Imaging the Greenhouse Effect with a FLIR i7 Thermal Imager

May 6th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

FLIR_clouds_backyard
What is the atmospheric greenhouse effect? It is the warming of the surface and lower atmosphere caused by downward infrared emission by the atmosphere, primarily from water vapor, carbon dioxide, and clouds.

Greenhouse gases and clouds cause the lower atmosphere to be warmer, and the upper atmosphere to be cooler, than if they did not exist…just as thermal insulation in a house causes the inside of a heated house to be warmer and the outside of the house to be cooler than if the insulation was not there. While the greenhouse effect involves energy transfer by infrared radiation, and insulation involves conduction, the thermodynamic principle is the same.

Without greenhouse gases, the atmosphere would be unable to cool itself in response to solar heating. But because an IR emitter is also an IR absorber, a greenhouse atmosphere results in warmer lower layers — and cooler upper layers — than if those greenhouse gases were not present.

As discussed by Lindzen (1990, “Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming”), most of the surface warming from the greenhouse effect is “short-circuited” by evaporation and convective heat transfer to the middle and upper troposphere. Nevertheless, the surface is still warmer than if the greenhouse effect did not exist: the Earth’s surface emits an average of around 390 W/m2 in the thermal infrared even though the Earth absorbs only 240 W/m2 of solar energy.

I have demonstrated before how you can directly measure the greenhouse effect with a handheld IR thermometer pointed at the sky. I say “directly measure” because an IR thermometer pointed at the sky measures the temperature change of a thermistor exposed to varying levels of IR radiation, just as the temperature of the Earth’s surface changes in response to varying levels of downwelling IR radiation.

I recently purchased a FLIR i7 thermal imager, which instead of measuring just one average temperature, uses a microbolometer sensor array (140 x 140 pixels) to make 19,600 temperature readings in an image format. These are amazing little devices, originally developed for military applications such as night vision, and are very sensitive to small temperature differences, around 0.1 deg. C.

Because these handheld devices are meant to measure the temperature of objects, they are tuned to IR frequencies where atmospheric absorption/emission is minimized. The FLIR i7 is sensitive to the broadband IR emission from about 7.5 to 13 microns. While the atmosphere in this spectral region is relatively transparent, it also includes some absorption from water vapor, CO2, oxygen, and ozone. The amount of atmospheric emission will be negligible when viewing objects only a few feet away, but is not negligible when pointed up at miles of atmosphere.

Everything around us has constantly changing temperatures in response to various mechanisms of energy gain and loss, things that are normally invisible to us, and these thermal imagers give us eyes to view this unseen world. I’ve spent a few days getting used to the i7, which has a very intuitive user interface. I’ve already used it to identify various features in the walls of my house; see which of my circuit breakers are carrying heavy loads; find a water leak in my wife’s car interior; and see how rain water flows on my too-flat back patio.

The above pair of images shows how clouds and clear sky appear. While the FLIR i7 is designed to not register temperatures below -40 deg. F/C (and is only calibrated to -4 deg. F) you can see that sky brightness temperatures well above this are measured (click the above image for full-size version).

This is direct evidence of the greenhouse effect: the surface temperature of the microbolometer within the thermal imager is being affected by downwelling IR radiation from the sky and clouds, which is exactly what the greenhouse effect is. If there was no downward emission, the sky temperature as measured by a perfectly designed thermal imager would read close to absolute zero (-460 deg. F), that is, it would measure the cosmic background radiation if the atmosphere was totally transparent to IR radiation.

Just so there is no confusion: I am not talking about why the indicated temperatures are what they are…I am talking about the fact that the surface temperature of the microbolometer is being changed by IR emission from the sky. THAT IS the greenhouse effect.


263 Responses to “Imaging the Greenhouse Effect with a FLIR i7 Thermal Imager”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Pierre-Normand says:

    “Greenhouse gases and clouds cause the lower atmosphere to be warmer, and the upper atmosphere to be cooler, than if they did not exist…”

    That’s true for the combined effect of greenhouse gases and clouds. For clouds separately, however, the cooling effect from their contribution to the planetary albedo approximately balances their contribution to the greenhouse effect, right?

    • Roy Spencer says:

      yes, approximately…the cooling effect of clouds is somewhat larger than their greenhouse heating effect on surface temperature.

  2. phi says:

    Dr Roy Spencer,

    “While the greenhouse effect involves energy transfer by infrared radiation, and insulation involves conduction, the thermodynamic principle is the same.”

    Indeed. But in the case of house insulation, we don’t deal with cold heat flux (or lukewarm) from the outside partially offsetting a hot heat flow outward. Only the net flow is considered. Never in such a calculation, one models the effect of the insulation by a power because it would be the best way to get false results. The insulation modifies the conditions of transmission of energy flow and is in no way comparable to a heating power or a forcing. These precautions derived from a proper application of the laws of thermodynamics are equally applicable for the quantication of the effect of added CO2.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      Actually, part of the effect of insulation is in the infrared, although I suspect the effect is small. Some companies market “radiant barriers” to reflect IR as part of a home insulation system. But you make a good point about conductive (1-way) versus thermal IR (2-way) energy transfer.

      • phi says:

        1 way or 2 way, it is mainly a matter of modeling. We must not forget that thermodynamics is based on stochastic laws which do not allow to manipulate anything other than net flows. Only one way models are eligible in a thermodynamic calculation.

        A second reason for not using forcing is that it is based on the intangibility of the flow distribution. This condition is not met for the insulation of buildings and no more for the atmosphere. In the latter case, this means the requirement of invariance of the temperature gradient. However, one of the immediate effects of the addition of GHG is precisely to change this gradient.

        • Roy Spencer says:

          why do you say, “Only one way models are eligible in a thermodynamic calculation”? That’s definitely not true! The thermal radiative transfer equation between two bodies of different temperatures involves the 2 terms representing transfer from cold-to-hot and hot-to-cold.

          • phi says:

            This is indeed a possibility but the same is valid for conduction (both flows can be calculated separately). For radiative effect as for conduction, we can also calculate by differentiating temperatures and not flow. There is two mathematical models for both cases. The question is whether these two models are equivalent in the case of a thermodynamic calculation. The answer is no. We can not independently verify the second principle on the two flows. Differentiation of flow is at best an unnecessary complication. In addition, it tends wrongly to make think that we can play with backradiations independently adding them indiscriminately with other energy sources. Thermodynamics forbids this freedom, there is no independence. This can also be demonstrated by geometry: the radiative phenomena is constrained by the maximum solid angle.

          • Granted…but in the case of radiative energy flows, the emission by the colder object is an actual physical process. In any event, this is getting away from my main point, which is that the presence of IR emitters/absorbers in the atmosphere, even if they are cold, affect the temperature of the warmer surface.

          • phi says:

            Sorry for being slightly OT. My intent was just to point out that your demonstration, while highlighting the reality of the greenhouse effect did not constitute a validation of the concept of GHG forcing.

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      What happens with conduction in a solid is this:

      Firstly, as is observed in the outer crust of Earth (measured 270C at 0Km depth, for example) there is a minimum gravitationally induced thermal gradient determined primarily by the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the mean specific heat of the material. In practice, inter-molecular radiation reduces the magnitude of this gradient by up to about a third, rather like the wet adiabatic lapse rate is about two thirds of the -g/Cp value.

      But, in practical situations the gradient is far steeper and there may be no vertical component anyway. In such cases there is still a feedback mechanism at the molecular level from the cooler surface towards the warmer surface. This results in a fairly linear thermal plot between the two surfaces. So, if you have a long metal rod and control the temperatures at each end, the plot of temperature is linear, giving the impression that the flow of heat “knows” what temperature it is heading for at the cool end.

  3. Bill Yarber says:

    I totally disagree! The roof of the structure (presumably a house) is warmed by the SW radiant energy of direct sunlight, as are the trees. They are re-emitting this heat as LR radiation which is reflected off the bottom surface of the clouds. That is what your FLIR device is showing.

    I’m not impressed by your analysis! And it has been over 40 years since I last had a thermodynamics course. I give you paper an F.

    Bill

    • Bert Walker says:

      Bill,
      “…LR radiation which is reflected off the bottom surface of the clouds.”

      Isn’t your statement a misrepresentation?

      I am not a physicist, but my understanding is some the LR emitted from the earth’s surface is absorbed by the clouds, and other LR absorbing molecules, then reemitted in all directions. Ultimately some upwards, and some downwards. Some heat energy in the cloud is also transferred by conduction to proximate molecules that result in convection.
      The FLIR device used in the picture is showing only the fraction of the LR emitted from the earth surface being re emitted back to earth. The net effect is a LR gradient, most intense at the earth surface, heating it, but tapering skyward through the atmosphere.
      Please correct me if I have misunderstood.
      Thanks, Bert

    • Roy Spencer says:

      No Bill, liquid clouds do not reflect IR, they are essentially blackbody emitters. And if you want to continue to post comments here, you should not presume to know atmospheric radiative effects better than me just because you took a thermodynamics course 40 years ago, which probably did not involve any atmospheric radiative transfer.

      • Bill Hunter says:

        If clouds are blackbody emitters and cannot reflect IR and sunlight is 50% IR how can clouds reflect 90% of sunlight?

        • Pierre-Normand says:

          I think the answer to this is that clouds can reflect close to 90% of sunlight directly incident to the clouds. This is a substantially less energy than the energy incident to the top of the atmosphere before it reaches the clouds. A sizable chunk of the solar IR energy already has been absorbed by greenhouses gases before they reach the clouds. In other words, clouds can only see of the incident sunlight what the mostly IR opaque atmosphere above has let through, and this incident IR solar radiation only passes through the IR ‘atmospheric window’. This much smaller remaining portion of IR light then is completely absorbed by clouds (or let through, when the cloud isn’t dense enough to be fully opaque) since they behave more like black bodies and therefore don’t have a similar window.

          Notice that in Trenberth’s energy balance diagram you can see that as much incident energy is being absorbed by the atmosphere (79 W/m^2) as is being reflected by clouds (78 W/m^2). The former mostly is IR energy, while the latter may entirely be shortwave.

        • Tim Folkerts says:

          Clouds reflect well in the “near IR” & “mid IR” ranges — which is what sunlight is. Clouds reflect poorly in the “thermal IR” ranges that are created by ~300 K objects
          http://www.accessscience.com/loadBinary.aspx?filename=YB051870FG0010.gif

          It is a big mistake to lump all “infrared” into one category.

      • Bill Hunter says:

        This university site disagrees on the cloud IR reflection issue:

        http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cloudiness.htm

        • Pierre-Normand says:

          This ‘university site’ either made a mistake or may have meant to include re-radiated IR energy as part of its ‘albedo’ definition. This would make sense since much of the upwelling energy re-emitted by the cloud will be at wavelengths that fall into the IR atmospheric window and therefore are as good as ‘reflected’ back to space as are the reflected shortwave radiations.

  4. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Good point and very illustrating.
    It clearly shows the temperature at the bottom of the clouds and how much radiation they send down.
    Have you any figures for the temperature/radiation a clear sky would send down? I have seen measurements but have lost the links.

  5. Dr. Spencer, Thanks for the correct good information on this subject

  6. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Thank you for the nice essay.
    Could you shoot some IR photos by night?
    I would like to see a cloudy night IR image

    Have a nice day.

    Massimo

  7. Reed Coray says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Thank you for attempting to clarify the Greenhouse Effect (GHE). I read the Wikipedia description of a microbolometer. My understanding is that in a microbolometer, electromagnetic radiation having wavelengths in the 7.5 to 14 micrometer band is imaged onto a planar array of pixels. In essence the imaging process maps the directionality of the incoming IR radiation onto a planar array of pixels. Energy arriving from a specific direction is focused onto a single pixel. The focused energy is absorbed by the pixel thereby increasing its temperature. The electrical resistance of the pixel is sensitive to the pixel’s temperature. Thus measuring the electrical resistance of each pixel gives a relative mapping as a function of incoming direction of the rate IR energy in the 7.5 to 14 micrometer band arrives at the imaging lens.

    Your image of the sky/trees/roof clearly shows differing amounts of IR radiation as a function of direction; and the IR radiation image and the visual light image show similar geometrical patterns. Thus, you have shown that objects in the sky (and on the ground) radiate electromagnetic energy in the 7.5 to 14 micrometers band). This proves that the net effect of this radiation is to warm the pixels in the pixel array by differing amounts. It does NOT prove that the net effect of the process in the atmosphere is one of warming the earth’s surface. Isn’t it possible that atmospheric downwelling radiation can simultaneous be present with cooler earth surface temperatures? Conduction and convection may be removing thermal energy from the earth surface at a rate greater than the rate atmospheric downwelling radiation is adding heat to the surface. For example, suppose the FLIR i7 microbolometer were placed next to the housing of a water cooled engine and used to image the radiator. Wouldn’t the image show different amounts of radiator generated thermal energy impinging back on the engine? If such radiation always results in increased temperature, couldn’t it be argued that the radiator warms the engine? Of course not. The net effect of the radiator is to cool the engine. It might be possible to build a better cooling system by preventing (blocking) the radiated energy from the radiator from reaching the engine; but even without such an improvement, the radiator still acts to cool the engine.

    Thus, if the GHE is the existence of radiation at the earth’s surface emanating from gases (greenhouse gases) in the earth’s atmosphere where in large part those gases are heated by energy from the earth’s surface, then I have no problem believing in the GHE effect. On the other hand, if the GHE includes the caveat that the presence of GHGs MUST increase the earth’s surface temperature, then I’m not convinced. As you said, just so there’s no confusion, I’m NOT arguing that IR radiation from greenhouse gases won’t produce an increase in the earth surface temperature–it might. However, I am arguing that the existence of such radiation is not by itself sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the net effect is one of an increased earth surface temperature.

    Reed Coray

    • Reed, the point of the post is to answer persistent critics who claim the atmosphere cannot “warm” the surface, because it is at a colder temperature than the surface. But *anything* which reduces the rate of energy loss by a surface increases it temperature. Now, it IS true (as you say) that if one mechanism of energy loss is reduced, other mechanisms of energy loss will increase (convection, radiative loss, etc.)

      But we know that SOMETHING has increased the surface temperature by an average of 33 deg. C or so above what radiative balance would suggest based upon the (satellite-observed) solar absorption of 240 W/m2.

      So, what is the explanation? It doesn’t take an “extra source of energy”, which I think is a poor way of explaining the greenhouse effect. All it requires is a mechanism to reduce the surface’s ability to cool. You can get just about any surface temperature you want with 240 W/m2 of input, if you can control the processes which determine rates of cooling.

      Radiative transfer theory, along with the known (laboratory-measured and satellite-verified) IR absorption/emission characteristics of greenhouse gases, when put into a time dependent model of all of the various energy flows (including convection) does an excellent job of producing not only realistic surface temperatures, but temperatures up through the troposphere and stratosphere. This has been done since the 1960s by many people, my group included, and is even an integral part of weather forecast computer models which are run every day.

      If someone has an alternative explanation, it needs to (at a minimum) be put in a time-dependent model that explains what is observed at least as well. What critics fail to do is sufficiently understand the current state of the science before they start making up new physics.

      • Reed Coray says:

        Dr. Spencer

        Thank you for your response.

        For a system located in a heat sink at a uniform temperature lower than the system, the rate energy moves (heat) from the system to the heat sink will increase with increasing system temperature. For gray body radiation, the temperature dependence is directly proportional to the system temperature (in Kelvin) to the fourth power. For conduction, the temperature dependence is directly proportional to the system temperature. I imagine for convection, there is no simple formula; but will be highly geometry dependent. Thus, for a fixed-energy-input-rate system in energy rate equilibrium (i.e., the rate energy enters the system equals the rate energy leaves the system) with a heat sink, changing the constants of proportionality will have an effect on the system temperature. Thus, it is easy for me to believe that provided gases in the earth’s atmosphere have little impact on the rate the earth absorbs energy from the sun, gases in the atmosphere can have an effect on earth surface temperature; and that this effect might be positive.

        However, I’m not sure I believe the 33 degree number that is often quoted. As I understand it, the 33 number is arrived at by differencing (a) the approximate average earth surface temperature (288 K), and (b) the temperature (255 K) of a blackbody radiator whose effective rate of energy absorption is 240 watts per square meter of surface area. I have two issues–a minor one and a major one. The minor one is how the 288 K temperature is measured. If this temperature is to be related to radiation effects, it should be computed using a weighted average where the weight is surface area. That is, 10 thermometers on Manhattan island should each not carry the same weight as one thermometer at the South Pole. Note: It may be that the 288 K temperature is derived using a weighted average, in which case my minor objection no longer exists.

        The major objection is in the use of 240 watts per square meter for the average rate energy would enter the earth IN THE ABSENCE OF EARTH GREENHOUSE GASES. As I understand it, the 240 number is arrived at by multiplying the solar energy density at a distance from the sun equal to the distance between the earth and the sun by 0.7 and dividing by 4. The division by 4 comes from the surface area of a sphere compared to the surface area of a circle. I’ll accept this factor. The factor of 0.7, however, is another matter. This factor comes from the measured albedo of the Earth which in large part is due to atmospheric clouds. Without the greenhouse gas water vapor, there would be no clouds and without clouds the earth’s albedo would be closer to 0. This would result in an earth absorption rate of approximately 342 watts per square meter and an earth energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of 279 K for a difference of 9 K, not 33 K. To me, when computing a parameter difference for two scenarios, one should compute the parameter value for each scenario. We can compute the temperature for the earth with greenhouse gas scenario simply my measuring the earth surface temperature. However, we can’t directly measure the earth surface temperature without greenhouse gases. As such we must model that temperature. However, the model we use should represent the situation WITH NO ATMOSPHERIC GREENHOUSE GASES. This means the situation where no clouds are present, and hence an albedo nearer 0 than 0.3.

        I must admit, however, that using an albedo of 0 still produces a temperature difference of approximately 9 K; and greenhouse gases may be the physical phenomenon that creates the bulk of this difference.

        For a more detailed description of my concerns, see URL
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/26/a-controvrsial-look-at-blackbody-radiation-and-earth-minus-ghgs/

        Thank you for your time

        Reed Coray

        • Reed:
          1) yes, of course, the average surface temperature of the Earth is an area average.

          2) your concern in #2 is a valid one. How one determines what the surface temperature of the Earth would be in the absence of a greenhouse effect is not obvious, just for the reasons you stated.

      • Ned Nikolov says:

        Roy,

        The thermal effect of the atmosphere is not 33C but 90.3 C! You know that …. :-)

        • Kristian says:

          Actually our particular atmosphere’s thermal effect would be around 55K (or a bit more). The global surface of the Earth, on average and according to T&K97, absorbs 168 W/m^2 of heat from the Sun. If the surface were a black body in space receiving such a heat flux, it would attain an equilibrium emission temperature of 233K. This is about 55K lower than the actual estimated global mean surface temperature.

          Now, where do these ‘extra’ 55K come from?

          The BB Earth in space receiving 168 W/m^2 of solar heat would correspondingly also emit an equal heat flux purely by radiation isotropically to space (if at 0 K).

          As soon as we were to put an atmosphere around it and on top of it, though, its surface would no longer be able to rid itself of all its absorbed heat through radiation alone. Why? Because an atmosphere contains air molecules flying around and some of these would always be in thermal contact with the surface. So the surface being warmed by the solar heat would transfer some of this to the air above rather than just radiate it away directly. The conductively heated molecules would fly faster and the warmed air would therefore become lighter, more buoyant. It would rise, taking the gained kinetic energy with it. This would allow the surface to transfer more heat to new molecules to lift even this convectively up and away. As it turns out, a very effective way for the surface to shed absorbed solar heat.

          According to the T&K97 budget diagram, the Earth’s surface on average ejects 66 W/m^2 of heat through radiation (IR) and 102 W/m^2 of heat through convective processes (including latent heat transfer, evaporation). This balances exactly the incoming heat flux from the Sun – (102+66=) 168 W/m^2.

          All good. There is only one problem. Our BB Earth’s surface had an equilibrated temperature of only 233K. That is where the radiative balance would stay. 168 IN, 168 OUT. But such a low temperature would leave the surface incapable of ridding itself of heat through conduction/convection, simply because there would be far too little kinetic energy available to create the necessary buoyancy to drive a convective engine adequately.

          This is where the mass of the atmosphere comes in. It is the weight with which the atmosphere is pressing down on the surface, the specific pressure it exerts, that impedes this buoyant tendency of the near-surface air mass. At 233K it would simply never get off the ground with a ’1 atmosphere’ atmosphere on top of it.

          So what happens? The air molecules closest to the surface would not be able to leave the ground as fast as the absorbed solar heat would want to leave. They would accumulate too close to the surface. The escape of the solar heat constantly arriving would be restricted by the adjacent interacting air molecules not being able to carry it away. So the kinetic energy would build. And the temperature would rise. It would rise past 255K and all the way to the ideal mean temperature of 288K. Perfect balance.

          This was strictly about the process of conduction/convection. But convection is also closely related to the process of evaporation. The atmospheric mass restricts the free evaporation of surface water as well. Its vapour pressure needs to overcome the specific atmospheric pressure in order to boil, but already way before that, general escape by way of evaporation occurs and the rate at which this takes place is constrained in the same way by atmospheric pressure. It simply takes more kinetic energy, a higher temperature to enable a certain amount of heat, in the form of latent heat of vaporization, to be carried off from the Earth’s surface, with a ‘heavy’ atmosphere than with a ‘light’ one.

          • Kristian says:

            I should say, Ned, that your 90K figure is of course not wrong. But the NET effect of having our atmosphere on top of our surface is +55K. It both cools it and warms it, after all.

            The interesting thing is that radiatively it actually cools it, probably by around 35 degrees, through enhancing the global albedo, reflecting ~77 W/m^2 of the incoming solar radiation, and also absorbing a portion (~67 W/m^2) of the incoming solar radiation (both numbers from T&K97).

            At the same time the atmosphere, then, warms the surface by your 90 degrees through restricting convective heat loss.

          • Kristian says:

            The take-home message here:

            ABSORBED HEAT ESCAPING BY WAY OF MOLECULES CAN BE RESTRICTED.
            ABSORBED HEAT ESCAPING BY WAY OF PHOTONS CAN NOT.

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      Reed wrote: “This proves that the net effect of this radiation is to warm the pixels in the pixel array “

      As usual, Wikipedia is not reliable and probably has been edited by greenhouse proponents. The microbolometer measures the rate at which its sensor is cooling when the object is cooler than its sensor.

      Radiation from a cooler object can only slow that component of cooling which is itself by radiation. It cannot slow non-radiative cooling. Of all the thermal energy which transfers from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere, about two-thirds does so by non-radiative processes which are free to accelerate and/or last longer into the night, thus compensating for any slowing of radiative cooling.

      What matters as far as climate is concerned is that there is an underlying supporting temperature in the base of the troposphere of Earth and other planets. You can read about this in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

  8. Dr. Spencer has the greenhouse gas effect correct.

    The questions are how much of a further effect will it have on the global temperatures going forward? How much will it’s effects be off set by PROLONG low solar activity and all the secondary effects associated with prolong low solar activity?

    Will lower amounts of energy coming into the climate system of the earth(due to prolong solar activity) cause the greenhouse gas effect we currently have to subside somewhat,due to less evaporation, colder ocean temp., earth emitting OLR at longer wavelengths etc .

    Is there any water vapor /co2 positive feedback?How does that change with prolong low solar activity?

    Past history suggest that a prolong solar minimum will rule ,when it comes to the climate, and how and why it will change. Look at temperature changes versus prolong solar minimum periods.

    Greenhouse gasses effects and concentrations seem to be a result of temperature changes, not the cause.I think this decade will show this to be the case.

    We have a great opportunity ,due to our first prolong solar minimum(started in 2005) since the Dalton ,which was from 1790-1820.

    If this prolong solar minimum stays in tact ,which it should for the next few decades, I think many questions will be answered.

    We will see who is most correct and least correct.

    • All good questions, Salvatore. And I would be able to spend more time thinking about them if I wasn’t having to answer people who don’t believe the atmosphere emits IR radiation.

      • Strawman alert!
        Roy, who are these “people who don’t believe the atmosphere emits IR radiation?”

        If you are referring to the 200+ scientists and related experts at Principia Scientific International then that is blatantly false. Of course, IR radiation is emitted in the atmosphere but IR from CO2 cannot cause heating from back radiation.

        The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory study is in agreement with PSI on this point where it states: “the effect of the infrared radiation properties of CO2 is unnoticeable.”
        http://gaia.lbl.gov/btech/papers/29389.pdf

        This post by you is in error because what actually allows your microbolometer to measure temperatures of cooler objects is that it detects the rate of cooling of its sensor. Basic physics relating to two parallel metal plates radiating towards each other tells us exactly the same thing, namely that the rate of cooling by radiation will be slowed by the presence of a cooler plate.

        As such, you’ve not obtained any proof that there is a greenhouse effect.

        • Curt says:

          John: The paper you cite is talking about the gas in the 1 centimeter gap in a double-glazed window. Finding no noticeable affect there means nothing with regard to what happens with regard to kilometers-long paths through the earth’s atmosphere.

          If you don’t want people to believe that you were just the kid who flunked out of introductory thermodynamics class and are still carrying a grudge about it, you will have to do a much better job than that.

      • Douglas J. Cotton says:

        Who are those people, Roy who don’t believe the atmosphere emits IR radiation? There’s plenty about back radiation in my papers.

    • David A says:

      Fuelner and Rahmstorf found an temperature decrease of -0.3 C from a Maunder Minimum-like decrease in solar activity, easily offset by expected warming from manmade GHGs:

      Feulner, G. and S. Rahmstorf, 2010: On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth. Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (L05707): 5 pp.
      http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/feulner_rahmstorf_2010.pdf

    • David Appell says:

      To first order, the change in temperature from a change in solar irradiance is, from the Stefan-Boltzmann law:

      dT/T = (1/4)(dS/S)

      Even for dS ~ 1 W/m2, this is a small humber.

  9. Ian W says:

    There seems to be some conflation of electromagnetic radiation in the infrared spectrum with the source temperature. Clouds are condensing water droplets in a volume of close to 100% humidity. When a water molecule condenses and releases latent heat that heat is not linked to the temperature of the condensed water it is a standard amount of latent heat per molecule. Therefore, a cloud that is still actively ‘condensing’ which may be true of the broken strato-cumulus in your picture will be emitting latent heat of the condensation of water vapor this will have no connection with the atmospheric temperature in the cloud.

    • The latent heat of condensation warms both the cloud droplets and the surrounding air. It doesn’t matter to the IR emission by the cloud droplets *why* they have a certain temperature.

      • Ian W says:

        You appear to miss the point. The temperature of the cloud actually has no bearing on the infrared EMR output from the cloud due to latent heat of condensation which will be a constant. So the cloud has two sources of EMR the gray body temperature _and_ the condensing or freezing water. It would be inaccurate to just sum these together and assume the cloud was hotter than it was. Similarly, to your experiment the GOES satellites show outgoing longwave radiation from the cold cloud tops surely this is EMR from latent heat of state change not radiation obeying Stefan Boltzmann.

  10. Dr. Spencer’s post at 12:37pm May 6th says it all!

  11. QUESTION FOR DR. SPENCER

    QUOTE FROM YOUR ARTICLE TODAY You said greenhouse gases and clouds cause the lower atmosphere to be warmer.

    I thought you were of the opinion that clouds cause a net cooling of the lower atmosphere?

    thanks

  12. Salvatore, you are correct, the net effect of clouds is cooling, since their solar reflection effect is larger than their IR emission effect. I should have worded that more carefully to avoid confusion.

  13. that is what I thought. thanks

  14. AlecM says:

    Roy: you’ve got it wrong. The Earth’s surface does not emit 360 W/m^2 real IR energy.

    The proof of this is that there is no peer reviewed evidence that this is the case. The reason is that it is imaginary, the potential energy the surface would emit to a body at absolute zero.

    A pyrgeometer signal is the artefect of shielding the back of the detector from IR coming the other way.

    The real energy in the IR absorbed by GHGs is the 23 W/m^2. The 40 W/m^2 goes through the atmosphere to space.

    • How on do you envisage the pyrgeometer is shielded from upward IR?
      Why would it even need to be?

      If 2 objects are not in contact then IR will always flow unless both objects are at -273C.

      Sheild it with insulation (aerogel is good) but then the warm insulation will emit IR.

      Your best bet would be a very reflective surface. But they do not use reflective surfaces in pyrgeometers

      These devices are a measurer of energy balance — energy in =energy out when the measurement is stable. Energy in comes from the box, through the window and from conduction/convection. energy out is fixed by the measurement stable temperature of the black body top of the sensing element and conduction convection. Energy out will also pass through the IR window.

      convert the energy to heat and the temperature of the sensor element heats up or cools down until it emits the same amount of energy that it receives.
      The temperature of the sensor element is measured in any suitable way. – preferably passively to limit the self generation of heat.

      This is very similar to a microbolometer array
      I have tried many times to explain to slayers … but they can never admit that a cool object will allow a higher stable temperature of the bolometer than the same bolometer pointing at -273C. They find it difficult to explain how a thermal imaging camera can measure something at -40C when the sensor is sitting at a toasty 50C. All sorts of magic radiation has to be called up that know the temperature it was emitted from.

      • AlecM says:

        ‘but they can never admit that a cool object will allow a higher stable temperature of the bolometer than the same bolometer pointing at -273C.’

        That is true and I have been told off for saying that Roy is wrong when in practical terms I propose the same result.

        So, for the avoidance of doubt, here’s my beef. The climate models assume that the 390 W/m^2 IR supposedly emitted from the average temperature earth’s surface is real. it is not.

        They then claim Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation applies at ToAto partially balance that IR. It doesn’t.

        The result is the creation of 134.5 W/m^2 of imaginary energy flux which does not go to the OLR or sensible heat. As an engineer, I abhor such attempts to create hypothetical perpetual motion machines!

        The real operational emissivity of the Earth’s surface is 63/396 = 0.16. The rest of the 160 solar warmth is convected away. There is no extra 134.5 W/m^2 with imaginary positive feedback.

  15. AlecM says:

    Sorry: 390 W/m^2. Still wrong though! It’s imaginary, a warmist’s wet dream. Doesn’t exist.

    • Alec, you are confusing net (2-way) flow with the one-way flow from the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s surface emits at its temperature, independent of what’s its surroundings are doing.

      In your way of viewing things, how would the Earth’s surface “know” what the temperatures of its surroundings are so that it can “decide” how much to emit? That makes no sense.

      • AlecM says:

        The radiation field exists and has the ability to deliver 390 W/m^2 when it interacts with the zero point energy radiative field of a body at absolute zero. However, unless the first radiation field interacts with the second, it cannot transfer any of the energy to matter.

        I was also taught to subtract one S-B equation from another to get the net radiative flux. The mistake has been to assume there are two opposing energy flows. That’s not the case. The definitive answer is in theoretical physics. The source I use is Goody and Yung.

        The monochromatic volume-specific rate of gain of heat by matter is the negative of the divergence of the vector sum of all these fields at an instant, in other words the field gradient. The S-B equation is obtained by integrating this over all wavelengths assuming that the heat loss or gain is at a surface.

        If you have two equal temperature plates with insulated backs in a vacuum and a small gap so the view factor = 1, there is no energy transfer at either surface because the two radiation fields on average sum to zero. These radiation fields can be thought of as a standing wave – no energy transfer.

        Take another example, the radiation field from the Earth’s surface via the atmospheric window. This heads off to space and interacts with the Cosmic Microwave Background, 2.7 °K. Now put a cloud in the way. It interacts in the same 8 – 14 µm wavelength range with the radiation field from the 10 °C cloud so much lower net power is transferred.

        Think of this as sigma(288^4 – 283^4) instead of sigma(288^4 – 2.7^4). Because of this, the radiative flux from the surface falls and it has to heat up to get the same sum of convection and radiation. Hence it feels warmer. There is no ‘back radiation’.

        A pyrgeometer has a shield behind the detector so it measures the radiative field of the object in its view. Put two back to back in zero temperature gradient and the net signal is zero. Take one away and the signal suddenly jumps! See what I mean……

        • Curt says:

          Alec, the best that can be said for your argument is that it is a semantic quibble. Your conception yields absolutely identical results to Dr. Spencer’s. Your invocation of “net radiative flux” with its resulting fields and potential gradients can work, but the equations it uses are no different from those that use a two-way flow of radiation.

          But it is still demonstrably, empirically, wrong. You yourself admit that a directional radiative sensor pointed at a colder object detects the radiation from that object. Your follow-on point that there is also radiation in the other direction in no way contradicts that point.

          We have the ability to measure electromagnetic radiation down to the individual photon. And we can measure and have measured this radiation from colder objects to warmer objects.

          An analogy: To purchase a $15 item in a store, I hand the cashier a $20 bill, and he gives me $5 in change. In the store’s gross accounting, all that they will record is that they received $15 for the item (the “net monetary flux”). But the store darn well needs to make sure the cashier knows he needs to be able to give change. (Or perhaps more to the point, the machines at the automatic checkout must be programmed to give change.)

          We define all sorts of macroscopic fluxes without regard to the underlying microscopic mechanisms. With magnetic flux, we don’t think anything physical actually flows. With electric current flux, we acknowledge that electrons flow (but in the opposite direction from the defined current flow). With fluid flux, it is based on the average velocity of the fluid molecules. It is possible that some molecules may actually be traveling in the opposite direction from the average, something your style of analysis would miss.

          With radiation, the net radiative flux through some zone can incorporate physical objects going in both directions: photons each with energy e=h*v. These flows are real and measurable in both directions. While at the macroscopic level the power transfer can be calculated as the difference between the power fluxes in each dimension, at the microscopic level, real things are actually flowing in both directions.

          • AlecM says:

            This idea that ‘photons’ emanate from an emitter is very attractive and until last year I too believed it. However, I had to go through incredible mental convolutions to make things work, as do other people.

            It all comes down to Prévost’s Theory of Exchanges which made people believe in two streams. However to cope with radiative thermal equilibrium you must introduce the ‘photon’ gas bouncing off filled sites. I then looked at Planck’s work and he hated the concept of the ‘photon’.

            The simple fact is if you measure ‘photons’, you are putting a change in the system which creates the ‘photon’ so it doesn’t prove anything. Imagine two plates of the same temperature with insulated backs, close together in a vacuum and with similar temperatures.

            One idea, Prévost’s, is that you have two incoherent sources of ‘photons’ and they bounce off filled sites. The other idea, Planck’s is that you have a set of mechanical oscillators, filled and unfilled at each emitter. The former can interact with the monochromatic wave front at their matched energy and the net EM vector is zero so no ‘photon’ can exist at that point and time. The reverse is the case for the unfilled sites, which accept the energy.

            That means the inactivated potential oscillator creates a ‘hole’ in the local EM field so a quantum of energy can transfer from the net EM field between the two emitters/absorbers. The EM wave front does not consist of ‘photons’. Instead, matter has negative ‘photons’ – mechanical energy holes, or a vibrational energy slot is filled and it can transfer that quantum to the EM wave.

            So, that relegates the radiative field from each body in radiative thermal equilibrium to a carrier of energy, a sort of postal service from one emitter to another. The idea that the postal service sends out millions of people with all the types of packets that customers might need just in case someone had not received a packet, is ludicrous……..

            In other words, the postal service, the EM field has potential energy, a complete set of virtual packets, but you can’t transfer any until you have the mechanical quantum holes and the local change in EM field pointing to the right address….

            Therefore ‘back radiation can’t exist. only the net flux exists and that is determined by the rate at which the filled sites at the cooler body are unfilled by other processes.

          • Curt says:

            OK – so not only is there no back radiation, there are no photons. Planck, who was the one who figured out that there had to be quanta of electromagnetic radiation, didn’t believe in them. All of the (successful) work I have done over the years on electronic photo-emitters and photo-detectors using the photon as the key unit of electromagnetic radiation has been based on a misconception.

            And yet even as you go against the whole of 20th century physics, you get no different net results than Dr. Spencer.

          • AlecM says:

            I did not say there are no ‘photons’. However, Planck developed the concept for a specific task [not to solve the 'UV catastrophe' - that came later], and hated it.

            They do not exist except at the instant of energy conversion. I’m going further, stating that a hole in the IR Density of States in matter can be considered to replace that quantum of energy in the instantaneous net EM field comprising all monochromatic radiative flux density, with a negative photon, a ‘photon hole’.

            What happens then is the EM field instantly communicates with the other matter in radiative equilibrium for which the IR Density of States has fewer holes and the new hole replaces a filled state. Unless that site is refilled from kinetic energy, the body cools showing the rate of heat generation is the negative of the gradient of the net irradiance at its surface.

            This concept is virtually unknown to most scientists, but it explains a lot once you do understand it – it comes from Maxwell’s Equations which trump everything else in most physics.

            You might think of that as the entry of a photon to the EM field. However, that field is essentially a communications medium, not a bidirectional stream of photons most of which bounce off filled states as thought of by too many people imbued with Prevost’s Theory, including me until recently.

            So ‘back radiation’ cannot exist. However, you can get bidirectional energy transfer between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere because the latter is semi-transparent to IR.

            PS I am still not certain where the energy is actually transferred between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere but as it is an optical heterogeneity, I believe it is at the surface where the net radiative flux density faces a step change.

  16. Ned Nikolov says:

    Roy,

    In the last paragraph of your article you state: “… the surface temperature of the microbolometer is being changed by IR emission from the sky. THAT IS the greenhouse effect.

    However, the surface temperature of the microbolometer is also affected (and even more so!) by IR emissions from the tree foliage behind the house roof. Does this mean that tree foliage causes or enhances the greenhouse effect? … Given a sufficiently strong wind (convective heat exchange), the temperature of the foliage and the surrounding air could become essentially equal, but the IR emissions from these media will be different – foliage will emit more IR radiation than the surrounding air due to its inherently higher LW emissivity.

    If I were to show you a time-lapse photograph of the night sky displaying the changing positions of heavenly bodies over a period of 7-8 hours, you would see that most objects move in circles. Could I use this evidence to persuade you that the Earth were at the center of the Universe since, according to these direct observations, celestial objects apparently revolve around the Earth … Measuring the IR emission from the sky and claiming that it is the cause for the observed surface thermal enhancement (i.e. the greenhouse effect) is very much analogous to the Earth-centered Universe illusion.

    The enhanced IR atmospheric emissions near the surface are a RESULT of the higher near-surface temperatures, not the cause for such temperatures! The cause is thermodynamic in nature and has nothing to do with IR back radiation… I’m sure you can figure out what that is … :-)

    • yes, Ned, the trees also produce their own “greenhouse” effect, quite noticeable on a clear night. The base of the trees are warmer than the tops, and the ground under the trees is warmer than the surrounding grass. Would you like evidence of that, too?

      And don’t tell me it’s because the trees inhibit convective mixing, because the air layer is stably stratified and won’t support convection, as cold air settles near the ground.

      • Ned Nikolov says:

        Yes, but think about what gives the higher temperature to the trees and their foliage at night?

        The IR back radiation has an impact on local temperatures, but the greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon. It cannot be caused by back radiation because ‘something’ has to raise the temperature of the atmospheric gases above that of the lunar surface to produce the enhanced IR back radiation …

        How do you explain the fact that the Earth-atmosphere system absorbs on average 239-240 W m-2 solar radiation, while the lower troposphere emits towards the surface on average 346 W m-2 (or 44% more)? This observation shows that the lower troposphere contains kinetic energy well in excess of what’s provided by the Sun. Where is that surplus energy coming from?

        Also, think about another interesting fact – at the most fundamental level, electromagnetic radiation is simply a product of photon pressure and the speed of light. Does this give you any clue what’s causing the greenhouse effect?

        • David A says:

          Perhaps your last paragraph meannt to say electromagnetic radiation energy is the product of momentum (p) and the speed of light?

          • Ned Nikolov says:

            David, I meant electromagnetic radiation energy flux. An energy flux commonly measured in W m-2 is in fact the product of particle (in this case photon) pressure and the speed of particles (in this case the speed of light).

          • David Appell says:

            It depends on whether the photon is reflected or absorbed. (The difference is a factor of 2.)

          • David Appell says:

            Ned: Has your celebrated manuscript passed peer review yet, anywhere? Anywhere at all?

        • David Appell says:

          >> This observation shows that the lower troposphere contains kinetic energy well in excess of what’s provided by the Sun. Where is that surplus energy coming from? <<

          Really???

          The atmosphere is a gas.
          The Sun, and radiation from the surface, input energy into the gas.
          The atmosphere, which itself radiates ("back radiation"), inputs a little more.

          Why is this so difficult?

          Measurements from satellites make the absorption clear:
          http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/

          • Ned Nikolov says:

            David,

            I do not expect you to understand this concept. It’s really beyond your free-lancer mind. You cannot even see the flaw of your own logic … the surface is NOT a source of additional energy to the System!

          • David Appell says:

            Ned: A lame response.

            Do you have an argument or not?

            And when can we see your manuscript in a real journal?

          • David Appell says:

            Ned: The surface is important, becauwe it radiates at wavelengths that GHGs absorb.

            Has your paper been published anywhere, or not?

          • AlecM says:

            Ludicrous: what you are proposing is in Thermodynamics’ terms a Perpetual Motion Machine of the 2nd Kind – the lower atmosphere using its own heat to cause itself to expand, breaching the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

            Please tell us where we can find a peer reviewed paper proving by experiment, preferably calorimetry, that ‘back radiation’ exists.

            You won’t find one because the only ‘proof’ is the use of the S-B equation with the ‘temperature’ of the semi-transparent to IR atmosphere obtained by an optical pyrometer, calibrated against a black body.

            And where can I buy a reverse heat engine car using a back radiation collector in its 5 m^2 roof to collect the 1.7 kW and put it in a storage unit thereby to power the car?

  17. Max™ says:

    Just had to toss in something which seems to be overlooked: there is no conservation law for power.

    If the planet absorbs an average of 476 W/m^2 during the day, it has to emit roughly half of that (~238 W/m^2) during the day and night to reach radiative balance.

    There is a conservation law for energy, which I find is illustrated best by listing the energy emitted to space as: 5.11×10¹⁶ Joules per second per hemisphere, which balances the 1.22×10¹⁷ Joules per second absorbed by one hemisphere.

    What many here ignore is that the atmosphere is responsible for reducing the daytime maximum temperatures, just as it increases the nighttime minimum temperatures.

  18. jae says:

    Congrats, Roy, you demonstrated that downwelling IR exists! Wow!

    But that is all you have demonstrated. You have NOT linked this to a GHE in any way that I understand.

    With all respect, I wonder why you keep on posting these “proofs” of a GHE. Are you trying to convince yourself?

  19. jae says:

    Come on, folks! As I tried to explain to Joel the other day, there is NO conservation of wattage (power). Only conservation of energy (joules) matters, not joules/time (Watts). You can have a transfer of 1,000 joules in a month, and that is the same energy transfer as 1,000 Watts (joules/sec). We are trying to balance ENERGY on the planet (joules), not Watts (power). Solar power IN does NOT equal solar power OUT on a constant basis. There could be a lag of a thousand years for some of the energy that goes into the oceans. I think that is the fundamental problem with all the current adoration of radiation cartoons and the GHE. Simplistic garbage, indeed!

    • David Appell says:

      Unless you think energy is building up somewhere and being stored (do you?), conservation of energy is the same as conservation of energy per unit time.

    • Curt says:

      OK, let’s express the conservation of energy in differential form:

      dE/dt = PowerIn – PowerOut

      where dE/dt is the rate of change of energy in the system (say, the earth), PowerIn is the incoming power, and PowerOut is the outgoing power. With regard to the earth as a whole, the only significant PowerIn and PowerOut are radiative transfers

      Even the most ardent warmist does not think the total dE/dt, averaged over the earth and a year amounts even to 1 W/m^2, or 5.15×10^14 W.

      Expressed as energy, the conservation law is

      DeltaE = EnergyIn – EnergyOut

      If the net power imbalance density were 1 W/m^2, over the course of a year, DeltaE would be 1.62×10^22J.

      But when you are talking about whether the greenhouse effect exists or not, you are talking about energy and power imbalances over 100 times greater than this if you don’t think there is a greenhouse effect.

      • David Appell says:

        Yes, delta(E)/delta(t) is large number.

        It’s not so large when divided by surface area: ~1 W/m2.

        Why does this bother you?

      • David Appell says:

        Curt:

        Balmaseda et al do, in fact, find imbalances of order 1 W/m2:

        http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2013/03/missing-energy-claimed-to-be-found.html

        So do many other studies.

        • Curt says:

          David – You miss my point completely. Commenter jae was trying to make a largely irrelevant point about power versus energy. (Note that I was replying to him, not you.) I was simply trying to put power flux density, power, and energy on a common footing. It does not bother me.

          If you had actually read what I wrote, you would have seen that I started with 1 W/m2 and integrated over the surface to get total Watts and then over time to get Joules. So no, I am not at all surprised that when you take the calculations the other way, you end up with (wait for it!) 1 W/m2…

          And as I said, 1 W/m2 is at the upper end of of what people think the total power density imbalance is. So there really isn’t a point in trying to convince me by listing studies that show what I claimed.

          You can have some good arguments about whether the total average power density imbalance is 0.1, 0.5, or 1.0 W/m2, and whether we have the ability to tell the difference. But the skydragon slayers have to close a 150 W/m2 gap. That was my larger point (and I think one you agree with).

          • AlecM says:

            They close that gap primarily by using false cloud albedo. G l Stephems noted in 2010 that the models use double low lvel cloud optical depth in hind casting.

            It’s a confidence trick.

  20. CC Squid says:

    Dr. Spenser,
    Being a simple man, I would like to see the same view of the sky in complete overcast, and clear sky at the same time of day. Ned and Alex’s arguments make sense to me. It seems to me that the term “Greenhouse” poisons all conversations about this matter.. I consider this subject one the most important of our time! Giving the warmest’s the benefit of the doubt I believe that at the start of their investigations they believed that they had made important and earth shaking discoveries. With new computers, satellites and research data their conclusions have not changed. I believe that the cause of this lack of change can be found by following the money. I wish it weren’t mine.

    • David Appell says:

      The greenhouse effect is easily measured by satellites:
      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/

      • CC Squid says:

        Thank you for the pointer! I have extracted the part that interests me the most and have inserted it below. Given that CO2 increase trails temperature and that temperature is now decreasing because of the effects of solar cycle 24, it follows that CO2 will decrease. If companies that produce food seed stock have been developing stock that grows best in heat and at the same time ignoring development of the type that grows best in lower CO2/temperature then the global warming fraud might end up killing a huge number of people. it takes time to grow the amount of hybrid seed stock that can feed the world.

        “… Because of the non-linear impacts of CO2 on absorption, the impact of removing the CO2 is approximately seven times as large as doubling it. If such an event were possible, it would lead to dramatic cooling, both directly and indirectly, as the water vapor and clouds would react. In model experiments where all the trace greenhouse gases are removed the planet cools to a near-Snowball Earth, some 35°C cooler than today, as water vapor levels decrease to 10% of current values, and planetary reflectivity increases (because of snow and clouds) to further cool the planet.”

  21. don penman says:

    “Because these handheld devices are meant to measure the temperature of objects, they are tuned to IR frequencies where atmospheric absorption/emission is minimized.”
    Why are you trying to measure the temperature of the sky with these things when as you say they are supposed to measure the temperature of nearby objects.

  22. Hi Roy: I am puzzled by your statement that insulating your house decreases the temperature on the outside of the insulating layer. Or did I misunderstand something? In my house in Sweden the temperature of the outside of the wall is equal to the outside temperature and increasing the insulation will only make the temperature all through the wall to the inside higher. Does your house insulation work in a different way?

    • phi says:

      This is the phenomenon of the boundary layer, a layer of air with significant insulating effect whose thickness depends on the roughness of the wall and wind intensity. For low insulation, this boundary layer plays an important relative role, the gradient of temperature is pronounced and therefore the outer surface of the wall is relatively warm. For a well insulated building, the boundary layer loses its importance and the wall temperature is close to the outside temperature.

      • phi says:

        It should be added that IR losses may also explain the cooling of the surface in a well insulated building because energy evacuated is lower. In practice, it is difficult to separate these two causes (IR and conduction).

    • Claes, I thought you were a thermodynamicist? A heated house in the winter obviously loses heat through the walls, which means the outside surface must be warmer than the outside air temperature.

      • phi says:

        Dr Roy Spencer,

        You wrote :

        “…just as thermal insulation in a house causes the inside of a heated house to be warmer and the outside of the house to be cooler than if the insulation was not there.”

        If you increase the insulation of your house without altering the power of your heating, the cooling, of the outside will be very small and only due to the reduction of the role of conduction in the boundary layer. While inside warming will be particularly sensitive.

        Forgive me emphasize but this is directly related to the issue I raised at the beginning of this thread. We can not model insulation by a forcing as we can not model CO2 in the atmosphere by a forcing.

        • phi says:

          Well, I said that the cooling of the outside is very low, in fact, it would simply be zero and the temperature profile in the boundary layer is unchanged. What changes is the part of the boundary layer in the overall effectiveness of the insulation.

      • Claes Johnson says:

        You said that insulation makes the outside cooler than if there is no insulation. No Roy, what happens if you increase the insulation of your house with the same heating inside, is that it gets warmer inside, but the same amount of heat will pass through the walls and the outside temperature will not change. I thought you were a climate scientist with good knowledge of heat transfer?

        • Curt says:

          Claes, you say “In my house in Sweden the temperature of the outside of the wall is equal to the outside temperature.” If this were true, your wall could transfer no heat to the outside atmosphere. So this could only happen in the (unattainable) limiting case of “perfect” insulation and no heat transfer.

          In the real world, the same heat that passes through the insulation in the wall must then pass from the outside surface of the wall to the atmosphere. In the practical case that Roy was talking about, increasing the insulation (the thermal resistance inside the wall) permits the inside temperature (say 20C) to be maintained with less heat input from the furnace. The higher thermal resistance in the wall reduces the heat flow through the wall, and reduces the difference between the outside wall temperature and the local air temperature (say 0C).

          • Claes Johnson says:

            It is the insulation that is increasing in this discussion, while the interior heating is kept constant.
            Further: in the basic model of heat transfer through a house wall by conduction the interior wall temp is that of the inside of the house and the exterior wall temp is that of the outside. There is no reason to make it more complicated than this, unless the intention is to cause confusion.

          • Curt says:

            Claes, you say “It is the insulation that is increasing in this discussion, while the interior heating is kept constant.” Roy started the discussion, and it was obvious to me, at least, that he was talking about increasing the insulation while keeping the interior temperature constant.

            At least, that’s why people in the US generally increase their insulation — to keep the interior temperature the same while reducing their heating bills. That’s what we have thermostats for.

            Maybe in Sweden you do it to increase the temperature inside your houses, but I would have thought you have thermostats. On the other hand, you are fond of saunas… ;-)

            In all of my engineering heat transfer courses, even the most basic, we never assumed for heat transfer through a plane (i.e. a wall) that the only thermal resistance was within the wall itself. The simplest thermal model used three thermal resistances in series. The first was from the atmosphere to the surface of the wall on one side, the second was through the wall, and the third from the wall to the atmosphere on the other side. If the wall interior had high thermal resistance, the two “outer” resistances were pretty small, so their temperatures were relatively close to that of the atmosphere on that side, but you could always calculate the difference.

            This difference is important, especially if you want to calculate things like the effect of wind on the heat loss from the house.

            As I have gotten better insulated water heaters in my house over the years, I have noticed that the outer surface of the newer water heaters is substantially cooler than that of the older ones. And this just by touch of my hand.

  23. Macha says:

    Roy, I find your continued references to anything that slows the rate of cooling of another makes it hotter. It does not. The latter is merely less cool than it would otherwise be. There’s a big difference, and that is no heat was added to make it hotter.

  24. Dr. Spencer ,all the evidence you present, and evidence in general ,along with all the data supports there is a greenhouse gas presence beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    I think ozone (a greenhouse gas)
    and it’s effects on stratospheric temperatures , shows that indeed greenhouse gases do play a role in the determination of the resultant temperature profile of the atmosphere.

    I point out ozone because it is so dramatic, and so conclusive.

    Those who want to deny all of this are in a word WRONG!

  25. Greg House says:

    Although IR generally can warm, the “greenhouse effect” as presented my the IPCC (warming by back radiation from “greenhouse gases”, or “surface warms the greenhouse gases and they warm the surface back) is physically absurd and impossible.

    As the first step to understand that I recommend everyone a simple experiment: just stand in front of the mirror and enjoy the “back radiation warming”. Must be 33C or more, if the “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC exists. Please, not too close to the mirror, to avoid the effect of suppressed convection. If you do not feel the warming, you are ready for the next step.

    On the theoretical level, it goes like that. You have initially a body kept at a certain temperature by it’s internal source of energy. Now you put another colder body at the absolute zero temperature, let us say, in vacuum close to the warm body.

    The warmer body will start warming the colder body immediately. Then, according to the “back radiation warming” concept, the back radiation from the colder body will increase the temperature of the warmer body. Actually, already on this stage we should start screaming and crying “how come?”, but let us proceed. So, the now even warmer warm body will warm the colder body even stronger, and the colder body will repay by sending even more back radiation to the warmer body, thus increasing it’s temperature even further. The warmer body will get warmer again. So will the colder body in turn. And so on.

    This is the mutual endless warming without any additional input of energy I meant previously, and I hope it is easy to understand how physically absurd it is. This proves that the concept of “back radiation warming” is physically absurd. The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC can not exist.

    Sometimes we hear that it is not actually warming, it is just slowing down cooling. But replacing “warming” with “slowing down cooling” can not save the concept, because the assumption about “slowing down cooling” leads to warming in cases where the initial temperature is stable, and this is physically absurd and impossible, as shown above, which means that the assumption is wrong. “Slowing down cooling” is equally physically absurd and impossible.

    As for IR thermometers, IR cameras etc, I am not an expert, but a reasonable explanation would be that it is the OPTIC in this devices that helps the IR from colder bodies to overcome the natural barrier. In the atmosphere there are no lenses focusing the IR from a large area on a very small area of the sensor.

    Alternatively, I would suggest the proponents of the “greenhouse effect” remove the lenses and then measure the change in temperature. The result would be the same as in the mirror experiment: nothing.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi Greg,
      welcome back.
      No, I finally checked by myself about one month ago.
      I did an experiment with an alumina substrate resistor and an heatsink.
      The temperature of the resistor placed 12mm from the heatsink black anodized plate was about 1°C lower than when I sticked an aluminium adhesive tape on the heatsink plate.

      I know, it doesn’t proof that a colder body can heat up a warmer one, but it proof that if the photons of the warmer body are reflected back to it, it heats up.

      • Greg House says:

        Massimo PORZIO says (May 7, 2013 at 10:06 AM): “The temperature of the resistor placed 12mm from the heatsink black anodized plate …”
        ==============================================

        Yeah, 12mm… There are a lot of such experiments around, their key problem is a small distance, like your 12mm, and different materials, too. Changes in conduction/convection can cause some small changes in temperature. That is why I said in my previous comment “not too close to the mirror”.

        Anyway, even if you do not understand the theoretical explanation of impossibility of back radiation warming, you should at least have asked yourself where this massive 33C or more warming is. Could have been an eyes opening question.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          No Greg, you missed the point.
          The only difference between the “mirrored” and the anodized surface was the thickness of the aluminium adhesive tape (50um), so under the thermodynamic point of view the setup has changed only by a tiny 0.4% . And to be sure that the measurements I was doing were of the effective resistor temperature, the thermocouple was mounted on the opposite side of the resistor, not on the one which was facing the heatsink mirrored or anodized face.
          I’ve experienced it, and I’m absolutely sure that a back reflected photon can warm up the body which originated itself.
          But that photon has the very same frequency and energy which it had when it left the original body surface, so I can tell nothing about absorption and back reemission.

    • Reed Coray says:

      Greg,

      I want to be sure I understand your position. To that end, I’ll characterize your position using my words. If my characterization of your position is incorrect, please let me know. As I understand it, you believe:

      (a) The temperature of an isolated object (make it a sphere for simplicity with a constant-rate, spherically symmetric, internal source of thermal energy) placed in the vacuum of cold space will eventually stabilize at some surface temperature.

      (b) The placement of a second object (again a sphere for simplicity, but devoid of all internal sources of thermal energy) near the first object will have NO affect on the surface temperature of the first object–at least the presence of the second object will not increase the first object’s surface temperature.

      Is the above a fair characterization of your position?

      If my characterization of your position is correct, I have to disagree. Specifically, the presence of the second object will result in a positive change to the temperature of the first object. I believe it is incorrect to say the second object WARMS the first object–it doesn’t. All “warming” (heat) comes from the first object’s internal energy source. The presence of the second object just changes the energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of each object.

      A similar situation would arise if the surface of the first object radiated like a blackbody (emissivity of one). The energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of the first object would be some value, say “Tblackbody”. By covering the first object with a thin layer of material whose emissivity is less than one, the energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of the layer will be increased above “Tblackbody”. If the layer is thin enough, the temperature of the first object’s original surface will also be increased above “Tblackbody”. Because thermal energy (heat) always flows from the object to the thin layer, I believe it is misleading to say that the thin layer of material “warms” the object. However, that observation doesn’t mean there can’t be a change in the temperature of the first object. Specifically, I believe the thin layer will increase temperature of the first object.

      Reed Coray

    • TonyB says:

      Greg,

      “Then, according to the “back radiation warming” concept, the back radiation from the colder body will increase the temperature of the warmer body.”

      No it will not. The two bodies will always have a temp differential ( until eventual max entropy between the two ). The two just exchange energy such that eventually both bodies’ temperature will equalise. The hotter getting slowly colder and the colder getting slowly warmer. You would indeed violate the 2nd Law if your concept were the case.

      There is an energy exchange between, say the atmosphere and the earth, with a ground heat flux up to the surface on a radiation night. The presence of cloud slows the energy loss at the surface, the temp gradient through the first few inches of soil re-adjusts and the surface temp rises. It has NOT got hotter from the back radiation – it has just slowed the radiation loss from the surface to allow the ground flux up.

      “This is the mutual endless warming without any additional input of energy I meant previously, and I hope it is easy to understand how physically absurd it is. This proves that the concept of “back radiation warming” is physically absurd. The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC can not exist.”

      Indeed, as you describe it – it is absurd. Except it is not how back-radiation works.

      See my exchange with Mr Cotton …..

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/global-warming-slowdown-the-view-from-space/#comment-75759

  26. Greg House says:

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says (May 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM): “But we know that SOMETHING has increased the surface temperature by an average of 33 deg.”
    ================================================

    No, we do not know that.

    Some people say that indeed, but the theoretical calculation of this alleged 33C difference is wrong.

    • Ned Nikolov says:

      The Earth atmosphere causes a surface thermal enhancement of 90.3 C, not 33 C as currently assumed. The absorption of the outgoing surface IR radiation by the atmosphere is about 155 W m-2 globally … Now, how can 155 W m-2 cause a 90 C temperature boost at the surface?

  27. Alan Siddons says:

    As always, Roy Spencer fails to comprehend that infrared absorbing-emitting gases don’t constitute a barrier to the release of infrared radiation to space. This is confirmed by NASA’s ERB project, for satellites observe that the Earth emits to space all of the radiant energy it receives from the sun. Spencer’s thesis, that reduced emission would bring about relative warming, might have merit if satellites observed a disparity between solar-absorbed and terrestrially-emitted radiation. But they don’t. This forces Spencer to argue that the Earth heats up behind a fictitious “blanket” until its extra radiance breaks through that blanket. That’s a very strange form of radiant insulation, if so. In reality, an insulated body cannot become relatively warmer without reducing its loss rate. You cannot have the same loss rate as before and also be warmer than before.

    • TonyB says:

      Alan,
      “Spencer’s thesis, that reduced emission would bring about relative warming, might have merit if satellites observed a disparity between solar-absorbed and terrestrially-emitted radiation. But they don’t. This forces Spencer to argue that the Earth heats up behind a fictitious “blanket” until its extra radiance breaks through that blanket.”

      No, it is NOT reduced emission, it is SLOWED emission. If there were a differential between in and out then the Earth would be heating (or cooling), no question. But this is a “pseudo” insulation process. In that outgoing radiation is slowed in its escape to space by GHG’s. The energy gets out to equalise things BUT in a delayed fashion so that there is a consequent warming of the climate system. In other words the system is in equilibrium but you are looking at it as though the response were instantaneous.

    • Mack says:

      Alan Siddons says…
      …”if satellites observed a disparity between solar- absorbed and terrestially-emitted radiation. But they don’t”
      That would be about 340w/sq.m. Where Roy gets this 390w/sq.m. at the bottom and 240w/sq.m. at the top beats me.
      Also my other half would be taking a piece out of me by now for the gadget addiction Roy has.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Alan,

      Quite an impressive piece of sophistry! I guess it takes a certain amount of “chutzpah” to take one of the most fundamental piece of evidence that there is a greenhouse effect and try turn it into a piece of evidence against the greenhouse effect! I tend to think there are few people who are ignorant enough to think that the fact that the surface emits 390 W/m^2 and the Earth as seen from space emits 240 W/m^2 is evidenced against the proposition that the Earth’s surface is able to be at a temperature where it emits 390 W/m^2 because there are IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere!

      “You cannot have the same loss rate as before and also be warmer than before.”

      You must really think highly of your intended audience to make statements this ridiculous!

    • KR says:

      “Spencer’s thesis, that reduced emission would bring about relative warming, might have merit if satellites observed a disparity between solar-absorbed and terrestrially-emitted radiation.”

      Actually, they do. The classic in the field is Harries et al 2001 (http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/24874.pdf), which shows satellite measurements of emission to space reducing at just the frequencies blocked by increased GHGs, just as predicted by the various radiative codes.

      … the distinctive trace gas signals can only be explained by long-term changes in atmospheric CO2, O3, CH4, CFC11 and CFC12… By comparing spectrally resolved observations from the IRIS and IMG instruments we have identified clear signatures due to long term changes in trace gas amounts.

      That translates to less energy emitted at any particular temperature, an energy imbalance, thus causing temperatures to rise until the energy going out to space once again matches that absorbed from the sun.

      This is clear experimental proof of the greenhouse effect, and its enhancement by increased levels of greenhouse gases.

  28. Greg House says:

    TonyB says (May 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM): “Greg,
    “Then, according to the “back radiation warming” concept, the back radiation from the colder body will increase the temperature of the warmer body.”
    No it will not. The two bodies will always have a temp differential ( until eventual max entropy between the two ). The two just exchange energy such that eventually both bodies’ temperature will equalise. The hotter getting slowly colder and the colder getting slowly warmer. You would indeed violate the 2nd Law if your concept were the case.”

    ==================================================

    I am afraid you completely missed the point in the theoretical part of my explanation.

    Again, the hotter body is initially at a stable temperature, it is not cooling at all. Please, read it again.

    • TonyB says:

      Greg,

      You said…

      “On the theoretical level, it goes like that. You have initially a body kept at a certain temperature by it’s internal source of energy. Now you put another colder body at the absolute zero temperature, let us say, in vacuum close to the warm body.
      The warmer body will start warming the colder body immediately. Then, according to the “back radiation warming” concept, the back radiation from the colder body will increase the temperature of the warmer body…………… So, the now even warmer warm body will warm the colder body even stronger, and the colder body will repay by sending even more back radiation to the warmer body, thus increasing it’s temperature even further. The warmer body will get warmer again. So will the colder body in turn. And so on.”

      Then ….
      “I am afraid you completely missed the point in the theoretical part of my explanation.
      Again, the hotter body is initially at a stable temperature, it is not cooling at all. Please, read it again.”

      I have read the above several times and I cannot make it mean anything other than what I did initially.

      I refer to “cooling” via exchange of radiation with the cooler body. That’s the point – it IS cooling but your conception has it warming. Impossible.

      I am NOT saying the hotter body was not at an “ initially stable temperature” merely that after being placed next a cooler body, it will cool.

      You seem to have completely missed the point of my rebuttal of your theoretical explanation.

      I say again – the colder body does not warm the warmer body by back-radiation. There is an exchange between the two, whereby the hotter cools and the cooler warms. At no point does the hotter get hotter still, by receipt of radiation from the cooler.
      Read again.

      If still at a loss then I can add nothing further.

  29. Dr. Spencer’s statements are backed up by data which show the greenhouse gases absorb certain wavelengths of OLR being emitted from the earth in the lower atmosphere and redirect this radiation back to the earth’s surface,rather then allowing it to escape directly into space.

    This above explanation in simple basic terms shows the greenhouse gas effect is real.

    SIMPLE EXAMPLE

    If you had two conditions set up in the atmosphere side by side with condition 1 in the atmosphere allowing all the OLR being emitted from the surface of the earth to escape directly into space, while condition 2 in the atmosphere trapped all the OLR being emitted from the surface of the earth back to the surface, doesn’t common sense tell you that the temperature of the surface of the earth where the OLR is directed back to the surface (condition 2) of the earth rather then being allowed to escape out to space(condition 1 ) would have to have a warmer temp. of x degrees?

    I think so.

  30. NOTE : In the upper atmosphere THE GREENHOUSE GASES have the opposite effects, on the temp.

  31. Greg House says:

    Reed Coray says (May 7, 2013 at 10:58 AM): “Specifically, the presence of the second object will result in a positive change to the temperature of the first object. I believe it is incorrect to say the second object WARMS the first object–it doesn’t.”
    ===================================================

    In my explanation it was the back radiation from the colder object allegedly warming the source (“greenhouse effect”).

    Again, apart from your semantic exercises, your assumption is wrong, because it leads to an absurd consequence, as I demonstrated earlier in my first comment on this thread.

    But, of course, any absurd claim can be repeated or rephrased indefinitely.

    • Reed Coray says:

      Greg,

      Okay, I’ll try to eliminate any semantic issues about “what heats what”. I’ll describe a situation and ask a series of yes/no questions. If you have the time and inclination, I’d appreciate your answers.

      (a) Assume an active sphere (an active sphere is a sphere with a constant-rate internal source of thermal energy where the thermal energy is generated symmetrically with respect to the surface of the sphere) with non-zero emissivity is placed in the vacuum of cold space (zero Kelvin). Assume the thermal conduction properties of the material making up the active sphere are such that for all practical purposes the temperature of the active sphere will everywhere be the same.

      (1) Will a time ever be reached at which energy-rate-equilibrium is established for the active sphere? [An object is said to be in energy-rate-equilibrium if the rate thermal energy enters the object is equal to the rate thermal energy leaves the object.]

      (2) If your answer to the question 1 is yes, then after energy-rate-equilibrium is established will the surface temperature of the active sphere be time invariant–i.e., not change with time? If your answer to question 2 is yes, then let “Tactive_isolated” be the energy-rate-equilibrium surface temperature of the isolated active sphere.

      (b) If your answers to questions 2 and 3 are yes, once energy-rate-equilibrium is reached for the isolated active sphere, place an inert sphere (an inert sphere is a sphere devoid of all internal thermal energy sources) with non-zero emissivity at any uniform initial temperature you want subject to the condition that the initial temperature of the inert sphere is less than “Tactive_isolated” next to, but not touching, the active sphere. Assume the thermal conduction properties of the material making up the inert sphere are such that for all practical purposes the temperature of the active sphere will everywhere be the same.

      (3) Will both the active sphere and the inert sphere ever reach energy-rate-equilibrium?

      (4) If your answer to question 3 is yes, will the temperature of the active sphere and the temperature of the inert sphere be time invariant once energy-rate-equilibrium is reached? If your answer to this question is yes, let “Tactive_coupled” be the energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of the active sphere and “Tinert_coupled” be the energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of the inert sphere.

      (5) If your answer to question 4 is yes, is the value of “Tinert_coupled” a function of the initial temperature of the inert sphere?

      (6) If your answers to questions 1 through 4 are yes, will “Tactive_coupled” be less than “Tactive_isolated”?

      (7) If your answers to questions 1 through 4 are yes, will “Tactive_coupled” be equal to “Tactive_isolated”?

      (8) If your answers to questions 1 through 4 are yes, will “Tactive_coupled” be greater than “Tactive_isolated”?

      Reed Coray

      • Reed Coray says:

        Greg,

        I apologize–I asked you for answers to a series of questions without giving you my answers. Here are my answers:

        1 yes
        2 yes
        3 yes
        4 yes
        5 no
        6 no
        7 no
        8 yes

        Reed Coray

  32. Greg House says:

    salvatore del prete says (May 7, 2013 at 11:56 AM): “If you had two conditions set up in the atmosphere side by side with condition 1 in the atmosphere allowing all the OLR being emitted from the surface of the earth to escape directly into space, while condition 2 in the atmosphere trapped all the OLR being emitted from the surface of the earth back to the surface, doesn’t common sense tell you that the temperature of the surface of the earth where the OLR is directed back to the surface (condition 2) of the earth rather then being allowed to escape out to space(condition 1 ) would have to have a warmer temp. of x degrees?”
    =======================================================

    Well, if your common sense tells you that, then your common sense is wrong, because what it tells you is physically absurd and therefore impossible, see my first comment on this thread.

  33. Greg, I read your first post but you example of a cold object not being able to warm a warmer object due to back radiation does not apply to the earth/atmospheric climatic system.

    It is like comparing apples to oranges.

    My reasoning is in the case of the earth/atmosphere climatic system, there is an outside energy source the sun which is impartng energy (heat) to the surface of the earth ,(actual energy) which the surface of the earth gives off in the form of OLR. This OLR(actual energy recieved from the sun by the earth) then gets absorbed and gets directed back to the surface of the earth causing the surface of the earth to be warmer then it would be, because the energy recieved from the sun to begin with by the surface of the earth can’t escape directly to space. The earth/atmospheric circulation is keeping energy from an outside source the sun ,trapped in the system.That being the earth/atmosphere climatic system.

    With your example of a cold object not be able to warm a warmer object, the colder object has not received energy from an outside source ,which imparts energy to the colder object. That is why the colder object in your example can’t warm the warmer object because the colder object in your example unlike the earth/atmosphere climatic system is not receiving energy from an outside source to begin with.

    that is where the difference lies

  34. Greg House says:

    TonyB says (May 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM): “Greg,
    I refer to “cooling” via exchange of radiation with the cooler body. That’s the point – it IS cooling but your conception has it warming. Impossible.
    I am NOT saying the hotter body was not at an “ initially stable temperature” merely that after being placed next a cooler body, it will cool.
    You seem to have completely missed the point of my rebuttal of your theoretical explanation.”

    ================================================

    Again, in case of a warmer body initially at a stable temperature it is not cooling, because, you know, it is initially at a stable temperature.

    If it’s outgoing IR is caught by another, colder body, this colder body starts getting warmer. I do not see, how this mere fact makes this warmer body suddenly start cooling. There is no logical connection here. You just introduced something that has no basis in reality. So is your rebuttal, based on this baseless notion.

    • TonyB says:

      Greg,

      “Again, in case of a warmer body initially at a stable temperature it is not cooling, because, you know, it is initially at a stable temperature.
      If it’s outgoing IR is caught by another, colder body, this colder body starts getting warmer. I do not see, how this mere fact makes this warmer body suddenly start cooling. There is no logical connection here. You just introduced
      something that has no basis in reality. So is your rebuttal, based on this baseless notion.”

      Err – it cools because it is emitting, and the cooler body is receiving the radiation. You have it back-wards way round.
      A body ( above 2.7K ) will radiate to space. A hot body will radiate more quickly. The cooling of the hot body isn’t caused by the cool body getting warmer. It is caused by the hot body radiating, loosing heat. It doesn’t matter to what.
      In my example the hot body is the Earth and the cool the atmosphere. There is simply an exchange process whereby the outgoing IR is held up via back-radiation through the atmosphere ( at greatest lower down ). It is this that delays the escape of heat to space. When there is no solar input energy – it just bounces around and some equalisation takes place in temps before the energy gets out through the troposphere. There can be an apparent warming of a ground surface due to heat flux coming up from lower in the sub-soil. If you look at my exchange with Cotton you will see the example I could not get him to explain. That of thin Ci cloud ( 6 mls up ) at temps of –30ish C causing a RST ( road surface temp) rise by up to a degree ( when already sub-zero ). This by back-radiation of IR from a relatively thin layer of WV. Cold to warm. The cloud was at –30 and the road at –2C ( ball-park ). This was a constant bane as I was monitoring for ice and alerts were needed when forecast RST graphs diverged from reality.

      “You just introduced something that has no basis in reality. So is your rebuttal, based on this baseless notion.”

      Very much real, as I experienced many times – the above being a common example. Another is fog where back-radiation after fog formation warms the ground to a temp above that of the fog. The fog top continuing to radiate to space after it becomes vertically thick enough to obscure the sky.

      It is the SLOWING of emitted energy to space that is the GHE. In other words the balance does not occur until the delay has been factored in – which is where the 33C comes in. That is the delta T that occurs before the balance is reached AFTER the delay.

      Look at it this way…

      A body is radiating. The temp fall is dependent on the S-B law so it falls in line with T^4.
      Stick something in the way of that radiation and it falls at a value less than S-B. Because it is absorbed and re-emitted back to the body ( some of it ). So some quantity of photons have to do it over again, like a ball bouncing between two surfaces. A slowing of emitted energy to space. The analogy is of a blanket, though that really would be conduction/convection currents that are restricted to keep in warmth. This is radiation. It’s just about holding back release of heat.

    • TonyB says:

      Greg,

      “Again, in case of a warmer body initially at a stable temperature it is not cooling, because, you know, it is initially at a stable temperature”

      What has a stable temperature have to do with it? I thought we were discussing the GHE, which implies energy transfer. Energy is being slowed in its escape to space. The temperature of a body can only be stable if its received energy is equal to its lost. That is what the Earth needs to do to stay in equilibrium with the Sun. But it is not what is happening on a local, micro/meso scale. Temps up in daylight and down at night. GHG’s slowing the down via back-radiation.

      “If it’s outgoing IR is caught by another, colder body, this colder body starts getting warmer. I do not see, how this mere fact makes this warmer body suddenly start cooling. There is no logical connection here. You just introduced something that has no basis in reality. So is your rebuttal, based on this baseless notion.”

      I’m sorry, I have no idea what your statement re “the mere fact makes this warmer body suddenly start cooling” comes from.

      I’ve explained two instances that I observed , many times ( and forecast for ) during my professional career … and you say it has no basis in reality. How does that work in a sane world? It most certainly was a reality to me, as the Cirrus cloud instances on otherwise freezing nights involved a certain amount of anxiety and work ( in the small hours of the morning often).
      It is not magic or mysterious – the behaviour of gases with radiation has been known about since the mid 19th Cent.
      If you are one of those GW Deniers that must find, at all costs, a reason to deny, then I suppose a purpose is served. However all the worlds Weather Centres model it into their NWP forecasts. That isn’t because it doesn’t occur.

      The colder body (cloud) does not necessarily get warmer to any degree either – if it did, then cloud would burn-away due this IR absorption from the Earth’s surface overnight. It doesn’t – it captures/emits very efficiently without any great change of temp. It is about fine balances of tooing/froing radiation.

  35. Greg House says:

    salvatore del prete says (May 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM): “Greg, I read your first post but you example of a cold object not being able to warm a warmer object due to back radiation does not apply to the earth/atmospheric climatic system. …
    My reasoning is in the case of the earth/atmosphere climatic system, there is an outside energy source the sun which is impartng energy (heat) to the surface of the earth ,(actual energy) which the surface of the earth gives off in the form of OLR. This OLR(actual energy recieved from the sun by the earth) then gets absorbed and gets directed back to the surface of the earth causing the surface of the earth to be warmer then it would be, because the energy recieved from the sun to begin with by the surface of the earth can’t escape directly to space. …”

    ==================================================

    Regardless of what initially warms the Earth surface (Sun, Jupiter, Moon, aliens etc) making it capable of radiating anything, it is the Earth surface, not the Sun etc. that radiates to the “greenhouse gases”, and then the “greenhouse gases” radiate it back to the Earth surface, according to the IPCC greenhouse warming” concept. (Of course, the “greenhouse gases” block some Sun IR, thus contributing to cooling, but this is not the “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC, so we can ignore this.)

    So, this back radiation from “greenhouse gases” can not effect the temperature of the Earth surface, because it is physically absurd and impossible, see the explanation in my first comment on this thread.

  36. Pieter says:

    I have always been sceptic about scepticism.
    But today Ned Nikolov has convinced me which is a big surprise for me.

    When we talk about all theory of insulation, you have to keep in mind that even a perfectly insulated body like an insulated house, liquid water under a thick layer of snow, an atmosphere trapping GHEs, or whatever examples we can imagine, will never get higher than the temperature of the heating source of that body.
    What Ned says and i hope i understand him will, is that the surface of the earth can never emit more energy then the energy gotten from the sun, wich is 240 W/m2, even if the atmosfere would perfectly trap all the emitting radiation to space.

    • Curt says:

      Pieter, the problem is that Ned’s idea is simply and demonstrably wrong, since it can be, and has been, measured that the surface emits on average about 390 W/m2. You can quibble about a few W/m2 here and there and how you take the average (or technically, integrate over the earth’s surface over a year’s time), but there is no way you can get it down anywhere near 240 W/m2.

      What is true is that the radiation to outer space from the top of the atmosphere cannot exceed this 240 W/m2 without the earth cooling. And no one who looks at the issue seriously thinks that there is more than a 1 W/m2 difference on average over the earth’s surface and over a year between the net solar input (total solar input – reflected) and the earth’s radiated output.

      The question is, how do you resolve the approximately 150 W/m2 difference at the earth’s surface?

      If the atmosphere somehow did “perfectly trap all the [earth's] emitting radiation to space”, the net 240 W/m2 from the sun would continually heat the earth to much hotter temperatures than we see now.

      The limit to this temperature is that this temperature could never get hotter than the temperature of the sun’s surface (about 5500 C). This is even true for concentrating solar collectors that focus hectares of sunlight into as small and area as possible — they cannot exceed this temperature even in theory.

      • Ned Nikolov says:

        Fellaws,

        Yes, the present Earth surface emits 390 W m-2 upwards, but that’s because it has a much higher temperature compared to the Moon surface (where there is no atmosphere). And this higher temperature of Earth is due to the 985.5 mbar average atmospheric pressure. Remember that pressure is a force per unit area, and there cannot be kinetic energy (hence temperature) without a FORCE (since Energy = Force X Length) … You see, the entire confusion comes from misinterpreting the IR back radiation as a cause for the atmospheric surface thermal enhancement. It is NOT!! Back radiation is simply the RESULT of atmospheric temperature, which is determined (set) by solar heating and air pressure …

        The atmosphere does NOT slow down the surface IR cooling as claimed by the current GH theory. The atmosphere ENHANCES (augments) the near-surface kinetic energy (and temperature) through the FORCE of pressure … So, there is no ‘trapping’ of radiative heat by ‘greenhouse gases’. Instead, there is an enhancement of the surface kinetic energy due to atmospheric pressure! THIS IS A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT MECHANISM THAT RENDERS THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION!!

        CO2 has never impacted Earth’s climate in the past! The only ‘evidence’ for the CO2 effect on temperature is found in climate models that algorithmically misrepresent the radiative-convective heat exchange. This is why the CO2-temperature relationship is so elusive in empirical data series, a fact that is being increasingly acknowledged in the science literature lately. Such relationship is simply non-existent in the physical reality … :)

        • Macha says:

          Very well put….at last some sense in this banal debate. Well done sir!,

        • Curt says:

          So we are together on the 390 W/m2 (average) radiative emission from the earth’s surface. I think we can agree on the (again average) 240 W/m2 solar radiation absorbed by the earth’s surface.

          So the question is, where does the additional 150 W/m2 of power come from? I think you are trying to claim that the simple pressure of the earth’s atmosphere provides this, but that simply cannot be!

          If the weight of the earth’s atmosphere could provide 150 W/m2 of power, we would have an amazing free source of energy.

          You cite the equation for energy as force x length. The energy comes from the force over the length of movement that it causes. In the case of the atmosphere, this length is zero. Simply put, the air has already fallen to the surface, and it cannot fall any farther.

        • Joel Shore says:

          Curt: Well said, but the empirical evidence against what Nikolov says is actually even stronger because we have satellites. So, we in fact know that the answer to the conundrum of the missing 150 W/m^2 is not some magical source of energy because we know that the Earth, as seen from space, is only emitting 240 W/m^2. The only way the surface can emit 390 W/m^2 but as seen from space the emission is only 240 W/m^2 is if the atmosphere is absorbing some of the radiation emitted by the surface…in other words, there are greenhouse elements (gases and clouds).

          Of course, we know more than that because the satellites spectra don’t just give total intensity but a whole spectral curve…and strangely enough, that spectral curve matches incredibly closely the spectral curve predicted using radiative transfer theory!

          And yet, some clowns continue to claim there is no experimental evidence for the greenhouse effect!

  37. Richard Vada says:

    The usage of a flir to claim what we see is a greenhouse GAS effect

    I suspect Roy has chameleon reflexes to cover, semantically.

    That’s all though.

    =====

    The first problem is the complete lack of mention of what’s having it’s temperature taken all those miles up: the oxygen and nitrogen who’ve picked up photonic energy due to collision with the surface of the earth, or one of the water molecules. CO2s in there too but it’s negligible so mentioned as afterthought.

    The second is: what possible physical experiment can you imagine doing, that would indicate to me the sole or even primary reason all the nitrogen and oxygen have any thermal content, is because of the presence of infrared resonant gases?

    If the earth’s spinning a thousand mi. per hour, 24/7/365, how far past bizarre is it, to tell someone if there weren’t any infrared gases, conduction between the earth’s surface and the nitrogen/oxygen would be an effectively zero?

    Roy if the atmosphere and the earth each comprise a fraction of a larger total mass,

    but if the atmosphere’s only barely responsive to the incoming light – the mix of gases is such that less than 5% are Magical Infrared Resonant gases, so a very low-energy response,
    from a very low percentage of the matter – this means, that massive atmosphere is, effectively not really responding to much of the sunlight. The sunlight passes through, the gases stay cold. Nitrogen/Oxygen that is.

    So – there’s another half to this mass, and that’s the mass of the earth: and the earth of course has it’s own, internal heat that’s independent of the sun for analysis purposes, due to their coming from separate directions.

    We expect a lot of heat coming out of the earth without the sun, we can dig down six feet nearly anywhere on earth and it’s not frozen, and by the time we’re down 60 it’s hotter than 65 degrees – that’s the temp plants’ roots adapt to, average. . .

    So we’ve got this one mass, the earth, that’s stopping all the rest of the sun light it can: it’s a radiation impact thing, there’s a lot reflected off, and it pings back out, warming a little – the infrared resonant gases with their tiny fraction of mass are being hit from both sides, by:

    incoming sunlight
    reflected sunlight
    earth’s interior’s light as heat in infrared.

    (The earth’s heat’s claimed by some people to be originally sun-derived but that’s irrelevant now: it’s inside the earth coming out, and this is an ‘out vs in’ type situation. Even if it could be discussed as irrelevent for some things, it’s relevant in “tenths of a degree” discussions.)

    You taking out your flir, and shooting some clouds, isn’t proof of the aspects of Magic Gas, that have so many people infuriated.

    Back to my point – Taking out the flir and showing you’ve found an object that registers reflected infrared,

    isn’t showing, that the atmosphere warms the earth.

    Because you see Roy the atmosphere being transparent to heating from the light, with the tiny exception of a fractional amount from infrared resonant gases –

    *remember the infrared gases are a tiny, TINY fraction of the total atmosphere – AND, their TINY spectrum of light interacted with, has a TINY PERCENTAGE of the spectrum’s ENERGY: so we have a SMALL quanitity of gas, by percent

    that can interact with the light having a small percentage of the spectral ENERGY:

    therefore Roy ALL this discussion is about a SMALL percentage of spectrum energy deposited onto a SMALL percentage of the mass at hand: and MOST of that -

    most of that deposition Roy

    occurs when the Sunlight’s on the way IN. And of course when the gas heats, from the brighter side, it’s really shading the earth – so that interaction is one of a cooling.

    No? Yes Roy the COOLING of the earth – not of the atmosphere the cooling of the EARTH done by CO2/methane in the upper atmosphere are done as the sun tries to come IN: and CAN’T.

    Well anyway I’m just remarking here how many provable cooling influences there are, just in offhand discussion –

    back to my dealio I mention here in passing –

    The atmosphere
    Has a fair amount of mass. And that mass is in conductive, touching contact with the planet.

    The planet spins, the irregularities of the surface, coupled with gas expansion upon energy reception through conduction, then with the stirring of the storm system,

    nitrogen and oxygen,
    are picking up heat from the surface of the earth through this contact.

    But the problem with the atmosphere as a heater is,
    the atmosphere could only be a heater if it was taking in energy at bluer Kelvin color levels: if it was absorbing light, in the bluer levels.

    But it’s actually the earth, which is absorbing the light in the many different spectra: then turning those ALL into an average color the earth emits, after it’s of course added to whatever was already emanating out from the core -

    the atmosphere acts as the cooler mass, through which heat conducts, out to a point where, the energy conducted away from the internal warmed entity.

    Indeed if the atmosphere were an aluminum cooling fin,

    being warmed somewhat by the light of our household lighting and my flashlight as I bragged on my new cooling fin for my computer chip,

    and, if that computer chip were the earth, then – in very real terms, the atmosphere, as such, is a coolant.

    It absorbs some light from my flashlight as I have it sitting out on the table, uncovered, having just built it and having started it – it absorbs some of that light, yes.

    But when the heat is applied to the computer chip the aluminum cooling fin is strapped to –

    the aluminum cooling fin – far, FAR colder than that point-source heater –

    the aluminum cooling fin, is nothing but, a pure coolant.

    Claims of warming are simply nowhere even nearly, accurate.

    If I have my computer cooling fin – the nitrogen/oxygen

    having it’s reactions further enhanced by having it’s internal space function as a reservoir for a phase change refrigerant –

    then I’m helping heat get off that computer chip a little faster.

    The way I help that heat get off the earth using the couple of miles deep reservoir of phase change refrigerant water

    when it operates as a refrigerant, a heat pipe, piping heat away from the surface faster than the oxy/nitrogen –

    That leaves the infrared gases with not much heating effect to claim.

    =====

    You were seen once before Roy, making claim you were measuring some effect or other by pointing an infrared thermometer at the sky.

    Then it was revealed that those infrared thermometers specifically ignore the water/co2 spectra measurement wave length, so people wouldn’t do exactly what you claimed you were doing: measuring the temperature of the water or co2 as gas.

    Now you’re back again, making claims that, because you can measure some heat inside a giant cooling fin, it means that the temperature of the earth, is being set to within a tenth of a degree here or there, by some tiny percent of the gases in the atmosphere, that comprise the phase change refrigerant, taking heat from the hot surface on the one hand – and in massive torrents –
    (just by comparison, atmospheric gas is a terrible conductor of heat – people put on metal fins, and STILL augment the COOLING effect of METAL with a phase change refrigerant filled, heat-pipe)

    This is an unedited and an off-the-cuff observance on your claims to an atmospheric heating of the earth,

    but how in the world, an atmosphere can be a heater of the earth, at any time over all, is an e.x.t.r.e.m.e.l.y. specious claim to make then claim, to prove.

    It’s obvious the atmosphere derives very little heat from the sun, and it’s obvious the gases of the atmosphere don’t derive heat internally of themselves.

    Their temperature would be that of deep space, by and large, if it weren’t for the constant churning and gravitational contact, that conductively heats the atmosphere.

    ====
    So, overall, your claims of an atmosphere which warms the earth, have far too many obstacles to overcome, even just looking the thing over, without cracking a book.

    We have knowledge the sun’s not heating most of the atmosphere.

    It’s the earth that’s heating it. Transparent to all but the lowest intensity light, a small fraction – single digits percent – interact with some low intensity, infrared.

    Then all that blue and ultraviolet and infrared that get through, slam into the earth. A fraction of that turns to heat,

    and the atmosphere, churning along the surface of the earth as said planet spins, conductively picks up heat directly: warming the nitrogen and oxygen,

    which means the nitrogen and oxygen cool the surface through contact,

    and of course also water does it’s ‘phase change refrigerant’ thing, providing a lot of cooling, there.

    So I object if you’re trying to teach a generation of people that you believe the atmosphere heats us up or keeps us warm, it keeps us cool.

    As is readily seen by the fact that, a thermal sensor embedded into some black paint just outside the atmosphere, gets a lot hotter, than one embedded in black paint just at the surface of the earth.

    There’s more energy there, because it hasn’t been filtered by the earth’s atmosphere, so there’s more energy per square cm hitting the paint outside at the top, on the sun side.

    Right Roy?

    There’s a bunch of heat available at the top of the atmosphere on the sun side,

    that never makes it to the earth, and, because of this, the earth bound thermal sensor never receiving all that sun energy, never gets as hot.

    This very same reflector

    reflecting some sunlight away: not much because remember whatever comes to earth is what the atmosphere’s transparent to: almost everything, except the very low-energy concentration of infrared resonant gases -

    And you’ve got this earth, turning some fair amount of that light, into heat, which – as we just discussed, being dragged along the surface at a thousand miles per hour,

    this otherwise, mostly unheated nitrogen and oxygen,

    picks up heat, until the average temperature of the gas rises, and the average temperature of the surface objects

    *cool* – yes the atmosphere *cools* that surface as energy *conducts* into it due to the power of gravity pulling them *physically together* the cooler gas, WARMS –

    see it’s this whole “whenever I analyze this in a reality based analysis string, I get cooling, while you try to magically make that warming” thing Roy,

    that makes me say to myself that – yes, maybe I pay you enough that you can afford a flir

    but no, maybe you don’t really, REALLY know, what you’re doing with it.

  38. Richard Vada says:

    Not another “half of this mass” actually, I meant “half of this diagram/story/example” it came out wrong as I typed it stream-of-consciousness as though in a conversation – lol there wasn’t anyone to correct me and I didn’t take time to edit it.

    There are a couple more errors in there but I have gotten up and down several times as I wrote this, between the day’s labor

    R.V.

  39. Richard Vada says:

    I can see to sit down and talk about so many +/- entities throughout the various phases of fluid dynamics is bound to create instances where misplacements of qualifiers are going to fall;

    however I intentionally avoided placing the entire thing in terms more complicated than say a carpet installer could read, and leave it to the semantics puppies to pretend they didn’t read that,

    the atmosphere is a cooling fin around the earth.

    The small amount of infrared resonant gas heating that goes on from the sunlight,

    was compared to the household lights and flashlights we would examine an aluminum heat sink for a computer chip; very small amount of heating of the internal chip that the cooling fin is around.

    The earth itself accepting not just the infrared from the sun but also the blue, the green, the yellow – this was compared to,

    turning the chip on, causing point source heating. The earth’s internal temp was also noted as being a part of this thermal source, heating the atmosphere.

    The atmosphere isn’t as good a coolant as aluminum fins, but due to gravitational and rotational contact, nitrogen/oxygen cool the earth.

    This is a man having to go step, by step, with another man claiming to understand thermodynamics of gas.

    The conductive cooling of the earth, isn’t a warming of the earth or a ‘limiting’ of cooling but is PROVIDING the cooling.

    Then additionally there is the primary infrared resonant gas, operating physically within and along with, that primary cooling,

    as an atmospheric pressures, phase change refrigerant.

    So – claims of “you can see how it really is warming” are taken with the same grain of salt they had to be taken with, when you thought you were measuring the atmosphere’s green house gases with the IR thermometer,

    then had to have it pointed out to you, that IR thermometers are designed to not measure the precise bandwidths and CO2.

    Indeed it comes to mind now that since this flir measures many different wavelengths, it’s got wavelength to spare: and, if they didn’t notch out the band pass for this flir, water and CO2 would make the whole thing white-out, as well.

  40. Greg House says:

    TonyB says (May 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM): “Err – it cools because it is emitting, …”
    =================================================

    Cooling bodies emit, warming bodies emit and bodies at a stable temperature emit…

    The fact that a body is emitting does not mean that it is cooling.

    Hope you get it now.

    So, again, your rebuttal is based on an absurd thing.

  41. Greg House says:

    Massimo PORZIO says (May 7, 2013 at 3:03 PM): “No Greg, you missed the point. The only difference between the “mirrored” and the anodized surface was the thickness of the aluminium adhesive tape (50um), … I’ve experienced it, and I’m absolutely sure that a back reflected photon can warm up the body which originated itself.”
    =================================================

    Massimo, what you have experienced or not nobody knows for sure. There is a lot at stake and it is easy to imagine that some people would blatantly lie for their “cause”.

    Again, warming by back radiation is physically absurd and impossible, see my first comment on this thread. The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC does not exist.

    On the practical level everyone can conduct the mirror experiment I proposed above and decide for themselves. I am sure though that sooner or later someone would come forward on a blog and swear he or she got burned by the back radiation heat from the mirror.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Greg,
      Your mirror experiment doesn’t take account of two things.
      1) that to “feel” your “backradiation”, it must be a first surface mirror. If I repeat my experiment with a glass coated mirror, it doesn’t work at all, of course.
      2) the GHGs effect theory isn’t about an energy insulated system, it’s about a continuous flow of energy from the warm body to the outer space. Your body in front of a surface mirror stops to heat up because you are a self thermo-regulated system to about 37°C.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        Uhmmm…
        Maybe I’ve been not clear:
        “If I repeat my experiment with a glass coated mirror, it doesn’t work at all, of course.”

        The “If” at the beginning wasn’t due, I really did it and it didn’t work.

  42. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer, with respect;

    I am in fact jealous that you own a personal FLIR camera.

    I have used them in the past in a professional capacity, back when they were about $50,000 each. I don’t exactly have any justification for one now, but I am amazed by the price drop (boy, will the wonders of the free market ever cease?).

    One of the interesting visual experiments I performed back them was to press a cold object against a copper surface which I was trying very hard to keep within a few tenths of a degree F (within a target control set point temp). The interesting experiment is to apply a cold object to the surface and then see how quickly the thermal gradient “disappears”.

    We did this with a “cold” metal block with some holes in it. The holes were at first quite distinct. And then within a few seconds the “cold” image disappeared. This demonstrates the concept of “speed of heat”. A material with a high “speed of heat” aka thermal diffusivity will “diffuse” the thermal gradient much more quickly than a material with a lesser “speed of heat” like aluminum, or water for that matter.

    If I might, I suggest that you find (or purchase) two nearly identical frying pans, one fabricated out of aluminum and another made of stainless steel (quite popular with all the best chefs, I understand). Then let them reach “room temperature”. Now, press a “standard sized” ice cube (you know, one of the typical ones from your ice maker) against the surface of the stainless steel frying pan, then image the thermal gradient with your new “toy”. Take some notes about how long it takes for the “image” of the ice cube to disappear. Now repeat the same experiment with the aluminum pan (much higher thermal diffusivity, or “speed of heat”). Note how much faster the “image” of the ice cube disappears.

    Maybe this simple experiment will demonstrate that heat (thermal energy) flows through different materials at different velocities and is why you cannot simply analyze the climate as a “DC” circuit and get the correct answer. Yes you can get an “answer” but it still does not match what is happening (i.e. It’s still not warming).

    I do indeed understand the points you are making, I just honestly disagree, no agenda here, I just like to really understand what’s actually going on in any complex system (i.e. the “climate”) mostly for the challenge involved.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  43. jae says:

    Roy, your “last paragraph” says:

    “Just so there is no confusion: I am not talking about why the indicated temperatures are what they are…I am talking about the fact that the surface temperature of the microbolometer is being changed by IR emission from the sky. THAT IS the greenhouse effect.”

    I guess I don’t understand this paragraph. Please explain in more detail. ALL the empirical evidence to date shows that increases in GHGs (mainly OCO) have ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on temperature for at least 15 years. Roy (Houston), you got a problem! Diagrams,radiation cartoons, and equations don’t mean anything without empirical evidence. You have provided NONE to this point.

  44. Greg House says:

    Reed Coray says (May 7, 2013 at 8:02 PM): “Greg,… I’ll describe a situation and ask a series of yes/no questions. If you have the time and inclination, I’d appreciate your answers.”
    Reed Coray says (May 7, 2013 at 8:22 PM): “Here are my answers: …”
    =====================================================

    I am glad you have your answers.

    Since I am sure that nobody would understand your point, I am not inclined to check whether your answers are correct or not… Sorry.

    • Reed Coray says:

      Greg,

      You wrote: “Since I am sure that nobody would understand your point…”. Not understand my point? My point is simple. I want to know whether you think the surface temperature of an isolated active object in the vacuum of cold space is lower than, equal to, or greater than the temperature of that active object when an inert object is placed next to but not touching the active object. My understanding of your position is that because heat cannot flow from a colder object (the inert object) to a warmer object (the active object) the temperature of the active object won’t be increased by the presence of the inactive object. What’s not to understand?

  45. Bill Hunter says:

    Normally a temperature gradient is steepest through a substance when the substance is least efficient at transmitting heat through the substance from one place to another.

    Only in the world of climate science is this consistently stood on its head.

    We measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere and the upper atmosphere and attribute the temperature gradient not to the substance least able to transmit heat but the one most able.

    Non-greenhouse gases have no way of transmitting heat to space so they are effectively a heat trap, a heat trap just like the elevated insulated passive solar heater storage medium.

    If you have a heat trap in the upper atmosphere and since it can only gain heat from the surface and never lose it to space it should end up at a uniform temperature from top to bottom with that asteroid in space gaining zero heat from the top of our atmosphere representing a sharp temperature gradient from the top of the atmosphere to the surface of the asteroid.

    Of course if incoming radiation on the surface of the earth was uniform and unchanging diurnally the temperature of both the surface and the atmosphere should be the same.

    But when you have a rotating earth with a fixed position heating source a convecting medium and insulted storage you have the means of creating an atmosphere that on average is warmer than what it would be if the surface was bathed with a uniform average temperature. A passive convective heater would not operate to make the storage medium on average warmer than the average ambient temperature.

    A passive convective heater can only operate to elevate average temperatures above the average ambient temperature when the heat source is allowed to fluctuate equally in both directions from the average. Then the passive solar heater, if in a gravity field and designed with a convective medium will warm up to an average temperature warmer than the average ambient temperature. In fact what you might have that operates this way can in fact be a greenhouse, a very common device.

    The Woods Experiment a hundred years ago established that the effect in a greenhouse is from containing the heat from convection. The atmosphere would retain heat from convection if it weren’t able to lose it to space by the presence of greenhouse gases.

    So while the temperature gradient in the atmosphere is related to greenhouse gases its not clear what the net effect on our climate is. One can very logically construct a thought experiment of what the effect is when some variables are eliminated and you start with the assumption there is no effect from other processes and gases in the atmosphere but that by no means establishes the certainty of an effect. Heck we don’t even measure that which theoretically greenhouse gases have an effect on.

    Also thought experiments are fallable but never tell that to an expert. Magicians have been proving the fallability of thought experiments for thousands of years.

  46. Greg House says: May 7, 2013 at 5:28 PM
    Again, warming by back radiation is physically absurd and impossible, see my first comment on this thread. The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC does not exist.
    ———————–
    You seem to be convinced that cold objects cannot affect the temperature of warm objects.
    but consider these questions i posed on an earlier thread:

    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. so how is some “reflected” and some thermalised?
    ===============

    Trying to measure the radiation from space using an instrument that is calibrated to measure temperature of black bodies is fraught with problems.

    However it is interesting to note that a wavelenght limit of 7.5um means that the peak of the plank curve is not included in the radiation that the microbolometer sees.
    What the bolometer sees is the number of quanta coming through the lens per second from all frequencies in its accetance band (7.5 to 13um) – hot objects will generate more per second than cool objects and hence will heat the bolometer more.

    O2 N2 etc do not generated any sensible amount of IR at 7.5 to 13 um range.
    Clouds are near black bodies and will therefore give a sensible reading of their temperature.
    Clear sky will be generating bands of frequencies from GHGs. But GHGs are the only source of radiation that clear sky has. The thermometer/camera will respond to this radiation if it is in the band 7.5 to 13um. It will not measure the effective “temperature” of the air.

    A pyrgeometer measures energy from the sky within the IR filter range of its window. so GHGs will register as a sum of quanta per second producing a heating effect on the sensor element. The heating effect is then mathematically converted into watts/sqm. This is similar to the camera bolometer. But the conversion is for energy per second rather than temperature.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi,
      you wrote:
      “O2 N2 etc do not generated any sensible amount of IR at 7.5 to 13 um range.”
      I agree with it if you add “not directly”, but heating the surrounding GHGs they do too.
      Since they exchanges energy via the thermodynamic path and they are greatly the major elements in any sample of air at any altitude, they should finally drive the effective emission on the minoritary GHSs.
      I know it’s a real different issue, but for example a CO2 laser can’t be excited without the nitrogen plasma which excite the CO2 by molecular collisions.
      In my opinion, the ability of absorbing a photon by a GHG molecule depends also by its previous excitation status.
      I mean: the higher is the local temperature, the higher is the probability that the GHG molecule is already excited by collisions and in that condition it can’t absorb the incoming photons, but finally emits the thermodynamically “produced” photon cooling the surrounding.
      Of course, I could have missed some important details which I don’t know and that invalidate all I wrote above.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

  47. Max™ says:

    Suppose in a simplified world we have:

    Cold body emits n photons at x wavelength.
    Warm body emits n+1 photons at x wavelength.
    Hot body emits n+2 photons at x wavelength.

    Cold to Warm leaves 1 photon from Warm to Cold at x wavelength.
    Warm to Hot leaves 1 photon from Hot to Warm at x wavelength.

    Warm to Warm leaves 0 photons from Warm to Warm at x wavelength.
    Cold to Hot leaves 2 photons from Hot to Cold at x wavelength.

    Integrate over all wavelengths (0 to ∞) and you get a Planck curve, the area under the curve should correspond to the value predicted by the SB law.

    __

    The only time Hot to Cold gives the same value you get calculating for Hot by itself is when the Cold sink is at 0 K.

    For a body at say, 289 K (the ground) and an atmosphere at say 278 K (assuming for some reason that the atmosphere emissivity is ~1), there is an excess of photons from the ground to the atmosphere which adds up to around 63 W/m^2.

    You should find that the left over photons form a plot which resembles the difference between the Planck curves for two bodies with those temperatures.

    As for the FLiR i7 itself:

    The following object parameters must, however, be supplied for the camera:
    ■The emissivity of the object
    ■The reflected apparent temperature
    ■The distance between the object and the camera
    ■The relative humidity
    ■Temperature of the atmosphere

    Similarly, if a FLiR sensor element can be warmed by photons from a source at any temperature, why exactly would things like cooled thermal imaging devices exist?

    Additionally:
    Object temperature vs signal voltage curve for a microbolometer.

    See the section where the voltage goes negative? That’s when the camera is losing energy by warming the target.

    • thefordprefect says:

      Max™ says: May 8, 2013 at 1:40 AM
      Suppose in a simplified world we have:

      Cold body emits n photons at x wavelength.
      Warm body emits n+1 photons at x wavelength.
      Hot body emits n+2 photons at x wavelength.

      Cold to Warm leaves 1 photon from Warm to Cold at x wavelength.
      Warm to Hot leaves 1 photon from Hot to Warm at x wavelength.

      Warm to Warm leaves 0 photons from Warm to Warm at x wavelength.
      Cold to Hot leaves 2 photons from Hot to Cold at x wavelength.

      Integrate over all wavelengths (0 to ∞) and you get a Planck curve, the area under the curve should correspond to the value predicted by the SB law.

      —————
      tfp
      This is not what I was talking about.
      using your figures
      Cold body emits n photons at x wavelength.
      Warm body emits n+1 photons at x wavelength.
      Hot body emits n+2 photons at x wavelength.

      you now have a cloud of n+[n+1]+[n+2] photons mixed together all with a wavelength x and a consequential quantum energy of y joules.
      some of these now get intercepted by the mid temperature body. Please describe how this mid temperature body decides how many of these identical photons to absorb and how many to reflect, in order that it satisfies your theory.

      ——————
      max

      As for the FLiR i7 itself:

      Similarly, if a FLiR sensor element can be warmed by photons from a source at any temperature, why exactly would things like cooled thermal imaging devices exist?
      ————
      tfp

      Primarily because of noise generated by the sensor when trying to measure a temperature of -200C using a sensor at 50C.
      ————-
      max

      Additionally:
      Object temperature vs signal voltage curve for a microbolometer.

      See the section where the voltage goes negative? That’s when the camera is losing energy by warming the target.
      ————-
      tfp

      No it is not! the bolometer continually exchanges IR with the target. The negative voltage is simply an artifct of the measuring system. microbolometer is basically a temperature sensitive resistor. Electronics chooses how the voltage changes on the resistor.

  48. SkepticGoneWild says:

    The Clausian statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics has not changed since its inception in 1850. “Heat cannot of itself pass from a colder to a hotter body”. There is absolutely no mention of a “net” effect, or two way flow of heat as some might presume. This notion that an object does not “know” the temperature of the source where the photons originate from is pure sophistry. Consider a body “A” in the vacuum of space at some temperature T; then consider another body “B” of the exact same same temperature being placed adjacent to “A” but not touching. Does body “A” warm up because of the IR photons that are bombarding it from “B”? No. That has never happened in all of history. If “B” warmed up “A”, then the warmer “A” would in turn warm up the cooler “B”, with the cycle repeating, in violation of both the First and Second Laws of thermodynamics. Likewise a body cannot heat itself up from its own back radiation. The laws of thermodynamics are universal.

    If people somehow want to revise the Second Law of Thermodynamic to their liking, then there is a rigorous protocol called the scientific method for doing so. So far no one has done so, so these specious arguments to the contrary are once again purely sophist in nature.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Hi.
      Your basic mistake is considering the system closed and limited to two bodies, one warmer than the other.
      The GHGs issues refers to a system of two bodies, one warmer (the Earth surface), one cooler (the atmosphere) and the continuous (daily pulsed indeed) incoming energy from the warmer body due to the solar irradiation which must dissipate through the cooler body.

      2LOT isn’t violated.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

      • Kristian says:

        No one is considering the system closed and limited to two bodies, Massimo. This is just you not getting our argument. We are perfectly aware that the Sun is the heat source of the surface – THE ONLY HEAT SOURCE! We are the ones continuously pointing this out.

        You CLAIM that in your interpretation of the situation the atmosphere is not adding to the surface heat GAIN but rather reducing its heat LOSS. It’s at least a good thing we agree on the theoretical basis that the atmosphere CANNOT act as a second independent source of HEAT to the surface. The surface is after all the atmosphere’s source of heat. A body can’t operate as a heat source to the object providing it with heat in the first place. That would be absurd.

        But the problem is that you never take that extra step and explain us exactly how this reduction in surface radiative heat loss is accomplished by a warm atmosphere containing so-called GHGs. How come the surface is getting warmer than what its solar HEAT input can achieve by reducing the radiative heat loss? Does the ‘back radiation’ somehow block, restrict or disallow the solar-prompted surface emission from escaping? No. There is no such mechanism. You too seem to agree to this. Otherwise you wouldn’t keep referring to the 390 W/m^2 of outgoing radiation flux from the surface, according to you, fixed by its S-B emission temperature relation.

        You say the Sun provides the HEAT. I agree wholeheartedly. But, that particular heat, when absorbed, also escapes freely and unobstructed from the surface as emitted radiation, with or without an atmosphere.

        So why then is the surface temperature still raised in your scenario? When nothing has changed in the specific relationship between Sun (heat source) and surface (heat receiver).

        Well, here is what you do: You ADD the downward flux from the atmosphere to the downward flux from the Sun. As if equivalent. And end up getting radiative heating of the surface beyond what the solar flux could muster by itself. You have done EXACTLY what you said you didn’t do. You have made the surface absorb the flux from the atmosphere AS HEAT, as a downward positive transfer of thermal energy, and thereby increased its temperature. The atmosphere is what actually raises the surface temperature in your scenario. NOT the Sun. You just CLAIM otherwise.

        You have effectively made the atmosphere a heated object acting as a heat source to the object heating it.

        And hence, 2LOT is indeed violated. BIG TIME!

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          Kristian,

          I’m sorry maybe I’ve been not clear.
          As already stated, till today I’ve no proof of any existing “backradiation”.
          But I experienced an increase of temperature of a body (a warmer source of heat), changing the reflectivity of a second surface facing a significative surface of it and leaving the thermodynamical setup practically unchanged.
          Just that.

          Note that in my point of view, one thing are reflected photons which hold whole their energy, and one another are absorbed and then re-emitted photons.

          My opinion on how GHGs could work is in my post of May 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM
          Where the GHGs photon emission could come mostly from the surrounding molecule not from “backradiation”.

          For the “backradiation”, at the moment I can’t tell if it exists or not.
          IMHO, if it does, it should have a very low impact on the ground level temperature.

          But it’s just a mere opinion.

          Have a nice day.

          Massimo

        • yes, the downward emission by the atmosphere does indeed add to the solar absorbed at the surface. I suppose I was trying too hard to explain things in terms of the *net* IR at the surface, without discussing the downward emission from the atmosphere per se.

          In terms of the net thermal radiative energy flux between two radiating blackbodies at different temperatures is:

          E = sigma[Twarm^4-Tcold^4]

          …I was trying to discuss things from the perspective of the RHS of that equation as a single term, whereas you correctly point out that it is actually made up of 2 separate terms. Either way, you get the same final answer…again, it’s a matter of how you phrase what’s going on with words.

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            About absorption and reemission, I speculate that the CO2 molecule should work better as an LWIR absorber than an emitter, because of its unpolarized in-line molecular shape.
            In fact to precharge via the thermodynamic pathway the molecule, three points of application of force (bumps against other molecules) are needed to bend it.
            While once the molecule become bended by the absorption of a LWIR photon, it suffice just two point to discharge the molecular bending energy to the surrounding gases by the thermodynamic pathway.
            So, I believe that statistically there are more probability that the CO2 molecule works better as an LWIR absorber while the WV should be a more balanced absorber/emitter, since it has a V shaped molecule at rest.
            When I played with MODTRAN, I seen that the emission peak in the middle of the CO2 pit is absolutely absent at tropospheric altitudes and pops up above at the altitude of about 17km, where WV disappears leaving the CO2 as the dominant GHG. This could be due to what I supposed above. That is, below that altitude the CO2 absorbs photons and easily shares the photon energy with all the other gases, because in the excited state it’s V shaped. At that point, the VW spreads that energy easily via the LWIR radiative pathway, because the CO2 molecule has returned an in-line molecule which has lower probability of thermodynamic precharge at that wavelength.
            That’s just my own fantasy, of course.
            I’ve no proof of that.

            Have a nice day

            Massimo

    • Curt says:

      SGW: Electromagnetic radiation is not the same thing as heat. It does carry energy with it – each photon carries an energy e=h*v. That energy must come from the emitting body, and that energy would be transferred to an absorbing body. In the absorbing body, the energy could potentially take many forms. In a photovoltaic cell, it could be turned into electric energy. In a leaf, it could be turned into stored chemical energy through photosynthesis. In many cases, it is turned into molecular kinetic energy, a.k.a. thermal energy or heat.

      What your analysis of two bodies A and B at the same temperature radiating toward each other misses is that the emitting body loses energy (-h*v) when it emits a photon, the exact same amount of energy that the absorbing body gains. If the emitting body did not lose this energy, that would be a 1st Law violation right there.

      There is no 1st Law or 2nd Law violation in these two bodies radiating toward each other as long as you take into account the proper loss of energy from the emitting body.

      The questions “How does the emitting body know what it is radiating to?” and its corollary “How does the receiving body know where the radiation is coming from?” are not sophistry, but instead are completely devastating to the slayer case, because there are no good answers to them. Photons are not like internet packets that carry detailed information about their origin that receiving bodies can read and then decide what action to take.

      Simplify your problem to a single body A at a non-zero temperature T in the vacuum of outer space with no bodies of non-zero temperature anywhere near it. (Think of the Voyager spacecraft now out past the solar system.) At time t=0 when the body is at time T, whatever internal power source it had stops (e.g. the power supply fails). The only method of energy transfer it has with the universe is radiative. It loses energy with every photon it emits, and it receives virtually nothing back because the “background temperature” of the universe is very close to absolute zero (~3K). The energy lost by emitting photons results in decreasing temperature, and this will go on until it reaches this near-zero background temperature.

  49. Mack says:

    Alan Siddons says…
    …”if satellites observed a disparity between solar- absorbed and terrestially-emitted radiation. But they don’t”
    That would be about 340w/sq.m.at the surface then. Where Roy gets this 390w/sq.m. at the surface and 240w/sq.m. at the TOA beats me. Also my better half would be taking a piece out of me by now for this family budget destroying gadget addiction Roy has.
    As for the physics.. well when I look at at an electrical appliance I read the words..watts..no mention of time..just watts. It is watts/sq.m. Long wave ,short wave, electrical, whatever, it’s irrelevant. It’s watts. It’s a measurement of power. The essential balance of this power is all that matters in this arguement.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      Yes,
      I agree, but do we really measured the whole outgoing LWIR radiation?
      AFIK, till today we measured the LWIR such as we were watching the Earth from a Space shuttle using a zooming device which allows the view of small part of the Earth surface.
      No matter if the Space Shuttle will cover the whole Earth surface along its flying path, we never gets the whole light rays from the Earth this way.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

  50. GREENHOUSE EFFECT- I say the GHG effect is not about causing the surface temperatures of the earth to heat up or rise ,but the GHG effect keeps the surface temperatures of the earth from falling as much as the would in the absence of the GHG effect.

    The GHG , is also tied into the available energy that the earth/climatic system has to work with ,which in turn comes from the sun , thus the GHG effect is LIMITED, and responds to temperature changes, does not cause the temperature to change. Nevertheless it REGULATES the temperatures of the earth, based on the energy in the earth/climatic system.

    GREG- How do you explain the OZONE effect on the temperatures in the STRATOSPHERE? OZONE,is a greenhouse gas which does influence the temperature of the STRATOSPHERE through absorption of UV light ,and then emitting it into the STRATOSPHERE ,keeping it warmer then it would be otherwise. A GHG effect? Correct.

    How about this analogy . If a stove is heated to 300 F degrees and is turned off, and in front of the stove say 10 feet away you have two objects, object 1 and object 2.

    OBJECT 1- Is heated by an outside source to 200F degrees. IR emitted.

    OBJECT 2- Is NOT heated from an outside source. No IR emitted.

    I say the temperature of the stove with object 1 and 2 in front of it (10 ft away) will go down in both examples, but the temperature of the stove if it has OBJECT 1 in front of it will go down LESS then if it had OBJECT 2 in front of it, due to the IR radiation being emitted from OBJECT 2 at a temperature of 200F versus OBJECT 1 NOT emitting any IR radiation.

    If this is carried to the atmosphere earth climatic system , the surface of the earth being the stove, with the atmosphere like object 1 with greenhouse gases and IR emissions ,and the atmosphere like object 2 without greenhouse gasses IR emissions, that the same analogy can be made.

    The atmosphere with greenhouse gases (object 1) will emit and direct the IR it emits, back to the surface of the earth(the stove)keeping the temperature of the surface of the earth HIGHER, then it would be, then if the atmosphere was like object 2 with no greenhouse gasses/IR emissions, directed back to the surface of the earth.

    Allowing the surface of the earth(when it is like object 2) to cool more then if the atmosphere, were like object 1.

    THE EARTH SURFACE = STOVE

  51. Massimo porzio may 8th 2013 at 3:31 am quite correct and good.

  52. tonyM says:

    There are a few here that I would suggest are trolls acting as proxies or acolytes for Postma. Monkton spots them quickly. They know who they are. They come here or other sites and then go back to Postma’s site and bravely declare how they have said X or Y etc. Postma of course pats them on the head and commends them for their efforts. Seems to me a case of “Good boy …go get them!!”

    I can’t imagine a more vituperative, vitriolic site caught up in its own self importance as this Postma site. It has no problem declaring other site owners liars or with questionable motives. Opponents are labelled as liars or caught up in “effing, physically absurd greenhouse effect.” No need to wonder why Lewandowsky came to my mind (just different camps) when dealing with them..

    Any counter physics arguments to their thoughts are quelled even though they can’t counter the physics. Postma begrudgingly conceded a key point to me before rushing off into obfuscation with a “but” or “however” which was and is irrelevant to the point that was made (ie that slowing earth surface cooling with CO2 does not breach physics laws).

    They are of the idee fixee mentality; they know it all – just the rest of the world is not aware of that, yet!

    Dr Spencer and a few others have made it clear, so absolutely clear, that in any heat transfer with GHG’s there is no suggestion of the cooler GHG increasing the T of the hotter body. It is clearly understood that it is a slow down in the rate of cooling of the hotter body compared to the circumstance where that GHG does not exists.

    This is the “greenhouse effect.” Nothing more. Perhaps badly named.

    This statement breaches no law of physics. In fact if there was not a reduced level of heat dissipation from the surface by radiation due to the CO2 there would indeed be a breach of physics. This is what causes the slower cooling.

    Yet these guys still try to create a straw man argument over the 2nd Law of T. These trolls create unreal situations, confound, conflate and obfuscate simply to try to score a point or two and create mischief so they can report back and earn brownie point.

    Dr Spencer – keep up the good work. Other than the trolls most of us recognize that any analogies used are to help our thinking and illustrative of some principle and not as a substitute for the actual situation. Much like a photo is not reality. But we sure can get a good feel for what it represents.

    • SkepticGoneWild says:

      TonyM,

      As you stated on Postma’s site, “Ad hominems, no matter how stupid you feel some people are, rarely wins the day particularly in a highly politicised field”.

      I totally agree. Perhaps you should heed your own advice and stick to discussing the science at hand.

      • tonyM says:

        Perhaps you might like to refresh your defintion of ad hominem and compare it with mine.

        An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument.

        - directed against a person rather than against his argument.
        - Based on or appealing to emotion rather than reason.

        I am reporting on matters of fact. Where is the ad hominem? Where am I avoiding the argument by directing my attention to the person in order to further my point?

        I suggest your interpretation might preclude any criticism of behaviour. Such would be a strange world indeed. I am not using such criticism to avoid engaging in any argument.

        Are you suggesting that I have been misleading in my reporting or that I am exaggerating the vitriole – virtually in every topic covered by Postma? I was embarrassed for Postma in reading his diatribes as I cannot imagine any scientist who could ever match him in that regard. Perhaps you feel otherwise. That is fine too.

        I have a particular purpose in alerting commenters here. I see ambush attempts in how some arguments are put or how questions are framed and there are instances in this very topic. Be particularly aware of areas which involve distorting the term “reduced cooling” or warming and then interpreted to mean “ a direct increase in T.”

        • SkepticGoneWild says:

          I am suggesting that you are totally hypocritical. You are engaging in the same tactics you accuse Postma of. Calling anyone who has visited the Postma site the ad hominem term “trolls”. What does that accomplish? I personally have been a total skeptic of the IPCC position from day 1, because they simply do not conduct science in a manner that meets the strict tenets of the scientific method.

          I am in the process of gathering information to make an informed decision. I am a professional civil engineer by trade, which is a totally physics based discipline, but more in the Newtonian aspect of physics. I visit many sites with differing opinions. I suggested Postma tone down his rhetoric, but it his his site, and he is free to do as he pleases. I found his site recently after a WUWT post on the R Wood experiment.

          Postma is obviously passionate about his beliefs. To his credit he conducted a reproducible experiment that he suggests others perform, that he claims disproves the GHE. This casual demonstration by Spencer proves nothing. I am tired of all the “thought” experiments. If Spencer is serious about proving the GHE, then he needs to set out a rational scientifically reproducible experiment in conformance with the scientific method, and publish the results. Same for Postma. I am tired of all this BS. Something seems to be wrong with the GHE hypothesis since we have had no warming for a decade and a half.

          Personally, I do not think our scientific knowledge at this point is able to adequately confirm or deny the hypothesis of the GHE. The non-linear chaotic nature of the earths’ climate system is not even remotely understood, in contrast to the IPCC, “the science is settled” position.

          • tonyM says:

            I have asked you for your definition of “ad hominem.”

            What you have done is embark on a tirade that has no definition and is not correct.
            You state “Calling anyone who has visited the Postma site the ad hominem term “trolls””

            You misinterpret and misrepresent what I said. Go back to my first sentence and re-read it. It is not all embracing as you suggest. I don’t consider someone a “troll” simply because he visits Postma or even makes comment there. That is what sites are designed to do for all people.

            It becomes pointless talking with you if you don’t define what you mean by “ad hominem” or continue to misrepresent what I say. You may as well write for me under those conditions. You seem to have personalised it beyond comprehension.

            It takes more than your interpretation to put an equally absurd label on me. If I am critical it does not mean I am engaging in “ad hominems.” Read the definition. Let us see yours in conformity with standard dictionaries and not simply display your lack of vocabulary.

            I also suggest that you not confuse Dr Spencer’s position with the IPCC. They are chalk and cheese. I don’t wish to speak for Dr Spencer but I share his views and question even the direct, theoretical CO2 forcing extent and dismiss the supposed H2O positive feedback (which is basically 2/3rds of the alarmist T increase in Hansen et al and IPCC).

            Dr Spencer is the person who has put forward empirical evidence to suggest there is no net feedback from H2O; he thus wipes out at least 2/3rds of the IPCC T alarmist increase.

            Being passionate about a subject is a poor excuse for calling people “liars” or misrepresenting what they say or embarking on the argumentum ad hominem so readily adopted by Postma and some of his acolytes.

            When Postma can show papers published in recognised, peer reviewed literature then it would indeed be a positive and might put him on the same level as Dr Spencer. Thus far all I see is posturing, vitriole and diatribe on his part. Have a look at how he had to be squeezed into a corner and then begrudgingly – and momentarily – accept that “slower cooling” and “ even some T increase” did not breach physics.

            You seem to be confusing the GHE hypothesis with the standard IPCC type forecasts and mechanisms. Your last sentence is most apt and probably reflects the majority of views on this site including I suggest Dr Spencer’s view.

        • Kristian says:

          The point is, tonyM, you’re not registering and therefore not addressing what the opposition is actually trying to point to in their criticism. You clearly think you are. But you’re not. You’re just trustingly perpetuating the dogma, pre-convinced their shots are wide of the mark.

          Well, I shouldn’t say ‘their’ but rather ‘our’. Because I guess in your world I would fall into the category you ‘suggest are trolls acting as proxies or acolytes for Postma’.

          But listen, why don’t you take up the gauntlet that Spencer himself seemingly doesn’t want to touch, and explain to us all exactly how the atmosphere is ‘slowing down the radiative cooling’ of a (for all intents and purposes) constantly heated surface and thus causing it indirectly to warm beyond what the raw heat input from the Sun could manage on its own? How does the atmosphere radiatively accomplish this feat without actually adding to the heat GAIN of the surface?

          • tonyM says:

            As for your claim (indirectly) to be able to read my mind then I suggest you show me your credentials. Whilst you are at it kindly define what my dogma is; you seem to believe that you know as you state that I follow such a dogma in addressing whatever you think I am addressing. As a mind reader you should also be able to tell me what I am addressing.

            Be precise now and don’t stuff around.

            Strange is it not that I have stated exactly what I was addressing – very specifically. It does not mean I have addressed everything that Postma may say nor was it ever my intent. Nor does it mean I disagree in all things. But you can tell me as you claim to know my mind.

            Kristian, I’m not here to address your concerns and your issues at your behest. I will choose what I address without reference to you.

            If you define yourself as a troll then I guess you are. I did not have you in mind when I wrote but if that is your modus operandi then so be it. I find it somewhat unconscionable that people come here to troll and report back sniggering at commentators and site owners.

            At a stretch I might accept sniggering but when the comments include the words like “liar” I’m afraid I lose patience. But I guess Postma thinks he can read minds as well as you do so it gives him the freedom to bandy such terms around.

            Doug Cotton was here extolling his ideas; if he had a view he was open about it and not behaving in some clandestine capacity. He may have used this site to foster his own or PSI site but I certainly would not accuse him of being a troll. There is a difference.

          • Kristian says:

            A non-answer if ever I saw one.

            I addressed specifically ‘the dogma’ in my comment to you. I suggest you read it again.

            The dogma you unquestioningly promote is this: ‘The atmosphere is not radiatively warming the surface directly but rather by ‘reducing its radiative heat loss’.’

            The problem is, this is what the dogma says, but what you actually do to accomplish the warming is the exact opposite. You simply hide what you really do (breaking the 2nd law) behind carefully chosen words.

            This is what we want to get to.

            So would you care to expound the claim above? I repeat my query from my last post: “Exactly how is the atmosphere ‘slowing down the radiative cooling’ of a (for all intents and purposes) constantly heated surface and thus causing it indirectly to warm beyond what the raw heat input from the Sun could manage on its own? How does the atmosphere radiatively accomplish this feat without actually adding to the heat GAIN of the surface?”

          • It does add to the “heat gain” at the surface. But, as I have been saying ad nauseum, you can increase temperature by either increasing energy flux in, of decreasing energy flux out. Either one increases net energy gain. This is all semantics…how one chooses to explain in words the terms in the energy budget equation. No matter how you choose to phrase it, the equation terms remain the same.

          • tonyM says:

            Kristian:

            You do not respect other people’s time.

            I have not read all of what you say but it is clear you are not reading what we have already said.

            I know that Dr Spencer has addressed it earlier (Mario’s comments) and now here.

            I have addressed it in Postma’s site. Go there. Do you think Postma would have conceded this point if I could not substantiate it with physics – if it was wishy washy or just pseudo physics. Please do your homework.

            In a nutshell Dr Spencer has given you the formula for net radiation of two opposing fluxes being directly related to the T^4 difference. If there was no CO2 the difference would be much, much greater as radiation would be going direct to space at 3 deg K for the relevant wavelengths.

            Hence the surface must radiate less with CO2 added to the atmosphere because it is at a much higher T. Gosh even Doug Cotton, who is a member of PSI, accepts that is the case. There is no breach of the 2nd L of T. In fact the SB law would be breached if it radiated the same amount.

            Call this the GHG effect or whatever one wants but that is the physics of it.

            What is it that you don’t understand there?

          • tonyM says:

            Erratum:

            Sorry I meant the answer given on Massimo PORZIO’s comments.

          • Kristian says:

            Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says, May 9, 2013 at 5:19 AM:

            “It does add to the “heat gain” at the surface.”

            Thanks for the clarification.

            “But, as I have been saying ad nauseum, you can increase temperature by either increasing energy flux in, of decreasing energy flux out. Either one increases net energy gain.”

            No, when only radiative heat transfer is available, like in a vacuum, you can only increase the temperature of a constantly heated surface by increasing its HEAT INPUT. Its heat output cannot decrease (or be decreased) radiatively as long as the heat input remains the same. There is no ‘cooling rate’. The surface temperature remains as constant as the heat input. And so does its heat output, a direct function of this temperature, in turn a direct function of the heat input. The heat output doesn’t control anything. It is itself controlled.

            “This is all semantics…how one chooses to explain in words the terms in the energy budget equation. No matter how you choose to phrase it, the equation terms remain the same.”

            No, the words obfuscate what you’re actually doing. You’re breaking the 2nd law, but the words make it seem like you don’t. You claim the atmosphere simply ‘radiatively reduces the heat LOSS of the surface’ (not a violation, but impossible) when what you’re actually doing is letting it enhance its heat GAIN (a violation so obvious that words are needed to obscure it).

            But now it seems you’ve come clean … So it DOES add to its heat gain?

            Roy, you cannot just lump the (inferred) downward radiative flux of 324 W/m^2 from the atmosphere and the absorbed solar flux of 168 W/m^2 together as if they were two sides of the same coin. The latter one is a HEAT FLUX. It transfers HEAT to the surface. HEAT to warm it. The former one is no such thing!

            This is not about semantics. It’s about turning the atmosphere (the heated ‘object’) into a second (extra) and independent source of heat for the surface (the ‘object’ providing the heated ‘object’ with its heat in the first place) and expecting to get away with it by invoking the ‘reduced cooling’ rationale.

          • Kristian says:

            tonyM says, May 9, 2013 at 7:25 AM:

            “What is it that you don’t understand there?”

            I understand this much: You simply do not want to (or cannot) explain how the atmosphere is supposed to ‘reduce the radiative heat LOSS of the surface’ without actually adding to its heat GAIN.

            This is the central question here that needs to be answered. For this is the ever unsubstantiated claim you all keep throwing at us as if it resolved eveything and anything.

            Spencer just admitted that you actually DO think that the atmosphere is adding to the radiative heat gain of the surface.

            How is this NOT a flagrant breach of the 2nd law?!

          • tonyM says:

            Kristian:
            You seem bent on trying one’s patience. You have been directed to the SB equation a number of times now. If you had read it then it could not be clearer yet you persist with semantic treatment of terms.

            Now I am going to post here the physics explanation as outlined with Postma. You can have no excuse if you read it. If there is any part you don’t understand or agree with then ok point it out.

            Given the SB relationship of energy transfer between two radiating bodies as being proportional to the difference of T^4, I would suggest that extra CO2 will have an effect on the rate of surface radiation and slow the rate of cooling.

            If we focus only on CO2, then clearly we would not be discussing this if there was only 1 molecule, or 1 in a trillion or even 1 in a billion in the atmosphere. But as the concentration increases there will be an effect due to direct interaction with CO2.

            There will be an increasing proportion of radiation from the surface interacting directly with lower and lower levels of the atmosphere (hence higher T from the LR) as the concentration of CO2 increases.

            This has the effect of reducing the T differential for an increasing proportion of radiation from the surface ( i.e. the 3K from outer space being replaced by more at some atmospheric higher T)

            So this increasing proportion will transfer at smaller and smaller T differential and will result in a smaller amount of radiation transferring from the surface.

            Some people might interpret this as a result of back radiation. In effect they represent two interacting opposing fluxes basically.

            I suggest that this together with other routes I have written about would result in a reduction in the rate of cooling of the surface. There may even be a slight increase in Tmax if not as much heat is being transferred via radiation. There is no breach of any physical law here.

          • Kristian says:

            I think we’re done here. You absolutely insist on not getting what I’m telling you or what I ask you to explain. Once again you just restate the dogma: ‘It reduces the cooling rate.’ Yes, BUT HOW?!!!!! It does not restrict the OUTGOING flux. So instead it must ADD to the radiative surface HEAT GAIN! Spencer has now admitted to this, that this is what he actually means when he says ‘reduced cooling’. Is this also your opinion, tonyM? Does the cooler atmosphere ADD HEAT to the warmer surface? Yes or no?

      • tonyM says:

        Kristian :
        You really do try one’s patience.
        A “cooler” atmosphere can never add heat to a warmer earth surface by radiation and increase its T (save by mechanisms such as latent heat release etc).

        Do you see anywhere in my physics description such a possibility? Never!!

        So why do you even ask such a question if you genuinely read my comment?

        Dr Spencer would agree with my statement.

        You are grasping at comments of relative warmth, cooling, heating etc and using semantics to twist the meaning to suit your purposes.

        But I will leave open the possibility that you have a question that genuinely puzzles you. I really can’t see how it does not fit the model description I have given you if we are only talking transfers via radiation.

        Your statement that the outgoing TOA flux is not reduced is meaningless in this context as the earth surface emits very little directly to space. You have not included all mechanisms which contribute to TOA outgoing flux equilibrium. Any suppression of surface radiation will then trigger faster conduction, evaporation, convection routes so that TOA achieves balance.

        It may mean higher avg earth T for a longer period at night to achieve that. Again watch the semantics – that T is a relative higher T and not some surface warmed from the sky.

        I should do a Doug Cotton on you; go and read his work as he does actually describe this.

        • Kristian says:

          “Your statement that the outgoing TOA flux is not reduced is meaningless in this context as the earth surface emits very little directly to space. You have not included all mechanisms which contribute to TOA outgoing flux equilibrium. Any suppression of surface radiation will then trigger faster conduction, evaporation, convection routes so that TOA achieves balance.”

          Gee, tonyM, who ever said ANYTHING about any TOA flux?! This discussion was ALWAYS about the surface, wasn’t it? Well, it’s quite obvious now what you’re up to. You’re deliberately playing for time by constant use of misdirection and diversion, doing nothing but scurrying around the real issue looking for a way to get out on top without having to respond directly to what I’m actually asking you to explain.

          A “cooler” atmosphere can never add heat to a warmer earth surface by radiation and increase its T (save by mechanisms such as latent heat release etc).

          Do you see anywhere in my physics description such a possibility? Never!!

          So why do you even ask such a question if you genuinely read my comment?” (My bold.)

          This is EXACTLY what I’m getting at. You don’t SAY it. At least never in so many words. In fact, here you plainly agree with me that the very proposition of such an effect would be absurd. Good. So you CLAIM that’s not how the ‘reduced cooling’ works. But it is still how the ‘extra’ surface warming in your scenario is brought about. That IS the mechanism for ‘extra’ surface warming. There is no way around it.

          The Sun doesn’t do it. It provides the same flux as ever. And this flux is upon absorption also emitted as freely from the surface as always. There is no ‘back radiation’ restriction to or blocking of the radiative outgoing (SURFACE) flux as a result of the heating from the Sun. No change there. The only ‘change’ is the presence of the atmosphere. And what does the atmosphere in your scenario do? It provides an ‘extra’ downward flux to the surface (324 W/m^2). It comes in addition to the 168 W/m^2 HEAT FLUX from the Sun.

          Are you telling me that these 324 W/m^2 down from the atmosphere are NOT in your scenario ADDING HEAT to the surface, making it warmer than what the Sun could achieve by itself? If not, where is the extra heat coming from raising the surface temperature (by 33K?).

          “You are grasping at comments of relative warmth, cooling, heating etc and using semantics to twist the meaning to suit your purposes.”

          It’s not about semantics, tonyM. HEAT is HEAT. It’s about your utter sophistry. When Tsfc ends up higher with an atmosphere than without, how is this accomplished in your scenario? Is more coming in from the Sun? No. Is less of the heat received from the Sun released back out from the surface? No. What’s different in your scenario? Only the flux down from the atmosphere. If the warming is ‘relative’ or ‘absolute’, that is pure semantics. What entity is doing the ‘extra’ warming? THE COOLER ATMOSPHERE!

          You SAY one thing and then you DO the opposite.

          “It may mean higher avg earth T for a longer period at night to achieve that.”

          This is interesting. Because this is something I can agree with. When an object is actually cooling (heat input cut off), or heating (heat input plugged back in) then and only then it becomes ‘aware’ of its surroundings. This is when the temperature gradient actually matters.

          So, theoretically, GHGs should be able to help somewhat reducing the cooling rate at night, even though the overwhelming cause of ‘reduced cooling’ would be ground and air heat capacity (humid air higher heat capacity than dry, ocean higher heat capacity than land) and the release of latent heat. Basically the only places on Earth that this GHG effect could perhaps be singled out and be of consequence, would be in the dryest of deserts.

          The main problem with calling this theoretically viable ‘radiative GH effect’ a net warming one, though, is that it has a daytime counterpart. The atmosphere helps cooling the surface during the day. Its daytime ‘heating rate’ is reduced greatly by the presence of especially H2O in the atmosphere, both by reflecting incoming solar radiation and by absorbing it, both processes depriving the surface of potential solar heat (45% of it!). In the daytime, the surface heating rate is also greatly reduced by the thermal mass (heat capacity) of the ground, but especially of the ocean. It is also reduced by the convective heat loss fluxes.

          So if this is your ‘mechanism’ for radiative GH warming, tonyM, it won’t do you much good. In radiative terms, the presence of our atmosphere would be net cooling for sure. And the ‘mechanism’ most certainly does not and can not explain the professed 33K of radiative GHE. (This is also not how it is explained.)

          The presence of an atmosphere containing GHGs does NOT radiatively make the surface at the bottom of that atmosphere warmer. It makes it warmer by restricting convective heat loss through its mass.

          I’m probably just wasting your time again, but if you feel like it, do read this comment for an explanation of the above:
          http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/05/imaging-the-greenhouse-effect-with-a-flir-i7-thermal-imager/#comment-78351

          • tonyM says:

            Kristian:
            I requested earlier for you to point out what you did not understand or what you disagreed with in my physics model comment. Contrary to your inane comments I have absolutely no desire to prolong any discussion.

            Instead you try to find ways to twist statements made in relative terms to mean something other that what is meant in the context of the discussion. You have done this to Dr Spencer and now wish to do it here.

            Neither Dr Spencer nor I believe that a body at a lower T can possibly heat a body at a higher T ( in any spontaneous heat flow). This has been stated on numerous occasions by both of us.

            It has been an integral part of my model comment and a requisite part of the SB formula used. I did not state it explicitly because it is unnecessary for anyone with a REASONABLE ATTITUDE and INTELLIGENCE.

            You are actually complaining about the consequences which follow from the use of the formula there which must have the T difference. That is not my invention as it is the consequence that drops out of the application of standard physics in the appropriate way.

            But you can’t handle that and have to suggest there might be some surreptitious manouvering or suchlike. Incredible! If there was a breach I would not continue in that direction! Simple! Why waste my time? I don’t come at it from a belief – rather the reverse.

            If you had an issue with any of that model comment you should have addressed it directly and expeditiously in the interests of clarity and efficiency.

            I challenge you to find one instance where there is a breach of the 2nd Lof T and spell out the entropy considerations in my model.

            You can’t but are happy to hurl abuse and misrepresent what is stated. You still believe you are a mind reader. Perhaps you have missed your vocation – card reading or perhaps even clairvoyant. On the other hand you’d be lousy at it anyway- so maybe not a good idea.

            I am not responsible for Trenberth or his energy diagram so why do you ask me to comment there? Go talk with him. Stick to addressing my work and not include your assumptions in it. Otherwise you should write on my behalf. But I guess that is your way of confounding with your sophistry.

            I will concede that I have not read the rest of your comment. In fairness I will but not tonight.

          • Kristian says:

            Fine. Let’s have a look specifically at what you’re saying with your ‘model’:

            “Given the SB relationship of energy transfer between two radiating bodies as being proportional to the difference of T^4, I would suggest that extra CO2 will have an effect on the rate of surface radiation and slow the rate of cooling.”

            What ‘effect’ on what ‘rate of surface radiation’? Slow what ‘rate of cooling’? Are you talking nights only? If so, read my last comment. It will get you nowhere.

            If we on the other hand assume a dynamically ‘constant’ heat input to the surface (from the Sun), there is no ‘cooling rate’ to reduce. The ‘rate of surface radiation’ would be as constant as this heat input. The atmosphere could have no radiative ‘effect’ on this at all.

            “If we focus only on CO2, then clearly we would not be discussing this if there was only 1 molecule, or 1 in a trillion or even 1 in a billion in the atmosphere. But as the concentration increases there will be an effect due to direct interaction with CO2.”

            OK …? Let’s hear about this ‘effect’, then.

            “There will be an increasing proportion of radiation from the surface interacting directly with lower and lower levels of the atmosphere (hence higher T from the LR) as the concentration of CO2 increases.”

            I assume ‘LR’ is ‘lapse rate’. Could you explain ‘hence higher T from the LR’? Higher T of what? From where?

            “This has the effect of reducing the T differential for an increasing proportion of radiation from the surface (i.e. the 3K from outer space being replaced by more at some atmospheric higher T).”

            OK? This would simply mean that less and less of the radiative heat flux from the surface will be able to warm the troposphere – its heating rate will slow down.

            “So this increasing proportion will transfer at smaller and smaller T differential and will result in a smaller amount of radiation transferring from the surface.”

            NO!!! This is where you go awry. It will NOT ‘result in a smaller amount of radiation transferring from the surface’. The radiation transferred (emitted) from the surface is exactly what the heat input dictates it to be. If the heat input from the Sun is constant, then the radiative output from the surface will remain constant as well. It does not matter if the atmosphere above it should hypothetically start warming faster than the surface (no such thing is observed). The atmosphere is still the cold reservoir of the surface. The entire flux still goes from surface to atmosphere. But the atmosphere simply can’t warm as fast as before from it. Why? Because it also emits a larger radiative heat flux itself. This is how things work. When the surface temperature rises, the tropospheric temperatures rises and then OLR at TOA rises.

            “Some people might interpret this as a result of back radiation. In effect they represent two interacting opposing fluxes basically.”

            ‘Interacting opposing fluxes’?

            There is only one real (measurable) flux – the HEAT flux. The ‘opposing fluxes’ is purely a descriptive concept. These fluxes (and their values) are just inferred from this conceptual construct. Electromagnetic ‘signals’, like HEAT, is transferred only one way, by wavefront propagation from higher to lower potential.

            “I suggest that this together with other routes I have written about would result in a reduction in the rate of cooling of the surface. There may even be a slight increase in Tmax if not as much heat is being transferred via radiation. There is no breach of any physical law here.”

            Your ‘model’ won’t work, tonyM. There can be no radiatively enhanced warming of the surface with an atmosphere on top of it. It would rather radiatively cool it. The atmospheric warming comes from restriction of convective heat loss …

  53. It is the outside source the sun that keeps warming the surface of the earth, while allowing the surface of the earth to keep emitting IR. How much of this IR then escapes directly to space versus how much gets directed back to the surface REGULATES the temperature of the surface of the earth.

    It regulates it, which is not the same as heating it.

    If the GHG effect can cause the upper atmosphere to cool by the absorption and emissions of radiation out to space, then it stands to reason the GHG effect in the lower atmosphere( which is so much denser) can accomplish the same thing in an opposite manner.(due to the atm.density)

    I mean if the GHG effect can cause the atmosphere to cool by emitting radiation out to space, then it stands to reason the GHG effect can retard the cooling in the lower atmosphere by trapping the radiation and not allowing that RADIATION to pass directly out to space.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Ned,

      Great to see you back around. I thought you guys had disappeared off the planet, being that it has been almost a year and a half since your “paradigm-breaking” paper!

      I’m curious if you have been able, in that time, to correct some of the most basic errors in your paper and reply to comments:

      (1) Can you now demonstrate how your conjecture can possibly obey conservation of energy?

      (2) Have you understood how conservation of energy works in an open system well enough that you can now correct your critique of Arthur Smith’s results for a spinning planet, in which you forgot that the Earth is receiving energy from the sun?

      (3) Have you finally understood Holder’s Inequality and the fact that the radiative temperature one gets from applying the S-B equation and radiative balance is an upper bound on the average temperature (because it actually computes the 4th root of the average of t^4)? [Apparently you haven't, given your comments upthread.]

      (3) Have you corrected the embarrassing error where you put convection into a simple shell model of the greenhouse effect in a way that (by your own description!!) forced the atmosphere to be isothermal rather than to have a lapse rate and then you marveled at the fact that the greenhouse effect disappeared (when anybody who understood the greenhouse effect would have predicted exactly that this would happen for your unphysical assumption of an isothermal atmosphere)?

      Or, are you just continuing to argue about irrelevancies like the temperature of the moon?

  54. The two lines I bolded are what has the “slayers” in a tizzy.

    Yes, of course the upper atmosphere is going to deflect and re-radiate the energy of solar storms, that’s why we don’t burn to a cinder when they happen. There’s nothing new here, this is what the upper atmosphere (thermosphere) does. CO2 (and other greenhouse gases – GHG’s) in the lower atmosphere also re-radiates long wave infra red energy (LWIR) as backradiation coming up from the surface of the Earth as it dumps the shortwave solar energy absorbed returns as LWIR (heat) and makes its way to the top of the atmosphere.

    earths_energy_balance_589[1]

    Source: http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/weather_climate/lab_2.html

    I’m writing this for the benefit of some who may have fallen into the trap of thinking the “slayers” interpretation was NASA’s position.

    The claim by the “slayers” is the worst form of science misinterpretation I’ve seen in a long time. By itself I would have ignored it, but some of our friends in other blogs have picked up the story, and because of the NASA link, thought it was credible example as the “slayers” framed it. It isn’t, it is a twisting of the facts in a press release about solar flares and the thermosphere to make it look like the lower atmosphere works the same way. To some extent it does, but the direction of the source of LWIR energy is reversed, and CO2 and other GHG’s impede the transfer of LWIR energy to the top of the atmosphere where it is finally re-radiated into space. Without GHG’s, the lower atmosphere would be very cold. (Updated: For those who doubt this, see http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/what-if-there-was-no-greenhouse-effect/ – Anthony)

    Because the “slayers” get as irrational in comments as some of the most strident AGW activists, and because it is late and I don’t want to deal with the angry dialog from some of their members who frequent here I know will happen, but would instead prefer a good night’s sleep, I’m not going to enable comments for this post. Maybe tomorrow.

    Comments on now.

    Update: if anyone wonders why I don’t take this group seriously, and don’t cover their beliefs here,one look at the sidebar or the Principia website tells the story in one image:

    Principia_bogus

  55. Reed Coray says:

    I’m beginning to understand why Dr. Spencer gets frustrated when trying to convince people that a colder object can have an effect on the temperature of a warmer object. Having an effect on temperature is NOT equivalent to the Clausian statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “Heat cannot of itself pass from a colder to a hotter body”.

    From Sears’ and Zemansky’s text book University Physics Third Edition Part 1 page 397, For an object at temperature T (Kelvin) in an enclosure whose walls are at temperature T0 where T0 < T, the "net rate of loss or gain of energy by radiation (or the heat transferred by radiation) is

    A*e*sigma*(T^4 – To^4)"

    where A is the surface area of the object, e is the object's emissivity, and sigma is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. If energy is supplied internally to the object at rate H and the object is in energy-rate-equilibrium, then the rate of object energy loss must equal the rate energy enters the object. The "cooling" equation above implies that for a constant rate of thermal energy input and thus a constant rate of thermal energy loss, the temperature of the object will be a function of the temperature of the walls of the enclosure. Note that the rate of cooling is unaffected by the temperature of the enclosure walls–i.e., heat, or in Zemansky's words, the "net rate of loss of energy" always moves from the object to the enclosure walls. Thus, heat never moves from the colder object to the warmer object and the Clausian statement of the second law is NOT violated.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      It’s exactly the same reason because into an electronic power device datasheet, one finds the thermal resistance to the ambient. You multiply it for the dissipated power and then you add the ambient temperature so you get the final power device temperature itself.
      If the ambient temperature is raised by the power device (even if the ambient has a lower temperature, just because of its limited thermal capacity), then the final power device temperature raises too.
      Any electronic engineer knows this, it everydays life.

      Have a nice day.

      Massimo

    • Rob Shaw says:

      I think Stephan Boltzmanns Law was “discovered” 30 years after the 2nd law of thermo dynamics

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      Yes, Reed, but see this comment and my paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

      • Reed Coray says:

        Doug,

        I read your comment and scanned your paper. When I get a chance, I’ll give your paper more thought.

        In a way, I occupy both sides of the GHE fence–mostly because IMO people discussing the GHE don’t use a common definition. If we use Dr. Spencer’s second definition, to wit: “I am talking about the fact that the surface temperature of the microbolometer is being changed by IR emission from the sky. THAT IS the greenhouse effect”, then I have to agree–at least with the concepts that (a) the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can have an effect on the temperatures of the microbolometer elements, and (b) it is likely that the effect is to warm the elements. Applying these concepts to the earth’s surface, I believe (a) the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can have an effect on the earth surface temperature, and (b) it is POSSIBLE that the effect is to increase the surface temperature.

        However, even if the earth’s surface temperature is increased by the presence of atmospheric greenhouse gases, I’m uncomfortable with saying: “IR emissions from the sky warm the surface of the earth.” With a few exceptions (friction from ocean tides, radioactive decay beneath the earth’s surface, etc.), all thermal energy comes from the sun. Thus, it is the sun that warms everything. Greenhouse gases may affect the spatial distribution of surface temperature, but I don’t believe greenhouse gases warm anything.

        I like to phrase the greenhouse gas temperature effect this way: “Atmospheric greenhouse gases have the potential to affect the temperature of the earth’s surface. That effect will be location dependent; and may be either positive or negative.”

        My objection to the statement that greenhouse gases warm the surface of the earth is two-fold. First, the definition of warming is related to the time and spatial average of temperature. Although such an average can be defined, I’m not sure it has physical meaning–especially in a thermodynamic sense. Although not perfect, I would prefer a location-dependent time average. Second, “warming relative to what?” As I pointed out in a previous comment, IR from the radiator of a water cooled engine in the direction of the engine housing may warm the engine housing RELATIVE to the situation where that radiation is blocked; but the net effect of the radiator is to lower the engine housing temperature. Thus to claim that “IR radiation” from the radiator to the engine housing increases the temperature of the engine housing is at best misleading, and by my way of thinking, wrong.

        If radiation is the ONLY form of heat transfer between objects, then I believe placing an inert object in the vicinity of, but not touching, an active object such that the inert object does NOT block radiation to the active object from any other object at a temperature higher than the active object will result in an increase in the energy-rate-equilibrium temperature of the active object. However, for atmospheric greenhouse gases, radiation is NOT the only means of energy transfer from the earth’s surface. Conduction and convection are also present. When conduction and convection are present, scenarios can be constructed where the temperature of an active object is decreased by the presence of other inert objects that radiate IR in the direction of the active object–e.g., the incorporation of additional radiating surfaces to an air-cooled engine.

        Because the earth/earth-atmosphere is an extremely complex thermodynamic system, I have not formed an opinion as to whether atmospheric greenhouse gases will increase, decrease, or leave unchanged the earth surface temperature. Given the complexity of the system, I’m not sure I will ever form an opinion. My “guess” at this time is that at some locations, the time-averaged surface temperature will be decreased by atmospheric greenhouse gases; at other locations, the time-averaged surface temperature will be increased by atmospheric greenhouse gases; and at a few locations, the time-averaged surface temperature will be unaffected by atmospheric greenhouse gases.

  56. TO KRISTIAN AND ALL THE OTHERS THAT ARE WRONG READ THIS

    http:www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/what-if-there-was-no-greenhouse-effect

  57. what- if-there -was -no -greenhouse -effect by Dr.Spencer is in my post,POSTED MAY 08 at 09:28am

    For those who insist there is NO greenhouse effect, you cannot come up with an explanation that dr. spencer comes up for the processes that take place in the atmosphere that gives it, the temperature profile it has.

    You can’t account for it, you also can’t account for why the temperature of the earth is warmer then it should be given solar radiation coming in/leaving the earth.

    You have no alternative answers that make any sense, in contrast to dr. spencer’s answers that make much sense.

    The greenhouse gasses help set up the whole atmospheric temp. structure and work in the opposite manner of convection ,clouds and precip. in regards to warming/cooling the lower/upper atmospheirc levels.

    DR SPENCER’S ,paper is a must read and really goes a very long way in explaining why the atmosphere temp. profile is what it is .

    I have yet to see anything, from those who say there is no greenhouse gas effect, to come up with any viable alternative explanations.

  58. I WILL SUMMARIZE MY POSITIONS

    GHG EFFECT– YES BUT LIMITED

    GHG EFFECT CONTRIBUTES TO THE RECENT GLOBAL WARMING(1850-1998)-perhaps but limited ,but can’t contribute to further global warming under the current present conditions,going back to 2005.

    GHG EFFECT REGULATES THE TEMP OF THE EARTH AND KEEPS THE SURFACE WARMER THEN IT WOULD OTHERWISE BE – YES

    GHG EFFECT IS A SOURCE OF ENERGY TO EARTH’S CLIMATE SYSTEM—NO

    SUN PLAYS A BIGGER ROLE THEN GHG EFFECT ON EARTH’S CLIMATE- YES

    SUN WILL ALSO CONTROL THE GHG EFFECT- YES

    GHG EFFECT IS A RESPONSE TO THE SUN/ENERGY/TEMP-YES

    GHG EFFECT REGULATES THE TEMP.OF EARTH- YES BUT IS DEPENDENT UPON IT’S EFFECTIVENESS DUE TO THE SUN/ENERGY IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM AT A GIVEN POINT OF TIME.

    how much of a role the ghg effect will have will depend upon how close it is to the saturation point in absorbing the various olr emissions from earth, will depend on the olr emissions from earth itself (the mean wavelenghts), the ocean temperatures/amounts of evaporation,plant and sea life,geological activity etc etc., energy in to system(sun)/energy out of system(albedo) in other words the temp. of the planet itself.

    the less energy in the climate system of the earth the less the ghg effect will be as a regulator in keeping the temperatures higher for the surface of the earth, in contrast to if there was no ghg effect at all.

  59. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    As the author of these articles, it will be obvious that I beg to differ with Roy, who continues to uphold a general concept of there being a greenhouse effect due to back radiation. This is false physics. The rate of surface cooling is slowed more by non-radiative processes than by radiative processes, but none of this is relevant, because the surface temperature is pre-determined by the level of insolation and the lapse rate.

    I will happily answer any questions on these articles and/or my published papers linked therein.

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/177-no-roy.html

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/162-roy-spencer-s-misunderstood-misunderstanding-and-the-100-000-000-000-question.html

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/183-the-old-wives-tales-of-climatology.html

    Douglas Cotton
    Climate Science Researcher and author
    for Principia Scientific International

  60. Rod says:

    The atmosphere keeps the planet cool during the day and warm at night. Proof is to compare the temperatures at night and day on the moon.

    Infra-red radiation is transmitted by all bodies, but the question I’m struggling to answer is what happens when infra-red radiation from a cool body (EG a cloud) hits a warmer body (EG the ground). A Chemical Engineer told me that it is only reflected or scattered, not absorbed. For example IR energy reflected from the top(internal ceiling) of a kiln towards molten metal in the kiln is ignored when calculating the energy needed to heat the metal.

    My understanding is that the radiation emitted from a body is proportional to the emitting body’s temperature(K) to the power of 4. A photon emitted from a warm body vibrates faster than a photon emitted from a cooler body.

    So what happens when a photon from a cool body such as a cloud hits a molecule belonging to a warmer body, say the ground? Is it like a slow snooker ball colliding with a faster snooker ball where the slower ball gets sped up and the faster ball slowed down, or does the lower energy photon somehow get absorbed by the molecule and the photon excited to a higher level?

    If so where does the energy come from to do that: it must be from the molecule, so cooling it, not warming it. Energy can’t get created, so the snooker ball analogy seems most logical, which suggests that down-welling IR gets scattered or reflected unless it hits a colder body.

    So surface temperatures are pretty much unaffected by the amount of IR back-radiation pinging backwards and forwards in it? After all, the top of Everest has a lot of SW and LW energy hitting it but it’s air temperature is pretty cold!

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      Yes, Rod, what the engineer told you about it being scattered is correct. In my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published in March last year I called it “Resonant Scattering” but physicists are now using the term “Pseudo scattering” because it only looks like scattering. In fact, the incident radiation supplies electromagnetic energy for an equivalent amount of the radiation which the surface appears to be emitting, and so identical frequencies and intensities are immediately re-emitted, thus looking as if the incident radiation had been scattered or undergone diffuse reflection.

      Its energy is not and cannot be converted to thermal energy in the target, and so it cannot affect non-radiative cooling rates which transfer about two-thirds of all the thermal energy which passes from the surface to the atmosphere. It can only slow radiative surface cooling.

      But see my comment on the other thread which is linked above.

    • Tim Folkerts says:

      Rod asks: “So what happens when a photon from a cool body such as a cloud hits a molecule belonging to a warmer body, say the ground?”

      Let me turn this question around slightly. What happens when a 10 um IR photon hits a molecule in some 280 K ground?

      Remember — that 10 um photons might have come from a 260 K cloud, or from some 280 K air, or from a 310 K person walking past, or from a 400 K car engine driving over that patch of ground.

      Remember also — all 10 um photons are identical. They have no tag on them that says “I came from a 260 K object.”

      What possible rule can you give that differentiates among identical IR photons? How can the ground molecule “know” whether to absorb one 10 um photons, but “pseudoscatter” some other 10 um photon?

      **********************************

      To go even further, a droplet of water might have a temperature of 260 K, but this only tells us about the average thermal energy of the water molecules. Some 260 K molecules of water will have MORE thermal energy than some of the 280 K molecules in the ground.

      Would that mean that a 10 um IR photon from SOME of the molecules in the water would get absorbed by SOME of the ground molecules?

      • Rod says:

        Don’t get that – doesn’t make sense.

        Warm bodies emit higher energy photons than cooler bodies. There is no differentiation other than “is this photon at a higher or lower energy state that the particle it’s hitting?”. The wavelength or frequency is determined by the temperature or kinetic energy of the emitting body.

        The snooker ball analogy still seems most accurate and I do tend to agree with Douglas. As an Engineer I just don’t see how a low energy particle can pass on energy to a higher energy particle. So I still do not understand how IR back radiation (which of course does exist) can warm a warmer body.

        • Curt says:

          Rod: The snooker ball analogy is a lousy one because it in no way reflects how we know electromagnetic radiation to work. Objects emit electromagnetic radiation over a whole spectrum of frequencies/wavelengths. For over a hundred years now we have known that the radiation is emitted in discrete quanta that we call photons. Each photon carries with it an energy e=h*v where e is the energy, v (actually the lower-case Greek letter nu) is the frequency, and h is Planck’s constant.

          As Tim stated above, a photon carries no information about its source, such as its temperature. The only distinguishing feature of a particular photon is its frequency/energy level. So the receiving object of the photon has no way of knowing what the temperature of the emitting object was. It might have been one of the more energetic photons from a cooler object, or one of the less energetic photons from a warmer object.

          The question “is this photon at a higher or lower energy state than the particle it’s hitting?” is not a meaningful one. You are not comparing one photon to another here. An absorbed photon can increase the kinetic energy of a molecule (vibrational, rotational, or translational), it can cause electrons to jump to higher energy levels, or through several other avenues increase the energy of the absorbing body.

          A warmer object will emit more photons at all frequencies than a comparable cooler object, and particularly more at higher frequencies, which means higher energy levels. If these two objects are emitting toward each other, the warmer object will always transfer more energy through these photons to the cooler object than the cooler object does to the warmer object, but there is transfer in both directions.

          When people talk about radiation from a cooler body “warming” a warmer body, it is meant in the sense that the warmer body will have a higher temperature in the presence of the cooler body than if the warmer body were simply radiating to the (virtually) absolute zero of deep space.

          • Douglas J. Cotton says:

            Yes, Curt, but you are effectively talking about perfect blackbodies each in space. There is not necessarily always a greater transfer of thermal energy (that is, a greater heat transfer) from the warmer body by way of radiation. If that warmer body is the Earth’s surface, then it is non-radiative processes which transfer about two thirds of the thermal energy that passes from the surface to the atmosphere. Hence there simply is not enough thermal energy left for there to be more energy transferred by radiation to the atmosphere than was initially transferred by radiation from the atmosphere, if indeed it ever was.

            The fact of the matter is that it never was, and radiation must always be considered as an independent one way process between two small regions, which must obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics in every such independent process – not in some “net” combination of two or more processes which are not dependent upon each other.

            The thermal energy that is transferred only passes one way from the warmer body to the colder one, and can be calculated from the area between the respective Planck curves, as is well known in physics and engineering. That radiation which is common to each (corresponding to that under the Planck curve for the cooler body) merely resonates, supplying electromagnetic energy each way, but not having that energy converted to thermal energy in the target. You can read more in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second law of Thermodynamics” and I am happy to answer questions thereon from those who have read the paper.

          • Curt says:

            Doug, I have read your paper, and my only real question is “What were you smoking?” It is one of the most ridiculous things I have read in a long time.

            You spend a lot of time in it on the classic parallel radiating plates problem inventing a completely new (and completely unsupported) mechanism to get to the exact same result as the standard mechanism. You offer no reason why the standard explanation – that absorption and emission are functions of temperature and emissivity alone, so the plates are continually transferring energy through radiation to each other. The warmer one will transfer more energy through radiation to the cooler one than vice versa, but as long as the cooler one is above absolute zero, it will transfer energy to the warmer one.

            This is the standard interpretation, and you acknowledge that the result predicted by this interpretation is correct, that the net power transfer can be calculated as the area between the Planck curves for the two bodies.

            But for some reason you do not make clear, you decide that this interpretation that makes correct predictions cannot be correct in and of itself, and you invent a new paradigm that would require ridiculous underlying complexity that you cannot explain how it would work.

            This wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t then switch gears and throw all of this out the window when it comes to the earth and the atmosphere. The key issue is how you reconcile the average of about 240 W/m2 of solar radiation absorbed by the earth’s surface and the 390 W/m2 emitted by the earth’s surface. (These are both from empirical measurements. You may quibble with the particular values by a few W/m2, but you cannot come close to closing the gap necessary to keep the earth’s surface temperatures roughly stable.)

            The standard explanation is that the radiatively active (aka greenhouse) gases in the atmosphere radiate back to the earth’s surface about 150 W/m2. The difference between the Planck curves in these wavelengths yields 390 – 150 = 240 W/m2 in these far infrared wavelengths.

            Now you don’t think that the radiation from the (usually mostly) cooler atmosphere can actually be absorbed by the earth’s surface. But your proposed mechanism that you spent a great deal of time explaining when talking about the steel plates — that this somehow cancels out a part of the the outgoing radiation in transit, leads to the exact same result. There is less net outgoing radiation than there would be if these radiatively active gases were not present, so the earth’s surface is at a higher temperature than it would be without the presence of these radiatively active gases.

        • Tim Folkerts says:

          “Warm bodies emit higher energy photons than cooler bodies.
          No, objects emit a whole range of wavelengths and energies. A 10 um photon can come from warm or cool or hot objects. It is certainly true that warmer objects emit more photons with a higher average energy, but you cannot tell from the photon itself what temperature object emitted it.

          The key point is that the object absorbing the photons has no way to know the temperature of the object that emitted the photon.

          • Douglas J. Cotton says:

            Yes it does, Tim, by the proportion of its radiation distribution which resonates with that of the cooler body’s radiation distribution which, as per the Planck function, is always fully contained within the area under the Planck curve for the warmer body.

            See this comment below and my paper linked therein. Please don’t reply until you understand what I have written therein, even if you choose not to believe it. At least you may grasp something of the complexity of the process and the complexity of atmospheric physics, which is not just about whether or not back radiation warms the surface, as Roy seems to think.

            I will respond to valid physics, not any more hand-waving comments about the knowledge of photons. Explain the microwave oven puzzle below!

          • Douglas J. Cotton says:
            May 9, 2013 at 12:33 AM
            Yes it does, Tim, by the proportion of its radiation distribution which resonates with that of the cooler body’s radiation distribution which, as per the Planck function, is always fully contained within the area under the Planck curve for the warmer body.

            ————–
            This is just totally confusing.
            I have been suggesting you answer my hot warm cool body problem – but of course you cannot.

            All 3 bodies emit BB radiation.
            All 3 bodies emit IR between 2um and 50um
            All 3 bodies are BB
            All 3 bodies are the same size
            In space all 3 bodies are space equidistant
            Space is at 0K

            In the space between bodies photonjs of IR (2-50um) with an energy of x joules each (It cannot be different to x joules each photon)
            The bodies each intercept the same proportion of emitted quanta from the others

            Some (most)of these quata will have originated on hot body and some ((least) on cold body. Each photon has the same wavelength each quantum is the the same for each photon wavelength.

            In this cloud of exactly the same photons how does the warm body know to reject some and accept other quanta (depending according to you on its source temperature)

            In this cloud of photons there is no memory of the BB curve they originated from. Thgere will of course be short wavelength photons from the hot body, but these are no longer paired with the IR photons. The IR photons are just that – photons.

          • Bryan says:

            Tim Folkers is absolutely correct.

            As Joseph Postma often says Photons are members of a class of particles known as Bosons.
            This means that one 10um photon is identical in all respects to another 10um photon.

            Instead of giving a rational reply to Tim you go off on a tangent with reference to a microwave machine.
            The microwave oven I am sure you know very little about.
            There is no polite way to put this so I will be blunt.
            Douglas you should get a physics text book at about first year university level.
            Read it carefully and make notes.
            Answer all the problems at the end of each chapter.
            Then come back at take part in a rational exchange of views.
            At the moment your contribution is laughable.

  61. SkepticGoneWild says:

    This demonstration by Spencer is simply that. A demonstration. It was not a scientific experiment by any stretch of the imagination. This demonstration simply does not meet the basic tenets of the scientific method; it has no valid scientific meaning. Simply pointless in terms of science.

  62. jae says:

    Interesting that Roy seems to be totally ignoring all the real voices “on the other side,” specifically the “slayers.” Why? Because Roy can’t answer their comments? Because Roy is mad at them or tired of them? Because Roy feels so far superior to them that they don’t deserve an answer? I would really like to know, Roy!

    Roy, I’m sorry, but if the AGW theory was correct, then we should be seeing some effects of OCO over the last 15-17 years, no? The GHE theory is junk science.

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      Yes indeed, Jae.

      Roy and Rod may wish to consider another simple experiment. Buy a cheap microwave bowl with a lid, or two identical open bowls, turning one upside-down to make a lid. Place in the Sun and observe that the plastic is warmed by the Sun and is not transparent to Solar radiation. Now put cool water in the bottom of the bowl and place in a microwave oven and operate the oven for, say, 60 seconds. Observe that the low frequency radiation appears to have passed through the plastic without warming it, but warming the water. In fact the radiation “passes through” by being “pseudo scattered” in a random walk pattern, with some eventually coming out of each surface. Obviously the plastic is not transparent in the usual sense of the word. Radio waves travel around the world in a similar way without being absorbed by the surface or clouds.

      This demonstrates what happens when the low frequency, low energy back radiation from a cold atmosphere strikes a warmer surface.

      It also demonstrates the wave nature of radiation and a simple resonance whereby whole molecules flip through 180 degrees each time with each passing “half” wave of radiation, getting hot by a type of frictional process, not the atomic absorption process that heated the plastic in the Sun. Nothing is heated in a microwave oven except via this process of whole molecules (usually in water) resonating with the radiation.

      So how do those photons “know” not to be absorbed by atomic absorption, Rod? They “know” because the Second Law of Thermodynamics requires them to “know” and you can read about all this in the paper I wrote over a year ago “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” together with the cited references.

      Douglas Cotton, B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin.
      Climate Science Researcher and author
      for Principia Scientific International

    • Curt says:

      jae – If a cop stops you for speeding on the freeway, it is one thing to question the reading of his radar gun, particularly if you were watching your speedometer carefully and had had it calibrated recently. It is a whole different thing to say you weren’t moving at all…

  63. Dr. Spencer has PROVEN beyond a shadow of a doubt that the GHG effect exist. He has shown this through experimentation, through explaining how such an effect can account for the temperature profile of the atmosphere, through observational data with instrumentation.

    I don’t know what more he could do to show this GHG effect is real.

    Those of you that don’t accept the GHG effect can’t show through experimentation, can’t account for the temp. profile of the atmosphere and can’t use instrumentation to show the GHG effect does not exist.

    THE QUESTION IS HOW MUCH OF AN EFFECT AND HOW LIMITED IS IT.

  64. LET ME SAY THIS.

    Those of you who don’t want to acknowledge a GHG effect does not exist at all are hurting the cause for those of us who think global cooling is now taken place (like myself) and that the GHG effect from this point in time going forward will have little if no effect in stopping this temp. trend(drop) from taking place.

    DR. SPENCER STATES SO CORRECTLY THE FOLLOWING: THE CLIMATE OF THE EARTH IS PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED BY TWO COMPETING PROCESSES: THE GREENHOUSE GAS EFFECT WHICH ACTS TO WARM THE LOWER ATMOSPHERE AND COOL THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE,AND ATMOSPHERIC CONVECTION (THERMALS,CLOUDS,PRECIPITATION) WHICH DOES JUST THE OPPOSITE:COOLS THE LOWER ATMOSPHERE AND WARMS THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE.

    Below are some more of my thoughts

    COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE ,has to determine the temp. profile of the atmosphere.

    Two great examples are so2 and ozone, both which act to alter the energy balance in the atm. at the levels they are at to give the atmosphere a different temp. profile then it would have otherwise if they were not present.

    I can’t believe that a substance such as water vapor ,let’s forget the other greenhouse gases, does not play a very similar role.

    • Greg House says:

      The “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC (warming by back radiation) can not exist, because this notion is physically absurd and impossible, see my first explanation on this thread.

      “Global warming” is another fiction, because it can not be scientifically derived from the data available.

      It might be cooling or warming or unchanged, we do not know. The same goes for the climate in the past.

      There are some obstacles the “climate science” can not overcome. In the first place, they can not prove that the temperature sample they refer to is representative for the whole world. Therefore they do not know anything about so called “global temperature”, either in the present or in the past.

  65. What I am saying and I think what Dr. Spencer is saying is back radiation does not cause warming per say, it just RETARDS the cooling.

    • Greg House says:

      Right, I have already addressed this in my first explanation.

      The notion of “retarding cooling by back radiation” is equally absurd, because the alleged underlying mechanism is physically absurd and impossible.

  66. GREG, Temperatures , will be going down this decade in response to the prolong solar minimum which started in year 2005 in earnest.

    This will end the stupidity of what the IPCC has put forth in regards to GHG effects the way they propose it ,in my opinion once and for all.

  67. Tim Folkerts says:

    Greg, no matter now many times you repeat your mantra “this notion is physically absurd and impossible”, you do not make your point any more strongly. Lots of ideas in science seem absurd, but are indeed quite true. What specifically do you find absurd?

    Do you think it is absurd that 10 um photons are absorbed equally by a surface, independent of the temperature of the object that might have created them?

    Do you think absurd that there exist convergent infinite series, so that “mutual endless warming without any additional input of energy” might only lead to a small finite amount of warming, rather than infinite warming?

    Do you think it is absurd that insulation can “slow the cooling” of a house, making the interior warmer while keeping the furnace power constant?

    • Greg House says:

      Tim Folkerts says (May 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM): “Greg, … What specifically do you find absurd?”
      =============================================

      i made it clear, what and why, in my first explanation on this thread.

      • Curt says:

        Greg – Your first post to this thread contained a whopping misconception – yours, not the standard science. Your analysis acknowledged that absorption of radiation increases the energy of the absorbing body, but failed to acknowledge that emission of radiation decreases the energy of the emitting body.

        And then you blamed the scientific paradigm, not your own mistaken analytical framework. It is as if you acknowledged the paycheck deposits to your bank account but not any of the checks you wrote on that account, then wondered why your analysis showed that your account balance was growing at a rapid clip, then blamed standard accounting principles for the discrepancy between your analysis and reality.

        When you hear a radio station brag about its 50,000 watts of power, they are talking about the electrical power they pump into their transmission antennas to put out their signal by radiation. It takes energy from the emitter to radiate.

        • Greg House says:

          Curt says (May 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM): “Greg – Your first post to this thread contained a whopping misconception – yours, not the standard science. Your analysis acknowledged that absorption of radiation increases the energy of the absorbing body, but failed to acknowledge that emission of radiation decreases the energy of the emitting body.”
          ==================================================

          You have just apparently lied 3 times in one single sentence.

          I did not use the word “energy” meaning “energy of the absorbing body”. Nor did I use the expression “increases the energy”. Nor did I acknowledge “that absorption of radiation increases the energy of the absorbing body”. It was all about temperatures rising mutually and endlessly without additional input of energy to the system, as a logical result of the so called “greenhouse effect” as presented by the IPCC. Such a result of this “effect” is physically absurd and impossible, so is therefore this “effect”.

          It is a complete crap what you have been doing.

          Nevertheless thank you for the unintended indirect confirmation that I am on the right way with you guys.

          • Curt says:

            Wow. Just. Wow.

            Your confusion is at a much more basic and profound level than I could have imagined. I gave you too much credit.

            I assumed you realized that for the temperature of a body to increase, its internal energy must increase, and that energy must come from somewhere. But when I concluded from your scenario about the temperature of a body increasing, I assumed you realized that this must mean that the body was “absorbing” energy. But you say I was completely wrong in this assumption.

            To return to my bank account analogy, I had assumed you were tracking credits properly but not debits. Now I realize you believe (metaphorically) the value in an account can increase without any inputs whatsoever.

            To reiterate, the standard account of radiative energy exchange on which basic “greenhouse gas” theory is based does not imply what you say it does. Objects emitting radiation are losing energy in the process of emitting. Without compensating energy inputs, these would cool down (their temperature would get lower). Objects absorbing radiation are gaining energy in the process of absorbing. With out compensating energy losses, these would heat up (their temperature would get higher). In the simple case of two objects at the same temperature radiating toward each other, the gains and losses of each object match, so the internal energy of each stays constant and their temperature stays constant.

            This analysis in no way implies that these temperatures can increase without external energy inputs. In the case of the atmospheric greenhouse effect, the sun is an external source of energy. The earth/atmosphere system is not an isolated system.

  68. O Dahlsveen says:

    What is the ingredient in this “Greenhouse effect soup” that prevent GH gases from absorbing IR radiation from other GH gases?

    If “back-radiation” from every CO2 molecule in the Atmosphere to the various molecules in the Earth’s surface causes that said surface to heat up, then why do GH gases (CO2 molecules) not keep on getting warmer as they ascend towards space? – After all CO2 molecules must be able to absorb IR radiation from other CO2 molecules – as well as from the Earth’s surface?

    Just curious, that’s all

    • Curt says:

      O – What you (and so many other commenters on this site) are missing is that an entity that emits a photon loses an amount of energy equivalent to the energy carried by the photon (e=h*v). In the realm we are discussing here, this usually results in a lower kinetic energy of the molecule emitting the photon, which on a macro scale would tend to lead to cooling (if not counteracted by energy intputs).

      People in this thread have been focusing on the energy gain from absorption of a photon, but have ignored the energy loss from emission of a photon. Little wonder they cannot make their energy balances work!

    • An IR absorber is also an IR emitter. IR emission increases rapidly with the temperature of the absorber/emitter….absorption is much less dependent upon temperature.

  69. TonyB says:

    Kristian:

    “Once again you just restate the dogma: ‘It reduces the cooling rate.’ Yes, BUT HOW?!!!!! It does not restrict the OUTGOING flux. So instead it must ADD to the radiative surface HEAT GAIN! Spencer has now admitted to this, that this is what he actually means when he says ‘reduced cooling’. Is this also your opinion, tonyM? Does the cooler atmosphere ADD HEAT to the warmer surface? Yes or no?”

    I’ll jump in here….

    GHG’s reduce the cooling rate by being absorbant/emittant at IR wavelengths. GHG’s do RESTRICT the path of photons to space. Why is that difficult to comprehend?

    Of course the cooler surface does not ADD heat to the warmer. That is WHERE the excess heat came from in the first place – it is merely being returned again TEMPORARILY before eventually escaping to space. Why is that so difficult to comprehend?

    It is a HOLD-UP in the energy flux twixt Sun-Earth-Space – a pseudo-insulation process. You and others continue to think in terms of an instantaneous process whereby heat comes in – creates a temperature then leaves. If you delay the leaving then an excess temp is achieved before equilibrium. Why is that so difficult to comprehend?

    Switch on a 3kw electric fire in your lounge of a winters night for, say 2 hours. Insulate your house better. Do the same again. ( ignoring conduction/convection in heat transfer as negigible ). In both instances the 3kw of heat will escape to space. But in the insulated home it will lead to a higher internal temperature after 2 hours of 3kw’s of heat. This while the heat escapes the fabric of your house more slowly. The input energy is the same BUT the radiated energy is RESTRICTED in its passage to space. Why is that so difficult to understand?

    I now include my direct experience of this…
    AND experiment/observation trumps all theory…………

    To those on here denying the existence of a GHE, a question.
    Have you ever experienced a situation in winter where the formation of freezing fog has caused the ground surface, path/road to rise above zero. It was obviously below zero before as that is how the fog formed in the first place. Then frost/ice melts whilst the freezing fog deposits rime on surfaces not subject to ground heat flux. If you have not, no matter. It happens – the GHE. Back-radiation from the ground to the fog and back to the ground. NO not heating the ground, but allowing the heat flux lower down to re-balance and giving a warmer surface temp. SLOWING radiative transfer.
    BTW: meanwhile the top of the fog layer continues to radiate to space ( in the absence of cloud/wind aloft ). radiated energy is RESTRICTED in the fog layer ( WV a GHG ) THEN proceeds to space above it. This is no myth or lies. I have seen it countless times in my career, not to mention forecast it, for instance, night-time flying operations at an RAF airfield.

    Another example of the GHE, perhaps (certainly) harder for some to believe ( lost in thread above ) is that of high Cirrus cloud ( at a temp ~ MS30C and 6 miles up ) – causing a road surface temp to rise as it spread overhead. I observed this commonly during ice monitoring. SO we have a relatively shallow layer of WV in crystal form 6 miles up BACK-RADIATING IR from the emitting surface and causing a REDUCTION IN COOLING ( not a warming – as the heat comes from that stored in the body of the ground ).
    The first example is a practical, real-world effect that can be noticed by an observant person. My example of high ice-cloud, would not be noticeable unless specifically closely monitoring RST’s and the sky. I routinely did this during one stage of my professional life as a Meteorologist with the UKMO. Again it happens. The GHE.

    The GHE slows cooling by making outgoing IR’s life harder to reach space.

    No argument disputing this can alter the facts of what I routinely saw. All in line with theory, theory that has been known about since the middle of the 19th cent. Theory that is not broken and does not therefore need mending.

    I know full well that this will not reach home – I have been there before many times on other forums … Sigh

    Happy denying folks.

    • Douglas J. Cotton says:

      The back radiation supplies electromagnetic energy for an equivalent amount of the SB “quota” of radiation which the surface is emitting. That electro-magnetic energy is immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities as in the back radiation. (That’s why physicists call the process “pseudo scattering.”) There is no energy left over to be converted to thermal energy in the surface, but the surface does not have to use its own thermal energy for all of what it is emitting. Hence its rate of cooling by radiation is reduced by an amount depending on the temperature difference. But non-radiative cooling rates are free to increase and compensate, which they will do if the temperature difference increases due to slower radiative cooling.

      • Tim Folkerts says:

        “That electro-magnetic energy is immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities as in the back radiation.”

        I would ask once again, how does the atom receiving a 10 um photon know whether that photon came from a colder atom and hence must be immediately “pseudo-scattered” back, or whether it came from a warmer atom, and hence may be absorbed?

        You still have no answer how you distinguish between identical photons. The 2nd Law does not apply to individual interactions .. only to statistical averages. For example, wikipedia says:

        Statistical mechanics postulates that, in equilibrium, each microstate that the system might be in is equally likely to occur, and when this assumption is made, it leads directly to the conclusion that the second law must hold in a statistical sense. That is, the second law will hold on average, with a statistical variation on the order of 1/√N where N is the number of particles in the system. For everyday (macroscopic) situations, the probability that the second law will be violated is practically zero. However, for systems with a small number of particles, thermodynamic parameters, including the entropy, may show significant statistical deviations from that predicted by the second law. Classical thermodynamic theory does not deal with these statistical variations.

        An individual atom in a cold block of metal can collide with and transfer energy to an atom in a warmer block of metal. This would violate the 2nd law if this happened more often that warm atoms colliding with and transferring energy to atoms in the cooler block of metal.

        An individual atom in a cold block of metal can radiate to and transfer energy to an atom in a warmer block of metal. This would violate the 2nd law if this happened more often that warm atoms radiating to and transferring energy to atoms in the cooler block of metal.

        So you can’t say “The second law forbids any such interactions” since the second law only states that on average the warm atoms will radiate more often to the cool atoms than the cool atoms will radiate to the warm atoms.

        What you seem to be referring to with “immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities” would be “reflection”. But of course, reflection doesn’t care about temperature.

        • Douglas J. Cotton says:

          I have answered you, Tim, in my paper published over a year ago on several websites – see “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.” Every objection and every point you raise is covered therein.

          The second law talks about thermodynamic equilibrium within accessible states, not about what happens in two or more unrelated processes which might even occur at different times with totally different accessible states. Don’t quote me the pages of Wikipedia that have been edited by those with an agenda to propagate the GH hoax. Back radiation cannot penetrate beneath the surface and make warmer water even warmer still, so that the extra energy may come back out by extra evaporation or conduction, or hang around in the water for six months. That’s sheer garbage, Tim, and any such process would be a violation of the Second Law. How would the extra thermal energy “remember” that it came from radiation, and so had to exit the water also by radiation?

          If you truly understood what happens with radiation you would be able to explain why plastic bowls in microwave ovens do not get heated. You would also understand that not even water in a MW oven actually absorbs the low frequency, low energy photons in the normal manner of atomic absorption.

          If you understand the physics of an atmosphere then you would be able to explain how sufficient Solar energy gets to the base of the gaseous troposphere of Uranus to maintain temperatures hotter than Earth’s surface, even though there is only 2.5W/m^2 of insolation. The process of “heat creep” in my paper explains such.

      • Curt says:

        Doug, you say: “The back radiation supplies electromagnetic energy for an equivalent amount of the SB “quota” of radiation which the surface is emitting. That electro-magnetic energy is immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities as in the back radiation. (That’s why physicists call the process “pseudo scattering.”)”

        Ah, a testable hypothesis. The standard model (let’s call it the “blind absorption/emission” model) says that this energy would be re-emitted with the frequencies of the warmer body. Your model says they would be re-emitted with the frequencies of the cooler body that is producing the back-radiation. Your model says that the re-emission would be equivalent to reflection, not absorption and subsequent re-emission.

        So let’s put it to the test in the classic parallel plates experiment. We put two plates that have been made to be as close to blackbodies as possible — matte black anodizing the surface would work pretty well — parallel to each other in a vacuum chamber. We’ll maintain one thermostatically with internal electrical resistance heat at 300 K (about room temperature). We’ll maintain the other at, say, 600K. We could monitor the electrical power required to keep each at these temperatures, but you agree with the standard model on that.

        The key is to examine the spectrum of the emissions from each plate. The standard blind emission/absorption model says that each should show the classic black body curve appropriate for their temperature. Your model says that the 600K blackbody plate should show a double-humped curve with one peak appropriate for the 600K emissions (but a little lower than if it were radiating to 0K) and another smaller peak at 300K peak frequency from the “pseudo-scattered” radiation re-emission.

        This double-peak behavior has never been reported. Unless you can provide verifiable experimental results that show this behavior, you need to withdraw your paper.

  70. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    And another “real-world effect” is that, as in the study in the Appendix of my paper, similar inland cities have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures when precipitation levels are higher. This is the complete opposite of what the GHE conjecture predicts, and the physics explaining why is also in the 20 page paper.

  71. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    So you say that water vapour (the main GHG) causes the surface and lower troposphere to be warmer. Hence, in order to maintain radiative equilibrium with the Sun, the upper troposphere would have to be cooler.

    So you imply the lapse rate would be steeper due to water vapour. Good luck confirming that in the “real world.”

    • Joel Shore says:

      Doug,

      You are making up stuff again. First of all, H2O doesn’t make the upper troposphere cooler. You’ve got the causality all backwards: The increase in H2O causes less radiation to be emitted to space than is received from the sun, which is remedied by having the entire troposphere warm.

      And, nobody but you claims that water vapor makes the lapse rate steeper. Everyone else knows that the moist adiabatic lapse rate is lower than the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

      What you have done is produce incorrect conclusions from the GHG theory and then blame those incorrect conclusions on the theory when in fact the incorrect conclusions are due to your inabilities to understand the physics (as usual).

      It is okay to be ignorant of physics but being ignorant of physics and thinking you are the next Einstein and Galileo wrapped into one is certainly an annoying combination.

      • Douglas J. Cotton says:

        Roy quite clearly says the lower troposphere gets warmer and thus the upper troposphere gets cooler due to GHG. In contrast, in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” I make it quite clear why water vapour reduces the thermal gradient, and why this then means the supported surface temperature is lower. Then I confirm that I am correct by publishing a study of temperature data for inland tropical cities which very clearly, and statistically significantly, shows that those cities with higher precipitation have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier cities.

        Water vapour oools. Have I made that abundantly clear? If you wish to try to argue about the very valid physics in my paper, then go to, but you’ll be up against someone with a lifetime of background in physics.

        • Douglas J. Cotton says:

          Water vapour cools

        • thefordprefect says:

          I have analysed hourly figures from http://www.nrel.gov/midc/srrl_bms/

          The humidity initialy (up to about 2gms/cum) causes the temperature rise slightly. Above about 3 gms/cum the temperature falls reasonably linearly with rising humidity.

          This is not surprising as water vapour requires more energy to warm than air. Since the enerrgy input to the m^3 is fixed the temperature should fall.

          All is well with the world

          I have similarly analysed the effect of water vapour on DWLIR and again unsurprisingly the DWLIR rises with increasing mass of water.

          all is still well with the world.

          There is an earlier version of the second analysis – to be revised by nulling out date and day of year effects, here:
          http://www.climateandstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/what-affects-dlwir.html

  72. coturnix19 says:

    May I add that the so-called “backradiation” is ubiquitous not only in the atmosphere but also in our mundane lifes. In fact it is strongest precisely when there is no net heat transfer. A wall on one side of the house radiates 400w towards the opposite wall, but doesn’t cool down because there is backraiation from the other wall.

  73. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    The increase in H2O causes less radiation to be emitted to space than is received from the sun, which is remedied by having the entire troposphere warm.

    Garbage Joel. Water vapour helps to radiate energy out of the atmosphere, and from lower layers to higher layers of water vapour with inter-molecular radiation. Without radiating molecules how would the atmosphere cool at all?

    You have absolutely no evidence of statistically significant imbalance in radiative emission at TOA, because no one has ever produced such.

    The outward radiative flux rarely varies outside the range 99.6% to 100.4% of the inward flux. And the admitted error bars in each measurement are about 0.5% of the flux, so you cannot even tell if there is actually positive or negative net flux imbalance. The total Earth system will always autonomously adjust towards radiative equilibrium.

    Climatologists postulate that water vapour increases surface temperature by about 25 to 30 C degrees and then, with the known reduction in the lapse rate, it supposedly makes the upper troposphere even more less cold by, say 50 degrees. This is absurd and would lead to enormous radiative imbalance. Go read my paper and start thinking Joel.

    What really happens is that the requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics are that there must be thermodynamic equilibrium.

    You cannot have thermodynamic equilibrium if you have thermal equilibrium in a vertical plane in a gravitational field, now can you Joel? I’m sure you know that much physics.

    Hence there must be an autonomous thermal gradient which, when calculated, raises surface temperatures by over 40 degrees, then water vapour cools. It’s all in the paper, and until you discuss the actual arguments therein, you are clutching at straws, Joel. For a start, you made the mistake of thinking I thought water vapour made a steeper gradient. You could hardly have thought such if you had read the paper. You really have no idea of my argument, do you? If you did, you would be able to explain how sufficient Solar energy gets to the base of the troposphere of Uranus to maintain temperatures of 320K Try explaining that with valid physics, Joel, as I have.

    • Joel Shore says:

      Doug,

      Please don’t pretend that you do or can respond to substantive criticisms to your paper. Your idea that there is a temperature gradient for a gas in a gravitational field in thermodynamic equilibrium has been blown out of the water by these two papers:

      “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).

      And, furthermore, it is rather embarrassing that I had to find these papers for you. Any responsible scientist proposing something would have done at least a cursory review of previous literature on the subject.

      • Douglas J. Cotton says:

        No it has not been “blown out of the water” Joel. Those old papers have a very serious flaw because they assume thermal equilibrium right from the start of their argument. You cannot have thermal equilibrium in a vertical plane in a gravitational field and at the same time satisfy the thermodynamic equilibrium required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

        Not once in those papers do they even mention the Second Law requirement for thermodynamic equilibrium.

        In other words, they basically ignore the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and start out by assuming the very thing they are supposedly proving, namely thermal equilibrium.

        There is ample valid physics and solid evidence in my paper should you deign to read it. You might also read the peer-reviewed paper by Dr Jelbring cited in my paper. He worked on all this for his PhD in Climatology in 1998 and published his paper four or five years later.

        • Joel Shore says:

          It makes no sense to say that they ignored the Second Law. The Second Law is something that emerges from the underlying statistical mechanics in the thermodynamic (macroscopic) limit. Because they tackled the problem from the underlying statistical mechanics viewpoint, the result that they get will necessarily obey the 2nd Law.

          On the other hand, your own understanding of the 2nd Law is quite confused, as evidenced by the fact that you confuse reversible and irreversible processes in your discussion of the 2nd Law in your paper.

  74. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    Here’s what Roy claims in this article …

    “Without greenhouse gases, the atmosphere would be unable to cool itself in response to solar heating. But because an IR emitter is also an IR absorber, a greenhouse atmosphere results in warmer lower layers — and cooler upper layers — than if those greenhouse gases were not present. “

    By far the most prolific radiating molecules in Earth’s atmosphere are H2O ones.

    So Roy is claiming that H2O makes the lapse rate steeper.

    Goooong, Roy!

    • Yes that was something I realized there was a major problem with when I first got into this, back when they all used to say (they don’t as much anymore, thanks to us!) that the lapse rate is exclusively due to greenhouse gases and that GHG’s increase the slope of the rate. I said, how is that possible when 1) the lapse rate can be calculated without reference to any GHG’s, and 2) if GHG’s increase the lapse rate then why isn’t the lapse rate steeper than what you calculate WITHOUT GHG’s?!

      They have no logic nor any physics in their theory…they are completely full of garbage. All predicated upon assuming a system in equilibrium and with freezing cold input. It is all so stupid it is amazing just to imagine the stupidity.

      • Joel Shore says:

        Joseph,

        You are making up strawman arguments for your opponents. The GCMs used to calculate the effects of increasing greenhouse gases have never incorporated an increasing lapse rate because the lapse rate is limited by convection. To the first approximation, the lapse rate in the models is about constant…and, in fact, to a better approximation, it decreases somewhat with increasing temperature because the moist adiabatic lapse rate, which determines the lapse rate in much of the tropics, is a decreasing function of temperature.

        This decrease in lapse rate is called the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback found in all of the models.

        [What scientists have said is that increasing greenhouse gases causes the atmosphere to be even more strongly heated from below and hence would result in a larger lapse rate were convection not occurring.]

  75. Douglas J. Cotton says:

    And Joel says “H2O doesn’t make the upper troposphere cooler.”

    So Roy says we get “cooler upper layers” and Joel says the opposite.

    • Joel Shore says:

      No…When Roy says “cooler upper layers”, he is not talking about the troposphere. He is talking about the stratosphere and above. He makes no claim that the lapse rate gets steeper in the troposphere. That is your invention.

      • Douglas J. Cotton says:

        Well, whether you believe it or not, if water vapour did warm the surface and the lower troposphere, then the upper troposphere would most certainly become cooler, because otherwise huge radiative imbalance would occur at TOA. Remember, most of the outward radiation comes from the troposphere which has 99% of the water vapour. So it’s highly improbable that only the stratosphere would become cooler, and not the upper troposphere. As I said in another comment, no one has any evidence of such huge radiative imbalance happening, and yet water vapour has been around a long time. What you claim about both the lower and upper troposphere becoming warmer due to water vapour is impossible because of the implied radiative imbalance. Water vapour and Greenhouse gases are not responsible for raising the surface temperature by 33 degrees: gravity already raises it more than 40 C degrees and water vapour then cools it a little. That’s what real world evidence demonstrates.

        Climate controls radiation: radiation does not control climate.

        The real world evidence is that water vapour makes the surface cooler. The gravitational gradient projects to a mean supporting surface temperature over 20C, then water vapour brings about a less steep thermal gradient. The thermal plot must rotate around the pivoting altitude at about 3.0 to 3.5Km (where there is equal outward flux above and below) and so it intersects the surface at a lower temperature.

        Real world data indicates that this is correct, and unless and until you produce conflicting data (at least as comprehensive as in my study) and that data statistically disproves my study, I rest my case.

        And, by the way, that study in the Appendix is now being extended to many more cities, and it looks like being very compelling from a statistical point of view. You have no chance of disproving it and trying to prove that more water vapour causes localities to be warmer.

        If I haven’t made it clear here, then there’s 20 pages of physics and supporting evidence in my paper linked above.

        Meanwhile silent readers may note that Joel and others avoid trying to explain how sufficient Solar energy makes it down to the base of the troposphere of Uranus in order to maintain temperatures of 320K observed at that level, and even hotter ones approaching the core. This will show if they really understand the physics of planetary atmospheres.

        • Joel Shore says:

          I have already explained, in a rather understated way, why your “study” of cities is useless: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/a-simple-model-of-global-average-surface-temperature/#comment-77016 (starting with the fact that you create a complete strawman version of the argument that you are trying to disprove about the greenhouse effect of water vapor).

          It seems frankly bizarre to me that you find your work that convincing. I guess you have managed to escape the curse of having any critical thinking skills whatsoever in analyzing your own work.

        • RW says:

          Doug,

          You seem to not understand that water vapor has both 1st and 2nd order effects. Energy removed from the surface as the latent heat of evaporation has a strong cooling influence on the surface, because it accelerates the transport of energy from the surface to space. This cooling effect is 1st order. However, water vapor is also GHG, which absorbs upwelling radiation from the surface and lower atmosphere – some of which is subsquently re-radiated back downward toward the surface, resisting radiative cooling to space. This warming effect of H2O is 2nd order.

          Just because the 1st order effect is strong cooling, doesn’t mean the combined net effect of all of the effects can’t still serve to elevate the surface temperature above what it would otherwise be.

  76. Joel ,Tony M, Tony B, Dr. Roy Spencer, and others are 100% correct in their explanations as to why we have a GHG effect, and how it works.

    Doug, and his like are so counter productive to this whole climate issue and just how much of an effect or little effect the GHG effect will have on the climate going forward. They are so clueless and hurt the cause for us who don’t believe the GHG effect will have much if any impact on the global temperatures going forward.

    I never thought it was possible for people like them (the doug cottons) could draw conclusions which are in a world ridiculous especially in the face of the data ,experimentations Dr. Spencer has shown that prove the IR /HEAT CONNECTION,the structure of the temp. profile of the atmosphere , the way ozone /so2 can greatly change the temp. profiles of the atmosphere, the fact that water vapor indeed releases latent heat when it condenses as it rises slowing down the adiabatic lapse rate,further the basis of convection being tied into this and the GHG effect
    itself ,which without the weather as we know it today would not exist, the fact a desert with very little water vapor in the air in contrast to a tropical jungle cools much more rapidly at night due to the fact the IR radiation emitted from the surface of the earth can radiate out to space much easier in a low water vapor atmospheric environment.

    It just amazing in the face of the above and there is more that THEY stick to their NONSENSE.

  77. Dr. Spencer , I could not put up with this nonsence the way you do. You are a saint.

    • RW says:

      Yes, Dr. Spencer is very patient and generous with his time, especially that which he devotes to this particular subject regarding climate (i.e. the GHE).

  78. tonyM says:

    Simon.
    Sorry for the delay in reply; I had not forgotten. Have tried twice to post so now am breaking my post in two.

    My first paragraph “Given etc” is simply an introduction to what I am going to discuss in the body of the comment – and should have said so.

    The “effect” is in the body text as being the interaction between the earth and CO2 when in radiative contact.

    LR:
    Yes it is the lapse rate.

    In our thought experiment as we increase concentration of CO2 in the air, then a higher proportion of any direct radiative interaction with CO2 will be at a lower heights and hence higher avg T (it is part of the air and given the LR will show a higher T as one descends in height).

    Interacting Fluxes:
    You are right that the only measurable consequence is the heat transfer from the warmer to the cooler when two bodies are in radiative contact.

    What you don’t state in your construct is that the measurable transfer of heat is a function of the T4 difference in the SB law.

    This is the central point of what I am saying.

    None of what you say is sufficient to deny there is an EMR coming back to the surface. None of what you say denies the consequence of applying the SB law.

    You say “NO!!! NO!!! This is where you go awry “ etc
    Here you seem to be saying that from a surface emitting straight out to space (at 3 deg K) then the rate will be exactly the same when we introduce a “body (CO2)” in between and in radiative contact and at a higher T – much higher than 3 deg K of space.

    What do you suggest we do – throw out the SB law of transfer between two bodies in radiative contact?
    … ctd below??

    • tonyM says:

      Kristian:

      the above was meant for you…..apologies. Having difficulty posting.

    • Kristian says:

      tonyM,

      Let me try one last time to break this down for you.

      In your ‘HEAT means NET radiation’ (‘interacting opposing fluxes’) regime, there are only two paths to making the warmer object, the surface, warmer still by putting a radiatively active atmosphere on top of it. The surface is ‘originally’ heated by absorbing the incoming solar heat flux, Trenberth’s ~168 W/m^2. The surface consequently emits thermal radiation toward the atmosphere, where it is partly absorbed (and reemitted).

      Either

      1) a major part of the outgoing thermal radiation from the surface, a function of its temperature after having absorbed the heat flux from the Sun, is directly and physically inhibited from escaping the surface, and thereby forcing its temperature to rise,

      or

      2) the opposing radiative flux, the ‘back radiation’ from the atmosphere, is absorbed, raising the surface temperature so that in turn more radiation goes out, starting a cycle towards a final new and higher equilibrium temperature; i.e. it has been added to the surface AS HEAT (net energy down to be absorbed).

      Now, 1) would be absurd, because it would go against the core premise of the NET idea itself – it is allegedly the NET flux that is reduced, what would end up as the HEAT flux, NOT the individual fluxes. They would rather grow as the temperature rises. Like the outgoing finally getting from 168 to 390 W/m^2.

      2) is the path the IPCC follows. The incoming heat flux from the Sun remains the same. The temperature that this flux would cause on its own, ‘unaided’ so to say, remains the same. And the radiative flux emitted from the surface as a direct result of this absorbed heat and temperature, also remains the same. Hence, any rising temperature beyond what the solar flux alone could manage, in this scenario MUST be derived from some other HEAT source. So where is this extra heat coming from? It could only come from our atmosphere. The ‘back radiation’. That’s the only ‘other’ flux around. The cooler object transferring HEAT to the warmer. There is no way around it.

      Look, absorbing an incoming energy flux (from the atmosphere) does not and can not deny the outgoing flux (from the surface). Well, then, if all else is equal, then a rise in temperature would HAVE TO come from the back-radiated flux from the atmosphere. There is no other path.

      This is why it’s nothing but sophistry claiming ‘reduced cooling’ when in fact referring to ‘direct heating’. In reality there is no such thing as ‘reduced radiative cooling’ of a constantly heated object. Such wording would only be employed, consciously or not, to ostensibly circumvent the absolute bounds set by the second law.

      ONLY HEAT (and work) CAN HEAT AN OBJECT. Only a positive transfer of energy across the boundary between two thermodynamic systems. Heat does not exist within a system, only in transit between systems. And HEAT can only spontaneously travel from HOT to COLD systems. There is no ‘net heat’. HEAT is HEAT. It is defined by its direction. The second law deals specifically with HEAT (and work), not with electromagnetic radiation going here and there.

      The big and fundamental blindspot here, which has been sustained all along the line since 1824 when Fourier in his IR euphoria first misinterpreted the results of de Saussure’s solar oven experiment as a radiative effect when in fact it was a conductive/convective effect, through Arrhenius doing the exact same thing and ’till today when the FordPrefects of the world are doing experiments in conductive/convective settings to prove an imagined radiative effect, is in not getting or considering the following:

      ABSORBED HEAT ESCAPING A SURFACE BY WAY OF MOLECULES CAN BE RESTRICTED. This is what our atmosphere is doing.

      ABSORBED HEAT ESCAPING A SURFACE BY WAY OF PHOTONS CAN NOT BE RESTRICTED. This is what our atmosphere is not doing.

      (Photons are not ‘real’ particles. They are ‘conceptual’ quantum-mechanical wave-particles. They don’t occupy space. They do not possess mass. They’re waves of EM energy.)

      • tonyM says:

        have tried 3 times to post.. it will not accept big posts from me.

      • tonyM says:

        Kristian,
        I ask again do not bring up what the IPCC (which is a political body) or Trenberth believe. It has nothing to do with me or what I have put forward.

        You seem to go around in circles and never address the key principle of what I say viz the validity or otherwise of the SB law in this application.

        Consider a blackbody M in space at Tm deg Kelvin emitting basically to a background of 3 deg K emits at a certain rate E1. Another blackbody P is now placed in close proximity at a much higher Tp deg than 3K but lower than Tm. Will the M cool at a slower, faster or same rate as initially given by the E1 emission.

        Application of SB law says it will cool at a slower rate E2 which is less than E1 from the same higher Tm body M. It does not mean that body P has increased the temperature of M or transferred heat to it. This is all that I am saying wrt earth surface and CO2 increase from zero to say 400ppm as the principle involved.

        This is the principle which you refuse to address. There is no addition of “HEAT” as you call it. There is NO increase of T at all, not even by a zillionth deg, as a direct relationship unless some pathway exists for any back radiation to strike a colder surface than from whence it came.

        Can we lock in on this and nothing else because everything else is superfluous unless this is addressed.

        If you are not prepared to restrict the initial discussion to resolving this then I think we should quit as we will not be able to take it any further.

        I might add that there is a comment from XDC to this effect above which I just noticed. Comment 78406

        He adds.. “Hence its rate of cooling by radiation is reduced by an amount depending on the temperature difference. But non-radiative cooling rates are free to increase and compensate, which they will do if the temperature difference increases due to slower radiative cooling.”

        It’s the same rate of cooling slowdown that I am talking about. My views are not dissimilar up to this point so look up his paper for details. He follows and embodies Cl iohnson’s work. Both as you know are members of PSI. You feel we are all wrong.

        At night any slowdown in cooling or “HEAT transfer” will result in the official AVG T increasing.

        • tonyM says:

          well there you are… mystery solved :)

        • Kristian says:

          tonyM says, May 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM:

          “This is the principle which you refuse to address. There is no addition of “HEAT” as you call it. There is NO increase of T at all, not even by a zillionth deg, as a direct relationship unless some pathway exists for any back radiation to strike a colder surface than from whence it came.

          Can we lock in on this and nothing else because everything else is superfluous unless this is addressed.

          If you are not prepared to restrict the initial discussion to resolving this then I think we should quit as we will not be able to take it any further.”

          I already asked you before whether what you want to address with your ‘model’ is the times when the surface of the Earth is ACTUALLY COOLING, when it is NOT heated by the Sun, i.e. from late afternoon ’till dawn. You never answered.

          I need to know if this is what you want to talk about or not. Because otherwise I simply do not get what you’re trying to argue …

        • tonyM says:

          Kristian:

          Apologies if I did not understand your emphasis but I do say in my original comment last para:
          http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/05/imaging-the-greenhouse-effect-with-a-flir-i7-thermal-imager/#comment-78350

          “…There may even be a slight increase in Tmax if not as much heat is being transferred via radiation.”

          This refers to daylight Tmax. I use the word “MAY” and not “will.”

          The principle will be the same but it becomes very complicated due to far more interactions including energy absorption from the sun in the atmosphere – including GHG’s. Climatologists try to deal with all this in thin layers and supercomputers. So I’m quite happy to leave it there and not consider daylight hours if it is helpful – and I don’t wanna go there :)

          It will not affect what I am saying about an increase in AVG global T as this only requires the relative night T to be higher.

          Kristian, I am as much a student as anyone else here and learn from other people including, perhaps to your surprise, DjC, Cl iohnson and also Postma even though I don’t like his manners.

          I have referred you to comments by DjC as he explains the effect as suppression of radiation from the surface and resonant scattering. His development is taken from Cl iohnson who covers it in his papers.

          The latter states that only that portion of radiation above a certain cut off point can be thermalised (in effect this is how the 2nd L of T is obeyed – my interpretation). He even shows the differentiated Fourier form of SB Law which shows that the rate of energy transfer is directly related to the T gradient between the two bodies. If you go to his papers you will be able to discern all this first hand.

          A quote from his work:
          http://www.climate-change-theory.com/Johnson_quote.jpg

          DjC has also talked about the difference between the two Wein curves of the interacting spectra (integrated) to result in the heating effect. This means the warmer body can’t be heated by the colder one but it does clearly highlight the consequent slowing of cooling.

          Equally Dr Spencer does not breach the 2nd L of T. He has often tried to give different illustrations to make it easier to understand. But such illustrations are not meant to substitute for the underlying physics – just illustrative.

          The problem is that in language “words are limited, interpretations limitless.” Hence misinterpretations can readily arise as ideas get caught up in semantics. That’s why the language of physics is maths and not English. :)

          • Kristian says:

            tonyM,

            I’m glad to see we’re finally starting to understand each other :)

            I agree that there is a theoretical effect of slowing the radiative ‘cooling rate’ of a surface that is actually cooling with putting an object cooler than the surface but warmer than the ultimate cold reservoir next to it/on top of it. No problem with that at all. It goes without saying. Just as there is a theoretical effect of enhancing the ‘heating rate’ of that same surface during actual heating by reducing its concurrent heat loss rate via radiation.

            Maybe I’ve been too caught up by those endless discussions where people insist that a ‘constantly’ powered/heated object will end up warmer still by being placed next to or surrounded by a cooler object (though warmer than ‘space’) – because of the back radiation. This is utter nonsense and will never happen.

            What is gratifying is that I can now perhaps move away from these ideal thought bubbles and BB planet/shell models, and into the realm of earthen reality, how our planet is actually warmed. If we can agree to that …

            To me, though, it is still obvious that our atmosphere does not in any way radiatively make Earth’s surface as warm as it is. And by this I mean through its NET radiative effect. Because there are many sub-effects baked into this total effect, like the two theoretically viable ones mentioned above.

            The surface of the Earth is at 288K not because it ‘on average’ restricts radiative heat loss from the ground. The troposphere is not primarily warmed by radiative heat from the ground in the first place. It is warmed by radiative heat from the Sun, but mostly it is warmed by convective and latent heat from the surface. The surface, however, is purely warmed through radiation, and during the day our atmosphere deprives it of 45% of its potential radiative heat from the Sun by atmospheric reflection and absorption.

            No, the atmosphere restricts convective and evaporative heat loss by its mass pressing down on the surface. That’s why its temperature has to rise until it is able to adequately drive the atmospheric circulation (the global convective engine).

            More later … I hope we can have a more constructive exchange from now on. Many points here …

          • tonyM says:

            Kristian:

            Hi. Yes, those slowdowns of heat loss are the points being made and never that GHG’s could heat a warmer surface. I have seen some silly comments too (probably even on the NASA) site that back radiation heats the earth. I think the term “back” radiation is a misleading term. It is simply radiation just like any gas or body radiates – except at different frequencies and the effects will be variable dependent on its surroundings (particularly T).

            Here is an interesting one I suggest. Before daybreak the sun is transferring energy to the atmosphere above a given area – some of which is thermalised – some by O2/N2 and some infra red by GHG’s.

            In my view the lapse rate could not be maintained so readily if it relied solely on convection to keep pace with the day/night continual transition in energy above any given area. So there is energy being absorbed and shunted around before the ground even sees a ray of sunshine. Similarly with the period just after sunset – except the earth is hotter by then.

            If your point about the 288K earth T is to question whether the GHG’s make the 33 deg difference I would agree that it is not so. A pure O2/N2 atmosphere would also have a lapse rate and hence T profile – it would adjust more slowly due to convection only. Of course it would be a different planet. Nevertheless there has to be a contribution to that T profile and changes with the the GHG’s being introduced.

            This is where I like Dr Spencer’s approach. He accepts basically the standard climatology idea of CO2 sensitivity (although I detect he feels it is lower) but then shows by empirical evidence that the net H2O feedback is virtually non existent or even negative from low level cloud formation. This wipes out 2/3rds of the alarmist IPCC/Hansen thrust. This is where he would like to see more research – so would I.

            I note that there are a few interesting new threads introduced by Dr Spencer and you are actively involved so it will give rise to venting your views.

  79. tonyM says:

    Kristian -the link to that quote is:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/05/imaging-the-greenhouse-effect-with-a-flir-i7-thermal-imager/#comment-78406

    I also note that another members of PSI has indicated all 200 members support back-radiation (yes, I know precisely what is said… it will not heat the hotter surface and I agree).

  80. opit says:

    You guys are going around in circles and ignoring the fact that the Earth does not fit the model as presented anyway. “Geophysicists believe that heat flows from Earth’s interior into space at a rate of about 44 × 1012 W (TW)” http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/jul/19/radioactive-decay-accounts-for-half-of-earths-heat