Climate Polling Results Lead to Weird Press Coverage

August 13th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A recent polling of Americans on their attitudes about how much scientists know (or claim to know) about global warming, as well as what should be done about it, has led to very different treatments in the press, specifically in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which commissioned the poll.

The PG’s editorial take on the poll is that it shows that most Americans aren’t really that committed to the issue one way or the other. It suggests that the new poll questions were phrased in an unbiased manner (not assuming, for example, that global warming was a problem that needed to be dealt with), unlike previous polls claiming wide support for government action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

But the Post-Gazette also ran an op-ed by the pollster himself, who made it clear that Republicans are blind to established “facts” and only resist action on climate change because conservatives don’t like big government. The title of that op-ed made his views pretty clear: “Not a mystery why Republicans are blind (to) facts on climate change“.

The poll report itself is much less partisan in its comments — despite being authored by the same pollster!

The bipolar treatment by the newspaper makes the whole issue even more confusing for the reader.

But it is an interesting observation (which is widely recognized) that conservatives tend to disbelieve the supposed “scientific consensus” on global warming, and liberals tend to embrace it. The claims of ideological bias on the part of conservatives can cut both ways, of course. I can claim that liberals only believe the science because they are in favor of big government. So there.

The point I keep trying to emphasize is that not all science is created equal. Putting a man on the moon was immensely easier than understanding what factors cause the climate system to change, and especially by how much. We know the average energy flows reasonably well; but climate change involves less than 1% changes in energy flows, and we don’t understand the system that well.

When climate models can’t even hindcast global temperature changes in the last 30-40 years — where the answer is already known — how can we rely on them for forecasts?

It isn’t rocket science…it’s actually much more difficult than that.


139 Responses to “Climate Polling Results Lead to Weird Press Coverage”

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  1. Dan says:

    Putting a man on the moon is easy compared to understanding climate change.

    I totally agree with you. I have 30 years experience supporting rocket science with dynamic simulations.

    • Santa Baby says:

      “Putting a man on the moon is easy compared to understanding climate change”

      Understanding and making sense of policy based climate science is impossible?

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  3. Mike Bromley says:

    “but climate change involves less than 1% changes in energy flows”

    As far as details go, this is the one that sticks in my craw when the Weather Extremists start blaming a local 100% change in energy flow on a practically undetectable 1%.

  4. Johan says:

    Einstein allegedly said “… climate science is more difficult than physics”.
    Actually, he said “politics” instead of “climate science”, but who can tell the difference these days?

  5. RW says:

    “It isn’t rocket science…it’s actually much more difficult than that.”

    A precise quantification maybe, but I think you overestimate the supposed complexity in determining climate sensitivity and underestimate Occam’s Razor.

    • Climate sensitivity might end up being simple…but at this point its very uncertain.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi RW,

        You stated:

        “…I think you overestimate the supposed complexity in determining climate sensitivity and underestimate Occam’s Razor.”

        If true, please explain how simple determining climate sensitivity is.

        Thanks, and have a great day!

        • RW says:

          A precise quantification is certainly not simple, but a rough upper bound is. It shouldn’t be more than about 1.1C for 2xCO2. This is because there is no physical or logical reason why the system would respond more powerfully to an additional 3.7 W/m^2 watts of GHG ‘forcing’ than it does to the 240 W/m^2 already forcing system from the Sun.

          • lewis says:

            Actually the answer here is a bit easier. The earth, more exactly the polar regions of the earth, stay liquid or solid depending upon a very small variation in energy. This is because the current temperature remains close to the melting point of water no matter the change in weather or climate. So a small change, over a long enough period of time will melt or freeze the liquid. This is the basis of the Malankovitch theories of glaciation etc and why the slight change in earth’s orbital relation to the sun can make such large differences.

            There are other things which can change the temperature as well, which as Dr. Spencer says, we are unsure of.

            What we are sure of is that water freezes at 0 degrees C and that small changes over time will melt or freeze the water. It is this melting that the radicals warn about, along with every other thing they can think of to be afraid might happen.

            I’m actually surprised they don’t have an attack when the sun comes up or goes down.

        • RW says:

          I’ve broken the logic of it down to a series of separate questions:

          Do you agree that at the Earth’s current global average temperature of about 287K, the Earth emits about 385 W/m^2 from its surface (assuming an emissivity of 1 or very close to 1)?

          Do you agree that the globally averaged solar constant is about 342 W/m^2 and the average albedo is about 0.3, resulting in a net incident solar power of about 239 W/m^2?

          Do you agree that the 239 W/m^2 of incident post albedo solar power is forcing the climate system?

          Do you agree that the 239 W/m^2 forcing the system from the Sun results in an ‘amplification’ at the surface of a net of about 385 W/m^2 entering the surface boundary?

          Do you agree that this accounts for all the physical processes and feedbacks operating in the system? If not, why haven’t all the physical processes and feedbacks fully manifested themselves after billions of years of forcing from the Sun? Or even after the last few hundreds or thousands of years of forcing from the Sun?

          Do you agree that in order to amplify +3.7 W/m^2 of ‘forcing’ from 2xCO2 into +3.3C at the surface it requires +18 W/m^2 of net flux entering the surface boundary (287K = 385 W/m^2; 290.3K or +3.3C = 403 W/m^2 and 403 – 385 = 18)?

          Do you agree that watts of GHG ‘forcing’ and watts of solar forcing can only do the same amount of work? That is a watt is a watt, independent of where it last originates from?

          Do you agree that 385/239 = 1.6?

          Do you agree that 18/3.7 = 4.8?

          Do you agree that 4.8 is 3 times greater than 1.6?

          If watts are watts, how can watts of GHG ‘forcing’ have a 3x greater ability to warm the surface than watts already forcing the system from the Sun?

          The most common objection to this is people say, ‘but the system is non-linear’, and indeed it is (highly in fact). The problem is the non-linearity is in the opposite direction needed for net positive feedback to be possible. That is, as the incident post albedo solar power increases, the ratio of the net power gained at the surface to power entering from the Sun decreases. See these plots here that show the non-linearity of the system:

          http://www.palisad.com/co2/why/pi_gs.png

          http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ga.png

          • RW says:

            I should add that the referenced 1.1K of so-called ‘no-feedback’ is based on the 1.6 to 1 power densities ratio between the surface at the TOA, where 3.7*(385/239)= 6.0 and +6.0 W/m^2 from a baseline of 287K equals about +1.1K.

            Or the global average 1.6 to 1 power densities ratio between the surface and the TOA (i.e. 385/239 = 1.61) is the so-called ‘zero-feedback’ gain, where +1K = +5.3 W/m^2 of net gain from a baseline of 287K and 5.3/1.6 = 3.3; and 3.3 W/m^2 is the ‘zero-feedback’ flux change at the TOA for +1K.

          • RW says:

            Another way of looking at this is if you really think that a watt of GHG ‘forcing’ is 3 times more effective at heating the surface than a watt of solar forcing, why doesn’t it take 1162 W/m^2 (over 100C!) to offset the 239 W/m^2 from the Sun? i.e. 239*(18/3.7)= 1162.

            The bottom line is it only takes about 1.6 W/m^2 of net gain at the surface to allow 1 W/m^2 at the TOA, offsetting each 1 W/m^2 entering from the Sun; with each incremental post albedo watt from the Sun resulting in less and less gain (or a gain incrementally lower and lower than the absolute gain 1.6).

      • Doug says:

        I wrote you a couple of comments below Roy.

      • Santa Baby says:

        Policy based climate sensitivity is the simple one?

    • You can use Newton’s Law’s to calculate where an object will land if thrown with a certain amount of force. Now try that with a feather from your roof one day and see how you go.

      (The point being, climate sensitivity might end up being a relatively ‘simple’ calculation, yet that doesn’t imply it will be of any practical use predictively.)

  6. oldfella says:

    “…the poll report is much less partisan than the op-ed…”

    Ah, but the pollster knows that most people will only glance at the op-ed or even merely read his (extremely vile) headline. So he can be even-handed where it doesn’t count; and look all-innocent.

  7. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy,

    David W Moore’s article included two statements of interest:

    “The scientific community has reached near unanimous agreement: The vast majority of scientists who deal with climate-related issues, and virtually all scientific organizations, agree that human activity is driving climate change and needs to be addressed.”

    Alarmists used to claim merely that the majority of scientists accept the “greenhouse” gas effect and it’s role in determining climate. If we take that statement literally, does that mean that the vast majority of scientists supposedly blame humans for the .4 deg centigrade temp reduction measured in the U.S. by NOAA over the last ~10 yrs? Does it mean they also blame humanity for the largely lack of significant largely global temperature increases as measured by satellites since 1998? It seems the real purpose of climate alarmists is psychological and spiritual. They wish to blame humanity for whatever happens in the weather. If it warms soccer moms driving their kids to the game in their SUV’s are at fault and/or if the temps cool those aerosol emitting hairsprays, smokestacks, whatever must be to blame. In other words, whatever happens weather wise humanity must be the blame and only the SUPPOSEDLY all knowing, all caring benevolent Washington politico’s can and ENFORCE ACTION!!!

    As David W Moore clearly states:

    “Many national Republican leaders and numerous conservative news sites deny the existence of man-made climate change and promulgate the fiction that there is little agreement among scientists on the matter. The reason: To admit that climate change is at least partially caused by human behavior would require action to curtail greenhouse gases. And only government can enforce such action.”

    Notice what he does not and cannot state. He never states with precision or clarity what ACTION he wishes to ENFORCE!
    Nor can he claim with any rational basis or historical evidence that any action government taken will be EFFECTIVE! The Kyoto Protocol and so many other government actions prove otherwise. In addition, his main point has no rational basis, since to admit that climate change is at least partially caused by human behavior in and of itself DOESN’T require any action to curtail greenhouse gases since such an admission in no way suggests that the supposed change brought about by human action is deleterious to humanity.

    You ended your statement with:

    “When climate models can’t even hindcast global temperature changes in the last 30-40 years — where the answer is already known — how can we rely on them for forecasts?”

    “It isn’t rocket science…it’s actually much more difficult than that.”

    We seemingly inevitably end up at the same point. In the absence of clear empirical evidence those demanding the control of their fellow men to solve problems they can’t even empirically show to exist not only have the burden of proof as to the actions they demand but in many cases to explain why the rest of humanity shouldn’t hold them in deep contempt.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    • Slightly altered version:

      “The vast majority of scientists who deal with psycho analytic related issues, and virtually all their scientific organizations, agree that human activity is driven by those forces mapped out by Sigmund Freud.”

      The part left out in the above commentary is that virtually all scientists outside the psycho analytic movement, including the vast majority of psychologists, think the psycho analytic research program is bonkers.

      A small detail, I know. But an important one to note.

  8. Jerry L Krause says:

    Professor Spencer:

    R. C. Sutcliffe, in his book Weather & Climate wrote: “All this may seem a far cry from the general circulation of the world’s atmosphere but the detail serves to point the moral, that one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.” I am aware of a scientific law that should have been discovered long away because the observations that establish it are observed on the hour at most commercial airports. What is it? If you ask I will tell you.

  9. Thanks, Dr. Spencer. An interesting read.
    I can not imagine space flight in a world with a chaotic gravity field. I can not imagine humans will ever know all of the variables affecting global climate, made of chaotic weather.
    Measure it? Sure. Look at the history? Sure. Predict it further than a few weeks? Only in very general terms, then chaos takes over.

  10. Jerry L Krause says:

    Scott:

    I was attempting to engage Professor Spencer but I will give you a short, less than rigorous answer. An observed atmospheric temperature can be no less than the dew (or frost) point temperature observed at the same time and specific location. Since the dew point temperature depends only upon the water vapor pressure and not at all upon water molecules ability to absorb a portion of radiation emitted from (or by) the earth’s surface and the atmosphere’s dew point temperature in contact with the surface usually far exceeds the average equilibrium temperature, if the atmosphere did not contain any gases capable of absorbing said emission, which was the result of Arrhenius’s radiation balance equation, the greenhouse effect of these absorbing gases is seriously reduced, if not eliminated.

    Thanks for asking, Jerry

    • yes, the dewpoint temperature is always below the temperature. Not sure what you are claiming that proves, Jerry.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi Professor Spenser,

        Thank you for responding to my comments. You state you do not understand the significance of the fact that the atmospheric temperature has never been observed to be less than the observed dew point temperature. While I have seen many other things I would desire to share, I will try to limit my comments to this more important case. More important, for if I cannot help you see what I see in this case, it would seem fruitless to share other factors whose importance seems not commonly recognized. I must hasten to state that even though I have studied the greenhouse effect for 40 years (because I was expected to teach it in my chemistry classes), I only suddenly saw, this year, that what you correctly stated as having been long observed was in fact a scientific law.

        The publishers of Galileo’s book, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, wrote (as translated by Crew and de Salvio): “For, according to the common saying, sight can teach more and with greater certainty in a single day than can precept even though repeated a thousand times; or, as another says, intuitive knowledge keeps pace with accurate definition.”

        The problem you express seems due to the fact that what is commonly termed the greenhouse effect has not been accurately defined. I certainly do not know what an acceptable accurate definition might be. What I do know is that Joseph Fourier, in 1827, maintained that the atmosphere acts like the glass of a hot-house, because it lets through the light rays of the sun but retains the dark rays from the ground. That Samuel Langley, in 1884, wrote: “the temperature of the earth under direct sunshine, even though our atmosphere were present as now, would probably fall to –200°C, if that atmosphere did not possess the quality of selective absorption.” That Svante Arrhenius, in his radiation balance calculation reported in a 1896 English language publication, reduced this extremely low average temperature to the neighborhood of –30°C. That C. Donald Ahrens, in his popular textbook (Meteorology Today, 9th Ed.), wrote: “In this way, water vapor and CO2 absorb and radiate infrared energy and act as an insulating layer around the earth, keeping part of the earth’s infrared radiation from escaping rapidly into space. Consequently, the earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere are much warmer than they would be if these selectively absorbing gases were not present. In fact, as we saw earlier, the earth’s mean radiative equilibrium temperature without CO2 and water vapor would be around –18°C (0°F), or about 33°C (59°F) lower than at present.”

        Now, the atmospheric dew point temperatures at the surface at most all locations, except at polar regions and lower latitudes during extreme winter temperatures, far exceed this calculated radiation balance temperature. Hence, the minimum atmospheric temperature of the diurnal temperature cycle must far exceed Arrhenius’s or Ahrens’ calculated radiative equilibrium temperatures.

        If you still do not see the significant of this scientific law, perhaps you could tell me what seems the problem.

        Jerry

        P.S. I just read the exchange between you and Doug Cotton. I had referred to the moon’s ‘diurnal’ surface temperature oscillation and the factors involved in what can be only an issue of radiation because it has no atmosphere. But its rotational period and its surface layer’s thermal inertia are factors which should not be ignored. I deleted this reference to the moon because I decided it did not add significantly to the central purpose of my comments. I hope what I did write does not leave you speechless.

  11. Dr. Strangelove says:

    We cannot predict the outcome of a game of roulette but we can use statistics to determine if it is rigged or not. If the outcomes deviated from the expected values by more than two sigma of normal distribution, it is deemed to be statistically significant. The outcomes are not due to chance alone or more specifically less than 5% probability it is due to chance.

    In the climate system, we can assume the observed variability before the 20th century is natural or “due to chance.” We are looking for a variability since 1900 that exceeds the natural variability. An outcome that is statistically significant or less than 5% probability due to chance.

    If we employ this method, which is standard in empirical sciences, we cannot detect a variability that is different from natural variability. The hypothesis that there is a cause other than natural variability is rejected. It does not prove such cause does not exist but if it exists, it is indistinguishable from natural variability.

    Einstein said when two things are indistinguishable, they are one and the same. This is essentially the Equivalence Principle, which guided Einstein in formulating the general theory of relativity. He may be wrong but there is a reason why Einstein is synonymous to genius.

    • …which is why the hockey stick was initially so popular…it seemed to show recent warming was outside the range of natural variability, at least for the last 1,000 years.

      • Dr. Strangelove says:

        The difference between Einstein and all those philosophers is he figured out the theory of relativity using what you claim as “common knowledge.” That’s more impressive than had he used ‘special knowledge’ known only to him. BTW the mathematics of general relativity was known 60 years before Einstein. But none of those brilliant mathematicians invented general relativity.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Dr. Strangelove,

      You claimed:

      “Einstein said when two things are indistinguishable, they are one and the same.”

      Actually, if Einstein made such a claim he merely re-stated the Law of Identity that goes back to Aristotle and the ancient Greeks. Basically, each thing (be it a universal or a particular) is composed of its own unique set of characteristic qualities or features. The ancient Greeks called them its essence. Consequently, things that share all the same essence (qualities and/or features) are the same thing, while things that have different essences are different things.

      Thanks and have a great day!

    • numberer says:

      “Einstein said…Einstein is synonymous to genius.”

      Einstein is synonymous with plagiarism.

      THe quote is a commonplace of the philosophy called Pragmatism.

  12. Dr. Strangelove says:

    BTW climate science is not an exact science like physics. I grant that man caused some warming. It is not man or nature. They are not mutually exclusive. Man and nature. The question is to what degree.

  13. Doug says:

    Funny how this reminds me of Roy’s book …

    “The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists”

    Dr Spencer does an excellent job in his analysis of temperature data on his website, and he correctly concludes (in his book) that all climate change is natural. But unfortunately he does not understand the physics of the atmosphere and, like all climatologists, assumes that the Earth’s atmosphere would have been isothermal in the absence of so-called “greenhouse gases” like water vapour and carbon dioxide. So he also has been fooled into thinking water vapour leads to warmer surface temperatures, whereas it does not do so – as research published in the Amazon book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” demonstrates. The Earth’s surface temperature is not determined primarily by radiation at all. Solar radiation mostly penetrates right through the thin transparent ocean surface, so very little of its energy affects the temperature of the actual surface by way of radiation. Radiation from the colder atmosphere does not penetrate the ocean at all and so it does not help the Sun to make the surface warmer. The surface receives on average less than 165 watts per square meter of direct Solar radiation and, even if the oceans were covered in black asphalt, radiation would not warm them to within 50 degrees of observed mean temperatures. Even with Moon dust our Moon has a mean temperature of only around 200K. The real mechanism whereby nature has fooled Roy Spencer is the fact that gravity establishes and maintains a temperature gradient by acting on individual molecules – a fact first noted by the brilliant 19th century physicist, Loschmidt, who was the first to estimate the size of air molecules – quite a feat in those days. The effect of gravity is seen in all planetary tropospheres and it explains why the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus is hotter than Earth’s surface, even though nearly 30 times further from the Sun. This is the new paradigm and the only valid paradigm based on sound physics which explains all planetary surface temperatures and why carbon dioxide actually cools, but only by less than a tenth of a degree on Earth.

    Doug Cotton
    Researcher in atmospheric physics

  14. Doug says:

    The trouble is Roy …

    On the one hand your excellent temperature analysis shows very clearly that ever since 1998 there is absolutely no correlation what-so-ever between temperature trends (slightly downwards) and ever increasing carbon dioxide levels. Yet for some reason, Roy, you still feel you have to believe a little bit of the James Hansen garbage about back radiation. You have to be a “Luke” don’t you?

    Face the facts Roy! Work out how much 161W/m^2 reaching Earth’s surface would warm the first 10cm of the ocean surface. Don’t forget that most direct Solar radiation passes right through that thin layer, so just use, say, 10W/m^2 in your calculations.

    Do you get my point, Roy? … yet?

    Radiation is not (and never could be) the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.

    A totally different mechanism is operating, as explained in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” (on Amazon but cheapest on eBay Australia) and I’m offering a $5,000 reward to the first person who can prove the concept explained in the book to be substantially wrong and can support their alternative concept with a study (like that in the Appendix) but which shows opposite results regarding the cooling effect of water vapour.

    Now that is something you could study Roy. There is plenty of temperature data and I’ve outlined a suitable methodology in my book for comparing temperatures (adjusted for altitude) at similar latitudes in the tropics when the Sun is directly overhead. Why don’t you do your own study, Roy? Don’t you dare to find out that the greenhouse gas water vapour actually cools by a few degrees, as should be expected because it lowers the temperature gradient?

    Why is it that you reject the findings of the brilliant 19th century physicist, Loschmidt, Roy? Therein lies your answer, but you killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

    • you funny man, Doug. Don’t ever change. 🙂

    • …and anyone who says something like: “Radiation is not (and never could be) the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures”…well, I’m just speechless.

      • Doug says:

        Roy.

        Firstly, you’ll not impress me (or any thinking person) by making comments like yours above. I’m happy to discuss the physics involved.

        Anyone who thinks the Sun only needs to be “helped” by back radiation to the tune of “33 degrees” needs their physics brushed up considerably. The Sun cannot warm the Moon to a mean of anywhere near 255K, and yet Earth’s surface receives only about half the Solar flux. Furthermore, the Moon doesn’t have 70% of its surface covered with a transparent layer of water. On Earth most of the Solar radiation penetrates down into the colder ocean thermoclines and does not contribute much to warming the thin surface layer.

        Now, Roy, you and “lukes” try to water down the effect of carbon dioxide. By that logic the “33 degrees” (which is really more than double that) is supposedly achieved mostly by radiation from colder water vapour.

        But water vapour varies roughly between 1% and 4% of the atmosphere near the surface. So is its effect 4 times as great where it is 4% than where it is 1%? If it really were doing most of the (double) 33 degrees of warming, that would make rainforests a hell of a lot hotter than dry deserts at similar altitudes and latitudes.

        Now who’s the “funny” one Roy? Those claiming back radiation helps the Sun’s radiation to warm the surface?

        No Roy. It’s what the brilliant physicist Loschmidt realised back in the 19th century: gravity does it. The state of thermodynamic equilibrium is one and the same as the state of hydrostatic equilibrium – each having a temperature gradient. It’s all in my book if you deign to read it.

        There’s a $5,000 reward for the first person to prove me wrong with valid physics and to produce a study similar to mine but showing water vapour warms significantly rather than cools.

        Where is your empirical evidence of water vapour warming by tens of degrees Roy?

        Good science can be supported by studies such as mine. Bad and incorrect science fails the test.

        • Jim Curtis says:

          Doug. I probably shouldn’t be interjecting into an argument between you and the Master, but I found a webpage that really makes it simple (even for me) — http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/sun_radiation_at_earth.html.
          All you need is the Stefan-Boltzmann law (Sun and Earth behave as blackbodies) and a few physical parameters to figure out that the average temperature of the Earth’s surface should be about -19 deg C to match the incoming solar radiation with outgoing IR radiation. But it’s not, its +15 deg C. It has to get hotter to overcome something that is attenuating its radiation on the way out. That something is not clouds, its GHG. Maybe you’re being misled by too much detail.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Jim Curtis,

            Thank you for the link. However, the albedo factors chosen do not appear to me very objective. The 0-1 albedo scale is imo more or less conjectured or guessed at a small alteration of which would enormously effect the results you desire from the equations using the Stefan-Boltzmann law.

            Have a great day!

          • Curious George says:

            I am not denying a greenhouse effect, but your calculation assumes a body with a perfect and instantaneous (if rotating) heat conduction. Are you sure it describes this planet correctly?

          • Doug says:

            See my other comments including this just written. You have no concept of the pre-requisites for SBL to apply. If you consider the thin ocean surface layer none of the radiation from cooler regions of the atmosphere even enters the water by more than a few nanometres, whilst most of the Solar radiation passes right through it and down into the cooler thermocline region where the majority of its energy is absorbed. Hence the ocean surface is nothing at all like a black or grey body and SBL will never give correct results because there is so much heat transfer happening by non-radiative processes.

          • Jim Curtis says:

            Admittedly I don’t know the prerequisites for the application of the law, and admittedly, I probably said something stupid – for which I apologize. I’m learning. If I measure a bowl of hot water with a contact thermometer and an IR one (which I assume is calibrated for a blackbody) I get pretty much the same reading (within 5 deg F at 170 deg F). The bottom of the bowl, the water, or something in the water is emitting the expected IR. The Earth and its environs have to be doing something to expel the one minus albedo part of incoming solar radiation. It does what everything at temperature does, emit radiation. Any radiation imbalance drives temperature until balance is restored. Is that much right? Thanks.

          • Curious George says:

            Jim – you did not say something stupid. You used an extremely simplified model (a black body in a radiative balance with the sun and the rest of the space). It did not yield an observed temperature. Why?

            You jumped to a conclusion – it must be the greenhouse gases. Maybe. But make a little more realistic model, with a rotating body, of a specified heat capacity (as 2/3 of Earth’s surface is water, assume a heat capacity of water, and say we only use the top 1 meter [very arbitrary]). Let it get heated during the day, and cooled at night. See how much difference this makes.

            To recap, a call to GHG should come as the last explanation of a model failure, not the first one.

          • Jim Curtis says:

            Thanks for the sanity check CG. An experiment with my IR thermometer, a flame, and some water in a zip lock pretty much makes my assumption that clouds do not block IR something stupid. I thought LADAR could see through them.

            Yes. I was worried about the article’s rampant use of averages– especially given the T (absolute) to the fourth term and the 160 deg F or so variation from equator to pole. But the polar circles are only 14% and -45 to +45 deg latitude is 71% of the Earth’s surface and 70% of it is ice-free water to further constrain T variation. Admittedly, water is a fickle absorber of visible, but my IR thermometer says it’s close to a blackbody for IR emission, and that’s what counts in the overall Earth energy balance sense. Using the article’s albedo numbers I get cloud coverage of about 38%. Clouds may block the Earth’s IR, but they emit their own and they are only 10 deg C or so cooler than the surface (10 deg C per mile elevation). The T-to-the-fourth works both ways. To vary the radiated energy (the given) you only need a small variation in T (the solved for). Bottom line: I can’t get a GHG-free-Earth that much above the article’s -19 deg C.

            The guys who are a lot smarter than me say GHG warming real (e.g. RWS in “Blunder”). I still think D is getting caught in a forest-for-the-trees rut.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug Cotton,

      Thank you for the post but I must agree with Roy regarding your statement:

      “Radiation is not (and never could be) the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.”

      Your wording seems dubious. Temperature does effect if not determine radiation. If an objects temperature reaches the theoretical absolute zero kelvin level it DOES NOT radiate energy! Any temperature above that level will result in an object emitting some form of radiation, the energy level of which can be assessed by it’s frequency. Higher temperatures result in greater energy emission and thus smaller wavelength, higher frequency radiation. Please explain what you mean by your comment.

      Believe it or not the comment you made that seems the most reasonable regards your statement concerning GHG’s and a cooling effect. Since GHG’s by definition emit in the infrared at a much faster rate ( likely several orders of mangitude faster ) than diatomic molecules such as oxygen that radiate in longer wave lengths and lower frequencies like microw-waves they must inevitably help cool the atmosphere at a much more rapid rate than their diatomic neighbors.

      Thanks and have a great day!

      • Doug says:

        Firstly, with respect there is no need to “teach” me about radiation. But you would do well to read my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second law of Thermodynamics” which was published on several websites in March 2012. The physics in my 2014 book is sound and based on my background extending over about 50 years.

        You might start by reading my comments below, but my book explains what is really happening and may help you understand what thermodynamic equilibrium and “heat creep” are all about.

        Of course my statement about water vapour cooling is valid and is supported by my study of 30 years of temperature data in tropical cities on three continents. The study is in the Appendix of “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.” Such a study completely demolishes the radiative “greenhouse effect” conjecture, which effectively claims moist regions should be at least 20 degrees hotter than dry ones at similar latitudes and altitudes, whereas in fact they are cooler – as real world data proves.

  15. Curious George says:

    There is undoubtedly a sincere desire in the climate modeling community to get it right. The problem is that they do not even know (numerically) how wrong they might be. I have never seen an analysis of an influence of a grid size on the accuracy of results. A critique of an assumption of a constant latent heat of water vaporization (leading to a 3% error in energy transfer by evaporation from tropical seas) gets just shrugged off. Again, no analysis of the impact. (At an average surface temperature of about 300 degrees K, 3% error is 9 K).

    Why should we trust these clowns who don’t even know what they are doing? Rather than establishing error bounds for their models, they “validate them scientifically” (whatever that might mean) and then they proceed to worry about polar bears and emperor penguins.

  16. wizard says:

    “a man on the moon” ? Do you have proof of that, or just some one elses word that it actually happened. I think the karman line may be an obstacle. I suppose you think the earth is spinning in a heliocentric universe and the sun is millions of miles away?

  17. Doug says:

    Roy,

    Uranus is nearly thirty times further from the Sun than Earth, and thus receives little more than 1/900th of the Solar flux at its TOA. But at the base of its nominal troposphere (which is about 350Km high) the temperature is about 320K – a pretty hot day on Earth. If Uranus had a surface there then that surface would also be about the same temperature. But no direct Solar radiation is getting through those 350Km of troposphere. And it would not matter whether or not there were any so-called “greenhouse gases” in its atmosphere. So is radiation the primary determinant of its temperature? Don’t be funny Roy. Stop and think instead. Maybe some of your readers are. Again, you (and your readers) won’t ever have a clue as to what is really happening here and on all planets until you understand the paradigm explained in “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

  18. Doug says:

    And Roy, without any knowledge of the Solar radiative flux getting through to a planet’s surface, and without any knowledge of the radiative properties of gases in its atmosphere, it is possible for all planets in our Solar system and beyond to calculate the surface temperature just by knowing the Solar flux reaching the planet’s TOA, the weighted mean specific heat of the gases in its troposphere and the height thereof, and – wait for it – the acceleration due to gravity. The radiative flux reaching the surface is irrelevant and not used in the calculations.

  19. Kugel Sicher says:

    Dear Dr. Spencer:

    WOW!! Thanks for the great site and information…

    “When climate models can’t even hindcast global temperature changes in the last 30-40 years — where the answer is already known — how can we rely on them for forecasts?”

    This is an astounding bit of new information for me! I will be using it in discussions with politically motivated climate change advocates. In my mind, this trumps the majority of just about anything they try to throw at you!

    I have degrees in Physics and Engineering, and it really distresses me that so many in the science community have sold their critical thinking soul to politics and money.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Kugel Sicher,

      You stated:

      “I have degrees in Physics and Engineering, and it really distresses me that so many in the science community have sold their critical thinking soul to politics and money.”

      You must have been distressed for an awful long time. Don’t worry however facts will always trip-up those spouting nonsense. As to the CAGW propaganda:

      “Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact.”
      Thomas Huxley

      Thanks, and have a great day!

      • Fonzarelli says:

        John, as dr. roy has stated in the past, we can flip a coin as to whether we will see future warming or not. So there’s a pretty good chance that the facts will confirm AGW even if AGW happens to be wrong…

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Fonzarelli,

          Thank you for the reply. Please note your statement contradicted itself. You stated:

          “So there’s a pretty good chance that the facts will confirm AGW even if AGW happens to be wrong…”

          If facts did confirm AGW then it couldn’t be wrong. You probably meant to state that facts may confirm global warming (GW) even if an·thro·po·gen·ic global warming (AGW) proves to be wrong. Hopefully, that helps clarify things.

          Have a great day!

          • Fonzarelli says:

            Yeah, perhaps I should have put “confirm” in quotes. (as if to say ‘quote unquote confirm’)

          • Cunningham says:

            Hi John, Ritchie here… If I can add to what Fonz is saying, we can’t just sit around and hope cooling comes to get us off the AGW hook. (Just like the end of global cooling back in the 70’s ended the ice age hype) AGW has to be PROVEN wrong. It’s an old theory that has deep roots. We’ve got to rip it up, roots and all…

            BTW, I really like how you sign out “Have a great day!” (Fonzie thinks it’s pretty cool, too)

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Cunningham,

            Thanks for your reply. You suggested:

            “If I can add to what Fonz is saying, we can’t just sit around and hope cooling comes to get us off the AGW hook. (Just like the end of global cooling back in the 70′s ended the ice age hype) AGW has to be PROVEN wrong. It’s an old theory that has deep roots. We’ve got to rip it up, roots and all…”

            Personally, I seriously doubt anyone will disprove global warming since we’re still in an ice-age and evidence exists that the planet has been warming, flood waters/glaciers retreating, and seas rising for some time. You may wish to look up Professor Daniel Botkin ( http://www.danielbbotkin.com ) for further evidence. As to AGW those pedaling the theory must provide sufficient evidence. Even if they manage to provide evidence one day they must still provide further evidence that the warming they desire to correlate to human activity is deleterious to human. The problem with today’s group think remains the illusion many on this website and many around the world have that the planet’s environment was in some sort of steady state immediately prior to human industrialization at which time humanity only then threw everything out of balance. Nothing could be more delusional. In many past posts I have mentioned pre-ice age global conditions evidently much warmer than today. Key to AGW alarmism is the assertion that humanity is somehow OUT OF CONTROL and unless some SUPPOSEDLY all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful political hack or group of such hacks instruct the messy lot of humanity as to proper atmospheric carbon restraint we’re all somehow doomed! Of course, no human let alone political hack has provided any objective plan by which 7 billion people can be induced to reduce their atmospheric GHG contributions to levels not seen since the 19th century when levels were first measured or even the the late 1950’s (1958) when Mona Loa measurements began. It should be further noted that if humanity truly is OUT OF CONTROL it seems unlikely that some political group ( among the worst of the lot ) as members of the same human race can induce everyone else to undertake some positive change they themselves have proven to be for the most part incapable of.

            The only control politicians really want and are capable of if you let them is CONTROL OVER YOU!!! So the warfare for your mental conformity to psuedo-science continues. Since it has already been proven and established many times that the politicians seeking control of your access to the earth’s resources have no plan or means to obtain the goals they claim and since they do seek to control your access to the earth’s resources and real wars for the control of the earth’s hydrocarbons exists right now in such places as the Ukraine and Iraq you may wish to consider the following quotes.

            War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.
            Carl von Clausewitz

            Politics is the womb in which war develops.
            Carl von Clausewitz

            The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation form their purposes.
            Carl von Clausewitz

            Since you like my closing…
            Have a great day!

  20. Eldon Steelman says:

    I have no background in meteorology but I can read a graph. The graph at
    arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html
    indicates that the Artic icepack minimum this year will be 4.2. to 4.4 million sq. km vs the 2012 low of 2.2 million. The 2013 minimum was about 3.6 million So we appear to be on the way to a doubling of the minimum Arctic ice pack in two years! Maybe we should be concerned about a new ice age??

    The graph at
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/antarctic.sea.ice.interactive.html
    shows that Antarctic ice pack is near a record for the 35 years that the data has been available.

  21. Doug says:

    It’s good to see some questions being asked and I’m happy to answer any pertaining to atmospheric physics and the processes which determine planetary temperatures above and below any surface. My knowledge on all this stems from thousands of hours of study, research and original thinking about just what must be happening, because it has been obvious to me for years that the whole concept of radiation determining planetary surface temperatures is totally false physics.

    Venus, for example, has a surface which is much closer to being like a blackbody than is Earth’s surface, where 70% is a thin transparent water layer. For any blackbody to get hotter there must be a net energy input by way of radiation and/or non-radiative processes. However, by definition a true blackbody is like an object in space which cannot gain or lose energy by non-radiative processes.

    The surface of Venus does in fact rise in temperature on the sunlit side and the rise is about 5 degrees (from about 732K to 737K) over the course of its four-month-long daytime. But if radiation were the primary (or only) determinant then there would have to be a radiative input flux of the order of 16,000W/m^2 as your trusty Stefan-Boltzmann Law will indicate. But such a flux is an order of magnitude greater than the Solar flux reaching the top of the Venus atmosphere. No atmosphere can multiply such a flux, any more than you can magnify the flux of light by reflecting it back and forth between parallel mirrors. Furthermore, the atmosphere of Venus absorbs and reflects and emits back to space nearly all the incident solar radiation. The direct solar radiation reaching the Venus surface is barely 10% of the solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface. It’s pretty clear, I suggest, that radiation is not what is raising the temperature of the Venus surface. You can also read about Uranus in a comment I wrote above. Likewise you can read about Earth in my comments above.

    So, Roy, that is why radiation is not the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.

  22. Doug says:

    Planetary temperatures (above and below any surface) are what they are because energy (mostly from the Sun) has been trapped over the life of the planet (or moon) not by back radiation but by the force of gravity acting on individual molecules.

    As the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us there is a propensity for isolated systems to tend towards the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. That state is not necessarily a state of uniform temperature. In fact it is only strictly isothermal in a horizontal plane in a gravitational field. The state is one which is isentropic which means it has homogeneous total energy at all levels in a vertical plane, for example. But molecules at higher altitudes have more gravitational potential energy and so this must be offset by a reduction in mean kinetic energy per molecule. That is what determines temperature – mean molecular kinetic energy. Molecules move randomly in all directions, but gravity acts on them when they are in free flight between collisions. This indicates why the state of thermodynamic equilibrium has a temperature gradient, and it is based on sound physics explained in much more detail in my book.

    Now, when the equilibrium state is disturbed by the absorption of new solar energy (such as near the top of the Venus troposphere, then that new energy spreads out in all directions as the temperature gradient (aka “lapse rate”) tends back towards its normal value. Hence some energy moves downwards, even though this is to warmer regions, and I call the process “heat creep” as it is slow and has nothing to do with radiation. That is how the required energy gets into the Venus surface to raise its temperature 5 degrees, and that is what maintains Earth’s surface temperature at a level well above that which radiation could achieve.

    Now, as we know, water vapour reduces the temperature gradient and it does so, not much because of latent heat release but mostly by inter-molecular radiation. The temperature plot rotates and becomes lower at the surface end, more so in the more moist regions, as my study of real world data confirmed. No doubt some climatologists have tried to prove otherwise, but no such study has ever been published by them, because water vapour would have to raise the temperature by over 20 degrees in more moist regions, and of course it does not do so. Hence, of course, the whole radiative greenhouse conjecture is totally false.

    Carbon dioxide also reduces the temperature gradient a little by inter-molecular radiation and so it cools earth’s surface by perhaps just a tenth of a degree.

  23. Robertv says:

    Climate science must be easy even the US president knows all about it.

  24. Carl says:

    I went to the actual poll spoken of in this article and the pertinent question for me was:

    “Would you approve or disapprove of the Federal Government requiring power plants to reduce greenhouse gases, even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers, or are you unsure?”

    Approve————36% 

    Disapprove———-32% 

    Unsure/Don’t Know—31% 

    Refused————-1%

    This poll is really a survey of how effective the propaganda campaign has been. A little over 1/3rd of the population has swallowed the lie, about 1/3rd have not swallowed the lie and about 1/3rd haven’t been paying attention.

    What is the lie? That water vapor and carbon dioxide—the principle “greenhouse gases–are bad for the biosphere and therefore need to be controlled by the Federal Government.

    The world’s flora thrives on both of these gases and ecosystems with the highest level of both of these gases are those that are teaming with the most abundant and most diverse life. Think tropics vs. deserts. Think of high humidity greenhouses that have carbon dioxide pumped into them to bring its concentration up to four times the current atmospheric level.

    That the cabal that is behind the “climate change” political agenda has succeeded in convincing 36% of the population that these gases are “pollutants” causing irreversible damage to the biosphere is a testimony to the power of propaganda. It’s also a testimony to the abysmal state of science education in this country. From this survey we can surmise that 67% of the population doesn’t know about photosynthesis:

    6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy –> C6H12O6 + 6O2

    They don’t know that plants take carbon dioxide and water and using the sun’s energy produce carbohydrates and oxygen. i.e., the food we eat and the air we breath.

    The actual question being asked is, “Would you approve or disapprove of the Federal Government [reducing the amount of food that plants produce and the amount of oxygen that is in the air], even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers, or are you unsure?”

    Personally I am quite sure that I don’t want the Federal Government to do reduce the world’s food supply or to inhibit the ability of plants to produce oxygen, not just because doing so might raise my utility bills, but I need both food and oxygen to continue living. Its not an “addiction”; I am not being “selfish”; its not because I don’t care about the environment or the “needs” of future generations; I’m just saying.

    Carl

  25. numberer says:

    “It’s also a testimony to the abysmal state of science education in this country.”

    I assume you mean at the high-school level in the USA, but the problem goes deeper, and includes properly educated people as well, everywhere.

    It is one of human nature. Learning is only writing on water.

    Rule 1. We forget everything that we do not use on a daily basis.

    Rule 2. We forget Rule 1.

    Rule 3. Nothing can be done about it, because most people are too proud to acknowledge, even to themselves, that their education has failed to stick.

    The scientists who pontificate the most have all the confidence in the world that they can deal with matters of every sort. But (a) they make howlers, (b) they swallow howlers from each other.

  26. Doug says:

    Indeed they do “swallow howlers from each other” and that, sadly, includes our host with his “A” in thermodynamics but no more understanding of atmospheric thermodynamics than James Hansen, the father of howlers in the climate game.

    Let’s see if I can explain it in a way that Roy and others can understand. Imagine a long horizontal cylinder initially open at the ends. You then seal the ends and rotate the cylinder about its mid-point into a vertical position. It should not surprise you that there is a net movement of molecules downwards until an equilibrium state is achieved wherein there is no further net movement up or down. Just as in the troposphere you now have a density gradient created by gravity because there are more molecules in any given volume in the lower regions than in the upper regions.

    Now, because there was a net downward movement initially there must have been a net gain in mean kinetic energy (temperature) in the lower regions, because gravity converts potential energy to kinetic energy as any object falls, including a molecule.

    The density gradient persists as an equilibrium state for the very reason that molecules at lower levels have more kinetic energy on average than those higher levels. If this were not the case and the mean kinetic energy at every level was homogeneous, then the density would also have to be homogeneous. Neither happens. Gravity forms both a density gradient and a temperature gradient simultaneously. Some call the state “hydrostatic equilibrium” but it is one-and-the-same as thermodynamic equilibrium. Thermodynamic equilibrium is what the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve spontaneously in an isolated system. It should not be confused with an isothermal state, for it is, instead, an isentropic state with a homogeneous mean sum of potential energy and kinetic energy.

    Now, let’s get back to our NASA guy Dr James Hansen and what he dreamed up around 1981. Because he had no knowledge of the “gravito-thermal” effect he was baffled as to why the Earth’s surface was a lot warmer than the radiating temperature of the whole “Earth-plus-atmosphere” system. You see, if you ignore the effect of gravity itself forming a temperature gradient (effectively “trapping” energy over the life of a planet under the plot of temperature against altitude) then we really should expect the Earth’s surface to be much colder than the average temperature in the atmosphere. Think of solar radiation penetrating the ocean – it gets colder the deeper you go because the energy is attenuated as some of it gets absorbed as it passes through each thin layer of water. Because its energy is dissipated like this, the surface layer does not absorb much at all and so it is not Solar radiation that is heating the ocean surface much at all.

    But even if the whole Earth were more like the Moon, covered in Moon dust or perhaps black asphalt, there is only about 160W/m^2 of direct solar radiation reaching the surface. That would not raise the temperature to anywhere near the radiating temperature of 255K. So there is a huge difference between what the Sun could do and what is observed – far more than the proverbial “33 degrees” supposedly due mostly to water vapour vapour and carbon dioxide.

    So James Hansen’s first howler was to assume he only had to explain “33 degrees” of warming from 255K to 288K. The fact that 255K is way too high can be seen from the fact that twice the solar intensity striking the Moon’s surface (without any oceans) cannot raise its mean temperature much above 200K.

    But of course the biggest howler was to then assume that radiation from the colder atmosphere could somehow magnify the effect of the initial energy in Solar radiation. For example, the Solar radiation reaching the Venus surface is less than 20W/m^2 but the radiative flux required to raise the temperature of Venus by 5 degrees during its day would be in the vicinity of 16,000W/m^2. As you can read, climatologists somehow think carbon dioxide can magnify the intensity of the solar radiation at the top of the Venus atmosphere by an order of magnitude or more.

    So the effect of all this is that water vapour (averaging, say 2%) is supposedly raising the surface temperature by at least 30 degrees. So that would be 15 degrees per 1% of water vapour. Hence, a dry region with 1% water vapour is supposedly (255 + 15)K whereas a region with 4% water vapour is supposedly (255 + 60)K and that, Roy, is what is “funny” or would be if the error were not so serious.

    • Jerry L Krause says:

      Dear Dour and those who appear to not understand some of what Doug writes:

      Galileo is said to have stated, as translated by someone: “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” Doug, with his examples, tries to help others to see what he sees that is fundamental science. But Doug also fails to see the possible consequences of what he sees. There is much more that needs to be explored, but not here at this time.

      Copernicus is said to have stated, as translated by someone: “Therefore, when I considered this carefully, the contempt which I had to fear because of the novelty and apparent absurdity of my view, nearly induced me to abandon utterly the work I had begun.” I nearly abandoned my work of refuting the greenhouse effect, not because of the general contempt which Doug endures, because I expected no one would seriously consider what it was that I saw which they evidently did not. But on Aug. 13 I submitted a short, two part, comment. The first part was a quote from R. C. Sutcliffe’s book—Weather and Climate. In it he pointed to the moral “that one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.” The second part was that I had discovered a new scientific law that I would share if asked to do so. Twenty minutes later Scott asked What? So I present a brief, non-rigorous, of this new law. To this Scott did not submit a comment but Professor Spencer did. He wrote: “yes, the dewpoint temperature is always below the temperature. Not sure what you are claiming that proves, Jerry” So, to try to help him see what I saw, I replied with a comment that day. To which no one has yet made a comment. Thus, somewhat confirming my expectations.

      But during Professor Spenser’s absence, Doug’s continued comments have continued to stimulate your continued comments.

      Finally, he wrote: “So the effect of all this is that water vapor (averaging say 2%) is supposedly raising the surface temperature by at least 30 degrees.” That, Professor Spencer, is exactly what the observed fact, the scientific law, that the dewpoint temperature is always below the temperature (atmospheric being measured at the same time and place) forces one to conclude. But, Doug and others, this is not due to water vapor’s radiative properties; it is due to the fact that water vapor is the only condensable (sp?) gas (given the temperature range of the atmosphere, the range of the atmospheric pressures, and the partial pressures of the other trace gases) and the large latent heat of condensation that water vapor has. Hence, the mechanism involved is completely different from that commonly considered. Doug, I think you might owe me $5000. It is hard to argue against a scientific law, you can only find an observation which refutes the summary statement.

      Now, will anyone respond to this comment?

      Jerry

      • Doug says:

        Jerry, with respect, you miss the point about the gravitationally-induced temperature gradient and the resultant “heat creep” process which I have explained with diagrams in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

        The surface temperature is determined by thermodynamics (non-radiative heat transfer mechanisms) with very little effect due to radiative heat transfer. But the reason the temperature of the base of the troposphere is what is observed is due to the gravito-thermal effect first discussed by the brilliant 19th century physicist, Loschmidt who was first to estimate the size of air molecules. He also understood the effect of gravity on those molecules.

        This gravito-thermal effect, for example, determines the temperature at the base of the (nominal) Uranus troposphere where it’s hotter than Earth’s surface even though there is no surface there. So there’s no dew point involved out there. The temperature gradient in the Uranus troposphere (350Km high) is very close indeed to the theoretical value based on the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases therein.

        To explain temperatures, Jerry, you have to explain how the required energy gets there. How does energy get into the surface of Venus while it is getting warmer by 5 degrees throughout the course of its 4-month-long daytime? Those who can explain this are those who understand what I am saying.

        What I have put forward explains correctly all known temperature data in planets in our Solar System above and below any surface. It explains why the core of our Moon remains far hotter than the surface ever is, and it even explains core temperatures within Earth, and why the temperature gradient is far steeper in the outer crust than in the hottest regions of the mantle.

        No radiation calculations can explain the surface temperature of any planet with a substantial atmosphere because the atmosphere traps energy accumulated over the life of the planet. In contrast, temperatures due to radiation depend upon instantaneous flux intensities, and correct calculations using such never give the right answers.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Jerry,

        Thank you for your post. However, you may consider ghg’s including water vapor more closely. After all while they do absorb infrared energy emitted from the planet’s surface they also re-emit energy in the infrared wavelengths as well, thus allowing the atmosphere to radiate energy to space ( i.e. COOL ) 10-100 times faster than diatomic gas molecules like oxygen and nitrogen.

        Thanks and have a great day!

  27. Lewis says:

    Dear Mr. Cotton, I don’t pretend to follow all your thoughts, but am left with the idea that gravity is a large part of the reason it is warm on the surface of a planet with an atmosphere.

    This being true, would you please explain why the temperature drops so much at night and then rises in the morning when the sun comes up. I am led to believe that gravity is fluctuating.

    • Doug says:

      What happens at night on any planet can be understood when you come to grips with the fact the the gravitationally-induced temperature gradient is in fact an equilibrium state. This means that, because there is a net energy loss during the night, the whole temperature plot in the troposphere lowers whilst retaining the same gradient. The reverse happens in the day. So the plot of temperature against altitude rises and falls between extremes which are parallel.

      On Earth weather conditions can make it difficult to observe this, but it is easier to detect on Venus. There the whole temperature plot rises and falls by about 5 degrees over the course of each 4-month-long day and night. So the same amount of total energy which is absorbed by the atmosphere and surface during the day is then radiated away to space at night. Just like any black body, each planet has reached an overall mean temperature based on the intensity of solar radiation.

      A planet’s surface does not cool as rapidly because of its atmosphere. This is so because all the energy in the whole troposphere (not just the surface) has to be reduced as the temperature plot falls to the cooler parallel line mentioned above. The energy gain and loss each day and night is represented by the area between the parallel temperature plots.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Dear Lewis, Doug, and others:

        I have not commended Lewis for pointing Doug to a very common observation. An observation, not an opinion or a theory or I think. I should have before now. Even though one could scroll up to see what Lewis wrote, I repeat it because it seems to bear repeating as often as one discusses, debates, whatever, the greenhouse effect and its potential to have a climatic impact. Lewis wrote to Doug (8/19/14): “Would you please explain why the temperature drops so much at night and then rises in the morning when the sun comes up.” To which Doug replied (again I repeat to clearly establish to what I am referring): “ … This means that, because there is a net energy loss during the night, the whole temperature plot in the troposphere lowers whilst retaining the same gradient.” I only learned I could easily access (Univ. of Wyoming website) the data gathered during the radiosonde soundings which are regularly made every 12 hours at certain locations. So, I know that what Doug stated about the whole temperature plot in the troposphere is clearly not commonly observed fact and it seems unlikely that he has ever studied the data of repetitive soundings separated by 12 hours. Doug, go to the above mentioned website and study the data of the soundings which are made at Salem OR and those nearby. And you will find that what you wrote to Lewis about the changes of the tropospheric temperature profile between day and night are not a fact. Doug you must understand that in modern science observation always trumps any reasoning, no matter who does the reasoning. Until you clearly acknowledge this fact, I will not comment further about that which you write.

        Best wishes, Jerry

        • Doug says:

          As I also said, weather conditions will sometimes eclipse the overall picture. There is just a tendency towards this state of thermodynamic equilibrium, which must have a temperature gradient because that is what the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us. Do you wish to argue that the Law is wrong? Citing one location on Earth does not negate the laws of physics. You need to understand that the process of diffusion (molecular collisions) is a slow process easily overridden by weather conditions.

          Now consider the 350Km high nominal troposphere of Uranus and you will see the evidence for the gravitationally induced temperature gradient. It is very close indeed to the calculated g/Cp value. Yet solar energy is only absorbed there in the very uppermost layers of the atmosphere where it’s colder than 60K. The temperature plot must rise during the day and fall during the Uranus night, just as it does on Venus by about 5 degrees. There too the only solar radiation that can raise any temperature is that absorbed in the cold upper layers. Yet some of that energy gets into the surface and raises its temperature 5 degrees during the day. Much the reverse happens at night.

          There simply is no other physics which can explain what happens in all planetary tropospheres. See my other comments about why direct solar radiation to the surface cannot raise surface temperatures to the observed levels. If you think you have another explanation I will debate same, because there’s $5,000 on offer.

        • Doug says:

          Furthermore Jerry, you should not consider temperatures in the first two hundred meters above the surface, where Solar radiation to the surface can affect the gradient substantially. Nor should you consider data above the troposphere. Then you would need to consider the effect of varying levels of water vapour as that will reduce the gradient due to inter-molecular radiation,as explained in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.” And if any significant winds are involved then that location’s data will be almost meaningless. You will get better results above an ocean I would think, but until you analyse and adjust data for water vapour and other considerations, and use a large amount of data you prove nothing. You can’t disprove the tendency for this to happen anyway, because it is virtually a corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Dear Doug,

            I apologize for not seeing your replies to my posts even though I was looking for them. I have a problem of seeing things right before me. Even though I can not detect that you really consider the observations that Lewis and I have brought to your attention, you do reply and provide comments which keep the dialogue going. I use the word dialogue because it is not the artificial dialogue that Galileo used to help his readers discover it (almost truth?) within themselves, it is a real dialogue that is as current as today.

            Doug, the planet atmosphere about which we have the most and best observations is that of the earth. So, when you regularly direct attention to the atmosphere’s of other planets, it serves little purpose other than to side step the real issue before you. Remember, I acknowledged that you do sometimes properly referred to scientific fundamentals.

            Doug, in this reply I will not directly address some of your comments. Which are important. But I consider the information I present more important at this time.

            Newton is said to have stated: “If I have seen further than other men it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” or something like it. Your giant appears to be Loschmidt, who I read was a physical chemist, which was my major in graduate school. He appears to have been a theorist while I was an experimentalist. I cannot begin to evaluate the theoretical validity of theories, but I possibly can design an experiment to test if what a theory seems to predict can in fact be observed.

            Because I have never formally studied meteorology, I have chosen to stand on the shoulders of R. C. Sutcliffe and what he wrote in his book—Weather and Climate. Not that I consider that everything that he wrote is the possible truth, but he was certainly qualified to write it. And it seems that most all what he wrote still is generally accepted by the consensus crowd. That is, except for one thing I consider very fundamental to generally understanding weather and climate.

            Sutcliffe wrote: “It would be difficult to overstress the importance of clouds as the necessary intermediary between invisible vapour and falling precipitation upon which all land-life depends, but their importance by no means ends here. Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter. Taking an overall average, about 50 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with cloud at any time whereas precipitation is falling over no more than say 3 per cent. Non-precipitating clouds are thus the common variety, rain clouds are the exception. The climatic importance of clouds lies in their effectiveness in reflecting, absorbing, transmitting, and emitting radiation, … .”

            Now I turn to a generally recognized giant of physics, Richard Feynman. Who evidently did not see the full consequences of what he taught freshman physics’ students at Caltech. The following excerpts are from pages 32-8,9 of The Feynman Lectures On Physics. While teaching about light scattering (the observed interactions between light and small particles of matter) he began: “One interesting question is, why do we ever see clouds? Where do clouds come from? Everybody knows it is the condensation of water vapor. But, of course, the water vapor is already in the atmosphere before it condenses, so why don’t we see it then? After it condenses it is perfectly obvious. It wasn’t there, now it is there. So the mystery of where clouds come from is not really such a childish mystery as “Where does the water come from, Daddy?,” but has to be explained.

            “We have just explained that every atom scatters light, and of course the vapor will scatter light, too. The mystery is why, when the water is condensed into clouds, does it scatter such a tremendously greater amount of light.?”

            A bit of commentary before quoting Feynman further. In case you do not see it, Feynman’s last question clearly implies his answer is going to involve a scattering phenomenon (mechanism), not a reflection mechanism, not absorption-emission mechanism. Because Feynman’s lectures were published before Sutcliffe’s book was, Sutcliffe had opportunity to read about the scattering mechanism that Feynman proposed to his students. And in C. Donald Ahrens’ 9th Ed. (2009) of his popular textbook, Meteorology Today, we find him writing: “Clouds can enhance the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Tiny liquid cloud droplets are good absorbers of infrared radiation but poor absorbers of visible solar radiation. Clouds even absorb the wavelengths between 8 and 11 µm, which are otherwise “passed up” by water vapor and CO2.” Previously I had quoted Sutcliffe: “… one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.”

            I omit a bit of Feynman’s description of the scattering mechanism involved because I do not claim to understand the theoretical reasoning involved. But I claim to understand the following: “That is to say, the scattering of water in lumps of N molecules each is N times more intense than the scattering of the single atoms. So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases. Does it increase as infinitum? No! When does this analysis begin to fail? How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument further? Answer: If the water drop gets so big that from one end to the other is a wavelength or so, then the atoms are no longer all in phase because they are too far apart. So as we keep increasing the size of the droplets we get more and more scattering, until such a time that a drop gets about the size of a wavelength, and then the scattering does not increase anywhere nearly as rapidly as the drop gets bigger. Furthermore, the blue disappears, because for long wavelengths the drops can be bigger, before the limit is reached, than they can be for short wavelengths. Although the short waves scatter more per atom than the long waves, there is a bigger enhancement for the red end of the spectrum than for the blue end when all the drops are bigger than the wavelength, so the color is shifted from the blue toward the red.”

            You have to decide: Do you trust what Feynman wrote or do you trust what Sutcliffe and Ahrens wrote? I can only give you information; I cannot teach you anything, you have to discover it within yourselves (Galileo).

            Even though there is much more which needs to be written, I stop here to give others to enter into this dialogue.

            Best wishes to anyone who might read this, Jerry

  28. Jim says:

    Once upon a time someone pointed out to me that between space weather effects (upper atmosphere fluctuation, radiation pressure, and maneuvers to avoid orbital debris and detectable meteoroids) and the intrinsic uncertainty in the calculations, the forecast orbit of the space station is effectively randomized after six months – which is rocket size and infinitely easier than surface weather – I knew that long range climate prediction based on “dumb down the weather models and use averages where possible” could go nowhere.

    It’s a relatively trivial first-order energy balance computation to show that one needs 10 ppb or better input data on all relevant parameters (or at least on parameters which affect the global energy balance at the 10 ppb level) to forecast global temperature to 0.2 Celsius or better accuracy over 100 years. Since the solar constant is itself uncertain by 0.1% over the solar cycle with daily fluctuations of that magnitude during solar maximum, the whole problem is intractable.

  29. greg says:

    “…problem is intractable.”

    Exact prediction IS intractable. But the sorts of general physical calculations you mention set limits – and they are quite restrictive. Even arch-AGW’ers like Hansen have now implicitly admited they are so much backed into a corner that they need voodoo-type feedbacks to escape. Otherwise, “they got nothing.” In a recent (2012) publication Hansen ended up with the extraodinarily mild assertions,

    (1) that the energy imbalance at the surface of the land was 0.15 W/M^2 (compared to normal gross flows in and out of about 600 W/M^2)*.

    (2) It is only the most recent additions to atmospheric CO2
    that are causing even this imbalance. He says that 350 ppm would be consistent with no further warming.

    * The Stefan-Boltzmann fouth-power law says you only have to increase the average temperature 1/20th degree C to increase the outward flow by 0.15 W/M^2.

    • Doug says:

      All Hansen’s calculations are utter garbage and not at all in line with the laws of physics.

      What he does not realise is that there is net energy input to a planet’s surface during its day, much of which is by non-radiative processes (molecular collisions) and this process accounts for nearly all the energy input into the surface of Venus, for example, during its day. It has nothing to do with back radiation from carbon dioxide in a less-hot troposphere on Venus. Radiation from a cooler source will not raise the temperature of a hotter target.

      Only non-radiative processes keep Earth’s ocean surfaces from freezing over, even in the tropics.

  30. greg says:

    Sorry, it was more like 0.4 W/M^2 and hence the appropriate increase of average land surface temperature, to compensate, more like 1/10th C.

  31. bernie says:

    Yes, I know the article you refer to. He guestimates* a global imbalance of 0.58 W/M^2 of which 76% is swallowed by the sea.
    The rest of the global imbalance (0.15 W/M^2)has to be concentrated over the 30% of surface which is land; and there is also some nonsense about a litle bit of ice melting.

    I saw “swallowed” because the layer of the sea mixed annually is about 150 meters deep. Penetration of newly introduced heat on land is only a few meters by comparison. “The surface” is radically different in the two cases.

    *Personally, I think he makes the whole thing up to fit with the little bit of warming shown in data sets such as those of UAH. None of the individual flows can be measured to the degree of accuracy needed. Enron accounting!

  32. greg says:

    Hansen’s rate of heat transfer into the sea is enough, if uncompensated*, to heat that top 150 meters by 1 C in thirty years. Of course, over thiry years, the mixing will go much deeper than 150 meters.

    *And, anyway, by the Stefan-Boltzmann…..

    • Doug says:

      The only temperature in the ocean that relates to climate is the temperature of the thin surface layer which we can consider to be significantly less than a metre deep. Below that the ocean starts to get colder and colder, and so obviously the energy down there is not contributing to warming the air just above the surface.

      Now that thin surface layer of the ocean acts nothing at all like a black or grey body. Such bodies are not transparent by definition. However you look at it, only a small portion of the direct solar radiation is absorbed by that surface layer, because most of the insolation passes down into colder layers a few metres below.

      So, if you think you can apply SBL, then at least reduce the radiative flux to something less than 10%. Then of course you get a very low temperature, simply because the thin surface layer of the ocean emits far more energy by radiation than it absorbs by radiation. Its surface does not get as hot in the Sun as a black asphalt road nearby.

      Where does the rest of the energy come from whilst the ocean surface is warming slightly on a clear sunny day? A similar question applies to the Venus surface. It needs an energy input of about 16,000W/m^2 for its temperature to actually rise, as it does by 5 degrees in its daytime. The direct solar radiation provides less than 20W/m^2. Where does the rest of the required energy come from? It comes by way of molecular collisions happening all through the troposphere as the whole troposphere is absorbing solar energy.

      Before you say “from back radiation” you need to read my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” (published on several websites in March 2012 and never correctly rebutted) because that explains the process whereby spontaneous radiation can only raise the temperature of a target if the radiation comes from a hotter source.

  33. Mike says:

    Dr. Spencer’s blog currently has an unsatisfactory WOT (web of trust) rating. and states “misleading claims or unethical”. HOW RIDICULOUS! I think this is due to just a couple of comments. They are by posters with wot id’s of ginckgo and Territan.I have disputed those comments as unfair and reported them. But I doubt this will get anywhere. I think the best way to raise Dr. Spencer’s wot rating is for anyone reading my comment to go to mywot.com, download the addon for your browser, sign up with an account and give him your own rating.

    If you have never used web of trust, it is great for knowing if a website pushes malware, but it is not so great about rating sites where politics are involved.

    Dr. Spencer, I have only posted here a couple of times, but I am a regular lurker. Obviously, I think your site is great! Thank you!

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Mike,

      Just curious, who’s behind WOT ( web of trust)? Can we trust them? Thanks and…

      Have a great day!

      • Mike says:

        WOT Services. They say the ratings are from trusted sources and user feedback. As an IT administrator, many companies have us IT people put wot on their computers to help their employees navigate the web. I use it extensively when repairing virus infected computers to check out the various software installed and if the program or software company has an unsatisfactory rating, I axe it from the system. Works extremely well for this purpose and I do think it’s ratings are valuable information. But no more so than say product ratings on Amazon. Ratings can always be manipulated.

        Here is a pretty good write up on techsupportalert.com which is another site I trust to find the best free software. WOT is their top rated internet safety check tool:

        http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-internet-safety-check.htm?page=2

  34. Doug says:

    Gravity acting on individual molecules maintains a temperature gradient as the state of thermodynamic equilibrium with homogeneous total energy. This happens above and below a planet or moon’s surface – yes even in solids – and that is why the core of our Moon is hotter than its surface. It does not require internal energy generation. Because the temperature gradient is an equilibrium state, the addition of new energy in a cooler region makes the gradient less steep, and so energy moves up the temperature plot to restore the equilibrium gradient, and that is how the required energy gets into planetary surfaces – not by back radiation. This non-radiative process provides the missing energy.

    Suppose the gravito-thermal effect did not exist. Then the top of a planet’s troposphere would be hotter than the base thereof because the intensity of solar radiation is attenuated as the radiation gets partially absorbed and reflected on its way down. For example, on Venus the only region where direct solar radiation can raise the temperature is in the uppermost regions of the troposphere and cooler regions above. As you go down from there the intensity is reducing whilst the temperature is rising. Hence the temperature is already well above what the intensity of the radiation could acquire as per SBL.

    This gravitationally induced temperature gradient approaches a value of g/Cp where Cp is the weighted mean specific heat (not “heat capacity” by the way) and this is because potential energy gained equals kinetic energy lost. Briefly, M.g.dh = M.Cp.dt giving dt/dh = g/Cp with no minus sign because gravity is already in the opposite direction to the increase in height.

    Now, in any atmosphere some molecules radiate and radiation between two objects always has a temperature levelling effect. But radiating molecules are only a small portion of the atmosphere, and so they just reduce the gravitationally induced gradient. Thus the wet adiabatic temperature gradient is less steep than the dry one. (No I won’t use the inappropriate and unnecessary term “lapse rate.”) The reduction causes the whole temperature plot to rotate about a pivoting altitude (actually about 3.5Km to 4Km up, not 5Km) and that is why the temperature at the surface is cooler in more moist regions.

    In a nutshell, that is the mechanism whereby water vapour and carbon dioxide cool a planet’s surface, as empirical data clearly shows for water vapour.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you for the post. Please note I do not wish to dispute the effects of a gravitationally induced temperature gradient, but you have not disproven the effects of radiation on temperature. In fact, since you’ve mentioned Venus and Uranus several times you’ve helped establish that radiatiative effects have enormous temperature consequences. You mentioned that Uranus has a troposphere with temps close to a warm day on earth. Please not what Wikipedia claims:

      “Although there is no well-defined solid surface within Uranus’s interior; the outermost part of Uranus’s gaseous envelope that is accessible to remote sensing is called its atmosphere.[12] Remote-sensing capability extends down to roughly 300 km below the 1 bar (100 kPa) level, with a corresponding pressure around 100 bar (10 MPa) and temperature of 320 K.”

      Note the pressure at which temps on Uranus approach earth temps proves to be 100 bar which exceeds Venusian atmospheric pressure of 93 bar! Venusian mean surface temperature of 735 K (462 °C; 863 °F) greatly exceed these figures. As you mentioned, the Venusian (solar constant ~2613 w/m2) solar radiation reaching the venusian surface proves to be only 10% of that which reaches the earth (solar constant ~1367 w/m2) or ~5% of that which reaches Venus. You correctly observe that solar radiation cannot raise surface temps to such temp levels. However, Venus is vastly more volcanically active planet than earth. Since the planets surface cannot be directly observed due to the massive atmosphere (93 times more massive than earth) and the heavy particulate layer that extends from the surface to ~50km above the surface where the atmospheric pressure falls to 1 bar we lack visual confirmation of active vulcanism. Note that Venusian atmospheric pressure matches Earth surface pressure at 50km to 65km above the Venusian surface. If I remember correctly the temps in that region resemble a warm day on Earth even though the solar radiance in this region approximately doubles the Earth’s surface (remember this region lies above the particulate layer that blocks the sun’s rays from the surface) and the atmosphere contins ~93% CO2. The supposed warming effects of CO2 don’t seem to exist! So where does the excessive heat come from? Observation of the Venusian atmosphere shows massive fluctuation in sulfur dioxide compounds indicative of according to scientists now confirming similarly massive volcanic activity. Laval flows of 100 sq km have been claimed. Since lava/magma ranges around 850-1200 deg celsius the observed 462+ deg celsius mean surface temp ( temperature of cooling or no longer incandescent lava ) doesn’t seem very excessive. The massive Venusian surface radiation and conduction explains where the additional energy flux must come from to raise surface temps. Volcanism is further confirmed by the massive Venusian atmosphere comprised almost entirely of volcanic gasses (CO2 and sulfur compounds), Btw how did you derive the 16000 w/m2 energy fllux required to generate Venusian surface temps? It appears absurd!!! Mercury surface temps of 467 degrees Celsius have been generated by a solar irradiance of ~9126.6 w/m2!!!

      Thanks again for your post and have a great day!

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Doug,

        For the record, I’m quite aware that a solar day on Mercury (~176 earth days) exceeds Venus’s (~116 earth days).

        Have a great day!

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Doug,

          You may also want to keep in mind that Mercury lacks any real atmosphere & accompanying pressure gradient.

          Have a great day!

          • Doug says:

            Of course I’m also quite aware that Mercury does not have a significant atmosphere to raise its surface temperature. Would you like to clarify what point you are making, or is it just that you misunderstand what I have explained? If you have genuine questions please read the book where you may find answers once you understand the mechanisms described.

      • Doug says:

        Venus would be just as hot without any volcanism. The radiation coming out of the surface does not raise the temperature of the surface – that requires net energy input. If such input were only from radiation then it would have to come from a hotter source in order to raise the temperature 5 degrees during the day. The Sun is the only hotter source, but the insolation is insufficient by a long shot. Non-radiative heat transfers raise the temperature of the Venus surface, and maintain the hot internal temperatures beneath the surface which then cause the volcanism. Venus can cool 5 degrees in 4 months, so it could easily have cooled right down but for the gravito-thermal effect.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Doug,

          Thanks for the replies. You seem to lack understanding regarding my post. You asked:

          “Of course I’m also quite aware that Mercury does not have a significant atmosphere to raise its surface temperature. Would you like to clarify what point you are making, or is it just that you misunderstand what I have explained?”

          Hmmh! Please accept my apology if I didn’t communicate clearly. However, I wrote:

          “Btw how did you derive the 16000 w/m2 energy flux required to generate Venusian surface temps? It appears absurd!!! Mercury surface temps of 467 degrees Celsius have been generated by a solar irradiance of ~9126.6 w/m2!!!”

          You have claimed in the past that Venusian temperatures required a surface energy flux around 16000 w/m2. This appears ABSURD to me and likely others because Mercury achieves similar temperatures with a solar irradiance of approximately 9126.6 w/m2! Mercury manages to do this without the need of an atmospheric gravitationally induced temperature gradient via solar radiation. This happens despite your ludicrous claim:

          “Radiation is not (and never could be) the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.”

          Realizing you made an error you later re-worded your statement to state:

          “No radiation calculations can explain the surface temperature of any planet with a substantial atmosphere because the atmosphere traps energy accumulated over the life of the planet.”

          To further prove you know even less about the cosmos than your previous statements suggests, you then made a series of bizarre claims:

          “Venus would be just as hot without any volcanism.”

          Really? Must I repeat my previous posts. Incandescent lava/magma reaches temperatures ranging from 850 to 1200 degrees celsius! Try walking on pleasant beach sand then wander over to the many lava fields and see if you really notice little if any temperature difference. Cooling lava may well be in the 400-500+ celsius degree range. In addition, Venusian vulcanism as I suggested operates on levels that exceed the Earth’s by orders of magnitude! While the trifling amount of volcanic activity on Earth produces trace amounts of volcanic gasses (CO2, methane, and or sulfur compounds), virtually the entire atmosphere of Venus results from volcanic gasses with only trace amounts of diatomic gasses like oxygen and nitrogen. The Venusian atmospheric mass proves 93 times greater than the Earths’s and VIRTUALLY ALL VENUS’S ENTIRE ATMOSPHERIC GRAVITATIONALLY INDUCED TEMPERATURE GRADIENT RESULTS FROM VOLCANIC ACTIVITY!!! Therefore, Venusian volcanic atmospheric gasses exceed the Earth’s entire atmosphere by 92-93 times! Those who study Venus claim it has well over a million volcanoes probably due to the massive flux in sulfur compounds observed in it’s atmosphere. On Earth while Krakatau spewed enough volcanic particulate matter in the 1880’s to create a slight haze over the much of the planet and supposedly dropped temps by maybe 4 degrees Fahrenheit the Venusian particulate matter cloaks the planet from it’s surface to an altitude of 50 km and manages to block 90-95% of it’s energy from ever reaching the surface.

          You further claimed:

          “The radiation coming out of the surface does not raise the temperature of the surface – that requires net energy input. If such input were only from radiation then it would have to come from a hotter source in order to raise the temperature 5 degrees during the day. The Sun is the only hotter source, but the insolation is insufficient by a long shot.”

          The sun is not the only hotter source! Fissile reactions occurring deep beneath the surface of Venus can and likely does generate enormous heat. The heat beneath the surface doesn’t necessarily derive merely from some gravitationally induced temperature gradient. If it did then why does the observed vulcanism and accompanying heat on Venus far exceed that of our Earth’s when it’s mass proves to be only 82% of the Earth’s ( Earth, Venus. Diameter, 12,742 km, 12,100 km. Mass, 5.9736×1024kg, 4.868 x1024 kg )?

          Don’t let the supposed thousands of study hours go to waste. Think about the statements you make and…

          Have a great day!

          P.S. – If you find the notion of internal planetary fissile reactions driving vulcanism unrealistic ask yourself why you accept the notion that fusion reactions deep within the sun drive it’s solar irradiance. Without the fusion of hydrogen atoms deep within the Sun it would merely be a large, cold giant ball perhaps not to dissimilar to Jupiter. For example, if the sun would were made of helium it would not be a star just a cold, large ball.

  35. Brian H says:

    To properly assess the use of “consistent with”, try it out substituting “only consistent with”. That is a falsifiable assertion with some teeth.

  36. Doug says:

    (This

    Some readers may be thinking that they know they can feel hot in the Sun, so it must be warming their skin above body temperature. Yes it can when it is almost directly overhead on a clear day. There can be around 750W/m^2 reaching you in those circumstances, but it’s not a global 24 hour mean intensity. Furthermore, hold a thin sheet of glass above your head and you still feel most of the warmth, whilst the glass does not get very hot because it is transparent. So too is the thin surface layer of the oceans, so most solar radiation penetrates several metres below the surface into the colder regions of the ocean thermocline. Energy absorbed in these colder regions cannot make the surface at that location hotter. In fact the energy dissipates towards the colder poles. My point is that no SBL calculations using, say, 10% or less of the total solar flux can possibly give the observed temperatures on the ocean surface.

    What happens each day is that about 30% of incident solar radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere. In calm conditions in the troposphere this new energy raises the whole temperature plot during the day to a higher, but parallel position on the graph of temperature against altitude. The temperature gradient is maintained because it is the (isentropic) state of thermodynamic equilibrium with (PE+KE) homogeneous. So some of the new energy absorbed in the upper colder regions of the troposphere makes its way downwards by the non-radiative conduction-like process usually called diffusion where gases are involved. So the energy from the Sun, absorbed by the atmosphere, keeps the base of the troposphere warm and thus the surface is warmed primarily by these non-radiative processes. This is just so obvious on Venus and at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus where it’s hotter than Earth.

  37. Doug says:

    Please go to this comment.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you for all your thought and effort. Your comment seems largely irrelevant. You wrote:

      “Doug says:
      August 25, 2014 at 3:54 PM
      On a more serious note, remember I’m offering a $5,000 reward (soon to be deposited on trust with a Sydney media outlet) if you can …”

      Thank you for the offer but my comments remain whether or not you can muster the requisite cash.

      “(a) explain how the required energy gets into the Venus surface in order to actually raise its temperature by about 5 degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day in any other way than in my book Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All. This is important and highly relevant to Earth and all planets, because, just as on Venus, the direct solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface (about 161W/m^2) cannot raise its temperature to observed values, especially because most of it passes through the thin surface layer of the oceans.”

      Since nuclear fission can generate temperatures far in excess of those required to raise surface temps by more than 5 degrees day and/or night the discrepancy appears moot. In addition, since we know little about Venus and any claims regarding it’s interior would lack empirical support why do you seek an analysis the object of which can only be what this topic involves PURE SPECULATION!!!

      “(b) Produce a study with similar methodology to mine in the Appendix of my book, but which shows the greenhouse gas water vapour warming moist regions considerably more than dry regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. This, after all, is what warmists want the world to believe.”

      You should no better than to suggest this since I do not claim the greenhouse gas effect to be primarily responsible for the observed temperatures nor have I in my previous statements on this blog.

      “When you recognise that real world data shows water vapour cools, and when you understand why, then of course the whole greenhouse conjecture crumbles. Without water vapour the gravito-thermal effect would make Earth’s surface a few degrees warmer. The warming has nothing to do with back radiation. Only radiation from a hotter source can cause a temperature to rise, so it is not the Sun’s direct radiation which is doing so on Earth or Venus or at the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere.”

      Radiation from a hotter source such as nuclear fission can indeed cause temps to rise. Does this mean you’ll send someone a check? Just kidding.

      “Consider the real data in the Solar System. I have explained it all, even below the surface of the Moon. None of you has.”

      Why would sub-surface lunar conditions be relevant to my previous comments? What empirical investigation have you made of sub-surface lunar conditions? Over how large a surface area? When did you visit the lunar surface to conduct such an investigation?

      Thanks for all your help with these issues and have a great day!

  38. Doug says:

    No John. You are forgetting that the surface of Venus cools by about 5 degrees during its night and then warms by the same amount during the day. Fission, volcanoes or whatever do not operate only in the day. Their activity does not prevent the cooling at night, so we deduce it is not and internally generated energy that causes the daytime warming. Obviously it is energy from the Sun, but it is not direct solar radiation to the surface. Nor is the Earth kept warmer on its sunlit side by nuclear fission. It is well known that energy coming from beneath the Earth’s surface is negligible.

    John, before you put forward more incorrect postulates, please understand that my research has extended over many thousands of hours in the course of recent years. All these concepts you put forward have also been incorrectly suggested by many others whom I’ve answered similarly. It would be more constructive if you discussed what I am actually saying is the correct explanation of temperatures above and below the surface of Earth, and all observed and estimated temperatures in the Solar System. You can do your own research into what scientists believe the temperatures are in the core of our Moon.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you for replying to my post. Despite your apparent reading comprehension problem and unwillingness to answer direct questions and/or requests I’ve come to find them interesting but somewhat monotonous. Allow me to address some of your concerns first. You stated:

      “No John. You are forgetting that the surface of Venus cools by about 5 degrees during its night and then warms by the same amount during the day.”

      No Doug. I simply didn’t address the subject. YOU DID!!! You continued:

      “Fission, volcanoes or whatever do not operate only in the day. Their activity does not prevent the cooling at night, so we deduce it is not and internally generated energy that causes the daytime warming.”

      When did I ever claim that fission or volcanoes caused the small amount ( ~5 degree celsius flux )of day-time warming? What about the several hundred degrees centigrade of fairly permanent warming?

      Undeterred you further stated:

      “Nor is the Earth kept warmer on its sunlit side by nuclear fission. It is well known that energy coming from beneath the Earth’s surface is negligible.”

      The energy coming from beneath the Earth’s surface isn’t negligible. Go to Australia and observe their many underground homes kept at a uniform 72 deg F by that same negligible heat. The same negligible heat that provides energy to Iceland, communities in California and throughout the planet. If you drill down say 17 miles below the surface you’ll find the temperature will melt most any material you choose to employ and further drilling will prove difficult if not impossible to say the least all due to supposed negligible energy. In any case, I have not claimed that geo-thermal energy ( whether originally due merely to the mass and gravity of the planet and/or any fissile reactions or not ) to be determinant of Earth temperatures I referred specifically to VENUS!!! As to the sunlit side of our lovely planet Earth, NUCLEAR FUSION ( FROM THE SUN ) KEEPS IT WARM NOT FISSION!!!

      No doubt to impress me with your alleged brilliance you stated:

      “John, before you put forward more incorrect postulates, please understand that my research has extended over many thousands of hours in the course of recent years.”

      Since you have yet to disprove one word I stated, you might wish to clearly define what postulate you refer to. The only hypothesis I referred to involved the view that fissile reactions deep within the earth and/or other planets could fuel geo-thermal heat. That theory didn’t originate with me and you have not disproved it. Hopefully your not under the delusion that you have! As to the supposed many thousands of hours spent in recent years by yourself researching gravitationally induced temperature gradients I’m still waiting to see the productive fruits of such labor.

      You further stated:

      “It would be more constructive if you discussed what I am actually saying is the correct explanation of temperatures above and below the surface of Earth, and all observed and estimated temperatures in the Solar System.”

      That has already been addressed. As I mentioned I do not have any problem accepting what some call an adiabatic lapse rate and/or gravitationally induced temperature gradient. However, as I mentioned earlier and you failed to respond to it cannot explain the Venus temperature profile in the absence of volcanic activity since virtually the entire atmosphere and it’s accompanying trapped heat originated VOLCANICALLY!!! Moreover, you may wish to address my previous post where I provided Voyager data (not speculation) regarding temperatures on Uranus measured at 100 bar. The geo-thermal activity on Venus exceeds the Earth’s by orders of magnitude that proves seemingly incalculable and to treat them in the same way would be to deny massive empirical evidence. Remember the pyroclastic flows that apparently formed the Venusian atmosphere and continue to do so now enter the atmosphere at temperatures of 1000 degrees centigrade or 1830 degrees Fahrenheit and under 93 bar of pressure! Please explain how the energy requisite to such geo-atmospheric formation is (guffaw!) negligible.

      You stated:

      “You can do your own research into what scientists believe the temperatures are in the core of our Moon.”

      Why would I care what scientists believe lunar core temps are? In the absence of empirical observation it’s simply speculation like seemingly much of your claims.

      Have a great day!

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Doug,

        Earlier I stated:

        “The only hypothesis I referred to involved the view that fissile reactions deep within the earth and/or other planets could fuel geo-thermal heat.”

        Actually I may also have referred to the theory that nuclear fusion reactions in the sun provides the solar energy we experience as well. If I’ve stated any other theories please let me know.

        Have a great day!

      • Doug says:

        Well John, your speculation about there being energy in volcanoes sufficient to warm up the surface of Venus coincidentally with when the Sun is shining, but switch off at night is somewhat fanciful and certainly without evidence. And where are the volcanoes keeping the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere hotter than Earth’s surface?

        I’ll be watching for volcanoes that warm up Earth’s surface but only by day, because the Solar radiation of 161W/m^2 reaching its surface (but mostly passing through the surface layer of the oceans) is not what is doing it.

        All planets have energy that came from the Sun and has been trapped by gravity over the life of the planet under the temperature plot which has a gravitationally induced gradient.

        Planets are not still cooling off. Venus cools by 5 degrees in 4 months at night, but it warms back up by the same amount the next Venus day. Likewise all planets warm on their sunlit side and cool on their dark side.

        It’s all in my book which is only $5.95 on Kindle or AU $15.95 in paperback on eBay Australia.

  39. Doug says:

    Core temperature of Moon 1600 to 1700K according to …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_structure_of_the_Moon#Core

    You may not think it relevant, John, but that’s because you don’t understand the huge significance of the gravito-thermal effect. You rule out water vapour as warming Earth’s surface, but you have no explanation as to how the required energy gets into Earth’s surface, let alone the surface of Venus.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug,

      Your speculating again!!! You stated:

      “Core temperature of Moon 1600 to 1700K according to …”

      “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_structure_of_the_Moon#Core”

      Please read your own Wikipedia link. The full sentence regarding lunar core temperatures reads:

      “The temperature in the core is probably about 1600–1700 K.”

      Note the word “probably.” The temperature hasn’t been measured it’s conjectured from old seismic data. You then state:

      “You rule out water vapour as warming Earth’s surface…” When did I make such a claim?

      You go on:

      “…but you have no explanation as to how the required energy gets into Earth’s surface, let alone the surface of Venus.” Actually, I provided explanations involving geo-thermal energy, convection, radiation ( including solar energy ) and atmospheric pressure/temperature gradients. On the other hand, you’ve apparently denied the relevance of volcanic activity and input of mass/energy in the formation and continued development of the Venusian atmosphere.

      Have a great day!

      • Doug says:

        No, no, no. Geothermal energy on Venus or Earth is not sufficient to prevent their surfaces cooling at night. So how could it raise the temperature by day? It does not act only by day. The Venus surface warms 5 degrees by day because the Sun is shining, but not because of the Sun’s direct radiation to the surface, but because the solar energy absorbed in the cooler upper troposphere disturbs the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. According to the Second Law, there is a propensity to restore that equilibrium, and this means energy moves downwards and into the surface. It’s all explained with diagrams in my book.

        No, no, no. High pressures do not maintain high temperatures. It is gravity which sets up both a density gradient and a temperature gradient. Pressure just follows from that because pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density.

        If you still don’t believe me, then consider the nominal troposphere of Uranus and why it also exhibits very close to a -g/Cp temperature gradient. No surface, no volcanoes and no direct solar radiation – yet hotter than Earth’s surface at the base of its nominal troposphere.

        Regarding the Moon, there is no reason for there not to be a sub-surface temperature gradient as on Earth. This does not depend on any geo-thermal source. It is all to do with energy from the Sun trapped by gravity over the life of any planet or satellite moon.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Doug,

          You’ve made so many apparent mistakes it will take me time to address them all. For now, you made the claim:

          “No, no, no. Geothermal energy on Venus or Earth is not sufficient to prevent their surfaces cooling at night. So how could it raise the temperature by day? It does not act only by day. The Venus surface warms 5 degrees by day because the Sun is shining, but not because of the Sun’s direct radiation to the surface, but because the solar energy absorbed in the cooler upper troposphere disturbs the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.”

          Thank you for ignoring my previous comments, I never denied that solar energy raised day time temperatures and/or must be involved with the planets overall temperature. HOWEVER, YOU DID!!! Remember when you stated:

          “Radiation is not (and never could be) the primary determinant of planetary surface temperatures.”

          Of course, you later changed the statement. Don’t be confused and try to re-define my statements. As to your pressure statements, I’ll come back to them later.

          Have a great day!

          • Jerry L Krause says:

            Dear JohnKl:

            Good job. Doug is moving towards what is and not what he thinks it is. Hopefully you will allow me to become part of your discussion. Doug has responded to a few of comments as he usually does. But in doing so he makes statements that are indefensible and has to begin retracting them. Lewis began this by asking Doug to explain the diurnal temperature cycle if radiation is not a factor. To which Doug replied: “So the plot of temperature against altitude [within the troposphere] rises and falls between extremes which are parallel.” To which I replied that the data of atmospheric sounding show that what Doug described is seldom the case. To which Doug replied: “weather conditions will sometimes eclipse the overall picture.” And then Doug added: “Furthermore Jerry, you should not consider temperatures in the first two hundred meters above the surface, where radiation to the surface can affect the gradient substantially.” And Doug concluded: “Until you analyse and adjust data for water vapor and other considerations, and use a large amount of data you prove nothing.” The fact is the data to which I referred is voluminous and I certainly do not condone adjusting direct observations for any reason.

            John, please read my comments and critically examine them and then let me know what you thing,

            Best wishes, Jerry

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Jerry L Krause,

            Thanks for your reply. When I have a chance I will try to review some of your posts and get back to you later. It may take a while though. Thanks for your patience.

            You claimed:

            “The fact is the data to which I referred is voluminous and I certainly do not condone adjusting direct observations for any reason.”

            Doug has interesting things to state at times, but he seems to me sometimes to live in a theoretical construct that doesn’t account well for empirical/observational challenges. Review my post regarding his Venusian surface energy flux claims. Data should inform our theoretical constructs not the other way around.

            Good for you!

            Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Jerry L Krause,

            Please note earlier I stated:

            “Doug has interesting things to state at times, but he seems to me sometimes to live in a theoretical construct that doesn’t account well for empirical/observational challenges. Review my post regarding his Venusian surface energy flux claims. Data should inform our theoretical constructs not the other way around.”

            Please know Doug’s numbers did follow correctly from observed data and mine did not in the case I mentioned. I did not take Mercury’s elliptical orbit into consideration. Please reconsider Doug’s statement as well. It may be proper to adjust data if one wishes to arrive at values free of existing environmental factors. However, it should be remembered any such manipulation must be taken as speculative/conjectured absent actual observation of the conditions modeled. Thanks.

            Have a great day!

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Doug,

          You claimed:

          “No, no, no. High pressures do not maintain high temperatures. It is gravity which sets up both a density gradient and a temperature gradient. Pressure just follows from that because pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density.”

          Fascinating! However, you should know that PV = nRT (where P is the absolute pressure of the gas, V is the volume of the gas, n is the amount of substance of gas (measured in moles), R is the ideal, or universal, gas constant, and T is the absolute temperature of the gas) works outside of significant planet bound gravitational constraints. You’ll find it works in space as well. Gravity acts like a force constraining to an extent the volume and shape of a gas body. Notice the density limits and roughly spherical shape of Earth’s atmosphere as seen from space. In the absence of any forcible constraint how could gas pressure be meaningfully discussed?

          You go on:

          “If you still don’t believe me, then consider the nominal troposphere of Uranus and why it also exhibits very close to a -g/Cp temperature gradient. No surface, no volcanoes and no direct solar radiation – yet hotter than Earth’s surface at the base of its nominal troposphere.”

          Why do you assume that I disagree with the existence of a gravitational temperature and density gradient? I never claimed such a thing. In any case, your example of Uranus simply doesn’t seem to me a very impressive example since Earth temperatures are only reached at a pressure of 100 bar and upward!!! That pressure exceeds the surface of Venus.

          As to your comments about the sub-lunar surface on this post, who denies there exists a temperature gradient as one descends below the surface? If you have any data to substantiate anything one way or another we’d all love to see it!

          Have a great day!

  40. Jerry L Krause says:

    Dear Doug and JohnKl,

    Just a bit of advertising. I responded yesterday to Doug’s last post relative to what I had written. I suspect you will find that what I wrote is controversial enough that you both might be inclined to reply to it. Keep your dialogues going because I find them profitable.

    Best wishes, Jerry

  41. JohnKl says:

    Hi Doug,

    Once again I wish to ask you a question. Earlier you stated:

    “It needs an energy input of about 16,000W/m^2 for its temperature to actually rise, as it does by 5 degrees in its daytime.”

    Please provide SCIENTIFIC evidence for this claim. As I mentioned in my previous post:

    “You have claimed in the past that Venusian temperatures required a surface energy flux around 16000 w/m2. This appears ABSURD to me and likely others because Mercury achieves similar temperatures with a solar irradiance of approximately 9126.6 w/m2! Mercury manages to do this without the need of an atmospheric gravitationally induced temperature gradient via solar radiation.”

    Please Doug provide the evidence!

    Have a great day!

    • Doug says:

      You can work it out yourself. Read a physics text about the Stefan Boltzmann law. Google “Stefan Boltzmann calculator” and substitute appropriate values. With temperature 735K, solar radiation reaching surface maximum 20W/m^2 (measured by Russian probes dropped to the surface) and emissivity above 0.9 you get about that. Lower emissivity, perhaps 14,000W/m^2 – I don’t care. It should be obvious to anyone that direct Solar radiation of about 10% of that which the Earth’s surface receives is not what is raising the Venus surface temperature by 5 degrees when the Sun shines.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Doug,

        You stated:

        “With temperature 735K, solar radiation reaching surface maximum 20W/m^2 (measured by Russian probes dropped to the surface) and emissivity above 0.9 you get about that. Lower emissivity, perhaps 14,000W/m^2 – I don’t care.”

        Again Mercury reaches similar temperatures with a solar irradiance of 9126.6 w/m^2. If you wish to account for the curved surface the likely irradiance fall somewhere between the figure mentioned and half that amount. Try again Doug. You really should care.

        Have a great day!

    • Doug says:

      The mean temperature of Mercury is 167 degrees Celsius, far cooler than Venus, even though Mercury sometimes gets twice as close to the Sun and receives more than three times the solar flux. This is because Mercury does not have a significant atmosphere. Uranus is nearly 30 times further from the Sun than Earth. Yet the base of its nominal troposphere (which is 350Km high) is hotter than Earth’s surface.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Doug,

        You stated:

        “The mean temperature of Mercury is 167 degrees Celsius, far cooler than Venus, even though Mercury sometimes gets twice as close to the Sun and receives more than three times the solar flux. This is because Mercury does not have a significant atmosphere.”

        Yes, I know that Mercury lacks any substantially detectable atmosphere. My point remains valid since I am concerned with the day-time radiative energy flux not the peculiarities of atmospheric conditions. To repeat the radiative energy input required to obtain Mercury’s maximum daytime temperature of 427°C remains only 9126.6 w/m^2!!! Therefore, it remains more than strange you that you don’t re-evaluate the assumptive numbers you’ve inserted into your handy-dandy “Stefan Boltzmann calculator.” Gigo baby!!!

        Have a great day!

        • Doug says:

          No it’s not. You have quoted a mean solar flux. But the distance of Mercury from the Sun varies considerably and so the solar intensity varies as per the square of that distance.

  42. Doug says:

    I estimate the maximum solar flux reaching Mercury to be over 14,000W/m^2 which gives around 700K. No surprises.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Doug,

      Mea culpa! I apologize. You are correct. It seems I need to re-evaluate the numbers.

      TABLE 2. Solar Irradiance at the Planets
      Planet Solar Irradiance, W/m-2

      Mean Perihelion Aphelion

      Mercury 9116.4 14447.5 6271.1

      “The subsolar point reaches about 700 K during perihelion (0°W or 180°W), but only 550 K at aphelion (90° or 270°W).” – Wikipedia

      While Venus has an almost perfect circular orbit. Venus prove quite elliptical and I didn’t properly consider it. Thank you for the correction.

      Have a great day!

  43. Doug says:

    John and anyone else who really wants to learn about planetary surface temperatures and what causes them to be what they are, I very strongly recommend that you have a good long think about the temperatures in the nominal Uranus troposphere. The height of the troposphere is about 350Km and it has a near perfect temperature gradient very close to -g/Cp. There is no solar radiation getting down to the base of the Uranus troposphere but its temperature is 320K, rising slightly on the sunlit side and falling on the night side, just like Earth and Venus. How does the energy get down there and why is it trapped there? Answers in my book.

  44. Jerry L Krause says:

    Dear JohnKl, Doug, and any others,

    Because I found it very time-consuming to scan back to see if there have been any replies to my previous comments, I place this comment at the end.

    I had hoped you might have read my comments of 8/25/14 9:38PM and its principal focus—clouds. But it seems you have not. When atmospheres of planets are discussed it seems clouds are a forbidden topic since the word—cloud—is so infrequently mentioned. It seems R. C. Sutcliffe and Richard Feynman would disagree with this general failure to consider their easily observed presence.

    In my comments of the above date and time, I did not fully quote what Sutcliffe wrote about clouds on page 34 of Weather & Climate. “Long-wave radiation from the earth, the invisible heat rays, is by contrast totally absorbed by quite a thin layer of clouds and, by the same token, the clouds themselves emit heat continuously according to their temperatures, almost as though they were black bodies.” I did not quote this earlier because I do not know what evidence that Sutcliffe was using to support this comment. Instead I quoted his reference to the influence of clouds which had to have been obviously seen for centuries, if not millennia.

    I became interested in Venus almost 40 years age because near that time it was being promoted as proof (example) of the GHE (greenhouse effect) because of its carbon dioxide atmosphere. Totally ignored was its total and apparently perpetual cloud cover. It should not be controversial to conclude that this cloud cover is the reason (factor) that only 4% of the solar radiation (as mentioned by Doug), intercepted by Venus and its atmosphere, reaches its surface. It should not be controversial to conclude that this cloud cover is the reason that the planet’s albedo is has long been observed to be about 76%. From which we must conclude that 20% of the solar radiation is being absorbed somewhere within the cloud cover or below it.

    Now, while I do not claim that either Sutcliffe or Feynman are correct in what they wrote, it is a fact that both consider that the clouds are the factor which severely limits the lost of the invisible long-wave radiation being emitted by any matter (surface and/or atmosphere) below this cloud cover.

    Even though my comments are longer than many, I do try to be brief in hopes more might read them. As I previously wrote, I consider the give and take of these real comments very similar to those of the fictional characters employed by Galileo in writing his forbidden, classical, book and just as valuable for ultimately reputing false ideas which had, and have, long existed.

    Hopefully, you (Doug, John Kl, and others) will read this and reply with your thoughts.

    Best wishes, Jerry

    • Doug says:

      Certainly the percentage of cloud cover and the mean altitude of clouds has a bearing on natural climate cycles on Earth. Cloud formation may be affected by cosmic rays, which in turn may be affected by magnetic fields from planets. I say this because there is a strong correlation between ~1,000 year and 60 year natural climate cycles on Earth and the inverted scalar momentum of the Sun and nine planets.

      The surface of Venus would still be a similar temperature with or without clouds, because they don’t affect the mean temperature gradient that depends on the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases. That said, variations in albedo will raise or lower the whole temperature plot, but not by anything like 100 degrees.

      The atmospheres of Venus and Earth still absorb a significant percentage of incident solar radiation. In the case of Earth it is about 20%. This energy is mostly absorbed above the clouds, but some of it can and does make its way down towards and into the surface. If this did not happen, then the Second Law of Thermodynamics would not be functioning, as you will understand if you’ve read my book.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Hi Doug,

        Thank you for replying. You state that clouds have little or no influence upon the temperature of Venus’s surface. Yet you state this surface only gains about 5 degrees during its long day. Your statement can be turned around to conclude that this surface only cools 5 degrees C during its long night. Yet, the earth’s surface at a much lower temperature cools, given a cloudless atmosphere, cools almost 20 degrees C during less than a 12 hour night. Obviously, something must be inhibiting the radiative cooling of the Venusian surface which is not inhibiting the radiative cooling of the earth’s atmosphere. Is it gravity? Is it the GHE of the carbon dioxide atmosphere? Or is it the cloud droplets as explained by Feynman? Relative to the Second Law, I believe you are correct but this argument has been rejected by those whose minds you are attempted to educate. So I chose to waste my time entering into arguments. Because modern science is not based upon arguments, that was the science of the Greek philosophers who got so much wrong.

        Please keep replying and have a good day, Jerry

  45. JohnKl says:

    Hi Jerry L Krause,

    Clouds like all components of our atmosphere do affect the climate. I’ll have more to write later. As to Galileo you may want to research his difficulties with the church carefully. Most people do not and make erroneous assumptions.

    Have a great day!

    • Jerry L Krause says:

      Hi John Kl,

      Thank you for replying. I eagerly wait for your comments about clouds.

      I question why you seem to assume that I am unfamiliar with Galileo’s difficulties. Copernicus’s and Galileo’s difficulties were that they were refuting the long, long, held wisdom of the intellectual community which happened to be the church at that time. The church had established institutions of higher learning. Do you understand how hard it is for some people to admit they are wrong? I ask this because I noticed that you did admit to Doug that you were wrong. Hence you, like I, can, upon our thoughtful consideration of what others state, admit we were wrong because we had not considered all the information available. Therefore, you have no personal experience with not being able to admit you were wrong.

      But I wonder if you have read Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. A reason I wonder this is that I did not until near the end of my teaching career.

      You,too, have a good day, Jerry

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi Jerry L Krause,

        You made a number of points which I will attempt to address in the small amount of time available to me at this point in time.

        Regarding clouds you stated in a previous post to Doug:

        “Yet you state this surface only gains about 5 degrees during its long day. Your statement can be turned around to conclude that this surface only cools 5 degrees C during its long night. Yet, the earth’s surface at a much lower temperature cools, given a cloudless atmosphere, cools almost 20 degrees C during less than a 12 hour night. Obviously, something must be inhibiting the radiative cooling of the Venusian surface which is not inhibiting the radiative cooling of the earth’s atmosphere. Is it gravity? Is it the GHE of the carbon dioxide atmosphere? Or is it the cloud droplets as explained by Feynman?”

        Hmmh! Doug answered that question by positing the existence of a gravitationally induced temperature gradient. Keep in mind the Earth and Venus have very different atmospheres and not just in terms of volcanic/GH gasses vs diatomic earth gasses. Venus’s atmospheric mass is 93 times greater than Earth’s and since the mass of the two planets are roughly equivalent (Venus has a mass ~82% of the Earth’s) the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is ~93 bar. You mentioned something inhibiting the radiative cooling of the Venusian atmosphere. In fact, Earth and Venus have roughly equivalent adiabatic lapse rates (~9+ on Earth and ~10+ on Venus if I remember correctly). All things being equal greater atmospheric pressure should result in greater temperatures. For example, I live in California. Death Valley has the honor of having the world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded (somewhere around 134 deg F recorded in 1913 if I remember correctly). Death Valley frequently records temps in excess of 130 deg F even though surrounding desert areas record often 10 or more degrees cooler at 120 deg F. Why? Death Valley sits 230+ feet below sea level & experiences greater atmospheric pressure. Some kind of temperature differential will exist year round. As Doug pointed out correctly regarding Uranus experiences earth like temps year round at 100 bar of pressure. My claim simply involves the empirical observation that the entire mass and much of the atmospheric energy involved in Venus’s atmosphere is of VOLCANIC ORIGIN!!! He wishes to discount this fact and that remains and empirical obstacle imo to a full analysis.

        Btw, to me the net effect of clouds appears to be ambiguous. Earlier I mentioned Death Valley. The humidity their proves extremely low & during summertime from what I understand does not have unusually high cloud cover yet it records the hottest temps on earth and since it resides in the Northern hemisphere it does so at a time when SOLAR IRRADIANCE IS AT A MINIMUM!!! The Southern hemisphere records lower summer-time temps when SOLAR IRRADIANCE IS AT A MAXIMUM in part due to the greater humidity as a result of the greater ocean to land ratio.

        You mentioned:

        “I ask this because I noticed that you did admit to Doug that you were wrong.”

        Please note Doug kind of admitted his own error regarding the same issue. If you read through the posts he initially claims 16k w/m^2 required to generate the Venusian surface temps & later backs down to ~14k w/m^2 after I made a comparison between Mercury and Venus. My error simply involved not taking into account Mercury’s elliptical orbit, nevertheless Mercury does reach it’s high temps with less energy than Doug initially claimed. He brushed off the discrepancy but he has yet to account for it. A mea culpa seemed in order since I chided him about different claims, some of which I still seek answers to.

        As to Galileo I simply noted that many people make assumptive errors regarding the history and do not bother to acquaint themselves with the facts. In fact, Galileo was wrong. You stated:

        “Copernicus’s and Galileo’s difficulties were that they were refuting the long, long, held wisdom of the intellectual community which happened to be the church at that time.”

        Galileo at first simply regurgitated Copernicus’s Helio-centric Theory that the sun was not merely the center of the solar system but of the entire universe! Kepler later argued the helio-centric claim led should lead to a parallax issues with far off stars and galaxy’s and the failure of observations to substantiate it proves the claim to be false. Since that time most modern theorists have agreed with Kepler, Newton, Eistein etc. on this issue. The Church didn’t have much of problem with Copernicus (who himself was a Catholic Priest and Theologian) but did with Galileo. Why? Galileo did not merely postulate a theory he claimed the sun to be immovable. Modern theorists don’t view the sun as immovable and neither did the church especially in relation to scripture. I’ll provide documented quotes to substantiate my claims regarding the Church’s position if you like. When it comes to admitting one is wrong Galileo could have saved himself much grief.

        Have a great day!

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi Jerry L Krause,

          Please excuse my wording in the previous post. I was in a rush and it proves grammatically incorrect in parts, but I think you can still discern my meaning. If not please ask and I’ll try to explain.

          Have a great day!

        • Jerry L Krause says:

          Dear John Kl,

          Glad you claim to have the same problem as I. I obviously read right over any goofs and am reasonably sure I understand you fully.

          You bring up some very important issues regarding the various planets’ atmosphere’s and their atmospheric temperatures at various places. I had intended to write the following to Doug because he seems to be the one who most often refers to them. First, it needs to be acknowledged how different the three planets and their atmospheres are. Venus and the Earth are different from Uranus because Uranus has no surface. Venus and Uranus are similar in that their atmosphere’s are primarily heated at the top. While I do not know if carbon dioxide can be photo dissociated by certain high energy photon or particles emitted by the Sun, I know that hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen can because of what I read about the earth’s thermosphere. Because I read that Uranus is primarily composed of hydrogen and helium, I assume that of the fewer photons and particles capable of dissociating hydrogen molecules do the same there. When I checked what the albedo of Uranus might be, I discovered it was near that of Venus, but the cited value was followed by question marks. But the fact that we can see Uranus without great difficulty seems to suggest it must have a cloud overcast just as Venus does. Of what it is composed I claim little knowledge beyond what one can read.

          But I am fairly confident I can imagine that a cloud overcast that produces a significant albedo also significantly limits the passage of solar radiation through it. And if it significantly limit’s the passage of solar radiation through it, it really limit’s the passage of any invisible longer wavelength radiation being emitted by the much warmer matter below the cloud layer. So, given whatever temperature at the base of this top cloud layer, I would expect the atmosphere’s temperature to increase at lower altitudes according to the adiabatic lapse rate based on the planets gravity and the atmosphere’s average molecular weight. Just as Doug insists it should. And everyone should notice the key word—adiabatic.

          However, most of us can agree that earth’s troposphere is heated by the earth’s surface by various mechanisms (radiation, conduction, convection, diffusion, latent heats of condensation). Then we have the stratosphere which some generally consider has little to do with the weather of the troposphere. But I wonder, but not too much because there is much, not yet generally considered, as being more than minor factors which might influence the troposphere weather.

          A case in point. I have a simple, inexpensive, radiometer designed by Verner Suomi etal. During the summer at a latitude higher than that Death Valley, I can sit it on a level surface and at solar noon the temperature of its absorbing surface will rise to more than 220°F. This is because the absorbing surface is a very thin sheet of aluminum painted black and its window is two thin sheets of polyethylene wrap which obviously limits any energy lost by any mechanism other than radiation. The remainder of the radiometer is composed of extruded Styrofoam to limit conductive or convection heat lost. The factor which allows such a high temperature to be reached is the radiometer’s very little thermal inertia (minimal heat capacity?). Hence, the thermal inertia of Death Valley’s surface layer probably is a significant factor in its high temperatures.

          But C. Donald Ahrens describes another situation which might be a factor. I have never seen Death Valley, but what I imagine is a big hole in the ground with a flat bottom. C. Donald Ahrens, in his text Meteorology Today described how a very unstable atmosphere could form (I cannot find it at this moment or I would quote). The reasoning is simple, a hot, less dense parcel cannot be lifted from the hot surface unless there is some denser atmosphere to flow under the less dense parcel if the atmospheric condition is calm. A big, uniform, surface with a nearly equally hot valley walls seems a good candidate for such an unstable surface to form. The main question I must ask is of the thickness of this unstable layer would rise to the level of the thermometer. But again, it would be an issue of the system’s thermal inertia, which is in this case involves the quantity of the atmosphere being heated by the hot surface of Death Valley.

          Even though I am a physical chemist, I was expected to teach about the greenhouse effect 40 years ago in my chemistry courses. So, I was from the beginning a doubter, because I knew about the differences between sunny days and cloudy days and clear nights and cloudy nights referred by Sutcliffe.

          Enough for now. Deal with Galileo later because it too is important.

          Thank you so much for corresponding. Best wishes, Jerry

  46. Jerry L Krause says:

    Dear John Kl,

    Because my reply to your last comments would need far removed from your comments and I find it disconcerting to have to hunt hither and yon to find your next comments, I came back here. I will try to give you a heads up after you most current comments.

    I have been busy and plan to be away for the next few days. So I want you to know that you comments about photons and scattering did not scare me away. They did take me by surprise and I admit for awhile I was a little taken back (whatever that means). But with time I saw that you presented me with a wonderful opportunity.

    I read that Galileo stated (obviously translated by someone): “We cannot teach people anything, we can only help them discover it within themselves.” In the 1980s cognitive scientists, on the basis of their studies of learning, began to reach the same conclusion. Also at about the same time chemistry professors began to see that their current students could not perform at as high a level as their former students had. This even though these professors thought they were teaching as they always had. And there were national critics who claimed that chemistry professors were poor teachers.

    The obvious question relative to Galileo’s statement is: How do we help students to discover it within themselves? What you wrote was a surprise because clearly I judge you and Doug are well read and do address fundaments issues, unlike many of the others you make comments.

    So, near the end of my teaching career I was discovering important things that I did know before. And I have come to the conclusion that I tried to much to teach my students things and too little to help them discover it within themselves. But still the question remained:
    How do we help students to discover it within themselves?

    James Gleick in his biography of Feynman wrote (Chapter-Caltech, Section-All His Knowledge): “What we are talking about is real and at hand: Nature,” he wrote to a correspondent in India, who had, he thought, spent too much time reading about esoteric phenomena. “Learn by trying to understand simple things in terms of other ideas—always honestly and directly. What keeps the clouds up, why can’t I see stars in the daytime, why do colors appear on oily water, what makes the lines on the surface of water being poured from a pitcher, why does a hanging lamp swing back and forth—and all the innumerable little things you see all around you. Then when you have learned what an explanation really is, you can go on to more subtle questions.”

    So my question to you is would you be willing to become my experimental student to learn what an explanation really is?

    Best wishes, Jerry

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Jerry L Krause,

      Thank you for your reply. You responded strongly to my previous statement:

      “To me radiation represents radiated energy which apparently travels ( supported by empirically valid experiments conducted by Young and others )in waves and not billiard ball like particles scrambling hither and thither ( for which I have yet to see any evidence )”

      The very concept of mass-less particles seems to me a contradiction in terms and re-defining mass as “relativistic” mass doesn’t seem to help much.

      You asked:

      “So my question to you is would you be willing to become my experimental student to learn what an explanation really is?”

      Life will be viewed by some as an experiment. Feel free to ask me anything and if I deem the subject worthwhile I’ll participate but I don’t seek to bind myself to an ill-defined agreement.

      Please understand my concern regarding the existence of photons doesn’t derive from a prejudice. Many modern physicist including Carver Meade have similar views. Wikipedia states:

      “At least one scientist proposes that the duality can be replaced by a “wave-only” view. In his book Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of Electromagnetism (2000), Carver Mead purports to analyze the behavior of electrons and photons purely in terms of electron wave functions, and attributes the apparent particle-like behavior to quantization effects and eigenstates. According to reviewer David Haddon:[39]

      Mead has cut the Gordian knot of quantum complementarity. He claims that atoms, with their neutrons, protons, and electrons, are not particles at all but pure waves of matter. Mead cites as the gross evidence of the exclusively wave nature of both light and matter the discovery between 1933 and 1996 of ten examples of pure wave phenomena, including the ubiquitous laser of CD players, the self-propagating electrical currents of superconductors, and the Bose–Einstein condensate of atoms.

      Albert Einstein, who, in his search for a Unified Field Theory, did not accept wave-particle duality, wrote:[40]

      This double nature of radiation (and of material corpuscles)…has been interpreted by quantum-mechanics in an ingenious and amazingly successful fashion. This interpretation…appears to me as only a temporary way out…

      The many-worlds interpretation (MWI) is sometimes presented as a waves-only theory, including by its originator, Hugh Everett who referred to MWI as “the wave interpretation”.[41]”

      Please note if empirical observation clearly demands a particle view of nature I’m open to it. If you have the evidence provide it.

      I do have more to write but due to time constraints will state more later.

      Have a great day!

  47. JohnKl says:

    Wikipedia:

    “Carver Mead has developed an approach he calls Collective Electrodynamics in which electromagnetic effects, including quantized energy transfer, are derived from the interactions of the wavefunctions of electrons behaving collectively.[5] In this formulation, the photon is a non-entity, and Planck’s energy–frequency relationship comes from the interactions of electron eigenstates. The approach is related to John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, to the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory of electrodynamics, and to Gilbert N. Lewis’s early description of electromagnetic energy exchange at zero interval in spacetime.”

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Jerry L Krause,

      Please address the wave-only view in relation to wave/particle duality. Thank you for any effort in this regard.

      Have a great day!

  48. Jerry L Krause says:

    Hi John Kl,

    Of the names you mentioned, the only one with which I am familiar is Einstein’s. Relative to Einstein’s quote: “This double nature of radiation (and of material corpuscles) … has been interpreted by quantum mechanics in an ingenious and amazingly successful fashion.” What I understand Einstein questioned was not the double nature of radiation (and of material corpuscles) but the quantum mechanics where the mathematical results are often (always ?) a probability instead of something definite like E=mc2. Hence, the quote: “God does not play dice.” or something to that effect. Which seems to be the same type of mistake that Galileo made when he refused to accept the elliptical planetary orbits which were the results of Brahe’s careful, naked-eye, quantitative observations and Kepler’s laborious mathematical analysis of the these observations. I am a believer of the creator God and I know that I cannot pretend to know the mind of this all-knowing creator God.

    In Physical Chemistry (2nd Ed, Daniels and Alberty) I read: “Einstein postulated that in the primary photochemical process each molecule is activated by the absorption of one photon.” And in Physics (Marshall and Pounder) I read: “ If light shines on certain metal surfaces, electrons are ejected from the metal. This phenomenon has been known for over fifty years and is called the photoelectric effect. Investigations of it have revealed the following characteristics.

    (1.) The velocity of the photoelectrons ejected depends on the nature of the surface and on the wavelength or frequency of the incident light, but not on its intensity.
    (2) If monochromatic light … is used, the yield of photoelectrons decreases as the wavelength increases and falls to zero at a certain critical wavelength lc .
    (3) If the wavelength of the monochromatic light l lc , no intensity of illumination, however great, can produce any photoelectric emission.
    (4) When light is first incident on the surface, the emission (if any) starts instantly. … ect.“

    If you read conventional physics and/or physical chemistry textbooks I am sure you will find something like the history that which I omit. Reproducible observations forced the conclusion that radiation had to be quantized to explain what could be observed time again and a quanta of light became termed a photon of light.

    As I reread what you have recently written, I now see much is quotes from Wikipedia. Which means, I have discovered, one cannot know who wrote what. I believe I know who Doug is but I know I do not know who John Kl is. And you can trust I am Jerry L. Krause. My point is am I going to totally ignore what Nobel Prize Winners have written (stated) and seriously consider what unknown people have written? Especially when I see what I conclude seem to be contradictions in a single sentence. But I could be wrong. What I am sure about is you are directing my attention to
    esoteric phenomena before demonstrating that you understand simple things as Feynman suggested his correspondent in India to do.

    I repeat Feynman’s suggestion (and it is only a suggestion): “Learn by trying to understand simple things in terms of other ideas—always honestly and directly.” The key words, to me, are simple things and in terms of other ideas. I do not know what ideas you might begin to use to explain the simple observations listed by Feynman. But first I guess you would want to observe the observation to which he referred to make sure it is real. Then you would need to list the ideas of which you are aware that might apply to the phenomenon you are observing. Then honestly and directly evaluate each as it may or may not apply to the particular observation you are trying to explain. Because, to my understanding its explanation only requires that light is wave-like and different colors of light have different wavelengths and a knowledge of the phenomenon of reflection that occurs at the interface between two forms of matter which had different refractive indexes, I am sure you can explain “why do colors appear on oily water” or correct me if I have stated something incorrectly. This would seem a good example to begin with to help you understand what Feynman’s proposed, well defined, exercise is. But more directly related to the atmosphere are his proposed questions: What keeps the clouds up? and Why can’t I see stars in the daytime?

    Of course, you can always choose to not participate in the simple exercise which Feynman proposes. A couple of questions, relative to the issue of quantum mechanics, which I would propose are: how would you explain a snow flake? and how would you explain why ice floats on liquid water?

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Jerry L Krause,

      Please note I simply dispute the “particulate” label given to sub atomic phenomenon and I do not dispute the quantum nature of energy emission from matter. You claimed:

      “(1.) The velocity of the photoelectrons ejected depends on the nature of the surface and on the wavelength or frequency of the incident light, but not on its intensity.
      (2) If monochromatic light … is used, the yield of photoelectrons decreases as the wavelength increases and falls to zero at a certain critical wavelength lc .
      (3) If the wavelength of the monochromatic light l lc , no intensity of illumination, however great, can produce any photoelectric emission.
      (4) When light is first incident on the surface, the emission (if any) starts instantly. … ect.“”

      Note carefully what the data suggests. The fact that the photoelectric effect depends on wavelength/frequency suggests the effect depends on the quantum of energy relevant not due to the supposed particulate nature of the radiated energy. The fact that energy “intensity” proves irrelevant gives imo further evidence!

      When I have spare time I will get to many of the other observations you mentioned. Thank you for your patience and consideration.

      Allow me a theoretical/conceptual question. From my limited understanding of photons those who support the proposition claim that radiative wave energy travel inside quantum particles called photons. If so are radio wave quantum particles/photons the size of football fields? After all some radio wavelengths extend such distances.

      If you can help clarify the nature of such theoretical claims please do so. Thanks again and…

      Have a great day!

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