A Simple Model of Global Average Surface Temperature

April 30th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

And, yes, you can try this at home.

I put together a simple surface energy balance model in an Excel spreadsheet so people can play around with the inputs. It computes the time changing surface temperature for any combination of:

1) absorbed sunlight (nominally 161 W/m2)
2) ocean mixed layer depth (does not affect final equilibrium temperature)
3) initial temperature of the ocean mixed layer (does not affect final equilibrium temperature)
4) atmospheric IR transmittance (yes, you can set it to 1 if you are carrying your sky dragon slayer [SDS] ID card)
5) effective temperature of downwelling sky radiation (nominally 283 K, but in effect becomes zero if transmittance=1)
6) surface convective heat loss (nominally 97 W/m2)

The nominal values are set to be consistent with the Kiehl-Trenberth global energy budget diagram.

The simple model is good for developing intuition about how the equilibrium surface temperature changes when varying different input parameters. I would challenge people to see what other combinations of parameters result in the observed global average surface temperature, which is believed to be around 59 deg. F or so.

Again, the model is very simple; it changes the temperature of the assumed ocean mixed layer depending upon assumed rates of energy gain and energy loss by that layer.

Here’s an example plot:
simple-surface-model-output

And here is the model: simple-sfc-model

Example: Nighttime cooling with and without the greenhouse effect
There’s an interesting experiment you can run with the model to see how nighttime temperatures cool off depending upon whether there is a greenhouse effect or not. If you run the model starting the surface temperature around 288 K (the observed global average), turn solar absorption off (nighttime), make the time step 1/24 of a day (1 hour), and make the ocean mixed layer approximate a land surface (set depth to 0.1 meter), you will find that the surface cools about 20 deg F overnight when the atmospheric IR transmittance is set to 0.1 (realistic), but cools by about 70 deg. F if the transmittance is set to 1 (no greenhouse effect). In other words, large amounts of atmospheric “back radiation” (admittedly a poor term) are required to explain why nighttime temperatures do not cool off more than observed.

PLEASE keep the discussion about gaining insight from the simple model…I know all about its shortcomings.


299 Responses to “A Simple Model of Global Average Surface Temperature”

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  1. Stephen Wilde says:

    Instead of back radiation why not simply propose that the rate of cooling is slowed by the temperature of the air immediately above the water with that temperature and the decline with height above it being set by atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and the level of insolation reaching the surface ?

    The IR transmittance of the atmosphere then becomes irrelevant. In place of atmospheric transmittance one just needs the transmittance of the air immediately above the water.

    That way of looking at it has the advantage of involving the entire atmospheric mass in the so called greenhouse effect rather than just GHGs.

    In so far as GHGs then effect IR transmittance at all their effect can be limited to energy transfers within the atmosphere rather than involving surface or ToA.

    That effect would then simply be dealt with via atmospheric volume and circulation changes.

    Fits with the Ideal Gas Laws too.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      The IR transmittance IS a function of atmospheric mass, that is, the total mass of IR absorbing and emitting gases up through the atmosphere.

      And then the following comment of yours contradicts itself:
      “The IR transmittance of the atmosphere then becomes irrelevant. In place of atmospheric transmittance one just needs the transmittance of the air immediately above the water.”

      After that, I’m sorry, but I’m at a loss understanding what you are talking about. If you have quantitative ideas, put them in a simple model like I have done.

      • Stephen Wilde says:

        I see the terminological issue.

        Have you conflated IR transmittance and downward irradiation ?

        Applying your model there would be zero down welling sky radiation but instead radiation and conduction from the warmest air molecules just above and in contact with the water surface.

        There would also be exactly the same amount of radiation and conduction from water surface to those lowest warmest air molecules in a zero net exchange unless one also changes mass, gravity or insolation.

        I think your model misses out one side of the two way energy exchange between water surface and air molecules and that is why you think you need down welling from the atmosphere to balance the books.

        One gets the surface temperature rise from reduced IR transmittance caused by atmospheric mass and not GHGs and it is therefore a function of mass, gravity and insolation. Downward IR not needed.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Atmospheric mass does not reduce IR transmittance. IR transmittance is reduced by absorption by substances that are capable of absorbing IR radiation, i.e. GHGs (and clouds). [There is "collisional" or "pressure broadening" of the absorption spectra, so the non-absorbing elements of the atmosphere do have a role to play, but you still need the actual absorbers...and what we are changing dramatically in our atmosphere is the concentration of the GHGs, not the pressure.]

          Satisfying energy conservation is an important criteria of any theory. Unless and until you can mathematically show your theories obey this (which will likely be difficult, because they don’t), then they are simply not worthy of serious consideration.

          • Stephen Wilde says:

            So you say that IR transmission through the system is NOT affected by any mass which does not absorb and emit radiatively ?

            Remarkable, but not surprising in view of your emotional commitment to AGW theory.

            Any energy held by the non radiative mass of the atmosphere is held back from loss to space until it can be returned to the surface or transferred to GHGs for radiation out.

            It therefore must affect the net IR transmittance,

            You show a complete disregard of the role of conduction and convection within atmospheres.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        According to NASA net energy diagrams, exactly two thirds of the thermal energy passing from the surface to the atmosphere does so by non-radiative processes. The rate of transfer is affected by the temperature difference at the boundary, usual less than 3 degrees in calm conditions.

        Oxygen and nitrogen molecules participate in about 99% of this slowing by non-radiative processes. Whether you choose to believe it or not, they also do in fact emit significant radiation as well, as can be proven by the fact that the limit of atmospheric emissivity does not approach zero as the air dries, or anything like zero. What happens is that a very small percentage of these molecules absorb very high frequency incident radiation from the Sun. They can do it in the thermosphere, so they can also do it in the troposphere where we don’t notice the effect because only a very small percentage are doing so. None-the-less, they can then re-emit these high frequency, high energy photons and contribute significant energy to the back radiation, as well as sending some to space. After all, the atmosphere and clouds absorb 19% of incident radiation which could hardly all be by water vapour (especially above the tropopause) or carbon dioxide. They must be busy enough absorbing the 15% on its way back up from the surface.

        You see, Roy, the physics of the atmosphere is far more complex than your simple model. You should start studying it one day, and my papers would be a good starting point, much as you would disagree. Watch for the Open Letter to yourself on PSI about this current thread.

        • Christopher Game says:

          Doug, that your PSI people haven’t managed to teach you a thing, and that you continue to rattle on as you do, is very damaging to the credibility of the PSI crowd.

          • Doug Cotton says:

            And that you are not prepared to discuss the physics of “heat creep” and thermal gradients, especially the temperatures of 320K at the base of the Uranus troposphere, or the 720K plus at the Venus surface, just demonstrates exactly what another poster, Jae has just written …

            “Warmists” almost often refuse to engage “skeptics” in real debates (this may be the most important sign that the AGW crowd is just a religious Democratic cult). When they DO entertain some debate they get destroyed in spades.

            I am the first to agree that I have learnt a lot from other members of PSI, and some of them have learnt from me. What would you know about our internal correspondence? I challenge you to pinpoint anything in the Kinetic Theory and other physics in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.” Let’s see how you get on debating real physics with me. Silent readers will be watching eagerly.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Roy: I know this isn’t addressed to me, but I am always here willing and able to answer any questions you have.

        I could help you understand how sufficient thermal energy gets to the base of the troposphere of Venus and Uranus, or why moist cities have lower mean daily temperatures than dry ones – both day and night, maximum and minimum.

        Do I really have to draw attention (with an “Open Letter” to you published on PSI) to the fact that you appear to be unable to contradict the physics which I present?

        That’s not surprising, because no contra arguments have been sent to PSI since my paper went on the “Peer-Review in Open Media” (PROM) menu in February. No one in the world, Roy, has presented anything that proves my paper wrong.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Stephen: Unfortunately, you have never shown any relation between the ideal gas law and the nonsense that you write. In fact, you have shown us that you tout the ideal gas law even though you don’t understand it: In particular, you had a whole thread about it at Tallbloke’s in which it was revealed that you did not know what the symbol “n” meant in it actually meant.

      • Stephen Wilde says:

        ‘n’ is the amount of mass/material expressed as ‘moles’.

        The point is that the amount for an entire atmosphere is fixed but the amount for each unit of volume within an atmosphere can change if an atmosphere expands or contracts.

        You seem oblivious to the implications of that.

        • Joel Shore says:

          I don’t know how one expresses mass in moles, but you are making progress. In the thread that I speak of, you were under the mistaken impression that n was an amount of material per unit volume. (See here: “My interpretation of n, though, was the amount of substance in each unit of volume rather than in the entire system…” http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/stephen-wilde-greenhouse-gases-and-the-ideal-gas-law/comment-page-1/#comment-40726 ) It is okay to be wrong once in a while, but it is awful strange to be wrong on something so basic when one is making outlandish claims that you understand this law and its implications better than the climate scientists who you are critiquing!

          As for your claims of me being oblivious to the implications that volume can change: I demonstrated to you here mathematically that the ideal gas law (plus the hydrostatic condition) does not constrain the temperature distribution in the atmosphere: http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/joel-shore-the-radiative-greenhouse-effect/comment-page-1/#comment-18180 You guys whined about it because it wasn’t the result that agrees with what you want to believe but weren’t able to explain what was wrong.

          • Stephen Wilde says:

            Gravity, mass and insolation constrain the temperature distribution in the atmosphere.

            The Ideal Gas Law describes how pressure and volume fit in with those factors.

            Radiative characteristics of constituent molecules is not a relevant variable.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Stephen: Just making assertions with no evidence and no equations to even pin down what you mean is not science. Try again.

          • pochas says:

            Joel Shore says:
            May 1, 2013 at 7:58 AM

            “I don’t know how one expresses mass in moles,”

            Really?

          • Joel Shore says:

            pochas: Let me put it to you this way, let’s say I have 3 moles of an ideal gas, what is that its mass? [Anticipating your next question, no I won't tell you what the substance is because (to the extent that the ideal gas law applies to real gases, which is to a very good approximation if they are not too dense) it holds independent of the substance. You do not need to know the molecular weight to apply the ideal gas law.]

      • Doug Cotton says:

        And you, Joel are probably among those who don’t understand that the Ideal Gas Law is just an equation that can be developed from the same Kinetic Theory that Einstein used and I used in my paper.

        Both Kinetic Theory and the Ideal Gas Law can be used to prove that compression does not cause and maintain higher temperatures, and nor does high pressure – just one of the Old Wives’ Tales of Climatology.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Look, Joel, I am the first to agree with you that Stephen is mistaken about a lot of things. But he does have a general concept that there is a gravitationally induced thermal gradient in any troposphere, notably those of Venus, Uranus and Earth for a start. And that gradient is usually between 65% and 95% of the value derived from Kinetic Theory in just two lines of computations as in my paper.

        You cannot possible explain how a mere 2.7W/m^2 of insolation reaching TOA of Uranus has caused the base of the troposphere to be maintained at about 320K – a pretty hot day on Earth.

  2. Stephen Wilde says:

    “that is, the total mass of IR absorbing and emitting gases”

    That is where you go wrong. Non-radiative gases also impede energy flow through the atmosphere and contribute to IR transmittance.

    Such gases acquire energy from the surface and must return it to the surface (or to GHGs) so that it can be radiated out from the surface (or from GHGs). That energy is acquired and lost by conduction and convection rather than by radiation but it is nonetheless the vast majority of total energy impedance from the atmosphere.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Stephen,

      At some point, you have to stop talking meaningless prose and actually put down and solve equations…and accepted equations of physics.

      You do this again and again: You come into threads and bomb us with prose that you can’t even show satisfies energy conservation (and then you make absurd claims about the greenhouse effect itself violating energy conservation which we can show are false because the mathematical models that we create for the greenhouse effect, whether they be toy-models or very sophisticated models, always have energy conservation explicitly encoded into them).

      • Stephen Wilde says:

        Would you like to address the point rather than indulging in a personal rant ?

        • Joel Shore says:

          It is impossible to address your ideas because the language of the physical sciences is mathematics. You just write some meaningless prose that is unrelated to any known physics, is incomprehensible and unfalsifiable.

          • Stephen Wilde says:

            Lots of others are able to understand prose.

            My prose is based on well established basic physics and observations.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Stephen,

            The only people who understand it are those fellow travelers in your Tallbloke land of nonsense. If you cannot write your ideas in terms of mathematics, they are unfalsifiable, untestable nonsense. You can’t even demonstrate they obpey the simplest principles like conservation of energy.

  3. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy

    For a start, doesn’t it strike you as absurd to say the effective temperature of downwelling sky radiation is 283K, which is only 5 degrees cooler than the assumed mean surface temperature? We know the mean temperature of the atmosphere is more than 50 degrees colder than that.

    But the point you miss altogether is that radiative imbalance can never be a forcing factor for climate. Surface temperatures are in fact set primarily by the gravitationally induced thermal gradient, solid proof for which is in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” which you obviously either have not studied or don’t understand. If anyone has genuine enquiries about the valid physics therein, I am happy to respond here.

    Radiative balance is an autonomous automatic response which the Earth system will deliver once its temperature is determined. The climatology conjecture that, if you interfere with outward radiation somehow you will alter the base supporting temperature simply has no valid backing in physics.

    Above all, calculations show from real world data (which you could easily check in the study in the Appendix of the above paper) that water vapour causes the supported surface temperature to be about 5 to 8 degrees lower than it would have been if the world had very little water vapour – say only 10% as much. Hence “sensitivity” to water vapour is very clearly negative, though perhaps only about 2 degrees of cooling for a doubling of water vapour concentration. Carbon dioxide also reduces the thermal gradient by inter-molecular radiation, though its net cooling effect appears to be less than 0.002 degree, but negative none-the-less.

    Scientists at Principia Scientific International have never claimed that surface radiation all passes directly through the atmosphere. It is absorbed by water molecules, carbon dioxide molecules and others which also re-emit radiation, sometimes to similar molecules at higher, cooler altitudes, sometimes direct to space and sometimes in the direction of the surface.

    Whenever such radiation strikes a target which is cooler than the source of the radiation, then physics tells us that the electromagnetic energy in the radiation will not be converted to thermal energy in the target, but will instead provide energy for some or all of the target’s quota of outward radiation, as determined by its Planck curve. This is the “pseudo scattering” that physicists and other scientists are now starting to talk about, and which I called “resonant scattering” in my March 2012 paper on Radiated Energy.

    This incident radiation from the cooler atmosphere has a slight effect in reducing that portion of the cooling by the surface which is itself by radiation. That’s about a third of all thermal energy transferring from the surface to the atmosphere. The remaining two-thirds transfers by non-radiative processes which will accelerate if radiative cooling is slowed, because they do so when the temperature gap at the interface increases – that’s standard physics relating to evaporation and conduction.

    Now, all of this effect by back radiation on cooling rates of the surface is virtually completely irrelevant to what the mean surface temperature will be. That surface temperature is set by the fundamental requirement that the Earth’s system must remain in radiative equilibrium with energy received, that being primarily from the Sun.

    As I have proved in my paper, the thermal gradient in the atmosphere is established by diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level over a long period of time. It happens here, as well as on Venus and other planets. The thermal gradient is easily derived from Kinetic Theory (as used by Einstein) in just two lines of computations, as in my paper. It is (for a non-radiating atmosphere) the negative quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the mean specific heat. This gradient occurs in solids, liquids and gases, though winds, ocean currents and other disturbances will eclipse it in some regions. But it is observed even in the Arctic Ocean just north of Alaska, for example, where Solar radiation has little effect and nor do currents.

    The autonomous thermal gradient is however reduced by inter-molecular radiation. It is reduced in the outer crust for example, where borehole measurements confirm all I am saying. The reason why the thermal gradient then reduces dramatically in the hotter mantle is simply because the specific heat increases enormously.

    Now, back to the atmosphere. Because of the sloping thermal plane (which is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics) any additional energy absorbed by the atmosphere will cause convection which spreads out in all available directions from that source. This “heat creep” (as I have called it) is the only possible explanation as to how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus and Earth, because the direct Solar radiation reaching the surface is insufficient to raise it to the observed mean temperature. Hence there can be no greenhouse effect supposedly slowing the surface cooling from a temperature which it could never reach by direct radiation.

    The surface can only reach the temperature it does by the ratchet effect of the supporting temperature which is pre-determined by the autonomous, gravitationally induced thermal gradient that is reduced in magnitude by inter-molecular “leap frogging” between radiating water and gases. Such inter-molecular radiation expedites the passage of thermal energy towards space and has a levelling effect on the thermal gradient which works against the gravity gradient. The same process, by the way, explains why water vapour between the panes of dual glazed windows also reduces the effectiveness of the insulation, despite its back radiation to the warmer pane. Think on that, Roy.

    Meanwhile, note my latest article on PSI about the Old Wives’ Tales of Climatology, because you have fallen for a lot of them, Roy, and they have no basis in valid physics.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Doug Cotton says:

      “Surface temperatures are in fact set primarily by the gravitationally induced thermal gradient, solid proof for which is in my paper ‘Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures’ which you obviously either have not studied or don’t understand. Radiative balance is an autonomous automatic response which the Earth system will deliver once its temperature is determined.”

      Doug, what we understand is how confused you are about the most basic atmospheric physics. We understand that the lapse rate in an atmosphere heated strongly from below is, in practice, set by the adiabatic lapse rate (which, you are correct, does involve the gravitational acceleration g). This is because lapse rates steeper than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable to convection, which will transport heat up in the atmosphere until the lapse rate drops down to the adiabatic lapse rate.

      However, surface temperatures are not set by the lapse rate for the very simple, basic, grammar-school fact that the slope of a line is not enough to uniquely determine the line. You also need to know one point along that line.

      In practice, in the atmosphere, what determines that one point is the condition for radiative balance: that the temperature at the effective radiating level must be 255 K so that the Earth radiates back out into space the same amount of energy as it receives from the sun. The effective radiating level is the level (on average) at which radiation emitted by the atmosphere can successfully escape to space without being absorbed again…and this in turn is a function of the atmosphere’s opacity to said radiation, or, in other words, the concentration of IR-absorbing elements (greenhouse gases and clouds) in the atmosphere. The temperature at the surface is then obtained by extrapolating down from the effective radiating level to the surface using the average environmental lapse rate (which is essentially a compromise between the dry and moist adiabatic lapse rates).

      ” The climatology conjecture that, if you interfere with outward radiation somehow you will alter the base supporting temperature simply has no valid backing in physics.”

      Yes, it does…It is based on radiative transfer and the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (conservation of energy). The fact that the net rate at which an object radiates heat is determined by both its temperature and the temperature of its radiation-emitting surroundings is the sort of thing that you can find in any introductory physics textbook if you would actually try looking at one. The full discussion of radiative transfer in the atmosphere is a little more complicated, but well-explained by people like ScienceOfDoom ( http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/02/07/understanding-atmospheric-radiation-and-the-%E2%80%9Cgreenhouse%E2%80%9D-effect-%E2%80%93-part-six-the-equations/ ) whose knowledge of basic physics is infinitely larger than yours. If you had any sort of realistic assessment of your own knowledge and understanding in relation to others, you could learn from him, and Roy, and myself. Since you don’t, that may be impossible but at least you don’t need to pollute the discourse all over the web with your pseudoscientific nonsense.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Nowhere in my paper do I attribute the setting of the surface temperature only to the thermal gradient which is not primarily established by any “lapsing” process, but by slow, adiabatic diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level over long periods of time. If you understand my paper you will understand the mechanism which leads to unstable convection which can spread out in all available directions from the new source of extra thermal energy which is disturbing the hitherto thermodynamic equilibrium.

        A good test of whether or not you understand the break-through physics in my “heat creep” phenomenon would be for you to try to answer the question which no one else has done correctly, namely “How does sufficient energy make its way into the surface of Venus in order to maintain the observed temperatures?”

        I anticipate that you won’t even try, because it is out of your depth and there is no correct published explanation anywhere for you to lean on – except in my paper. Show me any you think do and I will pull them apart with valid physics. Good luck!

        • Joel Shore says:

          Doug,

          Heat conduction, which you seem to be talking about with your “adiabatic diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level”, is way too slow to compete with convection and radiation. The relative magnitudes can easily be compared by back-of-the-envelope calculations. Besides which, the notion that heat will creep downward from cold to hot really does violate the 2nd Law of thermodynamics. The net flow of heat by any process has to be from hot to cold. [The increase of radiative emission with temperature along with Kirchhoff's Law of Thermal Radiation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchhoff%27s_law_of_thermal_radiation guarantee that the 2nd Law is satisfied for radiative processes between objects, such as the warmer Earth surface and colder atmosphere.]

          As for Venus, the reason it is so warm at the surface has already been explained: The greenhouse gases and clouds make the escape of radiation very difficult and so a high surface temperature is needed to produce the necessary emission out into space to balance the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Venetian system (i.e., Venus including its atmosphere). It can be calculated to greater or lesser degrees of precision using anything from a simple radiative shell model to a full-blown convective-radiative model.

          You have some misconception, as all Slayers do, that the temperature you calculate from equating the radiation received by a surface to that emitted out into space in the absence of any IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere is some sort of maximum temperature that the radiation can heat things too. It is not. The maximum temperature that the surface of Venus could be heated to by the sun is ~5800 C, which is the temperature of the sun. (Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation again comes into play to make it impossible for the sun to heat Venus any higher than that.) Only in the absence of IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere does the simplistic calculation you do by equating solar radiation in to radiation emitted by the S-B equation give a maximum temperature that the planet can reach.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          Joel says “the notion that heat will creep downward from cold to hot really does violate the 2nd Law of thermodynamics”

          PROVE you statement, Joel. My paper proves the opposite, so show me where I’m wrong, Joel.

          This is what I mean about how you don’t talk physics. You don’t discuss Kinetic Theory, or the entropy conditions of the Second Law.

          An isothermal state in a sealed vertical cylinder of gas in a gravitational field would be in complete violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because it would not be a state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

          Have I made that point clear enough yet? Go and read my paper if it’s not yet clear enough, Joel, because it’s not all that hard to understand if you put your mind to it, as many of us have at Principia Scientific International.

          If others among our 200 members had proved me wrong in either of my papers, or any of my articles, don’t you think these documents would have been pulled from the site? They undergo rigorous peer-review before being published anyway.

          Nothing I have written breaches any law of thermodynamics – I have had about 50 years experience in physics, and helped many students understand it. Maybe I’d need to be face to face with you to help you understand this issue better. But I do think any intelligent person with some reasonable knowledge of tertiary physics ought to be able to understand the explanation in my paper. If not, then wait for an even more detailed one which I have already written in my planned book on the subject.

          But don’t expect to read about it on Science of Doom, SkS, WUWT or The Air Vent for example, because I am a threat to the owners of these domain names.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          “The maximum temperature that the surface of Venus could be heated to by the sun is ~5800 C, which is the temperature of the sun.”

          If you mean heated by direct radiation then that is a load of tripe Joel! Even if Venus were hard against the Sun, its atmosphere would still cut out about 98% of the radiative flux before the radiation reached the surface.

          Have you never learnt that the intensity of radiation falls off as the square of the distance?

          The only significance of the temperature of the Sun is that only those targets which are at a lower temperature can absorb Solar radiation and convert its electromagnetic energy to thermal energy. But this does not mean that there will be enough energy reaching the target to raise its temperature to that of the Sun. You have been very confused by something someone has said, Joel, and you haven’t thought for yourself.

          Silent readers will by now be starting to doubt your credentials and experience in the field of physics, Joel. From my experience teaching the subject I can always pick such students who really have no understanding of the subject, and you are such a person, Joel. You’ve blown your cover with this misapprehension.

          Try reading a book with torch light from a kilometre away.

          • steveta_uk says:

            “Silent readers will by now be starting to doubt your credentials and experience in the field of physics, Joel.”

            Nope. Sorry, Doug, but it’s not Joel who seems to have problems ;)

        • Doug Cotton says:

          “a high surface temperature is needed to produce the necessary …”

          Yep! But a high surface temperature needs a high input of thermal energy to maintain it. So, if you rule out “heat creep” you have no way of explaining how a mean of less than 20W/m^2 of direct solar radiation getting through the Venus atmosphere to its surface could then somehow maintain temperatures of over 720K. That’s about 10% of what Earth’s surface receives, so how hot should Earth be?

          Now explain how enough thermal energy has reached down to the base of the Uranus troposphere and heated and/or maintained it at a temperature of 320K, obviously without any greenhouse effect.

          • steveta_uk says:

            “But a high surface temperature needs a high input of thermal energy to maintain it.”

            Nope – it just needs a low net output of thermal energy to maintina it.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Joel says “We understand that the lapse rate in an atmosphere heated strongly from below is, in practice, set by the adiabatic lapse rate,

        Yes, well Joel the base of the troposphere of Uranus is not “heated strongly from below” and yet it is maintained at 320K with a mere 2.7W/m^2 of incident Solar radiation at TOA and a lot less getting through the next 350Km of atmosphere. But the thermal gradient is there OK – all able to be calculated from the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the mean Specific Heat of the gases, mostly hydrogen and helium. Where’s the back radiation, Joel? Where’s the greenhouse effect, Joel?

        Why is it so, Joel?

        Yes, of course lapse rates steeper than this quotient result in unstable convection. Basically that is what “heat creep” in my paper is talking about. But I wonder if you understand why they are unstable.

        Why is that so, Joel?

        And Joel, the effective radiating altitude is a totally meaningless invention of climatologists which has no practical application. It is not the altitude about which the thermal plot rotates in order to maintain radiative equilibrium as I explained in another comment somewhere. That altitude is between 3Km and 3.5Km and this explains why water vapour only cools by a mean of about 5 to 8 C degrees as real world data (such as in the Appendix of my paper) demonstrates.

        It’s not all about radiation my friend. There’s much more to it. And don’t call upon the authority of SoD please! I can tear his arguments to shreds and would do so on his site if he hadn’t banned me for fear of such. He didn’t get his facts right about the amount of insolation reaching the surface of Venus, for a start – he was way out.

    • you seem to have vacated the last thread so I will repeat this comment here:

      DJC in your paper you state:
      “So the wire would also develop a thermal gradient which would be
      effective in preventing a continuous flowing cycle of energy.”

      ————
      Unfortunately you have now caused more problems – if the cool junction is pushed by gravity to be at a different (colder or hotter)temperature to the hot junction then you do not have any necessity for the gas/liquid column.

      Just use a tall thermopile and it “would also develop a thermal gradient”
      Thermal gradient across thermopile = voltage and power forever!

      your rebuttal rebutted!?

  4. jae says:

    Roy, you say:

    “…you will find that the surface cools about 20 deg F overnight when the atmospheric IR transmittance is set to 0.1 (realistic), but cools by about 70 deg. F if the transmittance is set to 1 (no greenhouse effect).”

    Why, then, is it several degrees hotter at night in summer in Phoenix than in Atlanta, when Atlanta has at least 3X as much GHG (water vapor). Same elevation, latitude.

    • Joel Shore says:

      First of all, you need to show us data that this is true. Second of all, temperature at locations on the Earth is determined by more factors than just latitude and concentration of greenhouse gases. The approximation that climate can be determined purely locally without reference to the surrounding regions is not even close to a good approximation. So, it is not a controlled experiment to do the comparison that you have done.

      That said, I think you will find that the diurnal temperature range in desert regions is in general significantly larger than in moister regions. (That is probably not all attributable to the difference in the IR-absorbing properties of the water vapor in the atmosphere but it is partly so.)

      • Doug Cotton says:

        How about you read the study which will answer your concerns. That would seem more appropriate. Meanwhile, it’s being extended to many more countries throughout the tropics for the month(s) when the Sun is at its zenith.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Doug: It is hard to know where to start with critiquing your study. First of all, it confirms Roy’s point that there is a greater diurnal temperature spread in regions with higher water vapor than those with lower.

          The fact that the average temperature is a bit lower in wetter regions than drier regions could be due to many factors including:

          (1) The way in which you have chosen your stations, which involved a lot of selection on your part based on some questionable criteria.

          (2) The fact that you did not control for other effects, such as greater rainfall being associated with greater cloudiness. [Clouds have both an albedo effect and a greenhouse effect but the net radiative effect of clouds overall in the climate system is a cooling effect.]

          (3) The fact that you have, by your own description, chosen to look only when the sun is at its zenith, thus biasing your results in favor of the radiative effects of the sun relative to effects of GHGs.

          (4) The fact that there are huge transfers of energy in the climate system from place-to-place. It is not even close to correct to assume that you can just apply energy balance at a single location on the globe, ignoring these inflows and outflows of energy.

          I choose to believe the laws of physics over a very poorly done empirical study.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          Well, you design and carry out a better study that shows how the IPCC claim that water vapour maintains a mean surface temperature that is elevated by at least 25 to 30 degrees could be correct. Others have compared cities at similar latitudes outside the tropics. Nothing appears to support any concept that water vapour causes warmer temperatures, either maximum or minimum. I picked virtually all cities that were inland by 100Km or more and at altitudes less than 1200m. These criteria were set first and no cities were rejected unless data was not available. I don’t cherry pick.

          I too choose to base my conclusion on valid physics. Your problem is that you don’t understand much of that physics, as I have demonstrated to silent readers in several comments to which you have not responded satisfactorily, nor proved any of my physics in my paper to be incorrect.

          If you or any reader can prove my paper wrong in any point of physics, I will agree herewith to alter it.

          I’m not in the business of misleading the public, and have no financial incentive to do so, in contrast to many others being supported by the GH hoax.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          Specifically, regarding your points, Joel …

          (1) I set criteria that would avoid problem situations like nearby oceans, or altitudes greater than 1200m which would, when adjusted to 600m, have possible significant error due to any error in the assumed thermal gradient. Limiting adjustments to no more than 600m keeps error margins within reasonable limits. I am continuing to expand the study to the remaining 83% of the tropics other than the range of latitudes in this study.

          (2) I don’t need to. The IPCC has made a blanket claim that water vapour warms the surface by 25 to 30 degrees. They know cloud cover would increase as water vapour levels increase, so that’s already considered.

          (3) Choosing where the Sun can be directly overhead, namely in tropical regions, avoids considerable complications involved in comparing locations at even slightly different latitudes elsewhere, and at similar latitudes but different hemispheres. Any GHE would surely be amplified along with the extra intensity of the Sun in the tropics.

          (4) Well, you can say all that, but the results speak for themselves and do show, with statistical significance, that local temperature data is correlated with local precipitation levels. I’m happy just to show that there is statistically significant cooling, no matter if that is less than 5 degrees. The magnitude is in accord with the pivoting altitude being not much above 3Km by my calculations. I suggest there is no way you could show statistically significant warming of 25 degrees with any similar study.

    • steveta_uk says:

      July 1st, Phoenix avg 42 hi 28 low. (C)
      July 1st, Atlanta avg 29 hi 19 low.

      So Phoenix loses 14C overnight, Atlanta loses 10C. Perhaps because Atlanta has more GHG???

      • AlecM says:

        It is because the latent heat in the Atlanta atmosphere is so much greater than that of Phoenix.

        You can model this easily as the same initial cooling rate via the atmospheric window for a given temperature of the surface with a much higher release of latent heat as the moisture condenses in micro porosity.

        It is nothing to do with ‘back radiation’ because local radiative heat transport is minimal for Tsurface = Tair.

  5. Doug Cotton says:

    Correction: that should of course read ..

    Whenever such radiation strikes a target which is warmer (not cooler) than the source of the radiation

  6. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer, with respect;

    You are misapplying the blackbody radiation equation, and you are double counting radiation fluxes.

    The blackbody radiation equation only truly applies to a radiating energy source with an inexhaustible (over the time frames of interest) energy supply behind it. For example; the surface of the Sun, or the filament of a light bulb (until you flip the switch to off).

    While it can be useful in predicting the spectral shape of other re-radiators of energy (the Oceans) it cannot be used correctly for energy budget calculations in that context.

    By equating the re-radiated energy from the Earth’s surface with the received Solar energy INPUT (where you subtract cell I$7 from I$5) your energy budget just exploded and no longer represents reality. Yes you can do that math, but the answer is incorrect.

    You have a nice model of the “greenhouse effect HYPOTHESIS”, but it is in fact incorrect.

    If you where to replace the troposphere with the Thermosphere (much higher radiating temperature, but almost no thermal capacity), you might perhaps see that the thermal capacity of the gases is incapable of “forcing” anything with the massive thermal capacity of the Oceans.

    Again, the “GHE” simply delays the flow of energy (alternatively visible light, thermal energy, infrared light, etc. etc. etc.) through the system. Much like an optical delay line, or a multilayer optical interference filter (without the interference).

    This delay simply means that the gases in the atmosphere warm up/cool down slightly faster/slower when a change in the energy input occurs sunrise/sunset.

    This merely changes the “response time” of the climate and has NO EFFECT on the average temperature anywhere in the system (surface, atmosphere, deep ocean, etc.).

    This is also why everybody has been searching in vain for the “signature” of the “GHE”, its in the response time, you are all looking in the wrong place. It is not in the historical temperature data. Attempting to measure it is probably unaffordable, and we would have to start now and wait several decades for a significant signature to reveal itself.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Kevin,

      Not surprisingly I agree. It seems that otherwise sensible people don’t realise that energy is not restricted to particular frequency bands. I wonder if the caloric theory of heat persists.

      I better quit now.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Yes, carbon dioxide for example absorbs significant energy from incident Solar radiation in the 2.7 micron band, thus shielding the surface from the extra warming that this radiation would have caused. Each photon has nearly four times (10/2.7) the energy of 10 micron photons from the surface.

        Of all the Solar radiation, only about half the energy is in the IR band and plenty of UV and visible light is absorbed by the surface, warming both land and ocean.

        But note that, according to the NASA net energy diagram (in my paper) a total of 16% of the energy in incident Solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere plus a further 3% absorbed by the clouds, making 19% in total. In contrast, only 15% of the energy in the original incident radiation is transmitted back from the surface in the form of radiation that is then absorbed by the atmosphere.

        So the atmosphere absorbs more energy from incident Solar radiation than it does from IR radiation upwelling from the surface. Something to ponder, I suggest.

    • Doug Cotton says:

      Yes Roy. Think of a small parcel of radiation from the Sun which strikes the surface and has energy, say E units.

      A total of E units will be re-emitted initially by the surface of which about E/3 is by radiation which is absorbed by the atmosphere. But the surface has lost that energy and thus cooled accordingly.

      So now, when perhaps E/6 comes back as back radiation, how could it get the surface back to where it was (temperature wise) before the first parcel of E/3 units was emitted?

      Now I know you half-heartedly agree that back radiation cannot warm the surface with any additional thermal energy, and that it only slows cooling perhaps. (Actually nom-radiative cooling compensates, but we’ll leave that out of it for now.)

      OK, so now, if we agree that back radiation cannot actually make the surface gain more energy than the Sun supplies, then that means the Sun is doing all the heating. It’s like when your body does all the heating then even lots of blankets won’t make it hotter than it can get to by itself.

      BUT, you have said the surface would only be heated to 255K by direct Solar radiation. So how does it get to 288K if the Sun’s radiation can’t add the extra energy, and the back radiation can only slow the cooling?

      Slow the cooling from what temperature, Roy? The answer to the dilemma is in my long comment above and of course my paper.

      • Joel Shore says:

        “BUT, you have said the surface would only be heated to 255K by direct Solar radiation. So how does it get to 288K if the Sun’s radiation can’t add the extra energy, and the back radiation can only slow the cooling?”

        No…The Earth could be heated to ~5800 K (the temperature of sun) by direct solar radiation. The temperature of 255K is derived under the condition that the Earth’s surface re-radiates back into space all of the energy that it receives from the sun, i.e., that back-radiation doesn’t slow the cooling at all.

        The idea that there is a maximum temperature that a certain amount of solar radiation can heat something to (other than the 5800 K limit) is a fiction of the Slayers. The steady-state temperature of a planet is determined by the balance between what it receives from the sun and the net amount that it emits and the net emission is determined by the temperature difference between the surface and its IR-absorbing and -emitting surroundings. The basic of the dependence of net radiative emission on the surroundings is discussed in any introductory physics textbook.

      • Ian says:

        Doug,

        I assume if you have such supreme confidence in your interpretation of physics to the point you believe generations of atmospheric physicists have so woefully misunderstood the atmosphere that they made up this “greenhouse effect,” you can present to us your credentials in climate science and atmospheric physics please?

        1. Your graduate-level degree in atmospheric physics or a related field, M.S. and/or PhD please.

        2. Your list of peer-reviewed publications in the field, from either scientific journals and/or scientific conferences.

        Dr. Spencer has the boxes checked on my points 1 and 2, so I am eagerly awaiting your response to those points above.

        Thank you,
        Ian Turnbull, M.S., PhD (Geophysics, U of Chicago)

        • Doug Cotton says:

          Yes, they have misunderstood the role of the autonomous thermal gradient in the atmosphere. Thus no university course yet teaches what I have developed and explained in my latest paper, so what is the point of any credentials from such behind-the-times institutions?

          My knowledge comes from very extensive private study (and feedback from private tutoring in physics) over more than 50 years – a fact about which I was quite open in the Acknowledgements for my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012.

          Meanwhile my 20 page ground-breaking paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” has been up for worldwide peer-review in open media in the PROM menu on the Principia Scientific International website, where over 200 members, many more experienced and qualified than myself, and probably yourself, have had the opportunity to read it and discuss it. I would be bragging if I told you what some have said about it, but I leave it to you, or anyone you can find, to submit a formal rebuttal to the CEO of Principia Scientific International, and such will be given full attention, not only by myself but also our core team of experts in the field. Believe it or not, I’m very open to correction on any details, but so far no one has pinpointed any problem of any significance to the central argument.

          Now, how about you tell me how you think sufficient energy gets into the surface of Venus. I suggest you read The Old Wives’ tales of Climatology first.

          • Ian says:

            Doug,

            Dr. Spencer and others have repeatedly rebutted your claims on this blog quite effectively, but you dismiss their rebuttals as “not understanding” your argument. I clicked on the link you posted and saw this immediately posted as an “old wives’ tale”:

            “Air cools when it expands and warms when it is compressed.”

            The very first course I took in graduate school was atmospheric physics and chemistry, and we learn that this statement is indeed true in the case of adiabatic processes, where no heat is exchanged with the surroundings from the parcel of air in question. This phenomenon has been observed in controlled laboratory settings. I don’t think I need to read any further. When I asked for your publication list in peer-reviewed forums, I did not mean your own journal–I meant forums like AGU, industry conferences, or journals like JGR, Journal of Climate, etc.

            I’m still awaiting your answer about your academic graduate level credentials in this field.

            The IR absorptivity of a number of gases, including GHGs, has been measured in laboratory settings. Googling “atmospheric absorption spectrum” will reveal plenty of results.

            As for your claim that experts at PSI are more qualified in this field than myself, I do not claim to be an expert in climatology–I did my master’s on building a low-order Earth surface energy balance model, and my PhD on iceberg dynamics, but I do have a solid graduate course background in atmospheric physics from my grad school days, and I have taught undergraduate courses in weather and climate.

            I will not comment on your assertion that your own private study is sufficient to disprove a plethora of established physics and disregard the research conducted in “behind-the-times” institutions like the well-respected UAH and others, other than to quote an anonymous but insightful person who once said,

            “A sure sign you’re crazy is if you believe the rest of the world is crazy.”

            Cheers,
            Ian

        • jae says:

          Hah, Ian! This appeal to authority logical fallacy might have a little traction in some scientific circles, but certainly not in the field of “climate science,” as witnessed by so many folks with so many really bad papers. There’s about one bad paper per day exposed as junk science at WUWT! And almost all of them are in peer-reviewed journals and have been produced by PhD’s with lots of publications. The integrity of science has been hurt badly by some climate scientists.

          Being a scientist yourself, you must know that until the “greenhouse gas” hypothesis is proven with empirical evidence, it is still just a theory. I have seen no proof, only diagrams and equations. That wasn’t enough to prove the theory of relativity, and it’s not enough to prove the GHE theory.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Kevin,

      This notion of mere “delay” is nonsense. The temperature of the Earth is determined by a balance between the rate at which it emits energy and the rate at which it absorbs energy. Greenhouse gases reduce the rate of emission of energy back out into space and hence create a radiative imbalance, which can only be remedied by an increase of temperature to the point where the rate of emission of energy back out onto space again balances the emission.

      This is very basic stuff that is now even explained in introductory physics textbooks. For example, one of the most widely used textbooks, Young and Freedman, University Physics, 13th edition explains: “Molecules of CO2 in our atmosphere have the property that they absorb some of the infrared radiation coming upward from the surface. They then re-radiate some of the absorbed energy but some of the re-radiated energy is directed back down toward the surface instead of escaping into space. In order to maintain thermal equilibrium, the earth’s surface must compensate for this by increasing its temperature T and hence its total rate of radiating energy (which is proportional to T^4).”

      You might want to actually learn physics as understood by physicists rather than trying to create your own.

      • KevinK says:

        Joel, with respect;

        Textbooks are fine little objects; I understand that they are quite a bit more expensive than back in the day when I had to purchase many of them. Few of them were of much use after that. I recently did a long overdue “spring cleaning” and tossed out about twenty pounds of them that I never touched after college.

        You wrote;

        ”The temperature of the Earth is determined by a balance between the rate at which it emits energy and the rate at which it absorbs energy.”; quite correct, AT ANY GIVEN INSTANT IN TIME. That’s a nice little “textbook” quote, but in the real world it does not match what is happening; IE: it’s still not warming as all the textbooks say.

        You also wrote;

        “This notion of mere “delay” is nonsense.”

        Perhaps, but why do the textbooks (that know more than me, allegedly) never mention the speed at which heat/energy flows through the system ?? If you look up the physical property known as “thermal diffusivity” you might learn that it is essentially a “proxy” (we don’t use “proxies” in engineering, they tend to get people KILLED) for the “speed of heat”, aka rate of forward progress, distance travelled in a unit of time, etc.

        So perhaps the notion that the “GHE” only delays the flow of energy through the complex Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system is “nonsense”, but I prefer to do my own thinking and not rely on a “textbook”.

        Cheers, Kevin.

        • Joel Shore says:

          “Perhaps, but why do the textbooks (that know more than me, allegedly) never mention the speed at which heat/energy flows through the system ??”

          What do you think the unit of W/m^2 represents? A Watt is a Joule per second, which means it is a rate of energy flow. Your error is in thinking in terms of time delays, which is not the relevant way of thinking about a process that involves a continual flow of energy (not just a heat pulse). If one turned the sun on for one second and then turned it off again, it might be relevant to work out time delays, but the sun is on all the time. The Earth is constantly receiving energy at a certain rate and must emit it at (approximately) the same rate over time in order to not cool or heat substantially.

          It is really no different than many other things that engineers think about (I take it from your use of pronouns that you consider yourself one), like fluid flow. If I asked you what would happen if I cut the radius of a pipe in half and kept the pressure difference across it the same, you’d say that the volume flow rate would be reduced. If I required that the fluid be forced through at the same volume flow rate as before, then you would say that I would need to apply a higher pressure to force the fluid through the smaller pipe at this rate.

          Why is it so difficult to understand that heat flow works similarly? I need a higher temperature to radiate heat away if greenhouse gases reduce the efficiency with which the planet can radiate the energy that it receives back out into space.

          “I prefer to do my own thinking and not rely on a “textbook”.”

          What you are preferring to do is wallow in your own ignorance. It is pure arrogance to believe that you are so much smarter than the scientists who have come before you…and arrogance that is clearly undeserved in your case.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            Joel,

            I can’t resist it.

            I am arrogant enough to believe that Newton’s belief in alchemy was wrong. The caloric theory of heat believed by Carnot and Lord Kelvin was wrong. Phlogiston does not exist. The universal aether does not exist. Lord Kelvin’s calculation of the age of he Earth was wrong, and he made it worse as he got older. Einstein opposed quantum theory for many years. Plate tectonics exist, and all the scientists that believed it was nonsense were wrong.

            If you prefer to believe nonsense because “a scientist said so”, good luck to you.

            If you choose to believe you can warm an object, (without an internal energy source), by surrounding it with any sort of gas, go for it. If you can quote an actual experiment to demonstrate his effect, you’d be the first in history. You might as well experimentally verify phlogiston, caloric, the universal aether, and disprove quantum theory while you are at it.

            I see nothing to convince me that you have he faintest idea what you are blathering about.

            How’s that for being patronisingly condescending? Do I win?

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        Joel,

        I really don’t mean to be controversial, but : -

        You quote “Molecules of CO2 in our atmosphere have the property that they absorb some of the infrared radiation coming upward from the surface. They then re-radiate some of the absorbed energy but some of the re-radiated energy is directed back down toward the surface instead of escaping into space. In order to maintain thermal equilibrium, the earth’s surface must compensate for this by increasing its temperature T and hence its total rate of radiating energy (which is proportional to T^4).”

        I wonder what happens to the temperature of the surface when it emits this infrared radiation. I would think your textbook author ( and possibly yourself) would agree that the surface temperature must drop as a consequence of its energy loss.

        Now I have no problem with the CO2 returning some of the radiation to the surface from whence it came. However, this still leaves the surface with less energy (as the CO2 returns less than 100% of the energy emitted from the surface). Hence the surface temperature has fallen, due to the net energy loss so far.

        But then we are told “In order to maintain thermal equilibrium, the earth’s surface must compensate for this by increasing its temperature T and hence its total rate of radiating energy (which is proportional to T^4).”

        May I respectfully point out that “equilibrium” is extremely unlikelyl to exist for more than a microsecond or so. Those parts of the surface exposed to the Sun will heat as they absorb energy. Those parts of the surface in darkness will cool, as surely as night follows day.

        So let us not anthropomorphise the Earth. No offence intended to believers in Gaia theory.

        Now note that the surface has lost energy. I am inclined to believe the first law of thermodynamics including something to the effect that energy can not be created or destroyed. For the surface to increase in temperature, the energy radiated from the surface must be replaced in full, and extra energy supplied to account for the raise in temperature. CO2 doesn’t appear to be capable of creating energy, but I might be wrong.

        This doesn’t seem to be a terribly well written textbook, in addition to being slightly nonsensical.

        I have cut and pasted what you have quoted, and I assume your quotation was verbatim.

        You might like to correct any mistakes of fact that I have made, relating to your quoted text.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Mike,

          You are confusing things. Yes, the net effect of just considering the energy emitted by the Earth (without that being absorbed by the sun) is cooling. But the Earth is also absorbing energy from the sun. Its temperature is determined by what is necessary for it to emit as much energy back out into space as it is receiving from the sun.

          If we increase the level of GHGs so that more energy that it emits is being returned to the surface (as you admit happens, although I know some Slayers don’t) then the Earth will now be receiving energy from the sun at a higher rate than it is getting rid of it and it will remedy this by increasing its temperature until it is once again in a state of radiative balance.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            Joel,

            With respect, I was wondering if you would mind correcting any mistakes of fact I had made, relating to your quoted text.

            I am aware that the Earth warms during the day, and cools during the night. With respect, your statement “Its temperature is determined by what is necessary for it to emit as much energy back out into space as it is receiving from the sun.” is plainly nonsensical. The temperature will rise or fall depending on the energy flux balance from time to time. If the balance is positive with respect to he Earth, the temperature will rise. If negative, it will fall. If you can find a place on he Earth’s surface that is at thermal equilibrium naturally for more than a moment or two, I would be a little surprised.

            Your second paragraph is irrelevant at best, and nonsensical at worst. The more insulation you interpose between the Sun and the Earth, the less the surface will heat. Setting that aside for the moment, is it really a surprise to you that the surface heats up when exposed to radiant energy from the Sun? You say increased GHG’s will return more radiation to the surface. And so they should. However they cannot return more energy than they receive.

            You may have noticed that on still clear nights away from sea, the temperature continues to drop after the Sun sets. Radiative imbalance. It doesn’t start to rise again until the Sun rises again. More radiative imbalance.

            But back to my original question -

            With respect, I was wondering if you would mind correcting any mistakes of fact I had made, relating to your quoted text.

            I don’t believe you responded. Maybe I am, indeed, confused, but I think not.

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

        • Rob Shaw says:

          The tenth reason why global warming has stopped is that the Intergalactic Thought Police are arresting global warmists for breaking the 2nd law of thermodynamics

  7. John Parsons says:

    Joel,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to unravel the SDS nonsense. You do so in an elegant manner. Such twaddle, masquerading as science, needs to be slapped out of it’s hysteria. Your efforts are appreciated. JP

    • Joel Shore says:

      Thanks, John. It seems like a pretty thankless task sometimes, so I appreciate your appreciation!

      • Pierre-Normand says:

        Let me second John’s comment. (Thanks also to Roy Spencer, with whom I don’t always agree, for his OP, his replies, and the discussion opportunity). It’s unlikely any SDS will learn much anytime soon, but your efforts aren’t wasted on mere account of the several silent lurkers who may benefit from your insights (here and elsewhere) and the educational value of your patient explanation. The lurking also can occurs very long after the initial exchanges took place. Some of these archived threads get revisited. The insights gained then percolate down to other fora. SDS pseudo-insights can’t spread nearly as much, on mere account or their lack of coherence and intelligibility.

  8. KevinK says:

    Oh, I almost forgot, I got a personal attack from Joel, I must be over the target, and the FLAK is getting heavy.

    My Father was a WWII fighter pilot, I heard all about the FLAK getting heavy when you are over the target.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Yes, that is the perfect thought to delude yourself with and it explains things like why scientists react so vociferously to notions like the idea that the Earth is only 6000 years old. With such vicious attacks on Young Earth creationists by scientists, it must be right!!!

  9. KevinK says:

    John Parsons,

    With respect, the twaddle is all in the climate “science” community. Joel did not “unravel” anything.

    It’s still not warming; please add forty three more explanations why.

    Perhaps the woolly caterpillars are absorbing more solar radiation and NOT remitting it, or maybe it’s the ice in the tropics, or maybe it’s…..

    The climate “science” community has thrown the scientific method overboard a long time ago.

    The “twaddle” is coming from the “climate science” community.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  10. KevinK says:

    Ian wrote;

    “I assume if you have such supreme confidence in your interpretation of physics to the point you believe generations of atmospheric physicists have so woefully misunderstood the atmosphere that they made up this “greenhouse effect,” you can present to us your credentials in climate science and atmospheric physics please?”

    With respect Ian, a few years back a bunch of really, really smart PhD’s working for a BIG computer company (their name has three initials starting with I and ending with M) decided that Josephson Junctions where the future of high speed computing. The company sunk a bunch of dollars into that effort before they discovered that those junctions (while quite speedy) have a tendency to “not decide if they are ON or OFF”. Imagine a digital computer where 95% of the gates are clearly ON or OFF and the other 5% “just don’t know”. Nobody has produced a commercial realization of a Josephson Junction based computer since.

    Please keep you PhD credentials to yourself. If you cannot match hypothesis with observations you have nothing but a bunch of letters after your name.

    • Ian says:

      Kevin,

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_Gases_Observing_Satellite

      Hypothesis: Certain gases preferentially absorb and re-emit certain bands of infrared wavelength energy.

      Observation: This satellite senses the greenhouse activity of gases by sensing their infrared emissions. Emission cannot occur without absorption taking place first.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • Ian says:

        And see http://asr.science.energy.gov/science/research-highlights/RMjkz/view

        Downwelling LW radiation can also be observed, directly tied to the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases re-emit their absorbed energy in any direction, so some of it is bound to go down!

        -Ian

      • KevinK says:

        Ian, I do not dispute the existence of “down-welling” radiation. Nor do I dispute the existence of light energy flowing “back” towards the surface of a lens with a multiple layer anti-reflection interference filter.

        I dispute the hypothesized increase in the “equilibrium temperature”.

        Again, the “GHE” only delays the flow of energy (alternating between thermal energy / IR light / thermal energy / IR light / etc. etc. etc.) through the system. Given the dimensions involved (5 miles to TOA) and the speed of light this delay amounts to a few tens of milliseconds, perhaps a few seconds at most.

        The “GHE” hypothesis says the TEMPERATURE WILL GO UP WITH MORE “GHGs”. It is not going UP, perhaps it’s those wooly caterpillars.

        Dr. Spencer’s model has serious errors in accounting for energy input to the system (the solar radiation) and energy flows within the system (the “down-welling” radiation). Thus it does not constitute a serious “energy budget”.

        Cheers, Kevin (no letters after my name, I’ll just stand by my arguments, thanks)

        • Ian says:

          Kevin, “IR” is infrared thermal energy, light is visible energy, so “IR light” does not make sense. The globally averaged surface temperature has indeed not risen in any statistically significant way for the past 10-15 years, likely because there are myriad other factors affecting atmospheric energy balance besides GHGs.

          If you accept the IR activity of GHGs as fact, and their ability to emit downwelling radiation, then this will necessarily lead to a delay in the emission of the energy to space. From the Stephan-Boltzmann law, the flux out of the system = epsilon * sigma * (T^4). As the system will tend toward radiative equilibrium over time, and delaying the IR emission to space is effectively reducing emissivity, epsilon, then T must rise to compensate.

          -Ian

          • John says:

            Hi Ian,

            You wrote:

            “As the system will tend toward radiative equilibrium over time, and delaying the IR emission to space is effectively reducing emissivity, epsilon, then T must rise to compensate.”

            GHGs absorb not only IR emissions from the Earth’s surface but incident solar IR emissions as well and thus delays and prevents IR impingement of the Earth surface. Solar Ir has a much shorter wavelength and resulting higher energy level. By your own logic T must lower to compensate.

            Prove by empirical data, if you can, what the net resulting T from both processes must be.

          • Ian says:

            John, you just lent even more support to my statement–if GHGs also absorb solar IR, then they are trapping even more heat near the earth’s surface. However, much more energy from the sun is visible rather than IR, so the solar IR absorption of GHGs is probably negligible.

            The earth system tending toward radiative equilibrium means equilibrium with the solar energy input, so the earth must heat up to radiate away the excess energy whose departure to space is delayed by GHGs.

            The fact that GHGs might also absorb solar IR does not affect the emissivity of earth’s atmosphere system. Emissivity is determined by GHG concentrations and types.

          • John says:

            Hi Ian,

            You wrote:

            “John, you just lent even more support to my statement–if GHGs also absorb solar IR, then they are trapping even more heat near the earth’s surface. However, much more energy from the sun is visible rather than IR, so the solar IR absorption of GHGs is probably negligible.”

            How exactly do GHGs trap heat near the surface? Most IR freely moves around them. IR energy absorbed by GHGs can be conveyed and/or re-emitted. In addition, more GHGs mean more of the solar IR gets absorbed and conveyed and/or re-emitted back out to space before ever reaching the surface. BTW you chose the term “near” the surface which hangs on a completely subjective definition of near and far which only you can provide. Care to do so? GHGs, including CO2, exist throughout the atmosphere near and far. They can easily absorb IR and higher frequency radiation at all levels of the atmosphere preventing and delaying the radiation from ever reaching the surface to begin with. In fact, many complain that the lack of O3 in the atmosphere results in far too much UV impinging the surface. Solar incident radiation does include extensively greater higher frequency radiation, visible light, ultraviolet, etc., than merely a small band of IR radiation. However, the energy content of solar radiation impinging the Earth greatly exceeds the radiation emitted back from the surface. Your claim that IR absorption of GHGs is “probably” negligible only means you don’t know.

            You went on to write:

            “Emissivity is determined by GHG concentrations and types.”

            Emissivity pertains to all matter not just GHGs.

  11. RW says:

    I, like Roy, continue to be puzzled why so many people seemingly just cannot grasp the concept behind the GHE. It is fundamentally a radiative resistance effect. Much of the upwelling radiation from the surface and lower atmosphere is absorbed by the atmosphere and subsequently re-radiated back downward toward the surface (direct downward LW at the surface has little to do with it and is major misnomer). Now much of what is absorbed is re-radiated back up in the same direction it was going pre-absorption (something climate science seems to have overlooked when quantifying GHG ‘forcing’, but that’s another issue), but the key point is some is radiated back down in like post albedo solar power is radiating down in. In order to ‘push through’ the same amount of power as is arriving from the Sun, the surface and lower atmosphere has to emit a higher rate because not all of what is emitted up acting to cool can pass into space.

    • KevinK says:

      RW, no it is not a “radiative resistance” effect. A resistance effect only truly applies to a DC circuit. Once you transistion from DC circuit analysis to AC circuit analysis you begin to understand “response time” and “delay time”. Neither effect has any meaning in a DC circuit.

      A true thermal insulator slows the velocity of thermal energy. The “GHE” does no such thing. It simply delays the flow of energy through the system by causing the energy (alternating between thermal energy and IR radiation energy) to make multiple passes through the system at the speed of light (in air, which is damn close to the speed of light in a vacuum).

      In fact this transit of energy at the speed of light is much faster than the transit of energy through any other material in the system (water, soil, gases) via conduction an/or convection (I haven’t yet seen wind speeds approaching the speed of light). Thus the “GHE” does not act as a resistor or a thermal insulator.

      Cheers, Kevin.

      • Joel Shore says:

        (1) There is still resistance in AC circuits. There are also additional impedance effects due to phase differences but resistances does not disappear.

        (2) By “velocity of thermal energy”, I take it you mean a measurement of energy flow in, say, W/m^2. And, yes, GHE’s do reduce the energy flow (for a fixed surface temperature). This can be seen in even the simplest model, such as the shell model, for the greenhouse effect (or in the multilayer insulation used on satellites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-layer_insulation ).

      • Joel Shore says:

        Just to expand on my last post, do you believe that the Wikipedia article on multilayer insulation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-layer_insulation ) for spacecraft is all wrong? If not, what is the fundamental difference between it and the greenhouse effect?

        • Doug Cotton says:

          What is the difference? I’ll explain it to you.

          The “insulation” for the greenhouse would stop more incident Solar radiation (19%) than upwelling radiation from the surface (15%) as per NASA net energy diagrams.

          Dual glazed windows have less effective insulation properties if the air gets moist than when it was dry. The water vapour would of course send back radiation to the warmer surface, but its main role is radiating energy in a leap frog effect to other water vapour molecules which are closer to the cooler pane. These then pass on their kinetic energy in collisions until some of that energy enters the cooler pane. Otherwise they could only have transferred energy at the much slower rate of diffusion all the way across the gap, rather than at the speed of light.

          So that’s how the energy escapes even through dual glazed windows. If they are filled with argon (which works very well as an insulator) the argon does not radiate much, so the energy takes a long time crossing the gap by slow molecular collisions in a process of diffusion of kinetic energy.

          Now the same happens in the troposphere at 90 degrees rotation, so the warmer pane of glass represents the surface. As you know, the thermal gradient in the troposphere is less steep when and where the troposphere is more moist. In such a situation we observe water vapour radiating to other water vapour and helping some energy to leap frog the slow moving energy trapped in oxygen and nitrogen molecules that are passing on their energy through collisions with others and sometimes moving a little more upwards than downwards because of the driving force of the extra kinetic energy in the warmer molecules in the surface and layers below them. When they do this we have what physicists called convection. Wind, however, is not convection, even when it blows up a steep mountain side.

          So that’s how it works, and radiating molecules like water vapour and carbon dioxide help to expedite the passage of thermal energy upwards through the troposphere, just like they do help it to move more quickly through the space between dual glazed windows.

          • Joel Shore says:

            You are misreading that NASA diagram. Yes, it shows is that 19% of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the atmosphere coming in. However, it does not show that only 15% of the radiated energy from the Earth is absorbed by the atmosphere going out. In fact, it shows that almost 75% is: Of the 21% of the output radiation that comes from the surface of the Earth, a fraction of 15/(15+6) of it is absorbed by the atmosphere and only 6/(15+6) passes through unimpeded. [The reason that only 21% of the output radiation is from radiation that comes from the surface of the earth at all is that only 51% of the input radiation is absorbed by the Earth's surface itself, because of the 19% is absorbed and 30% is reflected by clouds, atmosphere, or Earth's surface.]

            Also, the absorption is due to other substances besides greenhouse gases. For example, a lot of the absorption is in the stratosphere by ozone. [The ozone that is in the troposphere can absorb outgoing terrestrial radiation, but ozone is not well-mixed and the ozone in the stratosphere absorbs solar radiation more prominently than it absorbs terrestrial radiation.]

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, May 1, 2013 at 1:34 AM:

            “You are misreading that NASA diagram. Yes, it shows is that 19% of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the atmosphere coming in. However, it does not show that only 15% of the radiated energy from the Earth is absorbed by the atmosphere going out.”

            I realise of course that you’re obligated as always to conflate energy with heat. That ‘confusion’ is what the entire myth of the radiative GHE is built upon, after all. You know about the physical concept of heat, don’t you? You know, energy that can actually make substances warmer. An actual transfer of thermal energy from a hotter body to a colder body.

            You’re the one (willfully) misreading the NASA diagrams, Joel. According to Trenberth et al. 2009, ~23% (78 W/m^2) of the Sun’s HEAT is being absorbed by the atmosphere on its way IN and hence prevented from ever reaching the surface. This is the atmosphere keeping the surface of the Earth cooler than otherwise. The IR HEAT flux leaving the global surface and absorbed by the atmosphere on the other hand is only (356-333=) 23 W/m^2. That’s ~14% of the Earth’s HEAT being absorbed by the atmosphere on its way OUT. So with the atmosphere in place, according to Trenberth’s numbers, 3.4 times as much radiative HEAT coming IN (from the Sun) is absorbed by the atmosphere than radiative HEAT going OUT (from the Earth’s surface).

            It doesn’t matter where in the atmosphere this absorption takes place. In purely radiative terms, the presence of our atmosphere actually acts to make the surface of the planet cooler than it would’ve been without, because it greatly limits the full surface incidence of the Sun’s insolation, to a much greater extent than it does the outgoing surface radiative heat. (Include the significantly raised albedo from clouds (H2O), then this atmospheric cooling effect on the surface is even more pronounced. The Moon’s surface receives a global mean of ~300 W/m^2 from the Sun, the Earth’s surface a mere 160-165 W/m^2. 300 W/m^2 also goes out, across the diurnal cycles, from the lunar surface, to balance the incoming. As does 160-165 W/m^2 of total heat loss from the surface of our planet. Dynamic equilibrium both places. And still our surface, with IN/OUT heat fluxes only ~54% of the lunar ones, is ~90K warmer on average than the Moon’s. Go figure!)

            No, the atmosphere forces the surface temperature up not by restricting radiative flow through opacity (quite the contrary), but rather because of its mass, its weight (pressure) upon the surface, resticting its convective/latent heat loss. Ours is no black body world. Heat fluxes do not directly translate into absolute temperatures.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian,

            Your misreading of the energy diagram is even worse than Doug Cotton’s. You can’t subtract the two numbers you do to figure out how much radiation from the surface is absorbed the atmosphere. The question is not one of the net amount (which in fact must be zero once both shortwave and longwave is included) but rather how much of the longwave from the surface makes it through without any absorption and re-emission processes, just as you asked that question about the shortwave radiation.

            You are desperately flailing in order to get the answer you want to get.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel,

            “You can’t subtract the two numbers you do to figure out how much radiation from the surface is absorbed the atmosphere.”

            You’re simply too good to be true!

            HEAT, Joel. HEAT. Stop conflating heat and energy/radiation! ‘The two numbers’ you refer to are made up, inferred. The only real value here being measured is the heat flux from the surface to the atmosphere. The 23 W/m^2 is the actual number. Not the 356 or 333.

          • Kristian says:

            Just to show how conveniently made up those ‘two numbers’ are, I would like to quote Alan Siddons (yes, he’s a dragon slayer, yikes!):

            “Look at Trenberth’s 1997 budget. Remember that 390 W/m² onto a blackbody will heat it to 288 K. Follow his schematic, then, and you’ll see how he gets to that temperature. 235 of solar enters the system but only 168 reaches the surface. Heat losses from thermal convection and evaporation, however, reduce the surface to 66. So Trenberth has 324 coming down from the sky and he ADDS that to the surface’s 66. Voilà! Now he has a 390 surface. It is childishly stupid. Radiant magnitudes don’t combine that way. Might as well mix half a cup of 50° water with another half cup of 50° water to get 1 cup of boiling water.”

            To be sure, Earth’s surface is nothing like a blackbody (or a graybody). Its asserted ‘need’ to radiate 390 W/m^2 in strict accordance with its observed temperature results from nothing more than a blatant misapplication of the S-B law.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Siddons and the other Slayers write that sort of garbage just to impress people like you who are too foolish to see through their sophistry.

            And, in fact, the Earth behaves very much like a blackbody over the relevant wavelengths and when we look from satellites in space, we can see the emission of the Earth like a ~288 K blackbody, except with “bites” taken out of the emission at those wavelengths for which the atmosphere has absorption lines.

          • Doug Cotton says:

            Excuse me, Joel. I have not misread the NASA net energy diagram. I have quoted the exact figures and you’ll find the diagram on NASA education sites and on my website and in my paper. It’s also easy to find elsewhere. It is a good and realistic representation of thermal energy transfers. If you don’t think so, go argue with NASA.

        • Kristian says:

          What the article on MLI clearly shows is that the original source of the heat flux (the plate) does not heat up some more with the insulation (the new layer) in place. All the insulation does is reduce the heat loss to space:

          “The principle behind MLI is radiation balance. To see why it works, start with a concrete example – imagine a square meter of a surface in outer space, at 300 K, with an emissivity of 1, facing away from the sun or other heat sources. From the Stefan-Boltzmann law, this surface will radiate 460 watts. Now imagine we place a thin (but opaque) layer 1 cm away from the plate, thermally insulated from it, and also with an emissivity of 1. This new layer will cool until it is radiating 230 watts from each side, at which point everything is in balance. The new layer receives 460 watts from the original plate. 230 watts is radiated back to the original plate, and 230 watts to space. The original surface still radiates 460 watts, but gets 230 back from the new layers, for a net loss of 230 watts. So overall, the radiation losses have been reduced by half by adding the additional layer. More layers can be added to reduce the loss further.”

          So is it your claim, Joel, that this plate (or the interior instruments of a satellite) in a vacuum would heat up to eventually melt if only the original input of 460 W/m^2 was left on and you simply covered it with say 2-3 highly reflective insulating layers (not ~20 like they normally do)?

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian,

            It’s steady-state temperature is determined by a simple calculation using conservation of energy. Whatever thermal energy it receives or generates has to be balanced by the energy it loses by radiation. This loss is reduced when more layers are added so that the steady-state temperature will be higher.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel,

            Energy is conserved. Did you even read the quote from the Wikipedia article? It doesn’t seem like you did. Energy is conserved even when it doesn’t heat the energy source. It doesn’t disappear even if it has no heating effect. Heat is energy that ONLY crosses boundaries between thermodynamic systems. It is a transfer of thermal energy from a warmer system to a cooler one. Not back. Heat does not accumulate in a vacuum like it does in air. Fermions (like atoms, molecules) vs. bosons (like photons). If you were to surround yourself completely with perfect mirrors, you would not be warmed by reflected radiation, no matter how long you were to be locked up. Because there would be no radiative heat transfer between you and the mirrors. Q would be 0. You would instead be warmed excessively by the convective and latent heat from your body accumulating in the air between you and the mirrors.

            I simply can’t believe that you, a physicist, would really think that the instrument surfaces inside the satellite vacuum would heat up beyond their (constant) internal energy input simply from being wrapped in radiative insulation. It just cannot happen.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian: You clearly have you view of how you think the world works and noone will convince you to understand real physics rather than what you want the physics to be.

    • Doug Cotton says:

      1. Except that the NASA net energy diagram (in my papers) shows us that the atmosphere and clouds absorb more incident Solar radiation (19% of it) than the 15% which is absorbed on the way up. So the greenhouse is upside-down, sending backradiation back up to space before it even got through the atmosphere the first time.

      2. Except that the second-hand backradiation (which uses energy that has already come from the surface and left it cooler) now has to not only warm it back up to the same temperature that it was before it cooled, but even more with newly created energy.

      3. Except that the Sun itself cannot heat the surface with direct radiation to more than 255K – well that’s Roy’s calculation I’ll use.

      So we have back radiation returning some of the energy that left the surface cooler, unable to heat it at all actually, but by your fake physics you may think it can. But it you have to agree it can’t do so by more than the energy it took out of the surface on the first trip. And, as you know, not all of it comes back down anyway.

      So where’s the energy coming from to make the surface warmer than 255K by your easily understood but totally fictitious greenhouse wonder effect?

      • Mike Flynn says:

        Hey Doug,

        Quite by coincidence I have stated your para 2 (using somewhat different wording) in a response elsewhere in his thread. I have no problem agreeing with para 3, either, and the following para.

        In possible answer to your last question, (and I know you might disagree), it seems quite possible that the simplest explanation might be that the Earth has not finished cooling to 255K yet.

        The 5000K plus core is insulated from space by quite a lot of mantle and a little bit of congealed crust. The atmosphere also slows radiation to space.

        Given that the interior still seems molten, why is it impossible that the Earth has cooled to its present temperature, no more and no less?

        I best bolt, and avoid any possible eruption.

        Live well and prosper

        Mike Flynn.

        • Joel Shore says:

          The heat conducted from the Earth’s interior is orders of magnitude too small to have a significant effect on the Earth’s surface temperature. I think the number is something like 0.02 W/m^2 at the most.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            So Joel,

            You have a glowing incandescent blob around 12,500 kms in diameter.

            It started off around 5500K, (or 6000K, according to recent research).

            It has received an unknown amount of energy from both internal and external sources.

            It has radiated an unknown amount of energy.

            It is around 4.5 billion years old.

            Do you really expect that you, out of all the people who have ever existed since the dawn of time, have been able to determine that the surface temperature of this blob should be different to that which is measured today?

            God, move aside – make way for Joel the Omnipotent!

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          Mike writes it seems quite possible that the simplest explanation might be that the Earth has not finished cooling to 255K yet

          Again. my paper explains why that is not the case. Every morning quite a lot of Solar energy is absorbed by the crust and some of it must penetrate up the internal thermal gradient by “heat creep.” The daily inflow and outflow would be far more than the estimated terrestrial flow, which is a net figure. So it is clearly possible for much greater rates of energy flow to enter and leave the crust. This implies that the Earth could and would have cooled faster and to far colder temperatures if it were, say, 100 times further from the Sun.

        • Mack says:

          Mike,
          “The atmosphere also slows radiation to space” The atmosphere probably also slows radiation FROM space too. I wouldn’t get too fussed about the delay.

          • Doug Cotton says:

            Yep. NASA shows 19% absorbed on the way in, but only 15% of incident energy absorbed on the way back up from the surface. Funny they didn’t notice this before inventing the imaginary greenhouse. Ooops. It’s standing on its roof.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            Mack,

            I’m sorry, but what “delay” are you referring to? I am at a bit of a loss.

            In regard to the atmosphere reducing radiative energy transfer efficiency, I agree. It does indeed work both ways. People seem to overlook this fact. I get the distinct impression, occasionally, that people express surprise that the same insulator retards the cooling of hot things, and the heating of cold things.

            Another point that seems to be overlooked is that any radiation absorbed by an insulator or a filter does not cease to be, but results in heating of the filter or insulator itself.

            Maybe you are confusing me with another commenter – if not, please accept my apology.

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

      • Joel Shore says:

        Point 1, I have responded to above.

        Point 2, I can’t even parse.

        Point 3 is a misinterpretation of what Roy has said. He didn’t say the sun can only heat the Earth to 255 K. He said that the sun can only heat the Earth to 255 K if the atmosphere has no elements in it that absorb terrestrial radiation so that all radiation emitted by the Earth escapes to space with no absorption.

        You really have no clue whatsoever about what you are talking about…but if your goal is to make AGW skeptics look as foolish as possible, hey, more power to you!

        • Doug Cotton says:

          On the one hand Roy has said quite correctly that back radiation cannot add thermal energy to the warmer surface. He quite correctly says that it can only slow the rate of cooling. (In fact, the physics in my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” shows why it can only slow that portion of surface cooling which is by radiation.)

          Your comment above implies that you believe such back radiation does in fact add thermal energy to the surface and somehow heat it by 33 degrees. (Most of that heating would supposedly be by water vapour, but in fact real world evidence proves that water vapour cools.)

          No wonder you had trouble understanding point 2. Let’s say a certain small parcel of radiation brings an amount of energy of E units which enters the surface at the very crack of dawn. It is the first such parcel doing so in that region. The surface is heated by say T degrees using that energy E. It subsequently loses that energy (maybe not till night) and as it does so only a portion of that energy is radiated to the atmosphere – actually only about a third, so say E/3. The rest does still leave the surface though by other processes. The surface cools accordingly by T degrees and about half of the energy absorbed by the atmosphere is radiated back to the surface. If the surface is warmer, that radiation is re-emitted instantly. But even if you don’t believe that, let’s say E/6 (half of the E/3 that went up) is absorbed and somehow does warm the surface by T/6 degrees. Hence the net effect of this up and down iteration is that the surface originally cooled by T degrees and then only warmed by T/6 degrees. We are not getting anywhere with any additional heating are we?

          So how could direct Solar radiation, even with all the resulting back radiation due to radiating water and gases, heat the surface to a temperature like 288K? How on Venus could only 10% of the energy that gets through the thick atmosphere heat its surface to over 720K? If that much energy (about 20W/m^2) could heat the Venus surface to over 720K, then how much more should 10 times the energy heat the Earth’s surface?

          You’re tied in knots – admit it, and so is Roy who doesn’t even venture to answer! I wonder if he will respond to an Open Letter read by about 20,000 readers visiting PSI.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Doug Cotton says: “Your comment above implies that you believe such back radiation does in fact add thermal energy to the surface and somehow heat it by 33 degrees. (Most of that heating would supposedly be by water vapour, but in fact real world evidence proves that water vapour cools.) ”

            No…What adding radiating gases does is reduce the rate of cooling for the surface (when it is at a given temperature), resulting in an imbalance of between the amount of energy it receives from the sun and the amount it emits back out into space. The surface then responds to this imbalance by gaining energy (increasing its temperature) until such time as the balance is restored.

            If you want to call this “back radiation heat[ing] it by 33 degrees”, I suppose you could. However, it is not really a correct characterization in that it then leads people to mistakenly think that there is a net flow of energy from the atmosphere to the Earth, which there can’t be (and isn’t) by the 2nd Law. The net energy flow is from the Earth to the atmosphere.

            Doug Cotton says: “Hence the net effect of this up and down iteration is that the surface originally cooled by T degrees and then only warmed by T/6 degrees. We are not getting anywhere with any additional heating are we?”

            Your whole discussion doesn’t make any sense. Temperature is not determined just by the rate at which heat something absorbs energy from the sun. It is determined by the balance of the rate that it absorbs and the rate that it emits. Your discussion is just a roundabout way of saying that the net flow of energy is from the Earth to the atmosphere, a point that nobody is contesting.

            Doug Cotton says: “If that much energy (about 20W/m^2) could heat the Venus surface to over 720K, then how much more should 10 times the energy heat the Earth’s surface?”

            Because, as I have explained countless times, temperature is not determined simply by looking at one side of the “ledger”. It is determined by the balance between radiation emitted and absorbed. The only upper limit on the temperature that any amount of solar radiation can heat an object to is that it can’t heat it hotter than the sun itself.

    • RW says:

      Kevin,

      I didn’t say thermal resistance, I said radiative resistance.

  12. Doug Cotton says:

    The Earth’s surface could never cool to a mean anywhere near 255K unless the Sun also cooled significantly or the height of the atmosphere was reduced a lot.

    Neither the crust nor the mantle will cool any more either for reasons explained in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” which I guess could have been named Planetary Core, Mantle, Crust, Surface and Atmospheric Temperatures.

    The temperatures in the crust and mantle are supported at their current levels and will not alter unless Solar radiation levels alter.

    This is yet further supporting evidence for what I am saying about heat creep. Everything everywhere fits with my hypothesis.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Your “heat creep” idea is a hypothesis violating the 2nd Law of thermodynamics. As such, one would need to find extremely compelling evidence to believe it. No such evidence exists.

      The temperatures in the crust and mantle are, by the way, determined in large part by radioactive decay ( http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/jul/19/radioactive-decay-accounts-for-half-of-earths-heat )

      • Doug Cotton says:

        You have not discussed the relevant physics in the Sections 3 to 9 in my paper, nor the evidence which follows in later sections. Your assertive statements do not even attempt to discuss the entropy requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as clearly explained in the paper. If and when you can pinpoint any section, paragraph or sentence which you, and preferably someone else with a solid understanding of physics can support, then come back to me.

        Regarding the temperatures in the crust and mantle, try explaining why the thermal gradient in the outer crust is so much steeper than that in the inner mantle. A borehole in Germany measured 270C at 9Km depth. Try extrapolating that gradient to the centre of the Earth. Is most of your radioactive decay in the outer crust? You have absolutely no quantitative indication that the energy from radioactive decay would be sufficient on its own to support estimated core and mantle temperatures. What a hand-waving statement that was! Apply a bit of physics and you will find it would need a lot more energy than appears to be exiting the sub-surface regions. Besides, radioactive decay reduces according to half-lives and is not a renewable source. Some say much of it would have all but gone by now if it started when the Earth first formed.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        (continued)

        Your linked paper states …

        “One thing we can say with near certainty is that radioactive decay alone is not enough to account for Earth’s heat energy,” says KamLAND collaborator Stuart Freedman of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California. “Whether the rest is primordial heat or comes from another source is an unanswered question.”

        Another fallacy in the paper relates to the estimates of terrestrial heat flow, these being based on assumption that such can be deduced from the thermal gradient in the crust. But that gradient is established by gravity and sometimes heat actually creeps up that gradient in order to comply with the maximum entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is this heat creep which supplies the (until now) unexplained energy in their “unanswered question.”

      • Doug Cotton says:

        You appear to be under the impression that the Second Law of Thermodynamics implies there would be thermal equilibrium in, for example, a vertical sealed cylinder of still air in a gravitational field.

        If you click the link above you will see no reference to thermal equilibrium at all. I suggest you read the statement of that law, and also follow the link to thermodynamic equilibrium, which is quite a different thing from thermal equilibrium.

        If there’s anything you don’t understand relating to the maximum available entropy state of thermodynamic equilibrium (as required to satisfy the law) then either read my explanation in my paper, or discuss it with a friendly physicist.

        We have members of PSI who are well qualified in physics and related disciplines – professors and others with PhD’s who play a part in the peer-review system that applies for published papers and articles on the PSI website, so please don’t get the impression that I am not supported in what I write.

        A state of thermal equilibrium in a vertical cylinder of gas in a gravitational field cannot exist and certainly would not be a state of thermodynamic equilibrium having maximum available entropy, as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Doug: Your paper is just a bunch of horribly confused assertions. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and for your extraordinary claim about the 2nd Law, you give exactly zero evidence. I see no rigorous calculation of the entropy and you are constantly confusing things like reversible and irreversible processes: For example, a ball dropping (in the absence of friction or air resistance converting some of the kinetic energy to heat) is a reversible process…I.e., if you run the film backwards, you would see a ball with a large initial speed going up and losing speed as it converts kinetic to potential energy, a perfectly reasonable picture.

          • Doug Cotton says:

            So a ball will fall upwards? Now who’s the crackpot?

            When you can explain the thermal gradient in the troposphere of Uranus without resorting to using my hypothesis, then I may start to respect your understanding of physics.

            For there not to be a gravity gradient you would have to throw out all of Kinetic Theory (as used and endorsed by Einstein) and revert to the old Clausius statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics from the mid 19th century – a statement which is only strictly correct in a horizontal plane. Good luck with your use of such outdated physics.

            So far, all you can deliver is verbiage laced with superlatives in an endeavour to convince silent readers that you’re right about everything. Unfortunately you’re not, which is why you cannot explain how sufficient thermal energy gets to the base of the troposphere of planets like Uranus, Venus and, yes, even Earth.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Doug,

            (1) I didn’t say a ball would “fall upwards”. What I said is that if you take a film of a ball falling downwards and accelerating downwards as it falls and run it backwards, you will see a ball traveling upwards and slowing down…which is a perfectly reasonable picture. Hence, this is a reversible process and one for which there is no change in entropy. Irreversible processes, which involve an increase in entropy, are ones that do not look realistic when they are run backwards. For example, if I gave you a film of a block sliding across a level table and slowing down due to friction and you run it backwards, you would see a block sliding across a level table and speeding up, something that is not observed in reality. In general, irreversible processes involve the conversion of some other form of energy into thermal energy or the transfer of heat from a hotter object to a colder object. Understanding the difference between reversible and irreversible processes is rather important if you are going to talk about entropy.

            (2) One sign of junk science is when one is told that “if my theory (that goes against what is already known in the field) is not correct, then you would have to throw out all of this respected theory”. No, we would not have to throw out kinetic theory. However, if your “theory” was correct, apparently we would have to throw out statistical mechanics, which is what underlies and makes sense of all of thermodynamics. (I say “apparently” because it could turn out that the authors of the paper I cited made an error in their calculation. However, considering they did a rigorous calculation using basic principles of statistical mechanics, whereas you waved your hands around and made statements that made it apparent that you didn’t really understand entropy very well, I think the smart betting money would be on them.)

        • Joel Shore says:

          I might add that nobody who I have interacted with associated with PSI (and that has been quite a few by now) is at all qualified to assess your papers. They are all similarly nutty. (I suppose it is “peer review” but it is a strange form where the peers are not respected scientists in the field but peers in the sense that they are people with similar crackpot ideas.)

        • Joel Shore says:

          By the way, if you want to address the issue of the state of thermodynamic equilibrium for an ideal gas in a gravitational field, then the first thing you would have to do is demonstrate how the previous work on the problem that did actual explicit calculations (especially the 2nd below), and not just handwaving, arrived at a different conclusion than yours. Here are the relevant papers that I have found:

          “A Paradox Concerning the Temperature Distribution of a Gas in a Gravitational Field,” C. A. Coombes and H. Laue, American Journal of Physics 53, 272-273 (1985).

          “On a Paradox Concerning the Temperature Distribution of an Ideal Gas in a Gravitational Field,” , S. Velasco, F. L. Roman and J. A. White, European Journal of Physics 17, 43-44 (1996).

          • Max™ says:

            Uh, did you notice the reason they noted it is important to distinguish between the finite and infinite cases, and then added: “for a finite adiabatically enclosed ideal gas in a gravitational field the average molecular kinetic energy
            decreases with height
            ” ~Velasco et al

            Which happily corresponds to what my favorite explanation of this phenomenon says: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/entropy.html

            Thermodynamic equilbrium and systems with negative specific heat are tricky things.

            Similarly, isothermal does not automatically mean isentropic or isoenergetic, and the quantity we need to track when looking for the end state of a system after a given period of evolution is the entropy, not the temperature.

            If they were the same thing, clouds of gas could not collapse into protostars, could they?

          • Doug Cotton says:

            I think Max has answered this well enough.

            You have not addressed the content of my paper and the explanation of the thermal gradient derived using Kinetic Theory and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Where is the fault in that derivation?

            When are you going to explain the thermal gradients in the tropospheres of Uranus and Venus, or how the required thermal energy gets into the surface of Venus, or the assumed base of the troposphere of Uranus? Try doing this without the concept of a gravity gradient. It will be a bit hard to explain any greenhouse effect on Uranus, my friend.

            The thermal gradients on these planets are remarkably close to -g/Cp value, just as on Earth – not only in the atmosphere, but also in the crust and mantle of Earth. Coincidence?

          • Joel Shore says:

            Doug: You didn’t give a derivation. If you want to see how one actually presents something in a rigorous manner, I suggest you read the 2nd of the two papers that I linked to. It shows rather definitively that the temperature distribution of an ideal gas in a gravitational field in thermodynamic equilibrium is constant temperature.

            As for the actual lapse rates in real systems, I have already explained that. The lapse rate for a body strongly heated from below will likely be pegged to the adiabatic lapse rate (-g/Cp) because that is the structure that convection will drive it to. I don’t know the details about Uranus but it is not for me to research all scientific questions for you.

            I have already researched the question about the temperature distribution of an ideal gas in a gravitational field in thermodynamic equilibrium and it hasn’t done any good because you won’t read anything that contradicts the result that you obtained by waving your hands and something think that you have derived.

            Max: That is a very small technical point between the infinite and finite cases, both of which apparently yield a temperature distribution independent of height. And, any reasonable macroscopic system (much less the very large macroscopic system that is the atmosphere!) is essentially infinite anyway.

  13. Doug Cotton says:

    The issue of conduction from the core to the surface is interesting once you understand “heat creep” as it is explained only in my paper linked above.

    Normally conduction plots are reasonably linear, but the temperature plot at least from the innermost solid mantle to the surface is far from linear, being much steeper in the outer crust than in the inner mantle.

    Why is it so?

    • From above which you ignored.

      April 30, 2013 at 9:12 PM
      you seem to have vacated the last thread so I will repeat this comment here:

      DJC in your paper you state:
      “So the wire would also develop a thermal gradient which would be
      effective in preventing a continuous flowing cycle of energy.”

      ————
      Unfortunately you have now caused more problems – if the cool junction is pushed by gravity to be at a different (colder or hotter)temperature to the hot junction then you do not have any necessity for the gas/liquid column.

      Just use a tall thermopile and it “would also develop a thermal gradient”
      Thermal gradient across thermopile = voltage and power forever!

      your rebuttal rebutted!?

      • Doug Cotton says:

        The cooler junction at the top can never be “pushed” to be at a hotter temperature than the lower junction. Consider two tubes of water at different slopes representing the different thermal gradients in the cylinder and the external wire. Now connect the ends at both the top and bottom of each. In so doing you make a loop, yes, but the water (thermal energy) will not flow around that loop continuously. All that happens is that the coolest point and warmest point may vary in position (temperature) a little, but they do not interchange. Hence your “pushed by gravity to be at a different (colder or hotter) temperature” cannot be a hotter one.

        • So what on earth do you mean by
          “So the wire would also develop a thermal gradient which would be effective in preventing a continuous flowing cycle of energy.”

          A thermal gradient means to me a difference in temperature. To a thermopile a difference in temperature means a generated voltage. Only the polarity of the voltage will depend on if the hot junction is hot and the cold is cold OR if the hot is cold and the cold is hot.

          What do you mean by a thermal gradient if it is not a temperature difference? According to your paper it happens in the wire(thermopile) and in the water column.

          By stating explicitly that it happens in the wire (in gravity) means the water column is now irrelevant, please do not bring this back into the conversation.

          PLEASE if you cannot answer questions posed to you can you get you GURU to help – perhaps CJ?

          • Doug Cotton says:

            When the temperature difference is only that which is based on the gravitational effect on individual molecules, it is in thermodynamic equilibrium, as you could have read in my paper. When in such a state there is no net energy transfer up or down a vertical wire and no propensity for any net electron movement up or down the wire either. No electric current will flow at the macro level, and no thermal energy will flow either.

            Now try to explain the thermal gradient in the troposphere of Uranus, where there is radiative equilibrium with the Sun and no indication of internal energy generation or continued cooling from an initial state. I suggest that only the gravitationally induced gradient can explain reality there, as there can certainly be no radiative greenhouse effect in its atmosphere.

          • Doug Cotton says:
            May 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM

            When the temperature difference is only that which is based on the gravitational effect on individual molecules, it is in thermodynamic equilibrium, as you could have read in my paper. When in such a state there is no net energy transfer up or down a vertical wire and no propensity for any net electron movement up or down the wire either. No electric current will flow at the macro level, and no thermal energy will flow either.
            ———
            Please explain what electrons have to do with thermodynamics and molecules.

            Please read up about the seebeck effect – wiki Seebeck effect
            The Seebeck effect is the conversion of temperature differences directly into electricity.
            You EXPLICITLY stated that there would be a temperature difference in the thermocouple wires. The seebeck effect states EXPLICITLY that a temperature difference will generate electricity.
            You NOW call into play thermodynamic equilibrium and because it is in thermal equilibrium the Seebeck efect vanishes!!!!!
            I agree that taking power from the thermopile will reduce the temp difference across the height but you only have to remove the load and gravity will re-establish the temperature difference. Repeat to infinity.

            Please get someone from your scientific personel to explain what you are talking about.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            thefordprefect,

            I actually owned one.

            One of Doug’s role models, (Graeff), actually applied for a US patent for a device which claims to be able to generate a temperature difference by the operation of the force of gravity.

            Here is the abstract: -

            “A method and apparatus for creating temperature differences in columns of gases, liquids or solids in a closed system under the influence of gravity is used to provide energy in the form of electricity or heat. A temperature differential element, optionally a solid, liquid or gas, is suspended vertically in a chamber inside an enclosure. The chamber optionally is either evacuated, filled with fibers, powder or small spheres, or otherwise arranged to minimize the effects of convection currents and radiation. Under the effect of gravity, the upper end of the temperature differential element becomes cooler than the lower end. A thermocouple can be used to generate electrical energy from the temperature difference between a vertical segment, for example the upper and lower ends, of the temperature differential element, or heat exchangers used to extract heat.”

            Yes, you’re right. A perpetual motion machine of the second kind.

            Now before Doug Cotton appears to contradict this, here’s some of Graeff’s words from one of his books: -

            “. . .Heat can travel from cold to warm! The building of a Perpetuum Mobile of the second kind is not a dream anymore but becomes a reality: How to build a Graviy (sic) Machine is shown in all details, . . .”

            So if you are looking for a Rebel without a Clue, look no further.

            For a bit of fun, if you have a few minutes to spare, look up the clinical diagnostic symptoms pertaining to delusional psychoses. Then examine the public personae of people who might be named Mike, or Gavin, or James, and who believe passionately in the GHE.

            The ” Greenhouse Effect” put about by people suffering from delusions is absolute rubbish.

            Dim and dimmer springs to mind.

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

          • Doug Cotton says:

            Regarding the error Graeff made in his physics this error regarding his false assumptions about degrees of freedom (leading to Graeff’s false assumptions about perpetual motion) is clearly explained in Section 12 of my paper. I completely disagree with Graeff on these issues, as is perfectly clear in my paper. Next time you make assumptions about what I say or believe, how about checking your facts first by simply reading my paper?

          • Doug Cotton says:

            I don’t need to read about the Seebeck effect – thanks. Instead I’ll teach you something about it. It does not apply to the very small temperature difference due to the gravitational effect upon the thermal gradient in a vertical conductor. I have already explained also that the electric flow due to differences in temperatures is non existent when that temperature difference is based only upon the gravitationally induced thermal gradient. If you understand what a state of maximum available entropy is all about, it should be blatantly obvious that no work can be done when that state of thermodynamic equilibrium is already established.

            The trouble with you is that you don’t have an understanding and “feel” for the physics of the real world. You just think there will be thermal equilibrium in a vertical solid, liquid or gas, perhaps because you still live in the days of Clausius in the mid 19th century. The Second Law of Thermodynamics makes no mention of thermal equilibrium. It is all about the entropy conditions of thermodynamic equilibrium.

            What is it about the motions of molecules in a gravitational field that you don’t understand? Look up Wikipedia “Kinetic Theory” and you will learn that they have mass and are thus affected by gravity. It’s not really all that hard to understand, so demonstrate to silent readers that you can think, rather than just apply the equations of physics willy-nilly, rather like climatologists abuse the Steffan-Boltzmann Law.

            Try reading my article on PSI “The Old Wives’ tales of Climatology.

          • Doug Cotton says:May 1, 2013 at 8:16 PM

            I don’t need to read about the Seebeck effect – thanks. Instead I’ll teach you something about it. It does not apply to the very small temperature difference due to the gravitational effect upon the thermal gradient in a vertical conductor.

            ——
            What!!!
            The seebeck effect is a continuous function going from positve voltage positive temp diff through zero at zero temp diff to negative voltage at negative temperature fifference,

            There is no “does not apply to very small” otherwise it would make a mockery of all those billions of thermometers built with a voltmeter and a thermocouple.

            PLEASE will you or another explain your physics behind this very simple thermometer you suggest has a dead band of temperatures where the hot end is near the cool end temperature. It is not in ANY literature I have seen.

        • Doug Cotton says:

          For a vertical conductor in a gravitational field the Seebeck effect does not go through zero at precisely zero temperature difference. It actually goes through zero when the temperature difference is that minute difference that corresponds to a temperature gradient established by the autonomous thermal gradient. The reason is that it is at that point that thermodynamic equilibrium occurs with maximum available entropy. Good try, but not good enough! This is why you need to learn to think and get a “feel” for physics – something that perhaps takes a few decades, such as I have had at it.

          • Your conglomeration of scientific terms sounds good (the effect you no doubt intended) but is meaningless!

            Please show ANY scientific proof/measurement that shows this effect.

            There is possibly magnetic/-273C effect on the voltage but YOU were only talking gravity.

            remember the seebeck effect is about temp difference between junctions – the cold junction can be at 100C or -100C. You suggest a glitch where there is an instant loss of effect?

            I do not need to feel physics in my bones to be able to understand physical properties.

    • Doug Cotton says:

      You “replied” to my question about the conduction gradient in Earth’s crust and mantle, did you?

      Try again on that issue!

  14. Doug Cotton says:

    It’s midnight here, so I’ll leave you with a new one to ponder for the next eight hours or so.

    Consider the planet Uranus. The base of the thermosphere is about 300 degrees warmer than the top, which is very cold being so far from the Sun.

    But there is no evidence of any net outward radiative flux, and so no evidence of internally generated energy such as on the ever-contracting Jupiter. This is probably because of a smallish solid core on Uranus, even though it is a gaseous planet with no solid surface anywhere near the base of the troposphere which is about 300Km below the theoretical “surface” where pressure is the same as at Earth’s surface.

    So, what maintains the thermal gradient in this helium and hydrogen atmosphere where there is no solid surface being warmed and triggering upward convection, and no back radiation to any solid surface whose rate of cooling is being slowed. Why does the thermal gradient appear to be close to the -g/Cp value also found on Earth and Venus?

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Doug,

      You must be talking about a different Uranus than the one I know.

      My Uranus is colder towards the centre, and the temperature rises as the pressure drops.

      What pressures are you using to limit the bounds of your thermosphere?

      My reason for asking is that the concept of temperature becomes totally divorced from relevance to heat (or energy content) at low pressures. Even in the Earth’s stratosphere, temperature increases with height, but energy density drops.

      I have refrained from mentioning it before, but increasing temperature with height would appear to contradict your gravitational warming heat creeping theory.

      So how do you explain the atmosphere temperature profile of Uranus? You might care to explain the temperature profile of good lo’ Mother Earth’s stratospher at he same time. I can, obviously, but you first.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Sorry, it was late at night. I meant “troposphere” not “thermosphere.” I think you could have guessed this from the content of my paper about tropospheric thermal gradients.

        People can read a good summary here
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus

        “The troposphere is the lowest and densest part of the atmosphere and is characterized by a decrease in temperature with altitude.[12] The temperature falls from about 320 K at the base of the nominal troposphere at −300 km to 53 K at 50 km.[62][65] The temperatures in the coldest upper region of the troposphere (the tropopause) actually vary in the range between 49 and 57 K depending on planetary latitude.[12][59] The tropopause region is responsible for the vast majority of the planet’s thermal far infrared emissions, thus determining its effective temperature of 59.1 ± 0.3 K.”

      • Doug Cotton says:

        Regarding the rest of your comment about the temperature gradient in the stratosphere, don’t you think I might have addressed these issues in my paper? Try searching “stratosphere” and you will find Section 13.

        Mike, you really show no understanding of the physics which is carefully explained in my paper. Try studying it a bit more before asking such basic questions. Do you really think I am unaware of the thermodynamics of the thermosphere? It’s clear that I understand it better than yourself and why there is no gravitational gradient observable there. Have you even considered how the gradient develops by molecular collisions and molecular free path motion between collisions during which potential energy interchanges with kinetic energy? It’s not really hard to understand, Mike. Maybe you could start with the Kinetic Theory which Einstein used – it’s well explained in Wikipedia. Then move on to a better understanding of the entropy conditions of the Second law of Thermodynamics which you can easily read about if you Google a little, or condescend to read my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

        Then you can perhaps answer my question about the thermal gradient and temperatures in the troposphere on Uranus.

        To Roy and everyone:

        Has a GHE really raised the temperature at the base of the Uranus troposphere from 59K to 320K all with only 2.7W/m^2 of insolation at TOA? Wow! Think what it should then be able to heat Earth up to with about 500 times the insolation. Only 33 degrees?

  15. Michel Maccagnan says:

    Please, use International units. Temperature should be in °C (Celsius).

    • Curt says:

      No, Kelvin is the fundamental temperature scale for the System Internationale (SI). Degrees Celsius is a derivative scale from this.

      • Michel Maccagnan says:

        I fully agree with you about Kelvin (I work in Cryogenics).
        Celsius is still used in scientific publications when temperatures are within human experience.
        °F is a silly local unit that most people on Earth have never heard about.

  16. Max™ says:

    A poster on the xkcd forums made this while we were discussing the ghe/agw/etc, he did a very good job and it is a good deal more indepth than the one above.

    I added a run last time I saved it to model a full lunar day/night cycle, that can be removed/etc, save a copy and poke around with it, very informative stuff.

  17. jae says:

    Funny and interesting reading, here. No real changes/news/revelations for the past 10 years that I can see. Some different people, but no different arguments.

    The important concept is that science progresses via empirical evidence. Period.

    And it seems to me that, so far, ALL empirical evidence pertaining to the GHE theory DISCREDITS the theory, not advances it. To wit:

    1.) There has been no warming for 15-?? years, despite the fact that homo earth-destroyong-horribulis circa 2012 is releasing GHGs at an alarming rate. Pst to clim-sci folks: in case you have not noticed yet, every damn one of the GCM models are WRONG ABOUT TEMPERATURE–even to the (bogus) 95% confidence level!

    2.) The ice core records show that COO LAGS temperature, not preceeds it. What the DUH?

    3.) At a given latitude and elevation, it’s hotter, night and day, in climates that have LESS GHGs (water vapor) than in climates that have lots of GHGs. For example, cf. Phoenix, AZ with Atlanta, GA. It looks like the most important GHG, water vapor, actually exerts a negative impact on temperature, as pointed out by several commenters here.

    4.) Common sense suggests that if this planet could not sustain rather wide changes in OCO, then it could not have supported life for many past eons!

    6.) “Warmists” almost often refuse to engage “skeptics” in real debates (this may be the most important sign that the AGW crowd is just a religious Democratic cult).
    When they DO entertain some debate they get destroyed in spades.

  18. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes Jae, a good analysis. There is, however, some new stuff about heat creep in my paper, which explains the temperatures in planetary atmospheres, crusts, mantles and even the core.

    Planets like Earth, Venus and Uranus are not still cooling off. They could have lost most of any initial energy far faster if there was no atmosphere and no Sun. Now they are in an equilibrium state with balanced radiative flux.

    Maybe they didn’t even have such a huge temperature when first formed, because it’s perfectly possible (with heat creep) for the Sun’s energy to have heated even the solid mantle and the core of any planet to a few thousand degrees K.

    Even with a mere 2.7W/m^2 of insolation at TOA on Uranus, over the years Solar radiation has heated the atmosphere and then “heat creep” has been able to send sufficient thermal energy to the base of the assumed troposphere, raising it to temperatures around 320K – a pretty hot day on Earth.

    You will see that none of these posters will address the issue of Venus and Uranus temperatures, because they dare not dabble in areas where their favourite GHE conjecture doesn’t seem to work. They forget that, not even on Earth, could direct Solar radiation have heated the surface to 288K so that it could start cooling off from that temperature and have its rate of cooling slowed so much by water vapour that it never got any colder. Somehow it “knows” that the cooling has to slow down in the early hours before dawn, so perhaps it brings in more carbon dioxide to the rescue. /sarc

  19. Max™ says:

    Setting aside the back and forth about the planets… I’m baffled that the equilbrium state of a cloud of gas collapsing under gravity is really in question.

    If there is no energy input and the cloud is allowed to relax by radiating it will lose energy at the same time as the temperature in the center goes up, the pressure will increase, and if you only consider the entropy of the gas molecules it is decreasing.

    As Baez explained in the link I gave above, photons have entropy, so even though the entropy of the gas cloud goes down, when you account for the entropy of the radiation emitted into the environment it still increases overall.

    ________

    A system needs to have positive specific heat in order for thermal equilibrium to be reached, but a cloud of gas collapsing under gravity has negative specific heat.

    Again, if this were not the case, stars simply wouldn’t form, and by extension, black holes would not represent the maximally entropic state within a given volume (the Bekenstein bound), nor would globular clusters form if it were not possible to eject faster moving bodies until a gravitationally stable arrangement emerged.

    _______

    Suppose we have an arbitrarily high, sufficiently large container, resting on a surface with a constant gravity field, and no energy input.

    If an isothermal cloud of evenly distributed gas molecules was suspended above the surface at t=0 and the system is allowed to evolve normally afterwards, the cloud will relax to the surface at t=?, which is apparently never according to various posts here.

    Simply assuming isothermal=equilibrium doesn’t hold if you’re considering a system within a gravity field, which, well… an atmosphere is just such an example of.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Max,

      How much energy did you use creating your cloud’s spatial particle dispersion? Or does it magically appear?

      Start off with your cloud possessing minimum energy – 0K, minimum spatial separation (tightly packed and that sort of thing), and then explain how you create heat using gravity.

      Anybody can “create” energy that has carefully been put in place previously.

      Not quite so easy if you start without free energy. How did you create the cloud that gravity is going to compress and heat up? Not trying to be difficult, but all these granitic warming schemes depend on extracting or converting energy “prepared earlier” so to speak.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Max™ says:

        How much energy did you use creating your cloud’s spatial particle dispersion? Or does it magically appear?” ~Mike Flynn

        I did indeed create it with magic, alternatively you could take a container of gas at equilibrium in flat spacetime, let the particles bounce around until an isothermal state is reached, and then accelerate the container.

        Start off with your cloud possessing minimum energy – 0K, minimum spatial separation (tightly packed and that sort of thing), and then explain how you create heat using gravity.” ~Mike Flynn

        It couldn’t be a cloud in a gravity field at 0 Kelvin, perhaps something like a Bose-Einstein Condensate might get arbitrarily close if you set up a suitable array of cooling lasers and magnetic traps… but that’s beside the point.

        Anybody can “create” energy that has carefully been put in place previously.

        Not quite so easy if you start without free energy. How did you create the cloud that gravity is going to compress and heat up? Not trying to be difficult, but all these granitic warming schemes depend on extracting or converting energy “prepared earlier” so to speak.” ~Mike Flynn

        Yes! Gravity is indeed “energy prepared beforehand”, raising an object out of a gravity well requires one to perform work, right?

        So what happens when you release said object and allow it to drop back into one?

        What happens if you release, say, a weighted piston sealing the top of a container filled with gas that had previously achieved an isothermal state?

        Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

        Well, I suppose I could be wrong as well, but I don’t think the laws of thermodynamics are likely to be invalidated any time soon.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          Max,

          Your magic explanation is accepted. Otherwise, you will have to specify the actual energy content of your container of gas. I note that do not specify the nature of the gas, its temperature, its mass or its pressure, so calculating its energy content would baffle the most accomplished specialist in calorimetry in the history of the Universe. Typical climatological evasion, so yes, magic will do.

          I’m not sure why you wish to accelerate the container, but in any case you haven’t specified the mass of the container or its contents, the rate of acceleration, or the amount of energy used. No matter, obviously more fact free handwaving.

          You refuse to start from a position of no free energy, because you would quickly discover that a Bose-Einstein condensate (and good luck trying to create one from a normalised sample of atmosphere at standard temperature and pressure), will sit quietly doing precisely nothing, regardless of the Earth gravity to which you could subject the condensate.

          The temperature will not rise – not at all.

          I hate to burst your bubble, but gravity possesses no energy – none at all. If you don’t want to accept this, then tell me how much energy gravity possesses per unit quantity. How does one measure a quantity of gravity?

          In relation to performing work on a massy object, against the force of gravity, it requires the input of energy. However, when the object returns to its original position owing purely to gravitational force, it possesses precisely the same amount of energy it started with – no more, no less.

          If you lift a weight against the force of gravity, and then use the force of gravity to compress a gas, then the energy expended in moving the weight between its original position and its highest point, and subtracting its potential energy available in its new final position will be expressed as heat. This heat will be radiated away until (assuming that the unstated initial temperature of the gas, plus the rise in temperature occasioned by the energy input, is greater than the ambient temperature, which of course is assumed to remain constant) the temperature of the gas in question is in equilibrium with its surrounding environment.

          Once again, the gas attains an isothermal state, albeit having increased pressure. I know you probably don’t believe me, but wander down to your local SCUBA supply, and pick up a tank charged to say 3500 psi. (Sorry, I still think in PSI for gas cylinders.) Now pick up an empty tank and you will find they have identical temperatures, if they have been left for a while.

          I may still be wrong, but you definitely are. I am guessing you believe gravity can provide energy in spite of the commonly accepted belief that energy can neither be created or destroyed.

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

          • Max™ says:

            Your magic explanation is accepted. Otherwise, you will have to specify the actual energy content of your container of gas. I note that do not specify the nature of the gas, its temperature, its mass or its pressure, so calculating its energy content would baffle the most accomplished specialist in calorimetry in the history of the Universe. Typical climatological evasion, so yes, magic will do.

            I’m not sure why you wish to accelerate the container, but in any case you haven’t specified the mass of the container or its contents, the rate of acceleration, or the amount of energy used. No matter, obviously more fact free handwaving.

            You refuse to start from a position of no free energy, because you would quickly discover that a Bose-Einstein condensate (and good luck trying to create one from a normalised sample of atmosphere at standard temperature and pressure), will sit quietly doing precisely nothing, regardless of the Earth gravity to which you could subject the condensate.

            The temperature will not rise – not at all.” ~Mike Flynn

            Starting at absolute zero is unphysical, the reason I didn’t specify a temperature because outside of those high enough to say, destroy the container and/or form a plasma, or low enough to allow BEC formation, we’ll be dealing with the behavior of molecules in a gas phase.

            Still, you raise a good point, so alternatively you could have a collection of superbounce balls inside of a box in space, evenly distributed with no relative motion between the balls and the container or their neighbor; that is close enough to a gas cloud at absolute zero for our purposes here, yes?

            Now, subject the box to a steady 1 G acceleration.

            Will the balls remain evenly distributed within the container, with no relative motion between each other and/or the walls/floor?

            _________

            Replace the balls with a BEC floating in the center of the box and then subject it to the same acceleration, will the BEC state withstand impacting the “bottom” of the box?

            Place the BEC in contact with the “bottom” prior to acceleration, do you think it will remain intact and unaffected by the addition of what is effectively the same gravity field as the Earth provides?

            Now, I know if you had the bouncy balls evenly distributed across and in contact with the “bottom” of the container, with nothing above them, barring disturbance from the ball material deforming, they should remain in that state when acceleration is turned on, which is roughly what a gas at 0 K would be: a layer of solid (or superfluid in the weird case of helium, apparently) material.

            I hate to burst your bubble, but gravity possesses no energy – none at all. If you don’t want to accept this, then tell me how much energy gravity possesses per unit quantity. How does one measure a quantity of gravity? ” ~Mike Flynn

            http://www.tjhsst.edu/~jleaf/tec/html/10/potent.htm

            Gravity provides potential energy to an object, much like accelerating a container does to the objects within the container.

            For an example: open the top of the container, and turn the acceleration off/stop the container, what happens to the superbounce balls within?

            Similarly, cover the planet with a layer of superbounce balls, and snap your fingers to magically teleport the planet elsewhere, the layer of balls were undergoing 1 G of acceleration prior to the disappearance of the planet, the distortions in the gravity field themselves propagate at the speed of light, so for a brief period after removing the planet until things flatten out, the sphere of balls would still be under full influence of gravity, wouldn’t they?

            Note that I am neglecting possibel outcomes like bursts of gravitational radiation from such a dramatic distortion of spacetime as should probably accompany the disappearance of a planet, and of course arranged the thought experiment such that the planet wasn’t destroyed or whatnot, just shunted into hyperspace/another universe/Narnia or whatever.

            In the case of the accelerated container being removed, you would expect the balls within to continue traveling along their current trajectory, yes?

            Similarly you would expect the shell of superbounce balls to begin contracting after the planet was removed, though interestingly the gravity of the balls themselves should balance out, as is the case with a shell of mass around an empty volume of spacetime.

    • Doug Cotton says:

      There is no violation of either the First or the Second Law of Thermodynamics when a gravitationally induced thermal gradient develops autonomously in a perfectly insulated, sealed vertical cylinder of gas. You cannot prove that there would be. Energy cannot be created. It is merely redistributed.

      All this is explained in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” and it is quite easily understood from first principles using the same Kinetic Theory as used by Einstein and many others for over 100 years. Why is it that you people have such a basic misunderstanding of physics?

      Are you assuming that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is all about thermal equilibrium !!!!!????

      Well here’s what it says copied verbatim from here

      “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.”

      I don’t see anything about thermal equilibrium, do you?

      It is totally impossible for there to be a state of thermal equilibrium in such a vertical cylinder, because what will evolve is a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. To have maximum accessible entropy, that state must be isentropic, which automatically implicates a thermal gradient as a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. QED

      I challenge anyone who knows their physics to find any fault in this statement.

  20. Alec M says:

    What Roy has done is to set the net radiative flux to be the difference between ‘downwelling’ and ‘upwelling ‘ IR, separate radiation streams. This is standard physics when used in an homogeneous medium, no optical discontinuities, and it works in that the errors cancel out. However, you’d get the same result if you used just the net flux and an atmospheric transmittance of 1!

    My disagreement with ‘back radiation’ is that it is required by the Houghtonian claim that the two stream approximation works at the boundary of the atmosphere when that is considered to be an independent radiating entity. Hence at boundaries you have to have 360° emission and they add the ‘back radiation’ to the net surface IR emission to get the black body assumption. They then do the same at ToA and put in 238.5 W/m^2 down, an assumption that Kirchhoff’s law of Radiation applies at ToA: it can’t.

    Thus they create 333-238.5 = 94.5 W/m^2 imaginary power and shift the generation point of the IR that goes from the surface through the atmospheric window, therefore does not interact with the atmosphere, to TOA. That makes a total of 134.5 W/m^2 imaginary power, a perpetual motion machine.

    This is offset in hind casting by exaggerating cloud cooling. I and most other professionals say you can’t have this kind of dumb heat generation and transfer in a professional science. However, because meteorologists use pyrgeometers without investigating in detail how they work, they claim they measure ‘back radiation’.

    It is not real: it is simply the potential energy flux that an emitter at the temperature of the atmosphere would emit to a sink at 0 °K. If it were real you could have a reverse heat engine using a collector on your car roof.

    So, climate alchemists must accept that to assume the operational emissivity of the surface is 1.0, which gives about 27 W/m^2 IR to be absorbed by the 15 µm CO2 band, is wrong. In reality, for similar surface and the first ~30 m of atmosphere temperature, required by lapse rate, there is near zero net IR emission in the main GHG bands. I shall leave the explanation to later, but it’s a trick of physics which makes GHGs seem to be black body emitters at heterogeneous boundaries – optical discontinuities.

    Because the interface is an optical discontinuity, its operational emissivity to the atmosphere is 63/396 = 0.16. The operational emissivity of the atmosphere to the surface is zero. Its partial absorptivity is 1 for the 23 W/m^2 absorbed by non self-absorbing GHGs and 0 for the 40 W/m2 that goes through the AW to space. In other words, it’s semi-transparent. The climate models do not factor this in so are hopeless because of it! Yet the climate models are quite happy to accept that the atmosphere is semi transparent to solar energy, only part of which, the near IR, is absorbed in the atmosphere!

    The rest of the heat transfer is convection, 97 W/m^2 of the 161 W/m^2 coming in. You can prove this by realising that without convection the surface would have to radiate 161 W/m^, an operational emissivity of 161/396 = 0.41. Scale 0.41 by the ratio of radiation to heat input and you get 0.41×63/161 = 0.16.

    That means there can be very little if any CO2-AGW. Pierrehumbert properly concentrates on ToA and the ‘CO2 bite’. This gives ~2.7 W/m^2 forcing increase for doubled CO2 but it’s offset by other processes; I’ll leave that to later. He still insists the ‘clear sky atmospheric greenhouse factor’ is real when it’s exaggerated by 157.5/23 = 6.85.

    You can’t create a perpetual motion machine then use artificial corrections. OK, get rid of the PMM and you get no AGW, and the grants dry up. But that’s Cargo Cult science for you! Go back to being a Christian……

    • Alec M says:

      Made a mistake in the first paragraph ‘an atmospheric transmittance of 1!’ should be ‘an atmospheric transmittance of 0.635!

      I shall leave its proof as an exercise for knowledgeable readers……:o)

    • Doug Cotton says:

      Well explained Alec.

      But the big picture has nothing to do with radiative imbalance which can never control climate. Climate controls it. And in any event, it isn’t observed, because real life data shows the outward radiative flux rarely fluctuates outside the range of 99.6% and 100.4% of incident radiative flux. And the laugh is that the error margins in these measurements are about 1 degree, so they can’t usually even determine the sign of the net flux with any certainty.

      The big picture is that there is an underlying supported thermal plot running from the tropopause, right through the surface (land or ocean) on up through the outer crust (at a steeper gradient) and the mantle at a very shallow gradient. At all points on this plot (in calm conditions not affected by extra energy input) the gradient is in the range of 65% to 95% of the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the mean specific heat of the solid, liquid or gas.

      The details are in my paper which can be found by searching “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” Douglas Cotton

  21. Doug Cotton says:

    Correction; “1 degree” should be 1%

  22. I am 100%+ in agreement with everything Joel Shore has argued so effectively over this message board.

    Doug Cotton in C L U E L E S S !!!

  23. I have now banned Doug Cotton from commenting, not because of his technical comments, but because of the number of complaints I have received over his personal insults (not originating from this thread, however).

    • John says:

      Roy,

      Of course you have the right to ban whoever you wish from your blog. Unfortunately, many people fling personal insults to a much greater extent than Doug, even on this particular thread. Doug consistently and passionately states his views and at times directs jibes at those he views as opponents. To be fair many direct personal jibes at him. Perhaps, those who seek to remove him from the blog actually seek to silence the blog of views opposed to their own. Beware of the “Sounds of Silence.” Remember the opening refrain: “Hello darkness my old friend.” Do we really want a darker less challenging blog?

      • John:
        I do not ban people without good reason. In the last complaint I received, the person was a retired professional meteorologist who Mr. Cotton accused of knowing nothing about the subject, that he must be getting misinformation from the internet.
        Mr. Cotton, from what I can tell, works at a photography store…I wonder where he gets his information from? You should be able to tell from the multitude of comments which I DO allow to be posted that if someone really believes (for example) space aliens are causing global warming, then I’m willing to examine their evidence.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          I’m sad to read that.

          In last month I’d been busy and I didn’t read all the posts.
          Could you point out where Doug did it?

          I ask just to know if the subject of the accusation of ignorance was clearly identifiable from his post. Because in case he wasn’t identifiable as such a retired professional meteorologist then I can’t agree with you.

          Anyways, since we are talking about science, if the solution of the questioning was clear in favor of the retired professional meteorologist, I don’t understand why he didn’t explain his scientifically unquestionable point of view.

          Hope you’ll do one step back, and give Doug an another chance.

          By the way, I’ve checked your statement that one heated object in front of a first surface mirror heats up more.
          It’s true, but I experienced a strange behavior: when one place an high emissivity body close to the heated object (an aluminium anodized heatsink at the very same room temperature, in my case). In that case I seen the temperature fall down instead.
          When I’ll get the time I continue the experiment.

          Massimo

        • John says:

          Roy:

          You make valid points. Doug irritates many people. You mentioned: “In the last complaint I received, the person was a retired professional meteorologist who Mr. Cotton accused of knowing nothing about the subject, that he must be getting misinformation from the internet.” In fact, Doug himself frequently quoted and referenced Wikipedia (an internet information source derived from the input of most anyone who wishes to post a claim, and escapes deletion by censors) as an academic would authoritative scientific research text. However, I know of many academics and professionals, active and retired, who know little to nothing about the disciplines they profess to know and practice. Heck! You can probably remove over 75% of the Economics professors at any given University in the country and improve the average academic staff I.Q. by multiple digits and the quality of education as well. Most people mistakenly give what they call the “hard” sciences a pass, on the assumption that the discipline requires higher standards. Every discipline and profession should be subject to rational analysis. If you had to remove everyone from your blog that accused another participant of knowing nothing you would be forced to shut down. That being said, civility should be preferred.

          Thank you Roy for your reply. I do believe that the time and attention you provide both to your blog site and discussion with viewers indicates you do not take either dismissively or without careful thought.

          Have a good day.

    • RW says:

      I’m sorry to see this, as I’m generally against any kind of censorship (especially on this subject), but I have to agree he was getting out of control and pushing it too far.

  24. Douglas J  Cotton says:

    Open Letter to Roy

    I have a degree in Science (Physics) gained in the 1960′s, plus a degree in Arts (Economics major) and a Diploma in Business Administration. I learnt my physics under Prof Harry Messel and his team at Sydney University. Since then I have extended my studies in physics, in particular the physics of the atmosphere, and covered probably far more physics than the average PhD candidate. I have also tutored hundreds of students.

    The truth is, Roy, that I know and understand a darn site more about the application of physics to the atmosphere, crust and mantle of planets in our Solar System than yourself or the retired meteorologist. We have meteorologists among our 200 members at Principia Scientific International, where I have had published two papers and four articles so far, two of which point out errors in your own physics. These articles are read by over 20,000 – and you can expect more, especially if you try to silence me. And there will be information on my own websites (earth-climate and climate-change-theory dot com) which have had over 82,000 hits in total.

    You Roy have obviously not studied my comments, do not understand why there is no greenhouse warming effect due to carbon dioxide, and cannot answer my questions about Venus and Uranus, for example, and many others. Join the Anthony Watts club and expect accurate, scientific criticism of your posts to be published on the PSI site and possibly in the new Slayers book for which I will be one of the authors.

    Look, Roy, it is quite true that I sometimes get angry at the false pseudo physics which is being propagated by those in the field of climatology, and I would endeavour to tone that down if you re-instate me.. I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone. I did not say a meteorologist did not know his meteorology, however, only that his physics was lacking.

    But I say in all honesty that you people would do better to heed my words and make an effort to understand what correct physics indicates. Clearly water vapour does not cause warmer mean surface temperatures, and you could not even prove that from real world data. I can actually help you Roy, if you deign to listen, and you could be a leader in exposing the lie, rather than continuing to propagate it.

    Douglas Cotton, B.Sc (Physics), B.A. (Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin

    PS In my semi-retirement, at age 67, yes I do still have a new young family (aged from 6 upwards) to support with some part-time professional photography in partnership with my much younger wife. And we supplement our income helping Australians to have access to quality photographic equipment at low prices which we import and sell on eBay from a home business, mostly run by my wife.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Dr Roy,

      I

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi Doug,
      I suppose to know how you feel when you read things that you may consider silly from your point of view.
      Sometimes I read things that I don’t agree too; and, for example, I’ve been deluded having no reply to some questions that I consider mandatory to establish the fundaments for the measurements of the outgoing LWIR radiation.
      Anyways, we all should try to keep in mind that climate science is not so easy to approach, especially after the bad works done by some questionable scientist which behaved more as activists than true scientist (not talking about Dr. Spencer & Dr. Christy of course, but neither about the many I read here, exception done for very few poster indeed).

      There is no reasons to inflame the debate. I think is much better give the things their real relevance, maybe you are right or wrong, I’ve not the competence to state it, but it’s highly probable that the truth stays in the middle. No one is infallible, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I did and surely I’ll do mistakes.
      I’m by your side when you ask to attack your point of view by reading your papers instead of give alternative explanations, sometimes based on almost pure statistics.
      But you should not be too rude opposing your theories, science shouldn’t established by fighting, but discussing and exchanging opinions.
      Don’t do the same error done by some climate activists.

      By the way, I would like to ask you what do you think about the fact that I measured a clear increase of temperature when I placed a first surface mirror facing a flat alumina substrate thick film 22ohms / 10W resistor, which dissipated in free air 1.136W.
      Just to show you, here is the resistor datasheet:
      docs-europe.electrocomponents.com/webdocs/00a6/0900766b800a602a.pdf

      In free air it reached 58.6…58.8°C @ Troom 20.1°C, and when I placed the mirrored surface at 12mm from one of its faces it raised its temperature to 60.4…60.5°C.

      Note that to leave the air path the same, even if I wrote “free air” I had indeed placed an aluminium anodized heatsink there (I empirically evaluated its high LWIR absorbance/emissivity just considering its low reflectance using an IR thermometer to “see” the temperature of a soldering iron reflected on its flat surface with an inclination of 45°), and I converted it to a bad (not so bad indeed) first surface mirror sticking a very thin aluminium adhesive tape on that flat surface.
      The room temperature was measured at about 20cm from the setup with a platinum RTD, while the resistor temperature was measured through a K thermocouple attached on the other side of the resistor (the one not facing the heatsink/mirror).
      This experiment demonstrate to me that in effect the LWIR photons can reenter the hot body when reflected even from a colder body.
      And it happened also when I placed a very same second alumina resistor close to the first one at a distance of 2.5mm. In that case I noted that if I placed the “nuked” headsink so close to the resistor, its temperature instead of raise it falls down to 53.2…54°C (I repeated the experiment three times and this value was affected by the effective distance which wasn’t always the same, since I hand positioned the heatsink)
      So it seems to me that when the photons are absorbed and released, its important the thermal resistance of the colder body which is proportional to the ratio of its surface area
      by its volume.
      But maybe I’m wrong here because at that litte distance the convective heat flux has surely changed on that face of the resistor.

      Anyways, science is the pursuit of truth, and the truth has the bad (or good) habit to surface by itself one day.

      As Mike Flynn always ends,
      “live well and prosper”.

      I add, have a nice day and paraphrasing the Eagles “take it easy”.

      Massimo

      • Mike Flynn says:

        Massimo,

        I’m impressed! An actual experiment!

        What you have observed is what is to be expected from our knowledge of the behaviour of EMR (electro-magnetic radiation).

        The reason I mention this is in relation to Dr Spencer’s observations with a handheld remote temperature measuring device.

        As you noted, your IR thermometer at one point reacted to reflected EMR as though it had been emitted by a reflector physically being at the measured temperature. This is why I asked Dr Spencer if his remote device acted in he same fashion. He must have been too busy to respond.

        The point of all this is that dense cloud exhibits excellent reflective qualities to wavelengths as long as 1cm. If you fly above clouds at the right inclination to the sun, your eyes will quickly inform you that visible light is being reflected nicely (as evidenced by the “white” colour of the clouds), your face will let you know that IR is being reflected, and exposed skin will let you know later that UV was involved also.

        If your aircraft is fitted with radar of he appropriate type, your eyes will verify that the cloud is delineated by both visible light and much longer wavelengths.

        Or you can believe that the clouds are emitting all these wavelengths due to heir elevated temperature. You then have to reconcile the measured temperature from your aircraft’s sensors when you fly through the cloud.

        Once again, many thanks,

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Curt says:

        Massimo:

        The makers of halogen incandescent light bulbs are working on designs for directed bulbs that surround the tungsten filament on one side with a reflective half-cylinder that is circular (not parabolic!) in cross-section. The intent is to reflect radiation from the filament in this direction back to the filament and increase its temperature further.

        Why do they want to do this? First, the higher the temperature of the filament, the higher the percentage of power that is radiated away instead of conducted away (because the radiated power increases roughly as the 4th power of absolute temperature, and conducted power roughly as the 1st). Second, the higher the temperature of the filament, the more of the radiated spectrum makes it into the visible-light zone, increasing the lumens per watt.

        That this can be done has been demonstrated empirically in the lab. From the reports I have seen, the key issue is holding the tight tolerances necessary for proper reflection back to the skinny filament in a cost-effective mass-production environment.

        I bring this up because several of the slayers commenting here in the past few posts have stated that this would be a physical impossibility. I stress that this demonstrated technique does not increase the power output of the bulb, simply the percentage of that power that is radiated away in the visible spectrum. (Actually, for a given filament, it decreases the total power, because the resistivity of tungsten, like all metals, increases with temperature, decreasing the V^2/R resistive power consumption.)

        • Mike Flynn says:

          Curt, Massimo,

          I wasn’t aware of the incandescent light proposed design. Quite often a dichroic filter arrangement is used to let the IR escape to the rear of the luminaire, while reflecting the visible light to where it is needed. This works well in ceilings, until some fool encloses this type of globe in an inappropriate closed space. The temperature will indeed rise, the house will indeed burn down, if the owner has filled his roof void with flammable insulation. I kid you not. Saving money by insulating your house with cheap untreated shredded paper, may not be the wisest move!

          I can see a few extra problems apart from the one you mention, but hey, it’s their money, not mine.

          The principle has been used for many years to improve efficiency in electric arc steel smelting furnaces. The roof shape can be spherical (more or less equivalent to the circular cross section you mention), or a conic frustum. Other shapes are less commonly used.

          Interesting. Not sure of the relevance to greenhouse effect, other than showing that believers in the GHE don’t seem to live in the real world, as the rest of us do. I’m sure that arc furnace makers would use CO2 rather than expensive, heavy, complicated refractory materials if it worked.

          Alas, either the steel industry is sadly lacking in knowledge, or the climatologists are wrong.
          I’ll go with the steel makers for the present.

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Mike,

            I had missed the papers in which the climate scientists had predicted that arc furnace makers could use CO2 as you discuss. Could you please direct me to them?

            Or…are you just making up strawmen to attack, illustrating that you have very little understanding of the theory that you are attacking?

          • Mike Flynn says:

            Joel,

            Pal reviewed papers have as much utility as their authors. I was pointing out that CO2 “warming effects” don’t exist. You believe what you wish.

            Not theory, fact. CO2 GHE does not exist. No experiment has ever shown it to exist, and it has never been used by anybody anywhere for any purpose. If you want to espouse fantasy theories, be my guest. I wish you well.

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Mike, the point is that you are making up experimental “tests” that make no sense if you actually understood the theory you claim to be critiquing. Some of us think we should actually understand at least a little bit about something presented by experts who have thought much more about it than we have before critiquing it.

            You apparently don’t see the need to operate under such guidelines, no doubt because you are so much more brilliant than the scientists themselves.

            As for the empirical evidence for the greenhouse effect, I presented it below in response to the first time you made the laugable claim.

          • Curt says:

            Mike: You miss the point completely, as usual.

            In controlled lab conditions, these engineers have demonstrated that “back radiation” from a cooler entity (the reflector) to a warmer entity (the filament) yields a higher temperature in the warmer entity than if the cooler entity were not present.

            This observation is in agreement with standard thermodynamic and heat transfer analysis. There are no 1st Law or 2nd Law violations here. Yet skydragon slayers in recent threads have stated that it is a physical impossibility.

            You seem to agree that the same principle is used in electric arc furnaces, so you do agree that this is both physically possible and useful.

            But you seem to think that this “back radiation” effect is not possible when a gas does it. Your argument that it is not being used in light bulbs or arc furnaces is not to the point, as no one is arguing that CO2 could do this in as compact a space as a metal surface.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Dr Roy,

      Sorry. Accidental button push. Onwards and upwards!

      I believe in freedom of expression. If someone shouts “Fire” in a crowded theatre, the audience should follow established procedures for evacuating in case of fire. The dimwit who causes a false alarm intentionally is, of course, subject to any applicable penalties for being stupid in public.

      However, your blog, your rules.

      May I point point out that Mr Cotton cannot irritate or offend anyone. If people choose to be offended or irritated, that is their choice. Why blame Mr Cotton? “. . . Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? … from the King James Bible … . . . “.

      I should point out that I could be classed as irreligious, but that quotation is often apt on the Internet blog scene.

      You will note that Mr Cotton seems to have accepted that, in the case of one of his role models, Mr Graeff, has done his physics incorrectly. He has also now resorted to a “perfect insulator” in an effort to make his point. He no doubt has one on his shelf between his supply of caloric and his flask of phlogiston. Excuse my feeble attempt at humour.

      So he is boxing himself in. In all likelihood, if I point out that anything contained within a perfect insulator can transmit no information whatsoever about itself through said insulator – (it is perfect, after all!). So he cannot establish anything about his gas – temperature, density, energy content and so on.

      Mr Cotton may eventually depart in a huff. So far, having admitted that Mr Graeff was wrong, and I was right, he has no logical choice but to acknowledge that in at least one instance, I am smarter than Mr Graeff. Soon enough, I will no doubt point out Einstein’s admitted errors, some of which are blindingly obvious to the point that even I would not have made them. Does that mean I am smarter than Einstein in some areas?

      And so on.

      I don’t believe in perpetual motion machines, and that is what is necessary to sustain Mr Cotton’s theories. I am happy to press on, hoping that he will see the logic of my arguments. Who knows?

      In most cases, scientific, (or indeed, any), advances are made by an individual. In most cases, advances are summarily rejected or dismissed by the mob consensus of the dim. Worse, the stifling of dissent can lead to imprisonment, fines, summary dismissal from professional bodies, and concerted efforts to ruin a person’s livelihood and reputation. Their is little or no apology if he dissenter is subsequently shown to be right.

      So yes, cut him some slack if you can find the compassion. If some of your other commenters decide to feel offended or upset, of course you can bow to their howls of righteous indignation. Their thinking must be correct – or is it? Can you adduce a single reproducible experiment to demonstrate he “Greenhouse Effect? I know, I know, it’s a rhetorical question – the answer is no.

      In conclusion, I say again – your blog, your rules. If you want to join the howling mob of pitchfork and torch wielding peasants baying for blood, and it gives you pleasure, why not?

      In the meantime,

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Joel Shore says:

        Mike: Here’s one piece of your experimental evidence that you seem to think is lacking – We have a planet (that we happen to live on) whose surface is emitting considerably more energy (~390 W/m^2) than the planet is receiving from the sun (~240 W/m^2). The only ways that it could be doing that is:

        (1) there is some magical energy source

        (2) there are IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere that are causing it to emit only about 240 W/m^2 as viewed from space.

        Satellites have confirmed that the correct explanation is (2), not (1)…and have confirmed that the spectrum conforms almost exactly to what is predicted by line-by-line radiative transfer codes.

        It is kind of amazing what sort of experimental evidence people will deny when they don’t like the conclusion of that evidence.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          Joel,

          Not at all. No magic involved. The Earth presumably started off as an incandescent blob. Around 5500K or so.

          In spite of an atmosphere comprised of close to 100% CO2 at a pressure of around 100 bars, the planet cooled. Some time ago, the temperature was only 50C higher than now.

          So you tell me – when did the Earth stop cooling, and start getting warmer?

          As far as I know, geophysicists seem to think the cooling continues. I can find no particular reason to disagree with them.

          Tell me when the Earth stopped cooling, and how you justify your conclusion. You might be able to change my mind, if you convince that the geological scientists are all wrong, and you are right.

          Your track record’s not looking too good so far.

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Mike,

            Geological scientists don’t make the claim that the Earth is emitting 150 W/m^2. In fact, simple calculations to estimate heat flow out of the Earth give numbers several orders of magnitude lower, so don’t blame geological scientists for your own miscomprehensions.

            And, as I noted, that doesn’t solve the problem anyway because in the era of satellite measurements, we know that the Earth is not emitting 390 W/m^2 as viewed from space; it is only emitting 240 W/m^2, because of the “bites” taken out of the spectrum coming from the surface at exactly the locations (and with the magnitudes) expected by radiation transfer theory.

            You are denying a heck of a lot of empirical evidence to remain in your epistomological bubble.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Just as a clarification in my last post, when I was talking about the Earth emitting 150 W/m^2, I shouldn’t really have said “emitting”; I was talking about the rate of heat flow through the solid Earth up to the surface. Of course, the Earth is emitting even more than that – 390 W/m^2 – but the point is that the rate of energy flow coming up from the core and mantle to the surface is much smaller than that. (This source http://www.answers.com/topic/earth-heat-flow-in says it is 87 milliWatts/m^2.)

      • John K says:

        Hi Mike,

        You made valid points that I agree with. However, you wrote:

        “May I point point out that Mr Cotton cannot irritate or offend anyone.”

        You apparently lump the terms irritate and offend. To my understanding., the two terms have very different meanings. Anyone can be irritated or annoyed by anything. For example, a photosensitive individual sits in a dark room. You turn on the light. He may as a result be irritated. You may respond I didn’t irritate him the light did. However, if you hadn’t turned on the light the man would not have been irritated. The fact an individual becomes irritated with any given statement on a blog implies nothing further about either the person who made the statement or the individual irritated. One may possibly unintentionally state a fact that irritates someone as a result. The problem indeed lies in this case with the irritated individual, but the one who delivered the information nevertheless irritated that individual by presenting unwelcome information. Frankly, some people should be irritated. Sometimes one should afflict the intellectually comfortable with unwelcome facts and comfort the afflicted. Doug may intentionally or unintentionally irritate many people on a blog. You or I may do so also.

        However, the term “offend” implies something else all together. The term suggests an intent to demean or deflate, perhaps an attack on the persons character.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          John K,

          I take your point. However, I stand by my statement to the effect that Doug Cotton cannot make somebody annoyed, impatient, or angry wihout their cooperation.

          I simply decline to be irritated or offended. Seems easy enough to me. Maybe I’m just too stupid to get angry in order to provide enjoyment to a stranger.

          I know my support for complete freedom of speech is not universally applauded. Most people say they support freedom of speech, and then spend an inordinate amount of time defending their right to abridge it. Oh well, who cares. I don’t feel offended or irritated by people who try to bend me to their will, because I produce the odd inconvenient fact, or ask inconvenient questions.

          Of course, it is totally Dr Spencer’s decision to snip somebody. I present just one view, which has precisely the value you assign.

          Live well and prosper,

          Mike Flynn.

          • John says:

            Hi Mike,

            You may be surprised, but I largely agree with your clarification. My post mainly concerned my explicating the difference in meaning between the term irritate and offend (after reconsidering my post, I concluded that if one offends someone they almost inevitably irritate them, but if one irritates someone they may not offend them at all). Individuals willfully express annoyance, impatience or anger. We may not control much of what happens to us in our lives, but we control our response. We can control our attitudes and expressions including speech. The problem for me comes with the definition of the word irritate. It reminds me of a cube drawn on a 2 dimensional surface. Which of the two full visible squares appears to be in front of the other depends on how you choose to perceive the cube, or in this case define and use the term. An outward expression of irritation with someone will arguably be under my control. However, if I rub salt in someone’s wound I can irritate it whether or not the person wants to be irritated. Likewise, one can inflict pain upon another whether or not the person chooses to experience pain. While we control our response to environmental stress we do not always control our environment or its impact upon us. Certain statements and/or actions by others can impact us in ways completely outside our volitional control. Remind someone (inadvertently or not) of a painful event in their lives or personal failing and you will likely irritate them, whether or not they react to it. If a person belittles (sometimes publicly), misleads and/or slanders another the sting or irritation exists quite apart from whether they express annoyance or not. Lives, dreams, fortunes, marriages and many other things have been lost by a few ill placed words. I do not have the scripture quote in front of me, but it seems the tongue can be set on fire by “hell.” How we respond to the inevitable irritations and offenses we encounter defines us. It seems wise to keep one’s heart, mind and hopefully tongue focused on truth, beauty and virtue and to keep the “Kingdom of Heaven” within. Thanks for your patience with me. I hope my statement makes sense, and as you so often close…

            Live well and prosper,

            John K

            P.S. – I believe in freedom of speech too. However, hopefully with freedom comes responsibility and care.

  25. Mack says:

    Come on Roy, This is it. You know the mistake with the incoming solar radiation. Doug knows it. The retired professional meterologist knows it. Everybody at PSI knows it. Hundreds maybe thousands know it. Most people reading here know it. Even I know it.
    You can see NASA slowly cleaning up its act. They’ve got rid of Hansen. They’ve heeded their astronauts. Most importantly they’ve eliminated their big fat arrows of “backradiation” in their Earth Energy Budget diagrams. You can see NASA is back peddling and covering up by using percentages instead of numbers in their latest diagram. (the one Doug constantly refers to) You can see the “backradiation” has dribbled to a few percentages on this diagram. The KT diagram and numbers will only be used by the IPPC in their AR5 now and Trenberth doesn’t put his name to it anymore. Rat leaving the sinking ship.
    What now Roy?

  26. tonyM says:

    Dr Roy:

    Doug can be a scream and indeed overly brusque. It is true the interaction with the Meteorologist, who was extremely polite and very knowledgeable, was overly harsh and should have been toned down. Perhaps if Doug understands these feelings and channels his responses more politely, even though he is still free to attack the argument, it may indeed be a benefit to all.

    One never knows what could be discovered. Doug has been prepared to do some statistical work on humidity/T, Norman seems keen to follow up and the Meteorologist could provide valuable insights and guidance into the strengths and weaknesses of such a study and its experimental merits.

    It would be helpful to tone down his personal criticism of key luke warm-skeptics such as yourself, Lindzen et al. This seems to be a trait of PSI writing to attack anyone not in agreement. I suggest it is counter productive and weakens the skeptic argument. For a start these players have a respected voice in the field and have a far better chance of influencing the debate than will any of the work from PSI. In this highly politicised area it should be left to them to determine how best to play the cards without silly criticism from skeptics.

    In a nutshell if Doug undertakes a transformation I’m also asking you to reconsider your decision (I know about leopard spots!).

    • Douglas J Cotton  says:

      Tony.

      The mechanisms that set planetary surface temperatures have nothing to do with back radiation or any grenhouse effect. Instead these temperatures in the surface, crust, mantle etc are governed by the autonomous thermal gradient, not by any radiative imbalance. This is a whole new ball park. Those who persist with a greenhouse philosophy, or a “blanket” insulating philospohy are all in the same camp as anyone else claiming the greenhouse effect conjecture to be valid, to whatever degree. There is no point in talking about sensitivity to carbon dioxide when there can be no such thing.

  27. Douglas J Cotton  says:

    Thanks Mack. I think you and most silent readers would know that Mike Flynn is mistaken in thinking I’m a believer in perpetual motion.

    From the moment I first read Roderich Graeff’s papers the year before last I realised his knowledge of physics was mistaken, in that he incorrectly multiplied the kinetic energy gain by the degrees of freedom. This, in essence, was why he thought he was generating energy. His mistake, not mine, is what makes Mike Flynn talk about perpetual motion.

    I explained Graeff’s mistake in my paper about planetary surface temperatures, the first version of which came out in November last year. Prior to that I had written to Lucy Skywalker about the error, but she stood by her man, and the mistake was perpetuated in the articles on Tallbloke’s Talkshop with no one, to my knowledge, detecting it, least of all Roger himself.

    None-the-less, Graeff’s 800 or more experiments do exhibit statistically significant thermal gradients in the innermost cylinder, despite the opposite gradient being measured in the outer cylinder due to the room temperature. His home basement was an ideal lab because the cool underground floor helped ensure this reverse gradient on the outside. We know that the diffusion process is slow acting and easily over-ridden by convection and air currents, so that’s what happened in the room, though he also used an air conditioner when necessary, I understand.

    Don’t underestimate the influence of PSI, tonyM, as we now have over 200 members including plenty with PhD’s, professors, meteorologists and, above all, people who think and understand the physics of the atmosphere. People who stand behind me, for a start, and recognise the validity of what I write. I suggest you and Roy should think about why it is that so many suitably qualified and experienced scientists should all know in their own minds that Roy and others are very mistaken in their greenhouse conjecture. The physics of the atmosphere is far more complex than Roy seems to believe, but it’s not all that hard to understand when you realise that these gravity gradients are a reality. I’d bet my life on that fact.

    In my two papers “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” (March 2012) and “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” I believe I have put together pretty much all the physics that explains not only Earth’s atmospheric, surface, crust and mantle temperatures, but also what we can measure on Venus and Uranus, these being the two planets which give us the most useful comparisons with Earth. Uranus, in particular, shows why there is no greenhouse effect causing about 250 degrees of warming above the radiating temperature at the base of its known troposphere.

    I would also recommend reading my recent article “The Old Wives’ Tales of Climatology” in the “Latest News” section of PSI. If Roy doesn’t block this second backup ISP that I have, then I’ll be able to answer any genuine questions.

    And, Roy probably the best thing you should do is to actually engage with me in discussing the physics of the atmosphere, preferably after reading my paper and the Old Wives’ article which many at PSI approved before publication.

  28. jae says:

    A simple request for information from a simple chemist:

    Electromagnetic radiation has both a wave form and a particle form, as I understand the current physics doctrine.

    In the wave form, radiation extinguishes that radiation which is 180 degrees out of phase with it. Plenty of evidence of that.

    So, just how does this fit in with backradiation somehow adding something to the atmosphere? Some of the backradiation has to be out of phase with the radiation from the surface? Does some radiation from the surface obliterate some radiation from the GHGs?

    Just asking.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Your understanding of interference is, indeed, very crude. For one thing, it is not easy to get interference…You need to have the radiation be coherent (which, alas, I believe thermal radiation is not from the get-go) and all sorts of things. Secondly, interference doesn’t magically get rid of energy…It merely redistributes it. Thirdly, as I explained to Mike, we have empirical evidence that shows us what is happening: ~390 W/m^2 of radiation is leaving the Earth’s surface but only about 240 W/m^2 is getting out into space…and, strangely enough, the spectrum of what escapes looks exactly like what is predicted by codes for radiation transfer in the atmosphere using our knowledge of the absorption bands for the various greenhouse gases.

      • Alec M says:

        Is your evidence calorimetric? I very much doubt it.

        A radiometer will calculate source temperature by comparison with a black body. A pyrgeometer then calculates from the S-B equation the potential energy flux that radiation field could supply to a sink with the zero point energy radiation field, i.e. 0 °K.

        It is not an energy flux but a potential energy flux revealed by shielding the radiation field from the opposite direction.

        Therefore to claim you measure 390 W/m^2 radiation leaving the Earth’s surface is to fail to understand what the instrument measures.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Alec,

          One can make complaints about all measurement methods of measuring anything. If you can’t come up with compelling arguments that a whole class of measurements has to be thrown out because they are wrong, then you are just making excuses to avoid dealing with empirical evidence that contradicts your religious beliefs.

          • Alec M says:

            Religious beliefs, hah! My only religion is the search for the truth; back radiation is an abomination, not science.

            Firstly, a pyrgeometer does not work as claimed when measuring clear sky temperature because the sky is semi-transparent to IR, so the sensor simultaneously absorbs and emits in different wave-length ranges.

            Secondly, if you accept that it measures an approximate temperature, it then converts this into the potential flux a black body would emit to a sink at absolute zero, convolved with the average emissivity of that sky, positive in one section, negative in another.

            Thus the instrument gives a totally artificial signal approximating to the net sum of energy being emitted by the atmosphere to the sensor which heated by convection from the warmer instrument body and radiation from the atmosphere outside the atmospheric window.

            The manufacturers are getting round this by putting in thermistors to measure internal convective heat transport.

            Climate Alchemy dare not admit the truth because to do so would be to admit it has totally and utterly failed!

            100s of man years have been wasted in the Energy Budget. 100s of man years have been wasted in the modelling. A grizzled old meteorologist plus a bit of astrophysics can do far better than the souped up techno-junkie nerds who have been employed to serve the Oracle of Trenberth.

            See Bruegel the Elder’s painting of Climate Alchemists: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=the+blind+leading+the+blind&id=A4C3183D5FF88FEF31C77B27D9DBF0ECAC75503B&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=A4C3183D5FF88FEF31C77B27D9DBF0ECAC75503B&selectedIndex=0

            How can this give a correct measurement of temperature when the instrument is calibrated agasinst a black body – at equilibrium a slight temperature drop with respect the the case and zero energy fklux over all wavelengths?

      • jae says:

        Joel: it looks like you’re insisting on some type of “conservation of radiation,” which I’m sure you know is wrong. Energy is conserved, but not radiation. Space “sees” the radiation coming from the atmosphere about 5km altitude, where the temperature is about 30C cooler than the surface due to the lapse rate (hmm, 30 C…imagine the coincidence!). There’s no need to somehow balance the Watts of radiation. The energy is stored in the air molecules as kinetic and potential energy.

        • Joel Shore says:

          It’s not strictly conservation of radiation but there is a drive toward radiative balance. That drive occurs because if the incoming radiation is larger than the outgoing radiation, then the result of this is an increase in the energy of the system, i.e., an increase in temperature (until the radiative balance is restored). And, just the opposite occurs if the incoming radiation is less than the outgoing radiation. In practice, even with the rapid increase in greenhouse gases, the Earth system is estimated to be out of radiative balance by only a fraction of a W/m^2.

          And, lest someone believe that emitting 390W/m^2 and only receiving 240 W/m^2 is sustainable, we know that this is not what is happening because satellites confirm that, as seen from space, the Earth is only emitting ~240 W/m^2.

          • jae says:

            Yeah,yeah,yeah. Same old bullcrap, Joel. Bottomd line is that your theories/guesses/claims/religion AINT cutting the mustard! The empirical evidence points STRONGLY against all your (and Roy’s) ideas about GHGs, as I expanded upon above! I think you guys have completely lost the argument

            BTW, what in the HELL is a “drive toward radiative balance,” dude? I am very clear that you are obfuscating relative to my point about “conservation of radiation.” I caught you in your misinformation, no? Is that neophysics?

            And this statement from you:

            “And, lest someone believe that emitting 390W/m^2 and only receiving 240 W/m^2 is sustainable, we know that this is not what is happening because satellites confirm that, as seen from space, the Earth is only emitting ~240 W/m^2.”

            makes no sense to me, considering my earlier comment. You are playing a really dumb game here, as my earlier comment said: there IS NO CONSERVATION OF RADIATION, ONLY ENERGY. You know this, I’m sure, so I really question your integrity at this point.

            BTW, you guys are done, you know!!!!!!!!!!

          • Joel Shore says:

            Jae: One cannot force someone to learn when they are more comfortable being ignorant. You are clearly that way, having haunted various threads on this subject for many years now and having learned absolutely no physics. It’s sad that some people have such a block against knowledge, a victim of their own extreme ideological biases.

          • jae says:

            Joel: As usual, you did not address any issue. Just typical Democrat/Socialist diatribe. Supply some facts, boy, some facts!

          • jae says:

            Oh, Joel, BTW, please explain why your AGW theory doesn’t cut it for the last 15 years or the last 15,000 years… You really should stop making a fool of your self!

          • Joel Shore says:

            jae,

            You can read my contributions to this thread as well as anybody. I have been discussing basics physics you can learn if you read any physics textbooks, as well as overwhelming evidence of the greenhouse effect provided by satellite observations.

            You’ve been providing absolutely nothing but confusion about very basic physics and ideological bluster about Democrats being Socialists.

            Like I said, it is sad to see someone who claims to have a scientific background but is unable to understand the most basic science that goes against what his ideology forces him to believe. There are people just as ideological as you who can at least accept basic physics rather than being at your level of denial of science. You are the “Young Earth creationists” of the “AGW skeptic” movement.

    • Douglas J Cotton  says:

      Jae

      My paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” explains what physicists and engineers are now starting to realise happens to such radiation, so I suggest you read it and then feel free to ask me any questions. It’s not about interference, however, which is very rare and insignificant in the atmosphere as a whole.

      Seeing that the issue of my photography came up, here is a link to a version with one of my photos on the title page, taken at Glenelg Beach in Adelaide.

    • Douglas J Cotton  says:

      Joel

      Your implication that thermal energy at the rate of 150W/m^2 is being continously accumulated in the atmosphere is simply incorrect, and you only have to calculate the consequences to realise why.

      Of all incident solar radiation, 19% is absorbed on the way in, including some absorbed by carbon dioxide in the 2.7 micron band. Strangely enough, the spectrum of what reaches Earth’s surface “looks exactly like what is predicted by codes for radiation transfer in the atmosphere using our knowledge of the absorption bands for the various greenhouse gases.”

      • Joel Shore says:

        Doug,

        That is not relevant to what I said. The 19% is included in the 240 W/m^2 absorbed by the Earth-atmosphere system. You seem to think that you need to come up with some way to explain how enough energy can get down to the surface to radiate 390 W/m^2 (and, I might say, so far you have not come even close to succeeding in that task). In fact, your task is much more daunting: You need to explain how a planet can radiate 390 W/m^2 from its surface when it (including its atmosphere) only absorb 240 W/m^2 from the sun.

        In fact, that was your task in the 1970s, before we had satellites up measuring the actual emission spectra from the Earth into space (and one could still try to come up with some cockamamie energy source other than the sun to supply the missing 150 W/m^2). Now, your task is to explain how a planet can emit 390 W/m^2 at its surface, only 240 W/m^2 as seen from space and have it that the IR absorbing elements of the atmosphere that are the only things that can allow this to happen are somehow not responsible for this discrepancy! Oh yeah…and you need to do so in light of the fact that the accepted theory of how this happens is able to predict the resulting emission spectra as seen from space down to about every last wiggle!

        Good luck!

        • Douglas J Cotton  says:

          All this was covered and fully explained in my March 2012 paper. You appear to be confusing the transit of electro-magnetic energy in radiation with the transfer of thermal energy. The NASA net energy diagram show the latter, and you can see it in my latest paper.

          The vast majority of upwelling radiation from the surface is not transferring thermal energy from the surface, but instead re-emitting the electro-magnetic energy in the back radiation. That’s how radiation works, but you would need to read my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” and the cited references. I know this is rather advanced physics, so that’s why I suggest you read up on it.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Doug,

            Rather than continually referring us to your paper, why don’t you just give us your “elevator speech” explaining how the Earth’s surface emits 390 W/m^2, the Earth as seen from space emits 240 W/m^2, and how this discrepancy (which is, really, the most basic definition of the greenhouse effect) is not due to the IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere?

            I think I can handle advanced physics. What your paper seems to have is very little advanced physics but a lot of incorrect physics.

          • Excellent question, Joel. But until Doug manages to find a 5th IP address to post from, he is currently banned from commenting here due to complaints about his bedside manner.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel,

            The 390 W/m^2 number is conveniently MADE UP by flagrant misapplication of the S-B law to fit in with AGW dogma! IT IS NOT MEASURED! HEAT is what’s measured. The heat transfer flux from surface to atmosphere. Or between any objects. It can be positive or negative, depending on your measuring perspective. All the other numbers are simply inferred and estimated, based on broad assumptions, from this.

            http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/pyrgeometers-untangled/
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrgeometer

            If you don’t like the ‘quality’ of these references, feel free to check out ANY technical description of these devices.

            The Earth’s surface receives on average ~165 W/m^2 of HEAT from the Sun. This heat is the input it needs to be at balance with (that is, for it not to cool down or heat up). So it needs to shed an equal amount of heat to the atmosphere/space. That’s all we know. And it’s all we need to know. Neither of these two fluxes, the incoming or the
            outgoing, are large enough according to the S-B law to correspond to a mean temperature of 288K. But then the Earth’s surface is also certainly NOT a blackbody in a vacuum radiating according to its temperature to a cold reservoir at 0 K. It doesn’t need to. And it cannot. It lies at the bottom of a massive atmosphere weighing down upon it, restricting its convective and latent heat loss. It can lose its absorbed HEAT by way of conduction/convection, evaporation and radiation. On average they share the load like this: convective/latent – 100-110 W/m^2, radiative – 55-65 W/m^2.

            And that’s it. Temperatures and fluxes do not have to and will not correspond according to the S-B equation at Earth’s surface. It’s simply absurd thinking that they must. And even more absurd postulating it in a budget diagram. No, the gas laws enter the mix.

            The HEAT flux leaving the surface of the Earth is 165 W/m^2 while 240 W/m^2 worth of HEAT leaves TOA to space. That means 75 W/m^2 of heat is ADDED to this flux on its way from the surface up through the atmospheric layers to be finally radiated off to space. This is the incoming solar heat originally absorbed by the atmosphere now being released again as outgoing heat.

            Joel, I see you’re constantly projecting your loyal faith (in your case, in the AGW dogma) onto your opponents who are simply pointing out that the real world does not agree with your bizarre assertions.

            So clearly I don’t expect you to rethink your position on this at all, because of course you won’t. But these things just have to be said, and repeatedly so, no matter.

    • Alec M says:

      The back radiation idea is baseless, an abomination in the land of real science.

      In physics you define the conversion of monochromatic radiation to heat energy: the volumetric monochromatic heating rate of matter is the negative of the divergence of the monochromatic radiative flux density.

      You integrate this over all wavelengths. What climate alchemists call back radiation is just one set of vectors in the radiation field.

      In practice the interference of incoherent thermal radiation from opposing sources gives a net flux oscillating about the average you’d get for opposing coherent waves.

      This oscillation will be damped by the interaction of the electric vector with polar molecules.

  29. Mike Flynn says:

    Jar,

    I assume that you are toying with Joel. Although you did not state what sort of chemist you were, I presumed (possibly incorrectly) that you would be familiar with various types of interferometry, and interferometers including ultraviolet and infrared capability.

    I will leave Joel to his faith – no facts required.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi Curt, hi Mike.

      About the halogen lamp with reflector:
      “Why do they want to do this? First, the higher the temperature of the filament, the higher the percentage of power that is radiated away instead of conducted away (because the radiated power increases roughly as the 4th power of absolute temperature, and conducted power roughly as the 1st). Second, the higher the temperature of the filament, the more of the radiated spectrum makes it into the visible-light zone, increasing the lumens per watt.”

      I’m not an optical expert, but some years ago I designed an optical spectrum analyzer, so I have one here in my home workshop. It’s a 170 to 1150 nm instrument, so it’s just good for the measurements you refer.
      What I noted doing some experiments with a filament bulb, it’s that the emitted power increases but the color temperature doesn’t seems to increase so much indeed.
      In my opinion, it’s just because the higher area of the Planck’s black body of the filament rises into the visible band of the spectrum that our eyes looks the lamp brighter, not because of that minimal increment of the filament temperature that I seen.
      Anyways, maybe I’m wrong because I know very little in this field.

      About my experiment, which was just qualitative and not quantitative of course. I believe that it could show that also oxygen and nitrogen work as blankets. Because substituting them with the heatsink the temperature fallen down demonstrating that the radiative transfer is well overcame by the thermodynamic one at the atmospheric pressure. I mean that the thermal conductance of the heatsink was just better than the one of the air substituted by the heatsink itself, so despite the reduction of the convective heat exchange, and despite the back radiated energy from the heatsink, the resistor dropped its temperature instead of increase it.
      But that’s just my modest opinion, maybe I’m completely wrong.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

      • Mike Flynn says:

        Massimo,

        I applaud your approach. Notice something interesting or curious, measure it, and think about it.

        Fantastic! A surprising number of advances had a large amount of luck involved, and depended on an individual pursuing something that others had either overlooked, ignored, or dismissed as impossible.

        My comments about the utility of the design were not meant as a criticism. The principle obviously works. Unfortunately, the devil is often in the detail. Commercial success is a fickle creature.

        I agree with your proposition about the atmosphere. I better not restate my opinions, the usual crew will be baying for my blood!

        Welcome to the realist club.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          Hi Mike,
          as already said, in my opinion climate science is all but settled.
          I know almost nothing about it, but in my opinion climatologists give too much confidence to computer models and scarce importance to measurements instead.

          I remember that, in my youth when I was about thirteen, I was really fascinated about how some engineers were able to design complex electronic boards making them work the right way. That because I was experiencing a lot of failures those days trying to design very simple circuits instead.

          A couple of decades later I returned with my mind to those times and thinking to myself I realized that the cause of those failures wasn’t only a question of knowledge (in part it was, of course), but the availability of instruments that now give me the capability of measure the phenomena controlled by the board that I design.
          And also I’ve realized the importance of using measurement instruments taking care of their limitations.

          For that, I’m very critical about the TOA measurement done via narrow field of view radiometers or spectrometers.
          It seems to me that scientists have overestimated the capability of infer the whole Earth dish LWIR outgoing radiation just aiming their satellites to a small area below their nadir, because of the possibly very different spectral distribution at different angles due to the presence of GHGs.
          In my opinion, the measurement of the whole real outgoing radiation at the TOA should be the very first goal of today climatology.

          But now, stop off-topic arguments.

          Dr. Spencer asked us to keep the discussion about gaining insight from his simple model and instead we switched one more time far from the root of the thread.
          I apologize for this.

          Have a nice day.

          Massimo

          • Mike Flynn says:

            Massimo,

            You are of course right. I have abused the courtesy of our host, for which I also apologise.

            I will absent myself from discussion for a month or two, partially as a penance, partially because I have other matters which will be occupying my mind, such as it is.

            To all,

            Live well and prosper,

            Mike Flynn.

          • Mike, I don’t read all of the comments here, and I only police things if I receive multiple complaints from others about bad behavior. I have received no complaints about you.

  30. Massimo PORZIO says:

    No Mike,
    I’m sure that Dr.Spencer who, as far I know, is a honest and comprehensive man doesn’t pretend any penance from you.

    I just imagined he should not be glad reading us disregarding his recommendations.

    Has you say: live well and prosper.

    Hope to read you again soon.

    Massimo

  31. Max™ says:

    And, lest someone believe that emitting 390W/m^2 and only receiving 240 W/m^2 is sustainable, we know that this is not what is happening because satellites confirm that, as seen from space, the Earth is only emitting ~240 W/m^2.” ~Joel Shore

    Uh… if the planet were a black body, and if it were surrounded by a vacuum and background at ~0 K, then the planet would emit ~390 W/m^2 at the surface.

    As for the receiving ~240 W/m^2 claim, it receives ~1366 W/m^2 before albedo, ~680 W/m^2 if you project that across a hemisphere, and ~480 W/m^2 after albedo.

    ~480 absorbed by half the planet only needs ~240 emitted by the whole planet in order for it to reach a radiative balance.

    • No, Max, the average IR emissivity of the Earth’s surface is close to 1, and so it emits an average of ~390 W/m2, through Stefan-Boltzmann (emiss*sigma*T^4). What it’s surrounded by doesn’t matter…unless you are thinking of the NET (2-way) IR flux.

      You seem to be agreeing with Joel on what the planet absorbs from the sun, 240 W/m2 averaged over the surface of the Earth. This is also what it emits at top-of-atmosphere in the IR. Joel’s point is that the surface emission (390) is well above what can be explained unless you invoke an IR absorbing/emitting atmosphere.

      • Max™ says:

        I don’t average the energy absorbed over the planet as it is rather nonsensical to do so.

        It is also quite easy to explain the emissions when you don’t do this, so, again, I don’t do that.

        As for the black body issue, the SB law is valid for the case of a black body in a vacuum, otherwise you need to account for losses through mechanisms besides radiation in the total energy leaving the surface.

        A body which is undergoing conductive and evaporative cooling simply doesn’t have enough energy to also cool at full power through radiative losses, does it?

        So no, the planet doesn’t emit 390 W/m^2, if it did that it would lose all of the internal energy which otherwise is involved in evaporation and conduction/convection/advection, and thus would not be able to cool through any other mechanism. The total transfer from the surface to the atmosphere, latent, sensible, and radiative will add up to around that amount though.
        ______

        Even then, the surface temperature can be explained without invoking the IR emission/absorption properties of some portion of the atmosphere, as long as you don’t make the mistake of assuming averaged insolation is realistic.

        Here is a much more robust spreadsheet model of insolation which allows one to examine the differences between a constant insolation and varied insolation case, play around with it some if you’d like.

        Again, credit to DaBigCheez from the xkcd forums for the sheet.

        __________

        As you are presenting things, Roy, you seem to be making it sound like the atmosphere only raises the average temperature, aren’t you?

        I’m pretty sure it (the atmosphere, in combination with the rate of rotation) both reduces the maximum during the day and increases the minimum during the night, which then leads to a higher average temperature.

        The moon is far hotter during the day, nearly 400 K around noon along the equator, and far cooler during the night, dropping nearly 300 K in places.

        The combination of very hot over the looooooooong day+very cold over the looooooooong day+no atmosphere is why the moon averages out far cooler than the Earth.

        Similarly the fact that the Earth never gets nearly as hot, nor as cold, and averages out warmer than the Moon.

        • Max™ says:

          Oops, at the end there it should say: “the combination of very hot over the looooooooong day+very cold over the looooooong night” was distracted a bit as I was typing and my fingers decided to be jerks.

        • RW says:

          Max says:

          “A body which is undergoing conductive and evaporative cooling simply doesn’t have enough energy to also cool at full power through radiative losses, does it?”

          Yes it does. A temperature of about 288K with a surface emissivity near 1 requires a net power gain of about 390 W/m^2 to sustain it. For the Earth’s surface, the net power gained at the surface (i.e. the power actually supplied to it) is about the same as the power directly radiated from the surface. This is because a watt of incident radiative power from the atmosphere is about equal to watt incident non-radiative power from the atmosphere, where the balance at the surface is the sum of radiant and non-radiant flux incident on and leaving the surface.

        • Joel Shore says:

          “A body which is undergoing conductive and evaporative cooling simply doesn’t have enough energy to also cool at full power through radiative losses, does it?”

          Apparently, it does because it is at the temperature at which its (gross) radiative emissions are 390 W/m^2. A body emits radiation according to its temperature. There is no rule that says that if it also losing energy through conduction and convection then it doesn’t emit as much. [Of course, as a result of this, such a body would be losing heat more rapidly than one that were at the same temperature but not losing energy via conduction and radiation...and hence to maintain its temperature, it would need more input of thermal energy from whatever sources it is receiving energy from.]

        • RW says:

          In other words, the surface is radiating the same amount of power it is being supplied as a result of all the physical processes in the system – both radiative and non-radiative. For 288K, that power is about 390 W/m^2. If more than 390 W/m^2 is gained, the surface warms; if less than 390 W/m^2 is gained, the surface cools. And this is entirely independendent of how the joules are supplied to the surface.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Max says: “I don’t average the energy absorbed over the planet as it is rather nonsensical to do so.

          It is also quite easy to explain the emissions when you don’t do this, so, again, I don’t do that.”

          This is silliness spread by sophists like Postma. If you don’t like averaging, then just compute the totals. The arguments comes down to this: A body at the surface temperature of the Earth is emitting energy at a much larger rate [(390 W/m^2)*(4*Pi*R^2)...I'll let you do the math] than it is receiving energy from the sun [(1361 W/m^2)*(Pi*R^2)*0.7] where the 0.7 is 1 minus the albedo and the energy received includes all solar energy absorbed by the Earth and its atmosphere.

          The only way this is sustainable is if the atmosphere absorbs some of the emissions from the surface, so that the rate of emission from the Earth as seen from space balances (rather than significantly exceeding) what it absorbs from the sun. Of course, in the era of satellites, we have confirmed that this is the case (at least within the uncertainty of the measurements, which is on the order of 1%). We have also confirmed that the spectrum emitted to space is exactly what is predicted using radiative transfer theory using the known absorption lines of the atmospheric constituents.

          “As you are presenting things, Roy, you seem to be making it sound like the atmosphere only raises the average temperature, aren’t you?”

          The point is simply that arguments about radiative balance only get you as far as determining what happens to the average surface temperature (more precisely, the average of T^4, or most precisely, the average of epsilon*T^4 where epsilon is the emissivity, which is apparently pretty darn close to 1 over the relevant IR wavelengths for most terrestrial surfaces, even things like snow that we don’t think of as being very emissive / absorptive at visible wavelengths).

          Certainly, the atmosphere and the surface constituents (like oceans) along with the planetary rotation (how long a day is) can have profound effects on minimum and maximum temperatures and so forth…But, again that is something that requires more work to figure out than simply balancing energy in and energy out.

          Again, people like Postma have confused the issue here in an attempt to muddy the waters.

      • AlecM says:

        Roy: the Earth does not and cannot emit 390 W/m^2 real energy. That S-B calculation gives the maximum possible energy that the body could emit to a sink at absolute zero.

        The radiation field is also picked up by optical pyrometers to give its temperature, but it cannot provide that maximum potential energy unless it interacts with the zero point energy of absolute zero. If this were not true, there could never be radiative equilibrium and the Universe would never have formed cold planets.

        The real energy emitted to the atmosphere is 160 W/m^2, most of it by convection. You and the rest of the people involved in Climate Research must understand the difference between the potential energy flux as a result of temperature and engineering/geological reality.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Alec,

          The emissivity is pretty close to 1, so yes, the gross amount emitted is pretty close to 390 W/m^2. If you mean that the actual net emission is less because the atmosphere is also emitting back then, yes, you are correct…That is the greenhouse effect.

          • AlecM says:

            That emissivity is to absolute zero, an isolated body in a vacuum.

            The average operational emissivity of the planet is net IR/390 = 0.16. The rest of the 160 W/m^2 coming to the surface from the Sun is lost as convection and evapo-transpiration.

            Remember, a pyrgeometer measures temperature, not energy flux. This is where Climate Alchemy goes very wrong.

    • Kristian says:

      Max™ says, May 4, 2013 at 4:31 AM:

      “Uh… if the planet were a black body, and if it were surrounded by a vacuum and background at ~0 K, then the planet would emit ~390 W/m^2 at the surface.”

      Well, only if it had first received a steady flux of 390 W/m^2. This flux would upon absorption by the blackbody set its surface temperature which would in turn cause the emission back out to space to be 390 W/m^2. The emitted flux of 390 W/m^2 would not be a cause of the BB temperature. It could not in any way control or dictate it. It would be the result of it, a direct function of it. Temperature would control, would dictate it.

  32. Kristian says:

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says, May 4, 2013 at 7:08 AM:

    “No, Max, the average IR emissivity of the Earth’s surface is close to 1, and so it emits an average of ~390 W/m2, through Stefan-Boltzmann (emiss*sigma*T^4). What it’s surrounded by doesn’t matter…unless you are thinking of the NET (2-way) IR flux.”

    Of course it matters what it’s surrounded by. Stefan-Boltzmann strictly applies to blackbodies (or graybodies) in vacuums where radiative heat transfer is all there is.

    • Joel Shore says:

      As Roy and I have explained above, the gross emission is independent of any other forms of heat transfer that are occurring. So, no, it doesn’t have to be in a vacuum. (There is apparently a very small correction when emission is into air for the difference in refractive index between vacuum and air. There is also the condition of “local thermodynamic equilibrium, but this a not-very-restrictive condition that is well-satisfied under the conditions that we are talking about. See SoD for discussion: http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/10/24/planck-stefan-boltzmann-kirchhoff-and-lte/

    • RW says:

      Kristian,

      Temperature is slaved to power by the Stefan-Boltzmann law. If the emissivity of the surface is 1 (or near 1), at 288K, the surface will radiate about 390 W/m^2 and thus must be supplied with about 390 W/m^2.

      Much confusion seems to arise because the balance at the surface is the sum of a radiant and non-radiant flux where additive superposition applies to the effects of energy (and power) on the surface temperature. To the extent that a lot of non-radiant power leaves the surface in addition to the 390 W/m^2 directly radiated from the surface, that amount which leaves non-radiantly and doesn’t return must be offsetting direct radiative power in excess of 390 W/m^2 incident on the surface from the atmosphere and Sun.

      The key thing to note is all power in excess of 390 W/m^2 incident on the surface has to be exactly offset by power in excess of 390 W/m^2 leaving the surface, and that the surface is specifically emitting 390 W/m^2 of radiative power solely due to its temperature (and emissivity, which as said is really close to 1).

      • Max™ says:

        Set up a container with a bottom at 289 K, 1 emissivity, and a vacuum in the lower section so the bottom radiates ~390 W/m^2 towards the top of the container, which is the bottom of the next section.

        Above the lower vacuum section is a portion with the same material, containing mostly nitrogen and 1 or 2% H2O at 1 bar.

        The bottom of the pressurized section is absorbing 390 W/m^2 from the vacuum portion.

        Let’s use the Trenberth 390 radiation/17 latent/80 convection breakdown for convenience

        If the bottom of the pressurized section is warmed to 289 K by the radiation it receives from the vacuum section, and assuming it then emits 390 W/m^2 into the pressurized section, the heated surface should induce convective currents in the nitrogen, and circulation within the container with the presence of water means there should be evaporation taking place as well, right?

        Both of those processes carry energy away from the surface too, right, so where does the 17+80 for evaporation/convection come from?

        I’m going to side with Siegel and Howell here, no offense Roy.

        Setting aside things that require complex fluid dynamics equations like viscosity, and ignoring emissivity, we get:

        q=(T₁ – T₂)+(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴)

        Or heat transfer=(conductive transfer)+(radiative transfer).

        • Joel Shore says:

          Max: I don’t understand what you are trying to argue. You just wrote down an equation that says that you add the emissive transfer and the other (conductive and convective) transfers together to get the total transfer. That’s exactly what we are saying. There is 390 W/m^2 emitted by radiation and then there is an addition 17 + 80 W/m^2 by convection / latent heat transfer.

          • RW says:

            Yes, the 80 W/m^2 + 17 W/m^2 of non-radiative flux is the amount leaving the surface but not coming back (as non-radiative flux). However, the gross incident radiative power entering the surface is 161 W/m^2 of SW from the Sun and 333 W/m^2 of LW from the atmosphere for a total of 494 W/m^2. 97 W/m^2 of the 494 W/m^2 is replacing the 97 W/m^2 on non-radiative leaving the surface, but not returned (making 97 W/m^2 of the 494 W/m^2 a net zero energy flux entering the surface). 494 – 97 = 397 – 1 W/m^2 imbalance = 396 W/m^2 or the net power gained at the surface, which is also the power radiated from the surface (for 289K).

          • Max™ says:

            I am saying that a surface at 289 K has enough internal energy to lose up to 390 W/m² if it is radiating into a vacuum (and close enough to a black body), but the situation in the presence of an atmosphere is not so simple.

            The equation I wrote down says that the difference in temperatures determines conductive losses and the difference of the fourth power of the temperatures determines radiative losses, while the total heat transfer is the sum of those losses.

            An atmosphere at 0 K is nonsensical, but that is the only situation where P=εσA(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴) for a black 289 K surface yields ~390 W/m², hence the reason I and others have said that value only applies in a vacuum.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Max,

            When you write down the equation P=εσA(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴), you are just acknowledging that there are radiative flows in both directions, i.e., that there is “back-radiation”, or in other words, that the net radiative flow depends on the temperature of the colder atmosphere too. So, maybe you now believe in the greenhouse effect after all?

          • AlecM says:

            To claim P=εσA(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴) proves ‘back radiation’ is proof you do not know how radiative transfer works.

            The individual S-B equation I = εσAT₁⁴ gives the Irradiance of a body at temperature T, the power it would emit as net EM energy to a sink at absolute zero. The difference predicts the net radiation between two emitters but neither of those emitters produce their predicted Irradiance to a body at 0 °K.

            It goes back to Maxwell’s Equations. The volumetric heat transfer rate is the integral over all wavelengths of the negative of the divergence of monochromatic radiative flux density at a point. This is P = -DeltaI = -εσA(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴).

            Most scientists misuse the S-B equation, not realising the sign difference or that the individual equation predicts irradiance, not heat flow.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Alec,

            The fact is that the scientists who do the radiative transfer calculations get results that agree with empirical data. The entire field of remote sensing is based on this. You can’t just deny an entire field of science because it gives you a few results that you find ideologically inconvenient.

          • AlecM says:

            You don’t seem to understand that there is a World of difference between estimating Irradiance and predicting Thermodynamic Work. The models assume Absolute Irradiance = thermodynamic work rate. This is wrong. Work done = Difference of Irradiance x time.

            Hence the models estimate 6.85 times higher heating by GHG absorption than reality thus the claim of high positive feedback is false. Then the false temperature rise is offset by claiming double real low level cloud albedo plus other fake corrections.

            It was good whilst the Asian aerosols gave AGW by reducing cloud albedo [Sagan got the physics wrong] and Climate Alchemists became Rich and Famous. Now that the World is cooling, the chickens are coming home to roost.

            I told UK government 2 1/2 years ago that this was the biggest scientific cock-up in history. I don’t blame people who follow the mantra of what they have been taught but the physics I have presented is accurate. Most physical scientists fail to understand radiative physics. There is no and can be no ‘back radiation’, defined as other than an artefact of pyrgeometers.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Alec,

            Unfortunately you are talking nonsense. And, the physical scientists who you deride are the ones whose science works, as the entire field of remote sensing shows. Your science is just in your head.

        • RW says:

          Max,

          “Both of those processes carry energy away from the surface too, right, so where does the 17+80 for evaporation/convection come from?”

          It comes from the surface, but for 288K it must be in addition the 390 W/m^2 directly radiated from the surface, otherwise the surface temperature would be higher.

          • Max™ says:

            Alternatively:

            Radiation from the surface into the atmosphere is P=εσA(289⁴ – 276⁴), or about 63 W/m² which is in addition to the 97 W/m² from non-radiative processes, which balances the 160 W/m² value you’re looking for.

            This also helps show why the argument presented above in an attempt to discredit Postma is misguided.

            Overall the energy the planet receives from the Sun is about 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules each second across one hemisphere, and it emits about 5.11×10¹⁶ Joules each second from both hemispheres.

            Saying that the planet only receives 240 W/m² means you’re taking that 1.22×10¹⁷ value and spreading it over the entire surface.

            The 5.11×10¹⁶ you get when you do that isn’t sufficient insolation to produce the observed temperatures, necessitating some sort of mechanism to do so…

            …but then you’re saying that every second the entire surface of the planet receives 5.11×10¹⁶ Joules from the Sun, aren’t you?

          • Joel Shore says:

            “Saying that the planet only receives 240 W/m² means you’re taking that 1.22×10¹⁷ value and spreading it over the entire surface.”

            No…You are just saying that radiative balance applies to the total amount of energy going in and out. You are acknowledging the fact that the atmosphere, oceans, and even ground can easily store energy over the diurnal cycle…but that a significant radiative imbalance on a continuing basis leads to a rise in temperature (if inputs exceed outputs) or a drop in temperature (if outputs exceed inputs).

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            I don’t enter your debate, just one question about the application of the superposition effect at evaporation/convection.
            Being an electronic engineer I frequently use the superposition to easily solve complex nets, but all the nets involved must have linear behaviour otherwise superposition can’t be applied.
            Does anyone out of here checked that evaporation/convection have linear behaviors respect to the energy flux?

          • RW says:

            Massimo,

            For a state of energy balance, they would effectively be linear for this application.

      • Kristian says:

        The only people confused here are the ones that seriously think that they can apply the Stefan-Boltzmann law to any object no matter what the surrounding condtions are like.

        THE STEFAN-BOLTZMANN LAW STRICTLY APPLIES TO BLACKBODY (and, through modification of the emissivity, graybody) EMISSION SITUATIONS! NO HEAT CAPACITY. NO CONDUCTIVE RESISTANCE. ONLY VACUUM, SURROUNDINGS AT 0 K, THERMODYNAMIC EQUILIBRIUM AND IDEAL RADIATIVE HEAT TRANSFER.

        Listen to what AlecM is telling you. The 390 W/m^2 is purely a calculated figure based on the potential radiative flux a blackbody in a vacuum with a temperature of 288K would send out to surroundings at 0 K. Nothing else. That is what the S-B law is about.

        Frankly, I don’t know where this seemingly deeply ingrained notion came from, that a surface will always HAVE TO radiate according to its temperature first and then and only then all the other heat transfer mechanisms can enter the room, as if they were part of a different set of heat transfer rules. This fixed idea is not based on any facts or observations whatsoever. In a medium like air, radiation is simply ONE of several heat transfer mechanisms that the object at hand has at its disposal. It is not ‘special’ in any way. It only helps the object to rid itself of its absorbed heat. Just like the conductive/convective and the latent heat transfer mechanisms do. They all pitch in. Their individual importance relative to one another depends completely on the surrounding conditions. At the pressures and temperatures prevailing at the Earth’s surface and in the troposphere, radiation is of minor importance as a heat transfer mechanism, while the convective mechanisms (cond./conv./lat.) is of major importance. From the tropopause and out however, radiation reigns supreme.

        . . .

        The people misapplying the S-B law are seemingly also the people insisting on confusing ‘radiation’ and ‘heat’.

        Look, even if the 390 W/m^2 were real and measured, it would not constitute a heat flux. It would not be describing a transfer of HEAT from one place to another. The radiative HEAT flux from surface to troposphere would be the net of the (390-40=) 350 going UP and the 324 coming down -> 26 W/m^2 (these are figures from T&K97). Only this flux would bring radiative HEAT from the ground to be absorbed by the air. Only this would be available to WARM the troposphere. Only this would constitue an actual transfer by radiation of ‘thermal energy’ across the system boundary surface/atmosphere.

        It is people not able (or willing) to grasp this fundamental distinction that has left ‘the science of climate’ in the sorry state we see today.

        You people need to remove yourselves from 1) the specious misapplication of the S-B law, and 2) the flawed idea that radiation (or energy of any kind) automatically equals heat and thus raised temperatures. HEAT is the transfer of (thermal) energy from a warmer to a cooler body, cooling the warm one and heating the cool one. Nothing else.

        • Joel Shore says:

          “Listen to what AlecM is telling you. The 390 W/m^2 is purely a calculated figure based on the potential radiative flux a blackbody in a vacuum with a temperature of 288K would send out to surroundings at 0 K. Nothing else. That is what the S-B law is about.”

          It represents the gross radiative emission from the body…and it is experimentally measuring: For example, the satellites see that the radiation from Earth corresponds to a blackbody at ~288 K at those wavelengths that don’t get significantly absorbed by the atmosphere. At the wavelengths that do, it is colder.

          “The radiative HEAT flux from surface to troposphere would be the net of the (390-40=) 350 going UP and the 324 coming down -> 26 W/m^2 (these are figures from T&K97). Only this flux would bring radiative HEAT from the ground to be absorbed by the air. Only this would be available to WARM the troposphere. Only this would constitue an actual transfer by radiation of ‘thermal energy’ across the system boundary surface/atmosphere.”

          Congratulations! You have finally understood the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Up until now, we have been explaining to you that the reason the Earth’s surface can radiate be at a temperature where the S-B Law says it radiates 390 W/m^2 is that the atmosphere has IR-absorbing elements in it that absorb (and emit) radiation. You’ve been denying this but now you are finally acknowledging it. If the atmosphere did not contain such elements and the Earth’s average surface temperature was still 288 K, the surface would emit 390 W/m^2 that would all escape to space and the Earth would not be in radiative balance.

          “HEAT is the transfer of (thermal) energy from a warmer to a cooler body, cooling the warm one and heating the cool one.”

          We know what heat is…and we can even go further than you and calculate things using the basic principles of physics, which is why we understand how what you have acknowledged to be true in terms of the heat transfers leads to the Earth being warmer than if the Earth radiative transferred 390 W/m^2 directly to space with none of it being absorbed by the atmosphere.

          I think you are well on your way to understanding basic physics that has been alluding you up until now!

        • Joel Shore says:

          Kristian,

          My guess is that your one remaining sticking point that you need to enter the realm of understanding the basic physics here is the notion that the steady-state temperature of a body is determined by the balance of the heat it absorbs and the heat it emits. Since you have explained to us that the heat that the Earth’s surface emits is lower (at any fixed temperature) because the presence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere, it then follows that the Earth’s surface has to be at a higher temperature than if it were emitting directly to space (because its atmosphere was completely transparent to radiation).

          • Kristian says:

            Joel,

            Your debate tactics have now devolved into nothing more than condescending (most unbecoming) strawman building (really, I’ve denied that there are gases in the atmosphere that absorb IR??!!) and general drivel without any substantive or substantiated argumentation of any kind, only loose repetitions of dogma (in other words, you’re countering criticisms to the dogma not by addressing the criticisms, but by simply restating the dogma, like committed and faithful warmists tend to do). You apparently only write to fill out space, to say something that would appear to be ‘scientific’ enough to counter your opposition. But again, you’re not addressing any of the points I’m actually making, Joel.

            You say as a matter of course that you know what HEAT is, but your whole argument is founded on rejecting or ignoring the central and important physical definition of this very phenomenon, this very concept. If you did know what heat is and you used it accordingly, you would have no argument to begin with. There is a difference between 390 and 66 W/m^2, Joel. A big difference. The second one is a HEAT FLUX. It’s real. The first one isn’t. Likewise, there is that same big difference between (390+97=) 487 and 163 W/m^2 leaving the surface. From an S-B perspective, the first flux would correspond to a 304.4K object (what or where is this object, Joel?), IF it was a real HEAT FLUX. Which it isn’t. The second, which is, would correspond to a 231.5K object. IF this object were a blackbody in a vacuum radiating to surroundings at 0 K. Which it isn’t.

            You say you know what ‘heat’ is, Joel. Then SHOW it.

            Because now, the only thing you’re actually doing is feverishly waving your hands in attempting to divert and deflect from the whole issue. It’s tiring and uninteresting trying to discuss an issue with someone that absolutely insists on ignoring what you’re saying or on continuously twisting and misrepresenting your arguments so that he can rather share from his seemingly endless list of talking points … that, by the way, we’ve all heard a thousand times before, but been shown the correctness or validity of a full total of zero times.

            I apologize to our host, Dr. Spencer, for this post. I’m sorry, but it was needed.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian says:

            There is a difference between 390 and 66 W/m^2, Joel.

            No, Christian. If you assume that 390 W/m^2 is going out and 324 W/m^2 is going in, you get the same result as if you assume that just a net of 66 W/m^2 is going out. So, in fact there is no difference if you do the accounting correctly, which we do.

            I’ll answer more later.

        • RW says:

          Kristian,

          Why is the temperature of the Earth’s surface about 288K and not 388K or 488K, for example? How do we or can we quantify the energy supply to the surface required to sustain 288K?

          • Kristian says:

            RW says, May 5, 2013 at 8:45 AM:

            “Why is the temperature of the Earth’s surface about 288K and not 388K or 488K, for example? How do we or can we quantify the energy supply to the surface required to sustain 288K?”

            We can’t. Because the surface temperature of the Earth is not set by the radiative balance alone. It is set also by convective restriction by the atmospheric mass.

            Look, the Moon’s global surface on average receives a heat flux from the Sun of ~300 W/m^2. At the same time it radiates off to space an IR flux of the same size. That is, 300 IN, 300 OUT. The Earth’s surface only gains an average flux from the Sun of ~165 W/m^2 and at the same time radiates, conducts/convects and evaporates off a total heat flux towards the atmosphere and space a flux of the same size. That is, 165 IN, 165 OUT.

            Now, the Moon’s surface SHOULD in this setup, according to the S-B equation, boast a mean global temperature of around 270K. Likewise, the Earth’s surface SHOULD be at a temperature of about 232K. But what have we? The Moon’s global average, estimated from satellite measurements (LRO/Diviner) is most likely below 200K. The Earth’s is as we know about 288K.

            So, the Earth’s surface is ~90K warmer on average than the Moon’s. Yet the Moon’s surface absorbs and emits 82% more heat than the Earth’s surface gains and loses.

            How come?

            Because we have an atmosphere and the Moon doesn’t. We also have oceans, an unfathomable storage reservoir for absorbed heat.

            There is indeed an atmospheric warming effect. It just isn’t radiative. It does actually act on the surface as a greenhouse or a jacket or a blanket. It just doesn’t do it by preventing 150 W/m^2 of IR leaving the ground from escaping to space. It does it by suppressing convective (the free escape from the surface of conductively and radiatively heated air) and evaporative (Clausius-Clapeyron) heat loss. Through its mass (its weight/pressure on the surface).

          • RW says:

            I need an answer to my second part as well before I can answer you.

          • Joel Shore says:

            “Now, the Moon’s surface SHOULD in this setup, according to the S-B equation, boast a mean global temperature of around 270K. Likewise, the Earth’s surface SHOULD be at a temperature of about 232K. But what have we? The Moon’s global average, estimated from satellite measurements (LRO/Diviner) is most likely below 200K. The Earth’s is as we know about 288K.”

            Clearly, you have read Nikolov and Zeller and are as confused about what the equations of radiative balance say as they are. Radiative balance does not say what the moon’s global average temperature should be. They say what the average of T^4 should be. So, it is the fourth root of the average of T^4 over the surface (assuming emissivity = 1) that should be equal to 270 K. For an object like the moon with huge diurnal temperature ranges, the difference between computing the average temperature and the fourth root of the average of T^4 will be substantial. What can be shown is that the fourth root of the average of T^4 is always greater than the average of T…and hence, the temperature computed using the S-B equation is an upper bound on the possible temperature.

            As for Earth, your calculation for what its average temperature should be suffers from another issue, which is that you are using only the radiation that gets to the surface. It is more common to use the total radiation absorbed by the Earth and its atmosphere, since this is what needs to be re-radiated to space in total (and in the absence of greenhouse gases, only the surface could re-radiate this energy back out into space…although admittedly the absence of greenhouse gases would affect the absorption of solar radiation by the atmosphere somewhat too).

            “There is indeed an atmospheric warming effect. It just isn’t radiative. It does actually act on the surface as a greenhouse or a jacket or a blanket. It just doesn’t do it by preventing 150 W/m^2 of IR leaving the ground from escaping to space. It does it by suppressing convective (the free escape from the surface of conductively and radiatively heated air) and evaporative (Clausius-Clapeyron) heat loss. Through its mass (its weight/pressure on the surface).”

            This is simply wrong. The only way that the Earth and its atmosphere send energy out into space is via radiation. The Earth’s surface simply could not be as warm as it is if all of the radiation that it emitted at its surface went back out into space without being absorbed. It is really as simple as that. That is why people who doubt the greenhouse effect are in denial of basic physics and why the more respectable AGW skeptics are trying to get you guys to not make the whole AGW skeptic community look so scientifically ignorant.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, May 5, 2013 at 7:04 PM:

            “Radiative balance does not say what the moon’s global average temperature should be.”

            And yet this is exactly your justification for claiming the different temperatures of Earth levels. According to you, Earth’s surface gains 163 W/m^2 from the Sun and 324 W/m^2 from the atmosphere. This is 487 W/m^2. Then you subtract the convective fluxes (17+80=) 97 W/m^2 from this and ends up with your 390 W/m^2 IN (actually quite a bizarre way of doing the budgeting; why isn’t it 487 IN and 487 OUT rather? the incoming put together and the outgoing put together? because it HAS TO be 390, right?). This is then according to you balanced by the surface emitting a flux of the same size, 390 W/m^2. 390 IN, 390 OUT. 288K. At TOA (or actually, according to you, at the effective radiating level, 5 kilometers up) 240 W/m^2 is coming IN from the Sun and 240 W/m^2 is going OUT from the Earth. 240 IN, 240 OUT. 255K.

            Radiative balance gives directly, according to your logic, the average temperature at Earth’s surface and at the ERL.

            So what are you actually arguing against here, Joel …?

            We know that it is the huge swings in temperature that makes the actual Moon average much lower than the calculated mean emission temperature. We know it’s because of the T^4 relationship. That’s exactly our point. You’re the ones who insist on averaging both the input and the output to get to the actual temperatures.

          • RW says:

            Kristian,

            Do you understand the additive superposition principle reference earlier? At the surface, the net power gained is about 390 W/m^2; however, the gross power entering and leaving the surface is about 490 W/m^2. About 100 W/m^2 non-radiative flux is leaving the surface and not coming back (as non-radiative flux), but this is offsetting the additional 100 W/m^2 of direct radiative power entering the surface from the atmosphere and Sun. Put another way, to the extent the surface receives more direct radiative power from the atmosphere and Sun that it emits, the excess must be replacing non-radiative power leaving the surface, but not returned (making it a net zero energy flux entering the surface, or energy that is circulating within the surface and TOA boundaries).

            In short, the actual power supply to the surface is the same as if it were supplied soley by 390 W/m^2 of direct radiative power. That is, the surface is supplied the same mount of joules.

          • Kristian says:

            RW says, May 6, 2013 at 5:42 AM:

            “At the surface, the net power gained is about 390 W/m^2; however, the gross power entering and leaving the surface is about 490 W/m^2.”

            According to T&K97, the power gained (absorbed) at the surface (that is, from downward energy fluxes, you know, the arrows in the diagram actually pointing down at the surface, signifying INCOMING/INPUT/GAIN), all radiation, is (168+324=) 492 W/m^2. There is simply no getting around that.

            The surface in turn rids itself, again according to T&K97, of 390 W/m^2 via radiation and (24+78=) 102 W/m^2 through convective fluxes. 492 W/m^2.

            This is what the energy budget diagram shows, RW. It’s right there for all to see.

            Now, for an object to attain an emission temperature of any kind, it first needs to absorb energy (well, actually HEAT, but nevermind that for now …). It has to absorb in order to gain a temperature in the first place. Well, according to the T&K97 budget diagram, the surface of the Earth does absorb, in no uncertain terms, a total radiative flux of (168+324=) 492 W/m^2.

            In the Stefan-Boltzmann universe, any BB surface that absorbs a radiative flux of 492 W/m^2 should attain an emission temperature of 305.2K. That’s 32 C or 89.6 F.

            This could be said then to be the potential (or upper bound) temperature of the Earth’s surface, if there were no convective heat loss, only radiative (still strictly based, of course, on the numbers from T&K97). But convective fluxes on average remove 102 W/m^2 of the absorbed energy from the surface, reducing the real surface temperature of the Earth to 288K, leaving a mean emitted radiative flux of a corresponding 390 W/m^2.

            There is one obvious problem with this whole setup, though. The incoming radiative flux to the surface is only partly independent from the surface. The other part (the biggest one) would not be there if the surface hadn’t already been heated upfront. It is mainly a ‘back-radiated’ flux.

            The surface cannot be its own heat source. It cannot first absorb heat from itself to gain a temperature in order to warm the atmosphere so that this can send back the very flux the surface was heated by in the first place. It is a situation worthy of an M.C. Escher drawing. It looks nice, but it doesn’t portray reality.

            The ONLY heat flux gained by the surface of the Earth is the one coming in from the Sun, the 168 W/m^2. Period.

          • RW says:

            Kristian,

            “Well, according to the T&K97 budget diagram, the surface of the Earth does absorb, in no uncertain terms, a total radiative flux of (168+324=) 492 W/m^2.”

            Yes, but only 390 W/m^2 is actually added to the surface, because 102 W/m^2 of the 492 W/m^2 of direct radiative power is replenishing 102 W/m^2 non-radiative flux leaving the surface, but not coming back.

            The bottom line is the same amount of joules are added to the surface as if they were soley supplied by 390 W/m^2 of direct radiative power in a vacuum.

            If you don’t understand or see this, with all due respect, I don’t think you understand the how the additive superposition principle applies to the effects of energy (and power) on the surface temperature.

        • RW says:

          Kristian,

          Heat is not necessarily power, as power can be both radiant and non-radiant (i.e. kinetic). There is only one requirement for balance at the surface and that is for power gained to equal power lost; however, there are an infinite number of possible surface temperatures with the same amount of power gained as power lost. So again, how do we quantify the power supply needed to sustain 288K? Or increase or decrease the temperature from 288K?

          • RW says:

            Or the change in power supply needed to increase or decrease the temperature from 288K?

  33. pochas says:

    Dr Spencer,
    After all you have written demonstrating the moderating effect of convection on surface temperatures it is disappointing that you have chosen to omit this very important effect from your model. You’re playing into the hands of the warmists!

    • Joel Shore says:

      Pochas: You are correct that convection plays a role. Without convection, the lapse rate in the atmosphere would be steeper than it is and the greenhouse effect would be even larger than it is. But, the reason that convection cannot completely negate the greenhouse effect is because the atmosphere is only unstable to convection if the lapse rate is steeper than the (appropriate, dry or saturated) adiabatic lapse rate. So, convection drives the lapse rate down to the adiabatic lapse rate but no further. If it were able to drive the temperature down all the way to an isothermal distribution, then the greenhouse effect would not occur, so a necessary condition for the greenhouse effect is that the temperature at the “effective radiating level” where the radiation escapes to space is lower than the surface temperature.

      • pochas says:

        Joel,

        You are absolutely correct in all you have written above. Now, the question boils down to how much of an effect a minor addition of a very weak greenhouse gas can make. When the models are purged of their faux positive water vapor feedback (which you now recognize based on the above) and some objective models are written, (I know there are smart programmers at NOAA), then we will get the answer. And ignorance about clouds/convection is no excuse. As a first approximation these effects can be simply parameterized on an empirical basis by reference to the work of Drs Spencer and Lindzen and others, and climate science can be at last given a foundation to build on, free of fudged data and faulty physics.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Pochas: I am not sure why you don’t believe in the water vapor feedback. It is now quite well-confirmed by empirical data (discussion here http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5917/1020.summary ) especially for temperature variations at timescales of months to a few years. (There is evidence for it for the multidecadal trends too, although this evidence is always more problematic due to the issue of artifacts in both the satellite and radiosonde records that affect secular trends. At any rate, it is hard to come up with reasons why a feedback that occurs on the timescales of days would should up for temperature variations of months but somehow disappear at longer timescales.)

          Convection is already in the models: The basic idea is that areas governed by the dry adiabatic lapse rate won’t see the lapse rate change. Areas, like the tropics, governed by the moist adiabatic lapse rate are expected to see the lapse rate decrease a bit with warming, which is a negative feedback currently included in all of the climate models, which has the effect of “taking back” some of the amplification that the water vapor feedback produces. There is some variation in the strength of this feedback and strength of the water vapor feedback amongst the models, although the good thing is that they are governed by much of the same physics and hence models that have a stronger water vapor feedback tend to have a stronger lapse rate feedback. As a result, the differences between models for the total feedback effect of both of these processes is much smaller.

          • pochas says:

            Joel: “I am not sure why you don’t believe in the water vapor feedback. It is now quite well-confirmed by empirical data (discussion here”

            Dessler.

            Joel, I’m not going to waste my time digging up references for you.

  34. don penman says:

    does the ir radiation leaving the earths surface not decrease in proportion to the square of the distance from the earths surface?This does not make the earths surface warmer so perhaps the reduced ir being radiated by the upper atmosphere to space just follows the reduced ir from the earths surface with distance.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Don,

      The Earth’s radius is ~6400 km and we are talking about radiation being emitted at levels averaging on the order of 5 km or so above the surface, so the correction that you are speaking of is a very small effect. And, we know why the emission from higher in the atmosphere is less…and we have excellent agreement between the empirical spectra and those calculated by radiative transfer calculations to back it up.

  35. Max™ says:

    When you write down the equation P=εσA(T₁⁴ – T₂⁴), you are just acknowledging that there are radiative flows in both directions, i.e., that there is “back-radiation”, or in other words, that the net radiative flow depends on the temperature of the colder atmosphere too. So, maybe you now believe in the greenhouse effect after all?” ~Joel Shore

    I try not to believe anything if I can help it, once you believe something you stop thinking about it.

    When I write down that equation I am acknowledging that there is a single transfer of heat through radiation.

    I am not making the mistake of adding the downward IR from the atmosphere to the surface energy budget, giving the utterly wrong impression that the atmosphere provides twice as much energy as our star does.

    “Saying that the planet only receives 240 W/m² means you’re taking that 1.22×10¹⁷ value and spreading it over the entire surface.”

    No…You are just saying that radiative balance applies to the total amount of energy going in and out. You are acknowledging the fact that the atmosphere, oceans, and even ground can easily store energy over the diurnal cycle…but that a significant radiative imbalance on a continuing basis leads to a rise in temperature (if inputs exceed outputs) or a drop in temperature (if outputs exceed inputs).” ~Joel Shore

    This is a nugget of truth wrapped in nonsense.

    I am saying that the planet receives 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules per second from the Sun, only half of the planet is actually illuminated, so all of the energy emitted by the rest of the planet must have been absorbed by half of the planet.

    Twice the output for half the time will still produce radiative balance, as is obviously demonstrated by the real world, and it is only if you unnecessarily average the energy flows across a long enough period of time that you lose enough information to think otherwise.

    The day side needs to emit around 5.11×10¹⁶ Joules per second to space and the night side needs to emit around 5.11×10¹⁶ Joules per second to space, in order to balance the 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules per second absorbed by the day side from the Sun.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Yes, and the problem is that the Earth’s surface is instead emitting a total of ~1.99 x 10^17 Joules because of the 288 K average surface temperature.

      • Max™ says:

        Uh, no, the emissions from the surface isn’t what I was talking about, pay attention.

        The planet receives 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules per second, it needs to lose 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules per second.

        It absorbs energy with one hemisphere, it emits to space with both hemispheres, balance.

        YOU and others are presenting the wrongheaded idea that the planet absorbs energy with both hemispheres, leading to the absurd claim that the atmosphere provides twice as much energy to the surface as the radiation from our star does.

        • Max™ says:

          That should be “the gross emissions from the surface, as though it were a black body” of course, because the actual surface emissions are not into a vacuum at 0 K.

          • Max™ says: May 6, 2013 at 1:11 AM

            That should be “the gross emissions from the surface, as though it were a black body” of course, because the actual surface emissions are not into a vacuum at 0 K.
            ————–
            TFP

            You are very keen of equations. So can you possibly explain how emissions are modified by the destination. Remembering that it takes time for the emitted radiation to “discover” that the destination is not zeroK.

            Before being convinced your theories hold merit I would then like to know the physical mechanism that a BB reduces emissions depending on its destination.

            Of course to some extent you are correct – A hot black (or not) body emits n quanta of energy in all directions.
            The receiving cooler body (black or not) emits m quatnta of energy in all directions.

            The hot blackbody intercepts p quanta of energy from the cool black body.

            The total loss of energy by the hot blackbody is n-p quanta.
            If the cool body is at 0K (and only zeroK) then p must be zero.

            Hot looses n quanta.

            If the cool body is greater than 0K then p is greater than zero.

            So to an observer of the hot body the body looses less energy when next to a non zero K cool body. This is what you seem to be saying BUT there is no modification to the n quanta emitted from the hot body.

            The Vacuum, or otherwise, has no relevance, of course, to the *radiation* from the hot body unless it is a “GHG” Conducion/convection is another matter but it is not *radiation*.

          • Max™ says:

            “You are very keen of equations. So can you possibly explain how emissions are modified by the destination. Remembering that it takes time for the emitted radiation to “discover” that the destination is not zeroK.” ~TFP

            It takes zero time from the frame of a photon, actually.

            If the destination is already emitting photons, then those leaving already “know” the temperature of the destination.

            “Before being convinced your theories hold merit I would then like to know the physical mechanism that a BB reduces emissions depending on its destination.” ~TFP

            My theories?

            Do you think I just whipped that equation up myself?

            I’m flattered, I suppose, but no.

            Siegel and Howell and others who know their thermodynamics better than either of us write it that way.

            “The Vacuum, or otherwise, has no relevance, of course, to the *radiation* from the hot body unless it is a “GHG” Conducion/convection is another matter but it is not *radiation*.” ~TFP

            This is nonsense, whether or not something is a “GHG” it is still bounded by the same laws of physics as everything else.

            You tossed in a part about “there is no modification to the n quanta emitted by the black body”, if it reduces the energy lost by the black body, yet the black body still loses the same amount of energy it originally did, we have ourselves a paradox, do we not?

        • Joel Shore says:

          Energy is recyclable because it is a conserved quantity just like money. All the energy originally came from the sun, but there is no particular limit of how much this energy can be exchanged back and forth.

          • John says:

            Joel,

            You wrote:

            “Energy is recyclable because it is a conserved quantity just like money.”

            By the First Law of Thermodynamics matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed (by definition a closed system), and only in that sense can be deemed “conserved.” The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics claims that in any closed system the amount of energy unavailable for useful work (entropy) must always increase. Therefore, not all the energy can be recycled, and thus available for useful work, unless the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics be suspended. If you don’t believe me read about the Hubble telescopes measure of deep space background radiation.

            “All the energy originally came from the sun..”

            You probably mean all solar energy originally came from the sun or the statement proves bizarre and delusional.

            “but there is no particular limit of how much this energy can be exchanged back and forth.”

            How much this energy can be exchanged back and forth from and to where exactly? You can’t mean the sun and the earth. You must be aware that most all the solar energy impinging the earth will never return to the sun. Do you mean exchanged back and forth between the Earth’s atmosphere and the planet’s surface? You must notice that the Earth radiates and/or conveys energy back to space. If nothing limits how much energy can exchange back and forth why do we observe so much energy lost to space? If you refer to another exchange process please clarify, because your statement failed to do so.

            An old school-time aphorism state: A mind is only so good as the precision of it’s concepts. After reading some of your statements the question arises? Do you imbibe alcohol on a regular basis?

          • Joel Shore says:

            John: You are just creating a bunch of strawmen and knocking them down.

  36. Max™ says:

    No, Christian. If you assume that 390 W/m^2 is going out and 324 W/m^2 is going in, you get the same result as if you assume that just a net of 66 W/m^2 is going out. So, in fact there is no difference if you do the accounting correctly, which we do.” ~Joel Shore

    If you assume that the Sun provides 160 W/m² and the atmosphere provides 324 W/m² to the surface, then you’re doublecounting part of the total flux.

    The energy which warmed the atmosphere came, for the most part, from the surface.

    Counting it as an energy input again is like saying you could plug a lamp into a photovoltaic charger and then charge it with the light from lamp.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Max,

      Do photons come with little “tags” on them that say, “Hi, I am a photon emitted by the atmosphere but the energy to produce me originally came from the sun, so you can’t absorb me”?

      Do the photons from the lamp came with little “tags” on them that say, “Hi, I am a photon from a lamp that was charged by you, so you can’t absorb me”?

      • Max™ says:

        Do the photons from the lamp came with little “tags” on them that say, “Hi, I am a photon from a lamp that was charged by you, so you can’t absorb me”?” ~Joel Shore

        Really… you really said that just now?

        • Joel Shore says:

          Yes, I am really trying to understand the physics in the world that you inhabit.

          • Max™ says:

            What physics, the ones that say a lamp can not be the source of its own energy?

          • Joel Shore says:

            You apparently believe that there is some physical law that says that none of the energy from the lamp can get recycled. There is not.

        • Kristian says:

          Joel,

          A bit like water molecules in a waterfall also not wearing tags where it says ‘Down, please!’, ain’t it? Because why on earth shouldn’t each single molecule have an equal statistical opportunity to go up or to the sides as down? Why should they be prohibited from eventually going any other way than down? So more water falling down per unit of time in a higher gradient waterfall than in a lower gradient waterfall simply means that in the former situation, the number of downward-flowing water molecules outnumber the upward-flowing molecules by a larger amount than in the latter one, doesn’t it? In other words, the NET of H2O molecules flowing DOWN vs. UP constitutes a more positive figure.

          Yeah, free will and liberty to all water molecules!

          Or electrons in an electrical circuit. Do any of them carry a tag saying ‘High voltage to low!’ But of course not. They’re free to go in whatever direction they like, aren’t they? A higher voltage gradient simply means the NET between electrons going from high to low vs. the ones going in the opposite direction, from low to high, is more positive, a bigger number. Isn’t that right? Of course electrons don’t know the voltage in the other end of the circuit. How could they? So statistically they should be allowed to go (and do go) in any direction from whatever their source voltage.

          Gradient doesn’t matter, isn’t that right, Joel? Specific properties of the surroundings don’t matter either.

          Here is the definition of HEAT, Joel, because the phenomenon still seems to utterly baffle you:

          “Heat is defined as the form of energy that is transferred across the boundary of a system at a given temperature to another system (or the surroundings) at a lower temperature by virtue of the temperature difference between the two systems. That is, heat is transferred from the system at the higher temperature to the system at the lower temperature, and the heat transfer occurs solely because of the temperature difference between the two systems. (…) Heat, like work, is a form of energy transfer to or from a system.”

          (‘Fundamentals of Thermodynamics’, Borgnakke & Sonntag 2009.)

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian says:

            “Or electrons in an electrical circuit. Do any of them carry a tag saying ‘High voltage to low!’ But of course not. They’re free to go in whatever direction they like, aren’t they? A higher voltage gradient simply means the NET between electrons going from high to low vs. the ones going in the opposite direction, from low to high, is more positive, a bigger number. Isn’t that right?”

            Ah, Kristian. You might want to look up the concept of drift velocity and compare a typical drift velocity to the thermal velocity of the electrons. It is absolutely correct that electrons are going in both directions. In fact, for typical parameters, the net bias is very slight.

            “Here is the definition of HEAT, Joel, because the phenomenon still seems to utterly baffle you”

            Kristian, the difference between us is that I, unlike you, understand the difference between a macroscopic thermodynamic quantity and microscopic quantities…and I don’t confuse the two. Nature is much more elegant than you imagine. It is much less imaginative to posit that the reason there is an asymmetry between past and future on the macroscopic scale (which is basically what the 2nd Law is all about) is because there is simply an asymmetry on the microscopic scale. It is much more imaginative to posit that it is the statistics of large numbers of particles in going from the microscopic to the macroscopic that results in this asymmetry. It also happens to be the correct explanation.

          • Kristian says:

            Joel Shore says, May 7, 2013 at 6:22 AM:

            “Ah, Kristian. You might want to look up the concept of drift velocity and compare a typical drift velocity to the thermal velocity of the electrons. It is absolutely correct that electrons are going in both directions. In fact, for typical parameters, the net bias is very slight.”

            Duh! Read my paragraph again, Joel. I’m talking specifically about the movement when there is an induced voltage gradient. The current. The drift velocity is ‘the HEAT flow’. It goes from high voltage to low voltage. Not the other way around. This flow creates an actual physical phenomenon – electricity. The random Fermi movements of the electrons don’t. They’re just there. They’re always there. They exist. They don’t disappear at any time. But they do not matter when it comes to propagating the current. Only the voltage gradient matters. Just like the temperature gradient is all that matters in propagating HEAT. Not the random motions of individual photons. It is ‘the drift’.

            But thanks for making me clarify.

            “Nature is much more elegant than you imagine. It is much less imaginative to posit that the reason there is an asymmetry between past and future on the macroscopic scale (which is basically what the 2nd Law is all about) is because there is simply an asymmetry on the microscopic scale. It is much more imaginative to posit that it is the statistics of large numbers of particles in going from the microscopic to the macroscopic that results in this asymmetry.”

            The transfer/transmission of the electromagnetic signal is by wave propagation. The wavefronts go from high potential to low potential. Just like HEAT. The photon perspective is really not very useful when it comes to understanding thermodynamics. It will just lead you astray. For instance into thinking that heat is somehow transferred both ways, just more from the hot object to the cold than the other way around. That cold objects really can make warmer objects warmer still. That the cold objects can somehow ADD TO the thermal energy of warmer objects.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Kristian,

            You are just making arbitrary distinctions without any difference. The emission of radiation by objects is also always there. It doesn’t go away when you put a warm object close to a cold object and you can’t just magically decide to will the transfer of energy away.

            You say you don’t believe “that cold objects really can make warmer objects warmer still. That the cold objects can somehow ADD TO the thermal energy of warmer objects” (the latter at least that I would certainly agree with…but of course you extend it to mean that there is no way a colder object can in any way influence the temperature of a warmer object).

            So, let’s see how wedded you are to this idea: Let’s say we have an insulated aluminum rod, 10 cm long, 1 cm^2 cross-sectional area, so it’s a 1-D conduction problem. You attach the left end of the rod to a heater that puts energy into the rod at the constant rate of 10 W/m^2. The other end of the rod, you attach to a piece of dry ice fixed at -78 C. The question is: What is the temperature of the left end of the rod? Now, take the right end of the rod and attach it to just a regular piece of ice (T = 0 C) instead of dry ice. Does the temperature of the left end of the rod change from what you found before? If it does, how can it possibly be that the colder object has added thermal energy to the warmer object?

    • Max™ says: May 6, 2013 at 1:23 AM

      Max the DLWIR from the atmosphere is much larger than the solar energy in the LWIR range.

      This document shows DLWIR to even be as high at night as during the day. WHY?

      http://www.patarnott.com/atms749/pdf/LongWaveIrradianceMeas.pdf

      This documents tests in the arctic and again show night and day dwlir to be similar.

      http://www.slf.ch/ueber/mitarbeiter/homepages/marty/publications/Marty2003_IPASRCII_JGR.pdf

      Note that both documents use an absolute sky scanning radiometer for a reference.

      So although solar input is single sided. dwlir is “constant” day and night.
      One need to as where this night time dlwir is being generated?

      • Max™ says:

        At no point is the Planck curve for a 5800 K body lower than that for a 290 K body, would you like to reexamine your statement?

        • Joel Shore says:

          Yes, Max, you are right. The radiant emission for a 5800 K body isn’t hard to calculate: It emits 6.4 x 10^7 W/m^2.

          And, yet, for some reason, scientists claim the solar constant is only 1361 W/m^2. Must be some sort of mass conspiracy by scientists to confuse us!

          [Or maybe they know how the intensity of the sun's radiation drops off as 1/r^2, a fact that apparently has alluded you.]

          • Max™ says:

            Be careful constructing all these strawmen, they’re a fire hazard.

          • Joel Shore says:

            No…You are the one that tried to claim that it was meaningful to compare the Planck curves for the two cases as evidence that one always exceeds the other.

          • Max™ says:

            I pointed out that at all points the planck curve from the sun is above that of the earth, you tried to act like I was saying the inverse square law doesn’t exist, for whatever reason, that is your strawman, and your concession that you can’t continue sensibly.

          • Max™ says: May 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM

            I pointed out that at all points the planck curve from the sun is above that of the earth, …
            ————-
            What do you mean by this?
            The plank curve is just a plot of energy output vs wavelength.

            each photon at each wavelength transfers the same energy no matter where it originated. Unless you do not believe in quanta?

            The plank curve shows that a hot object emits more quanta at each frequency than a cool object. BUT each quanta at say 10um has the same energy. there are just more of them per second.

            Not answered by Doug Cotton was my 3 body problem:
            a hot body a warm body and a cold body. placed in space at 0K.

            Each is a black body
            Each emits radiation at 10um (and many other wavelengths of course).
            Each 10um photon transfers 1 quantum of energy.

            You suggest that 1 photon at 10um from a hot object will warm the warm body and the cold body
            You suggest that 1 photon at 10um from a warm object will warm the cold body but not the hot body.
            You suggest that 1 photon at 10um from a cold object will not warm the hot body nor the warm body.

            What tags the radiation at 10um such that it knows whether to be absorbed or reflected depending on its source temperature?

            I also suggested that the radiation from a each body could be filtered such that its radiation at 2um and longer were separated (it would still retain its plank curve shape for that wavelength range and temperature) The hot and cold 2um+ could then be mirrored into one stream that hits the warm object. How can some of this homogenised 2um and longer radiation be reflected and some thermalised? It is just photons transfering quanta of energy. It does not know what source it originated from.

          • Max™ says:

            “each photon at each wavelength transfers the same energy no matter where it originated. Unless you do not believe in quanta?” ~TFP

            I try not to believe in anything, but I am well aware that radiation is quantized.

            A body at a given temperature emits more photons in a given wavelength than a cooler body does.

            At the wavelengths where the Earth emits say, 10 W/m^2, the radiation from the Sun, even reduced by distance, is around 100 W/m^2.

            You often see curves scaled to show both spectra on a single chart, the reason this is scaled in this way is because the spectrum from the Sun won’t fit on a chart scaled for Earth to show up.

            The top portion is “at the Sun”, the lower portion is “at TOA”, for comparison.

            So no, the argument that “the Earth emits more at these wavelengths than the Sun” is ridiculous. Even this far out the spectrum from the Sun is shaped roughly like that of a 390 K black body, as I recall.

            That makes sense when you consider that 1366 W/m^2 could raise the temperature of a body to around 390 K or higher.

          • Max™ says:

            Whoops, I messed up, the top portion of the curve (labeled 116 on the image) is for TOA, the lower portion is at the surface, it’s been a while since I worked that out.

          • Joel Shore says:

            Max: You claim my argument is a strawman, but in fact it is not, since you have now claimed many things that are simply false as a consequence of the faulty reasoning that I was pointing out.

            “At the wavelengths where the Earth emits say, 10 W/m^2, the radiation from the Sun, even reduced by distance, is around 100 W/m^2.”

            Since you are restricting to a certain wavelength, I will assume you mean 1 W/m^2/nm or something like that. And, then your statement is absolutely false. There is not more radiative emission around, say, 10 microns from the sun per square meter of the Earth’s surface than there is from the Earth. That is simply false.

            “You often see curves scaled to show both spectra on a single chart, the reason this is scaled in this way is because the spectrum from the Sun won’t fit on a chart scaled for Earth to show up.”

            No…You see them scaled in that way because in fact the total W/m^2 (where the per m^2 is per meter squared of the Earth’s surface) has to be the same for the input energy of the sun as it is for the output energy of the Earth in order to have radiative balance, which is pretty close to being true over any reasonable timescale (of, say, a year) averaged over the Earth’s surface.

            Why is it relevant that the radiation intensity at the surface of the sun itself is a lot higher? The Earth is not located at the surface of the sun.

            “That makes sense when you consider that 1366 W/m^2 could raise the temperature of a body to around 390 K or higher.”

            No…The 1366 W/m^2 is an intensity measured over the cross-section area of pi*R^2 of the Earth as seen from the sun. The total energy absorbed by the Earth is thus (1366 W/m^2)*pi*R^2 whereas the emission from an Earth at an average temperature of 390 K would be way more than this (because the area of the surface of the Earth is 4*pi*R^2). The maximum average temperature that the sun’s intensity could support would be 255 K if our atmosphere were transparent to terrestrial radiation. The only way that the average surface temperature can be higher is if the atmosphere absorbs some of the terrestrial radiation, i.e., there is a greenhouse effect.

            Your comments here are a trainwreck of misinformation.

    • Joel Shore says: May 6, 2013 at 6:13 AM
      Max,

      Do photons come with little “tags” on them that say, “Hi, I am a photon emitted by the atmosphere but the energy to produce me originally came from the sun, so you can’t absorb me”?
      ————
      exactly!

      Where in these equations is the hot body/ cold body tags to say whether the radiation is absorbed or reflected/scattered/etc.

      • Joel Shore says:

        Yeah…It amuses me how the elegant way that Nature chooses, of having very few elegant Laws and lots of consequences that follow from them, is too much for some people to bear. They want the laws to be arbitrary and capricious.

        I think it doesn’t help that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is pretty mysterious if you don’t understand the underlying statistical physics that it comes from. (Some modern textbooks are starting to do a better job of at least trying to give students a little flavor of this.)

        The way I like to put it is that the Second Law is never really a rule that you have to apply in an arbitrary and capricious manner. It is simply something that will naturally be obeyed if you use correct physics along the way: The increase in radiative emission with temperature, together with Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchhoff%27s_law_of_thermal_radiation ) guarantees that the 2nd Law will be obeyed. If you find yourself enforcing it independently, then you are probably enforcing some version of the Imaginary Second Law of Thermodynamics rather than the real Law of Thermodynamics.

        • Max™ says:

          Ah yes, an attempt to insult my understanding (a sign that you don’t understand it so well yourself, generally) from Mr. “Photons from a lamp plugged into a photovoltaic don’t know they came from the lamp” himself?

          For the record, yes, photons do indeed know where they are going and came from, at the speed of light all distances and durations are zero, but hey, that’s the sort of thing which is obvious to someone with the proper understanding of the physics involved, isn’t it?

      • Max™ says:

        It’s in the word “heat”, as in, “radiation from a hot body to a cold body is heat, other radiation is not”, *the more you know star flies by*.

  37. Joel Shore says:

    In seriousness, let’s try to debunk some of the nonsense flying around in this thread.

    Fake Physics: There are two kinds of radiative transfer, one from hotter to colder that can carry heat and another one from colder to hotter that can’t. That’s what the Second Law says, after all, doesn’t it?

    Real Physics: The Second Law does not deal with the microscopics of transfer of energy at all but rather with the net effect on the macroscopic scale. What actually happens microscopically is that energy transfers by photons occur in both directions. What the Second Law says is that the NET transfer of energy that we observe on the macroscopic scale is from the hotter object to the colder object, and that net transfer is what we call “heat”. This isn’t true because of some magically labels or rules that get applied to photons. It is true because of the statistics of the transfer of energy by large numbers of photons. In this particular case, it is guaranteed by the fact that the radiative energy emitted by a body is an increasing function of its temperature and Kirchhoff’s Radiation Law relating the absorptivity and emissivity of an object.

    Perhaps another more obvious example would help to illustrate this: Let’s imagine two containers of gas separated by a wall, with the left container at twice the pressure as the right. Now, suppose we poke a hole in the wall. Everyone would agree that gas molecules will in net go from the left side to the right side until the pressure is equalized. However, what happens on the microscopic scale? Apparently, some people here would have you believe that the only molecules that go through are those that go from the left to the right side…Or maybe that molecules that do go the other way magically don’t contribute to the density and pressure?

    The reality is rather different and is really no big mystery: If you look in the vicinity of the hole, you will see molecules going through in both directions. However, since there is a higher density of molecules on the left than the right, the molecules on the left impinge on, and hence pass through, the hole at a higher rate than the molecules on the right impinge on, and hence pass through the hole. It is not some sort of magic…It is simply statistics of very large numbers of molecules. In fact, if you started with just 8 molecules on the left and 4 on the right, you could see violations of the Second Law…that is, you might see at a later time that there are now 9 molecules on the left and only 3 on the right, an apparent decrease in entropy. However, with 2 x 10^21 molecules on the left and 10^21 molecules on the right, the probability of seeing the ratio of pressures significantly increase rather than decrease becomes so overwhelmingly statistically improbable that it will never happen in the age of the universe.

    Entropy increases simply because there are many more microscopic states with close to equal numbers of molecules on each side rather than very unequal numbers of molecules on each side and so the equilibrium of nearly equal numbers is simply the overwhelmingly most probable macroscopic state.

  38. John says:

    Hi Joel,

    You wrote:

    “What the Second Law says is that the NET transfer of energy that we observe on the macroscopic scale is from the hotter object to the colder object, and that net transfer is what we call “heat”.”

    No. The 2nd Law of thermodynamic states: In any closed system the amount of energy unavailable for useful work (entropy) must always increase. Your theory regarding net transfer of energy may or may not be a correct explanation for heat transfer consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but that’s not what the law states.

    Later, you wrote:

    “Entropy increases simply because there are many more microscopic states with close to equal numbers of molecules on each side rather than very unequal numbers of molecules on each side and so the equilibrium of nearly equal numbers is simply the overwhelmingly most probable macroscopic state.”

    Really, how do you explain elemental decay? For example, plutonium to lead, or other heavy elements to simpler more probable ones. The decay of elements also produces a more “probable state of matter” indicating greater entropy. The universal 2nd Law of thermodynamics applies to all matter (phenomenon, motion and energy) in a closed system at every structural level. Your statistical model, which most everyone has encountered at least by high school, barely begin to explain it. If you need historical guidance, you may choose to research James Clerk Maxwell (who believed matter did not decay) and Madame Curie (who proved it did) and truly began the serious quest for atomic energy. Many other examples of increasing entropy can be given than a simple gas model.

  39. John K says:

    Hi everyone,

    Please accept this correction to my post above. I wrote:

    “If you need historical guidance, you may choose to research James Clerk Maxwell (who believed matter did not decay) and Madame Curie (who proved it did) and truly began the serious quest for atomic energy.”

    The statement should have read:

    “If you need historical guidance, you may choose to research James Clerk Maxwell who believed matter did not decay and Madame Curie who proved it did and truly began the serious quest for atomic energy.”

  40. Joel Shore says:

    John:

    Yes, the most general statement of the Second Law is in terms of entropy. Perhaps a better phrasing of my statement “What the Second Law says…” is “What the Second Law implies…” or “A consequence of the 2nd Law is…”

    I’m not sure really what you point is about elemental decay. I wasn’t trying to discuss every possible situation with my one example; I was just trying to illustrate things with one example.