## How the Climate System Works (for Dummies)

January 23rd, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

No, I’m not talking about how the climate system has helped dummies make money off it.

I’m taking the occasion of continued pestering by our Aussie friend Doug Cotton, and questions I still get about his views, to go over the basics.

The atmosphere is complex enough that, from time-to-time, I try to explain the average operation of the climate system in as simple terms as I can muster. It’s actually quite difficult to simplify it.

I’m going to make some broad generalizations here, and my statements should be accurate to at least the 90% level. Maybe even 97% ðŸ˜‰ What follows is for the “global average” climate system.

The source of energy for the climate system is the sun, primarily in the form of visible sunlight.

About 30% of the sunlight which reaches the Earth is reflected back to space, and most of the rest is absorbed by the land surface and the upper 10 meters or so of the ocean.

The absorbed sunlight would cause the temperature of the land, ocean, and atmosphere to eventually increase without bound unless there were ways to lose the accumulated energy. The most important energy loss mechanism for the climate system as a whole is infrared (IR) radiation (yes, Doug, IR is also “electromagnetic radiation”, as is visible sunlight), which is how the Earth as a whole maintains energy balance and an approximate constant temperature: the total sunlight absorbed by the Earth equals the total IR energy emitted out to space by the Earth. Here “Earth” means the earth-atmosphere system.

Since the rate at which the Earth emits IR radiation goes up as the 4th power of the absolute temperature (measured in Kelvins), this provides the ultimate stabilizing mechanism for the temperature of the climate system. (There can be no “runaway greenhouse effect”. Even Venus has a stable temperature.) In crude terms, the sun warms the climate system up until it emits IR energy to space at the same rate it absorbs solar energy.

Anything that changes the balance between energy input and energy output of the Earth has the potential to change its temperature. This “energy-balance-determines-temperature” concept is basic physics, and is fundamental to the calculation of the temperature (or change in temperature) of anything, and is accounted for in the design of most energy-consuming devices humans have invented.

So, if clouds change, the temperature can change. Or, if the amount of IR-emitting and IR-absorbing gases in the atmosphere (primarily water vapor and CO2) change, the temperature can change. Anything that changes the rates of energy gain or energy loss can change global temperatures.

Now, a good portion of the solar energy that warms the surface causes convective air currents, which transport heat upward (not downward, as Doug claims), which then warms the troposphere. Evaporation of surface water is a major portion of this process: evaporated water at the surface absorbs the “latent heat of evaporation”, which is then released to the atmosphere when the water condenses into clouds and precipitation. This is what drives most clouds, all precipitation systems, thunderstorms, hurricanes, etc. They all convectively transfer heat from the surface to the atmosphere (not from the atmosphere to the surface)

Importantly, with this convective energy input into the atmosphere (and some direct sunlight absorption by the atmosphere), the atmosphere (specifically, the middle and upper troposphere) must have some way of losing this energy, or its temperature would also increase without bound. This cooling mechanism is accomplished by IR emission to outer space by those “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere I mentioned earlier.

But those gases don’t just emit IR radiation upward to outer space, they also emit downward, reducing the net IR cooling rate of the lower atmosphere and surface. (Sideways emission and absorption are almost exactly the same locally, and are the same in the global average, so are ignored). The net result of all of this up- and down-welling IR radiation is that greenhouse gases make the upper atmosphere cooler, and the lower atmosphere warmer, than they would otherwise be without those greenhouse gases. This was first demonstrated by Manabe and Strickler 50 years ago (a nice summary of their model is here).

I have often used the analogy of a blanket over your warm body. A blanket keeps the warm side warmer, and the cool side cooler, than if the blanket was not there. Yes, I know, a blanket primarily works by conduction, but in terms of energy transfer in general, the concept of the atmosphere as a “radiative blanket” is the same. (Real radiative blankets really are used in the design of some instruments flying on satellites, to help keep them from getting too cold when they are not in the sunlight.)

Not to belabor the point, but this is really important, and some people are creating confusion with their misinformation. The rate of energy input alone does not determine the temperature of an object, (Doug). If you can insulate the object sufficiently, you can elevate its temperature arbitrarily high with relatively little energy input. All you have to do is prevent it from losing energy as fast. Temperature is determined by rates of energy gain and energy loss.

Due to greenhouse gases, the rate at which a layer of the atmosphere absorbs IR is relatively independent of its temperature; but the rate at which it loses IR is very dependent on temperature. Thus, layers of the atmosphere are, in general, not emitting IR at the same rate they are absorbing IR.

If not for the emission and absorption of thermal IR by different layers of the atmosphere, we would not have the IR temperature sounders on satellites that provide atmospheric temperature structure data on a global basis that have greatly improved daily weather forecasting. Nor would John Christy and I be able to monitor the temperature of different layers of the atmosphere due to the (extremely weak) thermal microwave emission by oxygen in the atmosphere.

In fact, without the greenhouse effect cooling the upper troposphere and warming the lower troposphere, the atmosphere would not become convectively unstable, and weather as we know it would cease. Sunlight and IR radiation transfers, by themselves, “try” to make the troposphere very unstable to convection, and it is the resulting convective overturning that makes the tropospheric lapse rate somewhere between the dry adiabatic value (9.8 deg C/km) and moist adiabatic (~6 to ~9 deg. C/km).

This is key: without IR absorption and emission by the atmosphere, surface heating by the sun would eventually warm the atmosphere to the same temperature as the surface, and such an “isothermal” atmosphere cannot support convection. The observed tropospheric temperature profile (warm below and cool above) is mostly the result of convective overturning, responding to constant destabilization by surface heating combined with middle- and upper-tropospheric IR cooling to outer space.

Yes, gravity is important to the whole process – but not in the simplistic way a few people think. Gravity is indeed a necessary part of determining what the dry convective lapse rate is, but that lapse rate only occurs in response to convective overturning, which in turn requires the greenhouse effect to destabilize the atmosphere in the first place.

The equations representing all of these physics can be put into a time-dependent one-dimensional model (we and many others have done this) that computes temperature changes at hundreds of different levels throughout the atmosphere. You can initialize the model at absolute zero temperature, or 1,000 Kelvin, it doesn’t matter…the resulting equilibrium temperature profile the model settles down to when it is run looks almost identical to the observed temperature profile.

Until someone does the same time-dependent modeling with their “alternative” physics (which are supported by laboratory measurements, as are [for example] the IR absorption properties of various gases), their hand-waving about gravity explaining lower atmospheric temperatures should be taken by non-specialists with a huge grain of salt. Specialists already ignore it entirely.

I realize the above explanation is too technical for some. But the atmosphere is an amazingly complex place, and atmospheric radiative transfer isn’t easy to grasp with intuition alone. I’ve been down the road of questioning the standard explanation of the “greenhouse effect”, and convinced myself it is, indeed, real.

But whether our ~1% enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect after 100 years of burning fossil fuels will cause enough warming to worry about is another matter entirely.

### 515 Responses to “How the Climate System Works (for Dummies)”

1. Bret says:

“Thus, layers of the atmosphere are, in general, not emitting IR at the same rate they are absorbing IR.”

So I think I understood most of the post. The above sentence is true because of convection, right? Otherwise, if the layers were generally static, the unbalanced absorption would cause them to heat or cool infinitely?

• yes, the difference is due to convective heat transfer between layers and a small amount of direct solar absorption by the air.

2. This is correct! No question about it.

If this were not the case I could not ever come up with a theory as to why the climate may change.

My theory is based on the premise Dr. Spencer presents about how the climate of the earth works in the first place.

The question remains not on how the climate system works but what causes it to change and by how much?

• Planetary_Physics says:

What causes it to change is explained at the top of the Home page at http://climate-change-theory.com – so read it like over 2,670 other have, including about 100 linked from this blog.

• Aaron S says:

Salvatore, is ‘YOUR’ theory published… i d sincerely like to read it.

• Geoff wood says:

Ok Roy. This is not meant to be derogatory sir. However, THIS is ‘climate science for dummies’. And this is how it goes. This is your blog sir, undeniably, so you can choose to allow this ‘cheeky’ intervention, or delete it. Your call.

1) at equilibrium, the Earth will radiate to space in the long wave the equivalent of the short wave thermalised.

3) the calculable effective grey body temperature required to satisfy point ‘1’ is NOT A SURFACE TEMPERATURE, due to the fact that the atmosphere emits radiation.

4) from a weighted mean of emitters of calculated emissivity we can calculate an effective mean radiative height. As a mean, the effective mean grey body emissive temperature ‘appears’ to radiate above the surface of the Earth at the effective mean radiative height.

5) having determined point ‘4’ we can then derive through projection the equilibrium surface temperature through the appropriate gravitationally driven lapse.

Within this we have to acknowledge that the atmospheric ‘gases’ are low emissivity. All gases are poor radiators. Increasing the number of radiators by number density increases the atmosphere’s ability to lose energy to space at the same temperature OR emit the same from a lower temperature. Radiative transfer always acts to drive a system towards being isothermal. It cannot, by spontaneous process ‘produce’ a gradient.

Regards.

• gbaikie says:

— Geoff wood says:
January 26, 2015 at 3:17 PM

Ok Roy. This is not meant to be derogatory sir. However, THIS is ‘climate science for dummies’. And this is how it goes. This is your blog sir, undeniably, so you can choose to allow this ‘cheeky’ intervention, or delete it. Your call.

1) at equilibrium, the Earth will radiate to space in the long wave the equivalent of the short wave thermalised.

3) the calculable effective grey body temperature required to satisfy point ’1′ is NOT A SURFACE TEMPERATURE, due to the fact that the atmosphere emits radiation.

4) from a weighted mean of emitters of calculated emissivity we can calculate an effective mean radiative height. As a mean, the effective mean grey body emissive temperature ‘appears’ to radiate above the surface of the Earth at the effective mean radiative height.

5) having determined point ’4′ we can then derive through projection the equilibrium surface temperature through the appropriate gravitationally driven lapse. —

Hmm, Seems like another way to explain the Greenhouse Effect
theory.

As recall some saying it’s suppose radiate at 7-9 km.
So say 7 times 6.5 is 45.5 C.
So you have believe that doug says- greenhouse cools rather than warm.
That’s probably a good reason why it’s not explained this way.

• Geoff wood says:

gbaikie. The temperature today from AMSU satellite at 7.5km is -35.8degC. So if you think that this is a reasonable effective mean radiative height then 7.5×6.5= 48.75. So the surface equivalent temperature is therefore -35.8 + 48.75 or 12.95degC. Ignoring inter atmospheric radiation. That is a reasonable estimate of surface temperature on Earth through estimating mean water vapour concentration.

No room for 33deg of radiative enhancement as written in GHG hypothesis.

3. Joe Born says:

Roy Spencer: “without the greenhouse effect cooling the upper troposphere and warming the lower troposphere, the atmosphere would not become convectively unstable, and weather as we know it would cease.”

I’m afraid you didn’t dumb it down quite enough for me.

I understand that a completely non-radiative atmosphere would not dump heat at altitude. But wouldn’t the periodically differential heating of the surface drive some atmospheric circulation anyway? Or is conductive heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere too slow to cause an essentially adiabatic expansion and rise?

Here’s my naive view. A location where the surface is preferentially heated (say, because it’s daytime and clear) conducts heat to the air above it, which expands and rises, leaving in its wake low pressure that draws air across adjacent, cooler surface regions, where air that has returned from aloft returns heat to the surface.

I’m sure that’s wrong, but I’m not sure why.

• yes, the day-night heating cycle would cause some sort of circulation, as would the equator-to-pole temperature difference. But it might end up being very weak and large-scale, as in the stratosphere where there is strong diurnal heating of ozone by the sun, and an equator-to-pole temperature difference.

But we really don’t know what it would look like…I doubt that anyone has ever run a global climate model with no IR emission-absorption by the atmosphere. It would probably take a lot of fiddling to make it work because of parameterizations they use which are based on real atmospheric conditions, not imaginary ones

• Planetary_Physics says:

The temperature gradient evolves in all planetary tropospheres throughout the universe (and below any solid surfaces also) because of the process described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics whereby unbalanced energy potentials tend to vanish. If you had isothermal conditions (even in an imaginary tall sealed insulated column of air) you would have huge unbalanced energy potentials because of the additional gravitational potential energy at the top. See this comment below.

• Frank says:

As strange as it seems, the kinetic energy of gas molecules in an isolated vertical column does not decrease with height, even though individual molecules gain kinetic energy as they rise and fall. When molecules collide frequently enough, there will be (1/2)*kT of kinetic energy in all three directions for a monoatomic gas.

Certain aspects of the behavior of gases are not obvious from the conventional laws of physics. This behavior emerges only when a large number of molecules collide frequently. Statistical mechanics was developed to explain this emergent behavior. For example, everyone knows that gases cool when they expand. What happens to that kinetic energy? If you aren’t using physics capable of explaining why gases cool when they expand – and simple ideas about conservation of energy of individual molecules isn’t good enough – then you won’t arrive at the correct answer.

At the website below, you can experiment with varying numbers of gas molecules in a 2D environment: expanding or when gravity is “turned on”.

http://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/md/InteractiveMD.html

• Geoff wood says:

Hi Frank. You say,

“For example, everyone knows that gases cool when they expand.”

No, they don’t know it.

If a gas expands without doing any work against gravity or containment pressure then this, ‘free expansion’ is an isothermal process. View the kinetic distribution at a later time and it is the same because no energy is dissipated by this process.

On Earth when the atmosphere expands it is ‘because’ energy is being added and the temperature ‘increases’ as the density decreases under near isobaric conditions.

A perfect gas cools as a result of doing ‘work’ against forces and that can be viewed as the statistical summation of kinetics of molecules exchanging momentum or thermodynamically through the gas laws (derivable from kinetic theory). That ‘work’ is the result of its containment.

On Earth the vertical thermal profile is an inevitable consequence of the atmosphere’s gravitational containment.

• Frank says:

Geoff: Go to the website with the interactive molecular dynamics simulator and experiment for yourself. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_dynamics) Put different numbers of monoatomic gas molecules in a small volume, warm it up to some temperature, and let it equilibrate. Then pause the simulation and increase the volume of the box (10-fold is possible). Watch what happens to the mean kinetic energy (i.e. temperature) of the molecules when only a few are present and when hundreds are present. Where does the kinetic energy of the molecules go when you expand the volume of the box and a large number of molecules are present? Conservation of [kinetic] energy isn’t enough to explain what one observes – you need to include thermodynamics: dU = TdS – PdV. Statistical mechanics explains how the thermodynamic properties such as entropy and PdV work emerge from the behavior of large numbers of rapidly colliding gas molecules following the laws of physics. If you ignore entropy and PdV work, you get wrong answers.

The simulator allows you to see what happens if you suddenly “turn on” gravity in a system that was in equilibrium without gravity. You can see the average gas molecule falling to the bottom of the box, warming up near the bottom of the box as some potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and producing a density gradient from the bottom to the top of the box. However, the kinetic energy gradient that initially develops quickly disperses as collisions equally distribute the kinetic energy throughout the box. As with the expansion of a gas into a vacuum, the phenomena you can watch is difficult to understand in terms of conservation of energy alone, but easy to understand once thermodynamics is added.

• Geoff wood says:

Hi Frank, thanks for the reply.

Frank the issue with the simulator is the box. The box interior becomes part of the dynamics of the particulate system. The particles bounce off the walls. The iterative calculation has to account for the method by which the box changes volume. In the real world with a piston in a cylinder altering the volume then it is obvious that ‘reducing’ the volume requires a force to be applied to the piston. The force acting over a distance increases the energy content of the gas. Work (energy) is force times distance, as you know. Pressure is force per unit area, pressure times volume is energy, from (F/d^2)xd^3 and we are back at force times distance. So ‘decreasing’ real world volume adds energy if the ‘box’ is perfectly insulated. The converse of this is true for the simulator. The iteration allows the box volume change to come from the particulate kinetics doing thermodynamic work against its environment. If it didn’t then the kinetics would have to remain constant because conservation of energy is not just a ‘suggestion’. It is a fundamental concept.

Free expansion, ie the expansion of a gas with no self gravity or interaction is an isothermal process, by definition. Bremsstrahlung radiation is produced by inelastic collision losses. Without collision monatomic molecules struggle to lose their kinetic energy so the expansion doing no work against retardation forces carries on indefinitely increasing volume without altering kinetic distribution (temperature).

As for the effects of gravity being redistributed by the normalisation of collision frequency, then we can do an order of magnitude estimation of the effects we might notice.

The mean thermal velocity is available from 1/2mv^2=1/2kT.
Substituting the mean molecular mass for air and a temperature of 288K we can calculate the mean thermal velocity to be 285m/s.

The maximum lapse is the dry air lapse of around 10K/km. if we make our ‘box’ 100m tall then the top, gravitationally driven to be 1K cooler or 287K would exhibit a mean thermal velocity of 284.6m/s.

So a ‘box’ with a 100m vertical dimension would require you to be able to determine a 0.14% variation in mean velocity by eye, not thermometer.

So I am not disagreeing that within certain volumes the normalised effects of gravity upon a distribution can be visually lost. However, the required velocity change in a massive volume, still recordable by thermometer, is only a small change in the mean thermal velocity recorded by the eye in a simulator.

Regards.

• Joe Born says:

Many thanks. I see I hadn’t paid enough attention to “as we know it.”

• Dr Spencer is correct that the largest heat transfer from the surface is evaporation of water (oceans and lakes make up about 70% of the earth’s surface and the absorptivity & emissivity of water is around 0.95. However, he did not mention that something like 30% of all radiation from the surface goes directly to space and this radiation is occurring from all surface around the globe all the time while in coming radiation only covers less than half the globe at any time. The other thing Dr Spencer did not highlight is that the gas and water droplets/particles (in clouds) can only transfer heat to the surface if the surface temperature is less than the temperature of a particular layer in the atmosphere. Many have noticed and reported ice forming in puddles and water troughs on clear nights when atmospheric temperatures close to the surface ave been above zero C. That is due to radiating directly to space. If one takes the average temperature of CO2 in all layers of the atmosphere, considers the small concentration and the narrow wavelength of absorption it should be clear that CO2 can have no effect on surface temperature, The absorptivity formula derived by Prof Hoyt Hottel (see chapter 5 of the Chemical Engineering Handbook) results in such a small figure that it is unmeasurable. More CO2 in the atmosphere can only result in a tiny unmeasurable increase of radiation from the atmosphere to space. Climate studies focused on gases in the atmosphere are a waste of money.

4. Hmmm says:

Don’t blankets work primarily by reducing convection (not conduction)?

• both. whatever. the point remains the same.

• Bart says:

These blankets work by impeding radiation.

5. I have to say it again this explanation put forth by Dr. Spencer is explained so well and is so SENSIBLE.

6. …on pins and needles waiting for Doug to tell me I’m wrong of course.

• Planetary_Physics says:

I already have refuted what you wrote Roy in plenty of comments.

You are wrong, Roy, on two key issues …

(1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that an isothermal troposphere, because it would have unbalanced energy potentials (with more gravitational potential energy at the top) would not be the state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy. More molecules would “fall” than rise, and their mean temperature rises as they fall between collisions. A temperature gradient forms autonomously in every planetary troposphere, whether or not there is any significant movement of the gases involved.

(2) You assume that radiation of a certain intensity (like a mean of 168W/m^2 into Earth’s surface) could raise the temperature of a target indefinitely, whereas I have pointed out that no radiation heats a target above the temperature of the source (if close) or the effective temperature based on the reduced flux of a distant source. If radiation from a distant source is attenuated by distance or absorption, its Planck function is lowered and it “looks” to a target just as if it is a cooler body close by which is radiating with the same intensity and Planck function. The radiation will not in any circumstances raise the temperature above the effective temperature. We calculate the maximum temperature using the integral of the Planck function if the radiation is full spectrum.

The electromagnetic energy in any “excess” radiation that comes from a source that has an effective temperature less than the temperature of the target merely resonates and gets immediately re-emitted with the same frequency and intensity. In effect it is just as if it had undergone diffuse reflection. It does not deliver any thermal energy to the target. IR-active gases have no more effect on it than they do on the incident radiation. No one talks about them “trapping” radiation reflected from the surface. The pseudo-scattered radiation is similar.

Furthermore, even artificially, you cannot construct a filter which would allow the incident radiation to pass and not this pseudo scattered radiation which has the same wavelength and intensity. You need to understand that, from Earth’s surface, the Sun (on average) “looks like” a close radiating body at a mean temperature of only -41°C. On Venus it looks far colder still. How hot do you get from a camp fire that is a kilometer away?

You know from your own temperature records since 1998 that it is possible to have slight net cooling over such a period, despite even higher CO2 levels than we had in the 30 years prior to 1998 when the 60 year cycle was rising and the ~1000 year cycle was also rising. Carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it. You also know that water vapor does not warm the surface by over 10 degrees per 1% in the atmosphere, as the IPCC would like you to be gullible enough to believe.

The rest of my response is in comments herein, and in our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com and, in more detail, in my book which you could have read early last year.

• Joe Born says:

Although I agree with you that if it could reach equilibrium the atmosphere would essentially be isothermal, I was recently accused of masquerading as him because I argued that a popular proof of that proposition was invalid in that it relied on an indeterminate assumption.

Because of similar experiences I have succumbed to morbid fascination at the degree to which people so apparently learned in the physical sciences can be so bereft of logic.

• Planetary_Physics says:

If you are referring to the type of invalid “proof” published on WUWT then there is a comprehensive refutation on the “WUWT errors” page on our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com and you are wrong in assuming isothermal conditions would prevail. There is no indication of any tendency towards such in any planetary troposphere. Furthermore there have been over 800 experiments this year confirming that isothermal conditions even in sealed cylinders are not the equilibrium state. The best evidence of a force field causing a temperature gradient is in the cross section of a Ranque Hilsch Vortex tube, as I explained in the Wikipedia talk pages on that tube. I also provided calculations confirming the -g/Cp temperature gradient in that Vortex tube.

The evidence in the Ranque Hilsch Vortex tube quashes Roy’s and the IPCC’s conjecture regarding isothermal temperatures.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Correction: 800 experiments this century

• Joe Born says:

Oops! “Masquerading as him” should have been “being him”, i.e., that he was masquerading as someone called Joe Born.

I don’t deny that the isothermality conclusion is essentially correct; I just think that the proofs I’ve seen based on finding perpetual motion–or, in the case of Duke Professor Robert G. Brown’s silver-wire proof, perpetual net heat flow–are fallacious.

But it happens that the papers I cited as providing a better proof do conclude that there’s an incredibly tiny but non-zero equilibrium gradient in mean molecular kinetic energy, and all these PhDs tie themselves in knots pointing out how small that gradient is–when that is exactly what I’ve said myself. Yes, the conclusion at which those papers arrive is essentially the same as the one at which the silver-wire proof does. But that doesn’t make the silver-wire proof’s reliance on perpetual net heat flow valid.

• Planetary_Physics says:

(1) The Ranque Hilsch Vortex tube creates a huge centrifugal force field which thus causes there to be very different temperatures in the cross-section. The difference in temperatures represents the expected -g/Cp temperature gradient due to the gravito-thermal effect.

(2) Roderich Graeff has carried out over 800 experiments this century demonstrating a temperature difference in insulated sealed cylinders. He got his physics wrong (incorrectly multiplying by the degrees of freedom) but his experiments appear to have been well constructed.

(3) Without the gravito-thermal effect you cannot explain any planetary temperatures for any planet with a significant atmosphere.

(4) The gravito-thermal effect is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics as explained here.

• Planetary_Physics says:

And yes Joe, I read your comment on the Blackboard and of course DeWitt is always wrong on such matters, as he tows the IPCC garbage truck along with him.

I don’t agree that the gravito-thermal effect is minuscule in a planet’s troposphere, crust, mantle or core.

The gravito-thermal effect creates the “dry” temperature gradient in the troposphere and then inter-molecular radiation between IR-active molecules has a temperature leveling effect that reduces the gradient by about 35% in moist regions on Earth. That’s why water vapor cools the surface from temperatures that otherwise might have had a mean close to 300K.

The existence of the temperature gradient and the density gradient can both be deduced from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Any composite system just tends towards a new state of thermodynamic equilibrium with a gradient based on the weighted mean specific heat. Because the temperature gradient is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium it is of course a stable state. The consequent downward convective heat transfers then explain all planetary temperature data as outlined here.

7. geran says:

It looks like the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is moving more into reality than ever. It’s “come a long way, baby” from the early days. I liked your pointing out that the atmosphere can NOT overheat the Earth. {There can be no “runaway greenhouse effect”.}

But, I kinda miss some of the “oldies”, like “back-radiation” and “trapping heat”. It was kinda nostalgic to see the “blanket” and referring to GHE as an independent energy source. [In fact, without the greenhouse effect…warming the lower troposphere…}

Someday, when we finally figure out exactly how the atmosphere works, we will wonder why anyone ever came up with the “greenhouse effect”!

• A lot of the confusion (e.g. “trapping heat”) has been from trying to translate physical equations into descriptive concepts with words. The equations are precise, the words are often ambiguous.

“Greenhouse effect” was always a rather poor term. But then so is “ocean acidification”.

• Planetary_Physics says:

The “blanket” is the 98% or more of the Earth’s atmosphere that is nitrogen, oxygen and argon, because these molecules cannot radiate and thus rid themselves of thermal energy acquired by conduction, diffusion and convective heat transfer. The holes in the blanket are the IR-active molecules like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane that can and do transfer thermal energy to higher, cooler IR-active molecules in the troposphere, and also transfer electro-magnetic energy direct to Space. (Water vapor cools: empirical evidence confirms that rain forests are not 30 degrees hotter than drier regions at similar latitude and altiude.) Radiation that strikes warmer targets does not transfer thermal energy to them. See my March 2012 paper on radiated energy and the Second Law.

• Planetary_Physics says:

No, you are WRONG about that ROY

When radiation comes from a cooler source it merely temporarily raises electrons between energy states and then they immediately drop back and emit an identical photon, meaning that this “pseudo scattered” radiation is similar (energy wise) to that which undergoes diffuse reflection.

If the original energy came from the Sun, then only some of it will undergo this resonating process unless the temperature of the surface is already above what the solar flux could achieve as per Stefan Boltzmann calculations. So what comes back from the surface is no different from that corresponding portion of the solar radiation that entered and resonated.

None of the energy in resonating radiation is converted to thermal energy, and that is why and how the Second Law works for every one way independent passage of radiation. The Second Law can never be applied to two or more independent processes as ought to be obvious.

The Sun’s radiation cannot raise even a black body to a higher temperature than indicated by black body calculations. If it did we would all die on a sunny summer day – in the tropics anyway.

• wrong. Their thermal energy is transferred to the surrounding molecules faster than they can emit an IR photon.

Doug, your pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo sometimes makes me wonder whether you are pulling our collective leg.

• gbaikie says:

— Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
January 26, 2015 at 1:17 PM

wrong. Their thermal energy is transferred to the surrounding molecules faster than they can emit an IR photon. —

So I have heard, and quite a bit faster.

But it occur the fastest in most dense air [less
significantly in warmer air].
Yes?

How fast is it at 6+ km elevation?

• KR says:

Numbers might be useful here, something that Doug (currently writing as Planetary_Physics) tends not to present.

Average time between the excitation of a CO2 molecule (vibrational/rotatinoal) and emission: 10^-6 seconds. Collisions per second between that CO2 molecule and others at sea level pressures: 10^9 per second.

That means an average of 10^3, or 1000, collisions before that CO2 molecule can emit any excess energy. Therefore that energy is shared with the surrounding gases rather than re-emitted at a 1000:1 ratio, warming the air mass. And quite _separately_, a certain number of GHGs in the mix will emit across their emission spectra at a level determined by the gas temperature.

These are virtually never the same molecules, or at the absorbed photon energy. This is _not_ a single molecule pass-through – Doug’s re-radiation of “an identical photon” is one of (but hardly the only) more absurd assertions he makes.

Going one step further, the effective emission altitude at any particular wavelength is roughly that where an upwards emitted photon has a 50% chance of making it to space. Higher GHG concentrations in the atmosphere as a whole mean that the total absorbing molecules over any particular altitude increase, raising that effective emission altitude, which by the lapse rate will (initially) be cooler – imposing a radiative imbalance that warms the entire atmosphere until those altitudes are warm enough to emit in balance with total climate energy input.

Based on experience, my rule of thumb is that if Doug makes a physical claim, I can be _quite_ certain that claim is wholly wrong. His consistency in this matter is quite impressive.

• Planetary_Physics says:

I have “finally figured it out” and you can’t prove my physics wrong, or the extensive data which supports the hypothesis.

8. phi says:

Roy Spencer,
Very good. But theory and models are based on an additional assumption: “convection is what determines the temperature gradient of the atmosphere” (Ramanathan et al., 1978). This assumption is unfounded. Yet it is only this assumption which allows the introduction of the stupid concept of GHG forcing. The gradient is determined by all heat flows thus also by IR flux.

• Yes, “the gradient is determined by all heat flows and IR flux”. And that’s the way the climate models are run…they do not “assume” a lapse rate, the lapse rate is a *result of* all of the various heat flows. That’s why different models produce different values for the “lapse rate feedback”…they end up with somewhat different lapse rates after additional radiative forcing.

• phi says:

Roy Spencer,

“And that’s the way the climate models are run…they do not “assume” a lapse rate, the lapse rate is a *result of* all of the various heat flows.”

Not exactly :

“As Ramanathan and Coakley pointed out in their 1978 paper, convection is what determines the temperature gradient of the atmosphere but solving the equations for convection is a significant problem – so the radiative convective approach is to use the known temperature profile in the lower atmosphere to solve the radiative transfer equations.” (http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/04/).

Equations are solved for a given temperature profile.

It is not possible to model the addition of insulation on one face of a building by a heating power, as well we can not model the addition of GHG by a forcing.

• StuartL says:

I disagree with the notion that, lapse rate is dependent on convection, I am certain that in a stable atmosphere (without convection) lapse rate would still exist, temperature does not flow from warmer dense atmosphere to cooler less dense atmosphere, because they have the same entropy.

• phi says:

Thus: the radiative structure of the atmosphere is not supposed to have any effect on the gradient. This is a themodynamic nonsense. Differences in gradients depending on model results are from phenomena related to convection and in particular related to absolute humidity.

• Planetary_Physics says:

“they do not “assume” a lapse rate”

In other words, the models completely ignore the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. See other comments of mine in this thread and/or our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com because

“The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

—Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

• Planetary_Physics says:

“somewhat different lapse rates” – what a joke! And how do they prove that increasing water vapor raises the surface end of the temperature plot but at the same time reduces the magnitude of the gradient so that there is then far more area under the temperature plot, and so radiative balance with the Sun is thrown way out of kilter. Errrrr ????

9. Planetary_Physics says:

These comments are endorsed by our new group (“Planetary Physics”) of persons with qualifications in physics.

Roy wrote: “The absorbed sunlight would cause the temperature of the land, ocean, and atmosphere to eventually increase without bound unless there were ways to lose the accumulated energy.”

That’s not the way radiation works. There are always ways to loe energy. A source of radiation can only raise a target to its own temperature at the most (if it is very close) and to a much lower maximum temperature if the intensity of the radiation is attenuated due to distance. You need to study the physics propounded by Nobel Prize winner Max Planck, originator of quantum theory. The solar radiation being absorbed by the Earth’s surface has a mean of about 168W/m^2 and such radiation would only raise the temperature of a perfect blackbody to -41°C. The mean temperature of the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere is raised to about -18°C because the atmosphere itself absorbs about 20% of the insolation. (Thus you might think a planet’s troposphere would get colder at lower altitudes.) This is the much cited 255K figure which is roughly correct. There are errors due to the fact that you don’t get an exact mean temperature using a mean flux. But whatever the correct temperature is, it is a maximum to which the Sun can raise the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system.

• wrong, Doug. With constant solar input, the temperature can be raised arbitrarily high depending upon how fast (or how slowly) the surface is allowed to cool. Greenhouse gases largely determine that rate of cooling. Basic thermodynamics.

• Bart says:

I think you may overstepped there a little, Doc. The temperature can be raised arbitrarily high for all practical purposes, but it can never be raised above the temperature of the Sun itself.

• Planetary_Physics says:

The effective temperature of solar radiation for Earth is that which corresponds with the solar constant (1360W/m^2) because Earth is not butting up against the Sun. At the top of Mt Everest there are rocky outcrops that probably receive over 1100W/m^2 on a clear day in the middle of summer, because it is only 4 degrees of latitude outside the tropics and at least half way up the troposphere. The maximum theoretical temperature would be over 100°C with that radiation. It could never get hotter in a billion years, and of course has not reached anywhere near that temperature because of the gravitationally induced temperature gradient which is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Footnote: If there were no IR-active molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, then the gravitationally induced temperature gradient would be -9.8C°/Km and the mean surface temperature (based on 340W/m^2) would be about 5°C. The height of Mt Everest is 8,848 meters and so its mean temperature would be about 5 – (9.8 x 8.848) = about -82°C. There is evidence supporting this physics on the “Evidence” page at http://climate-change-theory.com

• Bart says:

There is no temperature associated with something in W/m^2. Watts is a measure of power, not energy. See below. Temperature is related to stored energy via heat capacity.

The SB relationship can give the temperature of the surface of a blackbody radiating heat in watts, but the Earth is not a blackbody. It has a significant chunk of its surface radiation intercepted and blocked by IR gases in the atmosphere, mostly by water vapor, but also CO2. This reduces its emissivity, which raises its temperature for a given bulk output radiation level.

A couple of ways in which additional CO2 in the atmosphere could fail to heat the planet are:

1) If added CO2 actually does not decrease the emissivity – the relationship between pCO2 and emissivity is not necessarily monotonic

2) Feedbacks with other emissivity modulating processes, notably water vapor, or with input modulating processes, like clouds, are negative, and act to counteract the heating which otherwise would ensue

There may be others. Given that the surface temperature data show no sign of having increased specifically in response to rising CO2, it is plain that there are underappreciated regulating processes in action.

• Planetary_Physics says:

There is a maximum temperature for a black body associated with any given radiative flux. It is calculated from the integral of the Planck function, namely by Stefan Boltzmann calculations.

However the Earth’s surface does not meet the definition of a black body, so all we can say is that -41°C is the maximum temperature to which solar radiation of 168W/m^2 (on its own) could raise the temperature.

But Solar radiation is not the only thermal energy input into Earth’s surface. What does account for the temperatures on all planets is explained in our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com

• Planetary_Physics says:

“This reduces its emissivity”

No it doesn’t. Reflection by clouds, atmosphere and surface increases albedo to about 30% and so we use 70% of the solar constant 1366W/m^2. That is then spread over four times the area (area of sphere is 4 x area of circle with same radius) but we then use emissivity 1.00 for the remaining insolation, but this is only applicable for the whole Earth+atmosphere system. The calculations give 0.7(0.25 x 1366) = 239W/m^2 and the S-B temperature for that mean flux (from S-B) would be 254.8K which we all agree upon, although it is a little inaccurate to calculate mean temperature from mean flux.

• Bart says:

“There is a maximum temperature for a black body associated with any given radiative flux.”

You have it backwards. There is a unique temperature associated with a black body for any given radiative flux. There is a minimum temperature associated with a grey body for any given radiative flux, and a lower bound for that minimum is the black body temperature. An upper bound for the temperature depends on the relationship between albedo and emissivity, but it can be as high as the source.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Wrong Roy. Read some basic First Year University physics. Do you want to throw out the Stefan Boltzmann Law and the related work by Nobel Prize winner Max Planck? There’s no surface and no solar radiation at the base of the 350Km high nominal troposphere of Uranus, but it’s hotter than Earth, although 30 times further from the Sun. And, no, there’s no convincing evidence of any significant energy generation in the small solid core thousands of kilometers further down.

• Planetary_Physics says:

“wrong, Doug.” ???

No, wrong Roy. For more detail see point (2) in this comment and other comments by others and myself.

• Chris says:

“Doug”

you are completely wrong, because the Gravitation never determines the temeparature. Simple for you: without Insolation the T goes right to 0K with any Gravitation or pressure you like.

• Planetary_Physics says:

You are wrong again Roy because you don’t understand the physics.

Greenhouse gases have no effect upon the rate of cooling by conduction, convection and evaporative cooling which do two-thirds of all the surface cooling as per the original NASA net energy diagrams. These rates increase and nullify any slowing of radiative cooling, because the whole Earth plus atmosphere will stay in radiative balance with the Sun.

That is why it is quite impossible for water vapor to raise the surface temperature when we know it reduces the temperature gradient. If WV did warm the surface and reduce the gradient at the same time, then radiative balance would not exist by a long shot. That never happens. In fact you can produce no convincing evidence of any significant radiative imbalance over the whole period since 1998. After all, the surface has not experienced net warming in that period.

See also my comment explaining why you are wrong about radiation continuing to add thermal energy indefinitely. It does not do so because above a cut-off temperature the incident radiation is pseudo scattered and its energy is not converted to thermal energy.

Give up Roy, read the website and learn what’s really happening.

• Mike Flynn says:

You said –

” With constant solar input, the temperature can be raised arbitrarily high depending upon how fast (or how slowly) the surface is allowed to cool. Greenhouse gases largely determine that rate of cooling. Basic thermodynamics.”

I find this hard to believe. Expose two bodies at the same distance to a 5500K heat source at the same distance a song as you like. Try 150 million kms, say. Measure the temperature the bodies achieve. Now wrap one body in the finest insulator you can find. Repeat the experiment.

You will find the insulated body achieves a steady state temperature no higher than the uninsulated one. The temperature of the uninsulated body cannot exceed that of the body directly exposed to the energy source. Hence the fact that the surface of the Moon reaches higher temperatures, given the same absorptivity, emissivity, starting temperature and so on, after the same time interval, than on Earth.

The Earth’s polar regions are lit by the same temperature Sun for six months at a time. They do not get very hot. Even allowing for the reduced rate of solar radiation due to the angle of incidence, six months is quite a lot longer than four hours in the tropics, where a temperature of some 85C can be achieved on a surface exposed to the unconcentrated rays of the Sun.

The blanket analogy is flawed. A block of ice wrapped in a blanket does not warm up. A container of water at 99C will not spontaneously boil, regardless of how well insulated it is. An insulator consists of matter, and obeys the laws of thermodynamics. If hotter than its surroundings, it will cool. If cooler, it will warm.

Talk of heat trapping, accumulation, or storage involves semantic folderol, and has no scientific or factual basis.

The Earth probably had an atmosphere containing 99%+ CO2, at a pressure of 100 bars or so.

The oceans still managed to form, the crust still managed to cool, and here we are.

Global warming? I think not, and it seems that Nature, logic, physics, and satellite remote temperature sensing – at least – seem to be in agreement.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• JohnKl says:

Hi Mike Flynn,

Thank you for the post. You stated:

“Hence the fact that the surface of the Moon reaches higher temperatures, given the same absorptivity, emissivity, starting temperature and so on, after the same time interval, than on Earth.”

Lunar daytime temps reach ~100 deg Centigrade plus. Satellites placed into orbit reach similar temps. Earth’s very much cooler surface temps owe a great deal to convective cooling by it’s atmosphere, from what I’ve come to learn.

Thank you and…

Have a great day!

• Gordon Robertson says:

@Roy…”Greenhouse gases largely determine that rate of cooling. Basic thermodynamics”.

There’s nothing in classical thermodynamics about the greenhouse effect, Roy.

According to Richard Lindzen, it is convection that largely determines surface cooling. He claimed the surface temperature would rise to 72C without convection.

10. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

Good points in the article. I have myself wondered how an atmosphere without GHG would behave and how the temperature on Earth would be. Maybe you could elaborate a bit on how an atmosphere without GHG, but with clouds would work.
Know it is special because water vapor is an effective GHG, but clouds are nearly solid so they must have some IR effect.

• Planetary_Physics says:

If you are still wondering about an atmosphere without GH gases read this comment and this website.

11. jimc says:

“The very greatly exaggerated predictions (orange region) of atmospheric global warming in the IPCC’s 1990 First Assessment Report, compared with the mean anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue straight line) of three terrestrial and two satellite monthly global mean temperature datasets since 1990.
“The measured, real-world rate of global warming over the past 25 years, equivalent to less than 1.4° C per century, is about half the IPCC’s central prediction in 1990.
“The new, simple climate model helps to expose the errors in the complex models the IPCC and governments rely upon. Those errors caused the over-predictions on which concern about Man’s influence on the climate was needlessly built.
“Among the errors of the complex climate models that the simple model exposes are the following –
“[……….]
“Once errors like these are corrected, the most likely global warming in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration is not 3.3 °C but 1 °C or less. Even if all available fossil fuels were burned, less than 2.2 °C warming would result.

Peer-reviewed pocket-calculator climate model exposes serious errors in complex computer models
Jan 21, 2015
http://phys.org/news/2015-01-peer-reviewed-pocket-calculator-climate-exposes-errors.html#firstCmt
http://www.scibull.com:8080/EN/abstract/abstract509579.shtml#

• Planetary_Physics says:

Yes, but Monckton doesn’t understand thermodynamics either. Water vapor cools as explained here.

CARBON DIOXIDE COOLS FOR THE SAME REASON, BUT BY LESS THAN 0.1 C°IN TOTAL.

• Planetary_Physics says:

When the effect of the superimposed 60 year cycle is correctly removed the long-term increase is of the order of 0.5C° per century as shown in the plot in the Appendix here.

12. Planetary_Physics says:

Then you write: “Now, a good portion of the solar energy that warms the surface causes convective air currents, which transport heat upward (not downward, as Doug claims), which then warms the troposphere.”

You don’t know that. Consider the planet Uranus. The only region the weak solar radiation can “warm” is around the methane layer near the very top of its atmosphere. It is “warmed” to a very cold 59K (-214°C) and yet it is in fact the only significant heat source for the whole planet system which is in radiative balance with the Sun at this 59K temperature. Over the life of the planet thermal energy resulting from solar radiation has transferred downwards by convective heat transfer that is carrying out the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This physics is explained in our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com and in more detail in the book.

Now, the temperature gradient in the nominal troposphere of Uranus is calculated in the same way as for Earth and Venus. It is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium that the Second Law says will evolve. We know that from a correct understanding of physics, because if gravitational potential energy changes then so too does entropy, and it is entropy which the Second Law says will be maximized. This is the physics which climatologists ignore. There is no surface at the base of that nominal troposphere of Uranus, but it’s 320K (47°C) down there, and about 5000K in the small solid core that is 55% the mass of Earth and thousands of kilometers further down.

Likewise on Venus the solar radiation can only raise the temperature of regions that have temperatures less than about 400K which is comparable with the maximum temperature of our Moon. But a location on the equator of Venus actually rises in temperature from about 732K to 737K during the four-month-long sunlit period. This simply cannot be explained by radiation from a less hot troposphere. It can only be explained by downward convective heat transfer, which you won’t learn about in climatology textbooks.

The core of our Moon however is far hotter for the same reason that downward conductive heat transfers below the surface maintain the temperature gradient that is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

There is similar evidence of the gravitationally-induced temperature gradient in the tropospheres of every planet with an atmosphere. Is it just a huge coincidence that they all have the temperature gradient we can calculate from the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases, liquids and solids in these planets? Note, however, that the final state of thermodynamic equilibrium has an environmental temperature gradient due to the temperature leveling effect of inter-molecular radiation. Thus water vapor reduces the magnitude of the gradient (aka lapse rate) by up to about 35%, and on Uranus the gradient is reduced by only about 5% to 10%.mostly by inter-molecular radiation between methane molecules.

• Norman says:

Doug,

Where are you getting the surface temperature of Uranus from? What I found is this (not an actual surface but what they call a surface down there).
“The average temperature of the surface of Uranus is 49° Kelvin or -224° Celsius.”

Are you sure the 47 you are using as C was not already in Kelvin units and your source had 47K not 47C as you have turned into a much greater value by many degrees?

http://planetfacts.org/temperature-on-uranus-a-cold-cold-planet/

• Planetary_Physics says:

I didn’t call it a surface: I referred to the base of the nominal troposphere which is 350Km high. There is a small solid core 55% the mass of Earth thousands of kilometers further down where we would expect the temperature to have climbed to about 5,000K. There are several sources, but this will suffice. I calculated the temperature gradient in the troposphere to be about 95% of the -g/Cp value.

• Planetary_Physics says:

PS: Once again, you and others could have read about Uranus and our hypothesis and supporting evidence on our group’s website that over 2,700 have visited this month.

13. Bart says:

“Temperature is determined by rates of energy gain and energy loss.”

This seems to be the crux of the misunderstanding for far too many people. Part of the problem, I think, is the sloppy practice of calling the input temporal flux of energy just “energy”, instead of power. They then mistakenly apply the concept of energy conservation to power.

All things being equal, an increase in outward opacity should increase surface temperatures. It’s that “all things being equal” that’s the rub.

14. Planetary_Physics says:

Now, as Roy writes: “the dry adiabatic value (9.8 deg C/km) and moist adiabatic (~6 to ~9 deg. C/km)”

Indeed yes! And this is the last nail in the GH coffin.

The reduction in the temperature gradient in any planet’s troposphere is caused by inter-molecular radiation. Latent heat plays only an insignificant role.

But we know that radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere rarely varies outside the range of ±0.5% because the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system does in fact act like a near-perfect black body. It is water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane etc that help keep the radiative balance, but if they did not exist the whole system would simply radiate the required flux from the surface. That surface, without clouds or an absorbing atmosphere, would receive a mean of one quarter of the Solar constant (1360/4)W/m^2 and its black body temperature would thus be 278.3K (5°C) and there would still be the gravitationally-induced temperature gradient in its troposphere. It cannot possibly be isothermal because of what the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us about the propensity to maximize entropy. Note that the 5°C is somewhat inaccurate (due to the T^4 relationship) and it could well be more like 14°C which the IPCC says is the current mean surface temperature.

But getting back to the temperature leveling effect of water vapor, consider the IPCC claim that water vapor raises the surface temperature by most of that “33 degrees of warming” they claim from their incorrect 255K figure which would not be the surface temperature without IR-active gases. Think about radiative balance: how could the temperature plot be raised at the surface end and also then have a less steep gradient in the troposphere? Clearly this would make a major change to the area under that graph, and so radiative imbalance would be way out.

But we don’t observe “way out” radiative imbalance in moist regions, because in fact the temperature profile rotates about a pivoting altitude so as to maintain radiative balance by keeping the area under the plot much the same. That is why water vapor causes the supported surface temperature to be lower. There is a study in the book (based on 30 years of temperature and precipitation data from three continents) that shows that inland moist regions have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than to drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.

So what is the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapor? It is not 10 to 15 degrees per 1% as the IPCC claims, but negative. The coffin is ready to be lowered to its grave.

15. JohnKl says:

Hi Roy,

Thank you for this post it clarifies many issues. You stated:

“Since the rate at which the Earth emits IR radiation goes up as the 4th power of the absolute temperature (measured in Kelvins), this provides the ultimate stabilizing mechanism for the temperature of the climate system. (There can be no “runaway greenhouse effect”. Even Venus has a stable temperature.) In crude terms, the sun warms the climate system up until it emits IR energy to space at the same rate it absorbs solar energy.”

“Anything that changes the rates of energy gain or energy loss can change global temperatures.”

and finally…

“This is key: without IR absorption and emission by the atmosphere, surface heating by the sun would eventually warm the atmosphere to the same temperature as the surface, and such an “isothermal” atmosphere cannot support convection. The observed tropospheric temperature profile (warm below and cool above) is mostly the result of convective overturning, responding to constant destabilization by surface heating combined with middle- and upper-tropospheric IR cooling to outer space.”

The final paragraph seems to me clear agreement with a point I’ve made many times. The GHG’s cool the atmosphere, not merely the upper-troposphere and stratosphere. Yes GHG’s may absorb some IR ( CO2 at only a few small narrow badwidths ) but in addition they increase the radiative dissipation rate at all levels of the atmosphere including the rate of emission to space and through increased convection the rate at which energy moves to TOA and eventually emitted.

Forgive me but I’m uncertain as to how this allows much warming. Solar radiation in the visible spectrum increasing surface temperatures of the earth emitting primarily in the infrared hardly surprises anyone. However, thermal IR emitted from the surface significantly effecting atmospheric GHG temps when they already emit in the same bandwidths doesn’t seem as significant. As you’ve admitted by reference to Stephan-Boltzman there can be no runaway greenhouse gas despite the propaganda from those who describe Venusian temps as evidence of such. Please help me understand where my thinking needs improvement. You’ve been very helpful thanks for the post.

Have a great day!

• IR radiative transfer is not intuitively obvious.

An IR absorber is also an IR emitter…BUT….the rate of *emission* is very temperature dependent, while the rate of *absorption* is not.

When the surface emits IR upward, some (actually, most) is absorbed by GHGs in the atmosphere. That is re-radiated both up and down by the atmosphere, but at a lower temperature. As a net result, LESS is lost by the surface to space, and so the surface becomes warmer than if the GHGs were not in the atmosphere.

Again, GHGs both absorb (warm) and emit (cool), and the net result on temperature ends up being to keep the warm side of the atmosphere warmer, and the cool side cooler.

This agrees with theory and with observations.

• JohnKl says:

Hi Roy,

Thank you for your further clarification. Recently, I read that pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels absorbed some 95% of the IR within their few small bandwidths. In addition, it all apparently gets absorbed within a few meters of the surface. Their doesn’t appear to be much energy left to absorb no matter how much CO2 gets added. Moreover, additional CO2 will only INCREASE the rate at which energy gets processed and emitted (read removed) from the atmosphere. Given these facts it seems more than reasonable that we fast approach some asymptotic limit line above which further temp increases become impossible to observe no matter how much CO2 gets added. Has anyone calculated such a limit?

Thanks and have a great day!

• KevinK says:

Dr. Spencer wrote;

“IR radiative transfer is not intuitively obvious.”

That seems like a fair enough summary, I cannot disagree.

“An IR absorber is also an IR emitter…BUT…the rate of *emission* is very temperature dependent, while the rate of *absorption* is not.”

Also correct, the rate of emission is determined by the temperature and the rate of absorption is determined by how much LWIR arrives to be absorbed.

As an aside, how exactly does a GHG “saturate” and stop absorbing anymore energy (the basis of the alleged log relationship) when the “rate of absorption” is not dependent on temperature?

“When the surface emits IR upward, some (actually, most) is absorbed by GHGs in the atmosphere. That is re-radiated both up and down by the atmosphere, but at a lower temperature. As a net result, LESS is lost by the surface to space, and so the surface becomes warmer than if the GHGs were not in the atmosphere.”

Here is the problem, the radiated energy (IR or LWIR) does not have a temperature, photons do not have mass, and temperature is only a characteristic of things with mass. You cannot absorb 1 milliJoule into a GHG molecule and only emit 0.75 milliJoules out because the GHG is at a lower temperature than the surface. This violates the laws of thermodynamics. This would be a perpetual motion machine.

“Again, GHGs both absorb (warm) and emit (cool), and the net result on temperature ends up being to keep the warm side of the atmosphere warmer, and the cool side cooler.”

Ah yes Maxwell’s Demon, those wily CO2 molecules are smart enough to only let the “cool” photons pass on towards space and know how to keep the “warm” photons right here at the surface. Amazing molecules those GHG’s are.

Sorry, Dr.Spencer but your explanation is incorrect.

Cheers, KevinK.

• jimc says:

Kevin, on your last two paragraphs:
Maxwell’s Demon? The lower-atmosphere/earth and upper -atmosphere both radiate IR toward each other. The lower-atmosphere, being warmer, radiates more than the upper. There is a NET energy transfer upward. In the troposphere, the major heat source is at the bottom (solar visible radiation heating the earth).

• KevinK says:

jimc, exactly, “there is a NET energy transfer upward”, the “radiative greenhouse effect” acts to COOL the Earth’s surface.

Without the radiative gases (CO2, water vapor, gaseous unicorn emissions) the Earth would reach a higher maximum temperature than it does, just like the Moon.

Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment about a “thermal rectifier” that only lets heat pass in one direction.

As we now know heat always travels to the coldest location it can find. The thought that a gas with minimal thermal capacity (CO2 in the atmosphere has about 8 orders of magnitude LESS thermal capacity than the Oceans) is determining the temperature of the Ocean’s is insane.

Cheers, KevinK.

• Mike Flynn says:

KevinK,

You are correct, I believe. Left to itself, without any external radiation source, an atom will achieve its natural state – that is, absolute zero.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Mel Famie says:

“atom will achieve its natural state – that is, absolute zero.”

Third Law.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Radiation from a colder troposphere does not set the Earth’s surface temperature. It can slow radiative cooling, but it cannot slow evaporative cooling or conduction, convection etc. Nor does it affect the supporting temperature at which the cooling almost stops in calm conditions in the early pre-dawn hours. You cannot calculate the surface temperature from radiation anyway because it is not a black body. But you can calculate the maximum possible temperature.

Not even the 168W/m^2 of solar radiation can raise the surface temperature to observed levels. Besides, most of the radiation from the atmosphere is from water vapor and we know that water vapor reduces the slope of the temperature gradient. Hence, for radiative balance with the Sun to continue (as it does) the surface end of the temperature plot lowers.

It’s not hard to understand why water vapor cools, and the more there is the more it cools. Temperature data from the real world proves it does and there’s still $5,000 on offer to anyone who produces a study along the lines of that in my book (which cost me over$3,000 to publish by the way) that shows water vapor warming by at least 10 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere and which proves the physics wrong in that book.

The website http://climate-change-theory.com gives an outline of the physics.

Are you gullible enough to believe the implicit IPCC claim that water vapor warms by over 10 degrees for each 1% Roy?

Yes or No, Roy?

• gbaikie says:

“When the surface emits IR upward, some (actually, most) is absorbed by GHGs in the atmosphere. That is re-radiated both up and down by the atmosphere, but at a lower temperature. ”

Or about 1/4 goes up, and 1/4 goes down and 1/2 goes sideways.

• Planetary_Physics says:

The radiation goes in all directions. So what? Thermal energy in any one-way passage of radiation only ever transfers from warmer sources to cooler targets. The explanation takes about 10 pages in my paper here.

16. Planetary_Physics says:

How the Climate System Works (as explained by Dummies)

Step 1: Change the Second Law of Thermodynamics so that it ignores the effect of gravitational potential energy on changes in entropy. Or (for dummies) disregard the fact that the corollary of the Second Law about heat transfers from hot to cold only applies in a horizontal plane where gravitational potential energy is constant.

Step 2: Disregard the fact that nitrogen, oxygen and argon hold over 98% of the thermal energy in Earth’s atmosphere. Disregard the fact that it is water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane which acquire thermal energy from these other air molecules (that were warmed by conduction from the surface or by diffusion) and then radiates that energy to Space. Then they acquire more energy by diffusion from these other air molecules and radiate that to space etc etc.

Step 3: Disregard the fact that the Second Law for radiation does indeed only allow one-way thermal energy transfers from warmer to cooler regions. (Molecules resonate to radiation from cooler sources and do not convert that electro-magnetic energy to thermal energy.)

Step 4: Disregard the fact that the Second Law applies only to individual independent processes or a combination of dependent processes. If this were not the case then you could use the Second Law to “prove” that water could flow up a creek on one side of a mountain provided that it flows further down another creek on the other side. That is analogous to the IPCC claim that radiation from the colder atmosphere can help the Sun to raise the surface temperature above the -41°C which I explained in an earlier comment above.

As I recommended, Roy, stick to weather posts, because you have no valid understanding of thermodynamics, despite your “A” in such. My experience over about 50 years in helping undergraduates understand physics far surpasses yours in thermodynamics I would suggest, and there is a lot you and climatologists need to learn.

17. Roy is correct you are wrong.

• Planetary_Physics says:

I only respond to those who are capable of intelligent discussion of the thermodynamics of a planet’s atmosphere and sub-surface regions.

Are you gullible enough to believe Roy’s and the IPCC’s implicit conjecture that water vapor warms the surface by at least 10C° for each 1% in the troposphere?

Yes or No Salvatore?

• David A. says:

Salvatore Del Prete, 11/23/2010:

“…here is my prediction for climate going forward, this decade will be the decade of cooling.”

http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/andrew-dessler-debating-richard-lindzen/#comment-8875

18. jerry l krause says:

Guys, you may not believe this but I was in the process of responding to a comment that Gordon Robertson (2014 as the Mildest Year, at 12:15 1/22/2015) had wrote in response to Joel Shore’s comment when I read this posting of Roy, which clearly defines what he understands (or believes). So I do not add a thing to what I had written, but will later make specific comments to certain of Roy’s statements. Plus, I do not need to give any background as to what Doug Cotton regularly repeats.

When Gordon stated: “Conduction and convection involve the transfer of heat through gases using all air molecules.”, he drew attention to a very critical point. First, convection must be the result of the action of some heat engine. The Second Law to which much attention is directed (and the general focus of what Gordon wrote) is the result of an analysis of the theoretical ability of a heat engine to do useful work (convection). A heat engine requires a fuel.

Relative to the earth, R. C. Sutcliffe (Weather & Climate) wrote: “The interior of the earth is certainty hot, very hot, and its core molten, but for all the effect this has upon the weather it can be completely ignored. Here and there, it is true, in volcanoes and hot springs the internal heat is locally noticeable but, with these exceptions, the heat of the earth, generated by the radioactivity of its mineral substances, is sealed within by the crust and mantle of the earth and leaks out into the oceans and atmosphere at an entirely negligible rate: it is the sun and only the sun that keeps us warm. Were the sun entirely to fail us … the oceans would freeze over in a matter of weeks and the temperature of the earth’s surface would gradually fall away to near absolute zero by radiating its heat into the emptiness of space.” It would seem the same could be said for any planet and its atmosphere. So the sun is the principal fuel for atmospheric convection.

Richard Feynman taught (The Feynman Lectures on Physics): “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.

It is said that Galileo (as translated by someone) stated: “I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.” Anyone who has regularly read Roy’s posts and the comments they generate must be familiar with Doug Cotton. Because Doug considers that much of what I state to be a waste of his time, I no longer attempt to share my thoughts, or those of others, with him. But we know that Doug regularly draws attention to the atmospheres of Venus and Uranus because the temperatures at the base of their ‘tropospheres’ far exceeds that which could be supported by the sun’s radiation.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Planetary_Physics says:

“So the sun is the principal fuel for atmospheric convection” Correct.

<i?"Conduction and convection involve the transfer of heat through gases using all air molecules" Correct. Add: in all accessible directions away from a new source of thermal energy.

“First, convection must be the result of the action of some heat engine” (Well some new thermal energy absorbed, for example, by Earth’s surface or by absorption of incident solar radiation in the upper troposphere after dawn.) Correct.

“leaks out into the oceans and atmosphere at an entirely negligible rate” Not actually correct. We know a location on Earth can cool several degrees in a day. So the Earth has had plenty of time to cool off. The nuclear energy generation is not necessary to keep the core of a planet or moon hot, and it is insufficient on its own. The core of our Moon is about 1300°C for example, but this does not need energy generation by nuclear sources for the reasons I have explained. Considering how cold it gets (below -200°C) on the dark side, the Moon would certainly cool right down (even in its core) if the Sun’s radiation somehow stopped.

You see, you people think in the wrong paradigm, basically because you don’t understand thermodynamic equilibrium. You are left with numerous dilemmas throughout the Solar System for which you cannot explain the energy flows, whereas I have done so in all cases, including Earth, with valid physics.

To my knowledge only one other author has published (independently) the physics which explains the downward convective heat transfers that restore thermodynamic equilibrium. So don’t expect to find out about this 21st century breakthrough in climate science elsewhere.

• gbaikie says:

“Were the sun entirely to fail us … the oceans would freeze over in a matter of weeks and the temperature of the earth’s surface would gradually fall away to near absolute zero by radiating its heat into the emptiness of space.” ”

At fall equinox, the arctic circle falls into darkness and it takes more than “a matter of weeks to freeze over”
And the oceans of world have average temperature of about
3 C. How energy would need to be loss to lower it by
1 C?
Total mass of hydrosphere: 1.4 x 10^21 kg
Times that by 4.204 KJ is 5.8 x 10^21 kj
Or 5.8x 10^24 joules [watts seconds]

Plus lets add in the energy of atmosphere
Atmosphere gases are traveling at around 400 m/s
KE= mass 1/2 times m/s square
Total mass of atmosphere: 5.1 x 10^18 kg

Say we lower velocity by 100 m/s [which really really cold but it’s not close to absolute zero]
2.55 x 10^18 times 10000. Or 2.55 x 10^24 joules [watt seconds]

The earth radiate 240 watts per square meter.
and there is 510 million square km.
Or 510 trillion square meters. 5.1 x 10^14 meters
And times 240 watts is 1.2 x 10^17 watts per second.

5.8x 10^24 divided by 1.2 x 10^17 is:
4.8 x 10^8 seconds
or 480 million seconds.
30 days has 2.59 million seconds.

So, if in tropics after a month of stars, it’s still not very cold- certainly not ocean freezing.
In temperate Zone it depend upons on the season- e.g winter or summer. But regardless it’s probably very windy. And either nippy and or very cold weather.

• gbaikie says:

“5.8x 10^24 divided by 1.2 x 10^17 is:
4.8 x 10^8 seconds
or 480 million seconds.”
Correction: 4.8 x 10^7 seconds
48 million seconds.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi gbaikie,

You need to remember that when the sun does not shine on the polar areas it is still shining on the lower latitudes. Hence, when the massive cold air mass moves toward the lower latitudes some of its vacated space must sometimes, if not always, replaced by warmer atmosphere from the lower latitudes. Soundings in the polar regions indicate that a subsidence inversion is commonly present during its long, long night. So, we can reasonably conclude that the vacated space is being filled by atmosphere previously lifted high into the atmosphere by thunderstorms occurring in tropical regions. For, during the northern winter thunderstorms are not common. But snow storms are and during them surface atmosphere is lifted to mid-altitude levels. I suspect that at different times the replacement atmosphere is flowing it at various altitudes. But my point in drawing attention to the importance of the polar region is that what must be commonly occurring there is seldom discussed.

Have a good day, Jerry

• gbaikie says:

–You need to remember that when the sun does not shine on the polar areas it is still shining on the lower latitudes. Hence, when the massive cold air mass moves toward the lower latitudes some of its vacated space must sometimes, if not always, replaced by warmer atmosphere from the lower latitudes. —

Yeah but, this air temperature is below freezing- therefore does little in terms stopping the ocean from freezing.

Though clouds may be helping a lot.
I wonder what would happen to clouds, if Sun blinked out.

So before sun blinks, say globally there is 30% clouds, how many clouds would have in 24 hours after blink and say week and a month after Sun disappeared.

19. Dr. Spencer does this not confirm what you are trying to say about our GHG effect? Diagram above.

20. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd. says:

I am very happy this discussion is taking place. I will note that Dr. Spencer does not seem to have any counterpoints to Doug’s refutation. I think if we want to give the general public a better understanding though, people like Dr. Spencer need to be shouting from the mountaintops that earth is currently below it’s running historic average temperature, and also below average co2 levels. I am telling you know, 99% of the population does not know it!

• Planetary_Physics says:

Thanks for your support, Jay. We would welcome in our group any English or German speaking people with qualifications in physics, or sufficient knowledge of thermodynamics to recognize the validity of the content of our website. The email address is on our website http://climate-change-theory.com which Roy should have studied before putting his foot in it yet again.

• Joel Shore says:

“I will note that Dr. Spencer does not seem to have any counterpoints to Doug’s refutation.”

It might seem that way if you do not have a sufficiently strong understanding of physics. If you do, you know that Doug just talks nonsense.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Speak for yourself Joel Shore. Either prove the physics wrong and put up, or shut up. I have empirical evidence and the laws of physics on my side. You have nothing but the false conjecture that water vapor warms by at least 10 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere, so that rain forests would be at least 30 degrees hotter than much drier regions at similar latitude and altitude. /sarc

How are you going with answering my question about why the temperature on Uranus gets down to the radiating temperature of 59K by adhering to the expected g/Cp temperature gradient and yet reaching the right temperature at the right altitude where methane in the upper atmosphere absorbs solar radiation and becomes the only significant heat source for the whole planet?

• Planetary_Physics says:

So you are quite WRONG JOEL SHORE …

In an isothermal column the molecules at the top obviously have more mean gravitational potential energy and yet the same mean kinetic energy as molecules at the bottom.

Hence there are unbalanced energy potentials.

Hence it is not the state of maximum entropy.

Hence it is not the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

QED

21. Planetary_Physics says:

Roy wrote: “Gravity is indeed a necessary part of determining what the dry convective lapse rate is, but that lapse rate only occurs in response to convective overturning, which in turn requires the greenhouse effect to destabilize the atmosphere in the first place.”

In writing this Roy displays a lack of understanding of convective heat transfer that is explained in physics texts and includes both diffusion and advection. To a physicist it does not include wind of any form, but some refer to such as “forced convection” where such forced convection does not repair the gravitationally induced temperature gradient, but rather destroys it. This happens above the South Pole, for example, where strong downward winds level out the temperature in the troposphere and make the surface colder as they deliver cold air from the upper troposphere.

If your car becomes hot in the Sun in the driveway and you then drive it into the garage, close the garage door and open all cars doors, then you will observe convective heat transfer in all accessible directions out of the doors and into the garage space, warming that space and cooling the car. You may not be able to detect actual air movement. But molecules are transferring kinetic energy in collisions and there is a slight net movement of air out of the car. Some hotter molecules merely move in among cooler molecules and that is diffusion. {A molecule may pass a dozen or so other molecules before colliding with one.)

As molecules move between collisions they retain the sum of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy constant. Because only kinetic energy affects temperature, there is thus a temperature gradient in a vertical plane. This has been known since the 19th century.

Now, as with the above garage example, convective heat transfer is caused by a new supply of thermal energy which has disturbed a previous state of thermodynamic equilibrium with its associated temperature gradient in a gravitational field.

It is fundamentally important to understand that the environmental temperature gradient is the overall state of thermodynamic equilibrium which takes into account the fact that unbalanced energy potentials cannot exist in such a state. That is the state of maximum entropy which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve autonomously. It does not require “convective overturning” whatever that may be. When it is disturbed by new thermal energy being added, there will be a propensity for the temperature gradient to be restored by convective heat transfer in all directions away from the source.

Water vapor absorbs quite a lot of incoming photons from the Sun. So too does carbon dioxide in the 2.1 micron range, and those photons have about 5 times the energy of the 10 micron ones coming up from the surface. But the Sun can only raise the temperature of water vapor molecules in the upper troposphere and above, as we know from Stefan Boltzmann calculations. What you need to understand is that the energy required to maintain the temperature of Earth’s surface, the core of the Moon, the surface of Venus, the base of the troposphere of Uranus etc comes mostly from downward convective heat transfers from these warmed regions in the upper troposphere and above. (Yes, some regions on Earth’s surface get warmed in direct sunlight, but the solar radiation does not explain the global mean temperature.) That is why the Earth’s solid surface still warms by day even when there has been extensive cloud cover for days and nights on end blocking nearly all solar radiation. Planets cool on their dark side and warm back up by the same amount on their sunlit side.

22. Frank Lee says:

Thanks for the explanation, but one thing remains unclear to me: how can the heating of the lower troposphere cool the upper troposphere? Don’t the so-called greenhouse gases simply reconvert invisible light energy (that would otherwise pass harmlessly into outer space) into heat energy? Wouldn’t the upper-troposphere ultimately be warmed by the extra heat energy generated in the lower-troposphere? I understand that the surface of the planet will be warmed by additional heat energy in the lower troposphere (because the surface heat will be less compelled to leave the surface, since the disparity between the surface temperature and the lower-troposphere temperature will be smaller). But I don’t understand why the additional heat energy in the lower troposphere isn’t now MORE compelled to push out into the upper troposphere (since the disparity between the lower-troposphere temperature and the upper-troposphere temperature would now be GREATER). Additional heat energy in the lower troposphere, it seems to me, should result in a warming effect on the surface, the lower troposphere, and the upper troposphere, with absolutely no cooling effect on the upper troposphere.

• Planetary_Physics says:

“how can the heating of the lower troposphere cool the upper troposphere”

It is due to rotation of the whole temperature plot about a pivoting altitude. This must happen in order to maintain radiative balance with the Sun.

It happens when the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is reduced in any particular region, and so we get a steeper temperature gradient and thus warmer surface temperatures in drier regions.

The IPCC is crazy wanting you to believe water vapor warms by over 10C° for each 1% in the atmosphere. I hope you’re not gullible enough to believe such, because empirical temperature and precipitation data proves water vapor cools the surface.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Now I know that wasn’t what you were thinking of. You are in fact right in a situation where the concentration of water vapor etc does not alter. During the Venus night (4 months long) the whole temperature plot in the troposphere lowers by about 5 degrees, retaining the same gradient. The reverse happens during the sunlit period.

The temperature gradient stays the same because it evolves at the molecular level and is reduced in magnitude mainly by the temperature leveling effect of inter-molecular radiation involving GH gases. If you keep the concentration of these IR-active gases constant then there is a propensity for the gradient to continually repair itself by convective heat transfers in all directions away from the source – flowing over the sloping thermal plane so-to-speak.

23. Massimo PORZIO says:

Hi Dr. Spencer,
You wrote: “You can initialize the model at absolute zero temperature, or 1,000 Kelvin, it doesn’t matter…the resulting equilibrium temperature profile the model settles down to when it is run looks almost identical to the observed temperature profile.”
Maybe I misunderstood you, what do you mean with it?
You get the some temperature along the whole non GHG atmospheric height at 0 K and the same at 1000 K?
How could it be possible?
At 0 K the TOA shouldn’t be at 0 meters ?
That is shouldn’t be any gases molecule collapsed to the ground?

Have a nice day.

Massimo

24. Thanks, Dr. Spencer. A good explanation of the climate system, you offer an improved update.

“Since the rate at which the Earth emits IR radiation goes up as the 4th power of the absolute temperature (measured in Kelvins), this provides the ultimate stabilizing mechanism for the temperature of the climate system.”
and
“Anything that changes the balance between energy input and energy output of the Earth has the potential to change its temperature.”
are basic to my view of this system.

• Planetary_Physics says:

During the 4 month long day, the Venus surface temperature rises by about 5 degrees at any location on the equator, offsetting the inevitable cooling on the dark side. The actual figure of 5° is not important – it is because the temperature is rising that we know there is an input of thermal energy which exceeds the output. The Sun delivers a mean of less than 20W/m^2 into the Venus surface. The actual temperature is hundreds of degrees hotter than the Sun’s direct radiation could make it. The outward radiative flux would be over 16,000W/m^2.

There is no other valid explanation as to how the required energy gets into the Venus surface than the correct one here.

25. Derek Colman says:

What I can not understand is why climate scientists always point to the energy imbalance as proof that the Earth is warming, and claim that energy in and out should be equal. That makes no sense to me. The Earth is a living planet with an enormous amount of biological processes such as photosynthesis and others going on. Surely these processes absorb energy from the Sun which is never returned to space, but permanently bound to the Earth as biomass. All the coal, gas and oil under the surface are surely manifestations of this stored solar energy. As we have seen the greening of the Earth with increased CO2, then surely the imbalance has to be larger just to account for that.

• gbaikie says:

Most of the energy of sunlight is not converted by photosynthesis into chemical energy.

The largest surface area of Earth is open ocean. And this open ocean is close to being sterile.
And apparently the ocean is quite different that life on land where plant life is a dominate life form [or so they say].
[Apparent the fish are eating everything in sight, and so there not as much plant life compared the animals that eat them.]

Or if there was more nutrients in the oceans which in turn could support plant life [and would be more a lot more fish] a more significant amount of sunlight would be absorbed.

26. Planetary_Physics says:

The last nail in the coffin of Roy’s/IPCC’s conjecture is this:

We know from studies of temperature data throughout the Solar System that the temperature gradient in the atmosphere, and even in the sub-surface regions is closely associated with the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases. This formula can be derived in just two lines direct from the Kinetic Theory of Gases, as in my book.

But at a certain level in its atmosphere each planet is in radiative balance with the Sun. It would be an absolutely remote coincidence that the cores of all planets just happen to have cooled off to just the right temperature, and so have their surfaces reached just the right temperature for this to occur. This is obvious on Venus and Uranus, but just as applicable on Earth.

If it were not the mechanism described in my hypothesis that is maintaining temperatures in the atmospheres and sub-surface regions of all planets and satellite moons, then in a few million years the temperature gradients would be all different from the calculations and so the laws of physics would have to change.

27. ossqss says:

Roy, Doc, you are a glutton for punishment. I have however watched things made from drying mud. Good luck to you!

28. gbaikie says:

“The absorbed sunlight would cause the temperature of the land, ocean, and atmosphere to eventually increase without bound unless there were ways to lose the accumulated energy.”

This does not seem true.
And you should be able provide some evident which supports it and it should have some way it could be falsified.
[Which does have the requirement of having a different universe.]

In the meantime will attempt indicate why it’s wrong.

Sunlight should not be able heat anything above it’s temperature [the temperature of the surface of the Sun].

Or glowing ball of steel at 1000 C will not radiantly heat something hotter than 1000 C.

And when one gets a further away from the glowing ball of steel or the sun it radiates less energy per square meter, so that the maximum that it will heat up something is diminished with distance.

Or heating capacity of radiant sunlight has bound in which it heat something and it is in relationship to it’s surface temperature and the distance it is from something.

If take a flat blackbody and insulate the back of it and point it one side at the sun at around earth distance, it will radiate around 1360 watts per square meter.
And I would say that this is indicating what the temperature of the sunlight is at that distance.

If then add a heating elements in the flat panel and heated [not facing the sun] it up so it emitted 1400 watts per square meter, and then I pointed it the sun, the sunlight should not be able to heat it further because it’s already at the sun’s temperature.

It seems if something like this was experimentally shown to be case, then this should indicate that sunlight has limit to how much it can heat something.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Correct gbaikie. For more detail see point (2) in this comment above.

• MikeB says:

gbaikie,

The key phrase is “unless there were ways to lose the accumulated energy”.
If there is no way to lose energy, then the temperature would continue to increase (until infinity).

The evidence, if it’s not logically obvious, is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.

If this outcome seems unlikely, it is only because in practice the warming object will be able to lose heat. We know, for example, that if it is being heated by radiation then it must be able to lose heat by radiation. This follows from Kirchhoff’s Law which in its simplest form says

Emissivity = Absorptivity

• Planetary_Physics says:

You. MikeB, also need to read point (2) in the comment linked in my reply to gbaikie above. Then read my new comment below.

• gbaikie says:

MikeB says:
January 24, 2015 at 4:10 AM

gbaikie,

The key phrase is “unless there were ways to lose the accumulated energy”.
If there is no way to lose energy, then the temperature would continue to increase (until infinity).

The evidence, if it’s not logically obvious, is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.
Wiki-
“The first law is often formulated by stating that the change in the internal energy of a closed system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work done by the system on its surroundings. Equivalently, perpetual motion machines of the first kind are impossible.”

So if object is same temperature [or warmer] as compared to the sun at certain distance, then the Sun does not supply heat to the system.

Or bed of coals does not infinitely get hotter [heat each other].
Or if flame temperature of combustion is say 2000 C, regardless of the amount of this flame, it does not heat something above 2000 C.

• MikeB says:

Gbaike,

Don’t try to baffle yourself with gobbledegook.

If there is a continuous heat input and no heat output the temperature would rise to infinity. The 1st Law is the Conservation of Energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. If the heat (which is simply a form of energy) cannot escape, where does it go? Nowhere! So the temperature increases. It’s as simple as that!

These were the parameters of the problem. Continuous input, no output. Don’t try to confuse by changing them.

Apart from that, when you got an endorsement from Doug Cotton you should have realised you were wrong.

• Planetary_Physics says:

You are also wrong MikeB if by “continuous heat input” you actually mean a continuous flux of radiation. If the input is convective heat transfer, then there is a limit determined by the gravitationally induced temperature gradients in the troposphere, crust, mantle and core. If you are talking about radiation, then there is a limit after which all the electromagnetic energy is re-emitted immediately without it being converted to thermal energy. Read about it in my March 2012 paper linked from my first climate website.

Whatever you mean, no planetary surface loses energy only by radiation. Only complete planetary systems including their atmospheres act like black bodies, but they always will do so and no amount of altering of internal energy flows will stop them doing so. The Earth does and radiative balance is said to be usually within the range ±0.5% but the error bars are such that there is no convincing evidence as to whether more energy is radiated out or less. Whatever is the case, it is not the cause of climate change but the result thereof.

29. Planetary_Physics says:

People need to study the NASA energy budget diagrams more closely.

The early ones like this showed only net energy flows with 51% of incident radiation being absorbed by the surface.

But then they realized that something like 170W/m^2 could not explain the mean surface temperature.

In later diagrams like this the 51% has become 48% but they have added 100% back radiation, implying that the atmosphere delivers more than twice as much thermal energy to the surface than that from the Sin. So they have 70% going into the atmosphere (after 30% reflection) and the atmosphere somehow more than doubling the input energy at its top and delivering a total of 148% out of the base of the atmosphere and into the surface.

Now there is no doubt that they now think they can explain the surface temperature by adding the solar radiation and the back radiation (503W/m^2) and deducting the thermals and evaporative cooling (105W/m^2) to get 398W/m^2 which, surprise, surprise gives a balck body temperature of 289K close to 16°C.

So they have very specifically implied that back radiation is helping the Sun to raise the surface temperature because they have included the back radiation in Stefan Boltzmann calculations.

But, consider the oceans. Roy admits that back radiation does not penetrate the ocean surface more than a few nanometers. (In fact it is pseudo scattered.) In contrast solar radiation is mostly transmitted through the thin surface layer down into deeper cooler regions. In most places on Earth the insolation is not sufficient to explain the water surface temperature anyway.

So it should be very clear to all readers that the back radiation (twice as much as the solar radiation) could do no more than boil a few nanometers (which it can’t even do anyway) whilst the solar radiation can mostly only warm cooler regions which will not warm the warmer surface above them.

That’s why it’s all totally incorrect.

30. pochas says:

“their hand-waving about gravity explaining lower atmospheric temperatures should be taken by non-specialists with a huge grain of salt. Specialists already ignore it entirely.”

and that’s why their models are wrong.

lapse rate = Gc / Cp

where Gc = gravitational constant
Cp = heat capacity at constant pressure

This shows clearly the importance of gravity. If gravity were stronger, the lapse rate would change (increase in proportion).

In order to reach a correct model, the radiative equations and the thermodynamic equations must be solved simultaneously and not ignored, with correct moisture profiles, layer – by – layer. Only in that way can the negative feedbacks from the water cycle be incorporated in the models. For the current generation of specialists, ignorance is bli$. 31. Kristian says: “There is no other valid explanation as to how the required energy gets into the Venus surface than the correct one here.” Doug, You’re moving heat against a temperature gradient, down from colder to hotter to make hotter even hotter. That’s the exact same violation of the 2nd Law as the whole “back radiation” idea. You can get nowhere with this fanciful mechanism of yours, I’m sorry. This is why people just make fun of you all the time. Why they cannot take you seriously. • Planetary_Physics says: “That’s the exact same violation of the 2nd Law “ Your argument has been refuted on our group’s website http://climate-change-theory.com and my book. Changes in gravitational potential energy cause changes in entropy. The “hot to cold” Clausius statement is merely a corollary of the Second Law requiring the prerequisite that gravitational potential energy does not change. In other words, it is only always true in a horizontal plane. • Kristian says: No, Doug. You claim the exact same thing as the “back radiationers”, that the surface of Venus (and of Earth) needs an extra input of energy from somewhere that isn’t the Sun to be able to reach the temperature it’s at. Only in your case it’s through conduction or convection or whatever. Either way it’s a blatant violation of the 2nd Law letting ‘extra’ energy spontaneously transfer from a cooler place to make a warmer place become even warmer. • Group of physicists says: No we are not doing that in our group of physicists, because we know what the Second Law is all about. So PROVE your point by faulting the valid physics explained in the website. We are NOT describing a process that decreases entropy. You need to read it very, very carefully to see how it is BASED on the Second Law. All you are quoting is a corollary of the Second Law which (for hot to cold transfers only) requires gravitational potential energy (which of course affects entropy) to be held constant. Your corollary thus only hold in a horizontal plane. http://climate-change-theory.com • Kristian says: *Yawn* You’re breaking the 2nd Law, Doug. Live with it. If your hypothesis depends on violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, then no one can help you. It’s just wrong. Back to the drawing board … You can babble on all you want about ‘horizontal planes’ and ‘gravitational PE’, Doug. It won’t help you. You’re letting HEAT move (‘creep’) against a temperature gradient, from cooler towards warmer. Doesn’t work in nature. Sorry. • Kristian says: So, Doug, the Sun heats only the upper layer of the atmosphere, and from there on gravity sort of ‘sucks’ the heat downward to make it hotter and hotter, is that it? 32. David L. Hagen says: Excellent overview. Minor refinement – depending on where the boundaries are set some count the Solar Energy Distribution as about: 5% Ultra Violet (300-400 nm) 43% Visible (400-700 nm) 52% Infra Red â€“ IR (700-2500 nm) Others count about 4%, 42%, and 54% etc. 33. “but that lapse rate only occurs in response to convective overturning, which in turn requires the greenhouse effect to destabilize the atmosphere in the first place.” I don’t think that is right. The temperature declines with height due to increasing distance from the sun warmed surface and then convection kicks in as a consequence of the temperature decline with height. Once convection begins there is a conversion of KE to PE as work is done against gravity in uplift and conversion of PE to KE as work is done with gravity in descent. Because of that conversion of KE to PE in uplift the lapse rate profile is maintained since PE is not heat and does not radiate. Since PE does not radiate it cannot be released to space by radiation from GHGs which is why the air then warms on the next descent at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. That descending warming air dissipates clouds which leads to a more transparent atmosphere within the decending column and the warming processe also reduces the lapse rate slope within the descending column which reduces convection from the surface which can then become warmer than it otherwise would have done at a given level of insolation. That is what raises the average global surface temperature above the S-B prediction. • Kristian says: In a word, Stephen: No. Again with this KE-to-PE nonsense of yours!? You just refuse to pick up a book and learn, don’t you, Stephen? • MikeB says: I must confess have a problem with Stephe’s views He is certainly not stupid. He is not crazy ( like Doug Cotton ) I just struggle to comprehend what he is actually saying because some of the things he says are wrong but others are not. In my nightmares I sometimes wonder if he some of the things he says may be right. Ok, then I wake up, but even so I fear I may be missing something. • Are you sure that some of the things I have said are wrong? The weight of higher molecules suspended in a gravity field forces lower molecules closer together against the intermolecular forces that seek to separate them. That causes PE to convert to KE so that the temperature rises. Although the process involves effects on the forces operating between molecules that process still creates or destroys gravitational potential energy because is the force of gravity pulling the higher molecules downwards that exerts the pressure which changes PE to KE when the molecules are forced closer together. • Planetary_Physics says: You wouldn’t struggle to understand what I say if you read it here and studied up on thermodynamic equilibrium, entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. • I have looked at all the links you have referred me to in past, Kristian, but they do not contradict my description. Instead they contradict yours because you insist on trying to say that a transfer of energy via work from one parcel of air to or from the surrounding molecules is adiabatic. In fact, such transfers are diabatic. Adiabatic uplift and descent refers only to work done with or against gravity. The warming of descending air and the cooling of ascending air does not involve any transfer of energy to or from adjoining molecules. Here is something about the relationship between kinetic and potential energy in gases: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/78085/potential-vs-kinetic-energy-of-particles-in-gas In the cooling of uplift or the warming of descent one is not considering only the potential energy of height but also the potential energy involved in the forces between molecules. As pressure decreases with height the molecules move further apart which increases PE at the expense of KE so cooling occurs. The mental block that you and others have is that you omit consideration of the intermolecular aspect. • Planetary_Physics says: The “forces between molecules” are considered negligible in the Kinetic Theory of Gases. They are not referred to in the development of the Ideal Gas Laws (using Kinetic Theory) and you can read the assumptions of that theory here and you sure need to do so. You write further garbage: “pressure which changes PE to KE when the molecules are forced closer together.” Pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. Pressure does not change PE to KE – gravity does, just as it does when an apple falls off a tree. Gravity forms a density gradient and a temperature gradient as the process described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics brings about thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy. The pressure gradient is a corollary. The development of the g/Cp quantification of the temperature gradient comes from a simple equating of KE gain and PE loss (or vice versa) as molecules move between collisions and (as per the last assumption of Kinetic Theory linked above) are affected by gravity. So we equate M.g.dH with -M.Cp.dT and get the gradient dT/dH = -g/Cp where Cp is specific heat, not heat capacity. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us what is explained here and read by over 2,770 this month, more than 300 of them linked from Roy’s blog. Yet not one who has read and understood that website has come back with any valid rebuttal of the physics therein. Those with qualifications in physics in our group “Planetary Physics” all agree with me. • “Pressure does not change PE to KE – gravity does, just as it does when an apple falls off a tree. ” Gravity gives weight to mass. Weight bears down towards the centre of gravity. The weight induced by gravity forces gas molecules closer together than they otherwise would be at a given level of insolation. The large distances between gas molecules result in high compressibility which means that the conversion of PE to KE is sufficient to account for observations. The process of compression is only insignificant for solids and liquids. Hence the Gas Laws. • Kristian says: Stephen, you say: “I have looked at all the links you have referred me to in past, Kristian” Yes, I’m sure you’ve ‘looked at’ them, squinting at them from afar, turning your head quickly away at the first hint of factual information. But you obviously haven’t read them. Cause if you had, you would’ve thrown out your silly monomaniacal ideas a long time ago and moved on, Stephen. If you just read one link or one textbook entry on the adiabatic process you would see that it is not about KE changing into PE and back, that it is specifically about gases losing ‘internal energy’ and thus cooling by doing work on its surroundings upon expanding, and the other way around. This is well-known to pretty much everyone that’s gone through school, Stephen, the most basic of knowledge to any meteorologist. If you read anything on the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, you would understand what it means, how it connects dirctly with the adiabatic process. That an energy transfer in the form of ‘work’ [W] also changes the ‘internal energy’ [U] – and thus the temperature – of an object, not just an energy transfer in the form of ‘heat’ [Q], which is the only transfer not happening in an adiabatic process. You can read about this ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE, Stephen. So you obviously haven’t read anything about it. If you have read about it, but simply choose to ignore it and continue promoting your very own private version of how real, physical processes is to be described and explained, then you are simply being dishonest. So what is it, Stephen? What will it be? Ignorance or dishonesty? • Back at you. What do you think happens when the weight of higher molecules forces lower molecules closer together than they would otherwise be at a given level of insolation? This link should tell you: • Kristian says: Hehe, yeah I realise you’re in complete denial about reality on this issue, Stephen. That doesn’t make your case look any better, I’m afraid. FYI, your link discusses microscopic internal energy, not KE and PE of the motion and position of the air itself, like you do. Moving air up and down over relatively short distances like in the troposphere hardly affects the relationship between the KE and PE (internal attractive forces) of molecules and atoms at all, but it greatly affects the total amount of internal energy because of concurrent expansion/compression of the air. You can keep arguing about this until you’re blue in the face, Stephen. Your ideas about it remain pure fantasy on your part. Just google ‘adiabatic process’ and read what any random entry say about it: No ‘heat’ transferred, so Q=0, therefore the entire change in ‘internal energy’ [U] – and thus, the temperature – is due to ‘work’ [W] being done by or on the system, this work specifically being of the form ‘pressure-volume’ work (expansion/compression). You can’t worm your way out of this fact, Stephen. I’m sorry. • Gordon Robertson says: @Kristian “You can read about this ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE, Stephen”. I get the feeling, somehow, that you guys are talking about the same thing. You seem to take exception to KE being converted to PE and back but that is the basis of work. PE is the potential to do work while KE is work in action. I don’t pretend to understand that in the atmosphere but I can understand it in gases and solids. An adiabatic process, from what I understand, does not have to do work on its surroundings, it can happen through friction within a system. I would think that compressing a gas would increase the friction between atoms, raising the temperature without doing external work or having heat transferred into the system. Is that not the same as converting PE to KE? The more you compress a gas the higher it’s KE becomes. Since energy must be conserved, that means the PE must be reduced. What do you think? • Kristian says: Gordon, you say: “I get the feeling, somehow, that you guys are talking about the same thing. You seem to take exception to KE being converted to PE and back but that is the basis of work. PE is the potential to do work while KE is work in action.” No, we are very distinctly NOT talking about the same thing. Stephen claims the air is cooling simply from the lifting, by KE being transformed into gravitational PE. He is treating a Newtonian (mechanical) process as if it were a thermodynamic process. Don’t be fooled, Gordon. KE is very clearly being transformed into PE if you move something in the vertical. But this change doesn’t concern the TEMPERATURE of the thing lifting. Because it doesn’t concern the microscopic ‘internal energy’ of the object. THAT’S what needs to change. And in an adiabatic process it changes with expansion and compression. By ‘work’ being done BY or ON the system. The adiabatic process in the atmosphere is only and all about the expansion and compression of the air AS it moves up and down. The moving up and down is not an adiabatic process. That’s a mechanical process. It doesn’t in itself change any temperatures. If you could somehow change the external pressure on an individual ‘air parcel’ trough some other means, then you wouldn’t have to move it up and down at all for adiabatic cooling and heating to take place. • gbaikie says: –Gordon, you say: “I get the feeling, somehow, that you guys are talking about the same thing. You seem to take exception to KE being converted to PE and back but that is the basis of work. PE is the potential to do work while KE is work in action.” No, we are very distinctly NOT talking about the same thing. Stephen claims the air is cooling simply from the lifting, by KE being transformed into gravitational PE.– Well stephen would be wrong if that is true. But the PE of the atmosphere is being used. Like elevator counter weight. Analogy is that hot balloon’s gases do not cool because they rise, but rising would force an the mass of atmosphere to be displaced. Or rising air doesn’t get free PE energy, it’s traded with rest of the atmosphere. • Planetary_Physics says: Garbage again from Stephen Wilde with no qualifications in physics. He writes: “The temperature declines with height due to increasing distance from the sun warmed surface” Well what about a planet like Uranus that has no solid surface at the base of its nominal troposphere, where it’s hotter than Earth’s surface but it receives no solar radiation through the 350Km high troposphere? And Stephen has never answered my questions about just exactly when, where and why air descends in processes other than wind. Nor can he explain how a particular group of molecules (all moving in random directions between collisions) somehow mysteriously all stay together all the way down from the top of the troposphere to the surface, passing through other molecules they apparently ignore. None of them are allowed to move out sideways, for example. They just cling together as if restrained in some imaginary “parcel” like a kid’s balloon. Kid’s fissics, Stephen. He could have read the valid explanation here or in my book. • Even without a solid surface beneath it a ball of gas supported against gravity by its kinetic energy gets warmer as one moves inwards. The reason being that the increasing weight of the higher molecules as one moves lower forces the individual lower molecules closer together which causes PE to convert to KE and the temperature to rise. It is important to realise that it is the interaction between the intermolecular forces and the weight bearing downwards as a result of gravity that causes the temperature rise. The amount of kinetic energy plus potential energy that the system is capable of retaining is primarily determined by insolation plus the amount of mass in the gases which is available to absorb energy from that insolation and convert it to convection which generates more PE as the gases expand and reduces PE if the gases contract. These processes lie at the heart of the Gas Laws which is why volume (V) is integral to PV=nRT The climate establishment has overlooked the thermal effect of gravity (via weight of mass) forcing lower molecules closer together than they otherwise wpould be at a given temperature. When one does that the temperature must rise by conversion of intermolecular PE to heat in the form of KE 34. Johan says: How can dr. Spencer get it so wrong ? This is how you pick up chicks http://www.undergroundgraphics.com/image/cache/data/products/cruise-decals/CRUISE-HOW-TO-PICK-UP-CHICS-640×640.gif 35. Doug and Stephen are wrong on the GHG .Dr. Spencer has it dead on straight. • Planetary_Physics says: And you don’t have a word of physics to substantiate the GH hoax you promulgate, that hoax killing people in the process. 36. jerry l krause says: Guys (I consider females can be guys): I suspect that many, if you have read my previous comment, question what is this guy writing about. This because when I last looked no one had responded to my list of quotes by some quite notable guys. So I will now try to show how these quotes are related to Roy’s post. Doug and gbaikie, I see you have responded to these comments and I will address your comments at a later time. When one reads Roy’s post it is difficult to find that he has learned anything from Doug. (Hence, the Galileo quote) And it may be difficult to even see (detect) what their point of basic disagreement is. For I previously did not believe Doug when he proposed that Roy believed that a planet’s atmosphere would be found to be isothermal if not for the presence of some greenhouse gases. Now, Roy has confirmed this was fact. The problem is there are no planetary atmospheres which do not have at least some trace of greenhouse gases. Doug continually refers to the atmospheres of Venus and Uranus because others (not only Doug) consider that the temperatures of the lower atmosphere far exceed that which could be supported by solar radiation. So Doug proposes his unique mechanism, which involves gravity, by which an atmosphere heated from the top by solar radiation can have a temperature gradient which increases with decreasing altitude. Now, Roy wrote: “Yes, gravity is important to the whole process – but not in the simplistic way a few people think. Gravity is indeed a necessary part of determining what the dry convective lapse rate is, but that lapse rate only occurs in response toconvective overturning, which in turn requires the greenhouse effect to destabilize the atmosphere in the first place.” Doug and myself appear to represent these few misguided people. Robinson drew attention to the fact that heat (energy) can be transferred by conduction, convention as well as by a radiative process. But no one except Feynman had drawn attention to the fundamental basis of conduction. That the tiny particles of matter (atoms) have a perpetual motion. And while this thing called temperature is a fundamental issue in our discussion, I have not found anyone defining what we understand temperature is. That it has been discovered temperature is directly related to the average kinetic energy of atoms in their perpetual motions. Which based on the definition of kinetic energy, means that different atoms (at the same temperature) have different average velocities (speeds). Now, let us put these tiny atoms and/or molecules, with this perpetual motion in planet’s gravitation field. There is a saying: What goes up must come down. We know if we throw a ball upward, its upward velocity will be uniformly decelerated until its upward velocity drops to zero and then it will begin to fall back to the planet’s surface at an uniformly accelerated rate so that, if the planet were the moon which has no atmosphere, the magnitude of its downward velocity was that of its initial velocity. If we now imagine an atom to be the ball, we must conclude that its behavior would be the same as that of the ball. So the ‘temperature’ of this atom must decrease as it rises and increase as it falls back toward the planet’s surface. Now, Roy is correct when he states that the dry adiabatic rate is the result of an analysis of vertical convection. But I have long considered my analysis of the perpetual motion of atoms within a gravitation field to be a much simpler explanation to understand. If we add more atoms to this one atom imaginary system, we will begin to get collisions between atoms which are moving upward and those which are moving downward. So the result of these collisions is the formation of an atmospheric density gradient which has been long observed with a scientific instrument known as a barometer. I have previously referred to writing by R. C. Sutcliffe because much of what I know (understand) about meteorology is because of what he has written in his 1966 book Weather and Climate. Possibly I should have previously reviewed that he wrote: “The steady decrease of density with height, more or less as described, is the inevitable result of hydrostatic compression by the force of gravity but the variation of temperature with height, far from being steady, is altogether remarkable. When it became firmly established from observations on mountains and in manned and free balloons that the air became steadily colder as the altitude increased, scientists were very ready to generalize and to assume that the cooling went on indefinitely to the limit of the atmosphere. “This was the general belief until in 1899 the Frenchman Teisserene de Bort, announced to an astonished and even incredulous world that his sounding balloons had reached heights above which the temperature decreased no further. Sir Napier Shaw, the leading British meteorologist of the early decades of the century, called this the most surprising discovery in the whole history of meteorology. It is now known that the limit comes at a varying height and temperature, averaging 10 kilometres and ¬–45o C in the middle latitudes but much higher and colder, 17 kilometres and –80o C, within the tropics. The terminology to distinguish the two regions, the troposphere below and the stratosphere above, separated by the ‘tropopause’, was then introduced and meterologists settled down comfortably once more to their two-storey structure which survived for another generation. Instead of cooling continuously with height, the atmosphere within the stratosphere, it was now credibly inferred, retained much the same temperature at all heights, although colder at lower than at higher latitudes: the stratosphere was sometimes called the ‘isothermal layer’.” We now know that this ‘isothermal layer’ is the result of the direct absorption of a certain portion of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation by what is commonly termed an oxygen-ozone system and not because of the absence of any greenhouse gases in the stratosphere as proposed by Roy. And I should add that we now know that the stratosphere is not an isothermal layer and that it is the tropopause which is the isothermal layer. The stratosphere is a layer where the atmospheric temperature increases with increasing altitude until at the top of the layer its temperature is approximately that of the atmosphere at the earth’s surface. Two previous general classifications of certain portions of the atmosphere, not based upon its temperature structure, are homosphere and hetrosphere. The homosphere is the layer between the surface and about 80 kilometers where the mixing ratios of the ‘permanent’ gases remain constant and above this altitude the mixing ratios begin to change. The extent of the homosphere is important because it commonly understood (explained) that if there were no atmospheric convection, a result of what is commonly called the kinetic theory of gases would be that the atmosphere would become a ‘layered cake’ with the atoms (molecules) having the greatest mass at the bottom and so on until at the top there would be the atoms (molecules) having the least mass. So the observed absence of such a layering effect in the homosphere is positive evidence that there is some mixing mechanism which prevents such layering to occur. I doubt if many could disagree with the possibility that this mixing mechanism involves atmospheric convection of one type or another. Roy wrote: “Now, a good portion of the solar energy that warms the surface causes convective air currents, which transport heat upward (not downward, as Doug claims), which then warms the troposphere. Evaporation of surface water is a major portion of this process: evaporated water at the surface absorbs the “latent heat of evaporation”, which is then released to the atmosphere when the water condenses into clouds and precipitation. This is what drives most clouds, all precipitation systems, thunderstorms, hurricanes, etc. They all convectively transfer heat from the surface to the atmosphere (not from the atmosphere to the surface).” I doubt if Doug would disagree with this statement of Roy. What Doug questions is what happens when the circumstances are such that the planet’s surface, in the cases of Venus and Uranus, cannot be heated up to its observed temperature by direct solar radiation. But my point in referring to Roy’s statement is to note the accepted fact, but sometimes not noted often enough, that vertical convection is the primary cause of horizontal convection. In my previous response I reviewed that Sutcliffe noted that if the sun ceased its emission, the oceans would begin, within weeks, to freeze over because of the continued loss of longwave radiation to space. The nitpickers might question the time period that Sutcliffe proposes for the oceans to begin to freeze over, but I am sure that most understand the greater significance (and truth) of Sutcliffe’s speculation. A fact which does not receive the attention that I believe it deserves is there are areas, regions, on the earth’s surface which are not illuminated by the sun for months, not weeks, each year. Of course, these are the polar regions. And we know, in the USA, that periodically a cold, dense, massive air mass ‘migrates’ toward lower latitudes each winter. What I do not commonly read about is where the atmosphere, which must replace the space vacated by this moving mass of atmosphere, will come from. What I do not commonly read about is the effect (or force) which accelerates the movement of this cold, dense, massive, air mass toward the lower latitudes. If anything is fundamental to weather and climate, it is the movement of these cold, dense, massive air masses. Because it is a sunny day and I have other things I need to do, I will allow a read to ponder which the effect (or force) is that must act to accelerate the movement of this cold, dense, massive, air mass toward lower latitudes and from where the atmosphere needed to fill the space left by the moving mass must likely come from. And I am curious if these comments will generate any responses. Have a good day, Jerry • Planetary_Physics says: Jerry. All basically OK, but I will explain (from what is in my book) that, once there is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium with its associated environmental temperature gradient, any source of new thermal energy initiates “flows” of convective heat transfers in all accessible directions over the sloping thermal plane. So it’s no mystery that convective heat transfers can be downward and also horizontal and thus reach the polar regions. It’s no mystery either that the ground beneath dense cloud cover still warms by day and cools by night. To understand convective heat transfer (which includes diffusion) I readers’ attention to the “hot car in garage” example here. I also refer to the analogy in my book with rain falling on just a part of a large lake. Gravity spreads the new water out in all accessible directions until a new state of mechanical equilibrium is attained (that is, a surface with the curvature of the Earth) but with a higher overall level. The same happens with that new thermal energy, and that’s why and how some can transfer to warmer regions provided it is heat just “creeping” up the sloping thermal plane that represents the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. How do we know it is thermodynamic equilibrium? Briefly, it is because there are no unbalanced energy potentials when (PE+KE)=constant and thus it is the state with maximum entropy which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve. And that is why that law also leads to the density gradient, because gravitational potential energy affects entropy. • gbaikie says: –Now, Roy wrote: “Yes, gravity is important to the whole process – but not in the simplistic way a few people think. Gravity is indeed a necessary part of determining what the dry convective lapse rate is, but that lapse rate only occurs in response to convective overturning, which in turn requires the greenhouse effect to destabilize the atmosphere in the first place.” Doug and myself appear to represent these few misguided people. — I would assume it’s meant convective overturning is process connected to daytime heating. And therefore every night disproves this, as lapse rate is maintained at night. And I see no evidence of CO2 destabilizing at atmosphere in any degree whatsoever. So if Roy said this, it appears Roy is wrong. • gbaikie says: –Robinson drew attention to the fact that heat (energy) can be transferred by conduction, convention as well as by a radiative process. But no one except Feynman had drawn attention to the fundamental basis of conduction. That the tiny particles of matter (atoms) have a perpetual motion. And while this thing called temperature is a fundamental issue in our discussion, I have not found anyone defining what we understand temperature is. That it has been discovered temperature is directly related to the average kinetic energy of atoms in their perpetual motions. Which based on the definition of kinetic energy, means that different atoms (at the same temperature) have different average velocities (speeds). Now, let us put these tiny atoms and/or molecules, with this perpetual motion in planet’s gravitation field. There is a saying: What goes up must come down. We know if we throw a ball upward, its upward velocity will be uniformly decelerated until its upward velocity drops to zero and then it will begin to fall back to the planet’s surface at an uniformly accelerated rate so that, if the planet were the moon which has no atmosphere, the magnitude of its downward velocity was that of its initial velocity. If we now imagine an atom to be the ball, we must conclude that its behavior would be the same as that of the ball. So the ‘temperature’ of this atom must decrease as it rises and increase as it falls back toward the planet’s surface. Now, Roy is correct when he states that the dry adiabatic rate is the result of an analysis of vertical convection. But I have long considered my analysis of the perpetual motion of atoms within a gravitation field to be a much simpler explanation to understand. — I don’t find it a simpler explanation. But what you describing is the ideal gas law. And in gravity well it does establish a lapse rate. And rather than use term “perpetual motion” a better term is frictionless. Or similar to Newton cradle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_cradle Which works if one has low friction- which very hard steel balls have. And a Newton cradle provides demonstration of how the atmosphere works. Now you 4 balls at rest, hit them with 1 ball, and the forth goes up. And this is what happening in the troposphere. So a troposphere is a “zillion” very tiny frictionless balls within a cubic meter going faster than bullet [on average]. And stacking the cubic meters of “zillions” of tiny balls so it’s thousands of meters tall, there less of the zillion balls as you go higher. And the less tiny balls one has in a cubic meter is the same as a lower temperature of that air. Now that is complicated with water. As H20 molecule is a “sticky ball” with other H20 molecules. Or H20 is not an ideal gas [though CO2 is ideal gas]. Or H20 condenses at temperature and and pressure on Earth, and CO2 does not. Most water per cubic meter of atmosphere is found within the troposphere- billions of H20 molecules per cubic meter. And billions diminish faster as you go higher up and the air gets colder. Going back to ideal gases, has column of air goes higher and gets a density, one reaches different condition which above the troposphere. Or different rules become more dominate- one has gone to different country. This is the land where fourth ball [newton cradle] starts to moves [a bit] • jerry l krause says: Hi gbaikie, I initially had a problem with Feynman’s use of the word perpetual. But as long as matter had a temperature above absolute zero, there is perpetual movement of the tiny atoms. Have a good day, Jerry 37. PetterT says: Dr. Spencer, I think an important statement by you explaining the effect of down welling IR is: “But those gases don’t just emit IR radiation upward to outer space, they also emit downward, reducing the net IR cooling rate of the lower atmosphere and surface.” That is different from simply stating that “cold may heat warm still”, because it can’t without an additional energy source, e.g. a heater inside a house, or the sun for the earth. I think this is also in accordance with prof. Claes Johnson “Computational blackbody radiation”. Re. explaining the lapse rate, I find the explanation by Stephen Wilde more convincing (PE+KE constant). I think all heating and cooling processes takes place in the atmosphere, but with very different magnitude, and increasing CO2 from 300 ppm to 400 ppm gives a very little down welling IR effect on the cooling rate, too small to measure compared to the other processes. Your final remark about the effect of manmade “greenhouse” gases is thus important. In your book “The great global warming blunder”, p. 157, you write: “…the warming effect of greenhouse gas emissions have remained too small to measure” (after 9 years). Since you wrote the book, have you still not measured any effect? Have anyone you know of? • Planetary_Physics says: “reducing the net IR cooling rate of the lower atmosphere and surface.” Cooling from what temperature? Remember, the mere 168W/m^2 mean flux that Earth’s surface receives would only support a black body temperature of -41°C, and the surface isn’t even a black body. Such back radiation is not having any effect on the other rates of cooling by conduction, convection and evaporative cooling anyway. These other rates in fact accelerate if radiative cooling is slowed. So the net effect is nothing. There is also no effect upon the supported temperature which almost stops all cooling in the early pre-dawn hours. So the minimum daily temperature is rarely affected. Now read here what really happens on all planets, even those without surfaces. Note also that the main radiating temperature for CO2 is around -80°C such as is only found in the mesosphere. It also emits in limited wavelengths, so its effect is like a picket fence with most of its pickets missing standing up against the torrent of full spectrum higher intensity radiation from the surface. • gbaikie says: — Planetary_Physics says: January 24, 2015 at 2:44 PM “reducing the net IR cooling rate of the lower atmosphere and surface.” Cooling from what temperature? Remember, the mere 168W/m^2 mean flux that Earth’s surface receives would only support a black body temperature of -41°C, and the surface isn’t even a black body.– Right, Earth surface is not a blackbody. Earth is largely a transparent liquid. And 168W/m^2 mean flux solar flux will easily keep a water in a liquid state [above 0 C]. Or least according to this paper: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-VUW1961-62Anta-t1-g1-t2.html Report on Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition 1961-62: VUWAE 5 LAKE VANDA AN ANTARCTIC LAKE, A SOLAR ENERGY TRAP “Lake Vanda is shown to be a natural example of the trapping and storing of solar energy by a salt water density gradient. The bottom of this lake (218 ft) is maintained at 25°C despite a mean annual air temperature of about −20°C, the solar heating being limited to the short Antarctic summer.” • Planetary_Physics says: gbaikie: I am well aware that there are some lakes in Antarctica which are not open to the ocean and have thus become excessively salty. And because of their salt levels they remain liquid down to temperatures as low as about -40°C because the freezing point is lower. This stops them freezing in winter and assists greater accumulation of thermal energy in summer. They also exhibit the expected gravitationally induced temperature gradient, being warmer at the bottom. But lakes are not oceans. Ocean surfaces in tropical regions (and also in most non-polar regions) only get warmed a little by solar radiation that reaches down into the lower layers up to at least 20 meters below the surface. Quite possibly that energy follows isotherms towards the poles where the isotherms reach the surface. As you obviously don’t understand the Stefan-Boltzmann calculations, I’ll leave it to others to explain to you why 168W/m^2 supports a black body temperature of only about -40°C. • gbaikie says: — Planetary_Physics says: January 24, 2015 at 7:56 PM gbaikie: I am well aware that there are some lakes in Antarctica which are not open to the ocean and have thus become excessively salty. And because of their salt levels they remain liquid down to temperatures as low as about -40°C because the freezing point is lower.— Seawater/brine coldest liquid state is -21.1°C: “Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit’s temperature scale doesn’t place 0°F at the lowest freezing point of salt water (which occurs at -21.12°C, or -6.02°F). There are at least three reasons for that. 1. Fahrenheit was a victim of Hofstadter’s Law, which states: It always takes longer than you think it’s going to take, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” Etc. http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/solutions/faq/zero-fahrenheit.shtml So brine can’t be made to be lower than -22 C And second that Antarctic lake maintained a year temperature of 25 C [77 F]: “is maintained at 25°C despite a mean annual air temperature of about −20°C” And was determined not to be due to Geothermal heat or other forms of heating other than solar heating. –But lakes are not oceans. Ocean surfaces in tropical regions (and also in most non-polar regions) only get warmed a little by solar radiation that reaches down into the lower layers up to at least 20 meters below the surface. — I would say ocean or lake water has most of it’s heating per meter depth, at 10 meters deep to the surface. Or I would agree than below 20 meter each meter depth lower than this is warmed a little over some period of time- say over a 24 hour period. Or say one started with uniform temperature of water, say 5 C down to depth of 100 meter at middle of pacific ocean. So from solar energy I would expect the very top layer to warm the quickest, and further I would expect the top 10 meter to warm faster than below 10 meters. And then I would expect 10 to 20 meter depth water to warm faster than 20 to 50 meter depth. And so on. So after year time there could a large difference in temperature between 0 to 10 meter depth and the 10 to 20 meter depth. And after 10 years it seems there could less difference between the 0 to 10 meters and the 10 to 20 meter. And after a century there could less difference. So if one had century of time and one had less difference, a possible reason for difference may not only from solar factors. One might have wave action and turbulence which mixing the water. One could have variation in salinity- rainfall and evaporation which effecting it. So I would say it would be due to only solar heating, but rather solar heating probably is a main factor involved. Plus even the solar warming confined to say 3 to 5 meters under the surface would contribute warming the tens of meters below the surface as compared if the water were somehow only warmed to 0 to 3 meter below the surface. So in terms of lake being 25 C, I assume this require decades if not centuries of time for this solar effect to warm it. And if there was stream running thru the lake, one wouldn’t get such warm water. But my point is such temperature can be maintained despite having the sunlight being required to go thru solid ice and despite a cold average air temperature. And finally that the like doesn’t get anywhere near as much as 168W/m^2 of direct sunlight. So restate, even if we somehow had tropic ocean freeze the solar energy would melt it- and even could result in higher ocean temperatures than we have right now- under a frozen ice surface. Or to restate the obvious, no atmosphere is required. Instead in order to get the highest ocean water temperature would one need is the thickest and clearest ice to give the needed pressure to stop the water from exploding thru the ice and boiling in the the vacuum of space. Or Earth without atmosphere could resemble Europa, but with thinner ice. • Group of physicists says: gbaikie Go and learn about Planck functions and their integrals. Also, I quote from Wikipedia … “The most saline water body in the world is the Don Juan Pond, located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. It is limited in its size – about 3,000 cubic meters and its volume is changing. The Don Juan Pond has a salinity level of over 44%,[4] (i.e. 12 times saltier than the ocean water). Its high salinity prevents the Don Juan from freezing even when temperatures are below −50 °C (−58 °F).” • Group of physicists says: “no atmosphere is required” Yeah, sure – like the Moon – maximum 123°C but minimum well below -200°C. Seems any water left by space travellers on the Moon might freeze, even though the Moon receives about twice the flux of solar radiation as does Earth’s surface. • “Re. explaining the lapse rate, I find the explanation by Stephen Wilde more convincing (PE+KE constant).” Thank you. Ever since the big bang every particle of mass in the universe has carried an amount of combined PE and KE which is directly proportionate to its mass. The temperature is then related to its position relative to any gravitational field in its location. In open space KE is very low and PE very high. As the particle moves towards a nearby centre of gravity its KE increases at the expense of its PE because the mass around it is also increasing due to the agglomeration of mass around that centre of gravity. If it is further heated by insolation from a nearby star or by a solar heated warmer surface beneath an atmosphere then the scope for a temperature rise as the mass accumulates is far greater. • Joel Shore says: “Re. explaining the lapse rate, I find the explanation by Stephen Wilde more convincing (PE+KE constant).” Well, unfortunately, you finding it more convincing doesn’t count for much, because it is absolutely wrong. To start with, it is an incorrect statement of the conservation of energy: The claim that potential + kinetic energy must be constant is only true if there are no “non-conserved” forces acting on the system. In particular, in this case, it ignores the buoyant force (which is the force of the rest of the atmosphere on the parcel of air that you are considering). Second of all, there are rigorous statistical mechanics arguments that show that the equilibrium state of a gas in the presence of a gravitational field is still isothermal, despite what people like Stephen mistakenly believe. • Planetary_Physics says: Yes well JS your “rigorous statistical mechanics arguments that show that the equilibrium state of a gas in the presence of a gravitational field is still isothermal” are based on incorrect assumptions. You don’t even state what type of equilibrium you are talking about, because I doubt that you even know what type the Second Law says will evolve. The arguments are certainly not based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because when thermodynamic equilibrium is attained (with maximum entropy) there are no unbalanced energy potentials. And that can only be the case when the sum (PE+KE) is constant because changes in gravitational potential energy lead to changes in entropy. Any macro forces are already taken into account by consideration of the molecular kinetic energy and the density. All that happens in gases is that molecules collide and share kinetic energy. To use so called buoyancy forces as well would be double counting. In a comment above (with 4 numbered points) I have documented compelling empirical evidence for the existence of the gravito-thermal effect. There is also evidence throughout the Solar System. You’re fighting a losing battle, and of course this issue is the last nail in the coffin for the GH hoax. • Joel Shore says: Unfortunately, it is you who does not understand the Second Law. Since statistical mechanics form the theoretical underpinnings of thermodynamics (and allow you to define, for example, what entropy is), it’s impossible to claim that something occurs in thermodynamics that disagrees with the underlying statistical physics. And, by the way, even if the thermodynamic equilibrium state were not isothermal, that would in no way undermine the greenhouse effect. It would still be impossible to explain how the Earth+atmosphere system could be continuously emitting back out into space more energy than it receives from the sun, which is what it would be doing if the atmosphere were transparent to IR radiation from the Earth’s surface. No amount of positing effects (such as you have) that move energy from the atmosphere down to the surface (in violation of the 2nd Law, but that’s besides the point) would change this because the issue is the radiative balance at the top-of-the-atmosphere. • Gordon Robertson says: @Joel Shore ….”Since statistical mechanics form the theoretical underpinnings of thermodynamics (and allow you to define, for example, what entropy is)…” Clausius already told us what entropy is and he did it circa 1850. He coined the term and made it clear what it is. Why are modern scientists so bent on re-inventing the wheel and stealing the idea from Clausius? The difference I find between his explanation and the explanation of modern scientists is that his make sense. Modern scientists tend to treat heat as if it is an abstraction that can be re-defined through confusion about entropy so it can be transferred from cold bodies to warm bodies without compensation. They have also become confused about heat, mistaking IR for heat. • Group of physicists says: If you think I don’t understand the Second Law Joel Shore, then it’s up to you to read the hypothesis in our website (now run by a group of physicists and visited by 1,000 a week) and pinpoint the error in the argument. When we discuss (PE + KE)=constant we are discussing molecules in flight between collisions and we’re using the Kinetic Theory of Gases which was used successfully by Einstein and still serves us well in cases like this. • “the equilibrium state of a gas in the presence of a gravitational field is still isothermal” Not around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated by a point source of energy such as a sun it isn’t. All one needs is an unevenly heated surface producing density differentials in the horizontal plane to start convection and temperature must then decline with height due to the surface kinetic energy being used to lift the mass of the lighter parcels up against gravity being converted to PE which is not heat and does not radiate. • Group of physicists says: Stephen No one doesn’t need an “unevenly heated surface” – just molecules moving between collisions in a gravitational field, increasing entropy until (PE+KE) is homogeneous and, voila, we have thermodynamic equilibrium with its temperature gradient. There’s no surface at all and no solar radiation at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus. The temperature gradient is still very close to -g/Cp over the 350Km distance. The only source of new thermal energy is at the top in this case, not at the bottom as you seem to think is all that heats the tropospheres of Earth and Venus. 38. Doug/MikeB/Planetary Physicist pointed to this: “Except during collisions, the interactions among molecules are negligible. (That is, they exert no forces on one another.)” referred to here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_theory and in doing so tries to imply that expansion or contraction of gases does not result in a temperature change (contrary to PV=nRT). When KE and PE become out of balance within a group of molecules then those molecules affected will rise or fall within the gravitational field until KE and PE are in balance once more. That rising or falling involves no forces exerted between molecules because molecules rising into a region of lower density do not need to push other molecules out of the way (they simply expand to match the density at the new height) and nor do molecules descending into a region of higher density have to push other molecules out of the way(they simply contract to match the density at the new lower height). That is the essence of the adiabatic process whereby a temperature change can occur with no energy moving in or out of the rising or descending parcel of molecules. The density of the rising or falling air parcel changes at exactly the same rate as the change in density of the surroundings so that the temperature differential is maintained throughout the course of uplift or descent. That is why, once started, uplift in low pressure cells reaches the tropopause and descent in high pressure cells gets all the way back to the ground. There is however some leakage out to space of radiative energy from GHGs and aerosols but most of the KE and PE is retained for an atmosphere with low radiative capability. There are of course horizontal winds high up moving air from the top of low pressure cells to the top of high pressure cells and horizontal winds near the surface moving air from the bottom of high pressure cells to the bottom of low pressure cells. • gbaikie says: –When KE and PE become out of balance within a group of molecules then those molecules affected will rise or fall within the gravitational field until KE and PE are in balance once more. That rising or falling involves no forces exerted between molecules because molecules rising into a region of lower density do not need to push other molecules out of the way (they simply expand to match the density at the new height) and nor do molecules descending into a region of higher density have to push other molecules out of the way(they simply contract to match the density at the new lower height).– I would say it involves no force because the “molecules moving” is a pattern of moving. Or one is talking about a pattern of crowd movement rather individuals in the crowd moving a distance. Though it’s hard to make an analogy because we aren’t used to idea of traveling at faster than a bullet and not actually going someplace [not moving more than a meter [or an inch]. Or once one has something actually traveling at Mach speed would one have something “suddenly” causing actual movement of individual gas molecules. Or 60 mph is the speed of grass growing. [60 mph is 26 m/s in world of 400 m/s]. Going 400 m/s all day in random directions and not going anywhere is just another a boring routine day. Or to individual gas molecules this motion is like unseen and not felt ghosts slowing drifting through their world. Difference is such ghosts actually exist and do things- or as going 210,000 m/s around in our galaxy is doing something in regard to the galaxy and not doing something or is noticed, by a worm in the ground. Though gas molecule do move somewhere but there are only moving somewhere because “everyone” is moving somewhere- so the wind- and up drafts and down drafts. And everyone is being lead by ghosts or by other masses of air which had been lead by ghosts. • Planetary_Physics says: Stephen. I do not try to imply anything contrary to the Ideal Gas Law. It is you who tries to stretch that law to say something it doesn’t. All it says it that pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. That cannot be twisted to say anything about what happens to temperature if you don’t know precisely what happens to pressure and density. In general both pressure and density increase, or both decrease. They are on opposite sides of the equation, so there is no information about what temperature does until you quantify actual increases in pressure and density. Have you got it yet? You are generalizing without quantifying. In any event, I don’t use the Ideal Gas Law in my hypothesis. I work directly from Kinetic Theory from which the Ideal Gas Law is derived anyway. That way my argument is irrefutable. You just don’t know what the argument is because you don’t deign to read it. So your critique is irrelevant. Your rising and falling molecules, once in thermodynamic equilibrium, do not involve any further convective heat transfer. They might as well be in a sealed, insulated vertical cylinder which would exhibit the environmental temperature gradient, but would not be transferring any thermal energy, because that is a condition of thermodynamic equilibrium, namely that there are no net energy transfers across any internal or external boundary. So, if you removed the ends of the cylinder there would be no propensity for any net rising or falling. Kinetic Theory can be used to explain what I say. It is because you have not explained when your fictitious parcels actually do rise or fall, and why they do, that you are unable to explain how the surface temperature of a planet like Venus or Earth starts to rise during the early part of the day, even if there is total cloud cover, and starts to fall at night. Convective heat transfer, on the other hand, is a process that does actually transfer thermal energy from one location to another that may be kilometers away. So, in summery … (1) You still you talk about your imaginary air parcels that supposedly cling together by some unknown process you have not explained. (2) You still cannot explain why, when and where these parcels rise or fall. Night or day? Wet or dry? Equator or poles? Or do rising ones pass through falling ones somehow? They are certainly not like stones thrown into the air that run out of KE and then fall. If air ran out of KE it would be at absolute zero temperature, and that does not happen even in the mesosphere. • Planetary_Physics says: Correction: Summary (2) .. If a group of a few picograms of air molecules each ran out of KE then the temperature of that air would be absolute zero (0°K) … • Air parcels are real and dealt with extensively in meteorology. An idealised description would comprise a huge solar surface heating induced low pressure cell (rising air) on the day side and a huge high pressure cell (falling air) on the night side but a rotating sphere smears the pattern latitudinally such that the pattern breaks up into multiple mobile high and low pressure systems bounded by jet streams which form global climate zones. Within that system KE and PE are constantly being interchanged at different locations and different times. The cricial point is that if GHGs are present the adiabatic exchange of KE and PE simply adjusts to negate the thermal effect and keep energy out to space equal to energy in from space. Simple. Radiative leakage from GHGs within an atmosphere to space reduces energy returning to the surface in adiabatic descent exactly as much as downward IR from GHGs warms the surface. Net thermal effect from GHGs = zero. • Group of physicists says: I know air parcels are dealt with extensively in meteorology. It’s called wind, and it is wind that keeps them more or less together. Turn off the wind and everything spreads out because molecules move randomly, in case you don’t know. Read further now … Yep, there you go talking about wind in all its forms, jet streams, or whatever. Climate zones – yep I’ve studied them too. All to do with wind. Then you write: “downward IR from GHGs warms the surface.” Nope. Prof Claes Johnson has been quoted in another comment – go read his “Computational Blackbody Radiation You can’t add back radiative flux to solar flux and use the total in Stefan Boltzmann calculations. Besides, back radiation does not penetrate oceans at all. Even Roy knows that. 39. An Inquirer says: Thanks to Dr. Spencer for his excellent post. Here is my question. If the temperature is going to be stabilized at a higher temperature due to increased volumes of greenhouse gases, then is the temperature delta going to be higher at different elevations? The specific question will end up being: will the temperature increase be more in the troposphere than the temperature increase at the surface? • Joel Shore says: “will the temperature increase be more in the troposphere than the temperature increase at the surface?” That’s a complicated story. The answer is that, yes, in the tropics it is expected to increase more in the mid- and upper-troposphere than at the surface. This is true not because of the specific cause of the warming (i.e., greenhouse gases) but would be true for any source producing such warming and has to do with the fact that the temperature profile in the tropics tends to closely follow the moist adiabatic lapse rate. In other parts of the globe, things are more complicated…e.g., near the poles, I think the warming tends to be stronger near the surface. But, the average effect globally is expected to be a little bit larger increase in the mid- & upper-troposphere than at the surface. • Planetary_Physics says: JS writes that the“temperature profile in the tropics tends to closely follow the moist adiabatic lapse rate.” Yes of course it does, and so the surface temperature cannot be raised by water vapor when we know WV reduces the temperature gradient, because that would lead to huge radiative imbalance at TOA which cannot and does not happen, now does it? Besides, real world data proves water vapor cools. Prove otherwise using such data and you may qualify for the$5,000 reward for the first to prove my physics substantially wrong and produce a similar study showing water vapor warms by more than 10 degrees for each 1% concentration, as the IPCC claims.

• Joel Shore says:

Yes, water vapor affects the adiabatic lapse rate. However, water vapor also has important radiative effects (because it emits and absorbs IR radiation).

Your $5000 reward is not serious. You might as well make it$5 trillion. You have appointed yourself as the judge and jury of whether your physics has been shown to be wrong and, of course, we would never have gotten into the problems we have with you in the first place if you had the self-awareness to see when your physics is wrong!

If you appointed a jury of respected physicists and/or atmospheric scientists to decide if the award were due, then their only question would be how to split up the award between the many people who have explained the problems with your physics. But, of course, you will never do that.

• Group of physicists says:

Sketch yourself two graphs on one sheet of paper with temperature on the vertical axis and altitude increasing horizontally. First graph: dry region. Second graph: moist region.

Second graph has less steep gradient and higher intercept on the vertical temperature axis at the left (or so you think) and thus the second graph has far more area under it, and thus represents far more radiation to space, well out of balance with incident radiation.

Empirical data: See another comment here with actual mean temperatures from my study confirming that surface temperatures are cooler in moist region than in similar but drier regions.

Now do a study showing sensitivity of water vapor to be at least 10 degrees per 1% – can’t wait to see it. (LOL)

• An Inquirer says:

Joel, Thank you for your answer. Your overall answer is consistent with my understanding and with what I have been hearing for years/decades. Combining that answer with the observations of data trends, I tend to have doubts about the adjustment process in surface measurements AND suspect that other variables often affect trends more than recent increases in greenhouse gases do. The adjustment process to surface temperatures produce results that are inconsistent not only with other known phenomenon (e.g. Great Lakes ice, lack of all-time records, documented heat waves . . .) but also with the satellite record. However, it is interesting that raw surface temperature data is consistent with known phenomenon and the satellite record.

• Planetary_Physics says:

There is no valid physics which says the temperature will be higher “due to increased volumes of greenhouse gases” and, in the real world, real temperature data proves that increasing volumes of the greenhouse gas water vapor lead to lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures. Come back when you live in the real world and you’ll find level or slightly cooling temperatures until at least the year 2027.

40. Joel Shore says:

Nice post here by Roy Spencer. I would just like to emphasize a few points. One point is what determines the lapse rate: The fact that the atmosphere is heated strongly from below (because of absorption of solar energy at the Earth’s surface and also because of greenhouse gases) and cooled from above (because of greenhouse gases) is what causes the lapse rate to be large. In the absence of convection, the lapse rate would actually be larger in the troposphere than it is now. However, when the lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate (dry or moist, depending on whether the atmosphere is saturated with water vapor or not) then the atmosphere becomes unstable to convection, which tends to drive the lapse rate back down to the adiabatic lapse rate.

Hence, the adiabatic lapse rate is what we call a stability limit: The atmosphere is perfectly stable being at a lower (less steep) lapse rate, but if it gets steeper than the adiabatic lapse rate, it is unstable to convection, which lowers the lapse rate back down.

People often wonder why the atmosphere can’t just adjust to increases in greenhouse gases by increasing convection and thereby not having the surface temperature change…and, the answer lies in this important fact that the atmosphere is only unstable to convection when the lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate. Hence, convection can only reduce the lapse rate so far. This is really of vital importance: If this were not the case, then the lapse rate could be reduced to zero and the greenhouse effect would in fact cease to exist. I.e., the greenhouse effect is dependent on the fact that the temperature in the troposphere decreases with altitude. Conversely, in the complete absence of convection, the lapse rate would be larger and the greenhouse effect would therefore be stronger.

So, the summary is this: Convection reduces the greenhouse effect but cannot eliminate it because of the fact that the atmosphere is only unstable to convection when its lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate. This fact limits the effectiveness of what is otherwise a very potent heat transfer mechanism.

• Planetary_Physics says:

“The fact that the atmosphere is heated strongly from below”

Not always the case, JS. The black body temperature for 168W/m^2 of solar radiation is -41°C. On Uranus there is no surface or solar radiation at the base of its nominal troposphere where it’s hotter than Earth’s surface. The temperature gradient in the Uranus troposphere is however still close to -g/Cp. The “greenhouse gas” methane is doing nearly all the absorbing of solar radiation up near TOA, and warming that region to about the planet’s effective radiating temperature of 59K.

Explain why the temperature plot gets down to just the right temperature at just the right altitude where we find that methane layer. I can do so. You can’t because you don’t understand the thermodynamics involved and you don’t deign to try to understand such here. In short, money talks as you have a vested interest in maintaining the radiative forcing GH hoax.

• gbaikie says:

–One point is what determines the lapse rate: The fact that the atmosphere is heated strongly from below (because of absorption of solar energy at the Earth’s surface and also because of greenhouse gases) and cooled from above (because of greenhouse gases) is what causes the lapse rate to be large.–

So more greenhouse gases gives larger lapse rate.
stronger surface heating would give larger lapse.

Less greenhouse gases gives smaller lapse rate.
and less surface heating gives smaller lapse rate.

Quoting:
” A dry adiabatic temperature profile will have lapse rates near 9.6 C/km, while the moist adiabatic lapse rate is near 6 C/km. Lapse rates greater than 9.6 C/km are said to be “superadiabatic” or “absolutely unstable” ”
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/soundings/help/lapse.html

So I assume largest lapse rates are same meaning as “Lapse rates greater than 9.6 C/km”. Or 9.6 C/km is a large lapse
rate.

So, moist adiabatic lapse has smaller lapse rate and water vapor has largest greenhouse effect of all greenhouse gases on Earth.
But I assume CO2 does the opposite of water vapor and makes
the lapse rate larger?
And sudden heating and CO2 make this larger lapse rate.

And definition:

(of a temperature gradient) With the hotter part having a lesser density (and thus tending to rise)”

Or if in region with a lot thermals [good for gliding or flying birds] it would be superadiabatic region.
And generally one would associate this with clear skies and lots solar heating of ground, and if upper air was more cooler and more dense.
So cool morning which is rapidly warming as it approach mid day.

• Joel Shore says:

“So more greenhouse gases gives larger lapse rate.
stronger surface heating would give larger lapse.

Less greenhouse gases gives smaller lapse rate.
and less surface heating gives smaller lapse rate.”

You can’t just read one sentence of my post. The next sentences explain how lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable to convection, which is pretty efficient in driving the lapse rate down to the adiabatic lapse rate.

• gbaikie says:

–“So more greenhouse gases gives larger lapse rate.
stronger surface heating would give larger lapse.

Less greenhouse gases gives smaller lapse rate.
and less surface heating gives smaller lapse rate.”

You can’t just read one sentence of my post. The next sentences explain how lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable to convection, which is pretty efficient in driving the lapse rate down to the adiabatic lapse rate.–

Yes. But I just trying get what you are saying. Because seems like something I not heard before
And so, can I assume that what you are saying is that more CO2 makes a larger lapse rate.
And that H20 is doing the opposite- it makes a smaller lapse rate.

That was main question.

Next also do you agree rapid daytime warming also makes
a larger lapse. So day starts cool and it warms rapidly due a clear skies and a summer sun?
So say, a typical desert weather would have a larger
lapse rate before noon.

As the rest, I am aware that warmer surface air is unstable [and tends to seem to be more unstable than a colder surface atmosphere].

• Group of physicists says:

JS: Go back to this comment, and then pinpoint any error in our website, now endorsed by our growing group of physicists.

http://climate-change-theory.com

• “the atmosphere is only unstable to convection when its lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate”

I find that a peculiar proposition.

Any decline in temperature with height induces convection and the steeper the decline the faster is convection.

The reason being that uneven surface heating causes density differentials in the horizontal plane so that if one has ANY decline in temperature with height the warmer, lighter less dense parcels of air can rise up above the adjoining parcels spontaneously.

One does not need GHGs to cause the decline in temperature with height in the first place.

• Jo says:

“The reason being that uneven surface heating causes density differentials in the horizontal plane so that if one has ANY decline in temperature with height the warmer, lighter less dense parcels of air can rise up above the adjoining parcels spontaneously.”

No…because as that warmer, lighter parcel rises, it expands (approximately adiabatically) and a gas that expands adiabatically cools. Hence, if the lapse rate is less steep than the adiabatic lapse rate, the parcel no longer finds itself warmer than its surroundings.

This is all very basic atmospheric physics that you can learn about in any introductory textbook.

• Joel Shore says:

Sorry…”Jo” was me. (Somehow I didn’t type in my full name.)

• Kristian says:

“This is all very basic atmospheric physics that you can learn about in any introductory textbook.”

Haha, if I had a penny for every time I stated something to the effect of this to Mr. Wilde and another one for every time he completely ignored it and just moved on with his self-invented nonsense version of atmospheric physics, I’d surely be a wealthy man!

It’s no use, Joel. He’ll be coming back telling you that a gas expanding and thus cooling has got nothing to do with the adiabatic process. That’s apparently a diabatic process. The adiabatic process according to Mr. Wilde is simply air lifting and subsiding, having gravity do work on it, thus transforming KE into PE and back. Inside his pink bubble, it’s the Truth.

• Kristian.

That is a perversion of what I said.

If a gas expanding and cooling transfers heat to the surrounding molecules as you say it does (via work done) then that is indeed a diabatic process.

But there is no evidence of a cooling, rising parcel of air warming the molecules around it.

If, however, the rising gas does work in lifting mass against gravity (as it must) it transfers no heat to the surrounding molecules because that heat becomes potential energy instead. That is the adiabatic process.

You are misreading the textbooks because you don’t understand the underlying concepts.

Both processes occur but the adiabatic part is by far the dominant part because rising air moving into an area of lower density just expands to match the lower density at the new height without having to push any surrounding molecules out of the way.

If the rising air were moving up into a region of the same density then it would have to push molecules out of the way, but it isn’t.

• Joel (as Jo) said:

” as that warmer, lighter parcel rises, it expands (approximately adiabatically) and a gas that expands adiabatically cools. Hence, if the lapse rate is less steep than the adiabatic lapse rate, the parcel no longer finds itself warmer than its surroundings”

If the actual (environmental) lapse rate is less than the dry adiabatic lapse rate set by atmospheric mass and gravity then the air parcel remains even warmer than it would be if it cooled at the dry adiabatic rate and so convection accelerates.

The rapid uplift of water vapour laden air is the prime example. Water vapour being lighter than dry air it rises even faster than would dry air and in the process reduces the lapse rate locally to below the adiabatic lapse rate until, that is, the vapour condenses out and even then the release of latent heat leaves the air even warmer, not cooler.

If it were dry air rising it would cool at the same rate as the surroundings and so would maintain the initial temperature differential throughout the uplift process until it hits a temperature inversion such as the tropopause or the air becomes so thin that it can no longer sustain convection

Adiabatic processes are very poorly understood by those who comment here but there is no shame in that since hardly any climatologists understand them either.

Kristian has completely misinterpreted the words that he reads.

Doug Cotton relies on a totally unphysical downward diffusion / conduction process.

Adiabatic processes explain the warming over the surface above S-B for any planet with an atmosphere and the temperature elevation is related to mass and not radiative capability.

• Group of physicists says:

There’s nothing “unphysical” about a process that is increasing entropy, Stephen. That’s what the Second Law is all about.

Entropy only stops increasing when molecular (PE+KE) is homogeneous, so then we have no unbalanced energy potentials, Roy, Stephen and Joel, and so we have the state of maximum entropy (called thermodynamic equilibrium) which the Second Law says will evolve. And it has a temperature gradient because temperature is determined by mean molecular kinetic energy.

It’s not hard to understand. But I’m not repeating it here, because it’s already explained here complete with empirical support.

• Group of physicists says:

“Any decline in temperature with height induces convection”

Not necessarily convective heat transfer in the direction of the decline, SW. A temperature inversion occurs when the temperature gradient is less steep than the gradient corresponding to the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

“In meteorology, an inversion is a deviation from the normal change of an atmospheric property with altitude. It almost always refers to a “temperature inversion,”

Seems I know some meteorology better than you, Stephen.

41. Dave Tofsted says:

Dear Roy,

Your first statement struck me when you said, “The source of energy for the climate system is the sun, primarily in the form of visible sunlight.”

I know you are trying to simplify, but this statement is flatly wrong. While I am not a big fan of Wikipedia, here is what they have to say about sunlight, at,

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

“In terms of energy, sunlight at the earth’s surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 43 to 42 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 5 to 3 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm).”

Our sunlight is not “primarily” visible light. It is primarily infrared light.

• MikeB says:

You are of course right and that statement struck me as well, but I considered it to be a generalisation, not important to the argument.

The important point is that the Sun’s input is short wave radiation. The infrared portion of that is in the near infrared (short wave ). This infrared radiation can penetrate the atmosphere quite easily just like visible light and so most of the solar radiation, apart from the UV which is filtered out by ozone, reaches the ground (on a cloudless day).

On the other hand, radiation given off by the ground is long wave infrared. Most of this cannot penetrate the atmosphere and this results in the greenhouse effect. That’s the important point.

• Planetary_Physics says:

Radiation into the surface is not the primary determinant of the surface temperatures of Earth or Venus.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics causes there to be a density gradient and a temperature gradient, this meaning that the sloping thermal profile is what determines surface temperatures. Likewise such gradients determine temperatures in, for example, Earth’s outer crust where it can be 300°C just 10Km below the surface. This is not because of any cooling off and it is not explained by internal energy generation which is nowhere near sufficient, and probably not contributing at all to the 1300°C temperature in the core of the Moon.

You know where you can learn about the real Solar System and benefit from thousands of hours of research that I have summarised here. About 1,000 others are doing so each week, hundreds of them silent readers of Roy’s blog who must realise the blunders he has made, along with Joel Shore of course.

• Joel Shore says:

“The Second Law of Thermodynamics causes there to be a density gradient and a temperature gradient, this meaning that the sloping thermal profile is what determines surface temperatures. ”

The 1st part of your statement is wrong…but even if it weren’t, the 2nd part of your statement is also wrong for a simple mathematical reason: If I tell you that I have a linear function y = m*x+b and give you the value of the slope m, you can’t tell me what y for some value of x (say, x = 0). In order for you to know that, you also have to know the value of b, or equivalently, the value of y at SOME value of x.

The very simplistic statement of how this plays out in the Earth’s atmosphere is that the adiabatic lapse rate determines the slope m and the radiative balance (which depends on the greenhouse gases) determines at what height above the surface the temperature has to be, on average, 255 K (which is the temperature of a blackbody that would cause it to radiate as much energy back out into space as the Earth + atmosphere absorb from the sun).

• Planetary_Physics says:

Joel Shore and others:

Regarding the density gradient you wrote assertively without substantiation …

“The 1st part of your statement is wrong”

No it’s not. You just don’t understand that if mean gravitational potential energy per molecule changes then so too does entropy. When the density gradient stabilizes we thus have maximum entropy, which is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, which is what the Second Law says will evolve.

In that state of thermodynamic equilibrium the sum of mean (PE+KE) is homogeneous (because, when entropy is a maximum, there cannot be any unbalanced energy potentials) and so there is a temperature gradient in every planetary troposphere. We also find it in sealed insulated cylinders and in the extreme centrifugal force field in a Ranque-Hilsch Vortex tube. You can’t fly in the face of evidence.

Radiative balance depends upon the solar constant that the Earth’s outward radiation virtually always equates to within ±0.5%. I have explained in my book and website exactly what you explain regarding y=mx+b. So this means the thermal profile has to rotate about a pivoting altitude where outward radiation above that altitude equals that from below. (I calculate that altitude to be between 3.5 and 4Km.) Hence, when water vapor makes the gravitationally-induced gradient (aka dry lapse rate) less steep, then the surface end of the temperature profile must be lowered by several degrees.

The gravitationally-induced temperature gradient results from the Second Law because entropy changes when gravitational potential energy changes. Water vapor varies between about 1$and 4% and so the more water vapor there is the cooler is the surface, other things being equal. This is a fact demonstrated in my published study using 30 years of precipitation and temperature records from three continents. The study showed with statistical significance that more moist regions had lower mean maximum and minimum temperatures than do drier regions at similar latitude and altitude. The above physics and the data which supports it is sufficient to refute the radiative greenhouse conjecture. Now my son and I are off to our bowls tournament. There’s ample detail you all can read here. • Planetary_Physics says: Sorry: Typo: Water vapor varies between about 1% and 4% PS: You need to consider the fact that the IPCC claims that water vapor does most of 33 degrees of warming. That’s ludicrous. Say it warms 28 degrees and there’s a mean of 2% water vapor, then the sensitivity they claim would be 14 degrees per 1% of water vapor. So if a rain forest has 4% above it its temperature would be raised about 56 degrees. In contrast a dry desert region with 1% would have its temperature raised by just 14 degrees and thus be 42 degrees colder than the rain forest. • jerry l krause says: Hi Dave Tofsted and MikeB, Dave you wrote to Roy: “Your first statement struck me when you said, “The source of energy for the climate system is the sun, primarily in the form of visible sunlight.” I know you are trying to simplify, but this statement is flatly wrong. While I am not a big fan of Wikipedia, here is what they have to say about sunlight: “In terms of energy, sunlight at the earth’s surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 43 to 42 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 5 to 3 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm).” Our sunlight is not “primarily” visible light. It is primarily infrared light.” And MikeB responded: “You are of course right and that statement struck me as well, but I considered it to be a generalization, not important to the argument.” MikeB, we both know what you have written, but please stick with me as I quote scientists who, by their achievements, seem not to be the dummies for which Roy wrote his post. R. C. Sutcliffe (you can read on the internet what his achievements were) in Weather and Climate wrote: “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.” And relative to the invisible IR he wrote: “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 blackbodies.” Roy and NASA still embrace this statement that Sutcliffe made in 1966. Yes, I know the invisible heat rays to which Sutcliffe referred are not the shorterwave IR portion of the solar radiation; but please stick with me. Previously, I have tried to draw attention to what Richard Feynman (The Feynman Lectures on Physics) taught first-year physics students at Caltech about light scattering by clouds. And I do so again. He taught: “We have just explained that every atom scatters light, and of course the water vapor will scatter light, too. This mystery is why, when the water is condensed into clouds, does it scatter such a tremendously greater amount of light.?” I omit the theoretical reasoning presented by Feynman to the class because I do not pretend to be able to fully comprehend it and now pick up his lecture at the point I believe I can fully comprehend what he was teaching. “That is to say, the scattering of water in lumps of N molecules each is N times more tense than the scattering of the single atoms. So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases. Does it increase ad infinitum? No! When does this analysis begin to fail? How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument any 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 this limit is reached, than they can be for short wavelengths. Although the short wave lengths 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.” There is more to the lecture (32-8,9) and you might read everything that Feynman taught in this lecture. I have never found anyone else who has referred to this light scattering by cloud droplets which Feynman taught. And I cannot comprehend how this is. Does everyone consider Feynman a dummy and that it would be a waste of their time to refute what he taught if it were not valid? Now it seems generally agreed that ordinarily cloud droplets, which never precipitate but dissolve again after forming, have diameters of about 20µm. So based upon what Feynman clearly taught, it seems that the invisible IR portion of solar radiation should be scattered more strongly than the visible portion. Hence, the probable importance of Roy’s misstatement of fact to the argument. And furthermore, a good portion of the ‘long-wave radiation from the earth, the invisible heat rays’ should be scattered much more intensely than the IR portion of the solar radiation. About clouds Roy wrote: “So, if clouds change, the temperature can change. Or, if the amount of IR-emitting and IR-absorbing gases in the atmosphere (primarily water vapor and CO2) change, the temperature can change. Anything that changes the rates of energy gain or energy loss can change global temperatures. ” Sutcliffe 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.” Hopefully, you will ponder what Sutcliffe and Feynman have written or taught and compare it with what Roy has written in How the Climate System Works (for dummies). Have a good day, Jerry 42. phi says: Roy Spencer, Joel Shore, What you say is broadly reasonable and explains nicely the general phenomenon of the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately it is all too simplistic to describe the effect of adding CO2 because you forget the infuence of IR flux on the gradient. It is funny to note that the gravito-thermal hypothesis you reproach to some people is in reality the foundation of the official theory. Indeed, as the radiative structure is not supposed to have any influence on the gradient, the lapse rate is supposed to be unchanged in the absence of greenhouse gases. • phi says: A small but significant note in addition: adiabatic conditions are not met in the troposphere. • phi says: Are not met precisely because of greenhouse gases. • Planetary_Physics says: Roy and Joel, Salvatore and all AGW proponents are too gullible because they believe the IPCC bluff that water vapor warms by about 10 to 15 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere. Some of us who have enjoyed cool rain forests know they are not 30 or 40 degrees hotter than dry deserts. They are also gullible enough to believe that WV can raise the surface temperature whilst at the same time reducing the temperature gradient, thus causing the world to radiate far more back to space than it receives because of the much higher thermal profile at all altitudes in the troposphere. Frankly I don’t know how anyone with any education in physics could believe such a hoax. • Planetary_Physics says: PS I won’t be able to reply in the next 18 hours as I’ll be playing in an Australia Day Lawn Bowls tournament with 8-year-old Joshua – whose skills you’d enjoy watching here. • MikeB says: Thank God for that. • Carol Anne (Poltergeist) says: He’s baaaack! • Joel Shore says: phi: For the relatively fast time scales on which convection occurs, the free atmosphere is close to adiabatic, i.e., radiative transfer is too slow a process to significantly alter the adiabatic assumption when considering stability of the atmosphere to convection. “It is funny to note that the gravito-thermal hypothesis you reproach to some people is in reality the foundation of the official theory. Indeed, as the radiative structure is not supposed to have any influence on the gradient, the lapse rate is supposed to be unchanged in the absence of greenhouse gases.” No…It is not the foundation of the official theory. Atmospheric scientists recognize that the lapse rate is set up by the processes that I’ve described. I agree, however, that with current amounts of greenhouse gases, a change in them will not significantly alter the lapse rate because, as I’ve noted, the lapse rate is being brought down to the value it has by convection. (In fact, because the moist adiabatic lapse rate decreases with increasing surface temperature, the lapse rate is actually expected to DECREASE slightly with increasing greenhouse gases, an effect known as the lapse rate feedback.) I, for the most part, have stayed out of the arguments about what the atmosphere’s vertical temperature structure would look like if there were absolutely no greenhouse gases because that is a sort of weird singular limit and I don’t really have any strong opinions about how it would play out. [Note that this is a different question than what the EQUILIBRIUM temperature structure is because you would still not be dealing with a system in equilibrium.] • phi says: Joel Shore, 1. There is no reason to think that adding more CO2 acts more on the translation of the profile than on its gradient. 2. “convection is what determines the temperature gradient of the atmosphere” (Ramanathan et al., 1978) Exactly match the gravito-thermal hypothesis. 3. While it is true that in cyclonic ascents adiabatic conditions are substantially filled, this has no importance since radiative efficiency depend on the global average temperature profile. • Gordon Robertson says: @Joel Shore “I, for the most part, have stayed out of the arguments about what the atmosphere’s vertical temperature structure would look like if there were absolutely no greenhouse gases because that is a sort of weird singular limit…” But you don’t think it’s weird to calculate the theoretical temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere while ignoring the oceans? How can anyone peg the temperature of the planet at -19C, doing math without an atmosphere, when the oceans are ignored? I would venture a guess that the planet without GHGs would not be much different than it is now. I am basing that on still having water vapour and clouds but without them having the IR absorbing properties. I think Stephen Wilde is dead on with his claim that the oceans are warming the atmosphere. • Group of physicists says: Joel writes: “gravito-thermal hypothesis you reproach to some people is in reality the foundation of the official theory” Garbage. They don’t realize that the gradient is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium which thus leads to the thermal profile “propping up” the surface temperature instead of back radiation, which can’t even penetrate water, let alone help the Sun to raise the ocean temperatures with its insolation. Read this comment by BigWaveDave on WUWT 3 years ago: “I have been earning a living as an engineer specializing in cutting edge technology for very large scale thermal energy transfer processes and power systems for close to 40 years. My credentials include BS, JD and PE, and I have four patents. “As for my qualifications to engage in argument with PhD’s, I have many times been part of and have led teams with PhD team mates. I was also married to a PhD for 20 years. “Because the import of the consequence of the radial temperature gradient created by pressurizing a spherical body of gas by gravity, from the inside only, is that it obviates the need for concern over GHG’s. And, because this is based on long established fundamental principles that were apparently forgotten or never learned by many PhD’s, it is not something that can be left as an acceptable disagreement.” BigWaveDave – if you read me you’d be welcome in our group – see http://climate-change-theory.com 43. Paul says: No one’s rebutted this yet: Heated masses including gases ALWAYS emit infrared, the so called “hidden flaw” in GHG theory. It makes sense as I cant imagine a hot ball of oxygen in space being invisible in the infrared. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html • Joel Shore says: Paul, Nitrogen and oxygen molecules don’t have vibrational or rotational excitations that cause the molecule to be an electrical dipole…and hence these modes cannot absorb or emit radiation. A more complicated molecule like CO2 and H2O does (i.e., while CO2 doesn’t have a dipole moment in its ground state, there are vibrational excitations that do, and H2O already has a dipole moment to start with). Technically speaking, the above applies only to isolated molecules. As you start squeezing them closer together, you do get some ability to absorb or emit IR radiation. So, if your “ball of oxygen” were fairly dense, then yes, there would be some significant emission. However, for atmospheric densities, molecules are pretty far apart so the amount of emission or absorption of IR radiation by N2 and O2 is pretty insignificant. (They do play a role in the so-called “collisional broadening” of the emission lines of the IR-active molecules like CO2 and H2O.) • geran says: Joel says: “Nitrogen and oxygen molecules don’t have vibrational or rotational excitations that cause the molecule to be an electrical dipole…and hence these modes cannot absorb or emit radiation.” geran says: “Dream on.” • Mike Flynn says: Joel Shore, You wrote – “Nitrogen and oxygen molecules don’t have vibrational or rotational excitations that cause the molecule to be an electrical dipole…and hence these modes cannot absorb or emit radiation” Now when you measure the temperature of the air, what are you measuring? How can you feel the heat coming from a heat gun from a distance? Nitrogen and oxygen are matter. If they are gaseous, they are above absolute zero. They are emitting radiation. They are absorbing radiation. End of story, I would think. Live well and prosper, Mike Flynn. • MikeB says: The article you refer to was written by ‘dragon slayer’ Alan Siddons, there is really no need to read further than that. Although all objects above absolute zero emit electromagnetic radiation this is a source of many misunderstandings. Whilst the statement is true for solids and liquids it does not apply in the same way to ‘thin’ gases. These gases are not seen to absorb and emit over a broad continuous spectrum, Instead they absorb and emit radiation only at discrete wavelengths or narrow bands. There are many graphs available on the internet showing the absorption bands of various gases in our atmosphere. The main constituents of our atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen, do NOT absorb in the spectral region where the Earth radiates most strongly, although nitrogen has a weak absorption band between 4 and 5 microns and oxygen a weak absorption band between 6 and 7 microns. Some advice: Reading rubbish is not good. Quoting rubbish is not good. Defending rubbish is not good. Not being able to tell what is rubbish and what is not is not good. • Mike Flynn says: MikeB, A gas at 20C is at exactly the same temperature as any other gas at 20C. A gas in a container such as a gas cylinder will end up being the same temperature as the cylinder. If you don’t believe me, try and figure out what gas a cylinder contains by measuring its temperature. Full, empty, 4000 psi or 15 psi – good luck! The only truly transparent medium is nothing at all – a vacuum. Am I talking rubbish? Live well and prosper, Mike Flynn. • Paul says: MikeB: “The main constituents of our atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen, do NOT absorb in the spectral region where the Earth radiates most strongly, although nitrogen has a weak absorption band between 4 and 5 microns and oxygen a weak absorption band between 6 and 7 microns.” This statement is not wholly true as O2 and N2 absorb heat by other means: conduction and convection. They don’t radiate strongly in the IR when the density is low as Joel Shore was saying. I was asking for the explicit mathematical relationship between the density of the gas and its IR emission. ALL matter radiates according to its temperature, not just CO2 which emit at specific wavelengths. • Paul says: Outer space, pretty thin low density stuff, emits radiation according to it’s temperature in the shape of broadband Planck curve shape even though it’s at ~2K. It’s the remnants of the big bang fireball. • Gordon Robertson says: @MikeB….”These gases are not seen to absorb and emit over a broad continuous spectrum, Instead they absorb and emit radiation only at discrete wavelengths or narrow bands”. Maybe for CO2 but water vapour has a broad spectrum. 44. Paul says: Thanks, it’s as I thought. Now could you give me the equation linking density of a gas to the amount of IR radiated if possible? 45. Paul says: I was thinking that the greenhouse effect on Venus is due to the density of the gas 46. I do not believe in AGW. I think it is a hoax. Just because one believes in a GHG effect does not mean one believes in the global warming BS. I think there is a limited GHG effect which is governed by the mean state of the climate. In other words the resultant GHG effect is caused by the climate not the other way around. 47. Planetary_Physics says: Joel Shore: Are you going to admit your error in claiming that nitrogen molecules do not have rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom? At room temperature there are two rotational DoF’s and at higher temperatures there are also two vibrational DoF’s. What is relevant is that nitrogen can absorb and emit in a process called Raman scattering which involves low frequency radiation in the Raman band which, although below the frequencies of the IR band, does still comprise some of the radiation from Earth’s surface. No atmosphere in any known planet in our Solar System is totally unable to absorb and emit radiation, especially when you recognise your mistake and realise that diatomic molecules do have more DoF’s than just the three translational ones, and so absorption and emission in the Raman band is possible. Hence the effective radiating temperature of a planet with an atmosphere will be found somewhere in the atmosphere, usually within the troposphere. This anchors the overall level of the thermal profile after allowing for albedo. Then the temperature gradient associated with the overall state of thermodynamic equilibrium allows us to extrapolate the thermal plot to the surface and thus estimate the supporting surface temperature. That temperature is close to observed minimum values on calm nights. On clear days, especially in the tropics and nearby latitudes, the solar radiation can indeed raise the surface temperature with temporary extra energy that usually dissipates later that same day. The cooling slows or ceases when the temperature approaches the supporting temperature. The actual energy flows can be understood and explained once it is understood that the state of thermodynamic equilibrium has a temperature gradient equal to the “dry” -g/Cp value less a reduction due mostly to inter-molecular radiation, but maybe also some latent heat release. In that you can’t explain in any other way how the required thermal energy gets into the Venus surface in order to raise its temperature 5 degrees in its 4-month day, I rest my case until you do explain such in any way other than my hypothesis, provided of course that I can’t fault your physics. • “you can’t explain in any other way how the required thermal energy gets into the Venus surface in order to raise its temperature 5 degrees in its 4-month day” Given the very high surface temperature of Venus a rise of 5 degrees over 4 Earth months is miniscule and can be easily explained by the fact that some of the sunlight does percolate down through the atmosphere to the surface via scattering through the atmosphere. Even on Venus the days are lighter than the nights and that is sufficient. Apart from that diurnal variability the higher than S-B average baseline surface temperature is supplied by the kinetic energy needed to hold the weight of a very dense atmosphere off the surface. Kinetic energy that is being employed in conduction and maintaining constant convective overturning cannot radiate to space at the same time otherwise the atmosphere would fall to the ground. The kinetic energy required to maintain atmospheric height came originally from a solar heated surface via conduction. Energy, once locked into convective overturning, cannot participate in the radiative exchange with space but nonetheless requires an enhanced surface temperature to support atmospheric weight. That is the real essence of ‘Climate for Dummies’. • Group of physicists says: Blimey Stephen, you really do expose your lack of understanding of radiation when you think the Venus surface temperature rises because this is “easily explained by the fact that some of the sunlight does percolate down through the atmosphere.” Go and study what Nobel prize winner Max Planck had to say. He’d be rolling in his grave in laughter at you Stephen thinking that 20W/m^2 can do the warming that really requires over 16,000W/m^2. That error of yours takes the cake Stephen, and I shall refer to it ever after whenever you pit your understanding of physics against mine derived over a period of about 50 years since I won a university scholarship in physics. • Joel Shore says: “Joel Shore: Are you going to admit your error in claiming that nitrogen molecules do not have rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom?” Since, I didn’t make that claim, then no, I am not going to admit my error. Read what I actually said. • Group of physicists says: OK, Joel Shore, you said “Nitrogen and oxygen molecules don’t have vibrational or rotational excitations” but I gave an example as to when they do for radiation with lower frequencies than in the IR-band. I also made several other points, so read on past the first paragraph and respond to the rest of the comment. You have not explained how the required thermal energy gets into a location on the equator of Venus and raises its temperature over the course of 4 months of sunlight. Radiation from the colder atmosphere cannot raise the temperature because it is not coming from a warmer source. 48. Roy said: “This is key: without IR absorption and emission by the atmosphere, surface heating by the sun would eventually warm the atmosphere to the same temperature as the surface, and such an “isothermal” atmosphere cannot support convection. The observed tropospheric temperature profile (warm below and cool above) is mostly the result of convective overturning”. In fact convective overturning is a result of the lapse rate and not the cause of it. Convection won’t occur without a temperature decline with height in the first place. As soon as gas molecules form at the surface as a result of excitation by sunlight there is uneven heating in the horizontal plane and warmer molecules rise above cooler molecules. Convection has begun simply because the cold of space above was at a lower temperature than the surface from which the gas molecules arose. Radiation had nothing to do with it. It was all about conduction (and still is). Every warmed molecule cooled as it rose via conversion of KE to PE and when molecules come to descend again (as they must) then to the extent that they have not radiated their energy to space they warm up again at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Therefore an isothermal atmosphere can never develop around an unevenly heated rotating sphere. Roy must address that point. The warming on descent dissolves clouds and reduces convection beneath the descending column which allows the surface to warm more than it otherwise would have done. That is the mass induced greenhouse effect. • we have to be careful about our use of words here. The observed average lapse rate is the result of convective overturning….it would be much steeper due to radiative processes if there was no convective overturning (Manabe and Strickler, 1964). Convection keeps pushing it toward the observed average value, while radiation keeps trying to make the lapse rate steeper. This radiative destabilization (which the greenhouse effect is a necessary part of) is what drives convection, which in turn leads to the observed lapse rate. • Kristian says: Roy, If, as you say, radiation keeps trying to make the lapse rate steeper (and I believe you’re right – by solar heating the surface and IR-active gases and clouds cooling from aloft by progressively radiating the energy brought up and into the troposphere from the surface to space), then by definition it enables more efficient cooling of the surface – through convection. The moving away of heated (and humified) surface air to make room for more heat from the surface is for all intents and purposes THE cooling mechanism of our solar-heated global surface. As it is for ANY heated surface immersed in a fluid affected by gravity. Hence, processes working towards making convective cooling MORE effective, would work towards making the surface COOLER. Conversely, processes working towards making convective cooling LESS effective, would work towards making the surface WARMER. Suppress convective cooling of a heated surface and you get swiftly RISING temperatures, not dropping ones … • Kristian says: humidify, not humify … • It is correct that in so far as GHGs radiate to space they have a cooling effect from within the atmosphere. That loss of energy via upward radiation from GHGs weakens convective overturning because some of the energy in that overturning process leaks out to space. Consequently, less energy is returned to the surface as KE in convective descent than was taken up in convective ascent. The reduction in energy coming back to the surface as KE exactly matches the radiation to space which potentially cools the surface. BUT that reduction in energy coming back to the surface also exactly matches the downward radiation from GHGs. The net effect overall is zero. Thus GHGs neither warm nor cool the system because changes in the convective process negate their thermal effect. The energy taken up from the surface by convection does not all radiate to space from GHGs because PE is not heat and PE does not radiate so even GHGs cannot despatch it into space. That which is not radiated to space from within the atmosphere by GHGs or aerosols becomes KE again on the descent part of the cycle due to the descending air warming at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. It is that returning KE (which has not been radiated to space) on the descent which keeps the surface warmer and not downward radiation from GHGs. Roy said: “The observed average lapse rate is the result of convective overturning….it would be much steeper due to radiative processes if there was no convective overturning (Manabe and Strickler, 1964). ” If there was no convective overturning then radiation upward from GHGs would lead to a lapse rate via energy loss from within the atmosphere. However, one could never prevent convective overturning for a rotating sphere illuminated from a point source since surface heating would always be uneven and convection must inevitably ensue. Once convection begins a lapse rate develops even without GHGs but the cause of that lapse rate is the decline in pressure with height and not the convection itself. Since the decline in pressure with height results in cooling the GHGs present cannot radiate as effectively because their height has made them cooler. Nonetheless energy is still carried by the higher air molecules but it is PE and not KE. Most of that PE returns as KE on the descent. It is conduction of energy from the surface to atmospheric mass followed by convection that is important and not radiative capability. This being the key point I would appreciate Roy’s comment. • “Dry adiabatic lapse rate Since the atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude (see Earth’s atmosphere), the volume of an air parcel expands as it rises. Conversely, if a parcel of air sinks from a higher altitude to a lower altitude, its volume is compressed by the higher pressure at the lower altitude. An adiabatic lapse rate is the rate at which the temperature of an air parcel changes in response to the expansion or compression process associated with a change in altitude, under the assumption that the process is adiabatic (meaning that no heat is added or lost during the process).” from here: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Atmospheric_lapse_rate • Kristian says: Stephen, I’m simply amazed by your ability to be blind to factual confirmation of things you deny the reality of even when it’s staring you (in black and white) right in the eyes. Read your quote of the DALR one more time. What does it say? When the air rises, the lower external pressure on the rising parcel allows it to expand into the surrounding air (another way of expressing how it pushes the air above and to the sides away). When it sinks, the increasing external pressure on the parcel conversely allows the surrounding air to compress it, pushing it into a smaller volume. And then it says: “An adiabatic lapse rate is the rate at which the temperature of an air parcel changes in response to the expansion or compression process associated with a change in altitude (…)” The temperature of the air parcel goes DOWN as it expands (against the external pressure), UP as it’s compressed (by the external pressure). There is always external pressure from the surrounding air acting ON the air parcel, Stephen. In a state of hydrostatic equilibrium, the parcel doesn’t move vertically because the external and internal pressures are equal. However, when there’s an imbalance and the parcel starts rising, its internal pressure (from the heat originally delivered to it diabatically from the surface) outmatches the external pressure, and its volume increases as a result. This is called ‘pressure-volume work’ (PV work). Moving up, the air parcel does PV work on its surroundings, thus losing (internal) energy – it cools. Moving down, the surroundings are doing PV work on the air parcel. The parcel thus gains (internal) energy and warms. Finally: “(…) under the assumption that the process is adiabatic (meaning that no heat is added or lost during the process).” Like I’ve been telling you the entire time, Stephen, this is the definition of an adiabatic process: NO ENERGY TRANSFERRED AS HEAT [Q]. However, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics looks like this: ΔU = Q – W. The internal energy [U] of a system can change in two ways: by a transfer of energy as heat [Q] and/or by a transfer of energy as work [W]. And when the internal energy of a system changes, its temperature changes (barring phase transitions). No energy transferred as ‘heat’ doesn’t mean “NO ENERGY TRANSFERRED”. Energy is indeed transferred. Through ‘work’ being done by or on the system. PV work, Stephen. PV work. http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/sm1/lectures/node53.html “Suppose, now, that the gas is thermally isolated from its surroundings. If the gas is allowed to expand quasi-statically under these so called adiabatic conditions then it does work on its environment, and, hence, its internal energy is reduced, and its temperature changes.” The reason why expansion/compression of air in the atmosphere can be approximated as an adiabatic process is mainly because the conductivity of air is so excruciatingly slow compared to the actual volume change. http://faculty.wwu.edu/vawter/physicsnet/Topics/Thermal/ImportantThermalProcess.html “ADIABATIC [PROCESS]: No heat flows into or out of the system (Q = 0). Example: Compression of a gas in an insulated cylinder. In this case any change in the internal energy of the gas is due to work done on it or by it, ΔU = W. Normally, if ΔU changes, the temperature of a system will change. Any temperature rise or fall is due to the work done or by the gas alone and not due to heat flowing into or out of the system since Q = 0. If a process is carried out fast enough, the heat flow will be small and the process can be approximated as being adiabatic. This happens because heat flow is in general a slow process.” The final paragraph applies to the atmosphere. • Kristian says: Sorry, the final quote should look like this: “ADIABATIC [PROCESS]: No heat flows into or out of the system (Q = 0). Example: Compression of a gas in an insulated cylinder. In this case, any change in the internal energy of the gas is due to work done on it or by it, ΔU = W. Normally, if ΔU changes, the temperature of a system will change. Any temperature rise or fall is due to the work done [on] or by the gas alone and not due to heat flowing into or out of the system since Q = 0. If a process is carried out fast enough, the heat flow will be small and the process can be approximated as being adiabatic. This happens because heat flow is in general a slow process.” http://faculty.wwu.edu/vawter/physicsnet/Topics/Thermal/ImportantThermalProcess.html • Kristian says: Same thing happened … OK, whatever, hehe. • Kristian, Please explain why the equation for calculation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate includes a term for gravitational acceleration. “The dry adiabatic lapse rate can be mathematically expressed as: \Gamma_d = \frac{g}{c_{pd}} where: \Gamma_d = the dry adiabatic lapse rate, 0.0098 K/m (equivalent to 9.8 K/kilometre or 5.4 °F/1000 feet) g = Earth’s gravitational acceleration, 9.8076 m/s2 c_{pd} = the specific heat of dry air at constant pressure, 1004.64 J/(kg \cdot K) It is only work done with or against gravity that is adiabatic. Any work done against surrounding molecules is diabatic. Your understanding is flawed. • Kristian, Here is the heart of your error: “When the air rises, the lower external pressure on the rising parcel allows it to expand into the surrounding air (another way of expressing how it pushes the air above and to the sides away). Your ‘other way of expressing it’ is incorrect. Expanding into the lower density air (which exerts lower external pressure) does not involve pushing air above and to the sides away. Since the density of the surrounding air declines at the same rate as the density of the rising parcel declines (expansion) the rising parcel has sufficient space to expand into that air without doing any pushing. Likewise the density of a falling parcel increases (contraction) at the same rate as the density of the surrounding air increases so as to fit into the available space without needing to be compressed by the surrounding molecules. The expansion is a result of work done against gravity and not against surrounding molecules. The contraction is a result of work done with gravity and not against surrounding molecules. That is why the equations for the various lapse rates contain a term for gravitational acceleration rather than a term for any interaction with surrounding molecules. • Kristian, Maybe this will help: “Does hotter air rise? B: Or does cold air displace the hot air causing it to rise? If some air is hotter than the air around it, that hotter air will expand, its pressure will decrease (since PV is constant) and high pressure, lower density air will push it up: displacing it. Here we see the issue with the question: BOTH A and B are true. If B were not, and cold air wasn’t available then there would be no difference in densities, no difference in pressures, and nothing would change. You cannot have A without B or B without A, and this is because a pressure gradient is necessary for changes to occur.” Thus, since one needs both A AND B the work done on the surrounding molecules by hot air rising in A is exactly offset by the work done on the surrounding molecules in the opposite direction by cold air descending in B. This means that for a single complete cycle of convective overturning the net thermal effect of work done on the surrounding molecules is zero. That is why you can calculate the lapse rates using gravitational acceleration alone. • Kristian says: Stephen, you keep claiming: “Your understanding is flawed.” So tell it to all those physicists and meteorologists explaining the ‘adiabatic process’ (and which I link to all the time, just like I did now; it’s right there in the quotes above, Stephen; did you read them? didn’t think so), pointing out specifically that it is indeed the PV work of the air against the external pressure that cools the air inside as it expands. It is not MY understanding, Stephen. It is the universal PHYSICAL UNDERSTANDING of how the ‘adibatic process’ works, that you can find explained and described anywhere and everywhere. I’ve given you two random links above. You are one pigheaded man, Stephen. • Kristian said: “it is indeed the PV work of the air against the external pressure that cools the air inside as it expands.” The external pressure is a product of gravity is it not? No gravity, no weight and no pressure. Lifting mass up against gravity requires work. That work requires energy which is taken from the available KE but once the work has been done the mass of the lifted molecule carries more PE due to its greater height. No KE has been transferred to surrounding molecules contrary to your assertions. THere is some diabatic transfer to adjoining molecules since no process is perfectly adiabatic but within in an atmosphere there is very little transfer between rising and falling parcels for the reason I have explained. Forget analogies such as pumps and one off compression or expansion and study some meteorolgy which is a specialist subject that deals with the way physics plays out in practice within an atmosphere supported against gravity by kinetic energy at the surface. • Group of physicists says: Garbage Roy You write: <i."radiation keeps trying to make the lapse rate steeper." And yet you know full well that the more water vapor there is radiating in the troposphere then the less steep is the gradient. The state of thermodynamic equilibrium has a gradient determined by when entropy is maximized. Entropy must change with gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy and radiated energy transfers, ignoring phase change and chemical reactions etc for our purposes here. Put all this together and you find it is a maximum when we have the environmental temperature gradient (aka “lapse rate” – a quite unnecessary term) and the slope is less steep because water vapor has reduced the magnitude of the gradient by inter-molecular radiation which has a temperature leveling effect. It’s not hard to understand here Roy. A thousand a week are reading it on our group’s website. 49. Planetary_Physics says: “In fact convective overturning is a result of the lapse rate and not the cause of it.” No Stephen. Convective heat transfer is an actual transfer of thermal energy. So it needs a new source of energy to drive it. Otherwise the temperature gradient just sits there, as we know it does when cooling stops in the early pre-dawn hours. When that happens no further energy is being transferred, but the temperature gradient is still there – held in place by all the molecules darting about and colliding, swapping KE and PE whilst in motion. Convective heat transfer repairs damage to the lapse rate. In other words, it restores the state of thermodynamic equilibrium when it has been disturbed by wind or absorption of new thermal energy, just as the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will happen. However, Stephen, convective heat transfer can occur without a temperature decline. All it needs is an increase in entropy. Have you never understood the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Stephen? You really should do a physics degree before you “play doctors” in a discipline in which you are not qualified. And no, it is not about “warmer molecules rising above cooler ones” either. Molecules move in random directions and collide with each other. A warmer molecule might just “push” a cooler one upwards, and perhaps bounce back where it came from. And convective heat transfer can go in any direction over the thermal plane, because that plane is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s just like rain falling on part of a lake. The new water is spread out by gravity in all accessible directions as it restores equilibrium. It does not need sunlight for molecules to break free from water, if that’s what you mean. Regarding 98% of the gas molecules in the atmosphere, they weren’t “formed” at any surface in the last billion years or so. Then you make the laughable assertion that convection starting at the surface does so because of the “cold” of space. It seems you forgot that it gets hotter in the stratosphere. And you still think “molecules come to descend again” as if they are stones thrown into the air. That’s utter garbage Stephen. They don’t run out of kinetic energy until they get down to zero K, and that doesn’t happen. And the temperature gradient does not keep on going at the same level of steepness, one factor being centrifugal force acting against gravity, and another being the high level of new energy absorbed in the stratosphere. Your “cold” of space is not sucking up convection from the surface, Stephen, and molecules are not running out of kinetic energy and thus falling when they get high enough. And your molecules that you think “must” fall (but don’t have to, and rarely do at night) will not make the surface warmer than the Sun’s radiation can make it unless they actually transfer new thermal energy (from the Sun of course) into the surface. The Sun’s radiation of 168W/m^2 only supports a black body temperature of -41°C so there’s no point in discussing slower surface cooling if the Sun’s direct radiation can’t raise the surface to its observed mean temperature in the first place. You’re a beggar for punishment, Stephen, but keep it up because silent readers will learn from my refutation of your guesswork. • Gordon Robertson says: @Planetary_Physics…”…convective heat transfer can occur without a temperature decline. All it needs is an increase in entropy”. Clausius defined entropy as the summation (integral) of the instantaneous heat transfers at a temperature T at which each incremental transfer takes place. He described entropy in words as the transformation content of a body. Clausius referred to a body as having a heat content and described instantaneous levels of heat content as the heat changed in a body. He further referred to such changes as transformations between heat and work, or if no work was done, as the simple transfer of heat from bodies in contact, or via radiation. These transformations he referred to as being instantaneous as work and heat interacted continuously. He broadened that to a body having a transformation content, which means to me that such instantaneous transformations can be summed over a cycle. If a process is reversible, the entropy will be zero. If it is not reversible, the entropy will be positive. Either way, the temperature has to change since entropy is intertwined directly with heat and heat with temperature. There seems to be no point talking about entropy increasing without a temperature change. Alternately, convection is the transfer of heat through a fluid, liquid or gas. It can only happen naturally if there is a temperature gradient otherwise it has to be forced using a fan, or whatever. In that case, entropy would describe the summation of instantaneous transformations of heat along a temperature gradient. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. • Group of physicists says: Clausius was working within the context of a horizontal plane in which gravitational potential energy thus played no part in entropy calculations. This is obvious because he refers only to temperature. The Second Law does not refer to temperature: it refers to entropy being maximized in the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. An object falling in a vacuum may retain the sum (KE+PE) about constant during its flight, but entropy is increasing even though KE is also increasing, equivalent to warming of molecules in downward free flight between collisions. In contrast, a stationary object (PE not changing) loses KE (thermal energy) by cooling whilst entropy is also increasing. So the apple gains KE but the stationary object loses molecular KE, even though both have increasing entropy. You see, you have a lot to think about regarding entropy. 50. Doug, Read some basic meteorology. 51. An Inquirer says: In Roy’s article: “The net result of all of this up- and down-welling IR radiation is that greenhouse gases make the upper atmosphere cooler . . . than they would otherwise be without those greenhouse gases.” However, stratospheric temperatures have been flat (actually, perhaps a bit non-significant increase) for almost twenty years despite increases in greenhouse cases. Would this phenomenon suggest that other variables have had more of an influence on stratospheric temperatures than the increase in greenhouse gases? • gbaikie says: Roy probably referring to upper troposphere. Troposphere is about 75% of mass of atmosphere. It seems to me stratosphere is too thin to be considered to be do much warming of Earth. Or I would say Earth’s stratosphere warms earth is similar fashion that Venus stratosphere warms Venus. Though some imagine that ozone in Earth lower stratosphere contributes to Earth temperature. And btw a few years ago they found a bit ozone on Venus: http://sci.esa.int/venus-express/49412-tenuous-ozone-layer-discovered-in-venus-atmosphere/ • An Inquirer says: gbaikie, one of the key fingerprints of AGW was that the stratosphere was going to cool while the troposphere warmed. CAGW proponents stressed this point as the stratosphere cooled 30 years ago. However, those cooling episodes followed extremely major volcanoes in the lower latitudes. Such volcanic eruption has not returned, and the cooling of the stratosphere has stopped. These realities suggest that other variations have been stronger than greenhouse gases in determining trends. 52. Observation, data and instrumental measurements lend strong support to what Dr. Spencer has to say about the GHG subject. Observations fail to verify what Doug is trying to convey. • Planetary_Physics says: Observations confirming what I say and refuting what Roy says are in the “Evidence” page here and you, Salvatore, along with Roy, still haven’t answered the question about what is the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapor. 53. However, stratospheric temperatures have been flat (actually, perhaps a bit non-significant increase) for almost twenty years despite increases in greenhouse cases. Would this phenomenon Your statement is not correct in that stratospheric temp. have declined since the mid 1990’s on balance Answer look at the volcanic activity, and ozone concentrations tied into the solar activity which have the most influence on stratospheric temp. 54. In fact convective overturning is a result of the lapse rate and not the cause of it. My reply wrong. Wrong and is easily verified through observation. 55. I meant correct did not read it right. 56. Gordon Robertson says: Part of the reason meteorologist/physicist Craig Bohren called the blanket theory a metaphor at best, and at worst, plain silly, was the inability to explain the action of IR in the atmosphere. Simple models and thought experiments such as those provided by Roy in this article are not how IR works in the atmosphere. It is a highly complex system that requires quantum theory and Feynman diagrams to attempt an explanation. I might be added that Bohren is a skeptic as well. However, there is a far simpler denunciation of the blanket theory. The glaring omission in Roy’s account of the blanket is actual numbers. Allow me to supply some for the dummies, of which I count myself one. All GHGs in the atmosphere account for 1% of atmospheric gases. In a real greenhouse with 100 panes of glass, it would require the removal of 99 panes of glass to get the equivalent of 1% of atmospheric gases. Such a blanket would be threadbare, and would someone please explain to me how a blanket with 99% of its material missing could trap heat? In the aforementioned claim, I am fully aware that the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere do not represent an actual greenhouse but I was not the one who coined the misnomer ‘greenhouse effect’. Still, no one has ever come up with actual numbers to show how effective GHGs are as a blanket. If you are going to call the atmosphere a greenhouse at least ensure that it compares to a real greenhouse. Which brings up another matter. In a real greenhouse, the glass prevents convection currents that would normally cool it. The glass stops atoms of air from rising. There is no such mechanism in the atmosphere where convective currents are rampant. Fellow skeptic, and atmospheric physicist, Richard Lindzen, who teaches at MIT, disagrees with Roy as to the importance of radiation. http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/230_TakingGr.pdf On page 3, Lindzen describes the popular greenhouse effect model (metaphor) and adds this: “There is something very seriously wrong with this oversimplified picture. Namely, the surface of the earth does not cool primarily by thermal radiation”. Lindzen goes on to infer that heat is transported through convection to higher altitudes where it is emitted to space. He later italicizes this statement: “Contrary to the iconic statement of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers, this is only on the order of a third of the observed trend at the surface, and suggests a warming of about 0.4° over a century. It should be added that this is a bound more than an estimate”. He is implying that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 could, at best, produce a warming of 0.4C. • JohnKl says: Hi Roy and Gordon Robertson, In my view the physics proves even more troubling for alarmists. Earlier I’ve made extensive commentary regarding CO2 saturation of it’s bandwidths. The green house theory self refutes. Evidence has existed for a long time that the bandwidths CO2 absorbs already absorb the entire IR flux in those bandwidths emitted from the surface. This absorption takes place only a few meters from the surface. As such ADDING ADDITIONAL MOLECULES OF CO2 GAS TO THE ATMOSPHERE CANNOT RAISE TEMPERATURES BECAUSE THE CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE ALREADY ABSORBS THE ENTIRE RADIATIVE IR SPECTRUM IN IT’S BANDWIDTH. ADDITIONAL MOLECULES OF C02 CAN ONLY SUPPLY MORE MOLECULES TO PROCESS THE SAME ABSORBED ENERGY AT A FASTER RATE AND EXPEL IT FROM THE ATMOSPHERE. THUS THE ENERGY CONTENT PER SUBSEQUENT CO2 MOLECULE DECLINES. THE SAME ENERGY QUANTUM MUST BE DIVIDED BY MORE MOLECULES. At this point in time apparently CO2 cools! Have a great day! • JohnKl says: Clarification, my last CO2 relevant sentence above should read: At this point in time apparently additional CO2 cools! • Planetary_Physics says: Gordon speaks of windows. In double glazing they are careful not to allow moist air into the gap between the panes because they know it reduces the insulating effect. So too does water vapor in the troposphere, because inter-molecular radiation helps energy to leap-frog the slower moving energy that is being transported by convective heat transfer, that process (in physics) including diffusion. Until you people understand the significance of the fact that the temperature gradients in the troposphere, crust and mantle are all states of thermodynamic equilibrium, you will never understand what keeps the core of our Moon at about 1300°C or why that is relevant to Earth’s climate. You will never understand why it’s hotter than Earth’s surface at the base of the nominal troposphere of Venus, or how the necessary energy gets into the surface of Venus to raise its temperature by day, after it cooled by 5 degrees at night. Nor will you understand why water vapor cools rather than warms, and so does not do most of that “33 degrees of warming” which is actually more like 12 degrees of cooling. Why not join over 2,900 others who have read this website in the last three weeks or so? Word is getting around – and no one has refuted the content with valid physics. • JohnKl says: Hi Doug (Planetary_Physics), Thanks for the post. You stated: “So too does water vapor in the troposphere, because inter-molecular radiation helps energy to leap-frog the slower moving energy that is being transported by convective heat transfer, that process (in physics) including diffusion.” Yes, we know it’s been stated before and follows what I posted. You further assert: “you will never understand what keeps the core of our Moon at about 1300°C or why that is relevant to Earth’s climate.” As one of the 4-5 forces of the universe (depending on whether you accept Ron Unze’s findings) or curved space-time according to Einstein gravity applied to mass and density of materials involved will provide the requisite energy. As to the 1300°C claim for the lunar core temp, unless you’ve measured it you’ll never really have a clue if you’re correct. However, keep applying your equations and see how many bear out. You later claimed: “Nor will you understand why water vapor cools rather than warms, and so does not do most of that “33 degrees of warming” which is actually more like 12 degrees of cooling.” Don’t be so sure you fully understand it either. However, to be accurate you’re referring to other people’s claims. Thanks for the web-link and … Have a great day! • Planetary_Physics says: JohnKl and Gordon JohnKl wrote: “gravity applied to mass and density of materials involved will provide the requisite energy.” Yes, and for a more precise explanation (based on the laws of physics) as to just how gravity does this, read the linked website for our group “Planetary Physics” as over 2,950 others have done in these last three weeks or so. No, I’m referring to claims supported by our group for which membership is restricted to those with qualifications in physics, or evidence of sufficient private study of such. • Planetary_Physics says: Moon’s surface and core temperature: http://www.space.com/18175-moon-temperature.html • JohnKl says: Hi Doug, Your link states: “The moon has an iron-rich core with a radius of about 205 miles (330 km). The temperature in the core is probably about 2,420 to 2,600 F (1,327 to 1,427 C). The core heats an inner layer of molten mantle, but it’s not hot enough to warm the surface of the moon.” They’re guessing! Which they have every right to do and they may even be correct, but has no empirical value. Thanks and have a great day! • Gordon Robertson says: @Planetary_Physics….come on Doug, why the nym change? ðŸ™‚ • Group of physicists says: You can read what our group endorses at http://climate-change-theory.com or you can try to work out for yourself how the required thermal energy gets to a location on the Venus equator and raises its temperature (about 5 degrees) during the 4-month sunlit period, thus reversing the inevitable cooling in 4 months of darkness. Let me know what you work out. • D Appell says: JohnKL: You’re line of reasoning is called the “saturation fallacy.” It was first made by Kurt Angstrom, a few years after Arrhenius’s 1896 paper. You’re missing that the atmosphere ITSELF radiates, and IR radiation from atmospheric CO2 in the upper atmosphere escapes to space. Atmospheric CO2 radiates in all directions, so some of energy radiated near the bottom of the atmosphere will ultimately make its way upward, with absorption and emission all the way up. Within one optical path length of CO2, the IR escapes the Earth. That radiation obviously ISN’T saturated, as the Planck curve measured at the TOA never reaches zero: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/curve_s.gif • JohnKl says: Hi David Appell, Thank you for the information. For purpose of clarification, you stated: “You’re missing that the atmosphere ITSELF radiates, and IR radiation from atmospheric CO2 in the upper atmosphere escapes to space.” Actually, I very clearly stated: “ADDITIONAL MOLECULES OF C02 CAN ONLY SUPPLY MORE MOLECULES TO PROCESS THE SAME ABSORBED ENERGY AT A FASTER RATE AND EXPEL IT FROM THE ATMOSPHERE. THUS THE ENERGY CONTENT PER SUBSEQUENT CO2 MOLECULE DECLINES.” and earlier told Roy: “Recently, I read that pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels absorbed some 95% of the IR within their few small bandwidths. In addition, it all apparently gets absorbed within a few meters of the surface. Their doesn’t appear to be much energy left to absorb no matter how much CO2 gets added. Moreover, additional CO2 will only INCREASE the rate at which energy gets processed and emitted (read removed) from the atmosphere.” All matter above zero Kelvin radiates, including CO2 IR emissions in the upper atmosphere which explains why as atmospheric levels of CO2 and other tri-atomic gas molecules (with the exception of Ozone and those that absorb high energy radiation) builds in the atmosphere the upper layers COOL! The only question at issue in my post is the extent the atmosphere absorbs IR radiation from the Earth’s surface in the bands absorbed by CO2. Clive Best claimed pre-industrial absorption at 95%. Is it higher now? Does it matter? The small remaining un-absorbed portion should it exist, should not be enough to effect much change. JPL thermal imaging of the Martian atmosphere at the 15 micron range absorbed by CO2 shows only upper atmosphere emission, no surface information. If you have empirical data one way or another please let me know. Thanks and… Have a great day! • Gordon said: “In a real greenhouse, the glass prevents convection currents that would normally cool it. The glass stops atoms of air from rising. There is no such mechanism in the atmosphere where convective currents are rampant. ” Descending air in high pressure cells warms as it descends at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. That reduces the lapse rate slope beneath the descending column and thereby inhibits convection just like a greenhouse roof. • Planetary_Physics says: “Descending air in high pressure cells” Mmmm? Sounds like descending wind to me. Call a spade a spade. Descending wind at the South Pole does not warm in accord with the gravitationally induced temperature gradient. It stays cold and transports cold air (~-50°C) from the upper troposphere to the surface, making the surface about the same temperature. Wind moves too quickly and almost totally over-rides the slow process of convective heat transfer that forms and maintains the temperature gradient. Wind is like a storm that disturbs the otherwise smooth curvature of the ocean surface. Only in calm conditions do things tend back towards equilibrium states. • gbaikie says: “A katabatic wind originates from radiational cooling of air atop a plateau, a mountain, glacier, or even a hill. Since the density of air is inversely proportional to temperature, the air will flow downwards, warming adiabatically as it descends.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katabatic_wind • Doug, Air descending above the poles does warm at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. The reason the surface is so cold is because there is so little insolation that for most of the time there is a surface inversion which blocks the warmed descending air from reaching the surface. • jerry l krause says: Hi Stephen and Guys, Stephen said: “Descending air in high pressure cells warms as it descends at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. That reduces the lapse rate slope beneath the descending column and thereby inhibits convection just like a greenhouse roof.” Then Stephen said: “Air descending above the poles does warm at the dry adiabatic lapse rate. The reason the surface is so cold is because there is so little insolation that for most of the time there is a surface inversion which blocks the warmed descending air from reaching the surface.” Take some time and ponder what Stephen said. Where does the descending column of atmosphere go once it is blocked from reaching the surface? Or, how is it that there is a descending column of atmosphere? Maybe the word air mass should be substituted for the word column because column seems something of quite limited extent like a thunderstorm whereas a high pressure cell seems to imply something of much greater extent. On the other hand, column is a quite appropriate word when the focus is upon that atmospheric pressure at the surface for we generally understand that this pressure is due to the weight of matter in the vertical column of atmosphere above that point on the surface. And when one refers to a high pressure cell, it is implied that the atmospheric pressure at the surface is greater than that of the surrounding area. So we naturally expect a horizontal outward flow of atmosphere because of the pressure difference. But as the atmosphere descends it warms. And because it warms its density in the descending column must decrease. But can the density of the column decrease without removing some matter from the descending column? The removal of matter from the column whose atmospheric pressure we a monitoring at the surface must decrease the pressure. So, if nothing else is occurring at the same time, you seem to be correct that the descending column would never reach the surface. Therefore, the lifetime of any descending column, or cell, would be short. For a moment, ignore the fact that gbaidie referred to katabatic winds, which are very important evidence that the descending columns of atmosphere in the polar regions, during the polar winter, do descend to the surface. But katabatic winds are very strong, warm, and generally have short lifetimes and are most commonly observed during the south poles winter. We should never ignore the fact that the topography of the two polar regions are very different. I have to wonder if the climatic models consider the topography of the earth’s surface. If we ignore, for a moment, the perturbation that Greenland might be upon the north polar region, there is a very large area where there is no topographic influence upon a surface layer of atmosphere for this surface is continuously at sea level. I doubt if anyone would question Stephen’s statement: “The reason the surface is so cold is because there is so little insolation that for most of the time there is a surface inversion.” A surface inversion is when the surface is colder than the atmosphere above it and that for some distance above the surface the temperature of the atmosphere increases with increasing altitude. But there comes a point where there is pause (the atmospheric temperature does not change with changing altitude) and above this pause the atmospheric temperature abruptly begins to decrease, accordingly to the dry adiabatic lapse rate, with increasing altitude up to the tropopause. But Stephen continued: “which blocks the warmed descending air from reaching the surface.” In adding this phrase Stephen seems to imply this it is at the pause, between the surface inversion and the dry adiabatic lapse rate, where the warmed descending air is blocked from reaching the surface. A fact which we must not overlook is that the atmosphere always has a density gradient even if its temperature gradients can reverse. So it is because of the extremely cold surface temperature at the surface, where the atmospheric density is the greatest, that the atmosphere’s surface pressure is greater than that of the surrounding area where the surface temperature is greater, possibly because the insolation there is greater. Now, in another comment I have drawn attention to the fact, will publicized by some of Roy’s previous posts, that from time to time massive, cold, dense, air masses begin to migrate to lower latitudes over the midsection of the USA. In this other comment and another, I have concluded with questions in an effort to generate responses. For I am jealous of Doug, because his comments generate far more comments than mine. He even stimulated Roy to write a post which has allowed everyone to see what Roy believes and reasons. For which I am very grateful to Doug because I had not read before what Roy has now clearly written. And I see from time to time some others of you, beside Doug, question some of the things he wrote. Einstein is said to have stated: “It’s not that I’s so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Stephen, has posed a problem and I, although I have written what I wrote, am still pondering it. For there are factors (like clouds) which I have not yet addressed that must play some role, by their presence or absence, in that which can be observed in this specific case. Have a good day, Jerry • Hi Jerry, I see that you are grasping some of the meteorology basics that go over the heads of many here. I’ve been in the climate / meteorology ‘game’ for about 60 years which is way longer than my detractors here and I’m pretty sure I have the basics exactly right. The issues relevant to climatology are interpretations as to how the fundamental physical principles of meteorology work out in practice within a global atmosphere. It isn’t simple because there are so many individual meteorological phenomena that appear to diverge from the underlying physics but in each case there is a sound meteorological explanation which hardly anyone unfamiliar with meteorolgy over the long term has any idea. A prime example is Roy’s concept that an isothermal atmosphere could ever develop around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated by a point source of energy such as a sun in the sky. It cannot ever happen due to the inevitability of uneven surface heating which causes temperature and density variations in the horizontal plane and that is enough to create convective overturning and a decrease in temperature with height in the absence of any GHGs at all. I see that as a full rebuttal of Roy’s contention and would welcome his attempts at a rebuttal. • Gordon Robertson says: @Stephen Wilde…”That reduces the lapse rate slope beneath the descending column and thereby inhibits convection just like a greenhouse roof”. It can’t inhibit all convection or, according to Richard Lindzen, the surface temperature would rise to about 72 C. I can see instances where what you say is true. I experienced something similar one day in a desert area near Vancouver where the temperature in the shade was over 40C (Spences Bridge). The air was eerily still and the locals told me they took measurements in direct sunlight that rose as high as 55C. At any rate, that day was the hottest I’ve ever felt the Sun. The direct radiation was so stifling all you could think of was finding some shade. Even that did not help a lot. At either rate it does not apply to most greenhouses. Even if you leave the roof intact and open the walls, the greenhouse will cool significantly on a cooler day. If it’s a scorcher out, there likely wont be much convection anyway. It’s the same with a car on a hot day. Close all the windows and you can die in a car from heat prostration. Open two windows and you’ll be fine. I like your theory about the oceans as a hot water bottle effect but I can’t get into theory without a demonstrable reality. Having worked in electronics and the electrical field most of my life I realize you cannot always see the reality, but in that field you sure can demonstrate it and measure it. I am still waiting for proof that GHGs have any appreciable effect on atmospheric warming. Please note that the theory you are espousing has little to do with GHGs. It involves mostly air comprised of nitrogen and oxygen. • gbaikie says: — Gordon Robertson says: January 28, 2015 at 2:19 AM @Stephen Wilde…”That reduces the lapse rate slope beneath the descending column and thereby inhibits convection just like a greenhouse roof”. It can’t inhibit all convection or, according to Richard Lindzen, the surface temperature would rise to about 72 C. — The ground surface does rise to about 72 C. “The single highest land skin temperature recorded in any year of the study was found in the Lut Desert in 2005 and measured a stunning 159.3 F (70.7 C). Lut had the highest surface temperature in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009 as well.” http://www.livescience.com/19700-hottest-place-earth.html But in term 5 feet above ground in shaded white box [how suppose to measure surface air temperature] highest is: “It was July 10, 1913 when Death Valley, California recoded a high temperature of 134 degrees — a number yet to be matched anywhere else on the planet (at least, officially). http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/Worlds-hottest-ever-recorded-temperature-turns-100-today-214790241.html But unless one inhibits convection with say something a car with it’s window rolled up, the atmospheric surface air tends to about 20 C cooler than heated skin surface. But if made a greenhouse in order to stop convection it could only get to around 70 C during middle of day. And unless somehow one block the conduction and radiant energy it would cool down during other parts of the day. Though something like solar pond [salt gradient which inhibits convection] can maintenance throughout a day the underwater temperature of about 80 C. “With a 20�C ambient temperature, the thermal energy obtained from the solar ponds is in the form of low-grade heat of 70�C to 80�C” http://www.eng.usf.edu/~hchen4/Solar%20Thermal.htm • Group of physicists says: Air (and you, Stephen, really mean wind) does not descend at a rate equal to a temperature gradient. It descends with the velocity of the wind which can easily be strong enough (as above the South Pole) to almost completely obliterate any temperature gradient. • Planetary_Physics says: Gordon, of course convective heat transfer is a major player in all planetary systems. After all, over 98% of all the thermal energy in Earth’s atmosphere is held in nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules which don’t do much radiating at tropospheric temperatures. These air molecules are the real “blanket” whilst IR-active molecules are holes in the blanket. But I wouldn’t hang my hat on what Lindzen “explains” because, whilst it is correct to point out the role of convective heat transfer, he does not fully understand what is happening and the direction of such heat transfers during the day compared with the night. That’s why the only fully correct explanation supported by empirical evidence is here. • Planetary_Physics says: Sorry: typo in the link: here. 57. Planetary_Physics says: Stephen Wilde: I would no more go to a meteorologist to learn physics that I would go to a physiotherapist to learn dentistry. The biggest single problem in the whole debate is that meteorologists and climatologists think that the Second Law is all about “net” results of independent processes, and what they learnt about the corollary of that law, namely that heat transfers are from hot to cold provided that gravitational potential energy is held constant as in a horizontal plane. Convection is just a short term for convective heat transfer. Heat transfer mechanisms lie very much in the realm of physics, and they require an understanding of entropy, thermodynamics and radiative heat transfer mechanisms. Your meteorology is all about things that happen on a macro scale. The “fissics” taught in meteorology and climatology is all about imaginary parcels of air supposedly warming, expanding and rising. Then this all gets blended in with wind in its various forms, whereas rising winds and falling winds do not cool and warm along the “lapse rate” as is obvious when cold winds blow downwards above the South Pole, wiping out any temperature gradient in the troposphere, and keeping the surface cool as they spread out into Polar Easterlies. Not once in all your discourse do you, Stephen, even make mention of entropy or the Second Law, that being what “controls” the very “lapse rate” we are talking about, and the necessary energy flows. You ignore the physics which is the foundation stone in the explanation of all temperature data in tropospheres, surfaces, crusts, mantles and cores of all planets and satellite moons. And because you ignore entropy, Stephen Wilde, this applies to you also … “The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. … if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.” —Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927) My response to you Stephen Wilde is continued here. • Gordon Robertson says: @Doug “…namely that heat transfers are from hot to cold provided that gravitational potential energy is held constant as in a horizontal plane”. Doug…I have read Clausius extensively and nowhere does he mention gravitational potential energy. In fact, he claims all you need to measure heat is an observation of the work it does externally. He did mention instances where no work is done externally when a warmer body and a cooler body are in contact. It seems to me you are so focused on the atmosphere that you have lost the awareness that heat operates in other mediums. Heat can be transferred from a solid body to a liquid in a container without gravitational fields having anything to do with it. Clausius was not prompted to write the 2nd law based on gravity, or anything related to gravity. The only time he mentioned potential energy was in relation to internal energy in atoms. He developed the 2nd law because Carnot had inferred there were no losses in a heat engine when heat produced work and vice versa. Clausius knew heat was consumed while doing work and that’s what the 2nd law is about. It addresses losses in a heat process. It should also be noted that the transfer of heat in one direction only, from a warmer body to a cooler body, without compensation, is implicit in the 2nd law. That theme runs through the work of Clausius as he explains what is behind the 2nd law. Furthermore, he recognized that IR can flow in both directions but that heat can only be transferred in one direction. He also coined the term entropy and his explanation of entropy is far different than some modern scientists tend to make it. Clausius broke heat transfer into instantaneous changes which he called transformations. The transformations were the infinitesimal changes as heat transformed to work, or vice versa. He referred to entropy as a body’s transformational content. I take that to mean entropy is a summation of the differential dQ/T, where T is the absolute temperature at which a differential heat exchange (dQ) takes place. He added that entropy is always zero in a reversible process simply because the integral in a reversible process is zero. He explained that as heat does work in a reversible process, and vice versa, the initial and final conditions will be the same and that nothing changes. The only other value entropy can take on is a positive value. In a non-reversible process, such as a heated metal melting into a puddle, the initial and final conditions will not be the same and the summation of dQ/T will be positive. Physically, Clausius described entropy as being related to the disgregation of atoms in a solid body. Normally, we would think of atoms in a solid as being an aggregation. However, as the body is heated, and the average kinetic energy of the atoms rise, the atoms tend to spread apart, a phenomenon Clausius referred to as disgregation. In a reversible process where the body begins at temperature T1, then warms to temperature T2, and back to T1, the atoms will go through increased travel in their constrained vibratory paths. That is disgregation. Then as the body cools, the atomic vibrations will return to where they were at T1, thus nothing has changed. The sum of the instantaneous transformation of heat during heating and cooling he called entropy. It makes sense then, that if the heating continued till bonds were broken and the body melted, the body could not return to its initial state. That would represent a positive entropy and he inferred that most real world processes are not reversible. • Group of physicists says: “I have read Clausius extensively and nowhere does he mention gravitational potential energy.” True, but that was the 19th century and it wasn’t until the brilliant physicist Josef Loschmidt (Maxwell’s teacher) was first to determine the size of air molecules and to think about how the gravitationally induced temperature gradient forms, that physicists started to use the standard current statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which refers to entropy, not just thermal energy. You can’t get away from the fact that entropy involves all forms of energy, including gravitational potential energy. Now please stop wasting my time and read the website endorsed by our “Planetary Physics” group: http://climate-change-theory.com • Gordon Robertson says: @Doug…”Now please stop wasting my time and read the website” Oh, don’t worry about that, I have learned to stay away from Aussies with strong, unsupportable opinions. Boltzmann, not Maxwell, was a student of Loschmidt. Loschmidt used Maxwell’s definition of the mean free path as a basis for his constant, which is better known as Avogadro’s number. Maxwell was in a class above Loschmidt when it came to general physics and mathematics. I understand now how you got your ideas about horizontal planes. You are unfortunately mistaking the imaginary surfaces used in chemistry for chemical bonding theory with horizontal planes in the real world. Has it never occurred to you that the geometry used in chemical bonding theory is based on probabilities, hence imaginary? Loschmidt was working with imaginary planes, not those applying to the real world. Boltzmann is quoted in the wiki article about Loschmidt as claiming entropy is a “logarithmic tally of the number of microscopic states corresponding to a given thermodynamic state”. That’s similar to what Clausius inferred without Boltzmann’s statistical approach. He referred to entropy (using my words) as the sum of infinitesimal heat transformations in a thermodynamic state. Let’s get off this snobbery about minimizing the work of Clausius. At the macro level, his work still stands, it’s at the atomic level using statistics (probabilities) that one could argue about his inferences about atomic level energy and work. None of that matters in classical thermodynamics since most heat problems can be worked out using the external world. Clausius made statements about atoms 50 years before the work of Planck that were uncannily accurate. • Kristian says: Gordon Robertson says, January 28, 2015 at 3:03 AM: “Furthermore, he [Clausius] recognized that IR can flow in both directions but that heat can only be transferred in one direction.” In the time when Pierre Prévost formulated his “theory of exchanges” in 1791, basically the ‘bidirectional flow’ concept of radiative heat transfer, HEAT was considered a ‘thing’, like a substance separate from all other substances, a special kind of ‘fluid’. This was in essence the ‘caloric theory’. This is how Prévost reasoned (and remember, this was back in 1791!): “In 1791 Pierre Prévost showed [?] that all bodies radiate heat and concluded: “Radiation will exactly compensate absorption.” He used the terms absolute and relative equilibrium to describe changes. Prévost considered that what is nowadays called the ‘photon gas’ or ‘electromagnetic radiation’ was a fluid that he called “free heat” (French: le feu). Prévost proposed that free radiant heat is a very rare fluid, rays of which, like light rays, pass through each other without detectable disturbance of their passage. Prévost called his theory “movable equilibrium of heat”, now designated as the “theory of exchanges”, which stated that each body radiates to, and receives radiation from, other bodies. The radiation from each body is emitted regardless of the presence or absence of other bodies.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_equilibrium The ‘caloric theory’ was duly rejected and superseded in the first half of the 19th century, but the ‘bidirectional flow’ principle stuck. Now we know that ‘heat’ isn’t a thing separate from all other things. It is simply energy. So saying things like: “IR (or, more generally, ‘energy’) can move both ways in a heat transfer, but ‘heat’ can only move one,” actually makes no sense. If two warm bodies at different temperatures radiate IR at each other, then the ‘heat’ between them is not something distinct from the radiative energy being exchanged. It’s not a separate kind of energy. According to what the ‘bidirectional flow’ concept is actually suggesting, the ‘heat’ really isn’t anything but a net result of the IR exchange. The IR is all there is. The ‘heat’ isn’t a ‘net flux’ of energy moving from hot to cold. It is only the surplus of energy left in the cooler object and the (equal) deficit of the warmer one, after the exchange of IR energy is done. There is no real way of resolving this issue. What we directly observe in nature, what we can actually physically detect in the real world, is ALWAYS ONLY the spontaneous (and UNIdirectional) transfer of energy from hot to cold. What we call ‘heat’. We simply do not know, and there is no way of telling, whether there are in fact two fluxes opposing each other in a radiative heat transfer or not. We can only ASSUME there is. And that’s what the ‘bidirectional flow’ concept is all about. It is merely a mental model, an interpretation of an observed physical process, a hypothetical description of reality. We don’t KNOW if it’s true. Josef Stefan (the discoverer of the T^4 relationship between the temperature and the emissive power (‘radiant heat’) of a black body in a vacuum at absolute zero in 1879) recognised this at once: “He [Stefan] first looked at Tyndall’s work, which gave heat transfer data on a platinum wire over a wide temperature range. After studying Tyndall’s data, Stefan wrote, “From weak red heat (about 525°C) to complete white heat (about 1200°C) the intensity of the radiation increases from 10.4 to 122, thus nearly 12-fold (more precisely 11.7). The ratio of the absolute temperature 273+1200 and 273+525 raised to the fourth power gives 11.6.” […] He wrote that his analysis had a, “hypothetical nature and reasoned support for [it] was impossible, so long as measurements are not made of radiation to surroundings at absolute zero, or at least a very low temperature.” http://webpages.uidaho.edu/~crepeau/ht2009-88060.pdf • Gordon Robertson says: @Kristian ““IR (or, more generally, ‘energy’) can move both ways in a heat transfer, but ‘heat’ can only move one,” actually makes no sense”. Kristian…I think sometimes we become confused by focusing only on radiation. How about heat being transfer directly within a metal or between a heated metal and water? Radiative transfer is not involved yet the heat will only transfer from the warmer area or body to the cooler area or body. As you know, energy takes various forms and we have named those forms based on their particular properties. There is electric energy, magnetic energy, and electromagnet energy. There is chemical energy, nuclear energy and heat energy. So what makes heat energy unique? It’s usually the result of friction within a body or external to it, or it is the result of a higher temperature source contacting a lower temperature source. The friction of electrons traveling through a resistance produces heat. Initial studies in heat were done boring a cannon barrel and measuring the heat effect on water from the friction of the drill against metal. Joule did studies on heat by rubbing surfaces together. What do these processes have in common? They involved the disruption of atoms in their mean free paths leading to an increase in their average kinetic energies. You might state then that heat is a property of the kinetic energy of atoms. How about IR? It is electromagnetic energy and it has nothing to do with friction. It is related to the energy levels within the shells of atoms or in the bonds of molecules. That difference alone explains why heat can only be transferred from atoms at a higher kinetic energy to atoms at a lower kinetic energy, without compensation. Apparently, and I cannot prove this, when a photon of energy is emitted from an atom, it is due to the energy in the shells of the atom decreasing. I presume that lowers the KE in the atom and increases the KE in an atom receiving such a photon of energy. However, photons come in different intensities and frequencies depending on the temperature of the emitting source. That seems to imply that photons from a cooler body don’t have the same intensity and frequency as those from a warmer body. AFAIC, based on what Clausius implied, that explains why IR can flow both ways but heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a cooler body, without compensation. The transfer of heat via radiation is the result of photons of energy raising the KE of atoms in a cooler body. The question I am considering is whether photons of lower intensity and frequency from a cooler body can in any way affect the kinetic energy of atoms in a warmer body. I would dearly love to have the answer to that. The answer to that probably lies in the study of statistical mechanics. I have the math background to understand it but there is a lot of rust. Also, some of the greats in statistical mechanics like Schrodinger do not agree with each other. 58. Planetary_Physics says: Roy and others: Every physicist should know that all heat transfer (whether by radiation, conduction or convection) takes place in the direction which causes entropy to increase. And, in an isolated system, all heat transfers cease when entropy is at a maximum within the constraints of the system. We know this from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So, until you genuinely understand when and how entropy increases and how you can know when it has reached the maximum, then you do not understand the processes that lead to the observed temperature gradients in tropospheres, crusts, mantles and cores. Yes, in a horizontal plane the transfer of thermal energy will be from warmer to cooler regions. But this is not always the case in a vertical plane in a gravitational field, or in a force field such as in a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube that separates the gas into hotter and colder streams. That is because gravitational potential energy affects entropy, Until you understand why there is a propensity for the sum (PE+KE) to be constant as the system approaches thermodynamic equilibrium (which has a density gradient and a temperature gradient) you will get nowhere with any alternative reasoning. • Gordon Robertson says: @Doug “Every physicist should know that all heat transfer (whether by radiation, conduction or convection) takes place in the direction which causes entropy to increase”. Not true, according to Clausius. You need to understand that entropy is not a force, it’s a derivation of heat transfers at an infinitesimal level. It’s a convenience term and is not required to understand or calculate heat transfer. Chemists can use individual entropies for substances to predict the reactions. Doing that, one scientist disproved the theory of evolution by calculating the entropies involved in the chemical bonding of the five basic elements reputed to have created amino acids in primeval muds. He concluded that life as we now know it coming from such chance processes could not happen based on the entropies involved. Clausius stated that entropy in a reversible process is zero. That makes sense in the physical world if a piece of metal is slowly heated and allowed to slowly cool. Heat will be transferred from the heat source to the metal causing it’s atoms to expand their mean free path of vibration. When the heat source is removed, heat will be transferred to the surroundings and the mean free paths of the atoms will go back to normal. The sum of those transformations, which is the sum of the dQ/T infinitesimal changes will be zero, therefore the entropy is zero. • Kristian says: Gordon Robertson says, January 28, 2015 at 5:01 PM: “Chemists can use individual entropies for substances to predict the reactions. Doing that, one scientist disproved the theory of evolution by calculating the entropies involved in the chemical bonding of the five basic elements reputed to have created amino acids in primeval muds. He concluded that life as we now know it coming from such chance processes could not happen based on the entropies involved.” You mean of course the different hypotheses of ‘abiogenesis’, not the ‘theory of evolution’, Gordon … 59. Mike Flynn says: Just a minor point on lapse rates. Apart from other considerations, consider the situation of the Earth, and associated aqua sphere and lithosphere. The core is at, say, 6,000K. Space at the outer limits of the atmosphere is around 4K. Everything from the core to outer space, left to itself, will have a temperature between these two limits. Taking the atmosphere, for example, the bottom of the atmosphere will generally be warmer than the 4K of the outer reaches. The fall in temperature per km will be the lapse rate. Of course, the rate will vary depending on the density, the concentration and composition of suspended particulate matter, the depth of the atmosphere, the surface temperature, and a raft of other things. Most statements of the nature that the lapse rate is such-and-such, followed by a simple appearing equation usually involving the force of gravity, are specious. The atmosphere is never still, and obtaining even a reasonably accurate temperature profile at a particular location is nigh impossible. Taking into account that our notions of temperature only hold for a fairly narrow range, talking about temperatures at an altitude of 100 kms or so being 1000C is misleading, even if true by your definition of temperature. The lapse rate is what it is. Any simple formula purporting to derive the lapse rate in a simple, all encompassing fashion, is, to put it plainly, nonsense. Rule of thumb based on observation is more useful in most cases. Live well and prosper, Mike Flynn. • Planetary_Physics says: No it’s not nonsense Mike Flynn. It enables us to explain and calculate quite accurately the temperature of 320K at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus, and the Venus surface temperature (which has been measured by probes) as well as explaining Earth’s temperature data. The same physics enables us to explain the temperature difference in a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube. And, as explained here, it is based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics and entropy considerations. Entropy involves gravitational potential energy, so why does it surprise you, Mike that g is involved? You can disregard all the related physics since the 19th century if you so choose, but your disregard or disbelief does not invalidate the laws of physics The temperature gradient in Earth’s outer crust is around 25°/Km and yet that in the mantle is about 1°/Km. This is confirmed by the g/Cp quotient, because specific heat Cp increases dramatically with increasing temperatures as more degrees of freedom come into play. Frankly Mike I don’t know why you waste our time with your wishy-washy imaginings that have nothing to do with the related physics (explained here) and certainly don’t refute it with any success. Why does water vapor cool, Mike? Why is the core of the Moon about 1300°C Mike? It all has to do with the gravitationally induced temperature gradients above and below surface. 60. Planetary_Physics says: Roy, Mike and others: Does it ever occur to you what a huge coincidence it would have to be that all temperature profiles in all planets follow the -g/Cp gradient (reduced a little by inter-molecular radiation such as between water vapor molecules) and yet get down to just the right temperature at just the right altitude so as to ensure that the whole planet+atmosphere system is in radiative balance with the Sun. How come the core is at just the right temperature? How come the temperature plot in Earth’s crust between 9Km and 5Km in boreholes extrapolates nicely to the surface temperature? Because my hypothesis here is the correct one I can explain all this here, whereas to you it’s just a coincidence which you can’t explain. Sad that you are so inclined as not to want to learn! 61. Reallyroy says: It is too late to change the story, Roy. The Internet does not forget anything. Besides, your efforts to defend the very foundation of the climate alarm were so amazing, why give up now? Where is the cold plate making hot plate warmer still story and other delicacies? Are they gone, for ever? We all will be missing it. 62. Notreally says: It is too late to change the story, Roy. The Internet does not forget anything. Besides, your efforts to defend the very foundation of the climate alarm were so amazing, why give up now? Where is the cold plate making hot plate warmer still story and other delicacies? Are they gone, for ever? We all will be missing it. . 63. bill hunter says: Hate to point out that the Manabe and Strickler “model” is not a demonstration of the greenhouse effect. Its a thought experiment of how the greenhouse effect operates. If we are supposed to accept the Manabe and Strickler model without testing should we not also be expected to accept the climate models? Interestingly validation of the climate models would be a strong test of the Manabe and Strickler model. But the fact is no such validation for either exists except in the imagination. • Group of physicists says: The Manabe and Strickler model fails to take account of horizontal convective heat transfers towards the poles. (Such transfers explain why the Venus poles are at similar temperatures to the equator.) Hence they get far too low and incorrect temperatures for the upper stratosphere in polar regions in winter. Throughout the paper they discuss thermal equilibrium, whereas that is not what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is about. They seem to think convection modifies equilibrium, whereas in fact it restores thermodynamic equilibrium which, when entropy is a maximum, must have a temperature gradient. 64. Planetary_Physics says: Roy – you could have saved yourself all this embarrassment if you had listened to me years ago when I first pointed out your error about assuming that isothermal conditions would prevail – as you claimed in your “Misunderstood … ” post. You should also have read my March 2012 paper on Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics wherein you would have learnt about the resonating process which ensures that a one-way pencil of radiation never transfers thermal energy to a target that is warmer than the effective temperature of the source, taking into account its distance. By the time the Sun’s solar radiation gets through the atmosphere it is like a heat source with a global mean temperature of -41°C averaged over day and night. There’s no point in discussing cooling off rates before you can explain the initial temperature. Radiation into the surface of a planet with a significant atmosphere is not the primary determinant of the temperature of the surface. Remember mocking me about that, Roy? Well it’s correct. 65. Peter S says: Roy, I assume that “Doug” is “Planetary_Mission”. My God – talk about a troll! I have spent 2 hours reading through the comments on this topic. I am staggered. I am a scientist – unfortunately not with a PhD – but with years of experience, particularly in modeling. My training is in physical sciences so your article is eminently clear and close to my own views. Doug on the other hand is on a mission. He has decided on his “truth” and no amount of arguement will dissuade him. I have read some crap in my time, but the pseudo science dished up by this guy is astonishing. I am amazed at your tolerance in allowing his posts. Keep up the good work. • Group of physicists says: And not a word of physics in your reply, anonymous Peter S, because I can detect that you aren’t qualified in physics and I doubt that you could even state the Second Law, let alone describe thermodynamic equilibrium. And yet you try to make out that you understand thermodynamics better than myself who has been helping undergraduates with the subject for about 50 years. I throw down the gauntlet to you. Answer questions I have asked about Uranus, Venus and water vapor sensitivity. Pinpoint any step in the development of the hypothesis which you think to be false, and I’ll explain it in more detail. But forget about dishing up assertive statements. I bet you haven’t even read our group’s website (that has had 1,000 visitors a week) now have you? Here’s what one physics educator wrote about my book … “Doug Cotton shows how simple thermodynamic physics implies that the gravitational field of a planet will establish a thermal gradient in its atmosphere. The thermal gradient, a basic property of a planet, can be used to determine the temperatures of its atmosphere, surface and sub-surface regions. The interesting concept of “heat creep” applied to diagrams of the thermal gradient is used to explain the effect of solar radiation on the temperature of a planet. The thermal gradient shows that the observed temperatures of the Earth are determined by natural processes and not by back radiation warming from greenhouse gases. Evidence is presented to show that greenhouse gases cool the Earth and do not warm it.” John Turner B.Sc.;Dip.Ed.;M.Ed.(Hons);Grad.Dip.Ed.Studies (retired physics educator) • Peter S says: i majored in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and statistics. First class honours in fact in physics. So your detective skills are lacking. Science is after all about, observation, theoretical explanation and predictions to confirm the theory. This is an area where warmists have failed, yet they claim they are using science. My point was quite simple and directed at an ideologue with a totally closed mind, with specious arguments. One cannot debate with people like you. Roy Spencer’s tolerance of your arguments is simply amazing – and so many times he points out that you are simply wrong, wrong, wrong. I just happen to agree with him. I just love how you adopted a new anonymous pseudonym. Paranoid behaviour. • Group of physicists says: Yes well I got a university scholarship in physics because I understand it better than most. And I’ve been helping students to understand it for about 50 years. In lectures I attended by Prof Julius Sumner Miller I learnt to ask myself “Why is it so?” Physics is not about learning equations by rote – it is about really understanding physical phenomena. You don’t understand thermodynamic equilibrium and why entropy is a maximum when there are no unbalanced energy potentials, this meaning (if we ignore phase change and chemical reactions etc) that mean molecular (PE+KE) must be homogeneous at all altitudes. So there is a temperature gradient. And so new thermal energy disturbs such a state o fthermodynamic equilibrium, and there is thus a propensity to spread that new energy in all directions over the sloping thermal plane, because that plane represents the temperature gradient that will evolve again in the new state of thermodynamic equilibrium. You could have read this in the website endorsed by our “Planetary Physics” group and, when you realize it is correct physics therein you may wish to join us. So please read: http://climate-change-theory.com this time before commenting on content you have not read. 66. MikeB says: It appears that crazy Doug has now morphed into a ‘Group of Physicists’. A sign of his multi-personality disorder perhaps. • JohnKl says: Maybe, he believes he’s Newton, Maxwell, Planck and Feynman all in one! Of course, alarmists think they’re a conensus! 67. alec, aka daffy duck says: Layman question: If amount of Noctilucent clouds varies over the solar cycle because of the increase/decrease of UV, why wouldn’t the amount of Cirrus clouds also vary with changes in UV? 68. Doug if you are so correct why don’t you show us through modeling how it all works? • Regarding our group of physicists says: Our growing group of persons qualified in physics has endorsed the physics I have been presenting for years now, and we have compiled evidence in support of the hypothesis (summarized on the “Evidence” page at http://climate-change-theory.com ) whilst also proving from the laws of physics why the IPCC “explanation” of the “33 degrees of warming” is incorrect. I have, as you know, published a book available on Amazon and in that a comprehensive study of 30 years of temperature and precipitation data from three continents that showed that increases in precipitation correlate with lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures for inland regions in the tropics in the months when the Sun passed almost directly overhead, Those results and the methodology have also been published in comments on Roy’s blog, but I repeat them below. The locations were separated by precipitation into three groups and the results were … Wettest: Max: 30.8°C Min: 20.1°C Medium: Max: 33.0°C Min: 21.2°C Driest: Max: 35.7°C Min: 21.9°C Regarding “models” it is a straight forward calculation to get any planet’s surface temperature. That method can be documented as in the manner of the articles in the Hockey Stick blog site. That blog site, however, has some errors in their explanation of the energy flows, those errors (as well as PSI and WUWT errors) are documented on our group’s website. I remind you that there has been on offer since last May a$5,000 reward for the first in the world to prove the physics and the study to be substantially wrong and to provide a study (based on similar methodology and sample size) which shows water vapor warms to the extent of at least 10 degrees per 1% in the atmosphere, as is implied when the IPCC claims it does most of that “33 degrees of warming” which in fact is not done by back radiation, but is due to the fact that the environmental lapse rate is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve autonomously. That it does do as molecules exchange PE and KE whilst in motion between collisions. It’s not hard to understand, and is comprehensively explained with diagrams in the book.

Douglas J Cotton B.Sc (physics), B.A. (economics), Dip.Bus.Admin (Sydney & Macquarie Universities 1963 to 1972)

• bill hunter says:

Roy, the major problem I have with the Manabe and Strickler model is it is a perfect rendering of an engineering model for designing heating systems within a building.

A key assumption of this engineering model for engineers designing building heating systems is that the building shell is independently heated by the enviroment to achieve the heat loss reduction from the temperature of the building shell.

that makes sense because the environment heats the building shell and that energy is additive to the internal heating system in maintaining the outside temperature of the shell, thus slowing the cooling of the interior.

However, in a planetary system there is no independent environmental heat to maintain the temperature of the atmospheric shell. All sources of heat for the shell are obtained from the ultimate source of heat for surface. This is a fundamentally different model and is employed in Manabe and Strickler without any modification or explanation whatsoever to fundamentally different engineering model.

This is a major discrepancy since energy cannot be destroyed, we are getting the same amount of heating from the engineering building model and the atmosphere model when the fact is the engineering building model has more heat being input to the system than the atmospheric model. What became of that extra energy in the building engineering model if the Manabe and Strickler model is correct?

69. Kristian,

There ios no need for trhe insults.

I see the links you have referred to and i consider that the opinions of physicists and meteorologists match my understanding of the adiabatic process.

You don’t and so be it.

You say that in an adiabatic process energy can leave a rising parcel or enter a descending parcel AS WORK.

But work is not energy.

Work is a process that either moves energy from place to place, from one parcel to another (diabatic) or changes the form of energy such as from KE to PE within a single parcel (adiabatic).

You are confusing the two.

• Sorry for the typos, my screen display was playing up.

• Gordon Robertson says:

@Stephen Wilde “Work is a process that either moves energy from place to place…”

Actually, work is far more simple, it’s a force working at a distance. In fact, work is defined as force x distance.

From the wiki…because I have forgotten most of my engineering studies: ðŸ™‚

“The joule…., symbol J, is a derived unit of energy, work, or amount of heat in the International System of Units.[1] It is equal to the energy transferred (or work done) when applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre (1 newton metre or N·m), or in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second. It is named after the English physicist James Prescott Joule (1818–1889).

Carnot and Clausius certainly related work to heat and Clausius went so far as to claim they are equivalent. However, he made it clear that the equivalence does not imply they are one and the same. In order to claim heat as work, or vice versa, an equivalence factor must be included in any relationship.

For me, the problem is understanding subjectively what is meant by energy. If you ask a physicist, I am sure he/she will write down equations as an explanation but I find that inadequate. Until someone can describe energy subjectively, I don’t think anyone should claim to understand it.

I think we should try to explain ourselves when we speak about heat, entropy and the likes. I wonder how many people can actually say what heat is, or entropy, without reverting to equations?

Unless people can agree on what they are, or at least give a ballpark idea of what they are, what’s the point of discussing them?

Feynman once claimed that he would not offer equations in a lecture unless he could explain them physically. Bohm went further, claiming equations without a reality to back them are garbage.

70. Mike Flynn says:

Doug,

You wrote –

“Why does water vapor cool, Mike? Why is the core of the Moon about 1300°C Mike? It all has to do with the gravitationally induced temperature gradients above and below surface.”

Although I am of the view that you are not seriously seeking answers, I will answer anyway. The reason water vapour cools is due to emitting energy faster than it absorbs it. This is exactly the same mechanism which applies to all other matter.

The core of the Moon is hot due to the fact that the Moon has cooled over the last four and a half billion years, or some other time depending on assumptions as to the nature of formation of the Moon. Remnant heat of creation, in other words. Like the eminent Lord Kelvin, you may choose to believe that the Earth is only twenty million years old. I assume the Earth is about four and a half billion years old, and was created in a molten state. Lord Kelvin was unaware of radioactive decay processes, and the energy liberated by the conversion of some twenty to thirty tonnes of matter per annum (currently), to energy.

Gravity is a force. No matter how you try, you cannot tap gravity to provide an eternal source of heat or other form of energy. I wish you luck. You may be the first.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• “Gravity is a force. No matter how you try, you cannot tap gravity to provide an eternal source of heat or other form of energy.”

Very true.

But work against gravity converts KE to PE and work with gravity converts PE to KE.

PE is not heat and cannot be radiated to space by GHGs.

The atmospheric store of PE being constantly recycled between surface and atmosphere requires additional heat at the surface to maintain atmospheric height and whilst performing that function the ‘extra’ heat at the surface cannot be radiated to space.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen

So what goes up cannot return with more energy. And, besides, it loses some by radiation while it is up there. Only the Sun supplies energy. That’s why a point on the equator of the Venus surface warms by 5 degrees during 4-months of sunlight and cools by 5 degrees during 4 months of the Venus night. Obviously there is new energy supplied by the Sun in that day period, but you, Stephen Wilde, have not explained the mechanism whereby solar energy absorbed in the upper troposphere and above on Venus gets into the far hotter surface. I have explained such and my group of persons with qualifications in physics endorses the physics I present. Thermodynamics of the atmosphere is physics. You don’t understand thermodynamics Stephen Wilde, so you make wild assertions that just don’t add up energy-wise.

• Group of physicists says:

You see, Roy and silent readers, Stephen assumes that the Sun’s direct radiation into the surface not only supplies enough for it to radiate about 390W/m^2 (as it will do approximately, being a surface at a mean of 15°C) but also supplies extra thermal energy from the surface to the atmosphere. Too bad if there’s no surface, as at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus, or if the surface (as on Venus) receives only about 10% of the insolation that Earth’s surface receives.

Stephen’s “meteorology” is simply not correct. It is blatantly obvious that he cannot explain energy flows on Venus, and it is also true of Earth where the surface only absorbs a mean of 168W/m^2 of direct solar radiation which would only support a blackbody temperature of -41°C.

What happens regarding heat transfers in a planetary system is a matter of thermodynamics, which is very much within the discipline of physics. Sadly few physicists have taken much interest in the climate debate, but of those who look into it, most realize that what I am saying is correct. See http://climate-change-theory.com

• Mike Flynn says:

Stephen Wilde,

PE does not come from nothing. You must have energy input to create your PE.

Atmospheric gases above absolute zero radiate energy. We perceive this as temperature. No amount of talking about PE, KE, or similar can change this.

Consider a frozen asteroid at say 30K, whipping through space at hundreds of kilometres per second. Lots of potential energy and kinetic energy, you might say, but no effect on temperature, obviously.

Now consider that the asteroid is motionless in space, but the observer is travelling at speed. What has happened to the potential energy of the asteroid? Has its temperature changed? Has its potential energy or kinetic energy changed? Does it make any difference?

The Earth’s surface temperature is what it is. The Earth has apparently cooled from completely molten, to mostly molten. The surface therefore has a temperature between molten and the temperature of the surrounding environment- around 4K.

Would you not agree?

To state that this temperature is more or less than it should be is just silly. It is what it is – no more and no less. No phlogiston, no luminiferous aether, no CO2 induced warming. Physics still applies, apparently. Hot things can cool, cool things can heat. Nature rules!

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Group of Physicists says:

Oh and I note you learnt something in your school science course, namely the corollary of the Second Law about heat transfers from hot to cold subject to the prerequisite that gravitational potential energy (which of course affects entropy) is held constant, namely in a horizontal plane like in your school science lab.

• Group of Physicists says:

(1) You have not explained why, contrary to IPCC claims, water vapour cools the surface.

(2) The cold side of the Moon is below -200°C so the core could easily have cooled in 4 billion years. Likewise Venus, Earth etc.

(3) “Gravity is a force” – you don’t have to teach me school boy physics. Of course it is not a source of heat. Who said it was?

71. Group of physicists says:

And I, Stephen, speak from about 50 years’ experience helping students to understand physics. You do not understand thermodynamic equilibrium. You imagine air molecules cling together in parcels but they don’t. You imagine upward and downward winds cool and warm respectively, and they don’t – well nowhere near as much as the environmental temperature gradient suggests. You do not explain the actual heat transfers that are required to raise the temperature of a planet’s surface. You can’t explain what happens if there is no surface or solar radiation at the base of a planet’s nominal troposphere, such as on Uranus. You seem to think that molecules run out of kinetic energy when they get somewhere near the top of the troposphere, but they don’t. Their speed of about 1,800Km.hr could easily propel them far higher, and we know they never get down to absolute zero with no kinetic energy at all. And not one of these points that I have made has ever been correctly refuted with correct physics from you Stephen Wilde.

72. Mike Flynn says:

Doug,

You wrote –

“Roy, Mike and others:

Does it ever occur to you what a huge coincidence it would have to be that all temperature profiles in all planets follow the -g/Cp gradient (reduced a little by inter-molecular radiation such as between water vapor molecules) and yet get down to just the right temperature at just the right altitude so as to ensure that the whole planet+atmosphere system is in radiative balance with the Sun. How come the core is at just the right temperature? How come the temperature plot in Earth’s crust between 9Km and 5Km in boreholes extrapolates nicely to the surface temperature?”

Yes. It is also a huge coincidence that the number of pirates shows an incredibly close correlation to surmised global temperatures.

The core temperature is what is, in the same manner the core of a baked potato is at the temperature it is, and the potato skin is at the appropriate temperature depending on the environment, exposure to the Sun, and so on.

As I said before, if the core is, say, 6000K, and the outer reaches of the atmosphere are, say, 4K, then temperatures will normally fall between these limits, if allowed to proceed naturally. And so it is observed. After proceeding toward the centre of the Earth, once the depth beyond the perceptible effects of insolution has been reached, temperature rises. The atmosphere of course, conforms to physics, and exhibits the same behaviour – that is, being warmer closer to the core, and cooler as the distance from the core increases – as altered by the effects of insolation.

Now I have a very small question for you.

Why do deep bodies of water, both fresh and salt, exhibit the opposite of this, that is, being colder closer to the core, and warming as they get closer to outer space? Of course, one must choose locations free from many thermal vents. I assume your answer will take this into account.

No heat creep, or other novelties should be needed. Basic physics and thermodynamics will suffice.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Group of physicists says:

Footnote to Mike and others:

The core of the potato is hot because it has recently received a new supply of thermal energy which has not yet been fully dissipated via the skin. Hence there is a reasonably homogeneous temperature gradient due to conduction between the center of the potato and the skin. Obviously this temperature gradient is far steeper than any gravitationally induced gradient.

In contrast, the core of the Earth would be equally as hot as it is whether it was hotter when created or colder. There is indeed a temperature gradient between the center of the Earth and its surface, but (in contrast to the potato) it is far from being homogeneous and is more than 10 times as steep in the outer crust than in the hotter regions of the mantle. This is not explainable using standard conduction data. The temperature gradient is not far steeper than the gravitationally induced gradient (as was the case with the potato) for it is close enough to equal to that gradient which represents the state of thermodynamic equilibrium as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics which is well established in physics.

Because the temperature gradient in the outer crust is closely equal to that associated with the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, we cannot tell which way net thermal energy is flowing, though it is most likely inwards during hot sunny days. We do know, however, that there is some mechanism whereby the thermal profile seems to “know” what the surface temperature is, even 5 to 10Km below the surface. That is easily understood when you understand my hypothesis.

73. Group of physicists says:

Mike

Your analogy with pirates is irrelevant because you are talking about just once instance of correlation. I am talking about lots of planets (and some satellite moons) and that is where the probability of it happening by chance in all cases becomes infinitesimal.

And if you think planets and their cores are just cooling off, then obviously in billions of years from now the resulting temperature gradients would be different and thus not conform with the calculations of such, which I and many scientists have now made based on solid physics. Are the laws of physics going to change, Mike Flynn?

Temperatures in the outer 10Km or more of Earth’s crust rise steeply at about 25° per Km. In fact solar radiation is the major energy source that maintains the state of thermodynamic equilibrium in the outer crust. It also probably supplies much of the energy that then exits the crust in vents and volcanoes. The energy generation from matter in the core is not sufficient and not needed. On the Moon it is unlikely to be anywhere near sufficient to maintain its core above 1300°C.

If the Sun’s radiation somehow stopped, all planets and moons would cool right down in less than a thousand years. Venus, for example, cools 5 degrees in the 4 month night. Earth’s surface cools about 10 degrees in its 12 hour night. The Moon’s surface cools over 300 degrees in about two weeks. It’s pretty obvious that it must be the Sun warming these back up in their sunlit period.

The atmosphere and the regions below any planetary surface do of course conform to the laws of physics. That is precisely what I (and now a group of physicists) agree upon and have explained in our website http://climate-change-theory.com

Try reading it and understanding thermodynamic equilibrium, and why that state of thermodynamic equilibrium has a density gradient and a temperature gradient, as we see in every planet.

I have explained in my book why the temperature gradient is modified by inter-molecular radiation, mostly between water vapor molecules. That is why the thermal profile rotates downwards at the surface end, more so in more moist regions. That then explains the empirical results in the study that shows water vapor lowers surface temperatures. Those results are also in a comment here.

Now, you ask about oceans. Water molecules are very close in oceans and, rather than being less than 2% in the atmosphere, they are of course close to 100% in oceans. So there is much more temperature leveling due to inter-molecular radiation. There is also the effect of insolation being attenuated as it enters the oceans and thus a thermocline develops, over-riding the slow diffusion of energy at the molecular level. However, in calm conditions in dark ocean waters north of Norway in winter the temperatures do start to rise a little going down below the almost non-existent thermocline when there has been no sunlight for several weeks. You will also find salty lakes in Antarctica that are warmer below.

74. Group of physicists says:

Stephen Wilde’s “rising and falling parcels of air” are not contributing any new energy at all. We all know if you throw a stone into the air it does not return with more kinetic energy than you imparted to it. All Stephen’s conjectures tell us is that the atmosphere slows non-radiative surface cooling by non-radiative processes, as it also slows radiative cooling by radiation to the surface. We all know that happens, because we know Earth’s surface does not cool anywhere near as fast or as much as the Moon’s surface.

So what, Stephen Wilde? Cooling from what temperature?

You have not explained how the required thermal energy gets into the surface in the first place. The mean solar radiation of 168W/m^2 does not supply anywhere near sufficient. On Venus there is less than 20W/m^2 getting through its atmosphere. How do these planetary surfaces get hot in the first place? The temperature will not build up above what radiation could achieve except by the addition of extra thermal energy by non-radiative processes. If the extra energy is supplied by radiation only, it will just be radiated away. There has to be more energy supplied than radiation can emit, because there are other energy losses too, like conduction, convection and evaporative cooling.

The Sun’s direct radiation into the surface does not have a hope of raising the surface temperature of planets with atmospheres to the observed levels, and such surfaces are not black bodies (by definition) and so need even more radiation than a black body would, because they simultaneously lose energy by non-radiative processes as well as by radiation.

Even James Hansen and Co. realized there was missing energy, and so they worked out that they needed as much again as the Sun supplied at TOA. Hence the whopping 100% back radiation figure that (by coincidence? /sarc) gives a net energy input of just over 390W/m^2 which nicely agrees with a black body temperature of 288K (15°C) all well fiddled into place. The only trouble is that the back radiation component does not penetrate the ocean surfaces that make up about 70% of the globe.

So, Stephen Wilde, your little thought experiment that shows nothing more than that the atmosphere slows non-radiative surface cooling, is nothing new and in no way a complete explanation as to what happens regarding energy flows on all planets and satellite moons with atmospheres. Try it for Uranus.

75. Group of physicists says:

Now Roy …

You know back radiation does not penetrate ocean surfaces.

Hence you know that you cannot add back radiation flux to solar flux to calculate (using Stefan Boltzmann) surface temperatures.

You know solar radiation into the surface is only 168W/m^2.

You ought to know that radiation on its own cannot raise anything above the black body temperature which, for 168W/m^2 is about -41°C. Otherwise there is always extra radiation being emitted.

Hence you ought to know there must be additional, substantial non-radiative heat transfers into the surface.

And if you read the website endorsed by our group of persons qualified in physics, you would understand the thermodynamics involved in all planets and satellite moons.

Why is it Roy, that you know there has been no warming since 1998, that you still believe carbon dioxide warms?

76. Mike Flynn says:

Doug,

I wrote –

“Now I have a very small question for you.

Why do deep bodies of water, both fresh and salt, exhibit the opposite of this, that is, being colder closer to the core, and warming as they get closer to outer space? Of course, one must choose locations free from many thermal vents. I assume your answer will take this into account.

No heat creep, or other novelties should be needed. Basic physics and thermodynamics will suffice.

You responded –

“Now, you ask about oceans. Water molecules are very close in oceans and, rather than being less than 2% in the atmosphere, they are of course close to 100% in oceans. So there is much more temperature leveling due to inter-molecular radiation. There is also the effect of insolation being attenuated as it enters the oceans and thus a thermocline develops, over-riding the slow diffusion of energy at the molecular level. However, in calm conditions in dark ocean waters north of Norway in winter the temperatures do start to rise a little going down below the almost non-existent thermocline when there has been no sunlight for several weeks. You will also find salty lakes in Antarctica that are warmer below.”

It appears you don’t actually have an answer, but I leave it to others to decide. I wish you well, but your heat creep theory needs to be internally consistent in logic. It also appears to need the planets to be created at absolute zero, or close to it. If you choose to invoke a supernatural Creator, you can of course explain away anything. For example, the entire unit verse may have been created as it is, less than a femtosecond ago. Can this be disproved?

I might choose to believe in the beneficence of the Celstial Teapot (from which all blessings pour), but this might not convince others of its reality. Likewise, your obvious and passionate belief in heat creep may not be sufficient proof of its existence.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

77. Group of physicists says:

Mike Flynn

Stop wasting my time, when you could have read all your answers in our group’s website and/or my book, or at least deduced them from such if you had any understanding of thermodynamics, or learnt some from the site.

You write as in italic below ..

“It appears you don’t actually have an answer”

I do. I gave it to you. Inter-molecular radiation in water levels out the effect of gravity for obvious reasons, just as it reduces the gradient by about a third in the troposphere due to water vapor.

“It also appears to need the planets to be created at absolute zero, or close to it.”

No it does not appear that way. They could start out at any temperature after formation. You prove to me that you don’t understand the thermodynamics involved.

“your heat creep theory needs to be internally consistent in logic.”

It is. It is deduced directly from the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as you would know if you deigned to read the website.

Who are you to argue when you obviously have no understanding of the physics associated with thermodynamics and you don’t have a clue as to how to explain the energy flows on Earth, Venus, Uranus, the Moon etc without such knowledge and understanding? Pity you weren’t one of my students – but you’re not and, seeing that I’ve been paid for helping students with physics these last 50 years, why should I waste time teaching you without charge? I put time and effort into writing websites and a book, and I put my money where my mouth is (like \$3000 for the book) all for altruistic reasons. I will not tolerate the promulgation of false physics. Get it?

You are obviously afraid of our group and the impact we are having with 1,000 a week visiting our website, as you can note from the hit counter. I also have had thousands view my youtube video.

Presumably you have a vested interest in maintaining the hoax and killing people as a result of misdirection of funds away from humanitarian aid. My ethics would prevent me from ever participating in the greatest hoax the world has ever known. But there’s a limit to the time I’ll spend on individuals like yourself who are not genuinely interested in learning physics, and who, instead, have personal pecuniary interests in spreading the fraud.

Before you write anything more on any blog you ought to think about what it is you hope to achieve promulgating false physics, misleading people and having nothing in the way of valid physics to back what you say.

(1) The Sun’s radiation is not sufficient to explain planetary surface temperatures.

(2) The back radiation does not penetrate the oceans and so cannot be added to solar radiation in S-B calculations.

(3) Water vapor cools by a few degrees and most certainly does not warm by 10 to 15 degrees for each 1% in the atmosphere. Only those like yourself who are extremely gullible and lack understanding of thermodynamics can be bluffed by IPCC garbage into believing that.

Not once in any of your comments have you remarked or questioned even just one step in the development of my hypothesis direct from the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

• Mike Flynn says:

You don’t have to respond, you know.

I note you haven’t challenged any of the physics I have used, nor the easily established verification of them in many cases.

As to your final points, I agree with 1. Until the Earth is isothermal at depths beyond the perceptible influence of the Sun, that is to say around 4K, and all internal sources of radioactivity have been expended, the surface temperature will of course be higher than that due solely to the influence of insolation.

As for 2., I agree, but possibly for slightly different reasons.

In relation to 3., your first sentence is meaningless. Water vapour can be heated, of course, so your bald assertion, that water vapour cools by a few degrees, is misleading at best, without amplification of what parameters you have established. Even in the atmosphere, water remains gaseous as long as the temperature remains above the dew point. This may be warmer or cooler than the temperature a minute, day, or century ago, obviously.

Yes, I am gullible. I believe in the non flat Earth, the non existence of phlogiston, and the absence of the luminiferous aether. I am also gullible enough to believe in continental drift, quantum physics, and that the Earth was created in a molten state billions of years ago.

I’m happy to be gullible, even though I am obviously not clever or intelligent enough to believe in non existent global warming due to CO2. Stick with your hypothesis. Until experimentally verified, it, like the hypothesised miraculous warming abilities of CO2, will remain just another unsubstantiated supposition of precisely no practical use to mankind.

As to your other somewhat bizarre assertions, I am not aware of being afraid of you and your group. This is not surprising, as I don’t know who you or they are, or why I am supposed to be afraid. You might care to let me know.

Should I be just afraid, or very, very, afraid? You might like to provide further details. In the meantime, I give you my permission not to waste any more of your valuable time on me. Just accept that I’m a lost cause, if that makes you happy.

In the meantime, the Earth continues to cool, does it not?

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Group of physicists says:

You need to read here how and why the Sun’s influence beneath the surface of a planet or moon is somewhat beyond your perceptions. I’m not interested in your “perceptions” – just when entropy is increasing towards a maximum, which explains why (c) is correct here.

Water vapor causes the mean surface temperature of the Earth to be about 9 to 12 degrees (by my estimates from empirical data) lower than it would be with an almost completely dry atmosphere. Without much water vapor the mean surface temperature would be close to 300K because of the gravitationally induced temperature gradient which has maximum entropy and is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium which the Second Law of Thermodynamics states will have a propensity to evolve autonomously.

78. Group of physicists says:

Go back to this comment and I think it’s pretty clear what I mean about higher levels of water vapor in the atmosphere causing the surface temperature to be lower – quite the opposite of what Roy and the IPCC claim.

The results of the study were in that comment.

Wettest: Max: 30.8°C Min: 20.1°C
Medium: Max: 33.0°C Min: 21.2°C
Driest: Max: 35.7°C Min: 21.9°C

Nowhere in any published literature is there a similar study confirming the IPCC claim that water vapor does most of their assumed “33 degrees of warming.” Rain forests with 4% WV are not 30 to 40 degrees hotter than dry deserts with 1% WV.

79. Group of physicists says:

“Until experimentally verified”

Try reading the “Evidence” page at http://climate-change-theory.com as over 1,130 others have in less than 3 weeks since that page was added to this website endorsed by our “Planetary Physics” group.

80. Group of physicists says:

Stephen, Roy, Joel and others:

If the environmental “lapse rate” is 7C°/Km and there is a situation (caused by weather, wind or whatever) wherein in calm conditions in the early pre-dawn hours the surface temperature is 10°C but the temperature at 1Km is 6°C then which is correct …

(a) convective heat transfer is still upwards (down the temperature slope)

(b) convective heat transfer just stops.

(c) convective heat transfer is back towards the surface (up the temperature slope) because this is a temperature inversion as explained in meteorology here?

Now think: we know convective heat transfer normally stops when the gradient gets down to the environmental lapse rate. For example, a surface temperature of 13°C and a temperature of 6°C at 1Km in the above example. But now we have a cool breeze lowering the surface temperature to 10°C but not affecting the 6°C temperature at 1Km. Do you seriously think nothing will change? The previous state of thermodynamic equilibrium (with no convective heat transfer still happening) has now been disturbed. The Second Law tells us that something will happen as the system must have a propensity to move towards a new state of thermodynamic equilibrium with the right 7°C/Km gradient.

The correct answer is (c) and is explained here in more detail, based on sound physics.

81. Group of physicists says:

The reason (c) is correct is because changes in gravitational potential energy cause changes in entropy that must be considered when determining which direction of heat transfer will increase entropy. Whilst people restrict themselves to the mid-19th century physics of Clausius (before the breakthroughs made by Loschmidt) they are ignoring what the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us.

82. Radiation to space from within an atmosphere results in less kinetic energy returning to the surface in adiabatic descent than was taken away from the surface in adiabatic ascent.

That reduction in energy available to the surface exactly matches any downward radiation from the GHGs that did the radiating to space.

Net effect on surface temperature from GHGs = zero.

Bookmark this comment for future reference.

• Mike Flynn says:

Stephen Wilde,

I believe you are almost exactly correct, if I properly comprehend what you say.

Warmists appear to deny the fact that any radiation emitted from the surface results in a lowering of the temperature of that surface. Any energy returned to the surface by GHGs, mirrors, blankets or whatever can never replace the energy emitted. There is no such thing as a perfect reflector, or insulator.

One might wistfully imagine that the fact that the surface cools at night might be a subtle hint that GHGs warm nothing. One would be mistaken.

When I say almost exactly correct, the atmosphere has a very slight insulating effect. This results in a reduction in the amount of insolation available at the surface compared with no atmosphere at all. It also impedes the outgoing radiation e.g. at night, resulting both in slightly lower maximum temperatures, and slightly higher minimum temperatures.

in addition, there is the thermal mass effect which results in an effective integration of the temperature swings occurring at a specific location. Small but noticeable.

I hope you take no offence, as none is intended. I get a bit picky at times – probably due to the Warmist usage of anthropogenic climate change and such like. True, but also totally misleading. In a chaotic system, the actions of humanity may cause enormous changes. We just don’t know when, how much, where, or for better or for worse.

I better leave. I agree with you, after all!

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Mike,

Just responded to your response to my response to Stephan and since I am working toward the past find I now see need to make another response.

You are the first person, whom I have discovered, who refers to ‘there is the thermal mass effect’ which I interpret is similar to, if not the same, as thermal inertia. in referring to what might be observed relative to the diurnal heating-cooling cycle. I classify the formation of dew or frost during the nighttime as thermal inertia factors which can significantly reduce the cooling which occurs during the cooling portion of the diurnal heating-cooling cycle. And then the next morning the condensed dew or frost must be first evaporated before any actual warming of the surfaces can begin. It is need not be a small factor.

Have a good day, Jerru

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Stephen Wilde,

Thank you for the kind words. I have just visited your site newclimatemodel and must admit that I should have done so previously, but not long previously. For I only became familiar with your name in the spring of 2014. Previous to this I had seldom visited Roy’s or Watts’ blogsites because I did not have to read much to recognize the general problems to which you referred. So while I have only ‘studied’ the greenhouse effect for about 40 years, I am pretty ignorant about many things. I have paraphrased an Einstein quote: The more I study, The more I learn, The more I know: That which I do not know!

I only began participating in Roy’s site in an effort to bring two things to his attention: one, a new scientific law and two, what Richard Feynman taught students at Caltech about light scattering by cloud droplets and the importance of clouds to the earth’s energy balance system. I ultimately achieved my goal, but his response to both was: What’s your point? (a paraphrase of his specific responses) So after a few months I dropped out but did check in to see what some, with whom I had had positive exchanges, were commenting. When Roy posted How the Climate System Works (for dummies) I was quite certain that certain of his comments would elicit many responses including my own.

A reason I dislike participating in these conversations is that there is little continuity and it is very time consuming to find a previous comment that I want to refer to again. So I much prefer private conservations where one can ask specific questions and get specific answers. However, on your site, you provide no way to personally contact you and I can understand why this is. However, given the information that I live in Salem OR USA, I am sure you be able to find my address and telephone number for free if you would desire such a private conversation via email.

I followed your link to Judith Curry’s post: Climate Dynamics of Clouds and quickly scanned it and the about 170 (as I remember) comments. All these words and I only found one brief comment which questioned how clouds might interact with IR radiation without attempting to propose a possible answer. This is another reason I dislike participating in these conversations. Finally I find scientists who are concerned about the probable influence of clouds upon the earth’s temperature and it seems they are unconcerned with what the fundamental mechanism, by which clouds might have an influence, might be. No one even mentioned that even thin clouds nearly totally absorb the longwave emitted by the earth’s surface and then emit longwave radiation from their surfaces, according to their temperatures, as if they were nearly perfect blackbodies.

Previously, I have tried to draw attention to what Richard Feynman (The Feynman Lectures on Physics) taught first-year physics students at Caltech about light scattering by clouds. And I do so again. He taught: “We have just explained that every atom scatters light, and of course the water vapor will scatter light, too. This mystery is why, when the water is condensed into clouds, does it scatter such a tremendously greater amount of light.?” I omit the theoretical reasoning presented by Feynman to the class because I do not pretend to be able to fully comprehend it and now pick up his lecture at the point I believe I can fully comprehend what he was teaching. “That is to say, the scattering of water in lumps of N molecules each is N times more tense than the scattering of the single atoms. So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases. Does it increase ad infinitum? No! When does this analysis begin to fail? How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument any 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 this limit is reached, than they can be for short wavelengths. Although the short wave lengths 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.” There is more to the lecture (32-8,9) and you might read everything that Feynman taught in this lecture.

Now I do not claim to know if what Feynman taught is valid, but I do know what he taught because I can read and comprehend. And despite quoting him several times, no one (except Joel Shore) has even commented about what he taught. But Joel Shore concluded Feynman was referring to Mie scattering and I have done enough literature search to convince myself that the conditions where Mie scattering might apply are when the size of the scattering particle is a little less than the wavelength of the scattered radiation whereas the condition to which Feynman referred was when the diameters of the scattering droplets were all much larger than the wavelengths of the visible radiation whose radiation was definitely being scattered. And I cannot comprehend how so many can ignore what Feynman taught.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Mike Flynn says:

Jerry,

You wrote –

“And I cannot comprehend how so many can ignore what Feynman taught.”

It seems beyond the comprehension of many presumably rational and intelligent people. To a Warmist, it seems that Feynman is merely an inconvenient irritation to self styled climatologists who are unable to put forward a single actual experiment to support their absurd supposition that a body can be forced to increase its temperature, merely by surrounding it with CO2.

Real scientists, as opposed to, say, beaurocrats with mathematics qualifications, tend to believe in the scientific method. Even so, they have believed in such things as phlogiston, caloric, the indivisibility of the atom, the luminiferous aether, N Rays, and any other number of odd ideas.

I am no longer surprised at the ability of otherwise intelligent and rational people to dismiss reality, and substitute fantasy in its place. In the long run, Nature triumphs. I’m content.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Mike,

You have just supported the reason I have again decided to forget this format for the exchange of ideas. See my last response which might still be near the end of the current comments. This support has nothing to do with what you wrote. It has to do with of the amount of time it took for me to discover your response and the fact that you responded and Stephen has yet to do so.

Now as to your comment: ” Even so, they have believed in such things as phlogiston, caloric, the indivisibility of the atom, the luminiferous aether, N Rays, and any other number of odd ideas.” I am aware of the all problem associated with your specific list except ‘the indivisibility of the atom’. Which, as a chemist, I consider a fundamental property of matter which as yet, to my knowledge, has not been found wanting. As to the others, while there might have been some debate involved, I am not aware any great controversy involved in their passing, like that which Galileo faced or like the deniers how face in challenging (even questioning) the the hypotheses of the greenhouse effect and the resulting possibility of global warming.

While I really do not know you, I would guess you might agree with Einstein when he stated: “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”

I will try to check back for a few days if you have anything to add.

Have a good day, Jerry

83. JohnKl says:

It seems we need a contest. Who can post the longest statement. If we do odds might suggest Doug and/or one his monikers might win but the competition remains tough.

Have a great day!

84. Group of Physicists says:

Stephen Wilde & others:

I’m afraid your “downward radiation from the GHGs” does not transfer thermal energy to the warmer surface, Stephen Wilde, not in your wildest dreams. It does not penetrate water by more than a few nanometres, as even Roy knows. It merely resonates and gets immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities. Read Prof Claes Johnson’s Computational Blackbody Radiation if you don’t deign to read my March 2012 paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics on the subject, which Claes agreed with.

I see no one has any objection to the content of our group’s website, and no one can explain with valid physics any reason why the downward convective heat transfer in (c) above (7:37am) does not happen. So, as I’ve said all along, no one on any climate blog has been able to produce valid physics refuting what is said on any of the pages on that website.

85. Group of Physicists says:

And Stephen ..

Empirical evidence in my study shows that greenhouse gases do have an effect on surface temperatures. The most prolific GH gas, water vapor most definitely lowers the mean surface temperature, probably from around 300K back to 288K for the reasons explained with valid physics here which no one has correctly refuted on any climate blog. (If I’m wrong, link me to their response that I may have missed.)

So if you think you’re right Stephen, then produce a study of real world temperature and precipitation records which shows moist regions do not have different temperatures from dry regions, despite the big difference in the temperature gradient.

Until Stephen can produce such a study supporting his hypothesis (as I did for mine) then I consider that all readers here should disregard his conjectures until there is some supporting evidence.

86. Group of Physicists says:

And, Stephen, physicists know that the net transfer of thermal energy across a boundary by sensible heat transfer is simply that which flows one way less that which flows the other. It is the net effect which is shown as “conduction and rising air” in this NASA diagram. The only trouble is, that diagram does not show sufficient energy input into the surface to explain its temperature.

So you haven’t contributed anything new Stephen in merely saying that the convective heat transfer out of the surface is reduced by the convective heat transfer back into the surface, the latter being at a different time of day or a different location.

87. Doug said:

“It (meaning DWIR from GHGs) merely resonates and gets immediately re-emitted with the same frequencies and intensities.”

In general that is correct. It then gets absorbed into the conductive / convective energy exchange between surface and atmosphere in the way that I proposed.

So I think you are wasting our time here.

It is the conductive / convective energy exchange that raises surface (however defined) temperatures by denying that energy to the overall radiative exchange with space.

The same energy cannot both radiate out to space AND continue to hold up the mass of the atmosphere against gravity.

If an atmosphere ios to be persistently suspended against gravity then it must have an additional energy store at its base over and above that required for radiative equilibrium with space.

For planets such as Venus or Uranus exactly the same principle applies.

• Group of physicists says:

The atmosphere of Uranus (thousands of kilometers in height) has no energy store at its base. The only new energy from the Sun comes from the 59K methane layer near TOA. So that fact refutes your conjecture in a single blow.

• Group of physicists says:

I realize of course that there is energy stored at the base of any troposphere, but when you use the word “store” you use it as if it is a supplier of new thermal energy, like a corner store supplying food. You then imply that the Sun somehow raises the surface temperature way above what Stefan Boltzmann calculation indicate it could, and this heated surface becomes your necessary “energy store” that supposedly keeps on replacing energy to hold up the atmosphere against the force of gravity. Well there’s no surface at the base of its nominal troposphere and no solar radiation either, but it’s not a collapsing atmosphere as on Neptune and Jupiter.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Stephen and Guys,

Roy stated: “Now, a good portion of the solar energy that warms the surface causes convective air currents, which transport heat upward (not downward, as Doug claims), which then warms the troposphere. Evaporation of surface water is a major portion of this process: evaporated water at the surface absorbs the “latent heat of evaporation”, which is then released to the atmosphere when the water condenses into clouds and precipitation. This is what drives most clouds, all precipitation systems, thunderstorms, hurricanes, etc. They all convectively transfer heat from the surface to the atmosphere (not from the atmosphere to the surface)”

I have not found anyone who has questioned this statement. Any atmospheric convection must be the result of the action of an atmospheric heat engine. Roy describes how the energy of solar radiation is transformed into the fuel (water vapor) of these most powerful atmospheric heat engines. The energy of a fuel is PE. And as Roy states, this energy is released into the atmosphere when the water vapor condenses. But, Sutcliffe reminds us that most clouds (condensed water vapor) soon evaporate and refuel the atmosphere with their potential energy. But when there is a precipitation event the fuel is consumed and the precipitation can be thought of as the exhaust of very powerful heat engines operating for reasonably short periods of time in, or over, a relatively small region of the earth’s surface.

Now, I doubt if anyone will question the following statement. There are a few localized regions where the annual precipitation amounts are extreme. I doubt if anyone will question that the heat engines which regularly (usually) lift the surface atmosphere to the highest altitudes are localized thunderstorms which occur in certain tropical regions. However, from time to time there occur hurricanes and typhoons, which involve a much, much larger area and volume of atmosphere which produce much, much larger volumes of precipitation (exhaust). Because these huge storms, again relatively short lived events on the time scale of an year, remove so much fuel (water vapor) from the atmosphere and the extreme winds of these storms must disrupt the previous circulation patterns of the atmosphere, it must take some time to refuel the atmosphere with water vapor and for a global atmospheric circulation to return to the state which existed before the hurricane etc.

Again, I doubt if anyone will question that before there is any evidence that a hurricane is about to occur a huge volume (both in breadth and depth) of atmosphere must be fully filled with water vapor (fuel). And we know once the convection begins, this huge atmospheric heat engine must be refueled with water vapor as the hurricane moves above the warm ocean (sea) surface.

Now I am quite certain that people seldom question how did this huge volume of atmosphere get so filled with water vapor before evidence that a hurricane (which begins as a tropical storm) is about to occur. I am quite certain because the following is what one meteorology textbook’s authors (Steven A. Ackerman and John A. Knox) wrote about the region known as the doldrums. “In equatorial regions where neither trade wind dominates, the wind is calm. These wind regions are known as the doldrums; crews of sailing ships dreaded the doldrums because of the light winds, hot temperatures, and high relative humidity.” Another textbook author (C. Donald Ahrens) wrote: “Over equatorial waters, the air is warm, horizontal pressure gradients are weak, and winds are light. This region is referred to as the doldrums. (The monotony of the weather in this area has given rise to the expression ‘down in the doldrums’) Here, warm air rises, often condensing into huge cumulus clouds and thunderstorms called convective ‘hot’ towers because of the enormous amount of latent heat the liberate. This heat makes the air more buoyant and provides energy to drive the Hadley cell. The rising air reaches the tropopause, which acts like a barrier, causing the air to move laterally toward the poles. The Coriolis force deflects … .” etc.

My attention was draw to the doldrums because I asked myself the question: How is a very extended low pressure atmospheric cell formed? Of course, a warm atmosphere must be less dense that a cold atmosphere. And it is generally acknowledged a volume of atmosphere which is nearly saturated with water vapor (high relative humidity) is less dense than a volume of dry atmosphere because the mass of a water molecule is little more than half the mass of a molecule of nitrogen. Now what a critical factor is that not only does a shallow surface layer of atmosphere in the doldrums become nearly saturated with water vapor, but by diffusion the upper layers become nearly saturated with water vapor because the atmosphere of the doldrums is so stagnant and the area of the doldrums so extended, there is seldom any surface layer whose density is greater than that adjacent to begin buoyantly lifting a parcel of atmosphere from the surface. If the warm air were lifted frequently enough, or with sufficient ‘surface’ density, the surface layer would not remain stagnant and the huge volume of atmosphere nearly saturated with water vapor would not form and tropically storms would not begin or have enough size and energy to become hurricanes. For the reason that the diffusion transport mechanism can be effective in nearly saturating the higher atmospheric layers is time, weeks of time, during which few or no precipitation events occur over a large region of uniformly warm ocean surface remove any water vapor from the huge volume of atmosphere.

Hence, a monitoring of the number of thunderstorms occurring in normal region of the doldrums could be used to predict the likely occurrence of a hurricane etc. And I can imagine that if some way could be found to stimulate the formation of thunderstorms in these regions before the critical volume of nearly saturated atmosphere could be formed, maybe we, humans, could prevent hurricanes from occurring. This is just some wild speculation that might not be so wild.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Gordon Robertson says:

@Jerry…I appreciate your explanation Jerry but I would like to see people explain the terms they use.

For example, you and Stephen Wilde have used terms like PE freely in situations that escape me. I take PE to be potential energy and I visualize it simply. I am 6 feet tall, and if I lift a boulder off the surface of the Earth at a place where it is not likely to fall further, and I place it on a shelf 4 feet above the surface, the boulder has gained potential energy related to the amount of work it took me to lift that mass by 4 feet.

I would like to see you and Stephen state your points with reference to PE based on such a fundamental definition. I am sure PE and KE interchange all the time but I would like to visualize it in a gas and in an adiabatic process.

Having said that, I am aware that it is not possible to state the actual PE or KE of a particle, that PE and KE in a gas are necessarily an average calculated from parameters like the pressure measured on the walls of a container.

Since there are no walls in the atmosphere, I presume that PE and KE are related to gravitational force.

• Group of physicists says:

Yes Gordon, I know what you mean. Stephen has no qualifications in physics and uses physics terminology incorrectly. He has no explanation as to how the required extra energy gets into the surfaces of planets in order to raise the surface temperatures in the sunlit hemisphere, even when there is cloud cover or virtually no direct solar radiation as on Venus.

That’s because, in my example (in another comment) about an inversion he has not thought about why (c) is correct. Neither have many others until they have read this and when they do read it they find they have no valid way in which to refute the hypothesis therein or the evidence that supports the hypothesis.

This is groundbreaking science that smashes the greenhouse radiative forcing conjecture, but people have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – the most expensive hoax and the biggest waste of money the world has ever known.

About three weeks ago I spoke to an existing climate group of about 35 persons, many with a scientific background, and none could fault what I explained. Out of that group, and some others I knew with a background or solid understanding in physics, I have formed a new group “Planetary Physics” which will present correct physics, not the rubbish that PSI presents wherein Joe Postma’s conjectures are allowed to dominate, and opposing views like mine get disqualified by peer-pressure among the founders whom John O’Sullivan worships.

• gbaikie says:

— Gordon Robertson says:
January 29, 2015 at 4:05 PM

@Jerry…I appreciate your explanation Jerry but I would like to see people explain the terms they use.

For example, you and Stephen Wilde have used terms like PE freely in situations that escape me. I take PE to be potential energy and I visualize it simply. I am 6 feet tall, and if I lift a boulder off the surface of the Earth at a place where it is not likely to fall further, and I place it on a shelf 4 feet above the surface, the boulder has gained potential energy related to the amount of work it took me to lift that mass by 4 feet.

I would like to see you and Stephen state your points with reference to PE based on such a fundamental definition. I am sure PE and KE interchange all the time but I would like to visualize it in a gas and in an adiabatic process.–

PE refer to height of mass of the atmospheric gas.

And say you lift the boulder 4 feet of the ground and it bounced from the 4 foot elevation in to 8 foot elevation.
So PE of rock is 8 feet off the ground. So rock is bouncing [KE] and it has PE. Gas molecules don’t travel 4 feet or more because they collide with other gas molecule.
So say you two 1 cubic meters of air stacked, so 1 by 1 by 2 meter high that would analogous to the bouncing boulder.
And like the bouncing boulder if put the gas higher it has more PE.
So PE of boulder doesn’t lose it’s energy by being 4 feet higher, though it could knock off it’s higher elevation.
And mass of gas higher in atmosphere doesn’t lose it’s energy simply because it’s higher. Though the atmosphere below it is supporting it [as in it’s warm or it’s kinetic energy is supporting it]. An Addition or subtraction the heat of atmosphere will translate into the PE energy into kinetic which added to the kinetic lost by lower atmosphere, and kinetic energy increase of lower atmosphere increases the PE of upper atmosphere. So if PE of upper atmosphere is lost, it warms lowers atmosphere, and if PE is increase in upper air, the kinetic energy is lost [cooled] in the lower air.

Or say it differently take entire atmosphere [5.1 x 10^18 kg] it’s KE is KE equals 1/2 Mass time velocity square
Atmosphere gas velocity is about 400 m/s. So 400 squared is 160000 times 1/2 mass of atmosphere equals joules of kinetic energy of atmosphere.
And the energy/heat does not radiate [it’s bouncing boulders].
But this total of KE energy does not include PE. PE depends
upon how high it is. Or there more than a billion tonnes of air say at say more than 10,000 meter or higher elevation.

So put 1 billion ton bounder at 10,000 meters and that is like the PE of the atmosphere. And boulder also does loses energy due to it simply being higher [unless it’s knock off it’s perch].

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Gordon,

Before I reread what I had written I was quick to agree that I had not accurately defined my PE. But I wrote: The energy of a fuel is potential energy. The gasoline in your car’s fuel tank does nothing to make your car move. It must react with oxygen in your car’s engine to make your car move. So the gasoline in your tank has potential but it does not convert into any action until it reacts in a heat engine to ultimately cause the car to move (kinetic (motion) energy).

And I wrote: The fuel of the most powerful atmospheric heat engines is water vapor. Water vapor has the potential release the energy that was consumed in converting the water vapor from liquid water. But it does not release this energy to the atmosphere until it condenses back to liquid water to form cloud droplets. Now, due the release of this energy to the atmosphere the convective atmosphere could carry the cloud droplets to a higher altitude. Thus, now the cloud droplets have gained some gravitation potential energy. And this lifting of the atmosphere is the work which is done by the generic atmospheric heat engine fueled by water vapor. If, this does not satisfy your concern, I admit that my skills of communication are too often limited.

Now relative to the often quoted adiabatic condition. Back when I was a student in physics I had to analyze systems which had frictionalless bearing and massless pulleys. The assumed absolute adiabatic condition does not exist any more than frictionalless bearing and massless pulleys. Such assumption allow theoretical physicists to mathematically reason much more simply than to consider the perturbations of the actual world. I am an experimental scientist and I have to work in the messy real world.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Group of physicists says:

Jerry – your statement “Of course, a warm atmosphere must be less dense that a cold atmosphere is incorrect. Density does not determine temperature – especially not inversely. Venus is hot and dense at the base of its troposphere.

The Ideal Gas Law tells us pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. (This is easily understood from kinetic theory from which the law can be deduced.) But this law does not tell us anything else if none of those variables is held constant.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics can be used to show why gravity forms a density gradient, because, when stabilized, that density gradient is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. In that state there are no unbalanced energy potentials, because it is stable.

So the mean sum of molecular (PE+KE) is homogeneous, and so there is a temperature gradient that is reduced a little by inter-molecular radiation.

The pressure gradient is merely a corollary of the temperature and density gradients, not a cause of either.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Doug,

I am sorry I am not a skilled communicator as you are. But sometimes we need to put up with these minor irritations of life.

Have a good day, Jerry

88. Group of physicists says:

You, Stephen, have still not explained how the surface gets as hot as it does in the first place. Never mind if or how cooling is slowed. How does the required energy get there in the first place? I suggest it’s better for you to start explaining how the Venus surface gets the required energy to rise in temperature by 5 degrees (from 732K to 737K) during 4 months of sunlight. Until you understand the mechanism which does this for Venus and Earth and other planets, you understand nothing.

And that’s why it’s so critical that you address the physics that I have presented here and answer the questions I posed above as part of my teaching process.

So, is it (a), (b) or (c) Stephen in this comment, and why? Explain your answer with reference to entropy.

89. Group of physicists says:

By the way, Stephen, there is no “denial” of radiative exchange to space. Empirical data regarding radiative imbalance at TOA shows it very rarely wanders outside the range ±0.5% and the error bars are greater than 0.5% so they can’t tell if there is net energy loss or gain.

So you have no evidence that any blocking of radiation has caused and is maintaining “33 degrees of warming” of Earth’s surface, or over 500 degrees of warming of the Venus surface. As for Uranus, well most radiative exchange with the Sun only takes place in the methane layer up near TOA, where it’s about 59K. You have not explained how that energy gets down into the hotter lower troposphere and beyond.

When you claim, Stephen, that surface temperatures are hotter because of radiation being denied to space, then you are implicitly claiming that the necessary thermal energy to make the surface hotter is coming from radiation from the colder atmosphere. Radiation transferring thermal energy from colder regions to warmer regions would violate the Second Law. The only way such heat transfers can take place is by conductive heat transfers that are restoring thermodynamic equilibrium and transferring new thermal energy that has been absorbed in the upper atmosphere down to the surface. The reason why that does not violate the Second Law is comprehensively explained in the first two pages of our group’s website
.

90. “you are implicitly claiming that the necessary thermal energy to make the surface hotter is coming from radiation from the colder atmosphere”

No.

The necessary thermal energy is acquired via conduction from radiatively warmed matter followed by convection which forms a reservoir of energy in PE form.

• Group of physicists says:

You still haven’t answered the question is it (a), (b) or (c) Stephen?

And you still haven’t explained how the required extra energy gets into the surface of Venus.

So you exhibit to the silent readers who have read this just how little you understand the real physics of planetary tropospheres, crusts, mantles and cores.

• gbaikie says:

–You still haven’t answered the question is it (a), (b) or (c) Stephen?–

–And you still haven’t explained how the required extra energy gets into the surface of Venus.–

And I would say main mechanism which causes Venus to be so hot is related to sunlight heating the acid droplets of it’s clouds which in turn heat the gases of the air. And because large amount of gases are heated by the droplets and the air heated at at very high elevation, that this cause surface temperature to be the same temperature as that warmed air at the high elevation.
Or once the molecules of air are heated at this high elevation they don’t lose any significant amount of energy- the kinetic process conserves energy and transfers this energy to the surface, and energy of molecules of less dense gas is the same as molecules of much denser gas- is relate or explain in terms of lapse rate of atmosphere.

Or a reason why ozone layer doesn’t warm the earth by much is because ozone is is less dense air. As compared say cloud tops on Earth [such cloud on Earth also warms the air, and I think this warms the more than ozone- but I don’t think on Earth clouds are anywhere near the warming mechanism as compared to Venus clouds- for number of reasons. Or said differently if Venus had rain cloud instead of acid cloud, such rain clouds would do far less warming [plus be far more reflective and like ozone they would be higher in the atmosphere [than far heavier acid droplets] with far less air density].

–So you exhibit to the silent readers who have read *this* just how little you understand the real physics of planetary tropospheres, crusts, mantles and cores.–

Regarding this:
http://www.climate-change-theory.com/
Up to this point in article:
–But the temperature gradient is reduced in magnitude by radiating molecules such as in the so-called “greenhouse gases” like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. This is because inter-molecular radiation has a temperature leveling effect which works against the gravitationally induced gradient–
I find nothing I disagree with.

91. Group of Physicists says:

Stephen writes “The necessary thermal energy is acquired via conduction from radiatively warmed matter followed by convection”

Yes, some is, but not just via a planet’s surface if any. Some of that “radiatively warmed matter” is gas in the upper troposphere of a planet (and not much else on Venus and Uranus) which is warmed by solar radiation. albeit to a far lower temperature than the surface. For any planet with a significant atmosphere, the Sun (or its star) cannot raise the surface temperature to the actual temperature with direct radiation. So there must be an additional transfer by downward convective heat transfer from the warmed regions in the upper atmosphere, even though they are colder than the surface. The breakthrough that I have explained with a valid development using Kinetic Theory and the Second Law of Thermodynamics is that this can happen without breaching the Second Law, as in (c) in the example of an inversion in a comment above.

So I have repeatedly asked Stephen and others to answer is it (a), (b) or (c) in that example in a comment above? And no one has thought about this critically important issue. If you don’t think about it, that’s your loss not mine.

If you don’;t think it is (c) then you leave yourself with no explanation as to how the required extra energy (which the Sun’s direct radiation to the surface cannot supply) gets into planetary surfaces. We know it does, and we know it happens primarily in sunlit hours (even if there is cloud cover) because that is when planetary surfaces warm after cooling the night before. The physics you need to either agree with, or find fault with is here and not one of you has even deigned to read it (although hundreds of silent readers have) thus leaving yourselves with absolutely no valid explanation as to the processes of heat transfer that maintain planetary temperatures,, not only in their surfaces (if any) but also in all sub-surface regions.

• gbaikie says:

“If you don’;t think it is (c) then you leave yourself with no explanation…”

Of course it’s [c].

92. Group of Physicists says:

And Stephen – you write “The necessary thermal energy is acquired via conduction from radiatively warmed matter and, because you use the word “matter” I take it that you are referring to a planet’s surface if any.

Well it should be obvious that the surface of Venus is not warmed by radiation from the Sun, because that’s less than 20W/m^2 and would need to be over 16,000W/m^2. And there’s no surface at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus, and no solar radiation reaching down there. And no, these planets are not just cooling off. Without the Sun’s energy, all planets, including their cores, would be significantly colder than their existing temperatures.

While ever the Sun shines with current intensity, there will not be a single core, mantle, crust, surface or troposphere that will cool, even in the next few billion years. Solar energy maintains all temperatures primarily by the downward convective heat transfer which I have proved does not violate the Second Law in a gravitational field.

If any cooling were to happen, then “lapse rates” would not be in accord with the -g/Cp value, because radiative balance with the Sun will always be maintained within a very small margin, usually of the order of ±0.5%.

93. Gordon Robertson says:

@Kristian “You mean of course the different hypotheses of ‘abiogenesis’, not the ‘theory of evolution’, Gordon …”

They are one and the same, Kristian. The theory of evolution had to begin somewhere and if the beginning makes no sense the rest of the theory is at fault as well.

To speak of survival of the fittest or natural selection without a beginning such as abiogenesis makes no sense, unless of course, you are talking about the simple evolution related to genetics, in which traits can be inherited. I have no problem with that, I do have problems with what preceded the genetics we know. basically, claims that life sprang mysteriously from 5 basic elements in primeval muds.

This is not just my opinion. The Wismar Symposium of 1966 in Philadelphia saw top minds in the field of evolution gather to discuss evolution. Many concluded it could not have happened as described and that was based partly on a mathematical calculation of the odds of those 5 basic elements coming together by chance to form life as we know it. The odds were billions and billions to one against.

Even diehard evolutions had to admit they could offer no explanation for evolution but some held out in the hope that an explanation would be forthcoming.

All I am stating is the obvious, that no proof exists as to where life came from. Some modern apologists for the theory have moved the goalposts, separating abiogenesis from the entire theory. I don’t see how it is possible to come in to the theory near the end while ignoring 99.999% of it.

• Kristian says:

Gordon, I didn’t mean to start a discussion on this topic, but you are absolutely, fundamentally and completely wrong. You are talking nonsense. The theory of evolution is NOT (!!!!!) about how life originated. It concerns itself SOLELY with how life … evolves. Once it HAS originated.

Likewise, the theory of plate tectonics makes no attempt at explaining how Earth formed in the first place. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, does it?

Proponents of ID habitually put up the straw man that the theory of evolution can’t explain how life originated and must therefore be wrong. But the theory of evolution says NOTHING about the origin of life. It doesn’t even TRY to explain the origin of life. That’s a completely different field of research.

Mix the two up and you come off as a fool. Sorry, Gordon, but that’s the truth.

94. Ok, Doug,

You got pretty close with all your verbal incontinence but you didn’t quite get there so all your theories are invalidated.No shame in that since the climatology establishment has it wrong too.

Even our esteemed host, Roy, fails to see that one does not need GHGs to produce a decline in temperature with height as long as uneven insolation produces density variations in the horizontal plane.

I referred to ‘matter’ because it makes no difference whether there is a solid surface beneath a gaseous atmosphere or not.

All matter absorbs radiation to some extent and as long as there is ANY absorption then density differentials arise in the horizontal plane and convection will begin.The process can begin at any level whether it be above a solid or liquid surface or at some height within a ball of gas.

That is the case even for the virtually radiatively transparent gases such as Nitrogen and Oxygen.

The thing is that even the tiniest irregularity in densities in the horizontal plane is enough to start the convective process. One doesn’t need GHGs with their radiative capabilities to start it. The slightest amount of absorption of incoming radiation allows conduction from one molecule to the next to begin and ANY matter exposed to radiation is sufficient whether it be gas, solid or liquid regardless of radiative capability. Solids and liquids simply help to transfer energy by conduction to overlying gases but are not essential.

Once ANY convection begins it converts radiative energy in the form of KE (heat) into the PE (not heat) that is carried by ANY mass which, when heated, moves to a higher level as a gas.

Once the process of uplift begins it feeds back on itself by taking up more and more KE as PE until the amount of energy held as PE in the atmosphere is exactly enough to balance the weight of the atmosphere against gravity at a height which leaves radiation in from space equal to radiation out to space.

In the process, the surface is warmed by that atmospheric mass to a level higher than predicted by S-B. For Earth that appears to be 33K.

That reservoir of PE, permanently locked into convective overturning for as long as insolation continues then spreads out around the globe and is broken up by winds into cells of rising (low pressure) and falling (high pressure) air which are in turn smeared latitudinally into climate zones by the Earth’s rotation.

At all times the highly variable global environmental lapse rates from surface to space net out to the g/Cp value determined by mass and gravity.

That is how the climate system works whether it be for Dummies or Geniuses.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen, these are the reasons (based on physics) as to why what you write is utter nonsense, and why you can’t answer whether its (a), (b) or (c) in that inversion example.

“Atmospheric mass” does not warm anything. Heat transfer mechanisms do that. To raise a temperature you need a net gain in mean kinetic energy per molecule. Just having more molecules (by increasing atmospheric mass) does not make it all hotter. Do you get it yet? You need to explain how the absorbed thermal energy in the upper troposphere moves by convective heat transfer to warmer regions below and into any surface, driven by continued addition of new thermal energy in sunlit hours in the upper troposphere. That upper troposphere (and regions above clouds) are the main regions in which the Sun can actually raise temperatures within the limits given by Stefan-Boltzmann calculations. That’s when convective heat transfer can be downwards. In the early evening on Earth it is mostly upwards until it stops when the state of thermodynamic equilibrium is attained, as the Second Law says there will be a propensity so to do.

The solar radiation reaching Uranus does not get past the methane layer near the very top of its atmosphere. Hence solar radiation is not warming anything in over 99% of that planet’s atmosphere. Get it yet?

All heating by solar radiation is limited by the Planck function (attenuated by distance) and it cannot raise anything above that maximum temperature that can be calculated from the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. Hence, solar radiation penetrating the Venus atmosphere can only raise the temperature in regions where the existing temperature is less than about 400K, whereas it is about 735K at the surface.

Convective heat transfer “begins” when there are unbalanced energy potentials so that entropy can in fact increase. The process of convective heat transfer is the exact same process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Whatever that law permits happens. Whatever it does not permit does not happen.

Density and pressure differences cause wind which is not convective heat transfer but rather “forced convection.” Wind is not carrying out the process described by the Second Law because it has introduced energy and so the system is not isolated. The Second Law applies only to isolated systems.

Remember, Roy and silent readers, that Stephen Wilde still can’t answer (a), (b) or (c). Nor can anyone else here it seems, because I’ve stumped them all on the issue of how the Second Law can be used to prove the possibility of downward convective heat transfers.

The rest of my response is at
http://climate-change-theory.com

95. gbaikie says:

Stephen Wilde says:
January 29, 2015 at 4:20 PM

–Ok, Doug,

You got pretty close with all your verbal incontinence but you didn’t quite get there so all your theories are invalidated.No shame in that since the climatology establishment has it wrong too.

Even our esteemed host, Roy, fails to see that one does not need GHGs to produce a decline in temperature with height as long as uneven insolation produces density variations in the horizontal plane.

I referred to ‘matter’ because it makes no difference whether there is a solid surface beneath a gaseous atmosphere or not.

All matter absorbs radiation to some extent and as long as there is ANY absorption then density differentials arise in the horizontal plane and convection will begin.The process can begin at any level whether it be above a solid or liquid surface or at some height within a ball of gas.–

That is interesting.
Now Venus is basically a ball of gas as there is little sunlight which reaches the surface.

But Venus has clouds and these are not gases. I would say despite clouds reflecting a vast amount of sunlight and therefore according to the greenhouse effect theory should cool the planet, I think these clouds are heating Venus as compared to the removal somehow warming Venus.
It seems to be that if all Venus clouds were removed that one would only slightly increase amount of sunlight reaching the surface [still get far less sunlight reaching the surface as compared to Earth surface.
And in addition with the removal of all clouds would still have the atmosphere reflecting sunlight.

[Or does anyone imagine a cloudless Venus would appear black
from it’s orbit?]

Anyhow I think clouds are being heated by the sunlight and obviously the clouds of Venus have convection process related it’s clouds- or cloud are continuously being dumped [rain] and cloud droplets are condensing to form clouds.
Anyhow to seems that since the heating of clouds are done at higher elevation and are heating the air at higher elevation than compared to not having clouds, that this causing Venus surface to be around 200 C warmer.

But I wonder if you think if Venus were just gases, that it would remain about same temperature as it is, cool significantly, or would warm up much higher that it is currently [and reflect significantly less sunlight].

• Group of physicists says:

gbaikie and others

Earth’s clouds reflect about 20% of the insolation reaching them, thus making the total albedo about 30%, because the atmosphere and the surface reflect another 10%. This 30% albedo is why climatologists multiply the intensity by 0.7 before using it in Stefan Boltzmann calculations to get the effective radiating temperature for the whole “Earth-plus-atmosphere” system, namely about 255K.

The only other point about clouds is that, because they reflect, some of the troposphere above them gets a double dose of solar radiation, which thus may lead to some extra warming. Changes in cloud cover will affect climate, and such changes can result from changes in cosmic ray flux that are caused by changes in planetary magnetic fields reaching the Sun.

That’s why we get the graph at the top here from which we can predict climate change until about the year 2200. That ought to be useful information.

I have no qualms with the above 255K figure being about right because that whole Earth+atmosphere system does act like a black body, whereas the Earth’s surface is merely an internal interface and does not act like a black body at all because of the additional sensible heat transfers.

However, 255K is a mean temperature found up in the troposphere, whether there are GH gases or not. It is not what the surface temperature would be in the absence of clouds and any IR-active molecules. In that situation the surface would receive more radiation, and Stefan Boltzmann calculations (with albedo and atmospheric absorption both zero) using flux 1366/4 = 341.5 W/m^2 yield 278.6K as mean temperature. However although that 278.6K figure could easily be a little more and about equal to the current actual mean temperature, which we really don’t know, but could be closer to 280K I think.

• gbaikie says:

— Group of physicists says:
January 29, 2015 at 6:50 PM

gbaikie and others

Earth’s clouds reflect about 20% of the insolation reaching them, thus making the total albedo about 30%, because the atmosphere and the surface reflect another 10%. This 30% albedo is why climatologists multiply the intensity by 0.7 before using it in Stefan Boltzmann calculations to get the effective radiating temperature for the whole “Earth-plus-atmosphere” system, namely about 255K. —

Not sure of percentage, but I agree that atmosphere reflects
more than clouds [or snow]. It seems to me that people seem to think clouds [or snow] are instead the main reason earth reflects sunlight.
But I would say amount clouds in tropics does reduce amount of direct sunlight to the ocean and causing oceans to absorb less direct sunlight is a cooling effect. Or large amount of heating of earth is related solar radiation of tropical oceans. Or in terms of average earth temperature it is ocean surface temperature near tropics which make this world have 15 C average temperature- it’s simply large warm area of about 30 C, and rest of world is actually on average quite cold.

-The only other point about clouds is that, because they reflect, some of the troposphere above them gets a double dose of solar radiation, which thus may lead to some extra warming.-

I think such warming is small- like warming due to ozone-
but some small amount, yes. Of course if cloud are lower in atmosphere this effect would increase a bit.

• gbaikie says:

“Not sure of percentage, but I agree that atmosphere reflects
more than clouds [or snow].”

Oh you said the opposite, and therefore I disagree.
Or I don’t think twice as much sunlight is reflect by clouds as the atmosphere. Of course part of this is cloud in in the atmosphere.

So clear atmosphere has 1360 watts above it, and about 1000 gets to the surface [if sun is directly over head [zenith]].
And a large portion of the 360 is reflected. Large [portions] are absorbed and re-radiated [random direction], and a significant portion is diffused [not reflected back into space- so not reflected]. Next there is couple things:
About 1/2 of all sunlight hitting earth, strike circular area of about 10,000 km in diameter. This region encompasses the tropics and extends beyond the tropics depending upon the season or tilt of earth’s axis relative to sunlight.
Or this cone has about a 45 degree angle. So at 45 degrees, the sunlight goes thru 1.4 times more atmosphere as compared to zenith. [twice as much at 30 degree angle, btw.]
And so at perimeter of 10,000 diameter circular “footprint” on earth the sunlight has to pass thru more atmosphere and more sunlight is reflected.
So one has curved disk of the hemisphere which sun lit with 10,000 km circle in the middle of it with sunlight at angle of about 45 degree to 90 degrees- or 90 degree arc with hour being 15 degree [6 hours total- or 3 hour before and after noon- going east to west and same length going north and south.
So in the much larger area [5000 km wide donut around 10,000 km wide donut hole] one has the other half of the sunlight [keep in mind the disk of earth diameter is 12,756 km and within this disk is all the sunlight which intersects Earth]. So about half the sunlight is smeared over much larger area than the “donut hole”, but also 1/2 the sunlight has more atmosphere to go thru, and therefore more is reflected by simply going thru atmosphere PLUS the angle the sunlight intersects atmosphere causes more reflection of sunlight.

Compared this with about 30% of atmosphere having clouds.
And other details [like less sunlight reaching clouds [less than 1360 watts per square meter] plus once reflected from clouds it has to go thru more atmosphere [so less is reflected back into space].

96. Gordon Robertson says:

@Stephen “Once ANY convection begins it converts radiative energy in the form of KE (heat) into the PE (not heat) that is carried by ANY mass which, when heated, moves to a higher level as a gas”.

I think you are wrong in your analysis, Stephen. Heat is not radiated electromagnetic energy. KE is a general property of a mass in motion as represented by KE = 1/2mv^2.

In a mass, whether in solid form, liquid form or a gaseous state, the KE of the atoms in the body is a property of the masses in motion. In either state, individual KE’s cannot be measured so they are averaged.

Still, you can visualize an atom in a solid being constrained to a certain locale but vibrating in place. It’s KE is determined by the velocity of vibration and it’s mass.

If you heat the body, the mean free paths of the vibrations increase in amplitude therefore the KE increases. Conversely, as the KE increases the heat of the body must increase, as represented by a temperature increase. After all, we say that a body of a higher temperature is hotter.

Your statement associating KE with radiation seems wrong to me. The KE of a body does not leave the body via radiation, it simply reduces in the body and increases in the body affected by the radiation.

That’s why heat is described as being transferred but not as a flow. There is a similar situation when electrons flow through a conductor. The electrons themselves do not travel at the speed of light but they can pass on charges at near the speed of light.

In a metal that is heated, vibrating atoms near the heat source begin vibrating harder and that vibration can be passed on to adjacent atoms, increasing their KE.

Radiation is EM and is the means by which KE can be transferred, it is not heat itself.

• Group of physicists says:

A few inaccuracies Gordon, but the gist of it is OK.

To summarize the correct kinetic theory and thermodynamics:

It is preferable to talk about molecules rather than atoms.

Temperature is a measure of mean molecular kinetic energy.

All such molecules have three translational degrees of freedom (x- y- and z-axes) and usually some rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom. The Equipartition Theorem tells us energy tends to be equally distributed among all the degrees of freedom. This sharing takes place mostly during collisions. So translational KE can be converted to other degrees of freedom and vice versa.

The mean free path is related to the distance a whole gas molecule physically travels between collisions, and for air molecules it is about 13 times the mean distance between molecules, which is huge relative to their molecular diameter.

Broadly speaking, as a molecule moves in any direction (other than horizontal) there is an exchange of PE and KE, retaining (PE+KE)=constant because it is frictionless motion. So KE varies (up or down) and this results in a temperature gradient.

Now, the vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom allow additional KE to be stored and so these increase the specific heat of a unit mass of gas of those particular molecules. By using the specific heat Cp in calculating the temperature gradient we equate PE=-KE and get …
M.g.dH=-M.Cp.dT
dT/dH=-g/Cp

In so doing we automatically take into account the degrees of freedom, so that is why Roderich Graeff was mistaken in his calculations that incorrectly multiplied by degrees of freedom. Graeff has no relevant formal education in physics, like our Stephen Wilde.

Thermodynamic equilibrium is attained when there are no unbalanced energy potentials, and so molecular (PE+KE) is homogeneous and there is thus a temperature gradient. No turbulence or wind of any form is required, and in fact any such wind tends to level out the temperature gradient, as with downward winds at the South Pole.

This comment is continued here.

• Gordon Robertson says:

@Doug “Temperature is a measure of mean molecular kinetic energy.
All such molecules have three translational degrees of freedom (x- y- and z-axes)…”

Doug…you are confusing the bond energies in molecules with the translational vibrations in atoms.

A piece of iron has no molecules. It is a lattice of iron atoms which vibrate in place.

• Group of physicists says:

What is relevant to the discussion of climate change is molecules of gas – as I said in the third line.

Others can read about degrees of freedom in gases even in Wikipedia. …

“Degrees of freedom of gas molecules

“Different ways of visualizing the 6 degrees of freedom of a diatomic molecule. (CM: center of mass of the system, T: translational motion, R: rotational motion, V: vibrational motion.)

“In three-dimensional space, three degrees of freedom are associated with the movement of a particle. A diatomic gas molecule thus has 6 degrees of freedom. This set may be decomposed in terms of translations, rotations, and vibrations of the molecule. The center of mass motion of the entire molecule accounts for 3 degrees of freedom. In addition, the molecule has two rotational degrees of motion and one vibrational mode. The rotations occur around the two axes perpendicular to the line between the two atoms. The rotation around the atom–atom bond is not a physical rotation. This yields, for a diatomic molecule, a decomposition of:
3N = 6 = 3 + 2 + 1.”

• Group of physicists says:

As I have also pointed out many times, you should all read the assumptions of kinetic theory and, seeing that you don’t like clicking the links I include, the text is copied below with a dash of bold …

“Assumptions

The theory for ideal gases makes the following assumptions:

The gas consists of very small particles known as molecules. This smallness of their size is such that the total volume of the individual gas molecules added up is negligible compared to the volume of the smallest open ball containing all the molecules. This is equivalent to stating that the average distance separating the gas particles is large compared to their size.

These particles have the same mass.

The number of molecules is so large that statistical treatment can be applied.

These molecules are in constant, random, and rapid motion.

The rapidly moving particles constantly collide among themselves and with the walls of the container. All these collisions are perfectly elastic. This means, the molecules are considered to be perfectly spherical in shape, and elastic in nature.

Except during collisions, the interactions among molecules are negligible. (That is, they exert no forces on one another.)

This implies:
1. Relativistic effects are negligible.
2. Quantum-mechanical effects are negligible. This means that the inter-particle distance is much larger than the thermal de Broglie wavelength and the molecules are treated as classical objects.
3. Because of the above two, their dynamics can be treated classically. This means, the equations of motion of the molecules are time-reversible.

The average kinetic energy of the gas particles depends only on the absolute temperature of the system. The kinetic theory has its own definition of temperature, not identical with the thermodynamic definition.
The time during collision of molecule with the container’s wall is negligible as compared to the time between successive collisions.

Because they have mass, the gas molecules will be affected by gravity.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Gordon,

What is the difference between a glass rod and a metal rod of the same dimensions? I can heat the glass rod with a flame until it is soft enough to bend and hold the rod within inches of where I heat and bend it. Try this with a metal rod. So what’s the difference?

Have a good day, Jerry

• Kristian says:

I agree with most of what you’re saying, Gordon, and you come off as a levelheaded, knowledgeable guy. But you seem to stick firmly to the (long since) outdated definition of ‘heat’. This is actually all about semantics and terminology, so I do get what you’re saying (even though I constantly have to ‘translate’ while reading your indeed interesting comments), but it could cause unnecessary confusion when the modern (well, it’s been like this at least since Zemansky’s days, many decades ago) and very well established thermodynamical definition of ‘heat’ actually turns out to be the opposite of how you interpret it.

What you call ‘heat’ inside a body, is really ‘internal energy’ (or, more specifically, ‘internal kinetic energy’). Why? The term ‘internal energy’ replaced the term ‘heat’ as energy contained microscopically inside an object/system, because this energy itself says nothing about its origin, it could come from heating or from work done (like friction or adiabatic compression).

What you call energy transfer through radiation (thermal radiation), is really ‘radiative heat’. Heat is simply whatever energy is spontaneously transferred from one region or object to the next as a direct result of the temperature difference between them. It can be kinetic energy inside a metal rod moving conductively, it can be sensible and/or latent heat in bulk transfer through convection, or it can be IR.

Note how the internal (microscopic) KE and PE of the system’s atoms and molecules is very distinctly and strictly separated from the KE and PE of the (macroscopic) system as a whole. The first two are part of the ‘internal energy’ determining the system’s temperature, the latter two only concerns the system’s bulk motion and/or position and do not at all affect its temperature. The first two are thermodynamic quantities, the latter two are mechanical (Newtonian) quantities.

People like Stephen Wilde seem incapable of making this distinction. He thinks you can just lift something and make it cool, simply from lifting it.

• Gordon Robertson says:

@Kristian “But you seem to stick firmly to the (long since) outdated definition of ‘heat’”.

There’s a reason for that. I have little faith in modern physics related to quantum theory and modern definitions of heat seem to have a heavy quantum basis.

I don’t have a lot of faith in quantum theory because I regard it as a fluke based on mathematics. I am not claiming it does not work I am only claiming it does not describe the reality and tends to exaggerate the reality. Planck admitted as much when he admitted to fudging the math in order to satisfy the lowered intensities of EM beyond the visible spectrum.

Planck was a good scientist and it bothered him deeply to offer a theory that could not be verified in reality. Since Planck, giants like Schrodinger and Bohr have argued vehemently over the meaning of Planck’s work. Schrodinger got so PO’d that he retired rather than carry on a debate he considered incorrect.

Feynman referred to quantum theory as something that worked but which could not be explained. That’s why I refer to quantum theory as a fluke. Planck fluked on the quanta theory and since then quantum theory has been regarded as fact. I just don’t trust science that has no clear view of the reality and which uses probability as its basis.

In chemistry, there is detailed work laid out on chemical bonds using quantum theory. As Feynman claims, it works, but there is no way that the geometrical orbits used to represent the probabilities of finding an electron in a chemical bond represents the reality.

Again, I am not disputing that bonding theory works, I am only claiming that it works despite the reality, which we still don’t know.

I have been in electronics all my life and I have studied the theory of atoms and electrons to a deep level. I simply cannot visualize an electron as a tiny particle orbiting an atomic nucleus while hopping from atom to atom in a conductor.

Although atomic theory is not required to understand how a field effect transistor works physically, it helps if you want to do experimental work with doped silicon.

While studying the theory, I was presented at university with the paradigm that electric current flows from positive to negative. In previous studies in electronics I had always understood the opposite, that it flowed from negative to positive.

It turned out that the paradigm taught in electrical engineering is based on convention. The +ve to -ve flow refers to a positive test charge, not an electron. The problem is that no proof exists that a positive test charge exists. In semiconductor theory it can be regarded as a hole, and there are claims that such holes, vacated by electrons, have mass, and that they can form a current.

Not buying it. Thompson admitted in the 1930s that it was nothing more than a metaphor, but modern scientists will argue that it is true.

I think that theory is crap, based on decades in electronics. For one, if you take a thermionic diode, a vacuum tube in which electronics are boiled off the cathode to form a space charge of electrons, and you apply a positive charge to a cylindrical plate surrounding the cathode, electron current will flow from the negative cathode to the positive plate.

Convention would have us accept that positive test charges flow from the plate to the cathode.

In a cathode ray tube, the same kind of thermionic emission takes place. Electrons are boiled off a cathode and accelerated toward a screen covered with phosphorus by a high positive voltage. In a colour CRT, that voltage can be as high as 40 kilovolts.

Again, the popular paradigm would have us believe that positive charges flow from the screen to the cathode. The problem there is that electrons are required to activate the phosphors on the screen, not positive charges.

I am trying to make the point that modern paradigms can be totally wrong but they still persist.

I think that modern heat theory based on statistical dynamics and the probabilities of quantum theory leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why I have retreated to the initial theories of Clausius.

He surprisingly addressed the problems of KE and PE in atoms referring to them respectively by the anachronistic terms of vis viva and ergonal. He knew about internal energy and he referenced it in detail in his treatise on heat. He claimed it was not required to calculate heat transfer where external work was required.

We learned the same atomic theory in electronics with regard to lattice structures. I studied the theory of covalent bonding in chemistry as part of my EE studies. Heat is a decent part of the electrical theory because you have to account for it in resistive devices and in semiconductors.

In motor theory, heat becomes part of the purely resistive losses called real power. The inductive/capacitive power becomes imaginary power.

Admittedly, I tend to view heat as an atomic issue, although you refer to it as old theory. I just don’t think heat transfer can be explained if you don’t regard heat and atomic KE as being closely related.

Clausius referred to material as having a heat content and I think he was right. However, that heat content has to be the average KE of atoms in a substance. The only way you can make the substance hotter or cooler is by raising it’s average KE or lowering it.

You might regard heat as the KE related to atoms in motion in a substance. A particle (atom) in space can have KE but it wont affect the KE of another particle because there is no proximity. Stuff a load of them in a substance, however, and they do transfer KE between themselves, causing heating.

Clausius described the motion of atoms as work. In fact, you could describe the motion of atoms in their lattices as harmonic motion, which describes an exchange of KE and PE.

You don’t need friction, just the atoms sitting in proximity to each other will produce heat as long as there is no sink to suck off the energy. Even ice has heat.

I have also studied EM closely, both in electronics and in an astronomy course I took as an elective. I see no relationship between EM and heat other than EM as a transporting agent. I think both EM and heat have different properties and different origins.

I might add that many people believe EM contains color. It does not, the colour is added by the eye when certain frequencies of EM strike the retina. By the same token, EM contains no heat. The heat appears when the EM contacts a body of atoms or molecules, raising their KE.

• Group of physicists says:

Blimey – this is not quantum theory. Kristian is quite correct and has explained it all very well. Before I had read his comment I posted the assumptions for kinetic theory. Kinetic Theory was used successfully by Einstein and of course many others.

If you had read http://climate-change-theory.com you could have learnt what I was talking about, and what really happens in all tropospheres, crusts, mantles and cores.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Gordon,

How can you pretend to not understand my and Stephen’s references to PE and write what you have just written?

Newton concluded his classical book with the comment(as translated by Motte): “But hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; … ”

Alfred Wegener and the proponents of continental drift made a serious error when they attempted to explain how continents could drift. They should have quoted Newton and stated, we frame no hypotheses how continents could because we do not know how continents could different, what we do know is there is an abundance of observed evidence that point to the conclusion that continents have drifted.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Kristian says:

Gordon,

I appreciate your input and I respect your views on this. However, I don’t think the new way of defining ‘heat’ in any way signifies a new paradigm in thermodynamics. Clausius is still fully relevant. Like I said, the change is all in the terminology, and it’s all just about avoiding the confusion of calling all (microscopic) temperature-related energy within an object ‘heat’ when it didn’t necessarily end up there through the process heating. So better to restrict the term ‘heat’ to the energy actually transferred to this object through the process of heating. Once this energy is inside the object, you can no longer separate it from similar (microscopic, temperature-related) energy arriving through the process of work. So it becomes simply ‘internal KE’.

Like you pointed out yourself, Clausius introduced the ‘internal energy’ term as the U in his 1st Law expression for a closed system. The delta U simply keeps account of the energy gains and losses of the system. These gains and losses can come as transfers of energy as HEAT [Q] and/or as WORK [W]. The ‘internal energy’ is the state variable, the static quantity, the energy fund held INSIDE the system. The ‘heat’ and ‘work’ are the process variables, the dynamic quantities, the energy transferred TO or FROM the system.

• Kristian said:

“Note how the internal (microscopic) KE and PE of the system’s atoms and molecules is very distinctly and strictly separated from the KE and PE of the (macroscopic) system as a whole. The first two are part of the ‘internal energy’ determining the system’s temperature, the latter two only concerns the system’s bulk motion and/or position and do not at all affect its temperature. ”

I mentioned in one of my above posts that you are only right in relation to solids and liquids so I have made the distinction.

For gases, the forcing closer together of atoms and mo;lecules under gravity (or rather the weight of the mass of atoms and molecules higher up) does increase temperature because the resulting pressure forces more atoms and molecules with their internal microscopic KE and PE into a smaller space. The total KE and PE present in that space must therefore increase and that squeezing together raises temperature by converting some of the PE to KE.

That is why one needs the V (volume) term in the Gas Laws to ascertain temperature.

For a solid or liquid being raised up against gravity the weight of the air above makes no significant difference to the size of the spaces between molecules so the same principle does not apply. For solids and liquids the PE acquired by lifting is only on the macro scale as you say and so nearly all cooling with height is caused by conduction from the solid or liquid to the surrounding higher and cooler gases.

The term ‘adiabatic’ is the indication that my interpretation is correct because that describes warming or cooling without a heat transfer to or from the surroundings molecules. Any heat transfer to or from the surrounding molecules is diabatic. Any heat change as a resiult of work done with or against gravity is adiabatic.

• Kristian says:

And the rant goes on. On repeat. Blah, blah, blah …

Stephen, you are just utterly confused (deluded, even) and totally and obstinately unwilling to learn about reality. Still you are arrogantly convinced that you’ve got it right and all of physics and the entire field of meteorology is wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ve referred you now probably a couple of dozen times to physics and meteorology sources where it consistently says in plain words, in black and white right in front of you what the adiabatic process is all about, plus the difference between MACROscopic PE/KE and MICROscopic PE/KE. You completely ignore it and just move on with your nonsense as if it didn’t matter.

You’re a lost case, Stephen. You’re no different from Doug.

So long.

• As far as I can see it is your account that offends known physics and meteorology by confusing the diabatic transfer of heat between air parcels with the adiabatic conversion of energy between KE and PE in rising or falling air parcels.

• Group of physicists says:

No Kristian. Stephen is the one trying to use MACROscopic PE/KE.

You would only have to read here to see that I refer to MICROscopic PE/KE which we both agree is correct.

Now, before you criticize what I say again, how about quoting verbatim from our group’s website so you don’t display such confusion over what is there, and has been in my book and the original paper written in 2012.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen. It is impossible for there to be air parcels holding together somehow in an adiabatic process. You are really talking about wind which enters the conceptual “isolated system” and so nullifies the effect of the slow conduction/diffusion-like process (called convective heat transfer in physics) which is what forms the gradient by PE/KE interchange at the MICRO level. Kristian is right about your persistent error in talking about wind-related macro events.

97. Group of physicists says:

AN “IDEAL” AVERAGE TROPOSPHERE

It is instructive to consider an “ideal” perfectly calm (wind-less) region on Earth that is above a calm ocean at a mean latitude of 45° on March 21st when the Sun is above the Equator. We will assume there is a non-transparent layer of cloud covering the selected region and beyond and that region. The cloud is at an altitude where the temperature is the mean effective radiating temperature of 255K.

Now, the cloud layer will reflect solar radiation, and we will assume no reflection goes downwards. Hence all solar radiation can only raise the temperature of the clouds (to 255K) and regions above the clouds. The radiation can do so on its way down to the clouds and also on its way back up, because it still has the same frequency distribution and intensity after reflection. Any back radiation from above the clouds will of course not go down below the clouds, and will not raise the temperature of the clouds above 255K anyway.

Based on mean temperature data for locations at such latitudes in ocean regions I think you will find that the annual mean temperature is about 9°C as it is for Invercargill near the ocean at the southern tip of New Zealand. I seriously doubt the IPCC estimate of 14°C to 15°C.

Why is it so? Why is the surface that much warmer than the clouds when no solar radiation gets through the clouds?

Firstly, I have proved that the environmental temperature gradient (aka lapse rate) is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium which the Second Law says will evolve.

Secondly, I have proved from the Second Law that, if that state is disturbed by the absorption of new thermal energy at the top, then downward convective heat transfer is possible.

So the ocean surface temperature is raised slightly by day by the downward convective heat transfer from the clouds and that temperature is supported long-term around the 9°C mark due to the gravitationally induced temperature gradient which enables heat transfer over the sloping thermal plane in all directions away from a new source of energy.

• Group of physicists says:

By the way, this is our group’s “Comment for the Week” and such comments are being endorsed (peer-reviewed) by group members and then published on well over 100 Facebook climate groups and youtube climate video comment threads each Friday, and a few climate blogs also. Roy, Stephen Wilde and others have a lot to learn from them, and especially from our website.

98. Mike Flynn says:

And still the Earth continues to cool, as does any other blob of molten rock 150 million kms away from the Sun.

If and when it starts heating up again, there probably won’t be a lot of time to panic.

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Group of physicists says:

No the Earth doesn’t continue to cool and you have absolutely no evidence for your wild assertion which would throw the -g/Cp temperature gradient way out of kilter whilst maintaining radiative equilibrium with the Sun which we will assume is not cooling significantly.

All planets cool on the dark side and warm back up by the same amount on the sunlit side because there is radiative equilibrium with the Sun. You do not understand the valid physics and empirical proof here.

• Group of physicists says:

“as does any other blob of molten rock 150 million kms away from the Sun”

What the hell makes you think that could possibly happen to any rock that is in radiative equilibrium with the Sun, AS IT’S SURE TO BE IF IT’S BEEN AROUND FOR A BILLION YEARS OR MORE?

There is absolutely no convincing evidence of any significant net energy loss at the top of the atmosphere of Uranus, for example, even though it’s 30 times further from the Sun than we are.

You are fully of discourse and empty of facts.

99. Group of physicists says:

Stephen Wilde

(a), (b) or (c) Stephen?

If it’s not (c) then I would suggest all your convective heat transfer is always upwards, without any downwards convective heat transfer, because when could that occur according to you?

If your answer is (c) then at last you are agreeing that I’m right about the “heat creep” downward convective heat transfers which obviate the need for any assumed heat transfers by radiation from the atmosphere to the surface and thus obviate any need for concern over GH gases.

Is it (a) (b) or (c)?

100. Doug,

It is (c) but you misunderstand the nature of (c).

It works by reconversion of PE (not heat) to KE (heat) during the descent and not by ‘heat creep’ by which I take it that you mean downward conduction (which you describe as diffusion).

Nor does it involve downward radiation.

The thing is that for a completely non radiative atmosphere (impossible for any body with any mass in the atmosphere)there would be no escape of radiative energy from within the gaseous atmosphere to space at all and so ALL PE derived from KE during the ascent will be returned to the surface on descent in a perfectly evenly balanced convective cycle of overturning.

In that situation ALL radiation to space would be from the surface and would exactly balance radiation in from space.

However, that cannot happen when there is ANY mass in the atmosphere capable of conducting and convecting. Any mass will conduct and convect without GHGs for the reasons I have stated several times and Roy’s error is in thinking that convection would not be possible without GHGs.

It is that variable store of PE in a convecting atmosphere that provides the counterbalance to any radiative losses to space from the GHGs in any atmosphere such that the average system temperature cannot be affected by GHGs.

All that changes is the relative proportions of radiation to space from within the atmosphere and from the surface. The total radiation to space remains exactly the same as that which is incoming from space subject to slight variations about the mean caused by internal system variability such ocean cycles or volcanic activity.

Even Dummies should be able to grasp that.

• Group of physicists says:

Given that it is (c) then that is the downward convective heat transfer that I have been talking about for the last two to three years. So at last you agree that there can be heat transfers from cooler to warmer regions in situations such as the inversion I described.

If you deign to read our group’s website you will learn about conversion of molecular PE to molecular KE at the molecular level, all of which happens because entropy is increasing – as it must in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

And in physics, if you ever learn any, you will find that the term “convective heat transfer” includes both diffusion and advection. But it does not include wind of any form. You cannot stop convective heat transfers in a planet’s troposphere unless you somehow maintain the exact temperature gradient that corresponds with the environmental temperature gradient.

There is no evidence of any significant radiative imbalance outside the range ±0.5% so scrap your conjectures because they aren’t producing any. The Earth+atmotsphere system acts as a true black body and you ain’t gunna stop it doing so with any mind boggling thought experiments like yours.

Never have you (or anyone) pointed out any error in the step-by-step explanation in my book and (more briefly) in the website. Which step in the logic is wrong Stephen?

Now read the website and then this week’s peer-reviewed comment “AN IDEAL AVERAGE TROPOSPHERE” from our “Planetary Physics” group. It’s been posted about 150 times now.

As for your “parcels” they don’t hold water vapor or air together, unless you are really talking about wind and not convective heat transfer. And if you are talking about even the slightest little breeze driven by pressure differences, then your conjecture crumbles.

• Convection is quite different from diffusion (conduction) and advection (which is limited to the horizontal plane).

Convection involves movement of air upward and downward. Diffusion and advection do not.

Convection is initially induced by acquisition of energy by diffusion / conduction but once convection starts no more conduction or diffusion is needed. Once a warmed parcel of lower density air leaves the point at which the initial heating occurred then further vertical movement is adiabatic because the rising warmer less dense air cools at the same rate as the surroundings so that the initial temperature differential is maintained unless there is radiative leakage from the ascending air from GHGs or aerosols.

Such adiabatic uplift only stops when a temperature inversion is reached or the air density falls too low to sustain continuing convection.

Advection can occur if the ascending or descending parcel moves laterally for any reason and occurs naturally at the top and bottom of the ascending or descending column where air flows sideways from cells of high pressure to low pressure at the bottom and from low pressure to high pressure at the top.

I recommend (again) that you study meteorology.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen

High pressure? Low pressure? That’s what forms wind, which some refer to as forced convection, but is not within the definition of adiabatic “convective heat transfer” in physics.

It is you Stephen causing confusion by calling wind in all its forms “convection” or “advection” whilst I have very clearly explained that I am indeed discussing what happens at the MICRO level, involving molecular collisions which can, if driven by a strong enough source of new thermal energy, result in detectable net (bulk) movement of air which physicists call convection, whether its diffusion or advection. There is a fine line between these determined only by what is measurable. Can you measure the warm air flowing out of your car when you open the doors in your garage? Sometimes you can if it’s hot enough. Sometimes you can’t. Likewise, can you measure upward net air movement from the ground? Sometimes by day in direct sunlight you can. Often in the early evening you can’t. Either way, that process is what forms the -g/Cp temperature gradient. Wind in any form certainly does not. So call a spade a spade, and talk about wind, or at least forced convection so that silent readers can see you are mistaken. You have agreed on (c) so you have agreed that convective heat transfer can occur from cooler to warmer regions, as can be deduced from the Second Law of Thermodynamics in this proof.

• Group of physicists says:

I am not arguing, Stephen, about what you say here. I am arguing that the process is not caused by turbulence or wind of any form, because then it would be impossible for the -g/Cp temperature gradient to evolve autonomously.

Wind destroys that -g/Cp gradient. In calm conditions it is restored at the molecular level.

101. Group of physicists says:

By the way, the current cloud inversion in the Grand Canyon is an example wherein downward convective heat transfer has been driven by warmer-than-usual air above it, not necessarily warmer than the surface itself. The convection has taken the clouds down with it.

102. Group of physicists says:

Silent readers will realize that Stephen Wilde has contradicted himself. In this comment he said convection “kicks in” because of the temperature difference, and he clearly implied it went from warmer to cooler regions. Now he agrees that (c) is correct, so that it can go from cooler to warmer regions, a fact he strongly denied a few days ago. In fact convective heat transfer (convection for short) can even stop when there is just the right temperature gradient.

• I deny that there can be a net flow of radiation from cooler to warmer.

However, upward convection goes from warmer to cooler and must be matched by downward convection from cooler to warmer.

You are just sowing confusion in a desperate attempt to deny the flaw in your downward diffusion concept.

Of corse convection can stop going upwards or downwards when local conditions are unfavourable but the net global convective flows are zero in the absence of radiative losses to space from within an atmosphere.

• Group of physicists says:

“I deny that there can be a net flow of radiation from cooler to warmer.”

So do I, assuming you mean any net transfer of thermal energy. That’s what I wrote about in March 2012 in my paper on radiated energy and the second law. Any such heat transfer by radiation would violate that law.

• Group of physicists says:

“I deny that there can be a net flow of radiation from cooler to warmer.”

So do I, assuming you mean any net transfer of thermal energy. That’s what I wrote about in March 2012 in my paper on the second law. Any such heat transfer by radiation would violate that law.

103. Group of physicists says:

And so, Stephen, where is the empirical evidence for your conjecture?

I have published a study confirming that mine is supported by the following mean temperatures for each third of the sample….

Wettest: Max: 30.8°C Min: 20.1°C
Medium: Max: 33.0°C Min: 21.2°C
Driest: Max: 35.7°C Min: 21.9°C

I don’t even know whether you think increasing water vapor leads to warmer surface temperatures or cooler ones, but the evidence is that it leads to cooler ones and not identical temperatures. So how do you explain that?

104. Group of physicists says:

And one other spanner in the works, Stephen: Radiative flux from the surface is not actually transferring the same numerical value of thermal energy to the atmosphere and space. It transfers far less, because much of the radiative flux is merely pseudo scattered back radiation.

And also, some of what goes to the atmosphere from the surface then gets emitted again from the atmosphere, so perhaps you’re double counting? Just exactly how do you work out your proportions from the surface and the atmosphere? Which way does the shift go as you increase WV concentration? What about the well known fact that more WV causes the thermal profile to rotate to a less steep gradient, so the plot intersects the surface at a lower temperature, which thus radiates less.

That’s why I get these results which support my hypothesis which clearly explains why higher water vapor levels cause lower surface temperatures. For each third of the sample I get the following mean temperatures …

Wettest: Max: 30.8°C Min: 20.1°C
Medium: Max: 33.0°C Min: 21.2°C
Driest: Max: 35.7°C Min: 21.9°C

Not only do you present NO QUANTIFICATION of the effects, but you don’t even seem to say in which direction such effects are, if indeed you are claiming they exist at all.

105. Group of physicists says:

Stephen:

As I’ve said many times, in the absence of wind there is nothing to hold a “parcel” of air together. If you start with an imaginary sphere of air do you seriously think all the original molecules (each moving in random directions at about 1,800 Km per hour between collisions) are still going to be the only ones inside some similar sphere that has traveled all the way from the upper troposphere to the surface; or gone the other way?

Now I can tell you that convective heat transfer on Venus is virtually all downwards in the sunlit hemisphere and virtually all upwards on the dark side, for the simple reason that the dark side must cool. I think you would agree that it is mostly all upwards on the dark side of Earth, at least in calm conditions. So which way and at what altitudes and in what circumstances is the convective heat transfer downwards in Earth’s troposphere?

Why do you think, Stephen, there has to be matching upward and downward convective heat transfer anyway? We are only talking about energy, not actual air mass.

Some energy can go one way (downwards) by convective heat transfer and the other way (upwards) by radiation. For example, I can tell you that on Uranus the only source of new thermal energy is the methane layer near the top of the troposphere where the new solar energy is being absorbed. During the day there is net convective heat transfer downwards, exceeding the upward energy losses by radiation, and likewise on Venus. But at night on both planets there is upward convective heat transfer and upward radiative heat transfer as well, and no propensity or reason for any downward heat transfer. The only thing that has to balance is the radiative flux in and out for the whole planet+atmosphere system. Some energy, for example, can go downwards by convective heat transfer and then come back up by radiation or a mixture. You completely ignore all these possibilities, so it’s no wonder you can’t even decide whether increasing water vapor levels causes the surface temperature to be cooler, warmer or just the same.

• Doug,

You are hopelessly confused between conduction / diffusion and convection.

The latter involves bodily movement of mass in the vertical plane.

The former involves slow transfer of energy from one stationary (or near stationary) molecule to the next.

All your errors result from that confusion.

• Group of physicists says:

I have quoted Wikipedia on this in another comment here. You also can go and edit Wikipedia (and physics texts everywhere) and tell me when your edits stick.

In the meantime, I have made it perfectly clear that I am taking about transfers of thermal (kinetic) energy via molecular collisions, whatever you like to call it.

There is no other process that will lead to the -g/Cp temperature gradient, and you cannot prove me wrong.

The air in the cabin of a rocket ship does not cool by 100 degrees in the first 18Km of upward flight, like the air outside does. It’s not because of air conditioning either, for that could not respond and warm in a matter of a few seconds.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen
For the last time, will you stop misquoting me and mis-interpreting what is in the website. You would only need to have read the example of the hot air in a car spilling out the doors into a closed garage to understand that I am indeed talking about molecules which move at about half a kilometer per second between collisions and pass on KE during such collisions, and interchange PE and KE between such collisions.

THAT PROCESS, STEPHEN WILDE, IS THE ONLY PROCESS WHICH BRINGS ABOUT THE -g/Cp TEMPERATURE GRADIENT.

All this is perfectly clearly and unambiguously explained in my original paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” now replaced with my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” and ALSO IN OUR NEW GROUP-ENDORSED website http://climate-change-theory.com none of which you have read a word of it seems.

106. So,

Kristian appears not to understand why work done by rising or falling parcels of air moving with or against gravity is adiabatic.

Doug doesn’t appreciate the difference between conduction and convection within a gaseous atmosphere.

All that sound and fury boils down to those simple points.

I’d still like to hear from Roy as to how he would propose an absence of convection for a GHG free atmosphere around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated by a point source of light.

Unless Roy can suppress convection the atmosphere could never become isothermal even without GHGs.

107. Group of physicists says:

Stephen

Such work is not adiabatic if the air is moved up or down by wind of any form. You are not talking about an isolated system (which the Second Law requires) because wind is coming into the system from external sources. But if there’s no wind, then nothing keeps a “parcel” together.

If wind is involved the air does not warm or cool much at all, because the wind provides the necessary kinetic energy and so internal kinetic energy is not used up.

And, I repeat yet again, if it is not wind that is moving your “parcels” of air up and down, then there is nothing that will hold such parcels together.

There is no difference between conduction and convection as both involve molecular collisions. That’s why physicists don’t use the word “conduction” for heat transfers in gases. When the diffusion process accelerates we can start to notice slight net air movement which is advection. In physics the term “convective heat transfer” includes both diffusion and advection. It does NOT include wind in any of its forms.

The gravitationally induced temperature gradient can ONLY form as a result of convective heat transfer (which happens at the molecular level) such as I have described above. In such heat transfers the thermal (kinetic) energy is conveyed by molecular collisions, and only in such circumstances will the gradient evolve. But the molecules are free to move in any direction, because a pre-requisite is that there is no wind, that is, there is no external force driving more molecules in any particular direction. What drives convection is a new supply of thermal energy which disturbs a previous state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

What is in this comment is spot-on correct physics, Stephen Wilde. Rather than argue, go and read up on it.

Forget the pseudo physics they teach in meteorology. That’s what’s got you and Roy and all climatologists in a mess.

108. gbaikie says:

–So,

Kristian appears not to understand why work done by rising or falling parcels of air moving with or against gravity is adiabatic.

Doug doesn’t appreciate the difference between conduction and convection within a gaseous atmosphere.

All that sound and fury boils down to those simple points.–

It does seems like a summary of what you 3 are arguing about.
Not much difference.
And mostly ignoring the oceans and clouds, though suppose focusing on the air does make some sense. But anyhow, it seems
the fury boils down to a matter of degree.

It seems that one could say that our atmosphere is well mixed
and fury is over how the atmosphere is mixed. And it seems the atmosphere is mixed by the 3 different ways. Though there is a fourth that Doug seems to be obsessed about, which involves water vapor and how mixes the atmosphere.

It seems that like the ocean, a well mixed atmosphere is the warmest atmosphere- if one talking about the long term.
In short term it tends to cool things.
Or a greenhouse is not mixed with atmosphere- and on local level it warm the greenhouse.
One say as far as human interest that a sudden better mixed atmosphere is NOT about warming. Mixing the atmosphere warms Earth, and doesn’t necessary warm humans with their short lives and local concerns.
But the atmosphere has been mixed and continues to be [in general] well mixed. Or arctic warming is example of atmosphere becoming even “better” mixed.

-I’d still like to hear from Roy as to how he would propose an absence of convection for a GHG free atmosphere around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated by a point source of light.-

Which kind of involves a fifth way to mix- which is common
belief among the greenhouse faithful. I don’t see it.
Apparently it requires a certain degree of faith.
So I don’t see how CO2 mixes the atmosphere.

• gbaikie says:

Oh, the three ways seems to ignoring large movements of air- wind. So again a matter of degree or scale.

So wind is largest scale of mixing air, whereas updrafts, and even tornadoes [even hurricanes] are smaller scale.
So storm fronts, trade winds, on shore and off shore wind, and the jet stream would fit into the large scale category.

• Group of physicists says:

Read what I have said about wind in comments to Stephen. Wind does not establish a temperature gradient -g/Cp any more than the cabin of a rocket ship cools by about 100 degrees in the first 18Km of its flight.

• Group of physicists says:

“Kristian appears not to understand why work done by rising or falling parcels of air moving with or against gravity is adiabatic.”

There can be no such thing as a “parcel” of air all mysteriously held together in the absence of wind. And if there is wind, then the process is not adiabatic and the temperature gradient -g/Cp does not form, just as air in the cabin of a rocket ship does not cool by 100 degrees in the first 18Km.

Doug doesn’t appreciate the difference between conduction and convection within a gaseous atmosphere.”

You don’t know the definition of convective heat transfer* or how it includes conduction and diffusion in gases. What I am talking about when I say “convective heat transfer” is the ONLY process that leads to the -g/Cp temperature gradient, and you cannot prove me wrong on that.

* “Although often discussed as a distinct method of heat transfer, convective heat transfer involves the combined processes of conduction (heat diffusion) and advection … “

Go and edit Wikipedia and tell me when your alterations stick.

• “Convective heat transfer, often referred to simply as convection, is the transfer of heat from one place to another BY THE MOVEMENT OF FLUIDS”

Doug left out the important bit.

In meteorology advection is horizontal air movement, convection is up and down air movement and conduction is the transfer of heat between statioary molecules.

• “For air flow, the corresponding term is air parcel. Another name for fluid parcel is material element of fluid.[1][2] Correspondingly, also the notions of material line and material surface can be introduced, always consisting of the same material elements and moving with the fluid flow.[1] Yet another name used for fluid parcel is fluid element.”

From here:

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

and:

http://aerosols.ucsd.edu/classes/sio217a/GroupD.pdf

Doug has no concept of convective motion within fluid environments so he lumps it all in with conduction which is completely wrong and leads to all that confusion in his posts.

109. Group of physicists says:

The temperature gradient (and density gradient) that evolve autonomously in an isolated system in a force field are a direct consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Thus they occur even in a lab experiment with an insulated sealed cylinder, and also in a Ranque Hilsch vortex tube where a huge force field is generated artificially.

I don’t care if you want to call it “conduction, diffusion and advection” or whatever. Because of the confusion, I coined the word “heat creep” for the downward convective heat transfer which “creeps” up the sloping thermal profile, probably at speeds rarely exceeding 1 or 2 meters a minute.

I gave an example at http://climate-change-theory.com regarding hot air from a car transferring out the doors into a garage. After a minute or two the car will be less hot and the garage air will have warmed a bit. That is convective heat transfer. Strictly speaking, diffusion is just warmer molecules moving in among cooler ones, but this also happens simultaneously because a molecule may pass a dozen or so other molecules before colliding.

But whatever you call the process, I have made it very clear in my website and book exactly what I am talking about. And what I am talking about when I say “convective heat transfer” is the ONLY process which will establish the gravitationally induced temperature gradient. Wind in any form cannot do that. So take your hot air elsewhere Stephen.

110. jerry l krause says:

Hi Guys,

Doug Cotton frequently refers to the Venusian atmosphere and I believe we can learn much about the greenhouse effect by studying it. Because I know a bit about it I began to review certain facts about it which Doug either ignores or is unaware. When I got to the seventh page and had nowhere completed the task, I concluded again that this format is not appropriate to serious attempts to refute that which is not true. Which is something that science can do even if it cannot absolutely prove what the truth is.

Previously, I have exchanged emails with Doug and Joel Shore. Doug concluded I was wasting his time and that was okay. And Joel got busy, which I can understand if one has a day job or another life as some say, and we have not reconnected. The philosopher Solomon stated: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If on falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV). I have no one who has an interest in trying to find the observations with which to refute the generally accepted magnitude the greenhouse effect for even Roy accepts that the 33C difference valid. And I thought Doug was confused when he somewhat regularly suggested that Roy claimed the troposphere would be isothermal if not for the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

I need a friend with a similar passion to first refute untruths, even if long established, so that we together might find what might be the possible truths. I state again, I am Jerry L. Krause and live in Salem OR USA and am sure you can contact with a stamp or phone call if you too have the same passion.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Group of physicists says:

Jerry

I have presented sound physics and solid evidence supporting it in the website http://climate-change-theory.com which has had over 3150 hits in its first three weeks or so. There is no point in my writing virtually identical text in personal emails, but you can write to me at the email address on the above website if you wish. For over two years now people have also been able to debate issues with me in my comment thread under my 10 minute video, linked from the above website, as is my book.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Doug,

I see I did not clearly state that I stopped corresponding with you because you told me I was wasting your time and I do not want to waste any one’s time by sending them my thoughts.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Group of physicists says:

“trying to find the observations with which to refute the generally accepted magnitude the greenhouse effect”

Try reading my observations of thirty years of temperature and precipitation data from three continents which I analysed in the study published in my book, refuting the IPCC claim that water vapor supposedly does most of 33 degrees of warming.

It is the gravitationally induced temperature gradient which does so and BigWaveDave summarized it succinctly when he wrote here that it “obviates the need for concern over GHG’s”

• Group of physicists says:

“I need a friend with a similar passion to first refute untruths”

111. Group of physicists says:

WHY STEPHEN WILDE IS 100% WRONG

He denies what I have deduced here from the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

He says the gradient -g/Cp is not formed by the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics but rather by turbulent atmospheric mixing that moves far faster than the slow conduction/diffusion-type process which is included in the definition of “convective heat transfer” whereas wind is not included in that definition.

I have pointed out that fast downward winds above the South Pole do not cause a -g/Cp temperature gradient. Also, when warmed wind blows over a plain and then up a sloping mountain side, the resulting Foehn winds at the top are still nearly as warm and have not cooled as per the -g/Cp gradient.

But despite all the contrary physics and contrary empirical evidence, he persists (for the sake of his own ego it seems) in smearing anyone with contrary views without spelling out a single reason in terms of valid physics.

112. Group of physicists says:

“Convection is usually the dominant form of heat transfer in liquids and gases. Although often discussed as a distinct method of heat transfer, convective heat transfer involves the combined processes of conduction (heat diffusion) and advection …”

“convection describes the combined effects of conduction and fluid flow or mass exchange.”

“Free or natural convection: when fluid motion is caused by buoyancy forces that result from the density variations due to variations of thermal temperature in the fluid. In the absence of an external source …* or, in other words, in the absence of wind which adds bulk KE.

Whilst it’s true that bulk PE variations cause opposite bulk KE variations, all that does is vary the velocity of the wind and not the temperature of the air being moved by the wind, just as the temperature in the cabin of the spacecraft is not lowered 100 degrees by the change in bulk PE as the craft rises through 18Km and into the tropopause that’s about 100 degrees colder (outside the craft) than the surface near the Equator. Do you get it yet Stephen?

*[source]

113. If the air in a rocket ship cabin were allowed to depressurise at the same rate as the air outside then it would cool at the same rate as the outside air during its ascent.

No getting around it.

• Group of physicists says:

Not air that rises due to an external force (as in wind or a rocket ship) because that force produces bulk kinetic energy which gets reduced a bit as PE increases, but which has nothing to do with temperature. In other words the rocket ship is slowed a bit by gravity, as is warm wind blowing up the side of a mountain. But it is not cooled much.

Read my other comments and then tell me if you get it yet, because I suspect everyone else reading this does.

If pressure and density both decrease by the same percentage, then temperature is unchanged because the Ideal Gas Law tells us pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. It tells us nothing else in general terms. High pressure, for example, does not maintain high temperatures.

• Group of physicists says:

You need to understand how we derive the Ideal Gas Law from basic Kinetic Theory of Gases, as used successfully by Einstein. Only then will you understand what happens at the micro (molecular) level, and why that does not happen at the macro level.

From now on please use the terms “free convection” and/or “forced convection” (as in the Wikipedia articles quoted) when you are referring to air ascending or descending.

Then silent readers can see how you are putting your foot in it when you assume forced convection leads to a -g/Cp gradient. Is that what you claim Stephen Wilde? Yes or No?

• “If pressure and density both decrease by the same percentage, then temperature is unchanged because the Ideal Gas Law tells us pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density”

What about Volume ‘V’ in PV=nRT?

Temperature only stays the same when pressure and density decrease if volume also decreases but rising up in an atmosphere results in increasing volume.

When one increases V both pressure (P) and density fall so temperature (T) must follow.

That is what happens with increasing atmospheric height.

For gases within a gravitational field it is the distances between molecules (density) changes that most affect temperature at a given level of energy input.

That is why the Gas Laws contain the volume term (V).

114. Group of physicists says:

I have been talking about the above “free convection” that is also referred to as “natural convection” and I apologize for not being quite precise enough in using this relatively new terminology which, I suspect, has become necessary because of the confusion caused by meteorologists and climatologists in their extension of the meaning of “convection” so as to include wind. That is a ridiculous extension because the causes are totally different and the effects regarding temperature are totally different.

Naive climatologists and meteorologists, Stephen Wilde included, have assumed that what happens (due to micro processes) in free convection also happens (due to macro processes) in wind that is “forced convection.”

Let us all in future use the terminology “free convection” (that includes conduction and diffusion) and “forced convection” which does not, because it is wind, or the air moved by a fan or similar. Only free convection forms a -g/Cp temperature gradient. Forced convection has a propensity to level out any existing temperature gradient.

115. Convective overturning within an atmosphere is ‘free’ or ‘natural’ convection though it requires an initial slug of energy conducted from sun warmed matter to get it started.

Warmed, less dense, lighter parcels of air become detached from the initial source of warming and then need no further input of energy to maintain continuing uplift hence the term adiabatic.

It is not ‘relatively new terminology’.

Forced convection involves addition of new energy or removal of existing energy after the initial detachment from the surface and of course some of that does go on because no process is perfectly adiabatic. Such addition or removal of energy is a diabatic process which is where Kristian got confused.

Wind does not force convection. It is a consequence of convection whereby the lower pressure caused below a freely (or naturally) rising column of air parcels is filled in by air from regions of higher pressure nearby.

All well established meteorology.

116. Group of physicists says:

“Convective overturning within an atmosphere is ‘free’ or ‘natural’ convection”

Good, so you agree it is conduction (diffusion in gases) and accelerated diffusion which may result in detectable net molecular movement in all accessible directions away from a source of new thermal energy which has disturbed a previous state of thermodynamic equilibrium with its associated temperature gradient.

In other words, you agree with exactly what I have been saying since 2012.

And when wind forms (as a result of convection and/or pressure changes) it does not have a propensity to form a -g/Cp temperature gradient because it is forced convection, which is not what you are now saying you are talking about: rather forced convection (wind) has a propensity to destroy any such temperature gradient.

And so, when considering climate matters, we can ignore weather processes which tend to average out. Climate models in general ignore such. My explanations of temperatures in planetary tropospheres, crusts, mantles and cores tend to ignore weather conditions and phenomena also.

So we then discuss the direction of this free convection which is the only process that forms the temperature gradient and does so at a slow rate (being conduction and diffusion mostly) – a rate which is nothing at all like the velocity of wind. That direction is in all accessible directions away from any new source of thermal energy, just like new rain water falling on a part of a lake is spread out by gravity over the whole lake.

You could have read it all here my friend and physics student.

117. Group of physicists says:

I’ll help you with one final thought experiment, because it’s 12.30am here and we’ve won the Asian football cup which of course I’ve been watching.

Imagine a 1Km high thin water pipe standing vertically with open ends. After some significant time period the temperatures inside the pipe will match those outside (assuming calm conditions) and thus have a temperature gradient with a difference of perhaps about 7C°±1C°.

Now, pump rapidly moving much warmer air upwards through the pipe until the walls of the pipe are warmed by the air. Will the air then not come out at the top still nearly as hot if the pipe were perfectly insulated? It does indeed, and is not 7 degrees colder than at the bottom, because the speed of this artificial wind is far greater than that of the slow conduction/diffusion process that is the only process which forms the temperature gradient by interchanging micro PE and KE and not macro PE and KE.

• Group of physicists says:

Stephen

The warm air being pumped up the 1Km high insulated pipe is perfectly free to expand in a vertical direction within the pipe, so that which is at the top moves faster than that at the bottom. Even in open air, there are constraints on an imaginary column of air due to pressure from other air around the circumference of the cross-section of the cylinder at any and every altitude. So any expansion is primarily in the vertical plane even in the troposphere.

But expansion does not necessarily cause cooling if both pressure and density decrease, or as much cooling as you hope for, because the expansion process must be adiabatic in order to form the -g/Cp gradient which actually evolves at the molecular level in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If there is forced convection (due to wind or mechanically pumped or fanned air) then that process is far too fast to allow the slow “free convection” process to form the expected temperature gradient.

You can’t prove me wrong on that point Stephen, because empirical evidence against what you claim is overwhelming.

118. The volume of the interior of the pipe does not increase with height.

The volume of an atmosphere around a sphere does increase with height.

It is the increase in volume with height that allows the molecules to move apart and cool as per the Gas Laws.

You said:

“free convection which is the only process that forms the temperature gradient and does so at a slow rate (being conduction and diffusion mostly)”

Free convection is the upward movement of parcels of air against gravity. Just like the bubbles of steam rising from the bottom of a heated kettle.

It is not mostly conduction and diffusion. It is an entirely separate process albeit initiated by conduction in the first place.

The decline in temperature with height is caused by the expansion of the gases as they rise to regions of lower density and pressure. PE is created from KE within the parcels adiabatically.

• Planetary_Physics says:

“as per the Gas Laws”

Stephen

That’s not what the Gas Laws tell us. You just don’t understanding Kinetic Theory from which the gas laws are derived.

Your “definition” of free convection is nothing at all like the conduction-like diffusion process that it includes. The only noticeable net air movement is very, very slow – maybe not more than 2 meters a minute, which is, however, quite sufficient speed for heat to be transferred from the <400K region on Venus to its surface over the course of its 4 month long day. Work it out yourself.

Free convection is not an entirely different process from diffusion: it includes such. Don’t you read the quotes I provide?

The decline in temperature with height can and does happen, and has been observed to happen in a well insulated sealed cylinder in over 800 lab experiments so far this century. It happens because molecules in free flight between collisions retain internal (PE+KE)=constant.

119. The volume of a vertical pipe does not increase with height.

The volume of the atmosphere around a sphere does incease with height.

Free convection is not mostly conduction/diffusion.

It is the physical movement of a parcel of gas in relation to the surrounding gravitational field and is a consequence of density differences in the horizontal plane.

It can occur very rapidly and is always faster than conduction/diffusion.

• Group of physicists says:

It is the physical movement of a parcel of gas”

No it’s not, because if “free convection” is the only process acting, then there is nothing that holds any “parcel” of air together. The molecules that are warmer than others at that altitude spread out in all accessible directions away from the source of new thermal energy. More precisely, the extra thermal energy spreads out much faster than net physical movement of molecules, because the KE is passed on in molecular collisions, even if the “warmer” molecule bounces back more or less towards where it came from.

120. Strange, I thought I’d lost the initial version of my last post.

121. jerry l krause says:

Hi Guys,

I am going to prove what a fool I am by submitting one more comment. And it is I who judge that I am a fool. For about forty years I have not considered that which I am about to describe.

For these about forty years I have known that Svante Arrhenius’s radiation balance calculation, from which it was concluded that the effective radiative temperature of the earth-atmosphere was about 33K less than the observed average temperature of the earth’s surface, was incorrect. It was incorrect because the absorption of the solar radiation incident upon the earth-atmosphere system was reduced by the factor we call the albedo and there was no factor considered, in the calculation, that reduced the transmission of the longwave radiation emitted, according to the S-B Law, to space. The only unknown in this calculation was the temperature factor of the S-B Law, and this unknown factor was termed the effective radiative temperature.

No one, that I know, questions the evidence that clouds, even thin clouds, significantly inhibit the transmission of longwave radiation, being emitted from the earth’s surface, to space. But, to my knowledge, no one has tried to evaluate, in any way, what the average value of a factor, similar to the albedo, which reduces quantity of longwave transmission to space might be.

Now, I say similar because we know that the albedo is composed of several factors (scattering from clouds, scattering atmospheric molecules, reflection from water surfaces, reflection (scattering?) from snow (ice) surfaces, and finally reflection (scattering?) from earth surfaces including vegetation surfaces). Therefore, I must admit this factor, similar to the albedo, would be composed not only of the cloud factor, but also the proposed influence of greenhouse gases. However, because the transmission of longwave radiation from the earth’s surface through seemingly cloudless skies and the transmission of longwave radiation from high altitude, hence quite cold, cloud tops have been observed from space, the contributions to these two factors should be possible to evaluate.

Now what I have not seen for about forty years how easy it would be to calculate the factor, which reduces the portion of the longwave radiation being emitted from the earth’s surface from being lost to space, by making it the unknown in Arrhenius’s calculation and using the observed average temperature of the earth’s surface as the temperature in the S-B Law.

I do not here present the calculated result because the calculation should be quite straight forward for those physicists who like to calculate. To me the idea of what cloud be calculates is vastly more important than what the result would be. And that is why I consider myself a fool for not seeing much earlier.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Planetary_Physics says:

The 255K figure only applies to a location a few Km up in the troposphere. It is ludicrous that they used it for a surface temperature without CO2 and WV because there would be no clouds, so albedo would be only about 10% not 30%.

• Group of physicists says:

But Jerry you are not correct in your assumption about clouds reducing upward radiation. They firstly absorb some energy which then passes up through the cloud by convection and then gets emitted to space by the top of the cloud. Do they prevent the Earth’s surface warming by day and cooling by night where there is thick cloud cover for several days? No, not significantly.

There is no convincing evidence of radiative imbalance at TOA.

Clouds reflect about 20% of insolation, the atmosphere about 4% and the surface about 6%. So they use albedo of 30% and thus multiply the mean flux by 0.7 to get about 254.8K as the black body temperature of the whole Earth+atmosphere system.

Yes it is inaccurate because of the T^4 relationship in S-B calculations, but not all that far out because in the real world temperatures only vary by a few degrees in each 24 hour cycle, and that is a relatively small percentage of the absolute (K) temperature.

• Group of physicists says:

Jerry

Just because the Earth’s surface does in fact radiate in accord with its S-B temperature does not mean that the actual net transfer rate of thermal energy from the surface to the atmosphere and space is anything anywhere near the emitted radiative flux. You would have to read March 2012 paper to understand why. Radiative imbalance at TOA is rarely outside the range ±0.5%. Do you get the significance of such measurements?

Doug

• Group of physicists says:

Sorry, typo in link. Try …

You would have to read my March 2012 paper to understand why.

122. Notreally says:

Jerry, you poor thing, let me tell you something. The so called effective radiative temperature of anything is the MAXIMUM temperature it can reach exposed to certain radiation source. Please take time and think carefully about it.

To reach a higher temperature requires a MORE POWERFUL source of radiation (which is not there, there is no second Sun).

Therefore the very starting point of warmers is a complete nonsense. Hence their “greenhouse effect” is a complete nonsense as well.

• Group of physicists says:

Yes this is an important point I have been making for years. Nothing gets hotter than a true blackbody if radiation is the only source of thermal energy. The Earth’s surface receives only a mean of about 168W/m^2 which only supports a black body temperature colder than -40°C. That is why what is explained in our group’s website is what is really supporting the surface temperatures of Earth, Venus etc.

Hopefully one day Roy will listen to you and those with qualifications in physics, as in our group.

• Group of physicists says:

BUT “Notreally” we are of course talking about the mean temperature of the whole “planet+atmosphere” system. So this does not prevent there being hotter temperatures within the system where gravity is at play trapping thermal energy. So, for example, Earth’s surface is indeed warmer than the effective radiating temperature (say 255K) and likewise the core of the Moon, which is hotter than 1300°C.

• Notreally says:

Doug, you poor thing. Higher temperature than the MAXIMUM is impossible. You accept the idea about the maximum first, then you maintain the opposite an hour later after realizing that you “theory” contradicts it…

Maybe it is time for the “group of Dougs” to rethink nonsense, Doug?

• Group of physicists says:

Notreally

Firstly, quit your arrogant condescending tone and come out from your cloak of anonymity, declaring your qualifications in physics and experience in the field of thermodynamics.

You’re talking about the effect of radiation, whereas I’m not when I refer to thermodynamics as distinct from radiative heat transfer.

The Earth’s surface has a mean temperature far higher than the black body temperature of about -41°C that would be supported by the direct solar radiation it absorbs, that radiation having a mean of about 168W/m^2.

Likewise, the core of our Moon is about 1300°C due to the process in the Second Law of Thermodynamics whereby entropy will tend towards a maximum. It’s explained in the website endorsed and peer-review by our group of physicists.

If you also have qualifications in physics, feel free to ask about joining our group and then we will listen to what you have to say about the valid physics in that website which over 3,250 have visited since January 8th.

• Notreally says:

You poor “Group of Dougs”, it is very funny when an idiot uses the word “physics” to present such an absolute crazy stuff. Your “creeping heat” is not better than “back radiation warming”. The problem is the same: the higher temperature would mean more energy radiated away than absorbed, which is absurd. You urgently need to do something about it. Maybe some medication, I do not know…

• Group of physicists says:

And “NotReally” you need to brush up on your comprehension ..

You wrote “To reach a higher temperature requires a MORE POWERFUL source of radiation ..”

I agreed, but very specifically added:

if radiation is the only source of thermal energy.

If you wish to take me on that’s fine, but I will tear your comments apart if you continue to exhibit such poor comprehension of what I am saying.

123. Group of physicists says:

Planets and satellite moons are not still cooling off in their cores. No one really knows if their cores were hotter or colder than existing temperatures at the time of formation. To be sure they were molten, but less-hot temperatures could still correspond to molten states. The point is that by now they have attained radiative balance with the Sun and will not cool (even in their cores) unless the Sun itself cools or, more precisely, unless the solar radiation that is not reflected reduces in intensity.

It is not a coincidence that the sub-surface temperature gradients (“lapse rates” if you wish) appear to be close to the expected quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the matter, namely g/Cp. We can prove why this is the expected temperature gradient using Kinetic Theory and the Second Law of Thermodynamics as in the development here that is based on sound physics.

Solar radiation maintains existing temperatures by the inward heat transfers by conduction and diffusion (or “free convection”) whichever is possible above and below a planet’s surface.

Note that, in particular, the temperature gradient forms by such processes even in insulated sealed cylinders because it does not require physical movement of gases at velocities such as occur in wind of any form from a breeze to a hurricane. In fact such wind (“forced convection”) tends to level out the gradient, as happens above the South Pole.

And that’s why Stephen Wilde is wrong in what he says, and why he can’t prove me wrong without proving the Second Law itself wrong.

124. Group of physicists says:

Stephen Wilde

“Natural convection is a mechanism, or type of heat transport, in which the fluid motion is not generated by any external source (like a pump, fan, suction device, etc.) …” [source]

The speed is not important. What is important is that free or “natural” convection is not wind in any form. That is forced convection.

So, you have not explained sub-surface temperatures (as I have) and you have no explanation, or even any idea as to when, where and why such natural (free) convection goes up or down or perhaps sideways. Day or night, pole or equator, when, where and why Stephen? It has nothing to do with weather, wind or whatever – other than the fact that entropy must always increase. If you don’t explain why entropy increases you are ignoring the Second Law,

125. Group of physicists says:

The whole concept of “parcels” of air is totally inapplicable when considering natural (free) convective heat transfer, which includes conduction and diffusion by definition, but occurs only in the absence of wind or any other forced convection. PARCELS OF AIR CAN ONLY BE HELD TOGETHER IN FORCED CONVECTION.

Temperature is a measure of mean molecular (INTERNAL) kinetic energy. Heat transfers in natural convection can only occur via molecular collisions, because all wind of any form is excluded. If air moves because of pressure differences, that is wind. When net molecular movement is able to be detected in natural convection it is because of excess thermal energy driving the net motion away from that source.

A molecule only “knows” about how hard it is hit by another molecule. It “knows” nothing about buoyancy, pressure or density in neighboring regions. The overall speed of heat transfer in natural convection depends entirely upon the differences in energy potentials, and those energy potentials must take into account molecular (internal) gravitational potential energy and not just molecular (internal) kinetic energy. When those energy potentials become equal, that is when natural convection stops because we then have maximum entropy and so we have the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

Thus, in the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, because we have no unbalanced energy potentials, we thus have homogeneous (PE+KE) for internal (molecular) energy. Thus, because PE varies with altitude, we have a temperature gradient.

Natural convection only starts again when the energy potentials become unbalanced, normally due to the absorption of new thermal (kinetic) energy. The direction of the resulting convective heat transfer will be from the higher energy potentials to the lower energy potentials, and that may be downwards to warmer regions because we are including gravitational potential energy in the entropy calculations, not just kinetic energy.

And that obviates the “need” to try (incorrectly) to explain with back radiation the obvious short fall of energy into the surface.

126. Group of physicists says:

So when Stephen Wilde writes above Free convection is not mostly conduction/diffusion. It is the physical movement of a parcel of gas … It can occur very rapidly ..” he is totally incorrect.

The ONLY process which establishes the temperature gradient is that process which is exemplified in the “hot car in garage” example here wherein the level of thermal (kinetic) energy per molecule in the car is lowered and that in the garage raised as thermal energy is transferred out the car doors and into the closed garage by way of molecular collisions and diffusion. We all know this is not occurring “very rapidly” and yet the example represents a greater temperature difference than would normally be found in adjacent regions in the troposphere, and so it is faster than most free (natural) convection.

What Stephen keeps referring to in his confusion is not free convection at all: it is forced convection involving wind which is caused by the pressure differences to which he refers.

Natural convection is caused by differences in energy potentials and nothing else.

That does not necessarily imply a difference in temperature (kinetic energy) because, if there is a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, then the difference in molecular KE is nullified by an opposite difference in molecular gravitational PE, such that (PE+KE)=constant. This is the well known situation wherein convective heat transfer can cease in calm conditions at around dawn, even though the environmental lapse rate is still apparent.

So all of Stephen Wilde’s conjectures about parcels of air rising and then falling when they run out of macro KE (which does not affect temperature) and all his talk about pressure differences that cause wind in all its forms, and all the references to cells (wherein wind cycles around) is not in any way related to the process which forms the temperature gradient (slowly) in the tropospheres of Earth, Venus, Uranus etc etc.

127. Alick says:

Due to the curvature of a sphere, sideways emissions and absorptions ARE in the direction of outer space.

• Massimo PORZIO says:

I absolutely agree, it’s a long time I say it.
The most important thing is that the tangent radiation has a complementary spectrum compared to the nadir one.
This means that the 666cm-1 bite could be very smaller than the one seen at the nadir by the satellites.

Have a great day

Massimo

128. gbaikie says:

–Jerry l krause says:
January 31, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Hi Guys,

I am going to prove what a fool I am by submitting one more comment. And it is I who judge that I am a fool. For about forty years I have not considered that which I am about to describe.

For these about forty years I have known that Svante Arrhenius’s radiation balance calculation, from which it was concluded that the effective radiative temperature of the earth-atmosphere was about 33K less than the observed average temperature of the earth’s surface, was incorrect.–

I think Richard Lindzen does an adequate job of explaining
it. Though I want to quibble some parts- or say things he doesn’t spend time saying:

So listen to up to about 6 min mark regarding the 33K.

Now what Richard Lindzen says in passing is that they are assuming the clouds are in a vacuum.
Or as I would say, they assuming the impossible clouds are not being in an atmosphere.
Or water evaporates at about -150 C, sunlight can’t heat a “cloud of water” above -150 C in vacuum. It’s trying boil water above 100 C in 1 atm of pressure. Or sunlight 10 times more powerful than earth distance sunlight can not warm it above -150 C in a vacuum.

So as Richard Lindzen suggest by noting it, there is difference of clouds in vacuum and clouds in atmosphere.

And the rest of video is something which is the climate system for dummies and I don’t much problem with it.

One thing is that later in video, Richard Lindzen emphasizes
the importance of mixing of lower troposphere.
And discusses in terms it radiate process involve this rather thick layer. And would instead say the radiant process is only a minor part of it. But that’s could be said to be quibbling/nit picking- or it’s not a significant difference.

• Group of physicists says:

The “33 degrees” is wrong because what actually happens is that there is a “dry” temperature gradient that forms at the molecular level and which would raise the surface temperature by about 45 to 50C° but for the fact that water vapor reduces the gradient and thus leads to lower supported surface temperatures. See http://climate-change-theory.com

• Group of physicists says:

Roy is totally wrong in guessing that there would be isothermal conditions without GH gases.

Some have tried to make this claim on other blogs and this sequence of comments explains where they (and Roy) go wrong …

http://judithcurry.com/2015/01/31/week-in-review-41/#comment-670818

• jerry l krause says:

Hi glaikie,

Thank you for calling Lindzen’s lecture to my attention. But what I saw and heard was if we ignore the fact that the earth-atmosphere system has an albedo, its average temperature would be 272K and not 255K as when its albedo is considered in the radiation balance calculation. So he reasoning is balanced on something that does not actually exist, just as the models, to which he refers, are.

Scientists worked long and hard to estimate what the albedo of the earth-atmosphere actually is. And we must remember its value is still only an estimate but this estimate is based upon the observation of an actual system. Likewise, we (humans) have regularly measured the earth’s surface temperature in some consistent way and concluded a simple way to determine the average temperature of a day and then we averaged the average temperatures of the days of a month to determine the average temperature of the month, etc. This at one specific location, then we averaged the average temperatures of the all the locations to determine the average temperature of earth’s surface. Again we must remember this average value is still only an estimate but this estimate is based upon the observation of an actual system.

Arrhenius, and Lindzen also, referred to the following radiation balance equation:

S (1–αp) π r2 = σ Te4 4 π r2

But they could have solved the following equation for X, the portion of the longwave radiation emitted by the earth surface, at its average temperature, not transmitted to space:

S (1–αp) π r2 = (1-X) σ Tave4 4 π r2

Now, when we solve the equation for X (which for discussion purpose I term the X factor), the X factor is based upon actual observations. Using all the accepted values, X= 0.40. The X factor is an actual factor based on observation just as the albedo is an actual factor based upon observation. But the two have not been observed in the same way. The albedo is based upon direct observations whereas the X factor is calculated by a valid calculation from estimates that were determined from actual observations. The X factor is a average estimate of how clouds and greenhouses gases reduce the transmission of longwave radiation to space as nearly everybody agrees these two factors have this capability. At this point we do not know the relative portions of these two factors. But, if we compare the rates of nocturnal cooling when the sky is cloud free with that when there is total overcast, the difference in rates point these relative portions.

However, there is one other factor that can influence the nocturnal cooling rate and therefore create some possible confusion. I began to participate in this blog site because I wanted to call to Roy’s attention to what I conclude is a scientific law that seemed tp not be recognized as such. It is that the atmospheric temperature of the atmosphere can never fall below its dewpoint. So I am sure there will be cases where dew begins to form near sunset when the sky is cloudless and during that night the rate of cooling will be much less than if dew never formed. Because, if dew forms at such an early time, the surface atmosphere is nearly saturated with water vapor and some might conclude the low rate of cooling is due to a greenhouse effect if they ignore the formation of dew.

Have a good day, Jerry

• gbaikie says:

–Thank you for calling Lindzen’s lecture to my attention. But what I saw and heard was if we ignore the fact that the earth-atmosphere system has an albedo, its average temperature would be 272K and not 255K as when its albedo is considered in the radiation balance calculation. So he reasoning is balanced on something that does not actually exist, just as the models, to which he refers, are. —

I would describe it as a first approximation.
So Earth should be around freezing and I would say that Earth is around freezing.

From there one should assume a planet which has average temperature of around freezing would be warmer at the tropics then it was elsewhere.

Or Earth is about 30 C warmer at it’s tropics and if not 30 C warmer at the tropics our Earth is very close to the approximation.

Though temperature should warmer than at the tropics, one could say it’s “surprising warm” for a world which has average temperature of near freezing.

Or in terms of a first approximation the tropics seem a little bit warmer then one might expect. And one ask why is tropic as warm as it is?

Or since one starting from premise of ideal blackbody- and ideal blackbody’s “rule” is it distributes the heat uniformly around the world. One should realize the most the heat received would gotten in the tropics. And ideal blackbody is cooling the tropics to warm the rest of the world.
Or during the day at noon at equator the blackbody surface would be heated to 120 C, but the ideal blackbody transports this heat to warm cooler parts of the world [poleward and the cooling night side.

Or help explain, we can saw the world off at tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and look at it.

So we will ignore the poleward ends, and this is about 40%
of the Earth surface [Earth has 510 million square km and
40% is 204 million square km]. And earth’s circumference is about 40,000 km and north and south width is about 5100 km wide.
Or:
“Each degree of latitude is approximately 69 miles (111 kilometers) apart”
And it’s 23 degree north and south: 46 times 111 is 5106 km.

The earth disk is a 12,756 diameter disk. It has total area
of 6378 x 6378 times pi. Which is 127.79 million square km.

In comparison our sawed off sphere, it gets 5100 by 12,756
or 65.05 million square km of what the whole world would get of 127.79 million square km. Or gets about 50% of the sunlight in 40% of world.

So whole world is 510 million divided by 127.79 which is 3.99 [which accurately would be 4].
Sawed off world, 204 million divided by 65.05 is 3.136.

So for whole world one has 1360 watts divide by 4 which
is 340 watts.
And sawed off 1360 divided by 3.136 is 433.6 watts.
So a blackbody radiating 433.6 watts per square meter is warmer than blackbody radiating 340 watt per square meter.
433.6 watts is about 295 K [21.85 C]

Of course the Earth tropics is warmer than 21.85 C, but point is that tropics should warmer than rest of the sphere.

But from this first approximation it appears the tropic is much warmer that it should be, and rest of world is not as much warmer than “it should be”.
Or “something” is making Earth tropics warmer than it should
be according to blackbody model.

Or said differently, if one can find the reason the tropics is warmer than “it should be” then that roughly answer question of why Earth appear warmer than model indicates.

Of course I am not saying at this point that this rules out
greenhouse effect theory. Or an answer offered could be the greenhouse effect theory.
For example, to support greenhouse theory, the tropics holds
the vast amount of the world’s water vapor.
So like I said, it doesn’t rule out greenhouse effect theory.
Or this isn’t arguing for anything, it’s merely a approximation.

Now, Lindzen said without considering clouds that the approximation was about 15 too cold, and it’s only after clouds are added that one gets the dubious idea of 33 C cooler.
But I would say that instead of the world being 15 C cooler
that it’s mostly the tropics which is about 15 C cooler.

And I would guess that when get to point of adding in clouds, one again adding mostly to cooling the tropics.
Or generally outside tropics clouds don’t cool as much and cloud mostly cool tropics.

So one has even greater deficit of the tropics to explain.

So why is tropics about 20 C warmer than “they should be”?
Could be a question one asks.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

I must say haven´t thorougly gone through your numbers, but I´m not sure you have always taken into account two following points, kind of two sides of a coin:
– Sun´s radiation warms much much more near equator and noon time not only because of the fact that out of there radiation spread over much higher surface, but also because radiation has to go through much longer distance when crossiing the atmosphere.
– Any given cloudy area of the sky is much more efficient reducing warming due to sun radiation near the equator and noon time.
By the way, we shouldn´t forget that for back IR radiation from earth those geometrical differences don´t exist, whatever the location and time. I consider this fact is a paramount reason of the importance of even small GHG concentration changes: they are working 24-7 and all over the world …

• gbaikie says:

–I must say haven´t thoroughly gone through your numbers, but I´m not sure you have always taken into account two following points, kind of two sides of a coin:
– Sun´s radiation warms much much more near equator and noon time not only because of the fact that out of there radiation spread over much higher surface, but also because radiation has to go through much longer distance when crossing the atmosphere.–

Yes. This very important point.
And differs from what Lindzen was broadly outlining in that lecture.
But I would say clouds cooling and/or albedo effect is mostly related to tropics. Whereas for the entire Earth it’s albedo is the sunlight needing to go thru more atmosphere and this causing more reflection, so a clear atmosphere is the larger effect of albedo.
In terms of the tropics one could roughly guess the clouds is most cause of the .3 Bond albedo, but this not true with the 60% of rest of the planet.

-By the way, we shouldn´t forget that for back IR radiation from earth those geometrical differences don´t exist, whatever the location and time. I consider this fact is a paramount reason of the importance of even small GHG concentration changes: they are working 24-7 and all over the world …-

Regarding “small GHG concentration changes” I would agree that the most of CO2 effect would occur outside the tropics. But in regards approximation [the large part of the picture] the emphasis would be on tropics.

To summarize with the tropic where 1/2 sunlight falls, the sunlight goes thru much less atmosphere as compare to the rest of the world [due to less angle], despite tropics being a larger atmosphere.

Plus since the tropics has a much taller troposphere. And the factor of “clouds not in vacuum”, but instead sunlight first goes thru a large chunk the atmosphere and is being reflected back thru more atmosphere at the tropics. And pertaining to this, different cloud heights needs to be considered in this regard.

So after the approximation and to find out why tropics is warmer, one could mostly focus on clouds of the tropics, and in my mind [since most heating is done in tropics] there is some merit to ignoring the rest of the world, BUT in in terms global Bond albedo, it is not mostly the clouds.

• Group of physicists says:

Of course something is making the surface warmer in the tropics. It is the higher troposphere (about 18Km) compared with that closer to the poles. Hence the gravitationally induced temperature gradient has a longer run over which to raise the temperature. Why do you think the Venus surface is hundreds of degrees hotter than the effective radiating temperature? Read why here.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

“… temperature gradient has a longer run over which to raise the temperature”.
This apparently simple explanation presupposes:
a) Temperatures at troposphere top over tropics and over poles are the same.
b) Gradients are the same too, from top to earth surface.
Is that actually so?

• gbaikie says:

Re:
“I wanted to call to Roy’s attention to what I conclude is a scientific law that seemed tp not be recognized as such. It is that the atmospheric temperature of the atmosphere can never fall below its dewpoint. So I am sure there will be cases where dew begins to form near sunset when the sky is cloudless and during that night the rate of cooling will be much less than if dew never formed. Because, if dew forms at such an early time, the surface atmosphere is nearly saturated with water vapor and some might conclude the low rate of cooling is due to a greenhouse effect if they ignore the formation of dew.

Have a good day, Jerry”

Yes, I think dew point is a part of explanation of why and how
the atmosphere cools.
Or it’s a barrier to cooling.
Or the atmosphere is slab, and one needs to freeze water in the slab before it can cool further.

So dew point is related to why atmosphere doesn’t get as cold.

Or I see the polar caps of Mars as a “warming effect” and a stop against pole from getting colder. Or why Mars 1/2 of it’s longer than Earth year period of darkness, doesn’t get as cold as the Moon’s 2 week night.
[It’s the condensation point mostly rather than air]

So, same principle with Earth atmosphere and it’s higher colder part of atmosphere which “must” freeze in order for the lower atmosphere to cool.

Or sort of reverse of it, the surface air has resistance of warming due to need to melt upper air. So seasonally one see
this resistance. Though also because of global mixture of atmosphere it’s not a battle ever won, or Earth does not get really cold {people in Siberia no doubt will argue otherwise].

• Group of physicists says:

The real reason why surface cooling virtually stops in the early pre-dawn hours (even though the temperature gradient is still evident) is explained with valid thermodynamics here.

• gbaikie says:

Trying to make it more simple.
Let’s assume it’s known that the tropical region will be warmer and includes this from the start.
And an ideal blackbody will which would radiate 340 watts on average, but instead model uniformly heating the world it heats the world outside the tropics less- because
you know the the higher latitude and poles should not be as warm as tropics- 40% of sphere radiating more than 340 watts
and 60% radiating less than 340.
So just pick say 380 watts for tropic.
How much does make it for rest of world?
10 times 340 is 3400.
4 times 380 is 1520. 3400 – 1520 is 1880
1880 divided by 6 is 313.3
So make tropics about 285 K [12 C]
And rest of world: 272 K [-1 C]

And we currently live in world of tropics: 28 C
and the average of rest of world about 2 C
Roughly.

And if tropics were warmed by say 20 C
So 20 + 12 is 32 C, then such a warmer tropics
would warm up rest of world.
Or tropics loses heat by warming up rest of world- by ocean
circulation, and air circulation.
So tropics loses about 4-5 C of it’s heat, warming
up rest of world. And we know for example, that ocean and
the Gulf Stream warms Europe by about 10 C.

So one can say that after adding clouds, which cool
tropics how can Tropics get a net gain of 20 C of warming?

Let’s first look at a 12 C tropics and rest of rest world at
-1 C. T
he big difference from today climate is the cold tropics.

And were the tropics were much colder it would have less clouds. Also the troposphere of tropics would not be as large as it is today. Or less warm air and less water vapor.

So instead of having 3% to 4% water vapor it could have about 1% water vapor.
So Bond albedo of clouds in the tropics when it’s this cold in tropics is far less.
But even with this much cooler tropics, the tropics is still warming up the rest of the world a bit.
But even if don’t include any of this tropic warming the rest of the world, it’s still perhaps not as cold as one might imagine it would be if it’s average temperature were -1 C.
Or it’s not frozen world.
It will get quite cold in the winter [but it’s doing that now]. Or Kansas may not have as warm of a summers and nights in general could be colder [even in summer] and winter might be similar [or with variation it has now].
Or one probably could not notice it unless measuring it.
Though the farmers would notice a much shorter growing seasons.
There could be such a condition as 1 mile high glaciers in America and in Europe- but it’s not a given.
Or the ocean at say UK wouldn’t necessarily be frozen- it’s possible during winter it could freeze.
Though what is more noticeable is could be colder at or near polar regions.
Or the temperate Zones are not warming the polar regions by much, and arctic region would probably adding a bit to cold temperate zone winters. Or one needs more detail to the model to get mile high glaciers resulting anywhere in the world.

So back to Tropics, it would not have much clouds, and doesn’t get hurricanes. And world in general doesn’t have as much clouds [and the lack cloud in temperate Zones probably adding to colder conditions- net cooler than net warming].

So a tropics with less water vapor and less clouds will get a lot more direct sunlight as compared to our present tropics.
Or these colder tropics would be one of better places to get solar energy- it would be better than Arizona.

So with this much more direct sunlight, the tropics are going to warm up at mad rate. And then the tropics will heat more of rest of the world, cause more clouds globally [clouds in temperate zone net warming effect], and the more clouds and water vapor in Tropic causes there to be less direct sunlight- and tropics will than become a pretty poor place to harvest solar energy- unless it’s in the Sahara desert.

Though with that said, I didn’t include the albedo of clear skies.

And there is no doubt a clear sky will limit heating from direct sunlight [it’s difference of 120 C of vacuum vs clear sky highest temperature about 70 C]. Making up for any of this lose one could have various warming effects, and how much warming effect is from clouds {some have argued clouds are 50% of greenhouse effect].
Nor have included the factors of why our earth is presently 15 C, whereas most of Earth hundreds of millions of year history it’s about 25 C average global temperature.
Nor details what causes glacial periods.
So lot’s a details, but don’t a effect which warms it by 33 C. So possible [or I can’t rule out] that greenhouse gases may be adding around 10 to 15 C, and water vapor should be least 1/2 of it.

I do assume, what I think is obvious, which is the ocean absorb direct sunlight and the warmed ocean results a warmer world. But it’s seems the degree it does this is limited to the warmed ocean causing increased water vapor and more clouds in the tropics [which limits the direct sunlight in the tropics].

• Group of physicists says:

Sure the surface radiates according to its temperature (close enough) but it is absorption which warms things. The mean solar flux absorbed by Earth’s surface is about 168W/m^2. The mean solar flux absorbed by the Venus surface is less than 20W/m^2. The difference between S-B calculations and reality is explained here

I have published a comprehensive study of temperatures in the tropics. Regions with about 1% water vapor have higher mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than do regions with about 4% at similar latitude and altitude. I challenge you to produce a similar study that proves the IPCC claim that the sensitivity for a 1% increase in WV is about 10 to 15C°of warming, when reality shows there is cooling by WV.

• Group of physicists says:

Yes well the clouds reflect on average 20% of solar radiation straight back to space. But there is no evidence of net radiative imbalance since 1998 being outside the range of about ±0.5%. So, if clouds were doing as you say, how come they affect albedo by 20% but outward radiation by less than 0.5%? The whole paradigm is false. Radiation into the surface of Earth and Venus cannot be used to explain the observed temperatures. The new paradigm that is based on correct physics is here and not one of about 3,500 visitors in less than a month has reported any fault in the physics therein.

• gbaikie says:

–Yes well the clouds reflect on average 20% of solar radiation straight back to space. But there is no evidence of net radiative imbalance since 1998 being outside the range of about ±0.5%. So, if clouds were doing as you say, how come they affect albedo by 20% but outward radiation by less than 0.5%?–

I am not as confident as you are that clouds have reflected average of 20%.
And as I indicated above, it would matter to me what the difference of clouds reflecting in the tropics as compared
to clouds reflecting outside of the tropics.

According to:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page4.php
“About 29 percent of the solar energy that arrives at the top of the atmosphere is reflected back to space by clouds, atmospheric particles, or bright ground surfaces like sea ice and snow. This energy plays no role in Earth’s climate system.”
And according to their breakdown here:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php
23% is reflected from clouds and atmosphere and 7% from the surface.

Though similarly, it fails to provide tropical reflection of clouds as separate category from rest of the world.

Though the 7% reflection from the surface, would seemed to me to be due mainly to regions outside to tropics.
Or I doubt this 7% of reflection from the surface would be occurring in the tropics.
Or “Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says” above the tropics has more of it’s energy hitting the surface at steeper angle or angle of incidence.

Or since most earth is covered by ocean, and as one goes poleward one has more sunlight striking it’s surface at lower angle, it seems the southern ocean probably reflects a significant portion of the 7% global number. And generally both land and ocean are more reflective when sun is at lower angle.

So tropic receives 1/2 of all sunlight and seems to me that less than 7% of this 1/2 of the energy of the sun is reflected from the surface.
But as guess suppose less than 3.5% is reflected in tropics,
and as one goes poleward it increases until it gets to the average value of 7% and then continuing, exceeds it.

And at what latitude it reaches 7% would be interesting, as another guess maybe it’s around 40 degrees latitude- and probably a bit different depending on hemisphere. Varying a bit upon variation in weather.
And terms of weather, if it’s got fog and/or low clouds would count as surface reflection. And as when got high surface reflection “conditions” it seem this also would have some tendency to have fog/low clouds.

Despite snow having little to do with global reflection, suppose out world had no snow or clouds, how much would the clear skies reflect sunlight?
How much refection would you get at tropics without clouds?
And with other half of the sunlight what would their clear skies reflect?

http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2008_JGR.pdf
“Pall∂e et al (2004a) correlated the earthshine data with International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project(ISCCP) cloud data to construct from the latter a proxy record of the Earth’s reflectance. They showed from that proxy that the Earth’s albedo decreased by about 6 W=m2 from 1985 to 2000, while direct earthshine observations from 1999-2003 revealed that the decline had stopped and even reversed to an increasing trend in reflectance.

Also they say:
“This large, long-term variability in the shortwave surface radiation budget would seem to imply that the Earth’s albedo has also undergone substantial changes at decadal time scales. However, a long-term, global albedo database does not exist.”

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

“… it seems the southern ocean probably reflects a significant portion of the 7% global number. And generally both land and ocean are more reflective when sun is at lower angle”.
I “more than agree” with you, especially regarding ocean: the fraction of the light reflected by water surface when low angles of incidence is higher.
But we have to keep in mind that is important only for still waters. If wavy, angles of incidence have rather chaotic values.
And, as said before, the electromagnetic energy that reaches the surface is much smaller at those locations where angles of incidence are lower, due to the two fold reason also mentioned: mote energy has been “lost” when crossing the atmosphere, and radiation is spread over a much bigger surface … Remember the importance of values of sine/cosine of just 30, 45 … 60 degrees, acting twice.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you. You say:
“…despite tropics being a larger atmosphere”.
I´ve aIso seen troposphere is higher at tropics.
I must say i´m not an atmosphere expert. What are the physical reasons of those facts?
My “semi-educated” guess is that it must be the centrifugal force due to earth and atmosphere rotation. Is it actually so?

• gbaikie says:

–My “semi-educated” guess is that it must be the centrifugal force due to earth and atmosphere rotation. Is it actually so?–
Long answer, the degree there less gravity at tropic, yes.
But mostly it has to do with temperature and water vapor.
“The effective acceleration of gravity at the poles is 980.665 cm/sec/sec while at the equator it is 3.39 cm/sec/sec less due to the centrifugal force. If you weighed 100 pounds at the north pole on a spring scale, at the equator you would weigh 99.65 pounds, or 5.5 ounces less.”

Or sea level pressure essential the same, with variation due
to weather, normal 14.7 psi, and if it’s 2 psi lower, you in the middle of severe hurricane [or suppose also a includes being in a tornado}.
Otherwise there is small fluctuation in pressure as one hear s weatherman talking about high or low pressure systems.
Or barometer readings change [and is predictive of weather]

And pressure is mass or weight of the atmosphere- or the atmosphere weigh about 10 ton per square meter, whether in tropics or poles. And/or 1 atmosphere of air pressure is also gotten from being under 10 meters of water [10 tons of water per square meter of water above you].
So 10 meter deep water weighs less less at equator and the equal mass of atmosphere would also weigh less
So if 100 lbs weight 99.65 pounds, then 10,000 kg weighs
9650 kg.
And whether it weighs less because centrifugal force or because warmer wetter air weighs less, it’s same thing.
Plus atmosphere being at higher elevation increase this centrifugal force.

So water vapor is lighter density than air, and warm air is less dense than cold air, so equal same weigh lighter air has to be stacked higher than compared to if was cooler air.

So if in tropics the air is warmer and more moist and is less dense at sea level. Anyways this explains it pretty well:
“The troposphere contains almost all the atmospheric water vapour, in fact it contains about 70 to 80 per cent of the total mass of the Earth’s atmosphere and 99 per cent of the water vapor. Temperature and water vapor content in the troposphere decrease rapidly with altitude and thus most of the water vapour in the troposphere is concentrated in the lower, warmer zone. Water vapor concentrations vary with latitude. They are greatest above the tropics and decrease toward the polar regions.”
And:
“In the troposphere air temperature on average decreases with height at an overall positive lapse rate of about 6.5°C/km , until the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere, is reached.”
And:
“The thickness of the troposphere varies from about 7 to 8 km (5 mi) at the poles to about 16 to 18 km (10 to 11 mi) at the Equator. In addition, it varies in height according to season, being thinner in winter when the air is densest.”
http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/Troposphere.htm

• gbaikie says:

grr:
-So if 100 lbs weight 99.65 pounds, then 10,000 kg weighs
9650 kg.-

I meant 9965 kg.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you.
My question is not related just to itself, but to oher directly related points, mentioned by you and, in other way, by “Group of physicists”.
Let us imagine two air columns, over f.e. 1 square m. of earth surface, going up to atmosphere top end. One near the equator, and the other over one of the poles.
And let us suppose they are insulated and not affected by sun heating differences, or other metheorological factors.
Due to rotation centrifugal forces, effective gravity is smaller over the equator, although in a small percentage. There we would have a sligtly thinner air. The rotation has produced a kind of upward expansion of that air. Even beeing gravity slightily smaller, the accumulation of that expansion would be important at the top …
If now we add the thermal differences, that column top over the equator would go further up. Still thinner air from bottom to top.
If that is correct, we shouldn´t expect that that atmosphere over the equator should absorbe more radiation per meter just because it is taller (forgetting factors such as compossition differences, watar vapour, etc)

• gbaikie says:

“If now we add the thermal differences, that column top over the equator would go further up. Still thinner air from bottom to top.
If that is correct, we shouldn´t expect that that atmosphere over the equator should absorb more radiation per meter just because it is taller (forgetting factors such as composition differences, water vapour, etc)”

It seems better to start by adding the warmer air and the lighter air due to having water vapor, first rather then
last.

Say had balloon which had mass of 1000 kg and it floated
at .5 kg per cubic meter air density.
So it needs volume of 2000 cubic meters, so 7.81592 meters
in diameter, fill withed helium and have it rigid.

Chart with sea sea level air at 15 C:
8000 -37.0 360 0.53
9000 -43.5 310 0.47
Meters — C degrees —- HPA — kg per cubic meter
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/wstdatmo.htm
So 360 HPA is about 5.22 psi, so have balloon filled
with 6 psi of helium.
So the 52.28 feet diameter spherical balloon will have Helium and balloon material having mass of 1000 kg and it will be neutral buoyant at 8 to 9 km elevation if air temperature is 15 C at sea level.

Now, with 15 C air one has 1.2 kg density at sea level.
If instead the air temperature at sea level was 25 C the air
would have less air density at sea level, but higher density
at elevation- or the density reduces less as one goes higher in elevation.
And if one had more water vapor [higher humidity] it also lowers the density at sea level.

So in tropics one could have a temperature of 25 C [77 F] at
sea level [cool weather and say in the Morning. And at north pole on sea ice one probably be able to the get an air temperature of 25 C in the summer. So need cloudless day and calm winds.
Hmm:
Towns/settlements on Svalbard:
“The lowest temperature was recorded in March 1986 at -51.3°F – the highest temperature was recorded in July 1979 at 70.3°F.”
“The highest temperature recorded in Barrow was 79 °F (26 °C) on July 13, 1993, while the lowest is −56 °F (−49 °C) on February 3, 1924”

Hmm, maybe 25 C at north pole would be rare, and instead need go for say 20 C [68 F], problem is not sure if one get 20 C in tropics at sea level. Let’s see, what’s Singapore’s coldest temperature:
What is the coldest temperature recorded in Singapore?

“The lowest minimum temperature ever recorded in the month of December is 20.6 deg C ( on 2 Dec 1964), while the lowest temperature ever recorded (since record began in 1929) is 19.4 deg C (on 31 Jan 1934).”
http://www.weather.gov.sg/wip/web/home/faq#top
And probably at night, and I kind of wanted morning.

Anyhow, getting sidetracked. Briefly wanted to compare same balloon at poles and at equator with similar humidity and air temperature.
And above specified balloon in coolest tropical weather, should float at 9000 meters or higher. And at warmest weather at north pole, the balloon should float at less than 9000 meters- and a larger portion of the differences
should be related to spin of Earth.

129. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

You say: I´ve aIso seen troposphere is higher at tropics.
I must say i´m not an atmosphere expert. What are the physical reasons of those facts?
My “semi-educated” guess is that it must be the centrifugal force due to earth and atmosphere rotation. Is it actually so?

I’m sure the reason that the tropopause is higher over the tropics is that the oceans are warmest in the tropics. Which means there is more water vapor in the lower surface layer. Water vapor is the fuel of the tropic ‘hot towers’ (thunderstorms) which lift this surface atmosphere up to the top of the troposphere. The more fuel, the higher this atmosphere can be lifted.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you.
I was expecting to see something like what you say … You know, I brought up that question after seeing something said by “Group of physicist” two days ago:
“Of course something is making the surface warmer in the tropics. It is the higher troposphere (about 18Km) compared with that closer to the poles. Hence the gravitationally induced temperature gradient has a longer run over which to raise the temperature”.
I found that erroneous, as other more complex things (at least for me) they say . I preferred not to intervene in relation to those more complex things, but then decided to intervene.
My question to them was, as a first step:
“This apparently simple explanation presupposes:
a) Temperatures at troposphere top over tropics and over poles are the same.
b) Gradients are the same too, from top to earth surface.
Is that actually so?”
And for any further discussion I wanted to be sure about the reasons of those differences in atmosphere high. And asked gbaikie, who had said something related to it.
So far they have not replied.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

So you pretend to know less than you really know. That’s okay. Am curious as to how much you really know that has a high probability of being correct. For even though science can never prove that an idea is correct, there is always a correct answer.

Have a good day, Jerry

130. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

I´m not a scientist, but got a Spanish degree that then (in the sixties !!) it was seven year long, similar to Naval Architect and Marine Enginner together.
In the last five years I´ve intervened in this Dr. Spencer blog, especially discussing with skeptics who don´t accept what Dr. Spencer himself, somehow skeptic too, says above:
” I’ve been down the road of questioning the standard explanation of the “greenhouse effect”, and convinced myself it is, indeed, real”.
He has specifically written about that many times … but to no avail for some visceral skeptics.
By the way, not physicists but important geologists recently said:

“… the rate of temperature rise has actually slowed down dramatically over the past decade. Now, the climate deniers with a political axe to grind or a bubble to protect will all scream that this just proves that all that science, and all of those science organizations like the Royal Society and the National Academies, along with NASA, NOAA, the AMS and the rest are all wrong. Science does not work that way though, and we know that CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat, and we know it beyond doubt because it is understood down to the level of quantum physics, so the question is this: If the greenhouse gases are going up (and they are, with NO doubt) then where is the added heat being trapped going?
… the answer is it’s going into the deep cold oceans”.
http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/2015/01/17/looking-missing-heat-science-based-detective-story/#respond

• gbaikie says:

— Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:
February 8, 2015 at 4:40 AM

I´m not a scientist, but got a Spanish degree that then (in the sixties !!) it was seven year long, similar to Naval Architect and Marine Enginner together.
In the last five years I´ve intervened in this Dr. Spencer blog, especially discussing with skeptics who don´t accept what Dr. Spencer himself, somehow skeptic too, says above:
” I’ve been down the road of questioning the standard explanation of the “greenhouse effect”, and convinced myself it is, indeed, real”.–

I think greenhouse is “real”. Or I think H20 gas has significant effect upon winter and night time temperatures.
And though CO2 may have a warming effect, it doesn’t seem
to an effect which has been measured- in theory I accept it’s possible that somewhere around a doubling of CO2 may be measurable- or probably measurably. And I for one will happy the day it will actually is measured. Though at this point time it seems it’s going to be around 1 C or less.

But in terms a practical matter, I not different than IPCC.
Or within a century it seems possible or likely that global temperature will rise by about 1.5 C. And I would say probably 1/2 of such rise will be from other factors than a rise in CO2 levels.
Or I think sea level rise will be about what IPCC predicts.
And it’s the warming of the ocean which is most of the future rise in global sea level.
And CO2 has not, will not, and can’t not, warm the ocean.
What warms the ocean is sunlight.
Now, if Co2 could somehow reduces the clouds in the tropics
then Co2 could be a factor in warming the ocean. But yet to hear this particular theory.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

“And CO2 has not, will not, and can’t not, warm the ocean”.
Come on …! You can´t say that, unless you use the verb “to warm” in an utter restricted way.
I suggest you not to put on your coat when going to the street without puttihg it previously into an oven for some time. Room temperature coats have not, wil not, and can´t ever warm your body …

• gbaikie says:

–“And CO2 has not, will not, and can’t not, warm the ocean”.
Come on …! You can´t say that, unless you use the verb “to warm” in an utter restricted way.
I suggest you not to put on your coat when going to the street without puttihg it previously into an oven for some time. Room temperature coats have not, wil not, and can´t ever warm your body …–

I would say a large part of warming the ocean is energy which passes thru first inch of water- and long wave IR does go not go thru 2 mm of water.
Or warming of first 2 mm of water has little to with warming the ocean, though could possibly have to do with increasing evaporation of the ocean.
So I would not rule out completely idea that maybe CO2 is involved with warming the top 2 mm of water, and so maybe therefore can significantly increase evaporation.

But I don’t think anyone would say CO2 increases the temperature of a sidewalk in sunlight.

Take greenhouse or parked car, put lots of CO2 it, and it’s will not increase air temperature or surface temperature.

An actual greenhouse works by reduces convectional losses. And greenhouse [or parked car] is mainly about heating the air, rather than heating the surfaces.
But if you heat the air, the hotter surface will convect less heat into warmer air. So in that sense greenhouses can heat up surfaces.** And what is noticeable in terms really hot things in parked car are shiny metal things. Because shiny surface absorb less heat and radiate less heat, but they convect heat as much as non shiny surface. So if inhibit of convection of shiny surface, it makes a bigger difference.
[The other thing is metal will conduct heat quicker, so they feel much hotter when get in a hot car and put your butt on a seat belt buckle.]

So generally greenhouses and/or CO2 gas do not increase a surface temperature.
And main thing CO2 is suppose to do is increase air temperature.

So one might have some doubt about CO2 effect on ocean evaporation, due to warmer air but would contend an ocean could warm even if cover with thin layer of ice.
I would even argue that having a thin layer of ice could cause a ocean to warm faster.

Of course the other aspect one could argue is that CO2 would cause a surface of water to cool slower during the night.
And lots to say about that- but it seems water vapor near ocean surface would be most dominate factor. Second I think physical contact with ice would be bigger element in cooling, and as I maintain ice on surface could even cause more ocean warming.

** And water does not heat up at it’s surface by direct sunlight as it’s transparent, rather it’s warm below surface and the warmed water rises and results in a warmer surface.

Or with say 1000 watts of sunlight per square meter, how many watts of the 1000 warms the top 1 mm?
And the next 1 mm, and next 1 mm, and so on for next 997 mm?

Or how much sunlight of the 1000 watts per square meter reaches 1 meter below the surface of the water?

I would say some number close to 1000 watts. But say it was
500 watts [which wrong, but anyhow] that leaves 500 watts to spread over 1000 mm- 1/2 watt on average. And let’s give more to first couple mm- so 1 watt per square meter.
And most would say much more than 1 watt per square meter would be radiated- hence the top surface is not warmed by direct sunlight, instead it is being warmed by hundreds of watts of sunlight which passed thru it.

Whereas with concrete sidewalk probably near 100% of sunlight does not pass thru the 1 mm.
And water like all non metals conducts heat poorly.
And conduction of heat and convective of heat require a difference of temperature.

“Only a few meters below the sea surface, if our diver looked into a mirror, she would see that her red lips appeared black. ”

A few meters not few feet or couple meters.

“Several hundred miles from shore, our diver sees extraordinarily clear and pure blue water because water in the open ocean has low concentrations of dissolved matter and particles, including phytoplankton. It does not scatter and absorb as much light as murkier coastal water does, and the light that remains is blue.”

“Marine photosynthesis is confined to the tiny fraction of the ocean where sunlight penetrates—at most, the upper 200 meters. UV light also penetrates into this region, which may have increasingly profound consequences. ”
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/shedding-light-on-light-in-the-ocean

So coastal area are murky and basically where all plants in sea grow.

And some stuff re intensity of sunlight at water depth:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_1/cav1i4/fluorescent_lamps/fluorescent_lamps.htm

And:
How far can sunlight penetrate into the ocean?
Significant sunlight can only penetrate 100 meters freely. Because seawater is relatively transparent, about 5% of sunlight penetrates to a depth of 262 feet (80 meters). However, if the water contains significant amounts of silt, algae or other factors, the penetration depth can be reduced to 164 feet (50 meters) or less.”
http://www.mbgnet.net/salt/oceans/faq.htm

So 5% of 1000 is 50 watts per square meter.
So maybe 100 watts at say 40 meter??
If so losing about 10 watts per 10 meter, or 1 watt per meter?? And 1/1000th watt per mm. Which in 3600 second is an addition of 3.6 joules per 1 mm layer square meter or 1 kg of water. Say 12 joules per day, 360 joule a month 4320 joules a year.
And require about 4200 joules to increase by 1 C. Maybe 1/2 of the heat rises to higher level and/or maybe some of it warms to a lower level.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

How can a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer not be a scientist? A biographer of the Wright Bros wrote that they were neither engineers nor scientists. So what were they? They were makers of bicycles. How is it that many people claim: You cannot forget how to ride a bicycle?

If you have read my comments in this posting of Roy, you already know I did not find it a good format for a serious search for the truth. If you have not read them, I suggest that you might for there is no need to repeat them. But one of the reasons, lack of continuity, no longer exists because most of the responders have moved on. Thus, the format has changed into one in which useful conversations (dialogues) might be possible if there are willing participants.

A question I have is: What is the standard explanation of the ‘greenhouse effect’? Verner Suomi, a scientist I respect, is said to have said: Downward radiation from the atmosphere is proof that the effect is real. Of course, we know greenhouses molecules are capable of absorbing and emitting longwave radiation as you reviewed.

But you wrote: “we know that CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat, and we know it beyond doubt because it is understood down to the level of quantum physics, so the question is this: If the greenhouse gases are going up (and they are, with NO doubt) then where is the added heat being trapped going? No, I do not know the CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat. For the action ‘trap heat’ seems to imply that these molecules do not also emit heat (radiation), of which there is the evidence to which Suomi referred.

Now, some advocates of the greenhouse effect that cause the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, in which we walk and run, to be 33C higher than it would be if there were no greenhouse molecules in the atmosphere. And these advocates claim it is this observed downward emission from the atmosphere which heats (warms) the surface so it is 33C warmer than if there were no downward radiation from the atmosphere. It is this proposal, that radiation from a commonly colder atmosphere can so warm the earth’s surface, that creates the controversy involving the Second Law of Thermodynamics of which Doug Cotton and his aliases (group of physicists) are a part.

Since this is intended to be a part of a conversation, I probably have already said too much without giving you a chance to reply to my questions and comments.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you.
I´ll repliy to your comments later yoday. It takes me more time to write in English than what I have now. But I´m going to address just a few lines to gbaikie, who is “first in the row”.
I hope they can be also interesting to you.
But just a thing now. What I wrote:
“… we know that CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat, and we know it beyond doubt because it is understood down to the level of quantum physics”
it´s not mine, but a quote from linked blogs.agu.org …

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

“… For the action ‘trap heat’ seems to imply that these molecules do not also emit heat (radiation) …”
Well, I partly agree with you … but just think agu people meant “transiently trap heat” (or energy).
“It is this proposal, that radiation from a commonly colder atmosphere can so warm the earth’s surface, that creates the controversy involving the Second Law of Thermodynamics of which Doug Cotton and his aliases (group of physicists) are a part”.
I had already seen some of the post here say “Doug”, and suppose it was D. C.: I remember that name from posts written years ago … I´m not sure if I replied some of them, but remember he was a skeptic/denier. What I don´t remember is his current theory assigning a paramount importance (almost exclusive !!!) to gravity in warming phenomena.
That issue (if colder objects can “warm” hotter ones) is one I´m proud to have many times “helped” in Dr. Spencer discussions (arguments rather) in last four or five years. With words, analogies, proposing experiments … Perhaps you were not “here” then. In another moment I´ll try to find some of the related links …
Recently I imagined other experiment, that I suggest somebody with a physicist lab (DR. SPENCER HIMSELF?) to try:
In a vacumm space (not to have any convection), put two equal, solid pieces not too far apart (metallic, ceramic …), having previously warmed one of them up to f.e. 200ºC, and the other to 0ºC. Both pieces should be on top of an insulating material. Keep them so for some time, and check temperatures afterward.
Then repeat the experiment in exactly same conditions since the beginning , but with second piece initially at 100ºC. And check temperatures.
And let us all see the results, and discuss them afterwards …

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael (and gbaikie),

Nothing wrong about a three-way conversation.

Maybe I should have referred to the link you (Rafael) shared before I replied. But I did not. But that is okay because I might have written the same thing after I had referred to Meehl’s presentation. More about his presentation later.

A more pressing issue for me is the question I previously asked: “A question I have is: What is the standard explanation of the ‘greenhouse effect’?” I cannot see that either of you has attempted to share what you consider this standard explanation to be and I honestly do not know what it might be if it is not “the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere about 1.5 meters above its surface would be about 33C lower if it were not for the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.” If you have a different understanding of what the standard explanation might be, I would like to know about it.

The reason I am being quite insistent about this is that the publisher (Elzevir) of Galileo’s Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences wrote to its readers: “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 latter saying does not seem a common saying at this time; at least I had never heard of it until I read about it in Crew and de Salvio English translation of Galileo’s book. My answer to my question about riding a bicycle is that we cannot forget how to ride a bicycle because we do not ride a bicycle by thinking, we do it intuitively.

After listening (and reading) Meehl’s presentation is have another serious question to which I really need to know the answer. Point 2 was: “Satellite measurements show that the increase of CO2 has continued to trap heat in the climate system.” What satellite measurements are these? For point 3 was “globably averaged surface air temperatures show little warming trend.” And point 4 was: “Globably average upper ocean temperatures show little warming trend.”

And Rafael, because I had not gone to Meehl’s presentation, I had considered the proposal that the heat had been trapped at the bottom of the ocean to have been your original thought.

Again, while I have much to review (share), I really need to hear (see) your answer to what you consider the standard explanation of the greenhouse effect.

Have a good day, Jerry

131. gbaikie says:

“But you wrote: “we know that CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat, and we know it beyond doubt because it is understood down to the level of quantum physics, so the question is this: If the greenhouse gases are going up (and they are, with NO doubt) then where is the added heat being trapped going? No, I do not know the CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat. For the action ‘trap heat’ seems to imply that these molecules do not also emit heat (radiation), of which there is the evidence to which Suomi referred.”

The analogous idea of trapping heat would be radiant energy being reflected or the radiant energy being transformed into
another type energy.
So “trapping heat” is storing heat or transforming the energy into some other form which might later reconverted back into the energy of heat.
So with electrical energy one can store energy into a battery [convert into chemical energy [PE energy]] or one can use capacitors [storing electrical energy without converting it to different form of energy].
In terms of storing a lot of electrical energy {electrical needed for power grid] the cheapest and most common way to do this is pumping water up a hill and storing it in a dam, which at later time the falling water can be used to make electrical power.

So idea that one could store radiant energy as radiant energy would similar to storing electrical power with capacitors.

Now the scale of the amount energy involved heating and cooling earth- or the amount of energy which arrives from the sun to Earth is enormously massive.

And one aspect about this “hugeness” is that the manner of storing/trapping even a small portion of this hugeness *should be* easily seen.

So this is not a mouse which can hide under a rock, this is vast army to hide.

Now there is one vast pool of heat on Earth, which the oceans of earth which stores the total amount of energy from the Sun to Earth area for a period of years, and addition could increase the amount of energy it store to 5 or 10 times the amount it currently stores. So not only does it store a lot, it could store a lot more.
So the ocean is one of the vast armies one could be looking for.

Of course the enormous molten ball of rock which we call Earth also stores an enormous amount of thermal energy- millions of times more than the dinky oceans, but this molten ball of rock does not store solar energy- as it’s too hot. But the portion of cooled skin which covers this molten ball [and where we live] is cool enough so as to be able to store solar energy as heat.
One might compare the ocean and the land in terms of their storage ability of storing solar heat.
I could but it would take a lot of words, and will simply say ocean is much better.

What other ways are there to store vast amounts of energy.

Of course we use the gravitation of energy of rainwater in hydro dams. And we capture some miniscule portion of the total energy involved in the entire Earth system

So the process of evaporation water and transporting it to higher elevation where falls as rain is another huge system
that stores energy of sunlight.

And evaporation process occurs in your atmosphere, and the atmosphere is another storage system. It stores kinetic energy of the motion of gas molecules.
So KE= mass times 1/2 times velocity square.
So 1000 kg of air times .5 times it’s velocity in m/s
equals the total kinetic energy expressed as joules of heat.
So the average velocity of the air is about 400 m/s.
And “Total mass of atmosphere: 5.1 x 10^18 kg”
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html
Which is Huge.
Whereas in comparison any amount of energy trapped/stored by CO2 must be very small in comparison.

And leaving out the evaporation process of H2O, and just focusing all radiant processes, the amount of radiant energy
of all greenhouse gases is probably quite small.
Now clouds are droplets of water interacting with gases- mainly H2O gases. It seems to be that radiant trapping of heat is as much associated with clouds as it would be with gases. Or when clouds roll in they have very noticeable effect upon night time temperatures, and this might be connected to radiant “trapping of energy”.

In comparison between gases and clouds it seems clouds leak less energy than the gases.
So in analogy, gases are would be like a strainer of noodles and clouds are more like solid plates on the strainer. Or the gases are more universal and clouds have stronger local effect.

So in summary I would say the greatest element trapping/storing sunlight is the ocean. Or about 1/2 of all sunlight is stored beneath the waters of Earth.
And it stores the energy like a dam. A very huge dam.

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Firstly, what I said to jerry l krause this morning:
“What I wrote:
“… we know that CO2 and greenhouse gases trap heat, and we know it beyond doubt because it is understood down to the level of quantum physics”
it´s not mine, but a quote from linked blogs.agu.org …
And I think agu people actually meant “transiently trap heat” (or energy), not a kind of actual energy accumulation …
I also proposed and experiment, that could clear up what to me (and indeed to Dr. Spencer) is a misconception of many deniers, relative to whether or not radiation from a commonly colder atmosphere can “warm” the earth’s surface, or in general colder objects can “warm” hotter ones or not. Without an agreement in this point any other discussion relative to GHG effect is useless:
“In a vacumm space (not to have any convection), put two equal, solid pieces not too far apart (metallic, ceramic …), having previously warmed one of them up to f.e. 200ºC, and the other to 0ºC. Both pieces should be on top of an insulating material. Keep them so for some time, and check temperatures afterward.
Then repeat the experiment in exactly same conditions since the beginning , but with second piece initially at 100ºC. And check temperatures”.

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

No, I do not have a laboratory to conduct the experiment you propose. And if I understand your proposal, I doubt if any do. I am an experimentalist and have developed an eye which sees potential problems. Based upon what you seem to be proposing it would seem a vacuum bottle might be a suitable vacuum chamber but it is the tiny space between the adjacent walls of the vacuum bottle which are evacuated and not the interior volume of the bottle, or dewar. For if a large space is to be evacuated, the walls of the container must be strong or the outside atmospheric pressure will likely crush the container. And if they are strong they seem likely to absorb some of the radiation being emitted from the hotter bodies. Maybe one could build a reflective aluminum foil shield to eliminate this problem. I do not know.

But it seems you are proposing an idealized (perfectly insulated with everything but the two bodies exchanging energy by only the radiation mechanism) problem for which physicists are famous. So to me the proposed experiment appears to be a simple thought problem, if I fully understand the conditions you are proposing. In the first case, it would seem the temperatures of the two bodies must eventually arrive at a common temperature of 100 degrees and in the second case, to a common temperature of 150 degrees. This assumes that the specific heats of bodies do not change with temperature. Because you seem so adamant that the experiment be actually done, I wonder what your answer is because it seems you know the answer.

I will follow this with some actual observations that I have made that seems related to the problems you and Roy conclude the deniers have. Which at this point I am not totally sure what this problem might be.

Have a good day, Jerry

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

I had composed the comment I stated I would send but have now concluded it is too long at this time. Better to wait for you respond to the previous comment.

Have a good day tomorrow, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you.
Initially I had thought of just putting a glass of water at f.e. 90º, and six or eight around it, the later near freezing. And check temperature change after f.e. 1/2 h. And repeat the experiment starting with same inner water temperature, but the others at 50º. But somebody could say convection is more important than radiation and wouldn´t trust the result.
It would be much easier than needing a vacuum “space” … I was not sure about the correct English name: vacuum bell, chamber, device … I thought there were bell shaped transparent “covers” that could be put on a flat surface of a vacuum device after putting there the stuff to be “cheked” …
Some heat woud be lost before getting the vacuum, but using initial temperatures such as 0, 100 and 200 it wouldn´t be a problem, because my aim is just to have approximate values after not too much time (not necessary to wait untill an equilibrium is reached).
I wouldn´t say I “know” the answer, but feel pretty sure of what follows.
The hotter object would emit LW radiation in all directions, some reching the colder one. The SAME would happen in the opposite sense, but MUCH LESS amount … It is NET energy transference what only can go from the hotter object to the colder.
If I´m right, the hotter object, after same time and equal scenario, would get colder when initial temperature of the other is 0ºC than when it is 100ºC …
The presence of the initially 100ºC temperature object would have “warmed” the 200ºC one, IN COMPARISON WITH what happened when the first one started at 0ºC !

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,
First, I got the answer right, right?

Previously, I had encountered the reasoning you are proposing in a conversation with Joel Shore, a Ph.D. physicist, who also ascribes to the greenhouse effect. Which reminds me, you have not yet given me your standard definition of the greenhouse effect so I can know if we are talking about the same thing. I now see that I am wrong when I ask for the standard definition of the greenhouse effect because I see what I desire is not your definition of the greenhouse effect, of which I am sure we both agree, but your conclusion as to what is the actual result of this greenhouse effect.

My long comment which I did not send began: Relative to this problem that it seems some deniers have, it seems to have something to do with the transfer of radiation from a cold body to a warm body. I have previously written that “Verner Suomi, a scientist I respect, is said to have said: Downward radiation from the atmosphere is proof that the effect is real.” Suomi, D. O. Staley, and P. M. Kuhn (SSK) designed and constructed a simple, economical balloon-borne net radiometer. They described it, analyzed it, and reported about a sounding made with it in an article published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, vol 84, No. 360, Apr. 1958, pp. 134-141. However, the Russians successfully launched their Sputnik I into orbit Oct. 4, 1957. And by June 22, 1959 Suomi and Robert Parent has an instrument capable of measuring the heat balance of the earth from space. But the first two launches failed, but finally, still in 1959, a thermal radiation experiment was place in orbit where it returned usable data until Feb 28, 1961. It is obvious that the balloon-borne net radiometer became obsolete before it was reported to the scientific community. Hence, there are only few other articles about the information gained by its use.

I have constructed one-half of this net-radiometer and use it as a simple radiometer in my backyard and at a few other locations. It is a marvelous instrument and when the sky has been cloudless according to my observation, the temperature of its absorbing-emitting (a-e) surface, a couple of hours after sunset, falls 10C below the ambient air temperature and remains near that temperature during the night as the ambient air temperature continues to decrease during the night to its lowest temperature of the morning, about an hour after sunrise. Now, a fact is the temperature of the a-e surface just before sunrise is often the dewpoint temperature being observed at the airport only a few miles away. And the air temperature being observed there at that time is usually a degree C or two higher than the dewpoint temperature. And there is dew on the cars parked along the street outside our home. During the July and August it seldom rains here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA. But most people water their lawns so this keeps the dewpoint of the atmospheric surface layer greater than it naturally should be. But there are also many trees whose roots tap the water stored underground during our rainy winter season and the trees also naturally humidify the surface atmospheric layer.

About a year ago or so I suddenly saw something that was very obvious. Which was the temperature of the air could never decrease below its dewpoint temperature. This is because the atmosphere has never been observed to be super-saturated with water vapor. Hence, the fact that the temperature of the air has never been observed to decrease below its dewpoint temperature is a scientific law. And in the history of science, scientific laws were big deals. But no more it seems. For the reason I began commenting in this blog-site is to share this law with Roy and I did finally get his attention. But his response was: “yes, the dewpoint temperature is always below the temperature. Not sure what you are claiming that proves, Jerry.”

In my comment to which he was responding I had already stated what that proves. It proves that the minimum temperature of a day is fixed by the amount of water vapor in the surface layer and this has absolutely nothing to do with water vapor’s ability to absorb and emit longwave radiation.

But back to your proposal that the 100C body warms the 200C body because when the two bodies’ temperature come to a steady state (equilibrium), that their temperatures are 150C instead of 100C as was the case when a 0C body was placed next to the 200C body. Joel Shore claimed the downward radiation from the atmosphere warmed the surface, whose temperature was perhaps more 10C higher, than the temperature of my a-e surface in equilibrium with the downward radiation from the atmosphere. I claimed this downward radiation merely slowed the cooling of the surface. To which, he replied, asked, argued, (something like): But if there were no downward radiation would not the surface cool faster? Of course, it would cool faster but all this would commonly mean that water vapor would begin to condense earlier during the night. Yes, during the summer there are those locations, not necessarily uncommon, where during the short nighttime that the surface and the surface atmosphere does not have time to cool down to the dewpoint of the surface atmosphere. So, in the morning there is no dew for the sun’s radiation to evaporate before the temperature of the surface on which the dew has formed to can begin to increase (be warmed). So at these locations (we commonly call them deserts) the diurnal temperature range is extreme.

Now Joel’s argument and yours, when you state that the colder 100C body has warmed the 200C body because the temperature of the 200C body ends up at a temperature which is 50C greater than when the 100C body was a 0C body is double talk. The fact is the 200C body only had to lose (transfer) half of its heat content to warm the 100C body to 150C relative to the amount of heat the 200C body had to transfer to the OC body to warm it to 100C.

We have a difference of opinion and we both cannot be right. I look forward to your response. And I do have more information to share for your consideration.

Have a good day, Jerry

• gbaikie says:

I would say if in the vacuum of space in shade of the Sun
things radiate the most into the 2 K universe, as compared
to being on the about 280 K earth.
But if have say two 200 liter [55 gallon] drum of water at say 362 K [90 C]. Put one in the shadow of the moon and other one in field
on Earth [both cans sealed] the one on Earth will cool faster
than the one in space.
One reason is water has a lot of thermal energy and the can doesn’t have a lot of surface area.

We going to cool from 90 C to 60 C or cool by
30 K. the specific heat water in temperature range is:
4.188 to 4.208 Kjoules per kg. Or let’s call it 4190 joules
per K. 4190 times 200 is amount of watts second needed
to be lost per C of temperature loss.
“Standard drums have inside dimensions of 22.5 inches (572 mm) diameter and 33.5 inches (851 mm) height. These dimensions yield a volume of about 13,320 cubic inches (6.19 bushels) or 57.66 US gallons (48.0 imp gal; 218.3 L), but they are commonly filled to about 200 litres.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drum_%28container%29

So surface area of 1.53 square meter. If it was perfect
“We can also turn the σT4 relation on its head and say that a patch of full sun (at the ground) receiving 1000 W/m² corresponds to a radiant temperature of 364 K, or a blistering 91°C” – See more at: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/01/basking-in-the-sun/#sthash.99leUDf8.dpuf
Which also goes on to say:
“But air can carry away heat by convection. The self-convection of a hot, flat plate will be about 10 W/m² per degree of difference between the panel and the surrounding air.”

So if air is 20 C, then difference is 70 K, it would loses about 700 watts per square meter due to convection.
in space.
So if there is big difference between air temperature one can cool more on Earth than in the dark of space. Though in space there no limit [other than the 2 K] of how cool it can get.

So barrel losing 1000 watts times 1.53 is 1530 watts per second. 4190 times 200 is 838000 watts and takes 547 seconds [9.1 mins] to cool 1 K. More than 1 1/2 hours to cool 10 C. And the cooler it gets, the lower watts it loses per seconds and so takes longer to cool this thermal mass.
And the barrel on Earth could be in sunlight and still cool faster for first 10 K- what matters most is the air temperature. Or cross section of barrel is about 1/2 square meter, but once barrel cools down, you get less convection loss and the sunlight would have greater effect.
Or sunlight can warm up water if one limits the convectional loss- though barrel in field not very good example of doing this. If tilted it, and buried half of it,
that would help a lot.
So if +30 C air temperature and summer, clear skies and
noon, it would slows down the cooling so that’s cools faster in space, but in our averaged 15 C world it doesn’t.

And in terms Earth’s ocean, it’s process of heating does limit convectional losses and is much larger thermal mass per square meter.

132. gbaikie says:

–I also proposed and experiment, that could clear up what to me (and indeed to Dr. Spencer) is a misconception of many deniers, relative to whether or not radiation from a commonly colder atmosphere can “warm” the earth’s surface, or in general colder objects can “warm” hotter ones or not. Without an agreement in this point any other discussion relative to GHG effect is useless:–

For me it’s non-issue as gas is different then a solid.

Gas temperature is how many molecule in a given volume and how fast they going.
Liquids and solid have molecular structure- their molecules do not move freely.
A CO2 molecule could hit by another molecule which going 600 m/s or 300 m/s.
And if average the average velocity of 300 or 600 m/s that would be enormous difference in temperature if atmosphere is comprised of mostly nitrogen and oxygen.
Or our atmosphere has average velocity of nitrogen of about 400 m/s. If instead it was 300 m/s it would be about 100 C cooler, and if it was 600 m/s about 100 C hotter.
Or it’s energy is velocity square. Or 400 square is 160,000.
300 is 90000 and 600 is 360,000. So actually it seem quite bit less 100 C and more than 100 K warmer.
The average velocity has variations in velocity of nitrogen going less 300 or more 600 m/s. And lighter molecules than nitrogen or oxygen have higher average velocity and denser molecule have lower average velocity .
Or in other words the CO2 molecule can’t tell how warm it is, nor does it matter. It absorbs a photon and emitted a photon because something emitted the photon.

Or the sun is quite capable of emitting longwave wavelength and this wavelength is not hotter because it come from the sun, or it came from a butt of an ant.

And of course PE has no temperature, and if rock falls on your head, it makes heat. And a frozen comet can make nuclear bomb heat.
And in the troposphere the average velocity of the gases are the same- that why it’s called adiabatic lapse rate- and above the troposphere the molecules tend to go faster.
Or they are sorted depending on their velocity- slower tend fall and faster one can tend stay up longer- and they have more PE.

So if I put a deep hole in the ground, the gases at lower elevation will continue the lapse rate and so are warmer. Or the gas in a hole are denser as they have more weight on them and so have a higher density gas which going at same average velocity as gas above it, so it’s warmer gas.

Or highest air temperature will always be found at lowest elevation- death valley is below sea level. Plus other factors [cause there are other area with elevations lower] made have highest air temperature in the world.

133. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Reply to jerry l krause post February 10, 2015 at 10:27 AM
Thank you.
Tomorrow I´ll send aditional comments relative to what I consider GHG effect is. I think it is what IPCC says, but I´ll express it in my own words … I´ll hope you´ll get it.
But now just a detail relative to the experiment. You say:

“The fact is the 200C body only had to lose (transfer) half of its heat content to warm the 100C body to 150C relative to the amount of heat the 200C body had to transfer to the OC body to warm it to 100C”.

You are right, but as I previously said, my target is not to check final temperatures, when equilibrium is riched. Just after a shorter time, f.e. 1/2 or 1/3 of what estimated to reach the equilibrium, the 200ºC body would be warmer when the other started at 100ºC than when started at 0ºC. The cooling speed of the hotter object would be smaller when the other starts at 100ºC. That could only mean, as far as I can see, that the 100ºC object had also been emitting radiation that reached the hotter one … It could never “warm” it increasing its 200ºC temperature, but it would have been increasing the hotter object temperature IN COMPARISON WITH when the colder started at 0ºC.

134. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

I previously wrote: We have a difference of opinion and we both cannot be right. Have you thought about this? I have and I believe we might profit by taking a break from considering the greenhouse effect. You wrote that you were not a scientist and I replied: How can a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer not be a scientist? To say that you are not a scientist implies you might not know what a scientist is or more fundamentally what science is.

Richard Feynman is another scientist, who happened to be a physicist, whose writings you might find interesting for two of his books became New York Times bestsellers (very popular). The first was composed of short, amusing, personal stories that he liked to tell about his experiences. The second was about more serious personal experiences. But both concluded with serious addresses he had given. It is interesting the address of the first book was given in 1974 as the Caltech commencement address and the address of the second was given in 1955 at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. The title of the first (1974) was Cargo Cult Science. This because he saw that many things being done were being called science that was not science. The address began: “During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas—which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn’t work, to eliminate it. This method became organized, of course, into science.” You’ve never tried an idea to see if it worked? If you have you are a scientist.

I place significance upon the order of the addresses which concluded this two popular books. Both addresses are a warning about the direction that Feynman saw practicing scientists were tending toward. Because when the first was published it was not known how popular it might be and it was probably not known if there would be a second. Hence, I conclude that he considered in 1985 (when the first book was published) the 1974 address more important than the 1955 one. But in the second book he wrote a preface to the second address titled The Value of Science. I do not know if you are familiar with Feynman so I include this short preface because it gives you some information about him.

“When I was younger, I thought science would make good things for everybody. It was obviously useful; it was good. During the war I worked on the atomic bomb. This result of science was obviously a very serious matter: it represented the destruction of people.

“After the war I was very worried about the bomb. I didn’t know what the future was going to look like, and I certainly wasn’t anywhere near sure that we would last until now. Therefore on questions was—is there some evil involved in science?

“Put another way—what is the value of the science I had dedicated myself to—the thing I loved—when I saw what terrible things it could do? I was a question I had to answer.

“The Value of Science is a kind of report, if you will, on many of the thoughts that come to me when I tried to answer that question.”

After the first two non-threatening values, he turned to his third value of science which became the focus of the remainder of the address.

“The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.

“Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question—to doubt—to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Herein lies a responsibility to society.”

And he closed the address with this summation: “It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.”

A key sentence in this third value seems, if one is familiar with some events that had occurred during the 75, or so, years previous to this event, was: “But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true.” But I hasten to say I do not actually know if these events were a factor in this statement because he never went beyond this sentence.

However, when scientists use the word denier to label other scientists who doubt their ideas, we know that Feynman’s fear— I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.—has occurred and we have lost what we had gained. We are back to the intellectual (or political?) climate which existed at the time of Copernicus and Galileo.

Maybe this is too long and maybe you already knew the information about which I have written. But clearly the scientific community has not paid any attention to Feynman despite that his achievements far exceed those of most other scientists. For the atomic bomb he helped design worded the first time, the second bomb worked, and the third bomb worked. Yes, the design was a team effort but he was a key player at a very young age and he had a long a fruitful career after this. But his good advice has been ignored.

Einstein stated: “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.” Feynman had character. But his good advice still has been ignored.

We have a difference of opinion and we both cannot be right.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you …
Just now I don´t actually know what to say!
I few years ago I watched/listened to some Feynman lectures, through the internet. I found them very interesting. But I must say that I had not even heard of him before.
They were directly related to Physics, not to its “philosophy”.
You say:
“We have a difference of opinion and we both cannot be right”.
I know that you and many others have a different “opinion” to mine. That´s why I proposed the experiment, relative to a concrete, core question. The result of it wouldn´t be an opinion, but a fact that I consider would decide who is right …
The GHE can only be a fact if the warming of a hotter body due to radiation coming from a colder one, in the sense I specified (warming in comparison with if the colder one were still colder) is real.
As I previously said what Thermodynamics says is that the NET transference of energy only can go from the hotter to the colder, not that radiation from the colder can´t reach and “warm” the hotter one …
Without a clearly deciding proof we can be discussing for years to no avail … It is happening to Dr. Spencer , who has been explaining the issue for years (with the “help” of me and others). Five at least, as I first knew in 2010)
By the way, yesterday I submitted a list with ELEVEN Dr Spencer´s posts from 2010 to 2014 specifically dealing with this question . After some hours it was not on the blog …
I sent it again and then I saw both with waiting moderation notices … But none of them is visible yet. I can´t understand it!

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

Thank you for replying. To entice you to read Galileo book, I finally found some of his dialogues that apply to your training. First I need to ask: What did you do with your training as a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer? For my son has studied to be a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer and is now a recently appointed Commander in USA Coast Guard and has just as recently been assigned to supervise the operation of the Coast Guard’s east coast boatyard even though the previous supervisor was a Captain. It seems this has to be a very challenging task for him but I believe he has learned the truth of this Estonian proverb: “The work will teach you how to do it.”

But Galileo’s book, a sample: (Salviati) “From what has already been demonstrated, you can plainly see the impossibility of increasing the structures to vast dimensions either in art or in nature; likewise the impossibility of building ships, palaces, or temples of enormous size in such a way that their oars, yards, beams, iron-bolts, and in short, all their other parts will hold together; nor can nature produce trees of extraordinary size because the branches would break down under their own weight, … ”

(Sagredo) “ I have enjoyed Simplico’s discussion … Moreover I can easily understand that one of these giant fish, if pulled ashore … would be crushed under its own mass as soon as the connections between the bones gave way.”

(Salviati) “I am inclined to your opinion; and, indeed, I almost think the same thing would happen in the case of a very big ship which floats on the sea without going to pieces under its load of merchandise and armament, but which on dry land and in air would probably fall apart.”

You wrote: “That´s why I proposed the experiment, relative to a concrete, core question. The result of it wouldn´t be an opinion, but a fact that I consider would decide who is right …” I have reported to you my observations (experiment) of the actual downward radiation from the atmosphere and I have agreed with you that it slows the cooling of the earth’s surfaces’ temperatures during the nighttime. You can construct a simple radiometer as I have according to the design of one-half the SSK net radiometer using extruded polystyrene as the insulating and structural component observe what you can actually observe what I have described that I have seen.

And I just checked that Madrid is a site where atmospheric sounding are launched every 12 hours and you can begin studying the actual data generated by these soundings at http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html, be sure click on ‘Include frost point calculation’ for this will clearly identify the clouds which may be present at altitudes where the atmospheric temperature is below. At Madrid I am sure the soundings are made at midnight and high noon.

And at http://www.wunderground.com/ for Madrid you will find there is historical almanac which reports the weather observation being made on, at least, the hour and here be sure to click on the button show Metar for the information it contains for aviation purposes.

The sounding data caused me to have data overload when I first began studying it. But if you study and compare the information from both sites with what you can directly observe, you will be doing more good science than it seems to me that Spencer ever has. This conclusion because he has plainly stated that the ground-based observations are worthless and the only useful information must be observed from satellite. Then if you begin a backyard or park observation program with your radiometer you will be a super-scientist wondering what does all this actual data mean relative to the generalizations (averages) that you have been reading about. Of course once you begin visiting these sites, you can ‘observe’ or sample the whole world, except for the oceans where weather stations are quite sparse. But somewhere there might a site where one can access the observations being made from buoys in the seas.

I likely enjoy corresponding with you. And relative your efforts to bring certain of Roy’s blogs to my attention, there is plenty in this latest blog which needs comment that it has not received. How many of his postings have received the almost 500 responses that this has. While it is true there has not really been a great number of responders, this posting is supposedly about what his site is to be about.

One other comment: I do not refer to him as Dr. because at Cornell University I learned that is not good manners to address another fellow Ph.D. as such. The professors there all referred to each other as Mr. And I do not think a Ph.D. is a big deal. It is like Einstein stated: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Hi Jerry. Thank you.

Thank you.
I shouldn´t say I´m a Marine Engineer. My studies included, apart from N. Architecture, all theoretical matters of M.E., including Thermodynamics and all subjects necessary to design and make ship machinery and installations. But M. Emgineers have more practical knowledge, beeing necessary some time “getting their hands dirty” at sea to get their degree.
My carreer started at a shipyard, but afterwards I joined what is called a Classification Society with Head Office in Oslo. They survey ships from design phase, materials, equipment and machinery to build ships, their building, dock and sea trials, periodical surveys of ships in service, repairs … In that period a saild a few times, performing surveys while at sea.
Afterwards my job was similar to that, but on behalf of Spanish Administration (what in USA is called Coast Guard …).
I do hope your son will have a good time in the sector.
In my previous posts I went to the core physical question I´ve been talking about.. You covered a broader scenario: science and scientists´history, philosophy … Interesting, but I´m afraid it won´t get us any closer about GHE.
Now I´ll touch Logics, but directly in connection with GHE.
a) USA has historically been the biggest emitter, and American people life standards require a lot of energy, what nowadays implies a lot of emissions.
b) IF GHE WERE REAL, it would be a HUGE problem for the country.
c) I would say I´M SURE scientists working for USA Administration have already carried out utterly concluding experiments similar and better than what proposed by me.
d) None of USA Administrations has ratified Kyoto Protocole, but giving only economic reasons, especially related to emissions policy of developping countries …
e) I consider that IT IS UNBELIEVABLE that none of USA Administrations has argued that GHE is a fallacy, if that were the results of mentioned experiments …

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

You wrote: “Just now I don´t actually know what to say!” I am sorry I wrote something that left you in such a state. If you review my comments to this posting of Roy, you will see that I am concerned about the lack of responses that my comments generate. And in particular why is it that no one has ever responded to what Feynman taught about light scattering by cloud droplets.

I am sorry because I really look forward to your comments and since I am waiting for your response, I have gone back to what Roy posted and something which I have long considered and never communicated because it has too much of what I think in it. The greenhouse effect is about one thing and one thing only—the temperature of the atmosphere about 1.5 meter above the earth surface. And global warming is only about the possible change of this temperature.

Roy wrote: “The atmosphere is complex enough that, from time-to-time, I try to explain the average operation of the climate system in as simple terms as I can muster.” There is no average operation of the climate system. There is no meaningful average temperature of the day. During a common diurnal temperature oscillation the period of time the actual temperature is near the average temperature is short. This is because, given cloudless sky conditions, the period of time during which the actual temperature rapidly rises from the diurnal low to near the diurnal high is short.

So, to check actual data to make sure I did not write something that was not actually observed I turned to the temperatures observed during January 2015 at Madrid as reported on the Wunderground website that I have drawn to your attention. And I discovered a gold mine.

The first 10 days of January were almost cloudless, as I expect you personally know. If you go to the almanac, select the monthly record instead of the daily which first comes up you will find a graphical display of a continuous recording of the air temperature, supposedly 1.5 meters above the surface, during the month. Because the daytime at this time is short and the nighttime long, the temperature plot of these ten days is a sequence of 10 isosceles triangles.

If you pull down further you will find a calendar on which the actual high and low temperatures (the precise values are somewhat difficult to determine from the graph) of each day is listed along with the historical average high and temperatures of that day. So it is easy calculate the difference between the actual temperature range from 27F to 37F and 6 of the 10 are 2 degrees or less from 33F while the differences between the average highs and lows are either 15F or 16F. Hence is easy to conclude the cloudless days must not be a typical day during average days of January at Madrid.

However, if one calculated the average temperature by adding the actual high and actual low together and dividing by 2, one finds that average temperature for each day is: 38, 38, 40, 44, 42, 39, 39, 40, 43, and 41F whereas the historic average temperature for the daily temperature would be either 40 or 41F. This demonstrates how easy actual information can be lost by the averaging process commonly done.

Because the average temperature of the fourth day (1/4) did not fit the with the average my instinct, based upon experience at examining actual information such as this, was that there needed to be some explanation. So first I went to the sounding data which is also available for Madrid. The sounding observes that are done hours before, or after the high and lows and those of this day were not really different from those of the other 9 days. So I went back to the data of the individual days, instead of the monthly display to which I referred you. Here I saw there was an abnormal ‘blip’ that contributed to the higher than trend of the other days. I cannot saw the ‘blip’ is not real but I can say it is not usual.

To this point I had not paid much attention to the graphical plot of the dewpoint temperatures which is included with the graph of the air temperature. This for two reasons. First, when the temperature difference between high and low is extreme as it is in this case of cloudless skies, the scale of temperature is such that the air temperature and dewpoint temperatures appear to come together before the morning low. Second, in the USA weather service observations, the air temperatures and the dewpoint temperatures seldom ever actually come together, the air temperature being several degrees higher than the dewpoint (or frostpoint) temperatures when the cars on the street are covered with dew and roofs of homes are covered with frost. That is a clear problem with the USA data. But I discovered it is not a problem with the observations made at Madrid. And this is very, very important to my case.

Every morning of these ten days the air temperature cooled down to the dewpoint temperature at least an hour before the lowest air temperature of that day was observed. I have written that it is a scientific law that the air temperature cannot cool below its dewpoint temperature. Because once the air temperature cools to the dewpoint temperature, water vapor begins condensing on surfaces and the latent heat of condensation greatly reduces (slows) the cooling rate. So this is observational evidence that, given observably cloudless skies, the downward radiation from the atmosphere does not, I say does not, prevent the air temperature from cooling to the dewpoint temperature during the long winter night at Madrid. I had to add for effect: ‘I say does not’ because we had a family doctor at a small town in South Dakota who regularly restated what he had just said with the preface ‘I say’. I ask: Isn’t this actual evidence that the greenhouse effect’s magnitude (whatever it is) is not sufficient to prevent the air temperature from cooling to the dewpoint temperature?

But it gets even better. Next I went to the weather record for July, 2014 at Madrid. Now, the daytime is longer and the nighttime is shorter. And the air temperature for a ten day period (7/8 to 7/17) does not cool to near the dewpoint temperature when skies are cloudless. But the temperature difference between the daily high and low stays nearly the same during these ten days and it is nearly the same observed during those ten days of cloudless skies which later occurred in January. But these high and low temperatures of these specific ten days of July are slowly but steadily increasing from one day to the nest in July. And the difference between high and low stays almost the same from on day to the next. It is easy to explain this steady increase at this time is due to the slow warming of the surface matter, which because of its thermal inertia does not (cannot) immediately respond to the sun’s radiation’s maximum intensity and length of day at the summer solstice a couple of weeks earlier.

So, in conclusion, I have been trying to direct the attention of others to actual observations. Because I could easily see that most participants were more interested in averages and arguing how others did not know what they knew etc. I would be really interested in the instrument used at Madrid, and in Spain I assume, which can observe the fact that the air temperature must cool to the dewpoint, or frostpoint, temperature when atmospheric water vapor can be observed to have condensed on the surfaces more than 1.5 meter above the earth surface.

There still is the problem of how can I get this information to someone besides you. And I do not know how you will respond to it. That is why our conversation is so important. If this information does not do, in your opinion, what I claim it does, I need to know your reasons for not seeing what I claim to see.

It is amazing how many typos, or wrong words, or missing words, I find as separate paragraphs which do not stay separated as I copy and paste. And I am sure there are many I have still missed.

Have a good day, Jerry

135. gbaikie says:

I think Galaxy Quest could best movie ever.
One way describe it is that about space aliens who developed
fantastic technology but were pretty stupid, who were inspired by brave actors.
Anyhow, suppose such aliens tried to build a habitable world
which radiated 240 watts per square meters and it was exactly like Earth, but instead needing Sun, Earth could function without one. So it needed to enough power for Earth like planet radiate 240 Watts per square meter time the square meter area of earth. So 510 million square km being 510 trillion meters, times 240 is 122,400 trillion Watts.

So they made a bunch of 1200 MW thermal energy reactors.
122,400 trillion Watts divided by .0012 trillion is
102 million reactors. And they will hang them 500 meter
below the ocean surface.
And put 100 million reactor and area of about 200 million square km of tropical area, so roughly 1 reactor per 2 square km.
And they will put the other 2 million reactor elsewhere.

So they run the reactors for a few centuries, and the planet is no where near a star, and it would of course radiate on average 240 watts per square meter.

Since they are octopode type creatures they like to live under the ocean, and they don’t waste CO2 in their oceans or atmosphere- and they grow their food in greenhouse under the water.

So just like Earth, though there is no light at the surface and no life at the surface- they going to add light later- a few satellites in Geostationary orbit which will shine UV and some visible light, so that they can make it look like Earth- trees etc.
But before this point, the question is how warm is this planet which other than surface life or CO2 is similar to Earth and is radiating 240 watts per square meter?

So reactor heat is circulated in the water at 500 meter depth, with some heat piped to greenhouse at the bottom of ocean, but of course eventually all of it radiates into space.
And point is they have not got around to the stage where make the surface look like Earth, but they got the IPCC reports and they know earth is suppose to radiate on average 240 watts and Earth is suppose to be warmest at the tropics.

So you at surface in tropics in boat. How warm is the air?
You got part of the away team in location where Paris, France, would be. How warm it there?

And the octopodes have brought you all here, to gain special insight on details of the IPCC reports which explain Earth’s climate.

136. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Reply to jerry l krause post, February 13, 2015 at 11:32 AM
Thank you.
Firstly, don´t worry about what I said “I don´t know what to say” … It was kind of a joke, because of the big scope of your comments.
I have to read more carefully your post, and I´ll try to “help” you somehow. If I saw I could not, I would try to pass your questions to somebody else here in Madrid I hope he could.
But I already have something to say.
As far as I can understand, you say (your idea but MY words) that with less GHGs during the night, “at the end of the night” the temperature wouldn´t be lower than with more GHGs, because it cannot go below dewpoint. Quite correct to me.
But that doesn´t mean that differences (due to less or more GHGs) in temperatures during that night and previous day are not important to “real” warming. The condensation of water delivers latent heat that prevents temperature from going any lower (if less GHGs), but afterwards part of sun radiation at first morning hours would be necessary to evaporate the dew, and following day warming would actually start later.
In other words (and opposite sense of comparison): the more GHGs, the later dew point would be reached, the lesser dew had to evaporate afterwards, and the sooner temperature would start rising the next day.

137. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

Your comments about the dew are right on and I am glad you said it rather than I. For my comments often get too long and as much as possible I try use what others have said to speak for me less I seem a know-it-all as too many people seem to be.

Please do not overlook the powerful effect that clouds have in reducing the transmission of the longwave radiation being emitted from the earth’s surface by the observation of what happens when they are absent. We can never take the greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere to see what would be the result. But this is not the case with clouds. Please do not overlook the fact that the dewpoint temperature has nothing to do with greenhouse gases abilities to absorb and emit this radiation. The dewpoint temperature has much to do where the atmosphere has come from, or if there recently been a precipitation event which humidifies the local surface layer atmosphere for several days after the event, or if there a good deal of irrigation being done where the natural climate of the area is quite arid during the growing season. Now, irrigation is an example of man-caused climate change, but I do not hear anyone suggesting that the farmers should stop irrigating for this reason.

Because of your correct analysis about the dew factor, did you consider what might have happened if the dewpoint had been lower. Would not the surface mass cooled further, if dew did not condense before the morning sun began heating this surface mass? And when the sun began heating the surface would not have to warm this surface mass further in the morning to reach the lowest temperature achieved when the dew did condense? And here is an interesting question: Because the surface temperature did not cool as far when the dew did condense, did the surface not emit more radiation to space during those hours when dew condensed because of the higher surface temperature because dew was condensing on it?

Now the observations during the 10 day period in July become critically important. For now the dew issue had been removed from the system which we observe. The temperature difference between high and low remain nearly the same as the high and low temperatures increase through this period. The temperatures are great (more emission from the surfaces) but the nighttime is shorter so the period of cooling is less. And the temperature difference between the high and low are nearly the same as those during January.

And one thing I did not mention is that as a result of the data acquired during a sounding, a calculation of the possible precipitation that would result if all the water vapor in the atmosphere of the sounding were to condense and fall to the surface is made and reported for each sounding. In January this calculated precipitation ranged between 3.21 and 10.47 mm and in July it ranged between 9.65 to 23.53 mm. Since water vapor is a significant greenhouse gas, should not some influence, of these quite significant variations in the concentrations of these gases, be seen if the concentration of these gases is a significant factor in the amount of downward radiation from the atmosphere that occurs? And remember I know I can quantitatively observe this downward radiation during the night with my radiometer constructed according to the design of the SSK net radiometer.

As I stated I found a gold mine of observational evidence which seems to confirm that greenhouse gases have a minimal influence on the transmission of longwave radiation to space relative to the influence that clouds have. Of course I could be overlooking some critical factor as I have in the past. But as Feynman stated, I believe I have gotten to the point where I can be pretty darn certain of the possible truth about which I am not absolutely certain.

Since you have contacts in Madrid, please share what I have written because the more critics the better.

Thank you again for the conversation because I hope you see that were it not for you I would not likely have found the gold mine.

Have a good day, Jerry

138. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Thank you.
First of all, I must say I consider it is really difficult to draw correct conclusions comparing real data from days of two periods half a year apart. We all know there are many natural factors, some of them rather hidden, affecting temperature changes more than GHGs. But as natural factors oscilate, and GHG concentrations are continuously going up, eventually the GHE will decide medium and long temperature changes.
Regarding clouds, their importance is clear. But if we are studying the importance of GHE, we should compare scenarios with more or less GHGs, keeping equal the rest. And before IR radiation reaches clouds, GHE has already acted. And clouds even send part of IR radiation back down towards earth, and the GHE continues.
With respect to dew point, it is clear that it “has much to do where the atmosphere has come from …”. But I wouldn´t say it “has nothing to do with greenhouse gases abilities to absorb and emit this radiation”, because GHE affects atmospheric conditions prior to reaching dewpoint.
Regarding irrigation … Come on! Firstly, I can´t clearly see why you say it changes the climate. And there are many other things that affect the climate, but are necessary. We have to eat, and have to breathe … That emits CO2 too!
Regarding your third paragraphe “Because of … condensing on it?”, sorry but I find it rather unclear. One has to be careful when comparing scenarios with several interrelated variables. Are you considering only a change in the dewpoint, or are you considering changes in GHGs too? And especially we have to be careful when saying things such as your last question in mentioned paragraph, apparently mixing causes and effects. What is actually the purpose of that question?
(Surely some of my paragraphs are not easy to understand either. I hope it would be due to English not beeing my mother tonge).
And sorry: do not expect too much from “Madrid mine” … I´ll try to contact a couple of people who must be better than me in relation to your issue, but can´t promise any positive result. I´m afraid they will think what I previously said. Don´t forget that the warming we are talking about is in the order of 1ºC during a century. If it happened linearly, it would be just 0.01ºC a year !!

139. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

You wrote: “First of all, I must say I consider it is really difficult to draw correct conclusions comparing real data from days of two periods half a year apart.” Maybe you should define ‘correct conclusions’.

If you cannot accept the validity of these observations (not any reasoning or argument), I cannot imagine what actual observations you would ever accept as being worthy of your consideration. These two ten days periods, approximately six months apart, are very important because they represent the periods when the solar insolation is near its minimum and its maximum while the influence of clouds upon the surface temperature must be minimal, if not totally absent.

You wrote, “But if we are studying the importance of GHE, we should compare scenarios with more or less GHGs, keeping equal the rest equal.”

I had written: “And one thing I did not mention is that as a result of the data acquired during a sounding, a calculation of the possible precipitation that would result if all the water vapor in the atmosphere of the sounding were to condense and fall to the surface is made and reported for each sounding.” This was to define what this calculated precipitation was. Then I reported: “In January this calculated precipitation ranged between 3.21 and 10.47 mm and in July it ranged between 9.65 to 23.53 mm. So, why do you seem to consider that the observed data that I summarized for you, does not allow a comparison where the concentration of water vapor, a, if not the, major greenhouse gas, varies over a very large range?

Rafael, you have been given actually observed data about the atmosphere and you have been given the references where this data and much others like it can be accessed. You can chose to ignore what has been observed just as the authorities chose to ignore Galileo’s observation evidence that refuted the geocentric model.

Einstein stated: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” What is the purpose of observing temperatures and making atmospheric sounding if you are going to argue (and that is what you have done) these actual observations are meaningless. I have never written that GHG had no influence upon the earth’s observed surface temperature (clearly defined before), what I have written is the minimum temperature of any day is fixed by the dewpoint temperature of the atmosphere. Hence, any average temperature of a day must be equal to or greater than this dewpoint temperature. About this there can be no debate.

Have a good day, Jerry

140. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

If you are still checking what I might write, I report my actual observations of last night and this morning for your considerations. At 10 PM the temperature of my SSK radiometer’s absorbing-emitting (a-e) surface was 31F and the ambient temperature was 44F. The sky was very clear as I could observe the Big Dipper above a city of 150000 and the radiometer and grass of my lawn had dew condensed on their surfaces. The dewpoint temperature observed, at that time at the airport about 3 miles distant, was 38F after being 37F the previous hour. At 3AM, the sky conditions were still observed, at the airport, to be clear and the dewpoint had increased to 39F. At 4 AM the sky conditions were reported to be mostly cloudy and at 5 AM overcast. At 6 AM sky was still overcast and the dewpoint and ambient temperatures were reported to be 42F and 46F, respectively. And at 6 AM the a-e and ambient temperatures in my backyard were both 46F.

I report these observations because they establish the fact that the downward emission from the GHGs in the cloudless atmosphere could never prevent the ambient temperature from cooling to the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature after sunset. For if the dewpoint temperature had been below 31F, which it was not, it seems the earth’s surface and the atmosphere just above it had the potential to cool to 31F where further cooling could not occur because of the emission of the GHGs in the atmosphere.

So whatever way you want reason, it is the abundance of the earth’s surface water, in one form or another, that plays the predominant role in determining its surface temperature and this is not because water vapor is a greenhouse gas.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

I do go on checking what you write, but I was gathering more information …
Sorry I made you think I “cannot accept the validity of these observations (not any reasoning or argument)” what made you ask “What is the purpose of observing temperatures and making atmospheric sounding if you are going to argue (and that is what you have done) these actual observations are meaningless?.”
That was not my intention. I´m not a physicist, nor a mathematician, but my education makes me consider that if we want to analize data from nature, where a lot of factors are interconnected:
a) We must work with similar levels of accuracy of different data. And, as I previously mentioned, the “possible” warming effect of GHGs is in the order of 0.01ºC a year …
b) As I also said, other factors different from humidity, cloudiness, dewpoint … may affect temperatures, especially if changes of some 1/1000s of a degree could not be meaningless.
As far as I can see, wind, atmospheric pressure and even pollution could be among those factors … Too much “noise” to get meaningful conclusions.
By the way, somewhere you mentioned temperatures taken half a meter over the ground (if I remember well). Looking for information about how average daily temperatures are calculated, I saw (in a Nasa site):
“Land surface temperature is how hot the “surface” of the Earth would feel to the touch in a particular location. From a satellite’s point of view, the “surface” is whatever it sees when it looks through the atmosphere to the ground. It could be snow and ice, the grass on a lawn, the roof of a building, or the leaves in the canopy of a forest. Thus, land surface temperature is not the same as the air temperature that is included in the daily weather report”.
Have you taken that into consideration?

141. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

Very glad you are not gone. You just asked some good questions which give me focus. You are correct when you write there are a lot of factors. You wrote: “where a lot of factors are interconnected”. I am not sure what you mean by interconnected. To me many seem to be independent of each other although they all come together to produce an observed temperature which at many places (such as Madrid and Salem OR USA) and times diurnally vary and seasonally vary over a considerable temperature range.
The sun is the major factor which produces the commonly observed diurnal temperature variations and the very evident seasonal variations seen at the higher latitudes. I consider clouds, dewpoints, and horizontal ‘convection’ to be dominate factors which can cause the temperature during a given day to vary significantly from the ‘normal’ temperature variation expected for a cloudless seasonal day at a given location. But only the cold air mass moving toward lower latitudes from very cold polar areas can compete with the proposed result (33C) of the greenhouse effect which could only vary significantly because the dewpoint of the atmosphere varies. For the concentrations of the other GHSs during a day, a month, a season, a year vary over a less significant range. Surface albedo’s can change dramatically from a bare surface to a snow covered surface. I am not sure what this observed difference might be but I maybe know locations where this factor (surface albedo) might be evaluated. I have observed how surface winds (measured about 10 meters above the surface) can quickly change the surface air temperature by mixing the cooled surface atmosphere with the warmer atmosphere above it, or in some rare cases mix much warmer surface atmosphere with the cooler atmosphere above it. But this change usually amounts to only a few degrees.
Because it seems to me that very few people, who have responded to this posting of Roy, offer any evidence they have ever reviewed the actual observations being made hourly at any commercial airport or those of the lesser atmospheric sounding usually made every twelve hours, I am a little hurt (discouraged) when these observations are dismissed for one reason or another by them.
For example, the sounding data is very hard to comprehend by just looking at it. Roy made a big deal that without GHGs the troposphere would become isothermal. And the expected linear temperature gradient of either the dry adiabatic lapse rate or the wet adiabatic lapse rate was discussed at some length. Now, I conclude that such actual temperature gradients are seldom actually considered because while other graphical plots of the information provided by the soundings are available with the raw data, a graphical plat of the temperature vs. altitude is not. So I have to laboriously plot such a graph from the raw data to see what actually can be seen. For example, how one plot compares with a plot 12 hours later and with the plot 24 hours later etc. I have just done this for eight soundings made at Salem beginning at 4AM Feb. 15. These soundings are made worldwide at the same time to give a snapshot of the worldwide atmosphere at this moment of time. It seems fortunate that the times at Salem are at 4 AM and 4 PM because while 4 AM is not usually the time of the lowest temperature of a day, by 4 AM the surface atmosphere has cooled considerably from that of 4 PM which is near the time of the highest diurnal temperature during the winter and the beginning of nearly constant (for a few hours) high temperature during the summer.
During the first three afternoon temperatures, the surface temperature varied only a fraction of a degree (C), but during the fourth this temperature had dropped about 3C. During the four early morning soundings, the surface temperatures varied over a range of 3C and was about 10C lower than the first 3 high temperatures. The reason I made the effort to plot this data was I could see that I could see by merely scanning the data that the temperatures of all but the last sounding were nearly isothermal from 500 meters to 2500 meters. So, I could ask Roy if this isothermal refuted his understanding that an isothermal troposphere could only occur if there were not GHGs. But the actual reason I began plotting these temperature gradients, when I discovered I could access this sounding data, was to see what the diurnal temperature inversion that is expected to form during the nighttime might look like.
So I can see that for four mornings at 4 AM the surface (60m) air temperature was always about 4C lower than the first atmospheric sounding (about 120m) observation after which the temperatures remained somewhat (nearly) isothermal until 2500m. I considered this evidence that the colder surface was cooling the surface layer from 60m to 500m which had been warmed the previous daytime by primarily the warmer surface which had been warmed during the daytime by the sun. And clearly by the fourth afternoon the evidence was clear that the atmosphere was transitioning to a new temperature structure. And it is nearly impossible to understand what I have been describing unless you inspect this and the several (to many) plots I had previously done. One most know what the options might be to understand what the word nearly might mean.
Relative to “a) We must work with similar levels of accuracy of different data. And, as I previously mentioned, the “possible” warming effect of GHGs is in the order of 0.01ºC a year …” I have little to no time to consider possibilities because that is where arguments can only result.
Relative to “As I also said, other factors different from humidity, cloudiness, dewpoint … may affect temperatures, especially if changes of some 1/1000s of a degree could not be meaningless.” ‘Changes of some 1/1000s of a degree’ are always meaningless because they can never be experimentally observed. The issue is not “Too much “noise” to get meaningful conclusions”; the issue is that in the best laboratory setting one is deceiving oneself if one pretends to measure the temperature of anything to 1/1000 of a degree or the atmosphere to 1/100 of a degree as Roy pretends to do from space. Instead of referring to my personal experiences I searched for highly accurate temperature sensors and discovered that 1/10C is commonly considered highly accurate. So, I rest my case.
And relative to this question I had already written: I have had a Ph.D. atmospheric scientist tell me that it is the temperature of the air 1.5 meters above surface because that is where most of the outgoing radiation is being emitted. We normally classify matter as being solid, liquid, or gas. But matter could also be classified as being dense (liquid or solid) or diffuse (gas). The S-B Law only applies to dense matter and I doubt if many have recognized this fact. Lost in the literature are two articles by scientists who have attempted to discover (observe) the emission law which applies to the atmosphere (a gas). While I have secured copies of these articles and have studied them in some depth, I do not go there in any discussions because I consider it an issue separate from the greenhouse effect and what is the magnitude of its present result. Is the result of the greenhouse effect a possible difference of 33C or is it a possible difference of 1C or less?
And I had already written about cross-country skiing on an expansive snow surface when temperature of the air in which I was skiing was at least 10C while I know the temperature of the snow on which I was skiing could not be greater than 0C.
Here is a simple experiment. Take a 30cm, or so, square sheet of aluminum foil. Wad it up, spread it out, and gently rub it to somewhat smooth the wrinkles but not enough to eliminate them. Measure the dimensions of this mildly wrinkled sheet. Now I ask: What is the surface area of the Pacific Ocean if it has 2 meter swells relative to that of a perfectly level ocean surface?
In forty years I had considered this problem from every which way, and I am an experimentalist who is quite familiar with the actual world and care little about the theoretical world of the theorists. It is not the theoretical world is meaningless, but it cannot be inconsistent with the actual world. There are often many factors, but some are usually much more significant than most of the others.
I am constantly bothered by the fact that my comments become so lengthy. But to accurately define what I write, I find it necessary. And again, thank you for continuing the conversation.
Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Hi, Jerry
– You say:
“… the issue is that in the best laboratory setting one is deceiving oneself if one pretends to measure the temperature of anything to 1/1000 of a degree or the atmosphere to 1/100 of a degree as Roy pretends to do from space”.
I DIDN´T SAY you should measure any temperature of the atmosphere to 1/100 of a degree … I agree with you that we would be deceiving …
WHAT I SAID WAS:
“a) We must work with similar levels of accuracy of different data. And, as I previously mentioned, the “possible” warming effect of GHGs is in the order of 0.01ºC a year …”
and if that accuracy is not possible, YOU CAN´T draw any correct conclusion from your research and measurements, as far as GHE importance is concerned.
– You also say:
“I consider clouds, dewpoints, and horizontal ‘convection’ to be dominate factors which can cause the temperature during a given day to vary significantly
For the concentrations of the other GHSs during a day, a month, a season, a year vary over a less significant range”.
I do agree with you on that too. During a given day temperature can vary several degrees due to just those natural factors … But always OSCILLATING: sometimes going up, other times going down. And GHG concentration change is estimated to make temperature vary over, as you say, “a less significant range”… in the order of 0.01/365 a day !! But always IN THE SAME SENSE !!
THAT DIFFERENCE is actually what gives GHE its paramount importance, despite its very very tiny daily importance. In the medium and long term it clearly shows up .
– Beeing the pass of time that intrisic to GHE, it IS necessary to use over time averages. But you say:
“There is no meaningful average temperature of the day. During a common diurnal temperature oscillation the period of time the actual temperature is near the average temperature is short. This is because, given cloudless sky conditions, the period of time during which the actual temperature rapidly rises from the diurnal low to near the diurnal high is short”.
As I previously said, I´ve been looking for information about how daily average temperatures are calculated. On a NASA Glossary one can see:
“Surface air temperature: The temperature of the air near the surface of the Earth, usually determined by an instrument shelter about 2 m. above the ground. THE TRUE DAILY MEAN , obtained from a termograph, is approximated by the mean of 24 hourly readings C and may differ by 1.0 degrees C from average based on minimum and maximum readings …”

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

In certain ways we agree with each other and in other ways not yet. I appreciate your efforts to inform yourself. And I very much appreciate your responses to what I write. For I am troubled by the lack of responses my comments generate. Twenty years, or so, ago I had called Richard Lindzen (MIT) because he appeared to be a doubter and we had a couple of 15 minutes conversations (as I remember). So I have recently called him again to get some assurance that he would open an email and read it. He said of course he would, but that he would not guarantee that he would respond to it. So I did and he has not responded. While waiting for your response and his response, I began composing a second email to him. I share a portion of this effort because it contains some history of which I am not sure you aware and it in another way seems related to your last response.

“The topic of this email is ‘lack of responses’. I write to inform others not so much of what I think, but of what others have thought and written in the past that I have not found to be present common knowledge. I began participating in Dr. Roy Spenser’s blog-site with the objective to draw his attention to two issues. One was that the atmosphere’s temperature has not been observed to cool below its dewpoint temperature. And I succeeded as he replied: “Yes, the dewpoint temperature is always below the temperature. Not sure what you are claiming that proves, Jerry.” So, a reason I included this issue in the previous email was an attempt to elicit your response as to what I claim it proves (which I had also shared with Dr. Spenser).

“The second issue to which I wanted to direct Roy’s attention was what Richard Feynman taught physics students at Caltech about light scattering by cloud droplets (The Feynman Lectures on Physics 32-8,9). To my question: “Do clouds reflect and absorb electromagnetic radiation (light) or do they scatter it?” he replied: “Clouds absorb and emit IR, reflect and slightly absorb visible. Don’t know what your point is. I have a long history of advocating that clouds are probably the biggest uncertainty in climate change forecasts.”

“And several times I have shared the following quote of R. C. Sutcliffe from his book, Weather & Climate, without generating any responses from anybody (that I can remember). “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.”

“It seems Roy, and most others, disregard cloud’s profound effect upon climate as he and they focus upon possible climate change. I am a simple experimentalist and sometimes I question if the lack of responses is due to the simple things I ask others to consider.”

Your focus (like Roy’s), relative to the greenhouse effect, seems to be upon possible climate change. My focus is to try to observe what is actually happening today so that I might understand what is happening today.

The result of your search for how the average temperature of a day is determined is interesting for it verifies the validity of the previous practice of averaging the high and low temperatures. For I do not consider 1C a significant difference when I read that the earth’s average temperature would be 33C less if it were not for the presence of GHGs. And I have to believe that such a magnitude of the greenhouse effect is inherent in the computer models which predict a 1C increase in the average temperature during the next 100 years if the man caused increases in the concentration in carbon dioxide, etc., continue to increase at projected rates if something isn’t done to curtail these increases.

But relative to this average temperature issue which I posed, you have not responded to how much information is lost once the actual high and low temperatures of a day are averaged. For in considering only the calculated average temperature of a day, the difference between a cloudless day and an overcast day, referred to by Sutcliffe, is totally lost. Hence, it seems to be concluded that GHGs have a profound influence upon climate and clouds an almost insignificant amount of influence. For a fact is that for many years, the computer models had no influence of clouds (except for the albedo factor) being considered. Then, when the modelers recognized the reality of clouds, they began to debate who had best modelled the cloud factor. This while the GHGs obviously continued to be the dominate factor in their models.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

Hi Jerry,
First of all, I must say your big interest in our discussion makes me feel proud, when you have discussed these issues with eminent scientists, far more knowledgable than me … I have to do my best (following Einstein´s statement ?).
It is rather hard to me to write long posts even in Spanish, let alone in English. That´s why I usually prefer to mention just basic ideas, when I consider they could be of some help for you to understand I find something you have said is erroneous, or at least meaningless, as far as my understanding of GHE is concerned.
Now I´m going to post something less concrete, more in Logics field, though directly related to Physics. At the end I´ll made some reference to the interesting subject of clouds mentioned by you.
It is one of my preferred arguments to fight skepticism, useful even for laymen.
Temperature variations, in time and space, are huge. Let us say from -80 (?) ºC to +60 (?) (140 difference), and not changing site in the order of perhaps half of that (annual minimum to maximum). And even in contiguous days in same place difference between minima (and between maxima) can be in the order of 15ºC (perhaps more in some places).
We know many natural factors produce those differences. It could (arguably) be said that it is a chaotic system.
Temperatures somehow represent the total amount of thermal energy in whatever we are considering. And annual global average temperature represents that average of thermal energy (whatever part of the Earth and atmosphere is beeing considered).
It seems logic to me that annual global averages varied too, of course much much less than those figures, in a kind of Gaussian distribution, oscillating perhaps something like 1ºC, or at least a few tenths of a degree… I wish I could express this more mathematically! But I feel pretty sure there “should” be variations in that order.
But before industralization changes usually were in the order of just thousandths of a degree (0.01ºC afterwards).
Is there any thermostat that in last part of the year detects that it has previously been rather hot or cold, and changes some factors to get the “correct” average? … NO.
And if one considers years beginning, f.e., on Spring equinox, the changes are logically in similar order.
What could be the reason of that?
I only can find one: all major natural factors affecting that annual energy average are relatively pretty constant. They do vary much over the year, but at the end of the year their averages don´t.
Sun temperature, Earth´s distance to sun, atmosphere properties afecting radiation (hence its composicion), albedo, CLOUDINESS … Their annual global average must be practically constant.
Clouds, and water vapour in the atmosphere, are VERY important. We DO know it. But if their annual global averages changed not insignificantly, annual global mean temperature would have varied more before industralization!.
BUT as I´ve said several times, GHG annual averages, especially CO2, have been continuously increasing since the beginning of industrialization …

142. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

I am glad our conversation makes you feel proud, as you should. You must understand that the science founded by Galileo is simple. Only trust what you can see (observe) and only think (reason) when absolutely necessary. A fact is Galileo wrote, what he considered to be greatest work, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, in Italian. The language of the ‘common’ people and not in Latin, the language of the intellectual people to whom Newton wrote his greatest work. And I can understand your English without any difficulty. What is important is we have a common interest even though we are not in complete agreement. But if we were in complete agreement any conversation would be uninteresting because we could learn nothing from each other. And we should never move beyond basic ideas until we have discovered and considered all the basic ideas which might apply to a given problem.

This morning, before reading your comments of this day, I came to the realization that I was making the same mistake that I have accused others of making. Which is ignoring the issue of ‘thermal inertia”. Now, I expect you, as naval architect and marine engineer, must be quite familiar with common inertia. For big boats (ships), because of their great mass, have considerable inertia which cannot be ignored.

And this morning I thought about the Wright Bros and what happened when they came to the point of designing the propeller for their airplane which they knew could fly as a glider. Except, they never flew it as a glider. For they went to a location where they knew they could expect consistent, steady winds and they tethered their plane without a motor and flew it as one might fly a kite. But that was the easy part of the invention of the airplane. The more fundamental problem was the design of the propeller. And it is reported that they argued, violently, which each other for a considerable period of time and sometimes reversing their positions as they continued to argue. For they foresaw that the propeller would need to pull the plane through calm air at a velocity sufficient to keep the plane from stalling. And they recognized that the situation was not near as simple as the lift of their stationary wings. For first the propeller had to accelerate the plane and then efficiently maintain that necessary air speed once it was achieved. So, I consider the problem of the design of a ship’s propeller to be little different from that of the airplane propeller. And, most importantly in your under-appreciation of your intellectual abilities is that the Wright Bros had very little to no formal intellectual training beyond reading and basic mathematics. But they watched birds soar and were accomplished craftsmen who had built bicycles. So they had a practical, mechanical, understanding. And they could imagine that they could succeed even though they knew that other, better qualified, people had failed.

The most simple and basic atmospheric system (case), relative to the issue of radiation and temperature, is the everyday temperature oscillation which we can observe. And I consider I can simply and basically explain the actual temperatures which are observed each and every day. I can do this because I observe other natural factors that are also occurring during this day.
But you wrote: “We know many natural factors produce those differences.” What differences? While I ‘think’ you are referring to differences between one day and the next day, or between one day during a given season and a day during a different season, or between one day of this year and the same day of a different year, I do not really know to what difference you are referring. What I do know is, if you do not observe the actual temperatures of a given day and the other day, you cannot know what differences between the two days are. And given the lack of actual information of the temperatures and of the other possible factors of the two days, you are right when you state: “It could (arguably) be said that it is a chaotic system.” This since you have no actual information about the system and instead only averaged information.

While you may disagree, five words, which a scientist should never state, are: “It seems logic to me … .” Galileo wrote (as translated by Crew and de Salvio): that Aristotle had proposed “that if two stones, one weighing ten times as much as the other, is allowed to fall, at the same instant, from a height of, say, 100 cubits, would so differ in speed that when the heavier had reached the ground, the other would not have fallen more than 10 cubits.” If anything would appear to be logical, it should be this. But we know if this idea is tested by experiment and actual observation, it is found to be clearly false. Hence, I must conclude that nature is not logical according to human reasoning.

So while I wait for your response to this statement, I will begin to analysis the ‘thermal inertia’ of the earth-atmosphere system as can be observed during one day. As I do this, it might seem to you that I am reasoning logically but I claim I am not because I could, if necessary set up a system of temperature sensors to document the actual temperatures that I assume for discussion (explanation) purposes. During a commonly observed diurnal air temperature oscillation the low air temperature of the day occurs within the hour period after sunrise (but not always). And during a commonly observed oscillation the high air temperature of the day occurs about 4 hours after ‘high’ noon at that location (but not always). So at these two times there is an instant (or longer period) when the system is neither warming nor cooling. From atmospheric soundings made at 4AM and 4PM at my location I know that the air temperature at the surface is nearly always less than that at the first sounding when the nighttime sky has been cloudless. This strongly suggests that the surface is cooling the atmosphere so there is temperature gradient in which the atmospheric temperature increases with increasing altitude for some distance (for which there is observed evidence) and that in the soil there is a temperature gradient which increases with increasing depth below the surface for some distance (for which I do not have observed evidence). These temperature gradients imply that the surface is being cooled by radiation which is being transmitted to space through the cloudless atmosphere during the nighttime. The fact that lowest surface air temperature can often, given the cloudless sky condition, be observed to occur after sunrise seems to be evidence that the warming of the low angle incident solar radiation is not sufficient to offset the continued radiative cooling of the surface for a period of time after the sunrise.
On a few occasions, but enough to convince myself I know the factor involved, within minutes of sunrise, clouds begin to form in the formerly cloudless sky. While this seldom referred to evidence contributes to my confidence that I properly understand our atmospheric system, I do not at this point share the factor that I consider causes these clouds to suddenly begin forming shortly after sunrise. For I challenge you discover what the factor involved might be which can be found in most elementary textbooks of meteorology. But the fact of it is never directly referred to.

Now what I have never directed anyone’s attention to is how and where the radiation of solar radiation and the longwave radiation is actually absorbed and how and where the longwave radiation from the atmosphere is actually emitted. What I cannot explain is the S-B Law emission from dense matter (solids and liquids). For it seems critically important to distinguish the basic differences between dense matter and diffuse (gases, atmosphere) matter. And one obvious difference is their ‘thermal inertia’. It does not take much energy to change the temperature of a gas one degree whereas it takes much more energy to change the temperature of a dense solid one degree.

I can understand (explain) that a molecule of water or carbon dioxide of a gas can absorb certain photons of radiation. It is that when this molecule absorbs a photon its internal energy increases by the energy of the photon. Now, this molecule with this increased internal energy might do one of two things. It can emit this excess energy as a photon or it can collide with another molecule and as a result of the collision transfer this excess energy to any other atom or molecule, whose internal energy is not easily increased, with the result that the kinetic energy of this other molecule is increased by the energy of the previously absorbed photon. In this way a gas sample of many, many molecules and atoms may be increased by many, many photons being absorbed by a few molecules of the gas sample. However, during a collision process a portion of the kinetic energy of any molecule may transferred to a special molecule and increase its internal energy instead of its kinetic energy with the result the kinetic energy of the sample of gas is decreased. Now, this special molecule, which even when rare are many, many in a sample of gas, can emit a photon with the result that the sample of gas is ‘permanently’ cooled.

But I cannot understand (explain) how soil or oceans can seemingly absorb almost all photons of radiation or how the same dense matter can emit an almost continuous spectrum of photons.

I will continue this story another time. But I have focused your attention upon the molecules which one must really consider at the most basic level. For that is where the actual action is. Radiation is never motionless, the photons are moving at the speed of light or nearly so when they encounter matter. Etc.

If you look back you will find I have asked a few questions to which I cannot remember you replying. Don’t have time now to check what they were but I did ask them for a purpose.

Have a good day, Jerry

• jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

I am not happy with this latest response as it does not get to where I had hoped it would. I should not have sent it but I did. I am now trying to find the words to describe what I think can be observed.

Have a good day, Jerry

143. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,
I have just reviewed all that we have directly written to each other and have made notes. I now see that in my interest in having a conversation, I have overlooked some observable facts.

Your central purpose seems to be only to argue and debate. You summarize your conclusions about actual science relative the GHE with your statement of Feb 23, 2015 at 5:19 AM by writing: “and if that accuracy is not possible, YOU CAN’T draw any correct conclusions from your research and measurements, as far as GHE importance is concerned.” As you direct attention to hundredths and thousandths of a degree, you have never addressed, in our conversation, the 33C temperature difference that is commonly associated with the GHE and its possible importance. You, as you debate (argue), are not being intellectually honest.

Yes, you have helped me to see things that I likely would not have seen if not for our conversation, and I thank you again for this. You use the word scenario relative to the observations that I have drawn to your attention. Webster dictionary simply defines a scenario as a sequence of events especially when imagined or an account or synopsis of a possible course of action or events. The observations to which I refer are not imagined nor are they a possible course of action, they are real (actual) observations of actual events.

The next step is up to you.

Have a good day, Jerry

• Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

You say:
“You, as you debate (argue), are not being intellectually honest”.
As I previously told you, it takes me long to type in English, and I prefer to argue only about aspects of the general issue I feel pretty sure of, and which I find may be useful to the other party.
The question of the 33C is something I have not analized in depth … To my knowledge it seems quite plausible … It would be the accumulation of GHE going from (considering only CO2) 0 ppm to 350/400 ppm … We shouldn´t forget feedbacks … Somewhere you said water vapour is paramount in Earth temperature, but (you said), having nothing to do with GHE … But IF we are accepting that there is a GHE, though very tiny over a single year, let alone over a single day, we can´t forget, apart from its accumulation in the medium and long term (previously mentioned by me), the importance of feedbacks, especially water vapour.
Let us suppose somehow 1 ppm of CO2 disappeared from the atmosphere every year. Supposing only that changed, the very tiny diminution of GHE would produce a very very small cooling of the Earth. But year after year:
a) That would accumulate …
b) With less temperatue the atmosphere would accept less water vapour, and with less such important GHG, there would be additional cooling …
c) Eventually more and more water would freeze, rising albedo … more and more cooling.
I´m not able to make the maths of that, but consider that after 350/450 years decreasing 1 ppm a year, and some additional centuries and/or millennia because of the system inertia … it seems quite plausible to me that Earth´s cooling reached those levels.
Even so, as you don´t like that type of considerations, I´ll try to find some literature on the subject to see how right or wrong I am …
You also say:
“The observations to which I refer are not imagined nor are they a possible course of action, they are real (actual) observations of actual events”.
Have I to repeat that your observations of events are actually incomplete, because you are NOT observing all other natural factors occurring during a day, since GHE in a single day only can produce temperature increase in the order of 0.01/365, far beyond measurement capacity?

144. jerry l krause says:

Hi Rafael,

You stated that you had not really considered (studied) the 33C temperature difference between the temperatures which are and the temperatures it is commonly stated they would be if there were no GHGs in our atmosphere. This seems because you are focused upon possible change instead of the temperatures which are. It seems this is why you do not consider my observations of temperature important because that is too simple. A temperature is what a temperature is and it does not matter how many factors are involved in producing that actual temperature. What matters is the major factors that produce or limit that temperature.
The sun is major factor and by this I do not imply I am focusing on possible changes of the sun beyond the fact of its varying distance because of the fact that the earth’s orbit is elliptical. But this is not a major change factor if we are comparing daily temperatures during a week period or so. The incident angle of the sun’s radiation upon the earth’s surface is a major factor at higher latitudes, but this is not a major change factor if we are comparing daily temperatures during a week period. Major change factors during a week’s period are clouds, winds (mixing of atmosphere and/or differing air masses), dewpoints, subsistence, and not GHGs unless it is water vapor. If there are others, please remind me of them.

Relative to water vapor’s ability to absorb and emit radiation as GHG and as its ability to condense at a certain temperature (dewpoint or frostpoint), these two abilities (properties) are independent of each other. I never stated that water vapor had nothing to do with the GHE, I stated that water vapors dewpoint had nothing to do with its property of being a GHG. I state it was an observed law that the minimum temperature of the atmosphere’s 24 hour temperature oscillation could be no lower than the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature. So an atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature places a minimum limit on the atmosphere’s temperature. Which, if the average temperature would be 33C lower than its average temperature is now, would mean all the oceans would have to be frozen over and still even colder to produce a dewpoint 33C lower than the present because no ocean has a surface temperature 32C.

Galileo is said to have stated: “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” Just as I consider myself a scientist, I consider myself a teacher who cannot teach you anything. I can only help you learn as I learn by observing things directly myself or reading about what others have observed and/or learned.

Because I seemed to not helping you to discover it within yourself, I moved on to try to help Roy to discover it within himself and by doing this I discovered something which I had not known. If you are interested in learning what this was you might go to Roy’s posting of 2/26/15 with the title which begins The Skeptical Seven … . My comment was near to the end of the comments when I last looked.

But my sole concern relative to the GHE is the 33C difference, because as you wrote you haven’t given it much thought because you can reason how inquimentally (a good word which I have no idea of how to spell), so bit by bit this difference could have resulted even though from one day to the next one could never observe that change was taking place.

Have a good day, Jerry