increase in the external energy supply is that more KE converts to PE so there is less KE than available previously.

    The net effect on surface temperature and top of atmosphere balance from GHGs is therefore zero.

    Now if one were to remove ALL radiative characteristics from the atmosphere The atmosphere would be less high with no radiative means of puffing it up or radiating out from it but the surface temperature would be just the same.

    There would instead be a much steeper lapse rate from surface upward to the lower top.

    The surface would do all the radiating out instead of sharing the process with GHGs and the circulation from day side to night side would need to be faster to maintain equilibrium.

    It is the change in speed of the global air circulation that prevents heating or cooling from more or less GHGs.

    We all know from beach holidays that extra wind takes the top off the temperature attainable if all else remains equal.

    So GHGs make the planet neither hotter nor colder. They just make it easier to radiate out but the atmosphere then becomes higher and the circulation slower because it doesn’t need to work so hard to maintain equilibrium.

    If on the other hand GHGs made it harder to radiate out then the atmosphere would shrink and the circulation become faster to maintain equilibrium.

    In fact I think they make it easier to radiate out because they provide a means of radiative energy loss that non GHGs cannot provide but it doesn’t matter either way because the circulation always adjusts with the aid of height and density changes.

  201. Stephen Wilde says:

    “In this latter case ,it is an example of the surface characteristics of the land trumping all other factors when it comes to a particular lapse rate,over a particular region. Which again defines the climate for that region.”

    But it nets out to zero globally if one takes into account the equator to pole insolation gradient and the effects of day and night and seasonal insolation changes.

    Deserts are hotter by day but colder by night and tropical regions are less hot by day and less cold at night.

  202. Doug Cotton says:

    Salvatore (and others, even Stephen)

    I’m sure you know that the wet lapse rate is not as steep as the dry one, so of course Konrad is right that the equilibrium temperature at the surface is thus cooler than it would have been without water vapour. The thermal plot in the troposphere swivels around a weighted radiative mean somewhere between its ends and hence intersects the surface at a lower temperature. Otherwise you would not observe the approximate radiative equilibrium at TOA and the well stabilised temperatures, which Roy’s data shows have cooled from 1998 (0.419) to 2012 (0.161).

    Observations show that in the tropospheres of all planets with significant atmospheres, intra-atmospheric radiation, transferring heat from warmer regions to cooler regions above also reduces the -g/Cp gradient in the troposphere by between 10% and 35% in absolute value. On Earth it is about 33% in the Tropics, so 9.8K/Km reduces to 6.5K/Km, whereas on Venus it is more like only 10% because of the far greater intra-atmospheric radiation and absorption between all the CO2 molecules. So that also has a cooling effect, though the lower specific heat of carbon dioxide has a warming effect. The overall effect leads to a lapse rate of about 8K/Km to 9K/Km in the Venus troposphere.

    Using temperatures actually measured in the upper troposphere of Venus, the temperature at the base of the atmosphere can thus be calculated. That temperature is thus obviously “supporting” the very similar surface temperature, by the mechanism described in my paper Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.

    The stratosphere on Earth is totally different because of ozone, so the slow diffusion process is over-ridden. But it does form a “ceiling” preventing air movement by convection from entering that region. And this causes pole-bound winds to form as air rising by convection in the tropics has nowhere else to go. And these winds eventually force some air to blow down to lower levels, due to the funnel effect in the troposphere.

    Stephen does not as yet understand the mechanism whereby PE and KE interchange during molecular free path motion. That’s probably due to a lack of knowledge due to the fact that he does not have tertiary education in physics. So let me explain in simple terms: you still gain the same PE walking up one step at a time as you do using the lift. So density has nothing to do with the thermal gradient -g/Cp as the computations prove, and as those who have watched my video will understand. But then I wouldn’t expect you to understand a paper you haven’t studied, or a video you haven’t watched, especially with your serious lack of knowledge of the physics of heat transfer, which is very obvious to those I communicate with.

  203. My answer is if a particular lapse rate over one region of the globe is stable versus one that is not stable over another region of the globe, the climate of the two places wil be different.

    You say Stephen,it nets out to zero globally. It does for the given insolation changes, given albedo,given atmospheric composition ,given amouns of clouds,given land surface all over the globe.

    If those parameters were to change things would net out ,but to some different value. Some different average surface temperature for the globe would for sure be the case.

    There is no way if the entire surface of the earth were covered in snow versus covered with dark soil it is going to net out the same way under both circumstances.

  204. Stephen Wilde says:

    “So density has nothing to do with the thermal gradient -g/Cp as the computations prove”

    Density is a consequence of mass and gravity.
    It is therefore integral to your calculation and already accounted for in it.

    “you still gain the same PE walking up one step at a time as you do using the lift”

    Of course you do but a lift is quicker and thus more efficient.

    When density reduces as a result of atmospheric expansion then diffusion works more slowly whereas convection occurs more freely.

    One doesn’t need a tertiary physics education to understand such basic principles.

  205. Doug Cotton says:

    What you weigh on the scales is also “a consequence of mass and gravity.”

    Gravity is integral to my calculation, but not density. Just because gravity increases density, that does not imply that density affects thermal gradient. If you understood the physics from which -g/Cp is calculated it would help your understanding of why the thermal gradient is independent of density. But then you don’t understand, do you, because you haven’t spent 10 minutes watching my video, let alone a few hours studying my papers and the cited references.

  206. Stephen Wilde says:

    “There is no way if the entire surface of the earth were covered in snow versus covered with dark soil it is going to net out the same way under both circumstances.”

    But you couldn’t get a snow planet without a large reduction in solar input in the first place and a great deal of water so that is not a valid comparison.

    A valid comparison would be between two otherwuise identical dry planets with a difference in soil colour.

    In that case the temperatures would be the same all other things being equal but with a difference in the atmospheric heights and circulations.

  207. Doug ,keeps referring to other planets when he and us don’t even understand our planet. The other planet argument makes no sense in trying to promote your thoughts. Why don’t you stick to the earth.

    Doug you can’t address any of the questions I proposed in a satisfactory manner. You just skirt the issues.

    Without water vapor ,the earth would be colder ,not warmer then it currently is.

    All my reasons for this are in my previous post.

    We will continue to agree to disagree.

  208. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Just because gravity increases density, that does not imply that density affects thermal gradient”

    The effect of density is already in your equation by virtue of the inclusion of gravity.

    Density cannot affect the gradient simply because it is gravity that affects the gradient and density is already dependent on gravity.

  209. Stephen, that is part of my point ,reductions or changes in solar insolation from within itself or thru indirect means such as changing albedo values of the land ,albedo values of the atmosphere, atmospheric composition changes etc etc will cause a change in solar insolation and thus a change.

  210. DOUG CAN’T ADMIT THAT OZONE, ANOTHERWORDS THE COMPOSITION MAKE UP OF THE ATMOSPHERE TRUMPS ALL OTHER FACTORS IN THE DETERMINATION OF THE LAPSE RATE.

    DOUG, you just can’t bring yourself to admit it,even though that is what you keep saying,only to keep trying to have it both ways.

    I am done for today. Enjoy.

  211. Stephen Wilde says:

    Yes Salvatore, anything that affects the amount of insolation reaching the ground will also affect the actual lapse rate but that will be countered by density and circulation changes as the atmosphere expands or contracts so the temperature of the system stays much the same.

    The only way to raise system temperature overall with both an increase in surface temperature AND the same slope for the actual lapse rate is to increase mass, gravity or incoming solar at top of atmosphere.

    Anything else just results in internal system adjustments.

    Doug has produce an equation for the lapse rate set by gravity but doesn’t seem to understand that the actual internal system lapse rates differ as a result of composition variations.

    Hardly anyone then seems to understand that internal system divergences from the lapse rate set by gravity are all dealt with internally by height, density and circulation changes.

    Doug tries to deal with lapse rate issues via diffusion alone but I remain of the view that that is insufficient for the reasons I gave before.

  212. Doug Cotton says:

    The effect of density is already in your equation by virtue of the inclusion of gravity.

    If you look at the computations you will see that M (for Mass) cancels out.

  213. Doug Cotton says:

    “The other planet argument makes no sense” to those who don’t understand the implications of probability theory.

    Yes reductions or changes in solar insolation from within itself … will cause a change. Those are the natural cycles I’ve been talking about from the outset. That’s why it was cooler in 2011 and 2012 than it was in 1998, as I predicted it would be in those two years, despite the hot 2010 which was all the information I had at the time. There’ll be some warming this year due to short-term solar cycles, but cooling starting later in 2014.

  214. don penman says:

    On the topic of how the subject of “greenhouse warming” is presented on internet searches.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/What_is_the_greenhouse_effect.htm
    I agree that the average temperature of the earths surface is higher with a greenhouse effect and is inevitable given evaporation.I think wikipedia covers this quite well.

  215. Doug Cotton says:

    Don:

    You’ll find a more valid analysis of past temperatures and trends in the Appendix if you Google my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” and it may surprise you. The Earth’s temperature is what it is because of the “blanket” effect of oxygen and nitrogen molecules, though it is a little cooler because of water vapour and suspended water molecules which produce a moist lapse rate.

    If you are interested in learning why, you could read my “Planetary Surface Temperatures – A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” or watch this video. Most of us here have long ago realised that there are errors in the atmospheric physics which is presented on Wikipedia and weatherquestions so we are not really likely to re-read the propaganda thereon which we studied a fair while ago and found glaring fallacies therein.

  216. Konrad says:

    salvatore delprete says:
    January 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM
    “Konrad, is wrong when he says without radiative gases are planet would be hotter. It would be colder”
    ———————————————————————-
    Salvatore,
    This simple experiment http://i48.tinypic.com/124fry8.jpg http://tinypic.com/r/15n0xuf/6 you can build yourself shows why a non radiative atmosphere will be far hotter. Without cooling at altitude, heated gasses can rise but they cannot descend. When convective circulation stalls in an atmosphere heated from below, the average temperature quickly rises.

    There seems to be much confusion as to the nature of the lapse rate and how it is established. The lapse rate in the troposphere is a product of strong vertical circulation of gasses along a vertical pressure profile. The gasses must be in motion. It is the ability of radiative gasses to lose energy to space at altitude that drive convective CIRCULATION. You will note that the lapse rate reverses and strong vertical circulation ceases above the tropopause. The tropopause is the altitude at which the atmosphere runs out of the most important radiative gas of all, H2O.

    The experiment simply covers the basic physics that the AGW team ignored. The gasses in our atmosphere move. This has not been correctly modelled in the AGW team flux calculations.

    What can be learnt from this empirical experiment -

    1. For an atmosphere with a vertical pressure gradient receiving energy input near the surface, energy loss at altitude is required for continued convective circulation. (Radiative gasses are the only mechanism for this in Earth’s atmosphere)

    2. For an atmosphere with a vertical pressure gradient receiving energy input near the surface, stagnation of vertical convective circulation results in increasing atmospheric temperatures.

    3. For an atmosphere with a vertical pressure gradient, conductive and convective heating of the atmosphere is driven by surface temperature maximum, not surface temperature average.

    4. Even though the surface under an atmosphere with no radiative gasses may have a lower average surface temperature, that atmosphere will be far hotter than and atmosphere containing radiative gasses.

    It is really very basic physics. A gas column with a vertical pressure gradient with separated zones of heating and cooling at same level at the base runs hotter than a column with a zone of cooling higher than the zone of heating.

    This diagram http://tinypic.com/r/6zy1ky/6 simply shows the first stage of convective collapse after removal of radiative gasses. The next stage would be collapse of the lapse rate due to conductive equalisation after convective stagnation. The final stage would be a reversal of the lapse rate for most of the region formally known as the troposphere and super heating due to the small amount of SW absorbed by N2 and O2.

    AGW is due to increased radiative gasses physically impossible. The AGW believers have simply got the basic physics wrong. They have tried to model the physical movement of gasses and energy with a linear flux calculation. They have ignored the importance of convective circulation in setting atmospheric temperature. They have misunderstood the role of radiative gasses in convective circulation. And last but not least, they have made the mistake of believing that the surface can conductively cool an atmosphere with a pressure gradient as effectively as it can conductively heat the atmosphere.

  217. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad You’re basically right regarding the fact that air moves upward by convection, this being fastest when the surface temperature is hottest just after the middle of a sunny day. Your model needs refinement to reflect the funnel effect of the troposphere as winds at the top approach the poles. You are, however, incorrect in once again repeating Roy’s Point (6) “conductive equalisation” which I have shown to be incorrect in an earlier comment and in my November paper, supported by over 800 empirical experiments (of which I thought you were aware) and application of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, which would be violated if you were correct in your assumption.

    But I’m not here to copy out everything in my paper yet again, so I won’t be answering questions or comments regarding the above that are already answered therein.

  218. Bevan says:

    Sir, your response at Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says: January 3, 2013 at 5:44 AM …..”the rate of absorption is mostly INDEPENDENT of temperature, but the rate of emission is VERY DEPENDENT on temperature.”….. and your original statement in 3) …. Very high temperatures in a system can be created with relatively small energy fluxes into that system *if* the rate of energy loss can be reduced “… require qualification.

    The flow of energy is a one-way process, namely, from a hotter source to a colder sink, and the rate of flow is dependent on the temperature differential between the two, regardless of whether the exchange is conductive or radiative. The temperature of a sink can only increase to that of the source and no greater. We all know from personal experience that hot objects increase the temperature of nearby colder objects. If cold objects also increased the temperature of an hotter object that would mean that every object in the Universe was adding heat to every other object regardless of its temperature. This would lead to ever increasing temperature throughout the Universe thereby creating energy out of nothing.

    For example, the cosmic background radiation throughout space would have already greatly increased the temperature of all objects due to the very large time span of the Universe. (Mind you, I do not have any notion as to what the relativistic warping of Space – Time might do to this proposition). See also my real life examples given at “January 4, 2013 at 12:31 AM” above.

    Further, the rate of energy gain of an object is reduced to zero when its temperature rises to that of its surrounding environment. However we do not experience this as the surface temperature never reaches equilibrium due to the daily rotation of the Earth and its seasonal orbit around the Sun. Note that this does not mean that the atoms/molecules within that environment stop vibrating in accord with their temperature or that photons stop flying in all directions.

  219. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Well said, Bevan. The problem is that climatologists rightly claim that back radiation slows the rate of surface cooling by radiation. What they don’t mention is that the mere presence of oxygen and nitrogen at just slightly cooler temperatures at the boundary is what is doing the vast majority of the slowing. This is how the atmosphere supports the surface temperature, which could never have been as high as it is from direct Solar insolation. (Just consider Venus with its surface receiving less than 10% of what Earth’s surface receives.)

    What we now have is “A 21st Century New Paradigm for Climate Change”

     

  220. Thierry says:

    Anybody who wants to knwo what Greenhouse Effect really is(not), has to read “Falsi cation Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse E ects Within The Frame Of Physics” by the German physicists Gerlich & Tscheuschner.

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161.pdf

    and their respond to some futile rebuttal attempts :

    http://www.skyfall.fr/wp-content/gerlich-reply-to-halpern.pdf

    You will understand why there is not such a Greenhouse effect. They explain that you will never find any physic based definition of such an effect.

    Must read.

  221. Stephen Wilde says:

    Doug.

    The difference between us being the relative significance of conduction/diffusion as against that of convection I wonder whether it is the water cycle that makes the system on Earth so different from that of Venus.

    Water vapour being lighter than air it encourages convection way beyond what would otherwise be achieved from a simple viscosity difference between the atmospheres of the two planets.

    Would our differences be resolved by the suggestion that conduction/diffusion would be far more significant on planets without liquid water or any other material that could achieve a similar effect from phase changes ?

    Could your account be adjusted to accommodate such differences between planets ?

    Note that even if the primary method of energy transfer within an atmosphere were diffusion there would still be SOME convective overturning so there would still be the adiabatic loop that I proposed with energy being returned to the surface by descending air.

    I don’t see our accounts as necessarily being inconsistent.

    Could your account benefit from the addition of an adiabatic loop ?

    Wouldn’t that resolve your apparent problem of diffusion slowing down in an expanded atmosphere because increased convection could take up the slack ?

    We are trying to sort out a complex and delicate atmospheric balancing act here so such possibilities should be considered.

  222. Doug Doug Doug, you avoid all of my questions. I am going to try one last time.

    Stephen, your post Jan.05 at 2:33pm,is very good,when you say so correctly when it comes to Doug ,and others that agree with him, in what I quote from you below.

    You say Doug, has produced an equation for the lapse rate set by gravity, but doesn’t seem to understand that the actual internal lapse rate differs as a result of composition variations. That is so correct.

    I will take it further to say Doug, also does not seem to understand how the earth’s surface albedo, and atmospheric albedo will have a role in the determination of actual particular internal lapse rates.

    Doug’s knowledge is only in physics, and he can’t apply it to the world of climate in a pratical manner. That is his problem ,when it comes to all of this. He is very weak when it comes to the field of climatalogy.

    Doug, answer these questions or comments.

    If IR does NOT create any warmth when emitted to the atmosphere and retained in the atmosphere, why then does IR cause a cooling of the atmosphere when emitted and lost to space?

    Again how could a process that does not cause heating if retained by the atmosphere ,cause cooling if lost by the atmosphere?

    Doug, if what you say is correct about the actual lapse rates being set by gravity, why is it that not only do individual lapse rates vary from place to place but from day to day in the same place?

    Doug ,why are radiosonde observations needed to determine lapse rates, if what you say is true, and only gravity sets the lapse rate?

    I will answer that question. The reason is the parameter of gravity only gives rise to the totality of all of the lapse rates all over the globe, but not the day to day changes in particular lapse rates all over the globe, as one proceeds through them in altitude. You don’t seem to understand that fact.

    Now Doug, what will determine particular lapse rates all over the globe, and their structure are the following:surface absorption of solar radiation and surface albedo of that solar radiation(due to the character of the land surface, or ocean surface or if the surface is land or ocean ),atmospheric albedo due to the amounts of clouds ,atmospheric composition make up (ozone as an example). These items will give rise to a surface temperature over a given place ,and over a given time on the surface of the earth. This will in turn form the basis for the starting temperature for the lapse rate at ground level. Zero altitude.

    That is why Doug, in polar regions lapse rates with inversions are common ,where the temperature increases from the surface as one goes up in altitude rather then falling. That is why over deserts with dry air the lapse rate decreases more rapidly with increasing altitude, then say in contrast to a tropical rain forest, where the lapse rate would cool less with height due to saturation of that rising air being accomplished. That is why Doug, some lapse rates are stable ,some lapse rates are unstable. That is why Doug, radiosonde observations are needed twice daily to determine a particular lapse rate. That is how severe thunderstorm warnings are formulated, and or tornadic activity. By looking at the state of a particular lapse rate ,over a particular region of the globe, at a particular time.

    That is the way it is Doug. All of what you keep trying to show and say has no pratical applications , in any manner. All of what you say simply states what you think the sum of all lapse rates would be in totality due to graviity and you offer nothing else beyond that, which makes it meaningless with no practical applications, other then trying to prove that the GHG effect does not exist.

    Which by the way you have not proven to me and many others.

    Then your other big blunder when it comes to earth’s climatic system and showing an understanding of it, is you use the cop out climate cycles, as a way to explain away all climate variations and changes. Another grossly false premise. Climate cycles only work when the climate is in a particular climatic regime, and do nothing to explain why the climate of the earth from time to time will shift not only into another climatic regime, but do it in a very abrupt manner. You can’t address that issue.

  223. Doug Cotton says:

    In an article I’ll be writing soon for PSI I’ll be explaining a concept of “apparent temperature movement” which occurs with diffusion of KE. When ripples on a pond appear to move, we all know that the water itself is not moving at the speed of the ripples. It is similar with conduction in a metal rod. The warmer temperature appears to move down the rod, but of course the metal itself doesn’t.

    In conduction and diffusion of KE in a gas there is no movement of either the metal or any region of the gas. KE is not moving against the thermal gradient as you approach the surface, so there is no violation of the Second Law. Instead, those molecules which, in their free flight between collisions, happen to move closer to the surface (ie, with some component of their velocity being towards the source of net gravitational attraction) will gain KE equal to their loss of PE. The calculations show that, when you equate this loss of PE with the gain in KE you find a thermal gradient of -g/Cp has to be created. But this all assumes there is no addition of energy and no removal of energy.

    The big difference between what Stephen and I are saying is that he assumes there will be downward convection, whereas I say that the funnel effect in the troposphere provides the mechanism whereby winds generated by convection in the tropics force some air back towards the surface and, eventually, back along the surface towards the Equator in the well known Trade winds in the tropics. Fortunately, winds do not happen everywhere at once, and there are sufficient calm regions for the processes of rising convection and diffusion of KE to establish the thermal gradient. However, intra-atmospheric radiation has an opposing effect in that it has a propensity to make temperatures the same at different altitudes. This effect is greater when there is more radiation in moist air, for example, and so the gradient in moist air like that in the tropics is only about two thirds of the -g/Cp value.

  224. Stephen Wilde says:

    Doug.

    Could you be more specific about how your proposed funnel effect fits into the standard multicellular climate circulation described here:

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/3sj.html

    It seems to me that each cell has equal amounts of rising air and descending air which gives the downward convection that you seem to have doubts about.

    I have never come across the idea of a funnel effect before in 60 years of climate experience.

  225. Doug Cotton says:

    I have described the funnel effect in an earlier comment. Search “funnel” on this thread.

    Salvatore should note that varying amounts of wind affect the thermal gradient, as do varying amounts of water vapour. I have given examples of this, such as the lapse rate being zero (maybe even positive) in the troposphere above the South Pole. Weather causes variations, but weather is not climate.

  226. Doug Cotton says:

    Prevailing westerlies, Polar easterlies, Trade winds – all were discussed originally here.

  227. Doug Cotton says:

    So Stephen. If it’s all about air rising and falling by convection, why does air fall around 30 degrees latitude, and rise at much colder latitudes around 60 degrees?

  228. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Cottonball, why can’t you answer Salvatore re. lapse rate set by gravity? Are you ignorant of atmospheric physics?

  229. Doug Cotton says:

    If you can fault any atmospheric physics in my papers, then submit an official rebuttal to Principia Scientific International, and then several of about 200 members (including professors of physics and applied mathematics) will look into what you say. They and several others are very much aware of my November paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” and they are all in frequent communication in internal emails. I have been asked to write an article about it, so I’m busy doing so at the moment.

    Consequently, as I have already indicated, I will no longer waste time responding to questions which are already answered in my paper, or in previous comments in this or the “Chaos” thread. Salvatore will find his answers in my November paper and also my recent youtube video “A 21st Century New Paradigm for Climate Change.”.

  230. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Still cannot answer simple question in atmospheric physics? Only promises you will answer it in your November paper? Serious climate scientists don’t read obsure PSI papers. Why don’t you submit to Journal Of Geophysical Research (JGR)? I bet it will be rejected as pseudoscience.

  231. Doug Cotton says:

    I have answered it in my November 2012 paper. That’s my response no matter where it is published. You have not proven it incorrect in any way whatsoever. Just try – right here on this thread. Let’s see your physics. I have torn apart the pseudo greenhouse physics with valid physics proven correct empirically and able to explain not only Earth surface temperatures, but those of other planets like Venus. You could start by showing how 10 W/m^2 of insolation reaching the Venus surface does such a good job building up 16,000 W/m^2 of back radiation. I have explained what happens with valid physics. You have not. No other published paper will be entered into. I want your personal explanation, complete with energy transfer details and radiation transfer details.

  232. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Here’s my explanation of Venus minus your pseudoscience.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/12/venusian-mysteries/

    You may also want to read the real 2nd law of thermodynamics. Obviously you’re ignorant of it.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/10/07/amazing-things-we-find-in-textbooks-the-real-second-law-of-thermodynamics/

  233. Doug Cotton says:

    Silent readers can judge for themselves ….

    Strangelove not only fails to quote a peer-reviewed publication, he quotes, of all people, the anonymous “Science of Doom” never “peer-reviewed” by anyone but himself it seems.

    So this is what SoD says, and I quote from the article such an obvious error that I’m genuinely surprised Dr S. didn’t even notice it. …

    SoD wrote “The surface receives radiation from the sun, S. In the case of Venus this value would be (averaged across the surface), S = 158 W/m²” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had already given you a clue, Dr S, in that I said the surface of Venus receives only about 10 W/m^2. That in fact is the upper limit of the range 5 to 10 W/m^2 estimated by the Russians when they dropped a probe with a little parachute all the way down to the Venus surface, Dr S, to actually measure the incident Solar radiation there.

    You cannot prove that any statement I have made in my papers is in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The assumption made by the proponents of the GHE conjecture that there would have been uniform temperature of 255K at all altitudes without WV or GHG in the atmosphere could only be true if the First Law were violated, because they require KE to be maintained during upward convection whilst PE is being gained – blatant energy creation if ever there were. Have you never heard that entropy cannot decrease in an adiabatic process ????

    I asked for original explanation from you, rather than linked papers, let alone SoDdy stuff, because I know from previous comments that you don’t understand the physics involved and will not be able to put forward any valid explanation yourself that I have not already rubbished in one or other of my papers.

    Go ahead and try!

  234. There is never much point responding to Doug Cotton. Generally his attention to detail is low, especially when reading what other people have written.

    Doug Cotton wrote:
    SoD wrote “The surface receives radiation from the sun, S. In the case of Venus this value would be (averaged across the surface), S = 158 W/m²” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I had already given you a clue, Dr S, in that I said the surface of Venus receives only about 10 W/m^2. That in fact is the upper limit of the range 5 to 10 W/m^2 estimated by the Russians when they dropped a probe with a little parachute all the way down to the Venus surface, Dr S, to actually measure the incident Solar radiation there..

    I stated the value of solar radiation absorbed by the Venusian climate system, when averaged across the surface area of the planet.

    This is a necessary clarification for many people because the incident absorbed solar flux is absorbed across an area = pi x r^2, whereas the climate system emits radiation across an area = 4 x pi x r^2. So there is a factor of 4 difference between the flux value from the sun vs a balanceing flux from the climate system.

    So when stating a solar absorbed value it is necessary to add that clarification (for non-specialists).

    Clearly Doug Cotton either cannot read English, or prefers to invent ideas and attribute them to others.

    Doug Cotton was finally banned (the first time) from Science of Doom -

    His 2nd biggest problem was continual reposting of the same nonsense written in slightly different words. We’d heard it 10 times already, why do our readers want to read it the 11th time?

    His biggest problem was simply inventing ideas and mis-attributing them to random people including myself. When confronted with evidence he simply didn’t care and just carried on repeating invented ideas of others so he could “knock them down”.

    Doug Cotton has been banned many subsequent times from Science of Doom, masquerading under false names, new IP addresses etc.

    It is best to ignore him completely – he is not a person who can grasp a point of view and address it – instead let the blog owner decide what to do.

  235. Doug Cotton says:

    “Second Law of Thermodynamics: In any cyclic process the entropy will either increase or remain the same” from this page and plenty of similar statements elsewhere..

    And what do my calculations of the thermal gradient assume? Nothing other than entropy remaining the same, Dr Strangelove. That’s what PE + KE = constant is all about in the calculations of the thermal gradient (AKA lapse rate) shown in just four lines in this comment … not hard to follow Dr S.

    .

  236. Doug Cotton says:

    SoD still puts his foot in it. The Russians measured less than 3W/m^2 at a fairly high latitude and then calculated “10-20W/m^2” as a mean for the whole sunlit hemisphere. So this is 5-10W/m^2 “when averaged across the surface area of the planet.”

    SoD makes his blunder because, even though the Venus atmosphere is 92 times as high as Earth’s and contains 96.5% carbon dioxide (which absorbs Solar insolation in several bands, notably 2.7 microns for a start) – that despite all this absorption of incoming sunlight, over 92 times the distance, that somehow, miraculously and in complete conflict with measurements, SoD thinks the Venus surface should receive about half the insolation at its surface, just like Earth’s.

    So we have 10 W/m^2 going into the surface as an empirically confirmed fact, also approximately verified by calculations by two PSI scientists. Some energy will come out of the surface by conduction. (Try touching a 730K surface and see if any heat is conducted to your finger.) The remainder of that 10W/m^2 will transfer back to the atmosphere. So what then returns to the surface as back radiation will be even less.

    You cannot get back from the atmosphere more energy than was transferred out of the surface in the first place.

    Yet SoD wants us to believe back radiation will magnify 10 W/m^2 by at least 1,600 times, so that back radiation generated originally from that mere 10W/m^2 (less than 10% of what Earth’s surface receives) supposedly heats the surface from a much lower temperature than he calculated right up to over 700K.

    All that backradiation can do, SoD, is slow the rate of surface cooling that is by radiation. Despite what you think, it cannot add thermal energy to a warmer surface. It cannot, for example, penetrate below a water surface on Earth, and add energy to that warmer water. There would be no immediate re-emission of radiation, so the process would be a completed, independent process in complete violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Yes it can slow radiative cooling (though non-radiative cooling then nullifies this by itself transferring more energy) but the surface would have to be heated first somehow. So from what temperature is backradiation slowing cooling? Even on Earth, insolation could not warm the surface to a mean of 288K.

    Then SoD goes on to assume, as do proponents of the GH hoax on Earth, that, without water vapour or radiating gases, the temperature of a planet’s atmosphere would be the same at all altitudes. (This is how they claim that on Earth the surface temperature is raised 33 degrees from 255K. That 255K is supposed to be the same at all altitudes in the troposphere at least. This means that upward convection, and even conduction in still air (diffusion of KE) would require molecules in free flight to be able to retain the same kinetic energy whilst gaining potential energy when they move with any upward vertical component in their velocity. Hence this would create energy and violate the First Law of Thermodynamics. But SoD is good at doing that.

    These points demonstrate that SoD does not first investigate empirical evidence (such as the Russian probe data and 21st century experiments confirming thermal gradients in a gravitational field) and nor does he understand the fundamental fallacy in assuming homogeneous temperature in a pure oxygen and nitrogen atmosphere. He will also try to say that such an atmosphere would not radiate anything, but it is perfectly obvious that some molecules would, just as molecules of oxygen and nitrogen absorb and re-emit incident insolation in the thermosphere. So, likewise, a few would do so in the troposphere and some of those very “hot” molecules would then share energy during molecular collisions in which KE is diffused.

    It’s been a real pleasure showing all the silent readers what a mess you have made of physics, SoD.

  237. Doug Cotton says:

    If SoD or others have not read my papers, you will find much more detailed discussion and empirical proof in these papers and the supporting references. Just Google “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” and “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” For a brief 10 minute introduction view this video.

  238. Doug can’t address any of the questions I presented to him, or make a case for any practical applications for what he talks about.

    Forget it DOUG,you are in your own world with what you want to believe and nomatter what arguments counter to the way you want it to be are presented to you ,it is not going to change your mind. It also does not matter who presents these counter arguments to you

    Which is fine.

  239. TomVonk says:

    Roy I am sorry to say that in one point you contributed to the misunderstandings by a misunderstanding of yours.
    Indeed your statement N° 4 :

    “ The rate of IR absorption by an atmospheric layer almost never equals the rate of IR emission. IR emission is very dependent upon the temperature of that layer, approximately increasing as the 4th power of the temperature. But IR absorption is much less dependent on the temperature of the layer. So, for example, if you irradiated a very cold layer of air with intense IR radiation, that layer would warm until the rate of IR emission equaled the rate of absorption. But in the real atmosphere, other kinds of energy fluxes are involved, too, and so in general IR emission and absorption for a layer are almost never equal.”

    is completely wrong in one case and meaningless in another.

    Below follows the proof that the contrary of your statement is true.
    Let us consider a substance absorbing and emitting radiation at a resonant frequency ?. As example CO2 at 15µ. That means that the substance has 2 energy levels E2 and E1 such as E2-E1 = h. ?. Of course the same argument like below is valid for any number of quantum energy levels E1,E2 …En.

    For reasons of clarity but without loss of generality we will consider sharp lines – indeed to be accurate we would need to multiply the equations used by the spectral line shape what would make the algebra more complex without changing the conclusions.

    Further we consider that in some volume dV (f.ex a layer) n1 molecules are in the energy state E1 and n2 molecules are in the state E2. In presence of radiation containing the resonant frequency ?, the following equations hold :

    (Eq1) ? = h. ?/4? (n2.A21) where A21 is the Einstein’s coefficient for spontaneous emission and ? is such as ?.dV.d?.dt is the energy emitted at the frequency ? by the volume dV into the solid angle d? during the time dt.

    (Eq2) ? = h. ?/4? (n1.B12 – n2.B21) where B12 is the Einstein’s coefficient for absorption and B21 is the Einstein’s coefficient for stimulated emission. ? is such as ?.dl is the fraction of the incident energy at the frequency ? which is absorbed over the distance dl travelled in dt.

    The rates of change of the populations n1 and n2 follow readily :
    (Eq3) (dn2/dt) emission = – (dn1/dt)emission = – A21.n2
    (Eq4) (dn1/dt) stimulated emission = B21.n2.?(?) where ?(?) is the ambient radiation density at frequency ?
    (Eq5) (dn1/dt) absorption = – B1.n1.?(?)

    Now for a volume dV which is in thermodynamic equilibrium or in LTE (local thermodynamic equilibrium) the radiation density is given by ?(?) = F(?).1/( e^(h.?/kT)-1) where F(?) is a function depending only on the frequency ?.

    In the case of equilibrium this is the black body Planck’s formula while in the case of LTE this (Planck’s) distribution is imposed by the dominating number of intermolecular collisions. Both results are well known and confirmed by experience.

    In the case of equilibrium or LTE, the fractions of different quantum energy states in a volume dV (e.g all Ni/N) are constant. From that follows
    (Eq6) dn1/dt = 0.

    Then dn1/dt = (dn1/dt)emission + (dn1/dt) stimulated emission + (dn1/dt) absorption = 0 and this is nothing else than the Kirchhoff’s law.
    If we neglect the stimulated emission what is legitimate for the CO2 in the troposphere, we obtain :
    A21.n2 – B12.n1.?(?) = 0 => Emissivity = K.A21.n2 = K.B12.n1.F(?).1/( e^(h.?/kT)-1)

    Conclusions :
    1) The functional dependence on temperature of both emissivity and absorptivity for a given frequency is exactly the same, namely 1/( e^(h.?/kT)-1).
    So it is not true that the former would vary like T^4 and the latter would be temperature independent.
    This would violate quantum mechanics which governs these absorption/emission processes. Besides you seem to be confusing non resonant frequencies (for which the gas is transparent) with resonant frequencies which are governed by the equations above.

    2) Your statement is self contradicting. If you irradiate a cold gaz emitting at some frequencies with an intense “hot” radiation, the rates dn1/dt and dn2/dt corresponding to the population of the relevant energy levels would be indeed non zero because the gas is not in equilibrium with the hot radiation. However after a transitory, and you say so yourself, “that layer would warm until the rate of IR emission equaled the rate of absorption.”

    3) The remark about “other kinds of energy fluxes” is a red herring because these “other kinds” like convection happen at time scales that are many orders of magnitude larger than the radiative/collisionnal processes we are studying here.

    4) If the thickness of the layer is at the scale where the troposphere is in LTE (e.g meters) then absorptivity equal emissivity and the statement is wrong. If the thickness of the layer is at a scale where the troposphere’s temperature varies significantly (eg hundreds of meters), then the statement is meaningless because emissivity as well as absorptivity vary throughout the layer. When the gas is not in LTE even at a microscopic level (e.g above 80-100 km for CO2) then no classical thermodynamics holds and the gas can only be treated by quantum mechanics via the equations above.

    Last comment is about your statement N° 5 which is at least misleading. “Even if you restrict the analysis to very thin atmospheric layers, the upward emission will be slightly less than the downward emission, because it originates from an average altitude which is slightly higher, and thus colder”
    First it must be précised that we talk ONLY about the resonant frequencies. Non resonant frequencies simply pass through.
    The momentum of a thin layer is molecules’ momentum + resonant photons’ momentum. If we consider that the global molecular momentum in a thin layer is zero (because observation shows that the velocity distribution is isotropic) then the momentum conservation law dictates that there is a general resonant photons’ movement upwards.

    Because a photon’s momentum depends only on frequency, follows that there must be exactly as many resonant photons leaving the layer upwards as there are entering from below.

    However it is true (but irrelevant) that if one observes the number of photons travelling upwards at 10k, one will find less than what one would observe at 0 k travelling downwards. But this is just a trivial consequence of the lapse rate which, on a large enough scale, must lead to a very small upwards movement of the gas compensating the loss of photon’s momentum. This movement is not measurable macroscopically because other macroscopical movements are many order of magnitude stronger.

    So while the statement 4 is wrong and statement 5 misleading, it is true that the “greenhouse effect” is just a manifestation of the coupling between the lapse rate and the radiative properties of infrared active molecules what you rightly say.

  240. Doug, will not (as I knew he would not) answer or comment on any of the items and concepts,and questins I brought up, because they go against the way,he wants things to be.

    Doug, is a man using physics ,gone mad. That is the best way to describe him, based on the points he keeps trying to make and how he tries to make them. The reasoning. The examples, etc etc.

    Not to mention his lack of understanding when it comes to the climatic system of the earth.

    I would never waste my time reading his papers to any degree of depth.

  241. SCIENCE OF DOOM, I agree with all you have expressed.

  242. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Stephen would do well to note what Tom says about how convection is basically unable to be detected because other air movements dominate.

    Tom wrote if one observes the number of photons travelling upwards at 10k, one will find less than what one would observe at 10 k travelling downwards. But this is just a trivial consequence of the lapse rate which, on a large enough scale, must lead to a very small upwards movement of the gas compensating the loss of photon’s momentum. This movement is not measurable macroscopically because other macroscopical movements are many orders of magnitude stronger.

    This is yet another reason why diffusion of kinetic energy in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics (maintaining constant entropy in an adiabatic process) has, over the life of the planet, established a thermal gradient in any atmosphere based on -g/Cp but modified by intra-atmospheric radiation and absorption which has an opposing propensity to create homogeneous temperature.

    As empirical observations demonstrate, the intra-atmospheric radiation tends to reduce the absolute value of the thermal gradient on all relevant planets to somewhere between two-thirds and 90% of the -g/Cp value. Once again, I stress that this value does not require application of the ideal gas laws, because it is easily derived from first principles as I have shown.

    Effective “lapse rates” (thermal gradients) will vary dramatically in local regions because of the dominating effect of wind which eclipses the theoretical gradient because of the very slow movement of convection, and zero velocity of diffusion of kinetic energy on a macroscopic scale.

    I haven’t a clue what Salvatore thinks I haven’t answered for him somewhere in my papers. I am not going to copy all the text therein to comments such as these. However, it is very obvious that he does not understand the physics which I have used to rebut SoD.

  243. Konrad says:

    The AGW believers claim that an atmosphere with no radiative gasses would be 33C cooler that our current atmosphere. I have shown by empirical experiment that heating a gas column with a vertical pressure gradient by conductive contact at ground level is effective. However trying to cool it by conductive contact at ground level is ineffective.

    Can anyone explain the exact mechanism by which a non radiative atmosphere can cool by enough to offset heating by conductive with the planets surface?

  244. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy

    I don’t disagree with you regarding what I know you are trying to say in point (4). The confusion comes down to not distinguishing between energy flux and radiative flux.

    We can start with the surface. Clearly it receives far more energy from direct insolation than it subsequently emits (from that supply of energy) by radiation. I have explained many times that non-radiative processes transfer more than two-thirds of the total energy transfer from the surface to the atmosphere.

    Much the same applies for every thin layer of the atmosphere. When any such thin layer is only a fraction of a degree warmer or cooler than an adjoining layer, there is very little transfer of energy by radiation from the warmer layer to the cooler one. This is discussed and quantified in my paper Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamicspublished in March 2012. There is, however, a large amount of radiation entering each layer and being immediately re-emitted without transferring any thermal energy. Tom is, in effect, counting all this radiation and claiming that it eclipses other slower non-radiative processes.

    However, when considering energy transfers, other non-radiative processes contribute a very significant proportion. A hot wind blowing up a mountain side contributes orders of magnitude more, totally dominating both radiative and adiabatic non-radiative processes.

    So, Roy, I would just suggest altering phrases like “rate of IR absorption” to something like “the rate of thermal energy transfer by radiation into/out of …”

  245. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad

    Any atmosphere in a gravitational field must exhibit a thermal gradient of the order of ~65% to ~90% of -g/Cp where Cp is specific heat and will vary with temperature. Hence the thermal profile (plot) is curved, but has the above gradient at each point in calm conditions.

    There is no such thing as a non-radiating atmosphere. If the Earth’s atmosphere were 20% pure oxygen and 80% pure nitrogen, there would always be some molecules which would absorb some incident insolation from the Sun, and either re-emit it or transfer thermal energy (by diffusion of KE) to adjoining molecules. We can see this happens in the thermosphere, but it will also happen in a small minority of oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the troposphere. The amount of such radiation or warming at each altitude ensures the development and maintenance of the calculated thermal profile which happens at the molecular level as molecules in motion must obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics, retaining constant entropy (PE+KE=constant). Of course the level of the profile (as distinct from its gradient) is set by the need for radiative balance.

    Hence, on Earth, the moisture in the atmosphere causes the effective gradient to be close to 65% of the -g/Cp value (which is ~9.8K/Km) and so the thermal profile intersects the surface at a cooler temperature than it would have in an atmosphere free of moisture and radiating gases. The reduction to 65% is primarily due to intra-atmospheric radiation between water vapour molecules at different altitudes. So we need to be saying water vapour reduced the mean temperature from about 300K to about 288K, and carbon dioxide has no significant effect.
     

    .

  246. Konrad says:

    Doug,
    Your response in no way answered my question. I am well aware that N2 and O2 do absorb and radiate slightly.

    I am asking greenhouse believers what mechanism they propose to offset conductive and convective energy input into a “non radiative” atmosphere. Conductive contact with a radiativly cooled surface will not work. What is the mystery mechanism? Roy? Anyone?

  247. Doug Cotton says:

    In regard to wind dominating and eclipsing adiabatic processes, I just heard in a weather forecast that winds are expected to cause Sydney temperatures to fall be 18 C degrees around 5pm today. And of course it is wind from the hot inland that is heating Sydney and much of the state of NSW to over 40 degrees C today.

  248. Doug Cotton says:

    Well I wouldn’t expect GH believers to have the right answer, Konrad. My paper outlines what would happen. The thermal profile (with the calculated gradient) will adopt a level where radiative balance occurs. There will be sufficient radiation to ensure this happens and the gradient is maintained.

    My main point is that it is totally incorrect to assume a surface temperature of 255K and the same temperature at all altitudes in the atmosphere in the absence of WV and GHG.

    The temperature thus pre-determined at the base of the atmosphere supports the surface temperature, just as it’s doing with our existing atmosphere, and that on Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Is there anything I haven’t already answered in my paper?

  249. Doug Cotton says:

    When you say, Konrad, that “that N2 and O2 do absorb and radiate slightly” you are thinking in terms of typical radiation in the 10 micron band coming from the surface. I have explained that oxygen and nitrogen can and do absorb and re-emit plenty of far higher energy radiation up in the UV, visible and near IR (very close to the visible) as is perfectly obvious in empirical observations, and as happens in the thermosphere. It also happen in the troposphere, but we don’t feel it as excessive warmth because only a small proportion of the molecules do so. But it does support warmer temperatures at the base of the troposphere, and, wherever such energy is absorbed by day, it will disperse by convection and diffusion of KE to form a more uniform gradient, perhaps during the night, and that gradient will be as calculated using the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  250. Doug you are so ridiculous.

    The temperature at the surface determines the temperature at the base of the atmosphere. Doug has it wrong again.

    Again as prove, look at the characteristic of a typical lapse rate in polar regions versus a desert.

    In polar regions inversions are often the case, while in deserts steep lapse rates are often in place, all due to the make up of the surface and it’s influence on the temperature of the lapse rate at the base of the atmosphere.

    That is why in the atmosphere near the polar regions the base of the lapse rate is so cold, only to grow warmer with height instead of cooling. The structure of the lapse rate determined by the surface conditions.

  251. Doug Cotton says:

    Your dilemma arises from the fact that you think only of one way conduction from a warmer surface to the atmosphere. But what I am saying is that the Sun could never, on its own, have heated the Earth’s surface to 288K, let alone 300K without WV and GHG, and certainly not the Venus surface to over 700K. It is the atmosphere that supports the surface temperature at the boundary. There will be two-way heat transfer by conduction (diffusion) and radiation at the boundary. Day/night variations provide a ratchet effect, so the surface is generally a little warmer, but the close temperatures slow down the energy transfer. When extra energy does get into the atmosphere it just causes more of the solar insolation that is absorbed to be re-emitted, rather than diffused into the nearby region.

  252. Doug Cotton says:

    At the South Pole the lapse rate (gradient) is close to zero (maybe positive) due to downward winds from the region of the troposphere which is also at about -50C. The warming with height might be from -57C to -50C – big deal – just a question of how the mean surface temperature is calculated and how measurements at the tropopause are averaged. However, at the North pole the surface is warmed by ocean currents from the South, and we do observe a fairly normal lapse rate. More land in the Northern Hemisphere also affects wind velocity and strength, so downward winds at the North Pole are not such an over-riding factor. So get your pole information right for a start, Salvo.

    In a desert we obviously have dry air. So the gradient is close to -g/Cp because there is minimal compensating effect caused by warmer water vapour at lower levels radiating to cooler water vapour at higher levels. As I have always said, water vapour leads to cooler surface temperatures. Deserts are hotter than oceans. The tropics would be even hotter but for the water vapour as you could prove with calculations of insolation.

  253. NO thart is not the reason Doug. The reason is because of the make up of the surface and the radiational cooling it undergoes causing an inversion to take place.

    Wrong again.

    Doug everything you say is senseless to me. It does not compute.

  254. I never have come across a person that I disagree with more then Doug Cotton,when it comes to all these matters we keep talking about.

    Doug, you don’t know what you are talking about. Sorry ,but that is my honest conclusion. I am sure you think likewise about me.

  255. Doug Cotton says:

    When Salvatore writes base of the lapse rate is so cold, only to grow warmer with height instead of cooling. The structure of the lapse rate determined by the surface conditions.
    I get the impression that he doesn’t even realise that the lapse rate is a gradient, such as 7 C degrees per kilometre of altitude. As such, the lapse rate on Earth is usually a number between about 6 and 10, except where wind causes temporary variations. So how can one equate a gradient to a temperature or give a gradient a “structure.”

    Oh well, so much for his understanding of physics. Need I say more?

  256. DOUG , we are not going to be able to change eachothers minds, that is one thing I think we can agree on.lol

  257. Doug Cotton says:

    I am not interested in changing your mind, Salvo. I am interested in ensuring that you don’t mislead silent readers. Fancy saying inversion takes place because of radiation from a cooler surface. (LOL) If the surface really is cooler, and it’s all to do with radiation, then the atmosphere above would be warmer (by definition of inversion) and so there would be net transfer of thermal energy by radiation (and conduction) from the warmer atmosphere to the cooler surface. In the real world, such a situation is rare – probably in less than 1% of the total Earth’s surface. One thing you never do is produce evidence for your assertive statements. My evidence is well documented in my papers which you, with a closed mind, refuse to study and try to understand. So this is not a debate about what I am saying at all. It’s about what you think I am saying, and some of what I have said with all the reasoning in between left out.

  258. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Cottonball is a crackpot. Just ignore him. He thinks he discovered something important such as disproving the greenhouse effect. So why don’t you publish in a reputable science journal like JGR? Let me guess. Because it will be dismissed as nonsense. Go ahead and try.

    That is how real science is done. You submit to a reputable science journal. Your paper is peer reviewed and published. Then you get invited to universities to present your paper.

    This is how pseudoscience is done. You argue to death in blogs. You publish your paper in an obscure website. Then you claim you made a groundbreaking scientific discovery. Sounds familiar Cottonball?

  259. Doug Cotton says:

    I knew Strangelove would not be capable of expressing any counter argument based on physics. And of course he ignores the fact that the GHE is demolished because it violates the First Law of Thermodynamics. But then, he wouldn’t understand why. So all he can do is repeat himself about the supposed perfect unbiased peer-review system associated with those journals which promulgate the hoax, and which I would no more support than fly.

    I’m quite comfortable working with a team of about 200 members of Principia Scientific International, most of them more knowledgeable of physics than the average climatologist.

  260. Massimo PORZIO says:

    I don’t know who Dr.Strangelove is, anyway I surely prefer Doug kind of people who expose their point of view using their name and surname and never call their interlocutors with silly nicknames such as Cottonball.
    This is typical of very poor unscientific minds.
    The rule is: if you want respectability, respect the other.

  261. Doug Cotton says:

    “Dr Strangelove” is a comedy film, also known as “Two Hours to Doom” which probably explains his strong admiration of “Science of Doom.” Even when SoD made a serious error regarding solar insolation reaching Earth’s surface, neither he, nor “Dr S” has acknowledged that error.

  262. Doug Cotton says:

    “Science of Doom” made serious errors regarding the solar insolation reaching the surface of Venus (that should read) but also the Earth’s surface which was treated as a flat disk. Then he made another major error assuming there would be isothermal atmospheres on each planet in the absence of water vapour and so-called “greenhouse gases” – see this comment. So where’s your admission of error SoD?

  263. Psuedoscience says:

    I’m enjoying the discussion, it make’s a change from drivel I read on the site I frequent.

    I’m just an average Joe who is very interested in this subject for obvious reasons.

    From a scientists/acedemic point of view, why isn’t the information presented here, written in journals and peer reviewed, the only thing alarmists have to cling to, in counter aruging.

    Is it reasonable to presume there is politics at play here, in regards to editors of journals, as to censor out any research that counters their “theories”

    Very worrying that this counter information seems to be falling on deaf ears.

    Any links to credible reputable journal articles (as they say)would be greatly appreciated.

    To the scientists involved in disputing IPCC claims and the like…good luck.

  264. Doug ,that is exactly what I want to do, make sure the readers don’t fall for all the GARBAGE you keep posting about how a individual laspe rate works or is determined on a local level, and how this impacts the climate.

    Doug , I don’t think you have ever had any formal studies in the fields of climate and meterology. If you did, the institution you went to should be closed.

    Everything you say is only in the abstract and can’t be applied to everyday climatalogy. It has nothing to do with everyday climataology and the characteristics and structures of various lapse rates all over the globe , during all different hours of the day.

    You are trying to force the totality of what you think all the lapse rates should be ,due to your brand of physics, upon the character and structure of individual lapse rates all over the globe which does not work.

  265. Dr. Strangelove I concur Doug ,does not know what he is talking about or if he does which I doubt, he does not know how to apply it to climatalogy in any sensible meaningful way.

    Anyone that is entetainng his thoughts, will be forever led astray.

    I am closest when all is said and done to Dr. Spencer’s and Christopher Game’s points of view.

    The difference I have with them is minor compared with Doug. The only major difference being, is I put much more emphasis on external forces(the sun) causing the climate to change, rather then internal forces here on earth.

  266. Laspe rates with inversions for your information Doug , are not all that rare.

    Wrong again ,Doug.

  267. Doug Cotton says:

    Readers of my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” will realise that it is merely a review paper of other studies. Some of the references do in fact refer to papers published in, for example, The Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestrial Physics. Another reference is to work done by Hans Jelbring whose 1998 thesis was Wind Controlled Climate. Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University. 111pp.

    The concept of the temperature gradient in an atmosphere developing at the molecular level is not my original work by any means. Hans Jelbring (in my Ref [11]) wrote “Hence, the atmospheric mass exposed to a gravity field is the cause …”

    Either you accept the fact, first postulated by Loschmidt in the 19th century, that the requirements of both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics dictate that an autonomous thermal gradient must develop in a still gas in a gravitational field, or you accept the naïve conjecture of climatologists, who usually have little understanding of physics, that there would have been an isothermal atmosphere in the absence of water vapour and so-called “greenhouse gases. The latter requires a blatant violation of both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics because it assumes that, every time a molecule moves upwards, energy is created and entropy decreases.

  268. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Questions for Salvatore (and anyone else)

    Q.1: Yesterday afternoon the temperature outside my home in the North West of Sydney was 44 deg.C. Just now at 8:15am Wednesday, it is 22 deg.C. Yesterday there were Prevailing Westerlies. Now we have Southerly winds. Assuming the temperature at the tropopause has not changed, there would be a difference of about 2 C degrees per Km in the lapse rate, due to the change of wind direction. Do you have a problem understanding that wind can change the lapse rate?

    Q.2: The dry adiabatic lapse rate is derived (in my paper and in Wikipedia for example) as -g/Cp and, assuming specific heat Cp of about 1.0, that is about 9.8 C/Km. The wet adiabatic lapse rate is about 6.5 C/Km. Do you have any evidence, in calm conditions, of lapse rates averaged from the surface to the troposphere which are significantly more than the dry rate (say >12 C/Km) or significantly less than the wet rate (say, <5 C/Km.)?

    Q.3: Noting that the Wikipedia derivation of the Dry Adiabatic Lapse rate (see “Lapse Rate”) indicates that pressure cancels out (ie pressure does not affect the lapse rate) and noting that there is no solar radiation reaching the poles of Venus (which are over 730K) so that there can be no backradiation, then how do you explain the lapse rate of about 8 to 9 C/Km above the Venus poles?

     

  269. Gordon Robertson says:

    Roy…I agree with Stephen Wylde that you have not explained the greenhouse effect. Further more, you have not explained how trace gases act to emit heat, or trap it.

    That brings us to the 2nd law which I am convinced you do not understand. You seem to be confusing infrared energy with heat. Clausius made it clear that IR can be exchanged between bodies but that heat can only be transferred from warmer bodies to cooler bodies under normal circumstances.

    Heat is a measure of atomic volatility. The more energy atoms have, the faster they zip about, and that is a measure of their heat content. Infrared energy can be absorbed or emitted by atoms by raising or lower their heat content but IR is not heat. In a similar manner, certain molecules can vibrate harder after absorbing IR.

    Since the atmosphere is generally cooler than the surface it cannot transfer heat to the surface, and since the source of atmospheric heat is reputedly surface IR, it is not possible for a body losing heat to a cooler atmosphere to have those losses made up by heat transfer from a cooler atmosphere. That’s what the 2nd law is about.

    Many people confuse the 2nd law with entropy, but Clausius developed the concept of entropy after he developed the 2nd law. He described entropy as the ‘disgregation; of atoms in a body. In other words, as a body warms, it’s atoms vibrate further from their mean vibrational paths, and the degree of deviation is their entropy.

    When you put all that together, there is no mechanism to explain greenhouse warming.

    Circa 1910, a scientist, Woods, hypothesized that any surface IR should not be effective more than a few feet above the surface, due to the inverse square law. A 1500 watt ring on an electric stove will cook your flesh by radiation if held close enough to the surface, yet 5 feet away you will feel nothing. Why should 200 watts/metre be sensed any further than a few feet away?

    I realize that sensitive instruments can detect IR at large distance just as the human eye can see a car’s headlights miles away. The headlights will do him no good for what they were intended for just as surface IR wont make a bit of difference higher than a few feet above the surface.

  270. Doug Cotton says:

    Gordon makes good points. What he is saying is as I wrote in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published March 2012, namely that the electro-magnetic energy in radiation is never converted to thermal energy in a target which is warmer than the source of spontaneous emission. Instead, that radiation is immediately re-emitted and its energy can only be used for emitted radiation which forms part of the quota of the target, as per its Planck curve.

    So radiation from a cooler source can only slow down that portion of the rate of cooling of a warmer target which is by radiation, as is well known in physics. To repeat: radiation can only slow other radiation from a warmer target. What it cannot do is have any effect on the remaining cooling processes, mostly evaporative cooling and conduction (diffusion) between the surface and adjoining air molecules.

    But any slowing of radiative cooling is compensated for (that is, its effect is nullified) by an increase in energy transferred from the surface by non-radiative processes. All this is necessary because the overall thermal plot is determined by other parameters, namely the specific heat of the atmosphere, the mean solar intensity (and related factors such as albedo) and the acceleration due to gravity.

    How on Venus could the poles, which receive no direct solar insolation, ever have become over 720K as a result of any radiative greenhouse effect? Until you understand, and can answer this question with valid physics, then you demonstrate to yourself that you do not understand Earth’s climate either.

    The extended Second Law of Thermodynamics has, well since Clausius first expressed it for temperature, been modified to add the over-riding condition that, in a closed loop in adiabatic conditions, entropy either increases or remains the same. This extension is necessary so that there is no contradiction between the First Law and the Second Law when potential energy can change. We all know that potential energy (PE) and kinetic energy (KE) interchange, such as seen with a pendulum. Hence, when molecules in still air (even a sealed container) move such that PE+KE=constant, they are of course not violating the First Law, because no energy is being created. In fact, KE is not being transferred from the top to the bottom of the cylinder. Instead, some PE is being converted to KE as molecules move downwards in free flight between impacts.

    The biggest single error in the whole greenhouse conjecture is that naïve climatologists assumed that there would have been isothermal conditions in the atmosphere in the absence of water vapour and GHG. This is absolutely impossible, because it would mean that every upward movement of a molecule in a gravitational field would have to retain KE whilst increasing its PE. Hence energy would be created and entropy would decrease, which it never can. So the greenhouse conjecture that back radiation caused the surface temperature to rise from 255K to 288K depends entirely upon a complete violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics, and also the (extended version of) the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It never would have been 255K. In fact it would have been close to 300K because of the steeper dry adiabatic lapse rate.

  271. DOUG, if your starting surface temp. is 44 versus 22, THE STARTING TEMPERTURE AT THE BASE OF THE LAPSE RATE WIL BE DIFFERENT.

    It would be 44 versus 22. From that point at the surface as one went up in altitude through the two lapse rates the air would cool at the same rate, but at different starting temperatures, and in the case of the lapse rate with a 22 degree starting temp., saturation would likely occur at a lower level in the atmosphere, causing the structure of the two laspe rates to differ with altitude again. One cooling at the dry rate for a longer period of time ,one cooling at the wet rate for a longer period of time.

    Doug have you ever looked at upper air charts such as the 500mb or 400 mb levels. If you noticed ,the heights for aLl these pressure levels are different due to the structure of the atmosphere as one proceeds through a given atmosphere over a given place in altitude.

    Doug maybe the temperature at the tropopause has not changed , but for sure the altitude of where it is to be found has changed, due directly to the structure of the various lapse rates that lie beneath the tropopause over various places of the globe.

    That is why the upper air level charts have all different heights for a given pressure surface all over the globe and that is why these upper level heights for given pressure surfaces all over the globe not only change from place to place but on a daily and hourly basis.

    IT IS ALL DUE TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE ATMOSPHERE WHICH IS DUE IN LARGE PART TO SURFACE TEMP. ,SURFACE HUMIDITY AND WATER VAPOR AND THUS CONVECTION OR NO CONVECTION, BEING ABLE TO CREATE CLOUDS OR NO CLOUDS , THUS A UNSTABLE LAPSE RATE OR AN STABLE LAPSE RATE CONDITION.

  272. Doug Cotton says:

    Salvatore says regarding the tropopause ”the altitude of where it is to be found has changed.” Garbage. Do you seriously think the altitude of the tropopause would change sufficiently within 16 hours to make a compensating adjustment for a change of 2C/Km in the whole distance from the surface to the tropopause? It would have to rise by more than 3Km.

    What on Earth is your point? The dry adiabatic lapse rate is a function of specific heat and the acceleration due to gravity only. You have it in Wikipedia. You have it in my paper and numerous other documents and papers. Who are you to argue with so many physicists?

    But, you will not observe an adiabatic lapse rate when there are winds around, as I have demonstrated. Variations in local conditions cause variations in the local effective lapse rate. But that’s weather, not climate where things average out over the whole globe.

    I can see you have a problem with Q.1, so I’ll have to leave you with that problem in your mind, as you are not likely to be persuaded by logic. Try answering Q.2 and Q.3 now and perhaps comment on the violation of the First Law of Thermodynamic, as mentioned in both my other comments today.

    And, no, the lapse rate is not due to the surface temperature. The surface temperature is due to the lapse rate, as Hans Jelbring explained. Do you want to argue with someone with his background?

    If so, then start by reading this …
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

  273. Dr, Strangelove says:

    Cottonball, ask Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen and Judith Curry if you are right. They are all climate skeptics. They should be sympathetic to you. But they will all tell you that you’re wrong. But I predict it won’t matter to you because you are delusional. A legend in your own mind. Surely if you know better than Spencer, Lindzen and Curry, you should be by now the Professor of Meteorology at University of Alabama, MIT or Georgia Tech instead of a crackpot blogger.

    To fans of Cottonball, sorry I have little respect for crackpots. I don’t find lunacy respectable.

  274. Doug Cotton says:

    I am merely reviewing peer-reviewed publications. Do you accept the journal “Energy and Environment” meets your criteria? If so, you will see that I have based Section 3 of my paper on what Hans Jelbring has published in my reference [11] http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf
    Hans Jelbring first talked about what I have said in his 1998 thesis.
    The above paper published in Energy & Environment · Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003 says the “effect” is “mainly being a consequence of known physical laws describing the behaviour of ideal gases in a gravity field.”
    “A noteworthy implication is that the calculated values of AGW, accepted by many contemporary climate scientists, are thus irrelevant and probably quite insignificant (not detectable) in relation to natural processes causing climate change.”
    “For such a process the sum of kinetic, internal and potential energy is constant by definition (ref. 2 p. 229). An adiabatically moving air parcel has no energy loss or gain to the surroundings. For example, when an air parcel ascends the temperature has to decrease because of internal energy exchange due to the work against the gravity field.”
    “temperature lapse rate per meter, in a model atmosphere postulating energetic equilibrium, is constant and independent of the radiative properties of the ideal gases. It is also independent of the density of the atmosphere and of the absolute average temperature of the same.”
    “Interestingly, the model atmosphere will develop a state of energetic equilibrium regardless of whether light directly hits the planetary surface or not. This provides an explanation of why Venus has an (quasi or wet) adiabatic temperature lapse rate in its troposphere. Only 2.5% of solar irradiation can reach its surface.”
    “the surface temperature of a planet can be found by calculating “backwards”. The reason being that the average black body temperature of the planetary atmosphere is uniquely determined by irradiation and albedo values. The surface temperature of Venus can be calculated readily in this manner. This temperature has little to do with the fact that 95% of its atmosphere consists of the “greenhouse” gas carbon dioxide. The 500 K GE is completely explained by it having a 92 times thicker atmosphere than the Earth.”
    “Hence, the atmospheric mass exposed to a gravity field is the cause of the “Greenhouse Effect” as a Function of Atmospheric Mass .. “
    All above quotes from Energy & Environment · Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003
    Author: Hans Jelbring.

  275. Doug Cotton says:

    I have explained why Roy Spencer is mistaken in the critical point (6) which, it it were correct, would violate the First law of Thermodynamics. See
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-67779
    Maybe Judith Curry and Jo Nova are likewise bluffed by the hoax that the surface would have been 255K in the absence of water vapour and GHG. You can’t prove that, and nor can any climatologist, because gravity creates a thermal gradient in any and all atmospheres, as Hans Jelbring wrote in his 1998 thesis and published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2003, as Loschmidt postulated in the 19th century and as Graeff proved empirically in the 21st century,
    Get your facts right, Dr Strangelove (AKA “Two Hours to Doom”)

  276. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Roy

    Hans Jelbring PhD Climatology is further supported regarding the issue of an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field here …
    http://www.tech-know-group.com/NISubmission/pdf/Politics_and_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

    William C. Gilbert writes …

    There still seems to be some confusion in the Climate Science Community about the temperature distribution in a gaseous atmosphere under the influence of a gravitational field.

    My academic degrees are in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry and I have spent over three decades in Research and Development in private industry (DuPont, Monsanto, Celanese and American Cyanamid). I became interested in Climate Science some four years ago because it seemed to be a perfect fit with my Chemical Engineering background (large, complex, multivariant systems involving significant heat and mass transfer processes) and I thought I may be able to contribute something. I was immediately amazed at the paltry level of scientific competence that I found, especially in the basic areas of heat and mass transfer. Even the relatively simple analysis of atmospheric temperature distributions were misunderstood completely. To illustrate the level of simplicity involved with this topic, let’s go back to basic physics.

    This static temperature lapse rate (in this model atmosphere) is identical to the dry adiabatic lapse rate theoretically derived in Meteorology for a convective adiabatic air parcel. In both situations it is solely a function of the magnitude of the gravitational field and the heat capacity of the atmospheric gas, and nothing else. And this relationship aptly describes the bulk of the 33ºC so-called “Greenhouse Effect” that is the bread and butter of the Climate Science Community.

    It is remarkable that this very simple derivation is totally ignored in the field of Climate Science simply because it refutes the radiation heat transfer model as the dominant cause of the GE. Hence, that community is relying on an inadequate model to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming in order to generate funding and to gain attention. If this is what “science” has become today, I, as a scientist, am ashamed.

  277. don penman says:

    The lapse rate seems to be an idealised concept which depends more on the density of the gas changing as it is further from the earths surface it does not say anything about the rate at which energy flows into the earth and the rate at which it flows out of the earth,it does not then determine a surface temperature.The density decreases consistantly further from the earth surface while temperature does not.

  278. Konrad says:

    Dr, Strangelove says:
    January 8, 2013 at 9:02 PM
    “Cottonball, ask Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen and Judith Curry”
    ———————————————————————————–
    Sorry, while I cannot agree with Doug, I will call you out on that one. That was argument from authority of the worst kind.

    It does not matter that Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen and Judith Curry are all respected leading sceptics. They all believe that radiative gasses heat our atmosphere. They are all wrong. I have run the empirical experiments to check my claims, they have not. It does not matter that they are all big names in the climate debate, they have no empirical evidence to back up their claims.

    Sadly Dr. Spencer, the host of this blog has fallen for the same mathematical mistake as many others. To understand the “mistake” it is helpful to look at the stages of the evolution of the AGW calculations.
    - initially the AGW hoaxers modelled an imaginary “Earth” with a combined surface and atmosphere so they could misapply SB equations to gases.
    - later they tried separating the surface and atmosphere, representing the atmosphere as a single mathematical layer. Convective energy transport cannot be modelled in this manner.
    - to achieve a result showing a “non-radiative” atmosphere 33C cooler, they replaced IR flux from the atmosphere to space with a conductive flux to a radiately cooled surface. Nice mathematical trick however it is physically impossible. It may work for an atmosphere modelled as an infinitely thin layer, but not for a real atmosphere kilometres deep with a strong vertical pressure gradient.

    If radiative gases were removed from the atmosphere, the atmosphere would still be heated by conductive contact with the surface. It is important to note that the temperature of hot gases rising into such an atmosphere is driven by local surface temperature maximum, not the local surface temperature average. (At some points on the Earth’s surface, that will be the temperature of liquid magma). In a non radiative atmosphere, heated gases can rise to altitude, but they cannot lose energy to space and reduce their buoyancy. Without strongly radiative gases, convective circulation would stagnate and the atmosphere would heat dramatically. The slow process of gas conduction and diffusion would then remove the lapse rate. This would then be followed by atmospheric superheating due to the small amount of radiation that N2 and O2 can absorb. Without radiative gases our atmosphere will cook.

    I have shown that heating a gas column with a vertical pressure gradient by conductive surface contact at the base of the gas column is effective, while trying to cool the gas column in the same manner is not. This physical effect would be far greater on the real planet than in my insulated boxes due to surface friction and steep near surface temperature inversion. AGW is a physical impossibility.

    I would be more than happy for Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen or Judith Curry to challenge my claims. To do this they would need to describe a plausible physical mechanism whereby a non-radiative atmosphere can cool. However “conductive contact with a radiativly cooled surface” is provably an incorrect answer.

  279. Dr, Strangelove says:

    These idiots don’t realize that adiabatic lapse rate is just the change in temperature per unit change in altitude. It doesn’t tell us anything about the actual temperature of the gas at any given altitude. So how can temperature be only dependent on specific heat and gravity? Dum dum All these arguments from authority rant is absurd. Your lapse rate blah blah blah are sheer nonsense! Crackpot Cottonball, spare us from your mindless chattering.

    And Konrad your understanding of greenhouse effect is flawed. It is not the theory that is wrong but your understanding of it. Greenhouse effect works by slowing down radiative cooling of the atmosphere. It is incorrect to say that it assumes a non-radiative atmosphere.

  280. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Don, Konrad and others

    The STATIC ADIABATIC THERMAL GRADIENT (AKA “lapse rate”) has nothing to do with density, or pressure, or the rate at which gases move, or the temperature of the surface, or the composition of the surface, or the radiation out of the atmosphere or the back radiation.

    Physics proves beyond all shadow of doubt that the “ideal” dry thermal gradient formed by gravity is equal to the negative of the acceleration due to gravity divided by the mean specific heat of the gases in the region. Full stop.

    Read what Hans Jelbring wrote his thesis about when working for his PhD in climatology.

    Read what William Gilbert said (exactly what I have said, though I only found his article today) as quoted below from this site …

    http://www.tech-know-group.com/NISubmission/pdf/Politics_and_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf..

    “Thus, according to the first and second laws of thermodynamics, for any given difference in altitude (height) the increase in specific potential energy (gdh) must be offset by a corresponding decrease in thermal energy (CpdT) and a corresponding decrease in temperature. Thus in a gravitational field an atmosphere in equilibrium must have a nonisothermal decreasing temperature distribution with altitude. This is true in an isolated air column and this basic physical phenomenon exists independent of any input/output of other energy sources such as ground temperature, convection, radiation, convection, etc.

    And of course equation (2) can be rewritten as:
    dT/dh = -g/CpT = -9.8 K/km

    “which is a temperature profile often observed in our atmosphere on a daily basis. This static temperature lapse rate (in this model atmosphere) is identical to the dry adiabatic lapse rate theoretically derived in Meteorology for a convective adiabatic air parcel. In both situations it is solely a function of the magnitude of the gravitational field and the heat capacity of the atmospheric gas, and nothing else.”

    The 255K figure is garbage because the thermal gradient cannot be zero without violating the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. I said that some time back and I now note that William Gilbert said the same, using both laws to derive the static thermal gradient. (Note that he should refer to “specific heat” rather than “heat capacity” because he has already divided by mass.)

    I am not even reading what the fictitious “Dr Strangelove” writes. He tries to give the impression that he has a PhD, but obviously knows next to nothing about physics. His “name” comes from a comic movie, which is rather apt. Of course he never talks a word of physics. Furthermore, he doesn’t even realise that indeed I almost certainly do have a deeper understanding of the relevant physics than those he named, some of whom at least are somewhat younger than my 67 years, and most of whom do not have degrees majoring in physics, which is critical to an understanding of heat transfer mechanisms in the atmosphere.

     

  281. Doug Cotton says:

    Sorry the link didn’t work, but it does in my earlier comment addressed to Roy, which I’d ask you all to read also ..

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-68374

  282. Konrad says:

    Dr, Strangelove says:
    January 9, 2013 at 1:18 AM
    ——————————————
    Sorry, that won’t wash. Increasing radiative gases in the atmosphere will cause reduced radiative cooling of the atmosphere???

    No, the warmists claimed that because the surface under a non-radiative atmosphere may have a lower average temperature that so too would the atmosphere above it. I have proven this false by empirical experiment. The greenhouse effect in earth’s atmosphere is caused by the non-radiative properties of N2 and O2. It is moderated or cooled by radiative gases, principally H2O.

    My understanding of the AGW team math is just fine. I have far too many cut&pastes of the AGW believers claiming that a radiativly cooled surface could have a significant cooling effect on the atmosphere above it. I know exactly where the fudge factor is. Sceptics will never forgive and the Internet will never forget. It is far too late to change the “narrative” now ;)

  283. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad, this is where I have to tell you that you are wrong …

    You wrote: “In a non radiative atmosphere, heated gases can rise to altitude, but they cannot lose energy to space and reduce their buoyancy. Without strongly radiative gases, convective circulation would stagnate and the atmosphere would heat dramatically. The slow process of gas conduction and diffusion would then remove the lapse rate.”

    There can be no such thing as a “non radiative atmosphere” as we can deduce from the fact that oxygen and nitrogen molecules do absorb incident solar radiation in the thermosphere and re-emit same, all this in the UV, visible and the very start of the IR just below the visible. All this is measured factual data, such as in the chart in Section 6 of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.” I know you like empirical evidence, and so do I. Molecules of oxygen and nitrogen are still the same in the troposphere, and we know from UV index readings (and a bit of sunburn) that some UV certainly does get through to the surface, as does light. (More empirical evidence.) So some such molecules will absorb such radiation and re-emit it in the troposphere. Some won’t re-emit and instead will share their new-found huge amount of kinetic energy with their neighbours. Nice of them to keep them warm, but also not too hot.

    Buoyancy has nothing to do with the derivation of the theoretical adiabatic thermal gradient caused by gravity, namely -g/Cp. If you derive it the Wikipedia way, note that they say pressure cancels out. If you derive it from first principles, as in various articles and papers, then pressure, density and buoyancy don’t get a mention.

    It doesn’t matter if convection stops. (There’s not much convection at the 730K Venus poles, because no sunlight gets down there ever.) The “slow process of gas conduction and diffusion” would then establish the thermal gradient, not remove it as you claim.

    You cannot prove your last statement. To do so you would have to assume that molecules moving upwards in a gravitational field can violate the First Law of Thermodynamics” by increasing total energy, and also violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics (in its extended form) by reducing entropy. This is why the whole GHE hoax is in complete contradiction of the laws of physics, because it assumes isothermal atmosphere all at 255K in the absence of WV and GHG. In fact, such an atmosphere would be significantly warmer than 288K because the dry adiabatic lapse rate is a steeper gradient than the wet one. Yet the weighted mean radiating level has to be the same, as determined by insolation levels, so the intersect of the thermal profile with the surface would be lower due to water vapour, not higher as claimed.

    And that’s what my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” is all about.

  284. Doug Cotton says:

    I wasn’t going to read the Strangelove comment, but when I had a quick glance I just couldn’t resist demonstrating his complete lack of understanding of what I have written.

    I have never said that the thermal gradient determines temperature on its own. It is the m in what perhaps even Dr.S learnt in coordinate geometry about a line y = mx + b

    The level of Solar insolation determines the b and then the line is fixed, and thus pre-determines the surface temperature. Do you get it yet Dr S?

    If the surface temperature came first, how would the line just happen to be in the right place?

    I’m sure many silent readers get it, but not sure if Dr.S knows his coordinate geometry from high school.
     

  285. Andre Bijkerk says:

    Let’s have a real good look at point nr6. What would happen to Earth if there were no greenhouse effect/radiation. I call that the real null hypothesis – rather than the black body model that leads to the famous 255 Kelvin.

    The essential mistake in that blackbody model is that the thermal energy is divided over the surface instantaneously, the black body being a perfect conductor, that way you get a uniform temperature, no matter where the radiation in comes from.

    But Earth is a nearly perfect insulator and heat accumulates where the sun shines. Obviously without an atmosphere the moon heats up above boiling temperatures at the sunny side and goes into deep deep freeze at the night side, no traceable transport of energy on the surface to even that out, like that black body did.

    Now, give the moon hypothetically an inert non radiating atmosphere at least not in the IR spectrum that we’re dealing with. So the warm side of the moon will heat up the lower atmosphere by conduction and convection will occur, transporting heat energy to the upper atmosphere.

    At the dark side the moon is cooling due to IR out radiation, causing the lower boundary layer of the atmosphere cooling as well due to conduction. But this will create an inversion and the lower atmosphere stabilizes. No negative convection.

    So what happens to the thermal energy transported to the higher layers of the atmosphere in the day time convection? Nada, since we have assumed a hypothetically inert atmosphere, meaning that it cannot radiate energy out.

    Obviously there is an unbalance. Energy can enter the higher atmosphere via convection but it is trapped there, it won’t return. No matter how small the convection factor is, (it probably isn’t) but in a one way transport eventually -even after million years- this unbalance will stop when the atmosphere has accumulated enough energy to stop the convection.

    Now add greenhouse effect and the atmosphere can radiate the energy out, causing cooling of the atmosphere and obviously more warming of the surface.

    But if you start quantifying these, mind that ‘surface temperature’ is not surface temperature but temperature at 1.5 meters above the surface. On a sunny day in the desert you can feel a lot of difference between the two.

  286. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Sorry Andre, but you got it wrong for the reasons in <a href="http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-68388&quot;>my comment above.

    It seems you haven’t been following the points made by Geoff Woods and myself on this thread, or Hans Jelbring in his paper, or William Gilbert in his.

  287. Stephen Wilde says:

    “At the dark side the moon is cooling due to IR out radiation, causing the lower boundary layer of the atmosphere cooling as well due to conduction. But this will create an inversion and the lower atmosphere stabilizes. No negative convection.”

    On a rotating sphere with large temperature differentials from day side to night side I think the atmospheric circulation would be very vigorous with any inversions only local temporary phenomena.

    Far from a stabilisation of the atmosphere less GHGs actually destabilise it because with less energy radiating out to space from within the atmosphere the circulation has to work harder to maintain balance.

  288. Konrad says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    January 9, 2013 at 2:53 AM
    “Konrad, this is where I have to tell you that you are wrong …”
    ————————————–

    Doug, this is where I tell you that you need a day job. ;)

  289. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad Well just tell me how the molecules in your imaginary atmosphere are going to maintain the same KE when they gain PE when rising.

    Then discuss the physics I have outlined, because when people respond to me like that I know full well that they really don’t have an answer to the very valid points that I have made, backed up by several others and empirical evidence, plus of course the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, which your imaginary atmosphere would clearly violate,

    I strongly recommend you read fellow PSI member Hans Jelbring’s paper based on his research for his PhD in climatology.

    Then come back when you understand why a thermal gradient develops autonomously in still air, even in a sealed cylinder, as proven in over 800 experiments this century. For more information read my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    I’ve given you links to Jelbring’s and Gilbert’s paper above, but I only lead a horse to water once.

    Just don’t forget to tell me how the molecules in your imaginary atmosphere are going to maintain the same KE when they gain PE when rising.
     

  290. don penman says:

    Doug
    The answer to your question seems to be very simple the surface is giving energy to the atmosphere when the surface is heated and the atmosphere is not being heated in this example ,the atmosphere will have a different density profile so that ke and pe are higher. The troposphere which contains most of the atmosphere is higher at the equator than at the poles.

  291. Doug Cotton says:

    As I explained in a comment above, oxygen and nitrogen can and do absorb incident solar radiation in the troposphere, and become so “hot” that they can also re-emit it. If, for example, oxygen absorbs at around 750nm, then each photon has over 13 times the energy of 10 micron photons emitted by the surface.

    As we see at the poles of Venus, the base of the atmosphere can and does become hot due to the extent of the thermal plot, its gradient and the overall level which has to be such that there is radiative balance for the planet. No Solar insolation worth mentioning reaches the Venus poles.

    Now, Konrad thought he had proven all there was to prove about radiation with his home-made two box experiment which Roger (Tallbloke) did not see the fault with, and thus published. That fault is, of course, that his little boxes cannot emulate the thermal gradient developed autonomously in a gravitational field, being of the order of one tenth of a C degree in each 1.5 metres – hardly detectable in his crude experiment. Furthermore, he assumes that only water vapour and GHG can radiate, because he does not even seem to know about oxygen and nitrogen absorbing and radiating, even in the thermosphere. So of course there is no provision or emulation in his little boxes for absorption of incident insolation that warms the atmosphere, or any consideration as to how the effect of conduction (diffusion) creates the thermal gradient. Instead, he says the opposite – that diffusion would remove the gradient, and so no gradient would exist just because convection stopped. So that is why he needs to catch up with 21st century proven physics, and stop peddling his little boxes in which I suspect he has a vested interest in actually selling. In contrast, I am not paid a cent for the thousands of hours I have put into this.

  292. Doug Cotton says:

    Don, you’d be best just reading my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” For a start, PE has nothing to do with density – just altitude. And if the atmosphere gets temporarily hotter then the extra energy is just radiated away. Think about why you think the temperature at the Venus poles (which receive no sunlight) is well over 700K. Then look up the answer in my paper. This is not my original work. Hans Jelbring developed the theory as part of his work for his thesis for a PhD in Climatology in 1998. Loschmidt first suggested it in the 19th century.

  293. Andre Bijkerk says:

    It seems the reply buttons in the posts dont work for me so:

    Doug,

    Note that I did say

    Now, give the moon hypothetically an inert non radiating atmosphere at least not in the IR spectrum that we’re dealing with.

    Erratum ‘spectrum’ should have been ‘band’ but if there are no spectral lines in the frequency band consistant with that temperature, you don’t get emission /absorption.

    Furthermore we are looking at a hypothetical non radiative situation. You can just change that in a negliglible low emission, leading to negliglible cooling of the atmosphere at night time.

    It doesn’t change anything to the big diurnal cycle.

    Also Stephen,
    of course there will be strong circulations between night and day, but you’d still have to have all of the atmosphere to make contact with the surface again in the night to get rid of the convected energy during daytime. Since conduction is the only way to lose excess energy.

  294. Andre Bijkerk says:

    Doug

    You cannot compare Venus to Earth. Venus surface may have been been as hot as 1000K in the past, apparantly due to geologic ….erm Venologic processes. See for instance Phillips, Rj., Hansen, V.L, 1998. Geological evolution of Venus: Rises, plains, plumes, and plateaus. Science 279, 1492-1497.

  295. Doug what do you mean rubbish? Have you ever seen or looked up upper air pressure pattern height charts?

    They come out 4 times a day and show the heights of constant pressure surfaces in meters. These heights constantly changing including the tropopause,for a given spot on the globe over a given time.

    What is wrong with you Doug?

    If your idiotic take on things was correct,there would be no need for radiosonde observations to measure the structures of various lapse rates, and hence no need to produce upper level constant pressure charts showing how a partucular millibar level of pressure changes over the globe and over the same place over time, in heights.

    As I have said your theories have no practicality , and you in addition show a lack in an understanding of even the most basic meterology and climatalogy concepts.

    You really are so full of it.

    There is a greenhouse effect ,and the character and structures of all the lapse rates on the earth are in large part due to the starting surface temperature at the base of the atmosphere which is the base of the lapse rate.

    If that were not the case there would be no need to monitor the various laspe rates(upper air patterns ) all over the globe on a four times a day ,daily basis.

  296. I agree Andre, with what you just said about Venus. It is ridiculous to use Venus as an argument for how things apply to conditions here on earth.

    APPLES AND ORANGES

  297. NITROGEN WHICH MAKES UP SOME 78% OF THE ATMOSPHERE, HAS A VERY SMALL IF ANY ROLE IN DETERMINATION OF THE LAPSE RATE OR THE TEMPERATURES HERE ON EARTH.

  298. Doug’s post JAN. 09 AT 0215AM, is full of it. Please don’t fal for what this person is trying to say.

    Your understanding how how things relly work will forever be damaged if you do.

    A VERY DANGEROUS POST.

  299. LET ME TRY THAT AGAIN.

    Doug’s post Jan. 09 at 0215AM is a post that should never be taken seriously on any of it’s conclusions, and how they are obtained.

  300. Doug Cotton says:

    Andre

    It is pointless imaging impossible situations in physics which simply cannot happen. You can’t disprove the laws of physics (which your conjecture would violate) just with thought experiments involving physically impossible scenarios. As I said, it is impossible to have an atmosphere which does not radiate, and by that I mean, radiate all that is necessary to maintain radiative balance with incident Solar insolation. It is also impossible to have an isothermal atmosphere in a gravitational field, because gravity produces a thermal gradient at the molecular level without any convection.

    I was not talking about absorption of radiation in the IR spectrum (around 10 microns) from the surface. I was talking about photons with at least 13 times as much energy.

    The whole point of the work done by Hans Jelbring for his 1998 thesis for his PhD in Climatology is that the same physics “works” for not only Earth and Venus, but also Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – all the planets with significant atmospheres. This is no coincidence: it is physics, which is universal.

    It is not initial core heat that is still keeping Venus hot. Do you know anything about the physics of conduction? Do you know how little energy comes from terrestrial heat flow? What makes you think that planetary surfaces would remain hot for billions of years in the absence of an atmosphere?

    The study of heat transfer lies within the domain of fairly advanced physics. People who don’t have at least a degree in such are way out of their depth, like most climatologists.

    Go back and read what I said more carefully, and preferably my paper and those of Hans Jelbring and William Gilbert – that is, if you want to learn something that you clearly don’t yet know.

    What you don’t understand is that, in a gravitational field, neither diffusion or convection can cause the thermal gradient to be less than the calculated value, -g/Cp, as calculated in a comment above, as well as in Wikipedia and numerous papers. In other words, these processes can never make the top of the atmosphere as hot as the base. In cases where the gradient is reduced, that reduction is rarely more than one third, and is due to intra-atmospheric radiation and weather conditions. But weather is not climate. Stick with the real world and consider only small changes from reality.

  301. Dr. Strangelove, I agree with just about all of what you have been posting. Keep posting and showing the stupidity of Doug.

    He needs to be called out on all the ridiculousness he keeps posting and I might add over and over and over and over again.

  302. Doug Cotton says:

    To everyone: There has been far too much in the way of assertive statements made on this thread which are completely without any physical validation. The laws of physics must be applied. Anyone who posts conjectures that are not soundly based on physics can expect me to show them (and all the silent readers) where their errors lie, and why their conjecture violates physical laws.
     
    Salvatore (and others): There will always be a need for weather forecasts. Weather is not climate. Wind (and other things) cause changes in weather and thus in local observations of effective lapse rates. But the mean lapse rate above the tropics, for example, taken over a full year and the full area of the tropics, remains remarkably close to its current value (around 6.5 C/Km) year after year. It is controlled by the force of gravity, and reduced from 9.8 C/Km (g/Cp) because of all the intra-atmospheric radiation, which is transferring heat from lower warmer water vapour to higher cooler water vapour.

    What I do look at is NASA satellite temperature measurements at various altitudes, and I note the regular seasonal patterns, yet very small changes in temperatures from one year to the next. You can, after all, see from Roy’s figures that there has been net cooling from 1998 to 2102 inclusive. I knew that would happen, and it could have been predicted 50 years or more ago from natural cycles. So, between 1998 and 2012, there must have been a net loss of radiation to space. How is that explained by any GH conjecture?. It’s all a fraudulent hoax, and valid physics proves that it is.

    The very first assumption in the GH conjecture is the concept of an isothermal troposphere all at 255K without WV and GHG. Such is a total and utter physical impossibility in a gravitational field. In fact there would have been a thermal plot with a steeper gradient intersecting the surface at about 300K, and the truth of the matter is that, introducing water vapour, and the well known (lower) wet adiabatic lapse rate, has meant the world is a cooler place.

  303. Doug Cotton says:

    Andre made yet another error in his “physics” when he said: “if there are no spectral lines in the frequency band consistant [sic] with that temperature, you don’t get emission /absorption.”

    Have you never heard of a Planck distribution? Do you understand the implications of Wien’s Displacement Law? Do you understand why electro-magnetic energy in radiation is not converted to thermal energy when it strikes a target which is warmer than the source of spontaneous radiation? If carbon dioxide only absorbed at 15 microns, then what are you worrying about, because that would be around -80 deg.C somewhere up in the mesosphere.

    On reflection, perhaps you should also read my peer-reviewed “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March, 2012.

  304. Doug Cotton says:

    Everyone: My question to Don bears repeating for all to consider ..

    The poles of Venus receive virtually no Solar radiation at any time. The “lapse rate” above the poles is similar to that at the Venus equator, estimated at between 8 and 9 C/Km. Think about why the temperature at the Venus poles is well over 700K. Then look up the reason in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” – just Google this title. Or, if you prefer, watch this 10 minute video.

    Please note that this is not my original work. Dr Hans Jelbring developed the theory as part of his work for his thesis for a PhD in Climatology in 1998. Loschmidt first suggested the concept of an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field in the 19th century. Roderich Graeff proved it correct in 21st century experiments. Climatologists deny its existence when they assume an isothermal troposphere in the absence of WV and GHG. So physics proves the GHE invalid.

  305. NO DOUG, WEATHER IS A FUNCTION OF THE CLIMATE.

    WRONG AGAIN.

    Doug we all know the rate at which the air cools with increasing altitude, the only problem is in the real world other factors cause the character of lapse rates to vary from that rate, from atmospheric composition, to water vapor content, to the surface temp. at the base of the atmosphere ,due to cloud cover and type of surface which is present,to the stability or lack of stability of the air mass.
    All of which cause the need to evaluate all the lapse rates all over the world,and in the same place all over the world twice a day, through the taking of radiosonde observations.

    No Doug ,the truth of the matter is the more water vapor that is present in the atmosphere the warmer the world will be .

    Again natural cycles only work when you are in a particular climatic regime, they do very little to explain why the earth switches in an abrupt manner from time to time from one climate regime to another.

    Venus is irrelevant.

  306. Doug if you think you can predict the climate 50 years in advance you are in la la land. You can’t predict it a season in advance.

  307. Doug Cotton says:

    No Salvo, you make yet another assertive statement which I have disproved in my paper. No Doug ,the truth of the matter is the more water vapor that is present in the atmosphere the warmer the world will be . I can prove you wrong with physics. You wouldn’t know where to start in trying to prove yourself right on that point. Water vapour emits radiation, cooling the atmosphere at the base as it sends heat to higher levels, thus reducing the lapse rate to the wet adiabatic lapse rate in ideal calm conditions. Of course weather changes lapse rates in local areas. But weather events average out over the whole globe over a full year, and the result is climate. Look up the definition of climate.

    The climate will cool slightly on average between now and about 2028, then warm about one degree in the next 30 years, then cool for 30 years. In the longer term, it will cool after a maximum in about 50 to 200 years from now.

  308. Doug Cotton says:

    By the way, it is water vapour in the atmosphere in the tropics which keeps temperatures cooler than otherwise, as can be shown with calculations based on incident Solar radiation. For example, Singapore has maximum temperatures of 31 or 32 deg.C every day of the year. These temperatures are capped, whereas drier regions (even Sydney) can get higher temperatures into the 40′s.

  309. Doug Cotton says:

    Even if you think Venus is irrelevant, Salvatore, it would help your understanding of heat transfer by conduction, diffusion, convection and radiation if you explained why the poles of Venus are over 700K, even though they receive virtually no Solar radiation at any time. And why then is the lapse rate above the Venus poles also very similar to that above its Equator, namely about 8 to 9 C/Km?

    In other words, where does the necessary energy come from in order to maintain the temperatures at the Venus poles and in the atmosphere above?

    Stop avoiding this question just because you can’t answer it. If you at least show that you are thinking about it, then you’ll be in a better position to understand what Dr Hans Jelbring wrote about in his Climatology PhD thesis in 1998, and which I am merely drawing attention to in my review paper. Even if you think Venus is irrelevant to Earth, at least one climatologist with a PhD does have sound reasons for saying that it is relevant.

  310. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Once again crackpot Cottonball demonstrated his complete ignorance of climate science and elementary physics.

    y = mx + b

    where y is temperature, x is elevation, m is adiabatic lapse rate, b is surface temperature

    Cottonball said b is determined by solar insolation. This is absolutely basic climate science and he is absolutely wrong! It’s very easy to dismiss his stupidity. If his assertion were true, we can calculate earth’s ave. surface temp. using Stefan-Boltzmann law. At 240 W/m^2 solar insolation at 30% albedo, the temp. should be -11C. The sea should be frozen solid. The actual is 15C.

    So we conclude either:

    1) All thermometer measurements are wrong, all climate science textbooks are wrong, Stefan-Boltzmann law is wrong, or
    2) Crackpot Cottonball is just plain dumb

    Cottonball picks (1)
    Everybody with IQ above idiot level picks (2)

  311. Doug Cotton says:

    The comment is based on the work by Dr Hans Jelbring for his thesis for a PhD in Climatology in 1998. If you wish to argue the case, I suggest you read his subsequent papers thereon.

    I did not say b is surface temperature.

    I said (and I copy and paste) …

    The level of Solar insolation determines the b and then the line is fixed, and thus pre-determines the surface temperature.

    The value of b requires complex integration over all altitudes using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, plus other adjustments for the atmospheric window, albedo etc. It is approximately the temperature for the weighted mean radiative flux, possibly about the temperature found just 3 to 4 Km above the surface.

    There is absolutely nothing in what I have said which could possibly lead to a conclusion that the basic laws of physics such as the Stefan Boltzmann Law is invalid. How ironic, that you should mention the very law about which I wrote in detail in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites.

    However, any climate textbook or paper which claims that there would have been an isothermal troposphere (all at 255K) in the absence of water vapour and so-called greenhouse gases is incorrect, and typical calculations such as the proverbial 33 degrees of warming are equally incorrect, regardless of who, or how many “scientists” claim that this false assumption is true.. You cannot prove Dr Hans Jelbring or myself wrong on this point, Mr/Mrs or Miss Anonymous Strangelove, who is probably a teenager.
     

  312. Doug Cotton says:

    In case I have not made myself perfectly clear, the thermal plot for the troposphere (not strictly linear, but close enough on Earth) has gradient m determined by the well-known result -g/Cp where g is the acceleration dur to gravity and Cp is the weighted mean specific heat of the gases in the troposphere. The level of the line is set by Solar insolation levels (with some adjustments) and that level determines the swivel point, which is a point on the y-axis, namely (0, b).

    The gradient can be reduced in absolute magnitude by release of latent heat, but more importantly by radiation from warmer water molecules to cooler ones at higher altitudes. Hence the wet lapse rate is less steep than the dry one, as is well known. Empirical measurements on Earth and other planets, indicate that this reduction can result in an effective lapse rate with absolute magnitude usually between 65% and 90% of the -g/Cp value.

    So when the line swivels around the point (0, b) it intersects the line representing the surface at the left (represented by x = -C) and so the surface temperature is lower than it would otherwise have been if there were significant moisture in the air.

    Obviously the value of b varies at different latitudes due to the angle of Solar insolation, but the mean gradient (over a full planetary year) remains reasonably constant wherever calm conditions apply, regardless of location.

    I repeat, that the values of m and b are predetermined, and yet surface temperatures match the calculated extrapolation of the thermal plot lines on all relevant planets, this meaning that the input factors discussed determine surface temperatures, not radiative imbalance. So the latter is the result of natural climate change, not the cause.

  313. Doug Cotton says:

    Correction: Obviously the third last paragraph should read …

    So when the line swivels around the point (0, b) it intersects the line representing the surface at the left (represented by x = -C) and so the surface temperature is lower than it would otherwise have been when there is significant moisture in the air.

  314. Brett Keane says:

    Dr Spencer, I would be interested to see how the Gas Laws can be trumped in our atmosphere. In practice, the special nature of gases, where not too thin (e.g. Mars and our stratosphere), seems to mean that PVT rules.
    Brett Keane, New Zealand

  315. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Konrad, there is no non-radiative atmosphere assumption in the greenhouse effect. On the contrary, it is all about radiative heat transfer in the atmosphere. Read this 12-part series on atmospheric radiation and greenhouse effect. Before you debunk any theory, make sure you first understand it very well.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/atmospheric-radiation-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

  316. Konrad says:

    Sorry Dr. Strangelove, I have taken the time to check by empirical experiment. AGW is impossible in an atmosphere with a strong vertical pressure gradient. Look back up the thread. I am not the only one who understands. “Coldlynx” gets it. We all know a non-radiative atmosphere can heat by conduction and convection. But there is no physically plausible cooling for such an atmosphere. It is no good saying “non-radiative is not the question” warmists claimed that such an atmosphere would be 33C cooler. This claim can never be erased. Never.

  317. Dr. Strangelove says:

    If b does not represent surface temp. then your equation y = mx + b is meaningless since b does not represent actual temp. at any particular elevation, hence you cannot equate lapse rate m and elevation x to determine temp. y at a given elevation. Your equation is another example of pure nonsense.

    Show us the actual equation you use to determine temp. at the surface and at any given elevation. Show the actual calculation and the results that are in better agreement with actual temp. measurements than the standard radiative heat transfer equations used by the greenhouse theory.

    I have seen none of these in any of the papers presented. All I see are confused physics and absurd claims and authors who think they revolutionized climate science.

  318. Doug Cotton says:

    So let’s see what the “official” view is on the IPCC website here …
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-3.html

    “Without the natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature at Earth’s surface would be below the freezing point of water.”

    So says the IPCC. That is, they assumes there would be an isothermal atmosphere at -18 deg.C.

    As for SoD, well he thinks radiative imbalance determines climate. He, and most climatologists get it wrong, because long periods of natural warming or cooling produce radiative imbalance at TOA.

    And the IPCC and SoD and most others, completely overlook the well known and well proven fact that a thermal gradient develops at the molecular level, due solely to molecular motion between impacts having to obey the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.

    An isothermal atmosphere (with the surface below freezing point as the IPCC say) is a total physical impossibility in Earth’s gravitational field, because it would involve violation of both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics every time a molecule moved upwards. No-one can dispute this basic application of the laws of physics. The IPCC is wrong.

  319. Doug Cotton says:

    Strangelove thinks that ” b does not represent actual temp” which just shows his lack of comprehension of anything I have said. If he read the papers that I have reviewed in my “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” he would see plenty of calculations, where any known temperature high in the tropopause can be used to calculate “backwards” the surface temperature. Of course b represents a temperature: it’s on a temperature graph isn’t it? But it is a temperature that, by Stefan-Boltzmann Law calculations, corresponds with the weighted mean radiative level, so there are equal amounts of radiation from warmer and colder regions – ie regions with temperatures above and below b. The naive “radiating altitude” concept is kindergarten physics which is so irrelevant, and certainly does not indicate the pivoting point for the thermal profile.

    Strangelove and Salvatore are still at a complete loss to explain the temperature at the Venus poles (which receive no sunlight) and the lapse rate in the atmosphere above those poles.

  320. Doug Cotton says:

    Konrad says “But there is no physically plausible cooling for such an atmosphere.”

    Yes there is …

    (a) Molecules moving upward by either diffusion even in still air have to cool as they gain PE and necessarily lose equivalent KE.

    (b) Do you seriously think all the radiation (and assumed “reflection”) from the atmosphere shown on those Energy diagrams comes from less than 2% of the molecules? There is ample proof that oxygen and nitrogen can absorb and re-emit high frequency radiation with wavelengths shorter than about 750nm. Such high frequency photons carry more than 13 times the energy that is in each 10 micron IR photon from the surface. So they can easily dominate if needed.

    One way or another, absolutely all the incident radiation will be radiated away to space, some directly from the surface, but most from the atmosphere itself as visible and UV radiation immediately re-emitted by the atmosphere, often without its energy even having to be converted to thermal energy. That’s what happens when radiation from a hot source strikes a cooler target – some of the incident radiation always gets re-emitted unless the target is at 0K. This does not mean that a region of the atmosphere has to register a high temperature. No. What happens is what happens in the thermosphere where oxygen and nitrogen molecules get very “hot” – but it happens just to relatively few molecules in the troposphere, so there is no noticeable effect on temperature of the region. See Sections 1 to 5 of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.”

  321. Doug, as I have said many times will say anything to justify the conclusions he has come upp with, which make no sense , and have no practical applications, and do nothing to prove the GHG effect does not exist to some degree.

    Water Vapor will increase the temperatures of the earth overall, if it’s concentrations in the atmosphere increase.

  322. oxygen and nitrogen have nothing to do with anything we are talking about.

  323. Changing the concentrations of nitrogen and oxygen will have no effect on temperatures or lapse rates.

    In contrast greenhouse gases wiLl have impacts on both.

  324. Doug Cotton says:

     

     
    There really is no point in communicating with people like Salvatore who just echoes assertive statements which he cannot possibly prove with physics – like the claim that water vapour warms the world. In contrast, I can prove with the laws of physics that the opposite is the case.

    Dr Hans Jelbring (Ph D in Climatology) would rubbish what Salvatore writes.

    Fancy saying oxygen and nitrogen have no effect. They make up 98% of the atmosphere and they have molecules striking the surface and slowing its rate of cooling by non-radiative processes, just like a blanket. That’s physics! That’s what happens when the temperature gap is small. The rate of conduction (diffusion) and the rate of evaporative cooling are each slowed down by the close temperature of 100% of all the molecules in the atmosphere, 0.04% of which are carbon dioxide.

    Yes I know water vapour has a small warming effect in this process which we notice when relative humidity is high, but its overall effect on the lapse rate causes a significantly lower surface temperature, because the whole thermal plot swivels around its pivoting altitude. This is because water vapour is continually radiating heat from warmer, lower altitudes to higher, cooler ones. Heat only passes from warmer to cooler regions.

    But still Salvatore naively thinks 1 molecule of carbon dioxide in every 2,500 air molecules can have a better blanket effect than all the nitrogen and oxygen, just because it slows (by a minuscule amount) only the radiative component of surface cooling, which in itself is totally dominated by non-radiative cooling processes, as physics clearly demonstrates.

    Oxygen and nitrogen are slowing the rate of conduction and evaporation, just by being next to the surface at nearly the same temperature.

    It’s easy to see when people like Salvatore and the anonymous comic movie character “Dr Strangelove” have been sucked in by the condescending, arrogant, “know-it-all” and equally anonymous “Science of Doom” who self-reviews his or her own blog and chants the IPCC garbage for all who are gullible.

    Dr S has been reprimanded for the tone of his or her comments, but ignores such. This behaviour is typical of teenagers and smart climatology undergraduates. He or she has been mocked for his or her blurb about the heat from car brakes, and has displayed pitiful misunderstanding of basic coordinate geometry when claiming that a point on a plot of temperature against altitude supposedly had no significance relating to the actual temperature at a certain altitude !?!?!

     

     

  325. Dr No says:

    Doug, how do you explain the fact that the measured spectrum of outgoing long-wave radiation from the earth system has:
    “windows” where there is little effect on the radiation emitted at these wavelengths from near the surface
    and also
    “holes” where radiation at these wavelengths is severely attenuated. These wavelengths correspond to the absorption spectra of co2 and water vapour.

    Oxygen and nitrogen have minsiscule effects on this spectrum.
    and therefore have no effect on the radiative balance.

    Secondly, you have also not explained how your line y= mx + b can be applied to estimate the surface temperature. You need a starting point (not at the surface) defined by a specific temperature Y and altitude X. Tell us how you determine these numbers?

  326. Doug, you are lucky Dr. Spencer is letting you post your nonsence to the degree you are doing it.

    Especially when you consider, he strongly disagrees with you.

  327. Dr. No, you bring up another area which just validates Doug, does not know what he is talking about.

    Again anyone that tries to go along with Doug,or for that matter even tries to understand this guy, will forever be led astray when it comes to earth’s climatic system.

    I strongly suggest not to read much of what this guy says.

    Especially if one does not have much of a background in this field.

  328. Doug, if you have proved everything why is it that practically no one accepts your proof?

    I mean it is one thing to say something and have people not accept what you are saying, but if as you claim, you have proved everything you are saying ,why is it no one accepts this prove that you say you have?

    Also everyone nitrogen and oxygen are as inert as can be, you coud not ask for any two gases that in their pure form don’t particpate in hardly any of the energy exchanges that take place here on earth.

  329. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Dr No

    Your first question is answered in the FAQ’s in the Appendix of my peer-reviewed paper Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics published on several websites in March, 2012 – “Q.6 What happens to the radiation which is absorbed by carbon dioxide?”

    You should be able to have understood from the above comment that the height of the line is determined by the pivoting altitude where there are equal amounts of radiation from below and above. How else could radiative balance be maintained, as it always is within about 0.5% – automatically? For more on this read Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms and/or watch my video http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

     

  330. Again nitrogen and oxygen are essentially inert.If they changed in concentrations they effects would be next to nothing.

    Unlike and in sharp contrast to co2,water vapor,methane and ozone, and all other greenhouse gases.

  331. Again everyone this guy needs not to be taken seriously.

  332. Doug Cotton says:

     

    In regard to the torrent of unsubstantiated cogitations of Salvatore, who never seems to be able to collect his ideas into a single comment, I will keep referring silent readers back to this comment above.

    He still has no explanation as to how the energy is supplied to the Venus poles in order to keep them so hot, despite the lack of any sunshine. This is proof in itself that he has little understanding of physics, because all he can do is try to claim that it is an irrelevant question, which it is not.

     

  333. Doug Cotton says:

    Probably the most revealing information yet as to Salvatore’s lack of understanding of physics is his reference to oxygen and nitrogen being inert. As silent readers will have understood from my comment on the role of oxygen and nitrogen, their being inert has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with rates of conduction and evaporative cooling – these being non-radiative processes.

    Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist displaying his lack of understanding of basic heat transfer physics. You can thus imagine how little else he understands. He is just an IPCC parrot, like many school children and arrogant climatology undergraduates I have come across in the process of writing thousands of comments on climate.

    Bye, Salvatore – go join the Salvo’s where you’ll do more good for humanity, rather than helping to kill off the populations in developing countries by propagated the carbon dioxide fraud, this misdirecting $100,000,000,000 a year from humanitarian aid to carbon dioxide aid.

    But, if you want more of this sort of comment, just keep up your garbage which never refutes my arguments based on the physics you totally misunderstand.

    .

     

  334. Dr No says:

    But Doug, where is that altitude? and what determines it?
    You have not explained.

    The answer is that it is determined by the radiative absorptive propoerties of the atmosphere (i.e. co2 and water vapour – not oxygen nor nitrogen).

  335. Doug Cotton says:

    No Dr No. It is determined by incident Solar radiation (adjusted for albedo etc) and the level of the line is such that total outward radiation (from the surface plus atmosphere system) equals total inward radiation.

    The pivoting altitude will obviously be between the surface and tropopause. The exact location would require complex integration of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and modelling to incorporate other heat transfers. However, it doesn’t matter exactly where (though I would guess about 3Km to 5Km) because the main point is that the surface end is cooled from (very roughly 300K) to about 288K due to water vapour reducing the gradient.

    For more information read my review paper and the linked papers which are being reviewed, particularly those relating to the effect of gravity upon thermal gradient, first associated with climate by Dr Hans Jelbring in his thesis for his Ph.D in Climatology in 1998. So read Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms and perhaps also watch my 10 minute video (as nearly 500 have since Christmas) here: http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

  336. Exactly Dr. NO. Oxygen and Nitrogen have no effects at all. Zero.

    You have it correct.

  337. I will keep posting against all the wrongs Doug keeps posting, for as long as is necessary.

  338. Dr No says:

    Doug, place yourself at that level.
    What is the temperature?
    How much long wave radiation is coming up from below, and how much is coming down from above?
    Why is so much coming from above? Your theory suggests zero.

  339. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No. Zero from above? Are you forgetting the Sun, Dr No? When you direct an electric radiator onto, say, a metal ball, it warms to just the right temperature so that energy in = energy out. So too does the total Earth+atmosphere system. I didn’t think I’d have to explain such basic physics.

    The only difference is, that gravity creates a thermal gradient in the troposphere, so the atmosphere acts like a dam with a sloping wall up against the surface. Whatever surplus rain (insolation) ends up in the surface, just diffuses, evaporates or gets radiated away until the water level in the dam stays at the top, with just the normal amount of water flowing over it. Nothing changes the height of the dam (and the water – ie the surface temperature) on a long term basis except for natural cyclic variations in insolation, albedo etc.

    I am not going to work out the exact temperature because I don’t have millions to spend on the process. Even that 288K figure is approximate, as is the 300K estimate of what the surface temperature would have been in the absence of water vapour. The only thing that matters is the relative gradients and surface temperatures.

    You probably will never understand until you read the paper and watch the video.

  340. Doug Cotton says:

     

    To everyone:

    In this experiment the finger of my left hand is slightly closer to the surface of the lamp than the finger on my right hand at the top. Assume the silver-coloured lamp shade is the same temperature and emissivity near each finger. It is also much hotter than the room temperature.

    Which finger feels warmer, and why?
     

  341. Doug Cotton says:

    What Dr No does not seem to understand is, that because the “ideal” thermal gradient is established autonomously by molecules abiding by the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics (as these apply in a gravitational field) then the base of the atmosphere (and the surface) automatically have a higher radiating temperature than that at the pivoting altitude (as do all regions below that altitude) whilst higher levels in the troposphere have lower radiating temperatures. The amount of energy being transferred out of the system can thus be divided into two equal amounts, and that will determine the pivoting altitude. The calculations are complex, but that does not negate the necessary existence of such a median point.

    Everyone You will demonstrate that you understand the physics of heat transfer if you can answer the question about the lamp holder, and also explain how sufficient energy gets to the Venus poles (which receive no significant Solar insolation) and the thermosphere above. Here is a plot of the Venus atmosphere. Note the uniform thermal gradient in the troposphere. It is steeper than Earth’s mainly because the mean specific heat of carbon dioxide is lower than that of air.

    :

  342. coturnix19 says:

    Dr.Spencer, let me ask an off-topic question.

    If we take a gas column in the potential field, the dry lapse temperature would set-in. Right? However, the rate is constant per unit height while temperature is finite, so if the column is high enough (>30km in the earth’s case) and temperature at the bottom is room (300k) will we get 0K (zero kelvin) at the top? In this case, the atmosphere would actually be of a finite height because gas would freeze out at the top. Sounds unphysical, where am I wrong?

  343. Doug Cotton says:

    coturnix19: The Venus atmosphere is 92 times higher than Earth’s. You can see the temperatures in the Venus atmosphere using the link in my comment just above. The thermal plot is not actually linear because specific heat varies with temperature and gravitational attraction also reduces with height. But you need to remember that gases would become liquids and then solidify at very cold temperatures, and so they would either drop to the surface or fly off into space.

  344. DAoug, I don’t see anything you see, or agree with anything you have to say.

  345. Doug Cotton says:

     
     

    Roy’s (6) which assumes an isothermal atmosphere also assumes the First Law of Thermodynamics can be violated and that energy can be created every time a molecule moves upwards, supposedly maintaining kinetic energy and yet gaining potential energy. That is the key reason why all calculations of sensitivity to carbon dioxide and water vapour are totally and utterly against the laws of physics.

     
     

  346. Doug Cotton says:

     

    My new article has been published on PSI now …

    The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science

     

  347. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Roy, maybe this comment will help you understand why your point (6) is wrong …

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/waste-heat-as-a-contributor-to-observed-warming/#comment-68875
     

  348. JWR says:

    (1) Roy, you continue not to give the definition of what you call the “greenhouse effect”.
    (2) Common misconception ? Roy, you frequent the wrong people.
    (3) Greenhouse effect has not been defined by you, Roy. If you mean that back-radiation of heat is not a violation of the Second Law, then you are wrong.
    see page 4 to 7 of the link below.
    Roy, you teach the wrong stuff to the students of Alabama University! It is not an excuse that there others who do the same, in Alabama and elsewhere.
    (4) Emission is 10 times higher than absorption for nearly all layers: the difference is coming from “mechanisms other than LW radiation”.
    see pages 13, 22 in the link below.
    (5) False, there is no back radiation, it would be a violation of the 2nd Law, see (3),
    see page 4 to7 at the link below
    (6) Dry adiabatic lapse rate depends on the thermodynamics of the ideal gas law and on the gravitation law of Newton. Whether or not you need a heat sink, such as caused by IR-sensitive molecules with three or more atoms, is not of importance, we have an atmosphere with such molecules, fortunately, in order to get rid of the heat the sun is sending to the planet.
    Such discussion is taking away the accent of the real issue: CO2 is not the reason of climate variations. CO2 is food for plants. We need it in higher concentrations, to produce food for the growing world population

    http://www.tech-know-group.com/papers/IR-absorption_updated.pdf.

  349. Doug Cotton says:

    All should read this comment by, Geoff Wood, qualified in astrophysics.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/waste-heat-as-a-contributor-to-observed-warming/#comment-68988

    As Doug has said about a dozen times, gravity modifies the mean free path between collisions. That is ‘every’ upward, ‘every’ downward ‘every’ sideways, ‘every’, ‘every’ free molecular path between collisions is modified. Therefore it is impossible for the modified ‘collisions’ that result, not to impart the gravitational ‘information’ into the macroscopic development of the gravitational thermal profile. This is the ‘diffusion’ process.

    At this point, we have a reasonable depiction of the thermal profile of ANY atmosphere. FROM BASIC PHYSICS.

    Given a simple reason why any atmosphere tends towards this isentropic profile as depicted and described by entry level physics, why would anyone look for a more complicated reason to explain what we already know!

  350. DJ. Cotton says:

    It is human nature, Roy, to take the middle ground – to sit on the fence. But there is no middle ground.

    You said: “I’ll be happy to post corrections/additions to the above list as warranted.”

    Well I have corrected you Roy. Your item (6) in the greenhouse thread is incorrect, and it’s time for your admission.

    Consider the poles of Venus which are above 730K but receive less than 1W/m^2 of direct solar insolation. You cannot magnify energy, as you can see with the mirror experiment linked above.

    There is no middle ground, Roy.

    Either

    (a)Some “greenhouse effect” warmed the surface by those 33 degrees – which could never have been the case at the poles of Venus – raised by nearly 500 degrees

    or

    (b) An autonomous thermal gradient has to exist in a gravitational field, and it fully explains that 33 degrees – in fact more like 50 degrees, but water vapour cuts it back to 33 degrees.

    I’ve just added another three pages of more detailed explanation of the physics involved in the Appendix of my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” including reasons why the laws of thermodynamics would be violated if (b) were incorrect.

    I have many well experienced and suitably qualified scientists at PSI confirming what is in that paper as being valid physics. Furthermore, over 800 experiments confirm in, and the basic laws of physics confirm it.

    I’m not alone on this here, either. Another of your readers Geoff Wood, whom I don’t know, has confirmed what I have said as you can see in his latest comment, as well as earlier ones. Your readers are disagreeing with you, Roy, because they understand the truth of what I have said in the paper and my video.

    Now, Roy, my paper is still on the PROM (Peer-Review in Open Media) menu at PSI (which you won’t let me link to, so readers should Google the paper name) so you, Roy, or any reader is very welcome to attempt to rebut it. But “consensus opinion” type arguments won’t do. We want validated physics at PSI, and I defy you to produce such, for there is only one true mechanism in physics which causes planetary surface temperatures to be what they are, and that is the adiabatic diffusion of kinetic energy forming an autonomous thermal gradient in an atmosphere, because of the effect of gravity at the molecular level, on each and every molecular free path movement between collisions.

    So, yes, Roy, with all due respect I’m throwing down the gauntlet and I suggest it’s time to respond and “be happy to post corrections” or I shall keep reminding you and your readers, as well as those on at least 15 other climate blogs, that you have failed to correct your error. There is no greenhouse effect doing any of that 33 degrees of warming.

  351. DJ. Cotton says:

    The conjecture that a greenhouse effect altered an isothermal atmosphere all at 255K to one with a gradient causing a 33 degree rise in surface temperature is easily dismissed by the fact that the thermal gradient was always there in the first place due to the need for an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics can be stated: “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.“ (Wikipedia)

    For gas molecules moving in still air between collisions the process must be adiabatic. So PE+KE=constant. Hence there is only one possible “accessible” state, which is the state wherein entropy does not change.

    Hence, in an adiabatic process in still air there must be a propensity towards isentropic conditions, and thus a thermal gradient, simply because PE+KE=constant as a corollary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Hence Roy’s assumption (6) relating to isothermal conditions at 255K would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It also would need to create energy every time a molecule moved upwards.

  352. DJ. Cotton says:

    So this statement of Roy’s totally violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, for the reasons in the above comment:

    “The atmosphere would eventually become isothermal, as the full depth of the atmosphere would achieve the same temperature as the surface through thermal conduction;”

    No, no, no, Roy !!!

    Thermal conduction (usually called “diffusion” in a gas) creates and maintains the thermal gradient in a gravitational field and certainly does not create isothermal conditions.

    This is all proven in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

  353. barghumer says:

    Perhaps no one will accept it, but it is nevertheless clear that the driving force behind all these comments is not science but rather a personal conviction. It is hard for a person to change their conviction, and hard for them not to engage in battles to support their conviction otherwise they would expose themselves as potentially dull, uncaring or lethargic personalities, boring! which is the worst thing to be in the eyes of anyone.

    It may be especially true of the young graduates full of energy, yet it can be just as true of the older and “wiser” mature person who is not easily moved anymore. Seen it all before.

    So the whole blog (an similar ones) looks like a soap opera. The series can go one until no one wants to watch it anymore, then moves onto some other place where the same soap opera continues. Of course there are also the wise masters of the blogs who see truth through their own eyes and then block anything deemed “nutty” in their own opinion – a rising new breed of filters of selected truth.

    Science is supposed to be based on facts, yet it is the facts that are being argued about rather than the implications of them.

    Everyone seems to want to put Doug in the lunatic box, and Doug seems to have an agenda to make everyone read his papers. As in all these blogs, and others on different subjects, the frustration is the common thread.

    “Why can’t they see what I say is true? – they must be crazy?” then slowly it descends into meaningless drivel.

    Can’t someone be a bit creative and break this cycle?
    Many of us who are interested in this subject and follow on the blogs have backgrounds in engineering, medical, music, art, law, finance etc, not climate or deep physics.

    You guys who know, don’t you think you have a responsibility to work things out a bit better, especially knowing the stakes. On the one side there is a planet about to boil, and on the other there are millions of people at risk because of misdirected/wasted billions on attempts to control the weather.

    You guys are not just blogging, you have a moral responsibility.

  354. DJ. Cotton says:

    barghumer

    The whole point made by nearly 200 suitably qualified members of Principia Scientific International is that the planet is not going to boil.

    If this fraudulent hoax is not stopped, then, yes, people are going to die in their thousands, because $100,000,000,000 has been promised for developing countries, not for humanitarian aid, but for carbon dioxide aid.

    Carbon dioxide actually has a minuscule cooling effect, nowhere near as much as water vapour though That’s genuine science because it is based on the laws of physics that are well proven over the centuries.

    Those climatologists who are misleading the public and governments completely misunderstand, or overlook the implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which reads (quoting Wikipedia) …

    An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.

    Do you have any idea of the implications of this law?

    (1) The atmosphere has a propensity towards an equilibrium which is isentropic.

    Do you know what equal entropy implies?

    (2) It implies there is an autonomous thermal gradient raising the surface temperature even more than that “33 degrees of warming” supposedly due to an imaginary GH effect.

    Do you know what that means?

    They are wrong. Carbon dioxide does not warm the surface one iota.

    If you don’t understand the physics, then I suggest you stop propagating the hoax. The world can look forward to 500 years of natural cooling after about 2140, and it won’t get more than a degree warmer before then.

    Roy Spencer is wrong in saying conduction would produce isothermal conditions in his point (6). It is Roy who either needs to make even just one comment here on his own thread to either admit he’s wrong, or prove all of us at PSI are wrong in some way, perhaps because the Second Law of Thermodynamics would not somehow lead to isentropic conditions, rather than isothermal in a vertical plane. It would be very strange if it did so. Do you not notice the word “entropy” in that quote from Wikipedia?

  355. DJ. Cotton says:

    Why the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not violated when energy flows up the equilibrium thermal gradient.

    I thought I should explain in a bit more detail how the energy gets into the Venus surface. There is no significant amount direct from the Sun – perhaps 10 to 20W/m^2 out of 16,000W/m^2 that would be needed for a temperature over 730K.

    Incident solar radiation (mostly in the 2.7 micron band) is absorbed by carbon dioxide at various levels in the atmosphere.

    Remember how I explained that the “level playing field” becomes a sloping one in a gravitational field? In calm conditions, with equilibrium established, new deposits of energy will spread out in all directions.

    Yes, some will travel up the (very shallow) thermal gradient, gaining about 0.1 degrees every 10 to 12 metres.

    This does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The concept of hot to cold only applies in a horizontal plain. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is now stated “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.”

    Hence, isentropic conditions form at equilibrium in all directions, and there are isothermal conditions only in horizontal planes. So these horizontal planes spread equal temperatures right around the very slowly rotating Venus planet.

    New thermal energy being absorbed can be thought of like various showers of rain falling on an ocean. The extra water (energy) spreads out over the whole ocean.

    So too does the extra energy absorbed by the atmosphere, no matter at what altitude.

    When there is the “right” thermal gradient at equilibrium we have maximum entropy. Adding extra thermal energy at the cooler, higher “end” means that there is a reduction in entropy because we have a more ordered state with more than the expected amount of energy at the cool end. So the Second Law says entropy will increase until it can increase no more when all that extra energy is spread out over the whole troposphere at least.

    Hence some energy will flow up the thermal gradient because the Second Law never said it couldn’t if the gradient is the equilibrium gradient. Such a gradient is like a level playing field (or ocean) and extra energy moves in all directions in what is actually convection, as distinct from diffusion wherein no extra energy is being added.

    So when some of the energy gets to the surface interface it can continue into the surface if it is cooler, or “support” a slightly warmer surface if that’s the case. I suspect that the temperatures of the base of the atmosphere and the surface of Venus would be almost identical.

    Basically the same process occurs on Earth and other planets.

  356. Doug Cotton says:

     

    Roy Spencer (and IPCC et al) are all wrong in assuming the atmosphere would be isothermal without GHG.

    They are also wrong in assuming that the Sun was capable of warming the surface of Venus, Earth or other planets to the observed temperature which is then maintained by back radiation being supposedly the only process that slows such surface cooling. They forgot that conduction and evaporation also decrease with a narrowing temperature gap.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics is stated (in Wikipedia “Laws of Thermodynamics”) thus …

    “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.”

    If there were to be a sealed cylinder of air which was isothermal, then there would be an “ordered” state with more total energy (PE + KE) at the top. Hence this would not be an equilibrium state, because entropy could increase, and it must. There will only be equilibrium when the sum (PE+KE) is the same at all heights.

    A vertical isothermal state in a gravitational field has less entropy than an isentropic state, the latter having maximum possible entropy, and thus being the equilibrium state as referred to in the Second Law of Thermodynamics as I quoted it above from the Wikipedia “Laws of Thermodynamics’ item. Hence a thermal gradient forms autonomously by diffusion at the molecular level.

    Furthermore, any additional thermal energy deposited at the top can, and will, diffuse towards the bottom, creating a new equilibrium. This means there can be a heat transfer up the thermal gradient if that gradient is equal to or less in absolute magnitude than the normal equilibrium thermal gradient.

    This is how energy absorbed in the Venus (or Earth) atmosphere at any altitude from any source, be it upwelling or downwelling radiation or latent heat release (on Earth) can flow towards the surface, heating the base of the atmosphere and subsequently heating the surface, or “supporting” its existing slightly warmer temperature by slowing the rate of cooling.

    If you think I’m wrong, Roy, ask a physicist to show me where.
     

  357. Doug Cotton says:

    Although I firmly believe the “Second School of Thought” to be the correct one – as outlined in my November 2012 paper, here is a simple way you can refute the old greenhouse “school of thought” which was a flash in the pan of history just these last few decades …

    Step 1: Agree with them that the atmosphere acts like a blanket, slowing the rate of cooling of the Earth’s surface.

    Stpe 2: Agree with them that some of this slowing process is due to radiation from the atmosphere – that is, from about 2% of the atmosphere, mostly water vapour, but, yes, 0.04% of it carbon dioxide.

    Step 3: Ask then what they think the other 98% of the atmosphere might do in the way of slowing the rate of surface cooling.

    Step 4: Ask if they know anything about the standard physics which says that the rate of evaporative cooling is slower when the temperature gap is less, as is the rate of conduction. (They may have noticed how a real blanket keeps them warm this way, slowing mostly non-radiative cooling.) Do they know that 100% of the earth’s surface will have a component of its cooling being as a result of molecular collisions with ordinary air molecules. Do they know that at least two-thirds of all surface cooling is not by radiation at all?

    Step 5: Explain that two-thirds of all surface cooling is slowed by 100% of the ordinary air molecules, at least 98% of which are neither water vapour or carbon dioxide or any of its colleagues. Of the other one third of surface cooling, it is slowed somewhat less by radiation, because the average temperature gap is much bigger than the gap at the boundary. It is also slowed less because gases are not perfect blackbodies radiating in all frequencies under their Planck curve. However, water does at least radiate in many more wavelengths under its curve than does carbon dioxide. So each water vapour molecule is much more effective at slowing the rate of radiative cooling than each carbon dioxide molecule. Oh, and how many times as many water vapour molecules are there? Let’s just say that all the water vapour is at least 100 times as effective as all the carbon dioxide.

    Step 6: Summarise: So 100% of the atmospheric molecules striking the surface slow the two-thirds of surface cooling that is by non-radiative processes. But only 2% of the atmospheric molecules at all altitudes play a much smaller role in slowing the one-third of cooling that is by radiation. And, contributing to that much smaller effect, carbon dioxide plays less than 1% of the role of water vapour.

  358. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Copy of my comment on a dozen or more other climate blogs …

    The fundamental assumption of the greenhouse effect is that back radiation has warmed the surface from 255K to 288K. But this assumption is itself based on a false assumption.

    Roy Spencer (in his post about Greenhouse misunderstandings) claims in his point (6) that the atmosphere would have been isothermal at 255K in the absence of any GHG.

    An isothermal atmosphere in a gravitational field would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which reads: “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system”

    In isothermal conditions there would be more potential energy (PE) in eash molecule at the top, and, because kinetic energy (KE) is homogeneous, molecules could “fall” downwards and do work in the process. hence it was not an equilibrium state, let alone one of maximum entropy, as is required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics has to be obeyed. So (PE+KE) has to be homogeneous, because otherwise work could be done, and so the system would not be at an equilibrium with greatest entropy, as the Second Law requires. In the process of reaching such equilibrium it is inevitable that molecules at the bottom have more kinetic energy, and there are more of them in any given volume, and so that does give a measure of higher pressure, yes. But the whole column could still cool down, maintaining the same gradient and pressure.

    So pressure does not maintain temperature. The relationship in the ideal gas law only applies in adiabatic conditions, but the atmosphere can radiate heat away. If you “turned off” the Sun, Venus atmosphere and surface would eventually cool down.

    We need to consider how the thermal energy actually gets into the Venus surface, especially at the poles. The facts are ..

    (1) the poles receive less than 1W/m^2 of direct insolation.

    (2) the atmosphere 1Km above the poles is at least 9 degrees cooler, and not absorbing much insolation either. It could have at most 1W/m^2 coming back out of the surface, which (at 0.5 absorptivity) would raise it to a mere 7K.

    (3) Rather than being 7K, the lowest Km of the Venus atmosphere is around 720K, just a few degrees less hot than the surface.

    If all convection (resulting from absorbed incident insolation at various altitudes) only went down the thermal gradient (ie towards space) how would enough energy get into the surface, especially if it were even just 1 degree hotter than the base of the atmosphere?

    My answer is that the sloping playing field (the thermal profile) becomes a level playing field due to gravity, so all energy absorbed in the atmosphere (mostly incident insolation) spreads out in all directions, creating convection both up and down, and also diffusion and convection right around the globe producing equal temperatures at equal altitudes, but higher temperatures at lower altitudes. Then intra-atmospheric radiation reduces the magnitude of the net gradient by about 10% to 15% on Venus, (as best I can work out) but by about a third on Earth. Some of the extra reduction on Earth. though, is probably due to release of latent heat.

    Here’s a thought experiment. Construct a perfectly insulated sealed cylinder filled with pure nitrogen gas. Suppose there are two insulating dividers which you can now slide into place one third and two thirds up the cylinder, thus making three equal zones. Warm the middle zone with a heating element, which you then turn off. Allow equilibrium to establish with the warmer nitrogen in the central zone. Then remove the dividers. Those molecules which move to the top zone will lose some KE as they gain extra PE, whereas those which fall to the lowest zone will gain KE as they lose PE. Hence, when the new equilibrium is established, the highest zone measures a lower temperature than the middle zone, and the lowest zones measures a higher temperature than the middle zone. Hence the highest zone measures a lower temperature than the lowest zone. QED.

    So there is no need for any greenhouse effect to raise the surface temperature, simply because gravity cannot help but do so, because the atmosphere must obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  359. Peter Lloyd says:

    Roy -

    I am completely on your side, but my eyebrows raised themselves at:

    “…..any more than insulating your house more can raise its interior temperature in the winter, given the same energy input for heating.”

    You cannot have meant to say that! Otherwise, why insulate your house at all? Or wear a thicker coat on a cold day?

    The extra insulation slows down the rate of heat loss from the interior, thus raising the interior temperature even for the same energy input of the heating system.

    Strip out your home’s thermal insulation and see if your interior temperature goes down! I promise you it will.

  360. RW says:

    In reading a lot of these responses and Roy’s summary list, I think there needs to be a clarification of terms. Specifically, the frequent use of the term ‘back radiation’, which is misleading and not really a correct charaterization of the downward LW flux incident on the surface from the atmosphere. There are essentially three inputs of energy to the atmosphere that contribute to downward LW flux received by the surface (estimated as being about 300-350 W/m^2 on global average):

    1. That which is radiated from the surface which is absorbed and subsequently re-radiated directly back downward to the surface.

    2. That which is absorbed in the atmosphere by the Sun and subsquently radiated downward. This would not be LW in the form of ‘back radiation’ but instead LW as ‘forward radiation’ from the Sun yet to reach to the surface (key distinction).

    3. That which is moved from the surface into the atmosphere non-radiatively (primarily via latent heat as the potential energy of phase change) which then subsequently radiates downward (mostly from clouds where the energy is given up as the droplets condense). This is also not ‘back radiation’, but just downward LW emitted from the atmosphere to the surface.

    Now, the system is far too complex and chaotic to do an accurate accounting as to what amount from each contributes to the total, but understanding the distinction between them is the key to understanding fundamentally how the GHE works.

    Another key point that seems to elude most people is the energy balance at the surface is the sum of all the fluxes, where on global average the surface receives more direct radiative power from the atmosphere and Sun that it emits, but much of this direct radiative flux is continuously replacing non-radiative flux leaving the surface but not returned. That is, much of the energy entering and leaving the surface – both radiative and non-radiative, is circulating within the system (i.e. circulating within the surface and TOA boundaries). Specifically, it’s not part of the flow of energy entering and leaving the surface that sustains or modulates the surface temperature. Of course there is huge 2nd order effect in that much of the absorption of upwelling radiation acting to cool that is subequently re-radiated back downward comes from water vapor and clouds, which were initially moved from the surface into the atmosphere non-radiatively, but this is just part of the many physical process in the system that drive and maintain the planet’s energy balance.

  361. Doug Cotton says:

     

    RW, Roy and others

    I am totally aware of and in agreement with all but your last paragraph.

    But the circulation of radiated electro-magnetic energy does not represent transfers of thermal energy.

    NASA net (thermal) energy flow diagrams are more realistic, though I can’t vouch for the degree of accuracy implied in the actual figures. They show two-thirds of the energy transferring from the surface to the atmosphere as being by non-radiative processes, and only one-third by radiation.

    However, think on this: in order to retain approximate radiative balance at TOA (as is observed within about 0.5%) anything which affects the gradient of the thermal plot in the troposphere must cause the whole plot to swivel around some median point.

    Now, Roy’s Item (6) assumes a zero gradient which is then “propped up” at the surface end by radiation from the atmosphere, with the majority of this supposedly due to water vapour, and a minority due to carbon dioxide etc.

    But, it is well known that water vapour reduces the gradient from the “dry adiabatic lapse rate” of about 9.8C/Km to the “wet” rate of about 6.5C/Km, such as is observed in the tropics.

    So, if water vapour reduces the gradient, CO2 and its colleagues would have to have caused the surface end to rise by about 50 degrees, so that the cooling effect of water vapour reduces it to that “33 degrees of extra cooling.”

    This is why what I say in “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” makes it clear that the “Second School of Thought’ is the correct one and not the old greenhouse school of thought.

    The planet’s energy balance is not forcing climate: climate is forced by processes involving Solar radiation and other parameters external to the Earth’s system, and then climate itself forces the energy balance.

  362. Doug Cotton says:

    Here’s the NASA net energy budget diagram referred to in my comment above. http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/3033/nasaenergybudget.jpg

    But to say the Earth’s climate is controlled by energy imbalance is like saying your house temperature is caused by energy imbalance, insulation etc. It’s primary cause is the temperature at which you set your air conditioning.

  363. RW says:

    Doug,

    The point is the net flux of about 390 W/m^2 at the surface on global average is just a chaotic and continuously varying combination of radiative and non-radiative power incident on and leaving the surface. It’s all of the effects (both radiative and non-radiative) and their complex interdependencies that maintain planet’s energy balance from the forcing of the Sun (on average a net flux of about 390 W/m^2 incident on the surface to sustain 288K).

    Relative to this, it doesn’t matter how much energy leaves the surface non-radiatively, as all power in excess of 390 W/m^2 leaving the surface must be exactly offset by power in excess of 390 W/m^2 incident on the surface – otherwise the surface temperature would not be about 288K. The only additional requirement is all the non-radiative power leaving the surface must be in excess of the 390 W/m^2 directly radiated from the surface, but there is no such requirement for the proportions of radiative and non-radiative power incident on the surface from the atmosphere.

  364. Doug Cotton says:

    RW:

    Not much non-radiative power can transfer thermal energy to the surface – this only happens in rare instances when the atmosphere is warmer at the surface-atmosphere boundary.

    Go and apply your concepts (as in the “First School of Thought” in my recent paper) to Venus, where any small region on the dark side receives no solar radiation for 4 months, yet the surface and atmosphere only cools about 5 degrees, with the surface still over 720K, even at the poles which receive less than 1W/m^2. The estimated mean incident radiation is about 10 to 20W/m^2 averaged over day and night sides of the whole planet.

    I’ll stick with “The Second School of Thought” which has been confirmed empirically in this 21st century and does not depend upon any greenhouse effect.

    Then, after reading “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” (including the four page Appendix) you will understand where I’m coming from. Just search the full title on Google.

  365. Doug Cotton says:

    An Open Note to Roger at Tallbloke’s Talkshop

    This comment points out errors in physics made by Roger in relation to the gravity induced thermal gradient being discussed in this thread in relation to Roy’s item (6). The note contains information which may help others see why Roger is not correct on this topic.

    Roger – you failed to detect Graeff’s error when he multiplied by degrees of freedom. See my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” including the new four page Appendix There is absolutely no need to modify the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says thermodynamic equilibrium is established in a state of greatest available entropy. Also, you don’t need convection, and you don’t get much convection on the dark side of Venus, nor in underground boreholes which also display -g/Cp gradient. modified by intra-molecular radiation to about two-thirds the gravitationally induced rate.

    (Someone might like to draw Roger’s attention to this.)
     

  366. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy, there’s also a problem with your point (5)

    You wrote Even if you restrict the analysis to very thin atmospheric layers, the upward emission will be slightly less than the downward emission, because it originates from an average altitude which is slightly higher, and thus colder …

    Whenever (and wherever) a molecule emits radiation it has equal propensity to radiate “upwards” as “downwards” and, to be technical, the arc representing space is very slightly larger than the arc representing the surface, just by the geometry involved when the molecule is at a significant altitude. It’s crazy to think that all the upward radiation originates at high altitudes and all the downward radiation at low altitudes. It’s a random process, and radiation actually takes a random walk between perhaps many molecules.

    The important point is, however, that the transfer of thermal energy by radiation only occurs when the target is cooler than the source of spontaneous radiation. So all heat transfers are only from warmer to cooler regions, and so usually upwards in the troposphere. However, the stratosphere can transfer heat to cooler regions in the upper troposphere, thus reducing the mean thermal gradient (AKA effective lapse rate) in the troposphere, especially if there is plenty of water vapour to absorb such radiation.

    We have proof of this in that the wet adiabatic lapse rate is less than the dry rate. This cannot be due entirely to the release of latent heat which happens at various local regions where it starts to rain, for example. This would not ensure uniform temperature gradient, and certainly could not explain the very uniform thermal gradient in the Venus troposphere, even during the 4 month night. No, in fact the “wet” rate is only about two-thirds of the dry rate because of the one-way transfer of heat from (mostly) water vapour molecules at lower, warmer altitudes to higher cooler altitudes, and from the stratosphere to cooler water vapour near the top of the troposphere.

    Now, the fact that the wet rate is quite a bit less steep than the dry rate, proves that water vapour has a cooling effect, causing a lower surface temperature. The whole thermal “plot” of temperature versus altitude swivels around a median radiation altitude, and so a less steep gradient implies a lower surface temperature at thermodynamic equilibrium. If this were not the case, then radiative balance would be way out. It’s should not be hard to visualise that if we had a plot with a less steep gradient intersecting the surface at about 20 odd degrees higher temperature, then we would have a far higher mean radiative flux. Yet this is what the IPCC would like us to believe happens.

    Hence the assumption that water vapour caused most of that 33 degrees and carbon dioxide just some of it is absolutely contradictory to the wet lapse rate being less steep than the dry. Likewise, the supposed positive feedback by water vapour is simply the opposite of reality.

    Now, all radiation from cooler sources in the atmosphere which strikes the surface can only slow the rate of surface cooling which is itself by radiation. This, according to NASA net energy diagrams, is about a third of all thermal energy which transfers from the surface to the atmosphere. The remaining non radiative cooling is slowed by the presence (at the boundary) of all air molecules and the fact that the temperature gap is small. The smaller the gap, the more the rates of conduction and evaporation are slowed, as is well known by physicists. Meanwhile, all the water vapour slows the radiative cooling by at least 100 times as much as all the carbon dioxide does because each water vapour molecule “puts up more resistance” by radiating more frequencies under its Planck curve than does carbon dioxide under its curve. So that’s something else the IPCC got wrong.

    But the slowing of the rate of surface cooling has a limit because of the autonomous thermal gradient in the atmosphere and the pre-determined thermal plot – that being established by gravity, weighted mean specific heat, intra-atmospheric radiation and of course the level of insolation, albedo and related parameters. It’s all natural and has its origins in parameters related primarily to the Sun and planets, not Earth itself.

    So it simply doesn’t matter how much, if any, carbon dioxide slows a small portion of surface cooling. Other non-radiative cooling simply accelerates and compensates, so that the surface temperature is that which is “supported” by the pre-determined temperature at the base of the atmosphere.

    One (of many) proofs is the temperature data on Venus, as I have discussed in “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

  367. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Roy, the following proves that (6) is incorrect in assuming isothermal conditions could exist in a gravitational field.

    It is well known that the “Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate” is -g/Cp where g is acceleration due to gravity and Cp is weighted mean Specific Heat of the gases involved.
     
    The -g/Cp result can be derived from first principles based solely on the assumption that, in the absence of any other process adding or removing energy, potential energy (PE) interchanges with kinetic energy (KE) in every molecular free flight path between impacts with other molecules. We know this must happen from basic Newtonian physics.

    So, if a few picograms of mass M move with net mean downward motion represented by a mean height distance H (which could be negative if the net motion were upward – thus covering all possibilities) and thus gain (or lose) KE which is equivalent to the loss (or gain) of PE, then that KE is the energy required to raise the mass M by a temperature difference, T. If we use specific heat, Cp (rather than heat capacity) so that M cancels, then that KE gain is the product M.Cp.T whilst the PE loss is of course the normal Newtonian product M.g.H and hence

    M.Cp.T = – M.g.H
    and so the thermal gradient is
    T/H = -g/Cp

    Now we also need to consider the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which has not been considered in your post as far as I can see.
    I will use the modern statement (because the Clausius statement, I say, only applies in a horizontal plane where PE = constant.) Quoting from Wiki “Laws of Thermodynamics” item, the Second Law of Thermodynamics reads …

    “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.”

    Note also the definition of thermodynamic equilibrium

    “A thermodynamic system is in thermodynamic equilibrium when it is in thermal equilibrium, mechanical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and chemical equilibrium. Equilibrium means a state of balance. In a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, there are no net flows of matter or of energy, no phase changes, and no unbalanced potentials (or driving forces), within the system. A system that is in thermodynamic equilibrium experiences no changes when it is isolated from its surroundings.”

    So we also need mechanical equilibrium which involves no net mass transfer still happening.

    We will assume we have a perfectly insulated cylinder of pure nitrogen gas, so phase change, chemical reactions and radiation don’t play a part in disturbing the equilibrium.

    Now, when you turn the cylinder to a vertical position you have a situation which is not thermodynamic equilibrium. The “build up of pressure” is not instantaneous, as it requires physical movement of molecules with more ending up at the bottom.

    Hence, we immediately see that the original isothermal state in a horizontal position is no longer a state of thermodynamic equilibrium the instant it is in a vertical position. This in fact is obvious, because the mean of (PE+KE) for all the molecules in the top half is more than the mean of (PE+KE) for those in the bottom half. This is the very reason that the molecules move, and the fact that that movement amounts to work being done, demonstrates that the isothermal state in a vertical column was not a state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Hence an isothermal state IN A VERTICAL PLANE does not represent the required equilibrium conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    So we need to consider what then would be the thermodynamic equilibrium state representing greatest entropy, as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    .
    The very reason that the isothermal state was not in thermodynamic equilibrium is that the mean (PE+KE) was different in the top half and the bottom half, because then there was a propensity for some molecules to “fall” to lower heights, in order to create the extra pressure we do in fact observe.

    Hence, only when the mean (PE+KE) is homogeneous throughout the vertical column do we then have thermodynamic equilibrium which is also that of maximum entropy, wherein no extra work can be done by the system.

    Hence, only the state with homogeneous (PE+KE) per molecule satisfies the equilibrium requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    As a corollary, we then deduce that the mean KE is less where the mean PE is greater, and vice versa.

    Then, since temperature is a measure of mean KE and is independent of PE, we have a warmer temperature at the bottom (where PE is least) and a cooler temperature at the top where PE is greatest. QED

    • Terry says:

      The problem with this misunderstanding of the 2nd Law,although correctly copied from Wiki is that the Earth is not a closed(isolated) system. It daily receives an enormous amount of energy.So the rest of the argument falls over.
      Incidently the Creationist use this argument to deny evolution,using the same false argument,and has well and truely been debunked.However they continue to spout it.

      Whilst in general the atmosphere does not escape into space(gravity)in can loose enegry in the way it recieves it,ie photon exchange.(Google photon,it`s fully explained}

      It`s suprising that Doug seems to be in the Climate Realist camp not the Green Scientologist,that he misunderstands such a basic scientific principle.

  368. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy

    Regarding (3) the greenhouse effect does in fact violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but not in the way you think.

    Using the modern statement of that Law (see Wikipedia “Laws of Thermodynamics”) we read …

    “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system. “

    Now, the Second Law requires a state of thermodynamic equilibrium and it must be a state of maximum entropy. In an adiabatic process this can be simplified to show that such an equilibrium state has homogeneous total potential and kinetic energy (PE+KE) because this is the state in which no further work can be done, and so entropy cannot further increase. It may be easily shown to produce a thermal gradient in any atmosphere in a gravitational field, because obviously KE increases when PE decreases and vice versa.

    If however you think that water vapour can raise the surface temperature and still achieve equilibrium, then you are assuming that the Second Law can be violated. In fact. water vapour reduces the gradient as is well known, and so it has a cooling effect simply because the surface temperature would be lower. It lowers the gradient by sending radiated heat to higher cooler levels.

    So, for a start, there is none of that assumed positive feedback due to water vapour. Somehow they didn’t understand that a lower gradient implies a lower surface temperature at thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Furthermore, if carbon dioxide were to increase the gradient, then there would no longer be a state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy. Hence the Second Law of Thermodynamics is being assumed to be able to be violated.

    So what does happen? Well carbon dioxide only has a minuscule effect slowing only the one-third of surface cooling which is by radiation. If it does succeed, then the temperature gap at the boundary would widen, and so non-radiative cooling would speed up, as is well known in physics. All cooling is slowed by the presence of all air molecules at the boundary. The temperature at the base of the atmosphere is pre-determined by Solar insolation levels and factors affecting the thermal gradient which forms autonomously by diffusion (conduction) of kinetic energy at the molecular level, so that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not violated.

  369. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy

    In (3) this statement “Very high temperatures in a system can be created with relatively small energy fluxes into that system *if* the rate of energy loss can be reduced” is not a true statement because it implies that the temperature of the spontaneous source of radiation is higher than that of the target, and yet you don’t add that qualification. The temperature is proportional to the peak frequency of the radiation (as per Wien’s Displacement Law) and so the lower the frequency, the lower the temperature of an object that can be warmed by such radiation. For example, you can have high intensity radiation in your 750W microwave oven, but because it is low frequency it actually is not absorbed in the usual atomic sense by anything at room temperature. (All it can do is resonate with water molecules, causing them to flip in synchronisation with each passing wave of radiation.) So you can blast MW radiation at one of those plastic bowls and it won’t heat it, but put the same bowl in the Sun and it will warm with much lower radiation intensity, but higher frequency of course.

    Standard SBL calculations show that the Sun could never have heated the Earth’s surface directly to 288K regardless of back radiation, any more than you can heat a patch of grass at night using a mirror to send plenty of back radiation as it reflects upwelling radiation from the surface. How on Earth or Venus or wherever could radiation from the ground go up into the clouds (or the mirror) and then come back to make its source hotter, obviously generating energy in the process and violating the First Law of Thermodynamics?

    The solution to the puzzle lies in understanding the gravity induced thermal gradient, and also understanding how it makes a sloping playing field level. By that I mean that new energy absorbed from the Sun anywhere in the atmosphere then spreads out in all directions by diffusion, with some of it creeping up the very shallow thermal gradient and making the base of the atmosphere hotter. From there it then “supports” the slightly higher surface temperature which could never have been 288K except for the ratchet effect with day/night variations and cooling minimised by all ordinary air molecules at the boundary.

    This explanation fits with physics and the observed facts on Earth and any planet with a significant atmosphere. The greenhouse concept has never, can never and never will fit the facts and the laws of physics. Toss it in, Roy, and join the ranks of hundreds, probably thousands of scientists who now know the greenhouse is shattered. Be a leader, not a gullible follower!

  370. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy, and most climatologists have circulated and taught each other what amounts to a very warped and incorrect pseudo physics pertaining to heat transfer mechanisms and the Laws of Thermodynamics.

    This is epitomised in the numerous errors in the “physics” in Roy’s six points of “misunderstanding.” Search for my comments on that thread, starting from here http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-67669

    They need to “unlearn” concepts such as a pure nitrogen atmosphere would not absorb thermal energy and would be isothermal at 255K.

    The fact is that a pure nitrogen atmosphere (or one with 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen) would autonomously adopt a thermal gradient of more than 9C/Km, and probably very close to 9.8C/Km. As such, the base of the atmosphere would then support a surface temperature probably a little over 300K. Introducing water vapour then gives us close to what we observe, and carbon dioxide also cools by a minuscule net amount due to its contribution to intra-molecular radiation which lowers the thermal gradient, as happens with similar radiation between water vapour molecules.

    .

  371. Eli Rabett says:

    A useful concept illustrating point 5 is radiation trapping (although you can push that too far)

  372. Doug Cotton says:

    Eli

    You can’t trap radiation. It is oxygen and nitrogen molecules which keep the surface warm by non-radiative processes at the boundary. They are the real blanket, and in fact they are more like an electric blanket, having been maintained at the observed temperatures at the base of the atmosphere by incident Solar radiation absorbed on the way down.

    I’m sure everyone has experienced temperatures of 32 deg.C at 2pm which have cooled to, say 20 deg.C by 6pm. So why don’t the surface and the base of the atmosphere keep cooling at the rate of 12 degrees each 4 hours down to -16 deg.C by 6am? We have seen that they can cool that fast, and probably much faster. So why do they stop cooling?

    It doesn’t matter how much is radiated up or down. The downward radiation does not transfer heat to warmer regions below. The process is far more complex and nothing like what Roy and climatologists imagine. They need to understand atmospheric physics, and they don’t know enough about it to work out what physicists are now starting to explain must happen.

  373. Doug Cotton says:

    The laws of physics establish the fact that, as the atmospheres of Earth and Venus absorb incident Solar radiation, a thermal gradient evolves in those atmospheres in order to establish a state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy.

    As a direct corollary, using known parameters (solar insolation intensity, acceleration due to gravity and mean specific heat of the gases in the atmosphere) the atmospheric temperature at the surface-atmosphere boundary can be calculated, and is found to conform with a mean of 288K on Earth and about 730K on Venus. The physics of conduction then stipulates that the surface temperatures will have a propensity to be the same as those at the base of the atmosphere. Similar calculations agree with observations on other planets and moons with significant atmospheres.

    Thus it is not any radiative greenhouse effect which is warming these surfaces, but energy from the Sun absorbed by the atmosphere and redistributed (by the molecular processes of diffusion and adiabatic convection of kinetic energy) along an autonomous pre-determined thermal gradient, and thence into the surface, in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    To prove this wrong you would have to revoke the laws of physics and prove that, even in a gravitational field, the Second Law of Thermodynamics leads to thermal equilibrium rather than thermodynamic equilibrium. Such a “breakthrough” in the world of atmospheric physics would surely warrant a Nobel Prize. But you would then be left with no valid physical explanation for the observed temperature data on Earth, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus or Neptune.

  374. Doug Cotton says:

    OHD said “why do many 1000nds more N and O molecules loose a couple of thousands of deg. C.

    Answer: Because of the propensity for radiative balance at TOA.

  375. Doug Cotton says:

    DrNo: There is no such thing as a non-radiating atmosphere. Even in the troposphere nitrogen and oxygen absorb electro-magnetic energy from incident solar radiation in the UV and visible spectra (as they do in the thermosphere) and convert that energy to thermal energy, which can then be transferred up the gravity induced thermal gradient (as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics) and into the surface.

  376. Doug Cotton says:

    tonyM said “putting some moisture would not have done a great deal “

    Why then, when the Sun is directly overhead twice a year in Singapore, and even when there are no clouds, does the maximum temperature in that very humid place never exceed about 32 deg.C any day, any year, clouds or no clouds? In fact, it is never significantly cooler on any cloudy days anyway. Temperatures on Singapore appear to have nothing to do with clouds, as you seem to think. Maximums are always 31 or 32 deg.C every day, with or without clouds – and, having stayed there twice for at least a week each time, I can assure you there are sunny days without clouds.

    Of course moisture does a lot. The dry thermal gradient is 9.8C/Km whereas the wet one, as observed for the whole troposphere in the tropics, is about 6.5C/Km (110 degrees / 17Km in the tropics).

    I don’t have to show “non radiative cooling accelerates instantaneously” because we are talking about climate, not weather. If clouds slow radiative cooling, this happens for a reasonably fixed proportion of the Earth’s surface. Furthermore, you are talking about the effect of water vapour, which has nothing to do with carbon dioxide which, per molecule, is far less effective at slowing radiative cooling than water vapour, which radiates in many more frequencies under its Planck curve, than does CO2 under its curve.

    And, most importantly, you completely ignore the well known fact that water vapour reduces the absolute magnitude of the thermal gradient by about a third. Hence the surface temperature is reduced from about 300K to 288K. There is proof and empirical evidence cited in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” on the Principia Scientific International website.

    I’m not interested in the temperature of some rock in my backyard or wherever. You know as well as I do that the incident Solar radiation is only equivalent to about 255K, and so it simply cannot raise the mean world-wide surface temperature by 33 degrees by direct absorption of insolation.

    The assumption in Roy’s point (6) of there being an isothermal atmosphere if it were only pure oxygen and nitrogen would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So do you believe Roy or not?

  377. Doug Cotton says:

     
    Both of you (and any others who doubt me) should answer the question above in this comment …
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-69349

    What stops the cooling each night?

    Non-radiative cooling (about two-thirds) and radiative cooling (one third) each grind to a near halt each night, yet radiation levels are not much less than during the day. Why? What “supports” the temperature of the surface if the atmosphere is free to keep on cooling, maybe 3 degrees per hour all through the night?

    The silent readers who have studied my paper and the cited references know the answer. Members of the 200-strong team of experienced scientists and others at PSI also know, and know that carbon dioxide has no effect on world climate. They are the thinkers, not the parrots echoing the greatest scientific mistake of all time.

  378. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and other silent readers need to know that tonyM refuses to study my paper and those of Hans Jelbring and other cited references, and also refuses to discuss the identical physical processes which occur on Venus and other planets, as on Earth, probably because he has no idea as to how the poles of Venus are over 720K even though less than 1W/m^2 of direct Solar radiation reaches the surface there.

    Hence tonyM does not understand that the outward radiation from any planet can be represented by the area under a plot of radiative intensity against altitude. Thus, if the gradient of the plot varies, but the area under the plot has to remain the same, then the plot rotates around a point between its ends, so one end lowers and the other end rises. It’s elementary geometry. And since the corresponding temperatures are related to the fourth root of the radiative intensity, the temperature will also be lower when the intensity is lower. Thus water vapour causes a lower temperature at the surface-atmosphere boundary.

    Nor can tonyM understand how the Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates a need for a thermal gradient such that there are planes of isentropic atmosphere in which there is a propensity towards the necessary thermodynamic equilibrium of maximum entropy. Thermal energy absorbed from incident Solar radiation can then move from cooler regions of the atmosphere to the warmer base of the atmosphere provided the thermodynamic equilibrium is maintained and the thermal gradient does not increase in absolute magnitude beyond the thermodynamic equilibrium gradient.

    This is how the required thermal energy gets to the poles of Venus by adiabatic molecular processes of diffusion and convection, and it does likewise to the surface of Earth. That is what “supports” that extra 33 degrees on Earth, not any imagined radiative greenhouse effect. The main processes are non-radiative.

  379. Doug Cotton says:

    TonyM further said (on the Waste Heat thread) There is too much evidence to simply dismiss GHG’s from the equation.

    Indeed there is evidence that water vapour reduces the effective thermal gradient, and thus the surface temperature. I certainly take into account the way water vapour sends thermal energy up to higher cooler layers of the atmosphere, thus reducing the thermal gradient, as we know it does. Carbon dioxide does likewise, and also absorbs incident solar radiation in the 2.7 micron band, thus preventing that radiation warming the surface.

    All radiating molecules act like holes in the blanket, collecting energy (by non-radiative processes) from oxygen and nitrogen and then radiating that energy away as the whole region thus cools.

    You can’t show me any evidence (that I can’t refute) that temperatures correlate with carbon dioxide levels, and there is no valid physical reason why they should display a net increase when CO2 levels increase. If anything, carbon dioxide should have a net cooling effect, like water vapour does.

  380. Doug Cotton says:

    No DrNo: You are being stubborn in continuing to imagine the imaginary. What makes you think that the heat that gets into the Venus surface comes mostly from radiation. This is the breakup of thermal energy into the surface of Venus …

    Radiation from Sun: 10 to 20W/m*2

    Non-radiative conduction: Over 16,000W/m^2

    Have a look at the energy diagram here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_energy_budget

    Notice: 33PW of incident Solar radiation absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere

    Notice: 26PW radiated from the surface and then absorbed by atmosphere

    Notice: Twice as much (40+12=52PW) transferred by non-radiative processes from the surface to the atmosphere.

    Guess what happens to that 52PW, Dr No. It diffuses into water vapour and a bit of CO2 as well which radiate its energy to space, acting like holes in the blanket. Yes, oxygen and nitrogen acted like a blanket, storing that 52PW until they eventually collide with a WV or GHG molecules which radiates it away, thus cooling the region and helping to maintain the correct thermal gradient which “supports” the surface temperature.

    You haven’t answered the question about what stops the atmosphere cooling much at night.

    It’s not all about imaginary atmosphere transparent to radiation. It’s about atmospheres that obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics and therefore, as on Venus and Earth and other planets, absorb incident Solar radiation the energy from which then diffuses towards the base of the atmosphere and into the surface, all the time being in thermodynamic equilibrium as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    I will stick to the truth of what happens. You can keep imagining that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be violated with an isothermal atmosphere or one in which conveection only transfers heat from hot to cold in a gravitational field. If you believe such, then it follows that you disbelieve the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or perhaps just have the excuse of not understanding why I am saying it is relevant.

  381. Doug Cotton says:

    Rick asked how does “back radiation only slow the cooling due to radiation?” My response is in Sections 1 to 5 of my March 2012 paper on Radiated Energy in the Publications menu on the Principia Scientific International website.

  382. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No

    You cannot have a non-radiative atmosphere, as explained in this comment
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-68258

  383. Doug Cotton says:

    THE GRAVITY GRADIENT

    Regarding the thermal gradient due to gravity, the paper http://wwwold.nioz.nl/public/fys/staff/theo_gerkema/jas04.pdf
    is correct up to the end of Section b, where it shows that isentropic conditions will prevail, as I show from a simple consideration of molecular free flight.

    However, then realising that the -g/Cp figure of 9.8C/Km (ie the dry rate) is too high, they then fudge a compromise result to get closer to the wet rate. The fudge amounts to saying, let’s also impose an isothermal constraint. This is absurd.

    What they failed to realise is what I have been saying all along, that the wet rate is less steep simply because it involves water vapour which can radiate heat to higher cooler layers. Such radiation has a propensity to equalise temperatures. They were looking for such a constraint, but completely overlooked intra-atmospheric radiation. This radiation is another reason why carbon dioxide also leads to a less steep thermal gradient and thus lower surface temperatures.

  384. tempterrain says:

    Dr Spencer,

    I was pleased to see that you’d written, “The tropospheric temperature lapse rate would not exist without the greenhouse effect.”

    A couple of years ago when I first started to think about this I thought that this was likely to be the case too, but I was persuaded by some climate scientists, of mainstream opinion, that I was wrong. But now I’ve swung back again to agreeing with you.

    I’m just wondering if mainstream science does have it right. For instance the University Of California are saying there still would be a lapse rate even without a GH effect

    http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange1/02_1.shtml

    A couple of years ago I wrote to Dr Jeff Severinghaus about some contradictory information on their website which was fixed up to remove the contradiction, but unfortunately I feel in the wrong direction.

    Your being right on this point doesn’t, on the face of it, actually help the sceptics cause. However,it must be worth getting everything right to are minimise the uncertainties involved with climate models.

  385. Doug Cotton says:

    tempterrain

    An isothermal atmosphere in a gravitational field would be an outright violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says thermodynamic equilibrium evolves with the state of maximum entropy. Such a state is isentropic, and therefore of absolute necessity, cannot be isothermal.

    Hans Jelbring wrote his Climatology PhD thesis in 1998 mentioning this, and then had a peer-reviewed paper published in 2003 which you could have read from a link in my November paper in the PROM menu at PSI.

    Here’s the link to Dr Hans Jelbring’s paper
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf
    which was in Energy & Environment · Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003

    If you think you have a valid rebuttal of Hans Jelbring’s paper, just post it here and I’ll draw it to his attention.

  386. Doug Cotton says:

    Now explain the Venus temperatures, tempterrain using actual measurements by the Russians which were used to estimate that the mean radiation from the Sun which reaches the Venus surface was no more than 10W/m^2. So no more than 10W/m^2 of energy directly absorbed from the Sun goes back into the atmosphere. Thus no more than 5W/m^2 of that energy comes back down as back radiation. But you would need over 16,000W/m^2 to maintain the surface at over 730K, now wouldn’t you? Are you sure the atmosphere was isothermal initially?

  387. Doug Cotton says:

    Information about the Venus temperatures and thermal gradient in its atmosphere, and how that determines the surface temperature is in each of two cited references in my paper on Planetary Surface Temperatures in the Principia Scientific International PROM menu. See, for example, this which is a peer-reviewed journal paper.. If you read my comment you’ll see that the 10W/m^2 is based on actual measurements, so you can’t argue about it being significantly different.

    No one has answered the question: How does some of the thermal energy absorbed from incident solar radiation at various levels in the Venus atmosphere get to its much hotter surface? .

    You cannot fully understand the mechanism which maintains Earth’s surface temperature until they can also answer the above question, because the same mechanism functions in Earth’s atmosphere. And you won’t find it in climatology textbooks.

    You’ll require knowledge of the thermodynamic equilibrium requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and an understanding of how maximum entropy states evolve.

  388. tempterrain says:

    Dr Spencer,

    If there were no GH effect there would still have to be be some movement of air in the atmosphere to transfer heat from the warmer tropical regions to the cooler polar regions.

    Would this be enough to recreate a lapse rate, at least in the in the tropical areas? I’m not sure about this but I can imagine warm air rising in the tropics moving to the pole to warm them, and then moving back to the tropics to complete the cycle.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this point.

    Best regards

    Peter

  389. Doug Cotton says:

    The thermal gradient in an atmosphere evolves even in still air. We have proof that it does in over 800 experiments by Roderich Graeff, and it is logical that it would if you consider my thought experiment about a cylinder divided into three sections. If the top and bottom sections are a vacuum and then gas is released from the middle section by removing the dividers, then, at thermodynamic equilibrium, there has to be a cooler temperature at the top and warmer at the bottom. If KE were homogeneous, then the extra PE in the molecules at the top would cause a general propensity for some gas to move downwards gaining KE as it does so. After all, each individual molecule has mass, and thus has KE (as we know) and also PE. So it must obey Newton’s laws in free flight between impacts.

    The Venus surface would not be as hot if all convection moved away from the surface. If that happened we have no explanation as to how the required energy gets into the Venus surface. Because IPCC and cohorts could not conceive this heat transfer by convection, they postulated that back radiation could do the job of raising Earth’s surface 33 degrees, and the surface of Venus by about 500 degrees. But 10W/m^2 of direct solar radiation reaching the Venus surface could hardly produce much back radiation anyway! Surface bound heat transfer by convection is the missing link which we have all been looking for, and no one it seems has previously described this as being the only explanation.

    We must understand that diffusion of KE (even in still air) sets the gradient of the thermal plane in an atmosphere. Then any additional heat absorbed from the Sun (such as when night becomes day) will spread out over that thermal plane (moving away from the source in all 3D directions) just as if it were the level surface of a lake receiving rain (extra water) in some section of the lake. This is the only way we can explain how energy moves up the thermal gradient and into the surface of Venus. Radiation cannot transfer heat from the cooler atmosphere, but non-radiative convection can flow towards the surface over the thermal plane whose gradient is set by diffusion of KE in a gravitational field.

  390. Doug Cotton says:

    tempterrain

    You could have found your answer in the Appendix of my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” on the Principia Scientific International website. I quote …

    In the tropics convection is the most prevalent of anywhere on Earth, because of the higher level of insolation. The rising air eventually gets close to the tropopause at the top of the troposphere. However, it cannot continue upwards because of the unusual inverted temperature gradient in the stratosphere, which is the result of greater absorption of Solar radiation overpowering the relatively slow adiabatic diffusion process.

    So this rising air has nowhere to go except in the form of winds headed in the general direction of the poles. These winds enter a “funnel effect” which is created by rapidly reducing volume of the troposphere between lines of latitude at equal spacing. The funnel effect forces some of the wind to adopt a downward component and, as it approaches the surface, some will return as “Trade Winds” headed back towards the Equator. Actual wind patterns are more complex than this simple model, but it should give a general idea as to why air returns towards the surface by way of wind.

    In general, wind is any air movement which is faster again than the air movement due to convection. The speed of convection is thought to be perhaps less than 0.05 Km per hour, but whether that figure is accurate or not, it is certainly much slower than typical wind speeds. Thus wind over-rides the effect of convection. We can observe this with an electric blower heater facing upwards in open air. The air just above will obviously be hotter than air at the same height some distance off to the side, other things being equal. So it is when, for example, a warm wind blows along a low plain and then gets redirected up a mountain side. The air at the top of the mountain will be warmer than it would have been due to convection or diffusion of KE in calm conditions

  391. Doug Cotton says:

    And are they replacing such important a mineral as selenium? I doubt it. There’s a relative high level around Walcha in NSW, Australia, where there is a high percentage of people living beyond 100, as also appears the case in other selenium rich regions of the world. Selenium helps prevent cancer and works in synergy with vitamin E. Most vitamin E is removed in the process of making white bread, for example, so there are still many problems and many people being, in effect, killed by food processing and modern farming technology, which is all about saving the mighty dollar in production costs, but not looking at the end products. There are numerous studies which show long-term declines in nutrients in many fruits and vegetables, for example.

  392. Doug Cotton says:

    Sorry, the above comment was meant for a thread on Judith Curry’s opem thread. Sorry I accidentally posted it here. Delete it Roy, if you wish.

  393. tempterrain says:

    Doug Cotton,

    With all due respect to yourself I did address my question to Dr Spencer.

    If you don’t the believe the GH effect exists why do you want to engage in a discussion on the finer points of it?

  394. Doug Cotton says:

    I can’t see that wind has anything to do with any of that outdated radiative greenhouse conjecture which had its short role in history as the greatest scientific mistake of all time, but has been disproved this century with valid physics such as that of Dr Hans Jelbring in his peer-reviewed 2003 journal paper here …
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    Anyway, just trying to help, in case Roy takes awhile to answer you.

  395. tempterrain says:

    Doug Cotton,

    Trying to help? Really?

    You might want to read this article in Wattsupwiththat and help yourself before trying to ‘help’ others. They do occasionally have some good stuff there!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/24/refutation-of-stable-thermal-equilibrium-lapse-rates/

    If you want real observational evidence that the lapse rate is maintained by the GH effect and not gravity, take a look at what happens in the Antarctic winter.

  396. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, I read that WUWT article long ago and easily rebutted it in my article which will be on the Principia Scientific International website soon referring to Roy’s misunderstandings in his Point (6) here.

    The rebuttal reads (and I copy) …

    * Rebuttal of counter arguments:

    Sometimes it is assumed that a wire outside the cylinder running from the warmer base of the cylinder to the top would conduct heat back up. However, gravity also induces a thermal gradient in a solid, and we need to calculate the weighted mean specific heat of the contents of the cylinder, the wire and, to some extent, the walls. All these comprise the total system and the overall equilibrium state, which will not lead to any endless loop of energy flow.

    Another “argument” starts by introducing the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics which pertains to three systems all in equilibrium with each other. However, in the form used, the Zeroth law suffers from the same approximation as does the original Clausius statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, in that it ignores the effect of an external force field, usually gravity. As the initial assumption is false, so too is the conclusion.

    Some argue that the oceans do not display warmer temperatures below and that this disproves the hypothesis. In fact the oceans cool rapidly from over 20°C to about 4°C and this is proof of what I say that the absorption of heat from penetrating insolation over-rides the very slow process of diffusion. Then the gradient reduces dramatically and the net effect of convection from the warmer surface layers takes over from direct radiation, but still dominates the -3°C/Km “gravity effect” because there is still further cooling from 4°C down to 2°C spread out over the vast majority of the ocean depth. This cooling would have been faster but for the opposing gravity effect.

     

    Meanwhile, discussion continues on his new thread here …
    My discussion of all this continues on the new thread here
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/02/decreased-surface-wind-as-a-contributor-to-warming/#comment-69510

  397. Doug Cotton says:

    tempterrain Antarctic winter proves nothing. Strong downward winds from the tropopause carry -50 deg.C air to the surface where is spreads out and starts its journey back north in the “Polar Easterlies.”

    You’ll find all these possible objections already explained in my paper before you even thought of them.

    Now, until you have an alternative explanation as to how sufficient energy gets into the Venus surface and into the mantle of Earth to supply volcanoes with their energy, then I rest my case.

    Note that further comments will be on the new thread linked in my last comment.