Waste Heat as a Contributor to Observed Warming

January 9th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I sometimes get asked about the possible contribution of our daily energy consumption to warming in the U.S. With the recent announcement that the U.S. experienced the warmest year on record in 2012 (in the surface temperature data), I thought I would revisit this issue.

Many authors have analyzed the problem, starting in the 1960’s. Jill Jager’s 1983 book Climate and Energy Systems; A Reviews of their Interactions is little known, but is very good on this subject.

I have never looked into the problem very deeply, and have always assumed that the heat generated through our use of electricity and various fuels was, compared to the radiative forcing from increasing CO2, negligibly small. I have assumed that most of the urban heat island effect is “passive”, due to replacing the cooling effects of vegetation with buildings, streets. etc, which warm up more in the sun.

Now I’m not so sure….at least for industrialized and economically active countries like the U.S., it looks like waste heat production from our energy use could be a major player.

If similar calculations to those below have been posted elsewhere, my apologies…just consider this an independent estimate. Again, what I am discussing here is separate from, and in addition to, the passive change in the land energy budget from replacing vegetation with manmade structures (parking lots, etc.).

U.S. Energy Consumption

It 2006, total U.S. energy consumption was estimated (according to DOE/EIA) to be 97.1 quadrillion BTUs, which when converted to “watts” type measurements is equivalent to 3.25 x 1012 watts generated continuously over the course of a year.

If we divide that by the surface area of the U.S. in meters, we get 0.33 watts per sq. meter.

Now, compare that the the total radiative forcing from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations supposedly operating today, which (according to the IPCC) is somewhere around 1.6 W/m2.

At this point, we might conclude that the waste heat generation (0.33 W/m2) is only about 20% of the radiative forcing from increasing CO2 (1.6 W/m2).

But there are at least 2 issues we would be neglecting.

1) Radiative Forcing is Alleviated After Warming…Waste Heat Forcing Is Not

The actual residual radiative imbalance from increasing CO2 in 2006 was (according to Jim Hansen or the IPCC) more like 0.6 watts per sq. meter, since warming has alleviated some of the radiative forcing caused by increasing CO2.

In contrast, waste heat from our use of energy keeps getting generated, no matter how much our surroundings have warmed. So, with this correction, we now see that waste heat generation (0.33) becomes more like 50% of the remaining radiative imbalance (0.6) from anthropogenic GHG production.

2) Waste Heat is Mostly Released in the Lowest 10% of the Atmosphere
The second point we would be missing is that, whereas radiative forcing from GHGs is distributed throughout the atmosphere, most waste heat (except for jet traffic) is concentrated close to the ground…in the lowest few hundred meters. And the smaller the mass of air heated by the same energy input, the greater the temperature rise will be.

Of course, the extra warmth is then dispersed upward from convection and IR cooling, but it still is first expressed as concentrated warming of the air in the lowest atmosphere. (I need to check into the increase in radiative forcing in the lower atmosphere from increasing CO2, to make this a fair comparison).

So, What is the Contribution of Waste Heat to Measured Warming?
This would not be an easy question to answer. I’ve assumed that the waste heat generated in the U.S. is spread evenly across the U.S., whereas it is actually much more concentrated where people are. Of course, thermometers are also placed where people are, so they are more apt to measure the effects of this waste heat.

Even the Climate Reference Network of “well-sited” thermometers are, for the most part, not that far from local economic activity…especially in the eastern U.S. I’ve looked at every one of the 100+ sites in Google Earth (most of are actually visible, with their distinctive trio of bright white thermometer solar shields), and relatively few of them are what you would call “remote”.

Unless I have made a serious error in my back-of-the-printer-paper calculations (which wouldn’t be the first time), I would say that humanity’s generation of waste heat can’t be ignored in the discussion of observed land surface warming trends.

This reminds me of the 2007 paper by McKitrick and Michaels who found that regional surface warming was statistically related to the level of economic activity. What I have provided here is instead a simpler comparison of the levels of energy input from waste heat production versus radiative forcing from GHGs.

(And if you want to bring in the observed warming of the oceans, where virtually no one lives, I will point out that the slight warming of the oceans in the last 50 years is equivalent to only 0.2 watts per sq. meter of net energy input (according to Levitus) into the upper half of the ocean. This value is so small and uncertain, dependent upon the measurement accuracy of hundredths of a degree change hundreds of meters deep, and with the uncertain nature of potential changes in deep ocean mixing, that I don’t think we can say anything definitive about the cause(s) of slight warming in the upper half of the ocean.)

405 Responses to “Waste Heat as a Contributor to Observed Warming”

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  1. Christian says:

    Sorry Roy you are wrong, compare it to mine:

    Energy: 3.25 * 10^12
    Area: 9,629,091 km^2

    So now Area in m^2


    Area in km^2 * 1,000,000 = m^2

    So then we have:


    So now it is:

    0,33W/m^2 a Year!!!

    The radiative Forcing of Co2 is on seconds!! a permament Forcing!!

    Or do you really think, that TOA-TSI is only 1360Watt/m^2 : (365d*24h*60m*60s)= 4,3*10^-5 W/m^2 ???

    Its totaly unlogical… think in this way what you can every day messurce when the sun is shining..

    In this fact:

    0,33W/m^2 / (365*24*60*60) = Energy-Consumptions of the USA


  2. F. Maxwell says:

    Another point: energy consumption is not equal to excess heat. A 60 watt light bulb does not produce 60 watts of excess heat.

    • Unless the light produced by the bulb makes it way to outer space, it is all converted to heat in the climate system.

      • Chuck Congo says:

        I ride an electric commuter train to work.
        It uses a lot of electricity. How much of
        that is excess heat?

        • MP says:

          That depends on the viscosity of the air, the drag of the train, the efficiency of the engine & rails/electricity transport.

          Among other things.

          • Bart says:

            Not really. At some point, the train has to stop, and it does so by shedding its kinetic energy as heat. Except for some small chemical reactions perhaps forced by the motion of the train through the air and the wheels on the track, and maybe some other infinitesimal exotic effects) it pretty much all gets converted to heat energy.

  3. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @F. Maxwell
    “Another point: energy consumption is not equal to excess heat. A 60 watt light bulb does not produce 60 watts of excess heat.”
    Depends on where its light impinges. If you have it turned on in a closed room the whole light is converted to heat.
    Most of the light after few impingements on low albedo solids is converted in heat.

  4. MikeB says:

    Christian, the energy of 3.25 *10^2 is in watts…and watts measure energy per second. So start with the BTUs and convert it to joules per second by dividing by the number of seconds in a year (3.1536*10^7).
    I take 97.1 quadrillion to be 9.71* 10^16. So this gives (9.71/3.156) * 10^9 BTUs per second. A BTU is about 1000 joules….look it up, says = 1055 joules.
    So we get 3.245 *10^12 joules per second. One watt is one joule per second.
    Now divide by the area of the USA and we get (3.245*10^12)/(9.83*10^12) = 0.33 watt per sq. metre.

    so Dr. Spencers calculation is correct

  5. Christian says:

    Ok, my mistake i have read the first( 3.25 *10^2) in yearly Energy, thx


  6. Ned Nikolov says:

    Roy’s estimate of 0.33 W/m^2 energy release by society is correct! However, comparing this figure with the so-called ‘radiatiove forcing’ by greenhouse gases is meaningless, because the IPCC-estimated such forcing is fictitious. It is a result of solving the radiative transfer equation without convection. When convection is properly coupled to radiative heat exchange, the ‘radiative forcing’ (or effect of back radiation) goes essentially to ZERO. In other words, the IR back radiation does not heat Earth’s surface on average. The back radiation is a RESULT of temperature rather than a cause for it … The atmospheric thermal enhancement is due to process that has nothing to do with back radiation!

  7. Christian says:

    @ Spencer:

    already, done 🙂

    Soory, i have not seen that they energy is already at seconds..

  8. Skeptikal says:

    Now you can see why the NH is heating faster than the SH. I’ve been ridiculed on other blogs for suggesting that local heating generated by human energy consumption needs to be considered. It can’t just be a coincidence that more warming is happening in the hemisphere where most of the people in the world live and consume energy.

    It’s good to see Dr Spencer keeping an open mind when most others would dismiss this heat source as ‘insignificant’, without giving it any real thought.

  9. Christian says:

    But how to see in Global-State:

    by Eneryconsumtion: 142,3 Tw/h

    = 0,032W/m^2

    The other points, NH is stronger heating and cooling in cause of it self. Landmass is the keyword. SH is much lagt against radive Forcing changes..

    And you not explain, why west-anatarctica is one of the most warming places on planet..

  10. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Ok guys,
    now I’m tuned to write a very silly thought 🙂

    I read that the “man machine” being a body at 37°C dissipates an average of about 520W/m^2 and that its average body surface is about 2m^2.
    This means that the average dissipated heat of anyone of us to the ambient is about 1kW… 🙂
    Divide by two to take account of kids which have a smaller body and multiply by the US population of 313,914,040 people
    ( http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/totals/2012/index.html )
    the total dissipated power is 1.57*10^11W.

    Thus, the contribution is 0.016W/m^2

    Not so little if you consider that the US population is not so dense as the European one and the Chinese.

    It just a joke of course. ;););)

  11. Christian says:

    If this ok,

    “the total dissipated power is 1.57*10^11W.”

    Is it rigth for the US..

    “Thus, the contribution is 0.016W/m^2 ”

    For the Glob with your Data and all people:


    Thats a joke, jeah

    But nice to make this^^

    PS: You have forgotten the people how are sick (Fever ) 😛


  12. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “You have forgotten the people how are sick (Fever )”

    No, I don’t miss it, I just considered that the maximum temperature for the fever couldn’t exceed 42°C (here in Italy we call that an “horse fever”).

    1) since the total flux is a function of T^4, 37°C/42°C give a flux ratio of 2.466/2.546, just a mere 3%… Quite insignificant
    2) that ratio must be scaled by the percentage of people who get the fever on a period of one year that is less than 10%
    3) and scaled more by the average time of the single fever episode which is about 3 days

    For the above I considered that negligible at all 🙂

    Have a nice 2013!

    P.s. You are right, I forgotten them of course, it’s just a silly joke

  13. Doug Cotton says:


    All surplus energy that enters the atmosphere gets radiated away to restore radiative balance. You only have to consider your own figures. Look at the cooling between 2010 and the present, or between 1998 and the present. When there is such cooling it is almost certain that we can deduce that there has been net radiative transfer back to space, even despite all the extra consumption heating.

    The diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level sets a mean thermal gradient in the troposphere. Meanwhile, the level of insolation (modified for albedo and other similar factors) determines the overall level of the thermal profile (or plot) and so, once the line is fixed with these input parameters, then the surface temperature is predetermined by the height of the thermal plot line when it intercepts the surface. This happens on all planets, so it is not mere coincidence.

    Dr Hans Jelbring wrote a thesis on this back in 1998 when doing his PhD in Climatology. You should read his subsequent papers.

  14. Slipstick says:

    Ignoring that the entire energy consumption does not equate to the waste heat (a fair portion, although I have no way of calculating how much and it may be negligible) since the energy is used to perform work or is stored in constructions from the macro to the nano, I don’t understand how the value over less than 2% of the Earth’s surface can be compared to the global total.

  15. Dr. Strangelove says:


    Three things. First, you should use total world energy consumption over earth surface area. The US consumes 20% of world’s energy but only 1.7% of surface area.

    Second, exclude renewable energy since they also come from sun’s energy (solar, wind, hydro)

    Third, exclude kinetic energy of electricity and transportation. At any given time, some of the energy is not heat but electrons in the wire and motion. Conductor resistance produces some heat but not 100% until the electrons reach the electrical appliance. Moving vehicles produce heat when you apply the brakes.

  16. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr. Strangelove

    “Second, exclude renewable energy since they also come from sun’s energy (solar, wind, hydro)”

    Their incidence is like considering the fever in my silly analysis on the “thermodynamic man machine”

    “Moving vehicles produce heat when you apply the brakes.”

    Oh yesss!
    You are talking about E=1/2mv^2
    S0, there are no frictions in your golden world?

    “Conductor resistance produces some heat but not 100% until the electrons reach the electrical appliance.”
    Not true too.
    All “Conductor resistance” produces heat! It’s joules law.

    If you are joking, just tell it…

  17. Tim Wells says:

    Has anybody seen the British met offices massive climb down on global warming. They are predicting no change in global temperatures from 1998 to 2017, which proofs C02 isn’t the catalyst, but the sun.

  18. Christian says:

    Yes i have seen, but you telling wrong.

    “During 2012 our decadal prediction system was upgraded to use the latest version of our coupled climate model. The forecasts and retrospective forecasts shown here have been updated to reflect this change. ”


    Here you can see for 2010: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/decadal-prediction

    I will not wondering about updating 2013.

    PS: When you interested for reasons, look here and read: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/publications/science/met-office-scientists/mosac#mosac-2012


  19. Christian says:

    soory, the direct link:http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/i/q/MOSAC_17.12_Scaife.pdf

    Look at:

    “Table 1: Sources of near term climate predictability”


  20. Doug Cotton says:


    Radiative imbalance is barking up the wrong tree.

    I feel I have to say that climatology always puts the cart before the horse in this TOA radiative imbalance discussion. Radiative imbalance is not the cause of warming or cooling. It is the result of natural warming or cooling. When there are extended periods of warming (usually 30 years out of the 60 year cycle) or cooling (such as now from 1998 to 2027 inclusive) then there will be net radiative imbalance between the beginning and the end of that 30 year period. For example, 2012 was definitely cooler than 1998, so it is highly likely that there has been net radiative loss in that period.

    It is totally impossible to measure TOA imbalance accurately, because we don’t have measurements happening 24/7 in every small region of the TOA, and even then, what really should be treated as TOA? Why exclude the mesosphere? Does the thermosphere send some radiation into the troposphere? Of course it does. Think about the complexities of the issue. It’s no use measuring radiative flux at any point if you are not measuring it simultaneously everywhere else on the globe.

    What you all need to realise is that there are many more ways in which the atmosphere does in fact radiate heat away to space, including short wave from about 750nm up through the visible and UV. (See linked comment* below.) And it will always do so, keeping radiative balance usually within 0.5%, the variations being more to do with local weather conditions and minor natural climate cycles.

    Furthermore, an autonomous thermal gradient -g/Cp (where Cp is specific heat) must develop due to the application of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics at the molecular level in a gravitational field. This is now empirically confirmed physics theory. Intra-atmospheric radiation reduces the “gravity gradient” by up to about a third, ie from about 9.8 to 6.5C/Km in the moist tropics. The thermal plot pivots around a weighted mean radiative altitude (based on Stefan-Boltzmann calculations integrated over all altitudes) and so a moist rate produces a lower gradient and a lower surface temperature as a result, as explained in “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    * Rather than repeat myself, I refer you to this comment on another thread here …


  21. Thomas says:

    Heat is transported by winds. The waste heat produced in USA will be spread over a much larger area (especially since so much of the population lives close to the coasts) so just dividing the power by the land area of USA will give the wrong answer.

    Spencer’s point one is really strange in the way he confuses radiative forcing and imbalance. The forcing from more CO2 remains constant as the Earth heats up, just as the forcing from waste heat does. The outgoing radiation increases from a warmer Earth so the the net imbalance drops off, but this is, fortunately, just as true for forcing from waste heat, because if the imbalance remained any level of waste heating would make the Earth heat up forever until it melted.

  22. Christopher Game says:

    Ferenc Miskolczi has calculated some quantities that I think tell much about the so-called “radiative forcing”. These effects are virtual. That is to say, they are theoretically calculable, but there is no suggestion that they have effects that can be directly empirically measured. The virtual quantities are items in a mathematical model, not actually directly detectable facts. The calculated quantities are purely radiative and the calculations assume that there is no change apart from the increase in atmospheric CO2; that is what is meant by “virtual with no compensation”. The model that I have in mind thinks of these quantities as immediate direct uncompensated virtual effects of a hypothetical putative abrupt instantaneous doubling of the atmospheric CO2 levels by a fantastic and gigantic engine that was supplied to me by the big oil companies and the government bureaucrats who are always so generous to me, and who often give me trillions of dollars for such experiments. The following figures all belong to this miraculous model. Miskolczi’s calculations are to be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B74u5vgGLaWoNDFjODAwMWMtNmNmYS00NDhmLWI3NjItMTE0NGMwNWMxYjQ2/edit?hl=en&pli=1 .

    The following is my reading of Miskolczi’s paper and I have no idea what he might think of it. For all I know, he may think what I write here is nonsense. I am making a crude extrapolation from Miskolczi’s calculations; I am assuming linearity, though Miskolczi did not intend his calculations to be extrapolated like this. If I am wrong to make this linear extrapolation, then the figures I give below are wrong. Miskolczi’s calculations are based on the state of the atmosphere some decades ago, not on its current state.

    The added CO2 affects the amount of radiation that passes directly from the land-sea body to space through the atmospheric window. The effect is to cut that by 1.9 W m^-2. That amount is absorbed by the atmosphere. I do not know exactly at what altitudes it is absorbed because Miskolczi does not give such figures. The increment of atmospherically absorbed terrestrial radiation is thus 1.9 W m^-2.

    The added CO2 affects the amount of radiation emitted to space by the atmosphere. The effect is to decrease that by 1.7 W m^-2.

    The added CO2 affects the amount of radiation emitted to the land-sea body by the atmosphere. The effect is to increase that by 2.2 W m^-2.

    Those are the essential factors here.

    They add up to a decrease in the outgoing longwave radiation from the climate body of (1.9 + 1.7) = 3.6 W m^-2.

    Of that amount, 3.6 W m^-2, some is left in the atmosphere and some in the land-sea body. The amount left in the atmosphere is (3.6 – 2.2) = 1.4 W m^-2. The amount added directly to the land-sea body is 2.2 W m^-2.

    I repeat that no compensation or secondary effect (what the IPCC likes to call “feedback”) is allowed in these figures. The compensations or secondary effects (or what the IPCC likes to call “feedback”) are to be calculated with respect to these figures as primary.

    If I understand him aright, this seems to me not to agree with what Dr Spencer writes above: “whereas radiative forcing from GHGs is distributed throughout the atmosphere”. Dr Spencer is careful also to remark above: “(I need to check into the increase in radiative forcing in the lower atmosphere from increasing CO2, to make this a fair comparison).” Perhaps he is making such calculations as I write here and now. Perhaps this can be discussed.

  23. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dear Dr. Spencer:

    Yes, I was a head of you on the subject by about eight years. Please see Tables 1 and 5 pages 58 and 60 of my book Global Warming Calculation and Projection.

    Human waste heat causes about 20% of the ongoing global warming. Presently, surface temperatures of Lake Superior, Arabian Gulf, and Mediterranean Sea are rising above the average. These water bodies have things in common such as heavy industry and being virtually closed water bodies. As a result,anthropogenic waste heat accumulate in these water bodies. This suggests an important fact that surface water radiations is not governed by the observed surface water temperature variations, or the law of Stefan-Boltzman law equation does not apply for surface water temperature radiation. Surface water radiation is governed by surface convection, which appears to remain unchanged with surface temperature based on observations.

    Anthropogenic waste heat comes in two forms. First, dry waste heat directly rejected to the atmospheric air or radiated to space. This heat finds its way out of the earth. Second, wet waste heat directly rejected to surface water or as water vapor. This heat accumulate with time if not addressed. My estimate of this heat is about 50% of the rejected energy at about 60% efficiency. or about 20% of the total energy consumed.

    I am glad that you are addressing this very important subject.

  24. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    I am having difficulty in posting reply to comments today. This is not the first time. Do you have any suggestion to possible software compatibilities with your blog?

  25. David Brewer says:

    Dr Spencer –

    Another person who looked into the issue of waste heat in watts per square meter at a country level was a Dr Hartwig Volz. He said in 1998:

    “Some days ago I read in a book on climatology that the average energy input by consumption of commercial energy within Germany would amount to approximately 1.6 W/m². Because I could not believe in such a large number, I checked the calculation. Here it is.

    “Germany is a comparatively small and densely populated area with 82 million habitants and 357,000 square kilometers (3.57*10^11 m²). In 1997 commercial energy consumption amounted to 497 million “hard coal equivalents”. Conversion factor: 1 million hard coal equivalent = 29.3 peta Joule (2.93*10^16 J). So German annual energy consumption amounted to 497 * 2.93*10^16 = 1.46*10^19 J/a. Consumption per sec: 1.46*10^19 / (365*24*60*60) = 4.62*10^11 J/s (= W). Divided by the area of Germany gives the average energy input: 4.62*10^11 / 3.57*10^11 = *1.29 W/m²*.”

    Given the difference in population density between Germany and the USA, this seems to line up pretty well with your calculations.

    url: http://www.john-daly.com/TAR2000/tar2000c.htm#Volz1

  26. David Brewer says:

    Sorry the date of Dr Volz’ comment was 2/15/2000, not 1998.

  27. ddd says:

    I do not understand the rationale to compare a radiative forcing from waste heat with the current radiative imbalance from ghg,althought after warming occurs the radiative imbalance is smaller than the original forcing those +3W/m2 from ghg are still here acting on the climate system, a continual forcing (the same as waste heat) otherwise the temperature would drop back.

    Flanner 2009 provide the global and regional computation for waste heat and is clearly negligible on a global scale although is quite large locally.

  28. Nabil Swedan says:


    3 w/m2 assuming that the Greenhouse Gas Effect exist, which does not.

  29. bob paglee says:

    Instead of dividing the amount of waste heat by the area of the USA to arrive at the 0.33 watts per square meter, wouldn’t it be more realistic to add the areas of our adjoining oceans up to the oceanic dividing line between the USA and land masses on the other side of that dividing line? Granted that there may be a few big ships in those ocean areas adjoining the USA that would be adding some more waste heat to be added into our’s, but wouldn’t their contribution be trivial compared to that of our land-based waste heat?

  30. Doug Cotton says:


    People here still can’t break away from thinking only of radiation.

    Dr Hans Jelbring (Ph D in Climatology) would rubbish this emphasis. He wrote his Ph.D thesis on all this back in 1998, leading the world into a paradigm shift in thinking about climate change. Like many scientific and medical breakthroughs throughout history, these things take 20 years or more to be believed. But I am telling you straight that you need to read his work, which is of course cited in my Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms paper.

    You are all basically thinking that oxygen and nitrogen have no effect just because you think they don’t radiate much. Yet they make up over 98% of the atmosphere and they have molecules striking the surface and slowing its rate of cooling by non-radiative processes, just like a blanket. That’s physics! That’s what happens when the temperature gap is small. The rate of conduction (diffusion) and the rate of evaporative cooling are each slowed down by the close temperature of 100% of all the molecules in the atmosphere, 0.04% of which are carbon dioxide.

    Yes I know water vapour has a small warming effect in this process which we notice when relative humidity is high, but its overall effect reducing the mean thermal gradient (AKA “effective lapse rate”) causes a significantly lower surface temperature, because the whole thermal plot in the troposphere swivels around its pivoting altitude, where there are equal amounts of radiation above and below. This is because water vapour is continually radiating heat from warmer, lower altitudes (even down where we measure official temperatures) to other water vapour at higher, cooler altitudes. Heat only passes from warmer to cooler regions.

    But still climatologists naively think that one molecule of carbon dioxide in every 2,500 air molecules can have a better blanket effect than all the nitrogen and oxygen, just because it slows (by a minuscule amount) only the radiative component of surface cooling, which in itself is totally dominated by non-radiative cooling processes, as physics clearly demonstrates.

    Oxygen and nitrogen are slowing the rate of conduction and evaporation, just by being next to the surface at nearly the same temperature, and this dominates any effect of carbon dioxide by several orders of magnitude.


  31. Nabil Swedan says:


    Based on observations, do you buy the idea that anthropogenic waste heat warms up the surface?

  32. Doug Cotton says:

    Nabil, you’ll find my answer in this comment above. But also see this one.

  33. Rich says:

    For every watt of electricity used in the US (or any where else for that matter) on average, an equal amount of waste power is dumped into the atmosphere. Most power plants are only 30 to 50 percent efficient. The energy not converted into electricity is dumped into the atmosphere, river, lakes or ocean. Look up the GW hours of electricity made on the internet, double that number and it all goes into the atmosphere – regardless of how efficient your light bulb is. (The fact that wind, solar, and hydro do not generate this “heat” means nothing in this assumption as it is far less than 20% of the generated electricity and most power plants are only 30% efficient.

    Also, who is looking at the clouds generated by all of the EPA mandated cooling towers at these power plants. Some of my friends live east (about two miles)of four large cooling towers and they now live in a constant “Partly Cloudy” day. I have been told the same effect occurs at large HVAC cooling towers.

  34. Col Andrews says:

    Dr. Roy,
    I have read enjoyed your blog fom years, thanks for you efforts to clarify and educate.
    But I do have questions about the above and felt compelled to write. You appear to use the whole of the US energy consumption and assume it is all released as heat?? surely this is not accurate? Nabil Swedan said “My estimate of this heat is about 50% of the rejected energy at about 60% efficiency. or about 20% of the total energy consumed.” and this is I think is more correct, as a maor portion of the energy consumed is used to build, create move or change things and only a portion – mabe 20% – is lost as heat to the atmosphere as primary mode of efficiency losses.
    Like an electric motor driving a gearbox driving a water pump. The equipment consumed energy in its creation and generated a portion as heat thru inefficiencies in manufacture. The electric power to the electric motor generated some heat from the resistance in the transmission lines, the electric motor releases some heat and noise as inefficiencies (about 3% I think), the gearbox efficiency is about 95%, the pump efficiency can be between 50 – 90% BUT the major portion of the energy consumed is changing Kinetic and Potential energy of the liquid.
    Thus a more realistic figure may be arround 0.06W/m2 (20% of total).

  35. MikeB says:

    You cannot ‘consume’ energy. Energy cannot be destroyed or created. This is the 1st law of thermodynamics. Thus most human produced energy is going to end up as additional ‘heat’, no matter what work it does in the meantime.

  36. Entropic man says:

    This paper gives some global figures.


  37. Dr, Strangelove says:


    You have to think a little harder or read a physics textbook if you don’t understand what I said. I don’t want to be explaining elementary physics all the time.

    E = 1/2 mv^2 is kinetic energy. Its the energy of bodies in motion. It’s not heat. Heat is generated by friction when the body is moving through a medium like air or water or the point of contact between it and the ground. When the moving body hit a wall and comes to a full stop. The kinetic energy is converted into heat and dissipated to the body, the point of impact in the wall and the surrounding air.

    Of course all conductor resistance produce heat. That’s what I said so why are you disagreeing? My point is not 100% of the electrical energy is converted into heat. Conductors with high resistance will produce more heat than low-resistance conductors according to Joule’s 1st law. If you believe 100% of the energy is converted into heat, then you won’t get any electricity in your home because all of it would be lost as heat in the transmission line.

    You must be joking LOL

  38. Doug Cotton says:


    Because there is so much misunderstanding of the relative importance of non-radiative processes (both on this thread and elsewhere) I have posted two comments with questions that some may wish to think about to help with understanding of the new 21st century paradigm shift relating to planetary surface temperatures.

    The two successive posts start with this one on another thread …

    Please respond on that thread so the discussion can be kept in one place. I believe you will find this of the utmost importance.


  39. Dr. Strangelove says:


    Here’s my calculation and interpretation of the effect of waste heat.

    2008 world power consumption = 1.5 x 10^13 W
    Earth surface area = 5.1 x 10^14 m^2
    Power/area = 0.03 watts per sq.m.

    This heat is generated on the ground so it’s not comparable to CO2 forcing which is measured at TOA. I think it should be compared with ave. solar radiance on the ground of about 238 W/m^2. The waste heat can be viewed as additional heat generated on the ground.

    What’s the effect of waste heat? I will compare it with the variation in solar constant of 1361 to 1362 W/m^2. This translates to 0.175 W/m^2 variance on the ground at 30% albedo. I think this is comparable to the effect of waste heat, which is 1/6 the magnitude of the solar radiance variance.

    Therefore, the effect of solar variance is 6 times greater so waste heat is insignificant.

  40. Doug Cotton says:


    I wonder if the fictitious comedy film character “Dr Strangelove” seriously thinks that radiation transfers “about 238 W/m^2” of thermal energy from the surface to the atmosphere. Add to that all the energy transferred by evaporative cooling and conduction (diffusion) and you get more than the incident energy in the solar insolation received at TOA. If you apply similar concepts to Venus, with its temperature of over 700K at its poles (which receive virtually no insolation from the Sun) then you have over 16,000 W/m^2 coming out of the surface, but none going in, Dr S.

    Now, if anyone wants an explanation of what really happens on Venus, read my Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.

  41. Massimo PORZIO says:

    About your “100% of the electrical energy is converted into heat.”, I apologize for that, I misunderstood your point, I’m Italian and sometimes I misread English, I read again your post and I find your point.

    About the frictions:
    In any moving vehicle the frictions are more present in their mechanical transmissions than the air. This is because in same cars there is also the oil temperature in addition to the water temperature.
    In the wall impact, most of the energy is not heat, but is converted into the work to deform the bodies (the vehicle and in case the same wall).

  42. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Uhmmm… I thought again on my:
    “In the wall impact, most of the energy is not heat, but is converted into the work to deform the bodies (the vehicle and in case the same wall).”
    I read that a long time ago, but I never spent a little time on that statement.
    I did today and I think that all the energy finally goes in thermal energy except for the little one which remains in the tensions of the structure deformed, which should be very little.
    But IMO the whole energy used to move a vehicle when it finally stops at the very same altitude turns to heat anyways.

  43. Ben says:

    Has anyone mentioned the EIA has both generated and usage data for example in 2010 they show usage at 3.75×10^12 Watts but generation was 4.125×10^12.

    I would think you need to use the generated total as it is all energy added to the system regardless of use or if it is lost as waste heat in transmission or after “use”.


    So ~9% lost power needs to be added to your calculations.

  44. Ben says:

    Global generation from IEA for 2010 was 20.225×10^12 versus a consumption of 18.46×10^12 or ~9% energy loss in transmission that is being left out of calculations.



  45. ßri says:

    If waste heat is causing warming wouldn’t the warmer temperatures cause less energy usage and less waste heat? I seems like a self correcting problem to me.
    All the energy used in a closed system (your car) is not converted to heat the energy is used to move the car , if it were all converted to heat you would sit still and melt. The difference between the energy consumed and the work done is waste.

  46. Ben says:

    Except that energy is never consumed it is just changed. Energy used to move your car generates heat from friction either with the road/wind or the brakes and transmission of the car. If a car sits still with out a radiator fan it quickly overheats.

    Second we use as much energy cooling things as we do warming them. It is certainly not a self correcting problem. An air conditioner creates far more heat then it does cold. Heating is far more efficient in your home then cooling your oven is more efficient then your fridge.

  47. Christian says:

    My opinion is, when i look at waste heat, you have also look to local aersol ouput.

    If calculation about aersol output correct, the effect of waste heat in current warming is 0.

  48. Doug Cotton says:

    Salvatore says quite correctly (in a comment above) that I do not believe that the (radiative) greenhouse effect exists at all. Neither do about 200 of my colleagues, including professors of physics and applied mathematics and many other suitably qualified, thinking scientists, even a Nobel Prize nominee, who have all joined forces to fight the fraudulent hoax through Principia Scientific International the website for which is easily found.

    The most compelling and cogent argument as to why the very first assumption in the greenhouse effect conjecture is incorrect physics (violating the First Law of Thermodynamics) can be summarised in just seven lines, as in this comment …


  49. bob paglee says:

    Besides poorly sited land thermometers, this also may explain why there is a significant difference between terrestrial measurements of “global warming” and satellite measurements.

    The satellites cover the whole globe, including the vast oceans where nobody lives and the vast frigid areas near the poles where there are very few thermometers. These cooler areas with no thermometers cannot compensate for land-based measurements near big asphalt parking lots that are also affected by the waste heat emanating for example from air conditioner condensers for refrigerants(like freon?.

    That waste heat also is added to the air over populated land areas of industrialized nations and this adds further upward biases to land-based temperature measurements.

  50. Doug Cotton says:

    Land based temperatures should not been weighted by area. Instead, there should be weighting based on thermal energy content, which is approximately ..

    90% oceans and sea ice
    6% land and other snow and ice
    4% atmosphere

    So global temperatures should reflect all these, or at least land and sea in the ratio of about 6:90.

  51. Dr No says:

    Here is a question for you all.
    If waste heat is a problem then surely we should reduce its generation.
    Maybe we should cut back burning fossil fuels?
    Maybe governments should introduce a carbon tax?

  52. Doug Cotton says:

    No Dr No Maybe we should apply the First Law of Thermodynamics and come to accept the fact that energy cannot be created, as would be necessary if the IPCC assumption of an isothermal atmosphere all “below the freezing point of water” were a physical possibility.

    I quote the IPCC: “Without the natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature at Earth’s surface would be below the freezing point of water. Thus, Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it … “

    So no, Dr No. The thermal gradient “as we know it” has developed solely as a result of molecular movement under the influence of a gravitational field. That’s what is now fully proven physics. I defy you to disprove it. In fact it accounts for more than the proverbial 33 degrees of warming, because it is more like 44 degrees reduced by 11 degrees due to water vapour which makes the thermal gradient (AKA “lapse rate”) less steep.

    Prove me wrong with valid physics, any reader.

  53. Entropic man says:

    Flanner, 2008 estimated worldwide anthropogenic heat production to be 2.7 TeraWatts, equivalent to 0.28W/M^2.


    To increase our climate system’s average temperature by 1K would need an increase in surface energy input, from whatever source, of approximately 3.3W/M^2.


    If we sustain 0.28W/M^2 this would increase the equilibrium surface temperature of our planet by 0.28/3.3 = 0.08K.

  54. Doug Cotton says:

    Entropic No it wouldn’t. If it raised the surface temperature 0.08K then the whole conduction profile from the core to the surface would also have to rise by 0.08K at the surface end, because that’s the physics of conduction. And that would take a huge amount of extra energy as the internal flow would be reduced and maybe even reversed to compensate. Furthermore, the whole thermal plot in the atmosphere would have to be raised by 0.08K at all levels, because you have not altered the mean specific heat of the atmosphere or the acceleration due to gravity, which together determine the gravitational component of the gradient, namely -g/Cp where Cp is mean specific heat. The effective gradient is reduced by radiation mostly from warmer water vapour at lower altitudes to cooler WV at higher altitudes, but you haven’t altered any of this. Unless you do alter all these parameters, the extra energy is just radiated away.

    This is yet another example of over-simplified thinking, ignoring the laws of physics. There never could have been an isothermal atmosphere at 255K in the first place, simply because gravity causes a thermal gradient in accord with the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, as they apply in a gravitational field. All this has been proved in over 800 experiments this century. Get up to date with your physics – all of you! If you (and Roy) keep posting invalid physics, I will keep showing everyone where you are wrong. Over 200 well experienced and suitably qualified members of Principia Scientific International are fed up with the pseudo “physics” being bandied around by climatologists who have not done degrees in physics and clearly misunderstand when and how the equations and laws of physics are to be applied.

  55. John Moore says:

    I think focusing on “waste” heat is incorrect, as some others have said. Almost all the energy produced (extracted would be more correct, except in nuclear reactors) will ultimately become heat in the environment. The only exceptions would be where the energy is stored – for example in endothermic chemical reactions.

  56. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @John Moore

    “I think focusing on “waste” heat is incorrect, as some others have said. Almost all the energy produced (extracted would be more correct, except in nuclear reactors) will ultimately become heat in the environment. The only exceptions would be where the energy is stored – for example in endothermic chemical reactions.”

    I fully agree.

  57. Jos says:

    Hi Roy,

    I wrote a short piece for EOS on this a couple of years ago (2008).


    Basic conclusions are that globally it is not that relevant, but regionally, let alone locally, it is, and it is a key contributor to the UHI effect.

    Some research has been done on the topic of the effect of waste heat on climate, but not very much – still to my amazement. And I share your worries, which is why I supported Anthony Watt’s SurfaceStation project when it started because it is important to understand how local circumstance affect local temperature measurements.



  58. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    “Prove me wrong with valid physics, any reader. “

    Doug you keep over-reaching and put the cart before the horse. If science was based on conjecture and accepting a hypothesis until proven wrong we may as well frame the God question: “ A supernatural being has so ordained xyz non falsifiable hypothesis so prove me wrong using physics.” Therefore, God exists if you can’t prove me wrong.

    The onus is on you to show the empirical evidence to support your idea.

    Your “pivotal height” is just nonsense if by that one is to infer a specific height at which lapse rates pivot. But why waffle on using those terms? Again you provide no evidence – just thought bubbles.

    There is one measure we can fix on reasonably and that is global T avg but more importantly the surface T in a given areas at a given time. These when integrated give the SB emission relationship equilibrium which may work out at -18 deg C or around 5 km height if it was all a “wet” lapse rate or the same -18 C at close to 3.5km height for an all “dry” lapse rate and variations somewhere in between for reality. This is just illustrative as these averages are misleading here and use an average surface T of 15C.

    Nowhere in this lapse rate relationship is there any causal relationship between lapse rates and earth T no matter what lapse rate is applicable.

    I will use your oft use argument : “Can you see any earth T in the lapse rate formula of -g/Cp?”
    Equally do you see any pivot height in the formula?

    If not then why go on to tell us that a wet lapse rate will cause cooling of the surface.

  59. Entropic man says:

    Doug Cotton

    The 2.7 Terawatts of waste heat production is valid. If you are unhappy with my calculation, please provide a numerical calculation predicting the temperature change that would ensue using your hypothesis.

  60. Geoff wood says:

    In order to bring any single value to any parameter we have to average in some way. If we average sensibly then we get a sensible answer. If implemented casually then we get potentially a confused or misleading conclusion. If we use S-B to calculate the Earth’s effective black body temperature then we find -18 or 255K a significant figure. However, as you know this is nothing to do with a surface, but more to do with an effective optical depth from a collection of radiating bodies. If we locate that mean temperature level in the atmosphere and its mean height, then the mean lapse rate says that the surface temperature is in equilibrium with the input flux. I don’t recall any similar reference or gradient impressed or implied quantifyiably through GHG theory.

    For a star, there are two input parameters. Initial composition and mass. That’s it. From that the whole lifetime of the star and it’s ultimate outcome is calculable. A star is thermodynamic outside of the nuclear core and that thermodynamic envelope regulates in a perfectly stable manner the full nuclear reaction process by near instantaneous pressure regulation of core temperature. A star can delay energy thoughput by tens of thousands of years whilst through thermodynamic gravity coupling of the core to the surface dissipate in real time the equivalent of the core production necessary to convince most that it does not vary at all. All the time it’s atmosphere is changing with production and proliferation of nuclear products.

    Nikolov and Zeller have produced the evidence that the thermodynamic process is a great leveller. All atmospheres behave the same and answer to gravity and the irreversible hold it has of matter. Ned Nikolov has shown that Holder’s inequality makes a mockery of averaging temperatures. Temporal and spacial integration of equivalent flux is the only way to calculate an average effective mean temperature. If you as an individual need to understand the details without glossing over any topic then you need to read and understand all of Doug’s posts. I mean that as a compliment Doug, not as a negative comment!

  61. Doug Cotton says:

    Hence all your comments, TonyM, relate to the “First School of Thought” because you have no idea as to what this 21st Century paradigm shift is all about.

    By the way, lapse rates don’t pivot. Lapse rates are gradients – numbers like 9.8 or 6.5. Get your geometry right!

    The “pivot height” is of course not the gradient. It’s determined by insolation, albedo, cloud altitudes etc. You have no concept whatsoever of what I have explained in the paper, because you haven’t studied it, let alone the cited references which provide the evidence which you claim I have not provided.

    If you write again about this, you had better display a knowledge of what I have said in the paper (and the video, both linked from my website) and you had better discuss physics rather than religious matters. You might also explain how the energy gets to the Venus poles – no one else has yet.

  62. Doug Cotton says:


    Enttropic must be having trouble understanding the sentence in my previous comment to him which reads “Unless you do alter all these parameters, the extra energy is just radiated away.”

    He, and others, would do well to read Geoff Wood’s comment above – right to the end, and maybe Google “Geoof Wood climate”
    Many thanks Geoff for your support.

  63. David Appell says:

    Geoff Wood wrote:
    “Ned Nikolov has shown that Holder’s inequality makes a mockery of averaging temperatures.”

    He has not. In particular, their claim about lunar temperatures is wrong, and they never have been able to obtain the right numbers. Meanwhile, standard radiative physics gives exactly the right answer for the lunar surface temperature:


  64. Doug Cotton says:


    I deliberately avoided citing Nikolov and Zeller in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” because there is one minor but important error they make. Most of what is said, though, is along the right track, in that they point out that the surface temperatures on various planets relate to the thermal gradients and insolation levels.

    My only problem with them is that they seem to attribute the temperature to the pressure, instead of the the effect of gravity itself acting on individual molecules in free path motion between impacts.

    We can easily see that pressure is not directly related to temperature when we consider the fact that the same pressure on two different planets is usually not associated with the same temperature, as shown here.

    Roger (Tallbloke) failed to detect this error, as he also failed to detect the error in Stephen Wilde’s recent post regarding air supposedly falling by convection. But it is clear that Roger has an agenda and a mind of his own and, as David Appell rightly says, he does ban people like myself who disagree with him and his friends – in my case on very wishy washy grounds of being assertive – supposedly without the very proof which was in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” which he published on his site, but probably never really studied.


  65. Doug Cotton says:

    David and others

    You only need to consider the mathematics to see that you can’t average temperatures, when what you are in fact starting with is radiation from a wide range of surface and atmosphere temperatures. As you must know, radiation increases with the fourth power of the absolute temperature. It is a basic mathematical fact that for any set of numbers (other than all one’s) the mean of the fourth powers is not the same as the fourth power of the mean. That is why the 255K figure (based on flat Earth “science”) is inaccurate – as well as meaningless. The thermal profile (plot) is far more likely to pivot around various points (at different latitudes, for example) where, at each such point, there is (roughly) equal outward radiation from lower altitudes (including the surface) as there is from higher altitudes. How else could the radiative balance which is always observed at TOA (within 0.5% or so) be maintained?

    Whether or not you agree with what seems to me to be plain logic about the pivoting point, you certainly can’t disagree with the above mathematics about fourth powers.

    So the 255K figure is wrong, and it is quite meaningless anyway, because it would be impossible for the surface and all levels of the atmosphere to be at the same temperature, whatever that temperature might be, because of the effect of gravity, which has been completely overlooked in every single, expensive GH model.

    There never was a need for GHG’s to raise the temperature at the surface end – gravity had already done it.

    That is the 21st Century New Paradigm, based on 21st Century theory and empirical evidence in over 800 experiments. You don’t have a ghost of a chance of supporting the GHE conjecture now with any valid physics, because valid physics only gives one result and is not self-contradictory.

    Now, who wants to argue? Produce your physics, and start by explaining some other method whereby you imagine the required energy gets to the poles of Venus, where direct Solar insolation reaching the polar surfaces of Venus averages less than 1 W/m^2.


  66. Doug Cotton says:

    If you hope to be able to argue another case, I suggest you first spend at least three hours studying my papers, the cited references and my 10 min 45 sec video: http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

  67. Doug Cotton says:

    I’ve posted the following comment on David Appell’s blog

    (awaiting moderation, David)

    “To be sure, there are assumptions made in this calculation, the major one” being that there would be an isothermal atmosphere, all at 255K. This is totally impossible because it assumes that, every time a molecule in its free path motion between impacts, retains the same kinetic energy, even though its potential energy changes. So those molecules which diffuse upwards would be creating energy. Your “model” completely disregards what is now proven physics, namely that a thermal gradient is autonomously generated in a still gas under the influence of a gravitational field. Evidence is cited in my “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” The gradient thus calculated using the assumption of isentropic conditions (which do not violate the extended form of The Second Law of Thermodynamics) is -g/Cp where Cp is mean specific heat. Thus it would lead to a higher surface temperature except for the fact that water vapour decreases the gradient.

  68. Doug Cotton says:

    As I could have predicted, David Appell appealed to authority of those rubber-stamping ignorant peers who promulgate the hoax. In his arrogant brief response there was not a single word of physics mentioned, because he has absolutely no idea of any valid physics contrary to what I have explained. So I replied …

    Typical, typical. Appeal to “authority” the issue being whether being reviewed by scientists who understand atmospheric physics (like those who have reviewed mine) or being rubber stamped by those who outright deny basic physics and, in so doing, very obviously imply the First Law of Thermodynamics can be violated, even though it has been proven that it can’t be. If I had it to throw around (like Michael Mann who lost his court case) I would offer a million dollars to anyone who could prove that a thermal gradient does not develop autonomously in still air in a gravitational field. You can’t do that. So, instead of discussing the fact that you have posted incorrect physics, you appeal to authority to claim your pseudo physics to be true (and that energy can thus be created) and you will forever claim you are right, when over 800 experiments this century have proven you wrong. You have not a single experiment to back you up. Not a single one. I rest my case.

    If David Appell believes he can prove that thermal gradients do not develop autonomously in gravitational fields, then he would be able to explain how sufficient energy gets to the poles of Venus by some other process involving isothermal atmosphere, as was assumed for Earth (at 255K) by IPCC & Co, in the absence of GHG. But he can’t do that, can he? Has anyone seen him attempt to do so? It wouldn’t take long to write out an explanation, now would it David? But I bet he appeals to authority and posts a link to some article by Hansen or on Wiki or whatever. Just watch folks! He does not have a single original point to make on the subject, and, if he has, I’ll easily prove him wrong with basic proven physics. With nearly 50 years’ experience helping students to understand physics, I can easily pick the ones who don’t understand heat transfer in all its facets, or thermal gradients in gravitational fields.

  69. Doug Cotton says:

    David Appell seems to think there is no empirical evidence for what I say. Yet I have cited such in my paper, and that empirical evidence, involving over 800 carefully constructed and controlled experiments, clearly completely debunks the GHE conjecture. So I have replied …

    I have clearly demonstrated where the assumptions made by the IPCC & Co violate the laws of physics. This is now supported by 21st century empirical evidence. Hence their GHE conjecture is debunked with new evidence, as any “re-trial” would agree. So, no, it’s not up to you to conduct the trial. But, it should be up to anyone who propagates what is now clearly shown to be false, to investigate the counter evidence and refrain from promoting pseudo science, even pending that re-trial for which the evidence already clearly indicates the outcome. there is, in fact, sufficient evidence to keep the “prisoner” incarcerated, pending trial. It is not appropriate to grant bail or act as if no new evidence has been forthcoming. So, as someone who promulgates what is now clearly false pseudo science, I suggest you need to consider your stance and the effects on developing countries whose humanitarian aid will be re-directed to carbon dioxide aid. Meanwhile you may be assured that I’m working on having a paper published in a journals which may surprise you, as well as further articles which will be read by tens of thousands. It’s only a matter of time. The truth will prevail.

  70. Doug Cotton says:

    Furthermore, the assumption that there would have been an isothermal atmosphere in the absence of GHG was initially made as an assertive statement without any proof. There was neither a theoretical explanation as to how and why an entropy gradient would develop, rather than a thermal gradient, and there was no empirical evidence of isothermal conditions.

    In fact, Loschmidt had said a thermal gradient would develop back in the 19th century, because it is in fact very easy to demonstrate the reason as to why molecules gain or lose kinetic energy as they fall or rise in a gravitational field. It is very elementary Newtonian physics, completely overlooked by all those “peers” who rubber stamped the concept.

    It is actually they who should be put on trial for scientific fraud. Michael Mann could not produce any evidence in court, so we do in fact already have the courts ruling against the GHE.

    It’s only a matter of time, Keep watching!

    PS I did not “form” Principia Scientific International. It was well underway before I joined as a member, and now has about 200 members who all realise that carbon dioxide has no effect on climate. You can easily see some of their biographies on the website under “About” / “Why is PSI a private assoc?”.

  71. Doug Cotton says:

    I predict that there will in due course be class action against the IPCC, which might well extend to websites like SkS, SoD and maybe yours, David and Roy. You tread risky ground.

  72. Entropic man says:

    Doug Cotton

    “Enttropic must be having trouble understanding the sentence in my previous comment to him which reads “Unless you do alter all these parameters, the extra energy is just radiated away.”

    So the 0.28W/M^2 waste heat we produce adds to the OLR?

  73. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer writes above: “since warming has alleviated some of the radiative forcing caused by increasing CO2.”

    I think this is a conceptual mistake.

    As I understand the model in which “forcing” appears, “forcing” is a virtual effect, and once it has been introduced by definition it does not change, not for any reason. It is a once-changing parameter of the model.

    “Alleviation” as proposed by Dr Spencer is, in the model that talks of “forcing”, a response to the “forcing”, called “feedback” by the IPCC. I think that heat added to the climate system by consumption of fuels that would not otherwise be releasing heat will stimulate “alleviation” of the same kind as that from CO2 “forcing”.

    In the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” model, added CO2 has a virtual effect hardly distinguishable from that of a once-occurring-but-thereafter-fixed increase in sunlight absorbed by atmosphere and land-sea body. The “alleviation” is considered to be “feedback”, not a change of “forcing”.

    A true feedback is conceivable for CO2 “forcing”, that it will somehow alter the rate of metabolism of CO2 by the climate body. I think Dr Spencer means that such a feedback does not occur for heat released by fuel consumption unless one will argue that heat released by fuel consumption will cause a tax that will cut fuel consumption, or somesuch!

    Both with added heat from fuel consumption and with CO2 “forcing”, in the model, there will be a virtual primary uncompensated increase in temperature. This will elicit “feedback” or “alleviation”. These “feedback” or “alleviation” effects are therefore also virtual in the sense that they are not directly measurable or detectable as such, but appear only as figures in the calculations for the model.

  74. David Appell says:

    Doug, threatening legal action just makes you look like a fool. Scientific ideas have never been established by the courts, but by scientific methods. If you can’t win there, you don’t win.

    Until you take the risk of submitting your work to real journals and not published in your vanity press, you will continue to be seen as a crank.

  75. David Appell says:

    Why consider regional waste heat and not global waste heat? Waste heat is going to get dispersed throughout the atmosphere…. That makes the number much lower….

    Total worldwide energy production was 484 Quads in 2009, or an average of 16 TW. Over the globe that’s only 0.03 W/m2.

  76. J Williams says:

    I must agree with David’s point about the absurdity of individuals using this website to make threats of legal action. Absolutely pathetic.

  77. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes Entropic, glad you now understand. The reasons are in my papers, so don’t ask me to re-write thousands of words therein on this thread.

    Christopher If you “understand the model” then you will realise that oxygen and nitrogen in a gravitational field raise the surface temperature by about 50 degrees, and then water vapour lowers it back to about 288K. Do you understand that there is no need at all for back radiation to warm the surface? Do you realise that, even if it slowed the rate of cooling, the Sun could never have warmed it to 288K in the first place – let alone warmed the poles of Venus to 730K with only 1W/m^2 of insolation reaching the surface at those poles.

    David Yes, well Michael Mann et al took legal action against the Chairman of Principia Scientific International, Dr Timothy Ball, and lost their case, paying about a million dollars in costs. So Michael Mann is a fool, as we all knew anyway with his “hockey stick” claims published years before he even got his PhD..

  78. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “Why consider regional waste heat and not global waste heat?”

    Taking apart my jokes above, I believe that Dr.Spencer was talking about the bias of the US ground temperature measurements that was proven to be highly “out of standard” for the minimum distance from human “waste heat”.
    The statistical method to get those biased values, adjust and “homogenize” the whole US territory is just ridicule; and in this context of considering this issue of the US ground temperature measurements, the use of the US territory make more sense than the use of the whole globe.
    Some AGW supporting statisticians argue that there are “other more influential aspects” that drive the temperature bias down (such as artificial irrigation). But at this point one should admit that the whole measurement system is invalidated by the simple fact that the correction factors are more influential than the measurements themselves.
    The use of correction greater than the measurement uncertainty seems to be not so rare in the climate arena. The Grace satellites tandem to measure masses at ground it’s an another good example of that bad way of doing to me.
    In the real industrial world, I don’t believe that there is a single engineer which would design a measurement system where the correction accounts more than the measures themselves. If he/she existed, he/she have been surely fired.

  79. I know a very simple way to calculate the actual effect of an extra 0,33 W/m² extra energy : it is simply the application of the Stefan law. Every other things being identical, the new temperature, calculated by application of the Stefan law which gives a value of 390,794 W for 15°C gives a temperature of 15.035°C by making a reverse calculation with (390.794 + 0.33) watt.
    So, Earth is not yet under a great danger of overheating…

  80. Doug Cotton says:

    I never threaten legal action. I either leave that to lawyers, or, if it’s a simple case I can handle myself, I just advise if it is about to commence. In this case, I was doing neither – just a prediction. Go back and read what I said. I’m not going to be the one initiating anything, let’s be straight about that, please. I am just predicting that someone, somewhere, probably a consortium of large companies affected by carbon tax, for example, will file such. After all, there’s a lot of money they will lose in Australia if they are no longer competitive with imports. At the moment I suspect they are just waiting for the Libs to remove it when in power, but if that doesn’t happen, I strongly suspect my prediction will come true. After all, at least one Canadian court has already thrown out Michael Mann’s case.

    It’s very easy for physicists to rubbish the concept of an isothermal atmosphere all at 255K and the GHE conjecture depends 100% on that false physics being true and the First Law of Thermodynamics being violated. By all means continue being bluffed – that’s your choice, but not many who understand the physics of heat transfer will be, especially after they read my next article already in the review process. I’ve given you the gist of it on this thread, so you’re among the first who could potentially start thinking about it if you read Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    Sorry if I’m starting to sound angry, but this has been the greatest fraudulent hoax of all time, and the 200 scientists who are members of Principia Scientific International (and others no doubt also) will slay it, sooner or later.


  81. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy, You have not as yet acknowledged the error in your item (6) in a previous post, which assumed isothermal temperatures at 255K. This would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    The warming of the Earth’s surface has nothing to do with either anthropogenic heat emissions, or carbon dioxide emissions.

    The earth’s surface temperature is maintained primarily by all air molecules acting as a blanket and slowing the rate of non-radiative cooling of the surface after each daily burst of insolation. The atmospheric thermal gradient is not created by convection, and has nothing to do with pressure. It is caused by, and is the negative quotient of, the acceleration due to gravity and the mean specific heat of the atmospheric gases. It is reduced by about a third (in absolute magnitude) by intra-atmospheric radiation from warmer layers to cooler layers, such radiation being primarily due to water vapour, but partly carbon dioxide and its colleagues. Such a reduction in the gradient implies a cooler surface temperature. So the gravitational effect of over 50C degrees of warming is reduced by about a third by water vapour and droplets, as well as radiating gases. This is the 21st Century New Paradigm for Climate Change.

    Spend 10 minutes here: http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

  82. Entropic man says:

    Doug cotton

    I’m glad we can agree on the final destination of our waste heat into the OLR. Now please explain how it gets there without heating the water, the ground and the atmosphere en route.

  83. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    David Yes, well Michael Mann et al took legal action against the Chairman of Principia Scientific International, Dr Timothy Ball, and lost their case, paying about a million dollars in costs.
    Mann lost his case to Tim Ball, and paid $1M in costs?? Where can I find a copy of that court decision?

  84. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    Sorry if I’m starting to sound angry, but this has been the greatest fraudulent hoax of all time, and the 200 scientists who are members of Principia Scientific International (and others no doubt also) will slay it, sooner or later.

    Personally I find a much more scientifically interesting question to be, how is it a bunch of people come to believe so strongly in their own simplistic, untested, unpublished ideas that they honestly believe tens of thousands of professional scientists, across generations and across the world, are all involved in some big hoax on everyone.

    Human nature is far more complex than anything going on with the climate.

  85. Doug Cotton says:


    Waste heat is not a contributor because its energy all goes to space. You need to think outside the square. You are all mostly still under the influence of the old 20th Century school of thought and you have not come to grips with …

    The New 21st Century Paradigm for Climate Change

    The emissivity of a gas can be estimated from the width and intensity of the various spectral lines corresponding to the frequencies which it absorbs and emits. The intensity of each such spectral line must be limited by the Planck curve, and so the emissivity pertains to the total area which is occupied by those spectral lines and bands contained within the area under the Planck curve. In a perfect blackbody, the full area is occupied, thus we derive Stefan-Boltzmann values from that area. The slowing of radiative cooling must be calculated using emissivity for both the warmer surface and the cooler atmospheric water vapour or radiating gas. This is standard physics using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

    Clearly carbon dioxide has fewer spectral lines than water vapour does. And at lower atmospheric temperatures CO2’s main 15 micron line is off to one side of the Planck curve, and thus has a lower intensity than it does at -80 deg.C up in the mesosphere. Water vapour (per molecule) has thus a far greater effect than carbon dioxide in slowing that small portion of surface cooling which is due to radiation. Oxygen and nitrogen slow the major portion which is by way of NON-RADIATIVE cooling.

    The amount of surface cooling is, in total, limited each night by the long-term atmospheric thermal profile established primarily by gravity and the level of solar radiation. Even though such surface cooling is indeed slowed, about 70% of the energy is transferred by non-radiative processes which are slowed by all air molecules. The remaining cooling by radiation is slowed primarily by water vapour which has far greater emissivity than carbon dioxide and more than 100 times the effect in total.

    Even though radiative cooling is slowed by back radiation, and carbon dioxide does less than 1% of this slowing, whilst water vapour does nearly all of it, there is still a compensating effect brought about by a greater energy transfer by NON-RADIATIVE cooling over which back radiation can have no effect. This nullifies the effect of back radiation, because, in the long-term, it is the thermal profile made steep by gravity (not any greenhouse effect) which supports the surface temperature.

  86. Dr. Strangelove says:


    You got it right. Almost all of the energy is converted to heat when a moving body stops except for its potential energy. The work in deforming the body upon collision is also converted to heat unless it’s an elastic deformation like a spring.

    Endothermic processes are not limited to chemical reactions. They can also be physical processes like melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets. The latent heat of fusion is conserved during phase change. Heat is absorbed but no change in temperature. Evaporation of seawater is also endothermic. The latent heat of vaporization is conserved.

    Another exception is potential energy of bodies at rest. When we build tall structures like buildings, we increase potential energy and this is not heat.

  87. Doug Cotton says:


    My new article on this has now been published. Use Google to find “Principia Scientific International” and/or “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science”


  88. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr. Strangelove,
    I fully agree with all you said.
    “When we build tall structures like buildings, we increase potential energy and this is not heat.”
    And I add, it’s released when we demolish that build of course.

  89. Mack says:

    David Appell says..
    …”honestly believe tens of thousands of professional scientists,across generations and across the world,are all involved in some big hoax on everybody.”
    Well it’s not exactly a hoax David, nor a conspiracy or something like that,but more or less a gradual mindset in the population (which brings pressure on scientists). Think similar the German people about Jews. All it took(which occurred in 1972) was for the newspaper media not to bother to put quote-marks around the words “greenhouse gas” to convert a theory into “fact”.
    So where were you in 1972 David, Looking at your picture on the internet I would say still in nappies.
    It seems you havn’t bothered to heed my advise to you in the last thread,(Salvatore might have)but are only interested in self promotion.

  90. Dr. Strangelove says:

    If solar radiation and greenhouse effect were negligible in Venus, the bottom 5 km atmosphere at 460 C radiating at 16 kw/m^2 will cool to 0 C in less than 3 yrs. You know Stefan-Boltzmann law, do the calculation.

    Gravity cannot keep a gas hot. You need a source of heat to keep it hot. That’s the sun and greenhouse effect. At 0.16 kw/m^2 solar radiation, the bottom 5 km Venus atmosphere will heat from 0 C to 460 C in less than 32 yrs. Radiative thermal equilibrium was reached at 460 C. That’s why it stopped heating further.

    Gravity can keep a gas under pressure but to keep the same temperature, you need to keep gas density constant. The gas will cool even under pressure due to radiative heat transfer and density will decrease. Gas density is dependent on pressure and temperature. That’s why the ideal gas law is always obeyed.

  91. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr S You are wrong about Venus. If you understood what I have said in my paper, my video and now my article, you would realise I am correct – that is, if you make the effort to understand the process. There is over 16,000 W/m^2 at the surface/atmosphere boundary on Venus – fairly equal amounts each way and so very little actual heat transfer (one way) from whichever is the warmer at the time, the surface in the day, usually, and the base of the atmosphere in the 4 month night. The Sun keeps the gas hot, as I have written. Gravity just spreads out the thermal energy in a near uniform gradient, just like gravity spreads out ocean waters so the surface approximates a part of a sphere.

    Now, for the last time, if you want to learn something, go and read it all. If you don’t want to learn, then don’t try to confuse other people by assuming I have said something that I haven’t, or just because you don’t understand. Now I’m logging out for at least 24 hours to have an early night before day surgery tomorrow.

  92. Doug Cotton says:

    PS Your concept of backradiation bouncing back and forth, coming back hotter to the surface than when it left, and multiplying energy over 1,000 times (even in 32 years) is just plain violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It doesn’t happen that way, Dr S. It cannot. Full stop.


  93. Mack says:

    Hope all goes well for you tomorrow Doug.

  94. KR says:

    This has been investigated in some detail – Flanner 2009 (http://aoss-research.engin.umich.edu/faculty/flanner/content/ppr/Flannr09.pdf) found that the thermal energy released from all non-renewable sources globally averages to +0.028 W/m^2; as compared to a greenhouse gas forcing over the last 150 years of at least +3.0 W/m^2. Hence, globally, waste heat forcing is 1/100 that of greenhouse gases.

    Over the US and western Europe he found +0.39 and +0.68 W/m^2, therefore there will be some local effects. Note, however, that this regional effect is expected to be accompanied by increased aerosols (negative forcing), which will to some extent cancel out the waste heat forcing.

    As to “Radiative Forcing is Alleviated After Warming…Waste Heat Forcing Is Not”, I would have to most strongly disagree. Waste heat is an ongoing forcing which will sum with the other +/- forcings (with perhaps the best comparison to solar energy, which also primarily acts by warming the surface). There is _no_ reason whatsoever to treat waste heat as a separate ‘kind’ of energy – joules are joules. And as an energy input to the climate, the direct forcing contribution to global temperatures from waste heat is a warming of ~0.021 C. Which is pretty negligible…

  95. Nabil Swedan says:


    I respectfully have to disagree with you. First, there is no greenhouse gas effect. Second, anthropogenic waste heat impact is about 0.1 degrees centigrade. This heat is the only new experiment for the earth, and the earth will have a problem dealing with. Carbon dioxide is not a big problem because the earth knows how to deal with it. It dealt with carbon dioxide for ever, but not with anthropogenic waste heat.

  96. Richard LH says:

    I suppose that each person on the planet could be considered to be a 1 square meter of surface illuminated by the extra stored solar energy that is just now being released by it existance. In addition to that being currently received from the Sun or elsewhere, that is.

    Into that 1 square meter I think we also need to put a ~60W painted light bulb, and some 10’s of square surface meters of warm swamp (our lungs).

    Then we can add this excess energy released (and CO2, water vapour, etc.) to Roy’s figures for other ‘waste energy’.

    Given the numbers of people on the planet I suspect that the above figures will be non trivial!

  97. KR says:

    Nabil – I’m afraid I would have to disagree with you: there is a greenhouse gas effect.

    The simplest summary I’ve seen is at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/ – I would suggest looking through it. You should also read http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm, which discusses the history of the science supporting the greenhouse effect.

    Then, if the difference between surface temperatures and that radiated to space, the spectrographic evidence of infrared absorption/emission, isotopic evidence regarding anthropogenic CO2, and the last ~200 years of science aren’t sufficient to convince you, well – then (IMO) you are working from convictions, rather than the evidence. Which would make further discussion with you on this topic rather pointless.

    Richard LH – The energy radiated from people (rather than from fossil fuels or nuclear) is energy that originally came from the sun, absorbed by plants, consumed by the rest of the food chain including us, and when that energy gets emitted by biological functions it is just slightly delayed sunlight. It does not change the overall balance of energy in/energy out in the climate.

  98. Massimo PORZIO says:


    I hope it’s a minor surgery.

    Anyways I wish you a complete and fast recovery from it.

    All the best.


  99. Nabil Swedan says:

    “Nabil – I’m afraid I would have to disagree with you: there is a greenhouse gas effect.”

    Dear KR,

    The greenhouse gas effect exists as a concept, and this concept has not done us any good. Too many around the world reject it. A real effect can be sensed with our senses or extension to our senses. None has been possible for the greenhouse gas effect. Had the effect existed in reality, we would not be talking. Not a single mathematical model of the greenhouse gas effect exists since the concept inception in 1830’s. We cannot be all stupid! The effect simply does not exist and it is like chasing a ghost.

  100. Dr. Strangelove says:

    If there’s no greenhouse effect in Venus, how do you prevent its surface radiating at 16 kw/m^2 from cooling? It will cool from 460 C to 0 C in under 3 yrs. The sun alone cannot keep it hot because it only gives 0.16 kw/m^2 heat to Venus surface. There’s a net heat outflow of 15.8 kw/m^2. Gravity cannot prevent the radiation from escaping to space. Greenhouse gases can because they absorb IR radiation and emit back to the surface.

    BTW if solar radiation is solely responsible for Venus heating without greenhouse effect, Mercury should be hotter since it is nearer to the sun and solar radiation is 6.3 kw/m^2 or 40 times higher than Venus. But Mercury is much cooler at 67 C ave. surface temp. because it has no atmosphere hence no greenhouse gases.


    “Not a single mathematical model of the greenhouse gas effect exists since the concept inception in 1830’s”

    These are the equations used in the greenhouse theory. Read also the section “Theory and Experiment – Atmospheric Radiation.”


  101. KR says:

    Nabil Swedan

    “Too many around the world reject it. A real effect can be sensed with our senses or extension to our senses.”

    An argument by uninformed consensus (note – _not_ a really widespread belief), and an argument by common sense.


    These are both logical fallacies. The greenhouse effect is really the _only_ explanation for current temperatures supported by our observations. Again, you are arguing from convictions, not the evidence.

  102. Mack says:

    Dr Strangelove,
    Would your curriculum vitae be….start worrying and start loving fear-mongering pseudoscience from a lawyer called Science of Doom?

  103. Doug Cotton says:

    Hi Massimo – thanks for your thoughts. I’m home now, but will have open heart surgery on March 8th.

  104. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr Strangelove My response is

    (a) in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms”

    (b) in my video http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

    (c) in this week’s News article on Principia Scientific International which I entitled “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science”

    PS. You left out three 000’s. Try over 16,000 W/m^2 as per SBL for the radiation. It seems you may also need to read my March 2012 paper if you don’t understand this .. see

    (d) “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    I don’t have time to re-write nearly 10,000 words in total here – is that fair enough? All your answers to every relevant question may be found at least once in (a) to (d).

  105. Doug Cotton says:

    My apologies – you did write kw (not W which is more common)

  106. Doug Cotton says:

    The greenhouse effect is really the _only_ explanation for current temperatures

    No it’s not. Copy and paste and find my article using Google..

    “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science”

    Doug Cotton

  107. Doug Cotton says:

    In all honesty, Dr Strangelove, your questions show a complete and utter lack of understanding of the mechanisms I have described back in November 2012 in “The Second School of Thought” in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” Even if you had read my article published this week “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science” (which now comes up on Google) you would have found your answers, as I’m sure silent readers realise. If you don’t, then read the full paper.

  108. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Doug,
    luckily, today heart surgery is not so dangerous as some years ago.
    Anyways, take care of you and I’m sure that everything will turn the right way.


  109. Nabil Swedan says:

    KR, Dr. Strangelove,

    You can write as many integrals as you wish, but do not call them an acceptable model until the numbers speak- The numbers what really matters. The numbers out of all greenhouse gas effect models have been unacceptable. This is not a coincidence. It is not modelers errors, it is a fundamental physical error.

    The mid-December, 2012 Yahoo pool from around the world shows that 80% of the world believe that global warming is real. There is a consensus here. Only 25% trust the science and scientist, down from 95% in 2000. It is clear that the models based on the greenhouse gas concept have not worked.

  110. KR says:

    Doug Cotton – My apologies for bluntness, but we’ve been through these discussions before. Your claim to have overturned the 150 years or so of science – an extraordinary claim – would require extraordinary evidence, which you have simply not supplied. Nor have you proposed _anything_ to replace all of the thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, the Stephan-Boltzmann relationship, spectroscopy, etc, that would have to be invalid if your claims were true.

    I regret to say that having read a fair bit of your work, I’m just not willing to throw away the time to read more.

    For those of you who are interested in _actual_ physics, as opposed to _imaginary_ physics, I would suggest Googling ‘site:scienceofdoom.com “doug cotton”‘ for a set of detailed discussions regarding the differences. http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/02/15/co2-cant-have-that-effect-because/ is a nice summary.

    Beliefs such as Doug Cottons do not, and can not, trump actual observations – reality is a harsh critic.

    Back on topic – waste heat from non-renewable sources (as renewables don’t change the energy balance of the climate) represent 1/100th of the forcing from greenhouse gases. It’s negligible.

  111. Nabil Swedan says:

    “Back on topic – waste heat from non-renewable sources (as renewables don’t change the energy balance of the climate) represent 1/100th of the forcing from greenhouse gases. It’s negligible.”

    Dear KR,

    Some correction is needed in the above statement. It is carbon dioxide mass that do not change from renewable energy sources. Anthropogenic waste heat does change and accumulates in the surface, even from renewables, unless it is technically addresses, which can be addressed without breaking the bank.

  112. KR says:

    Nabil Swedan – Anthropogenic waste heat, like changes from land use/surface albedo, operate at the bottom of the troposphere. The net effect is to add a _tiny_ bit to the energy balance of the Earth, warming it until the radiation from the top of the atmosphere equals what comes in from sunlight plus that small bit of waste heat. That’s the first law of thermodynamics in action: conservation of energy.

    It doesn’t, can’t accumulate – it becomes part of the stream of energy entering the climate, then leaving it.

    A bit of math here: computing effective emissivity to space (Note, I apparently erred on the math in an earlier post, this should give the correct values).

    Surface temp: 15 C, or 288.15 K. Power emitted to space at equilibrium = incoming energy from the sun = 240 W/m^2.

    Stephan Boltzmann equation: P = ?*A*?*T^4

    Effective, observed emissivity of Earth to space = Power/(Area*SBconstant*emissivity*T^4) = ~0.613979…

    In other words, the Earths surface radiates IR to space with about 61% the efficiency of a theoretical black-body.

    To radiate 0.028 W/m^2 more, rearrange the Stephan-Boltzmann equation for temperature, and

    T = [ (240 + 0.028) / (Area*SBconstant*emissivity) ] ^0.25 = 288.1584 K

    Hence that means an average surface temperature increase of 0.0084 C will completely balance _all_ of our waste heat. Given the ~0.8 C increase we’ve seen over the last 150 years, I think that’s more than covered.

  113. KR says:

    Gah – in my last post the first equation should be:

    Emissivity = Power/(Area*SBconstant*T^4)

    My apologies, I mistyped the Emissivity twice. The equation to work from is again P = ?*A*?*T^4, area in meters^2, temperature in Kelvin, power in Watts, emissivity dimensionless, SB constant = 5.670373(21)×10^?8 W m^?2 K^?4. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_radiation#Radiative_power for details.

  114. Entropic man says:

    Doug Cotton.

    Welcome back.

  115. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dear KR,

    Based on your approach, and please correct me if am wrong, surface temperature rise can radiate antropogenic waste heat but not heat accumulated in the surface as a result of carbon dioxide. This is not fair, heat is heat, and what you say is not what we observe. Anthropogenic waste heat is accumulating in the Arabian Gulf to the point of shutting down the power and desalination plants there. So waste heat is not negligible; it is real and hurting already.

  116. KR says:

    Nabil Swedan – On the contrary, surface temperature will rise (or fall) until the sum of energies coming into the climate and leaving it are equal. I have not claimed, nor will anyone who understands the physics, that energy will “accumulate”. Energy is energy, waste heat or GHG forcing, it’s just that the waste heat is 1/100th of the GHG forcings. You have to look at the _numbers_.

    A doubling of CO2 will cause (Myhre 1998, http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/myhre_grl98.pdf) a direct top of atmosphere forcing change of ~3.7 W/m^2. Using the same maths as in my last post:

    T = [ (240 + 3.7) / (Area*SBconstant*emissivity) ] ^0.25 = 288.25 K, 16.1 C, or a direct, no-feedback temperature rise of 1.1 C from doubling CO2.

    That’s the simplest way to calculate the change, although what actually happens with increasing CO2 is a decrease in effective emissivity to space (of about 0.0008 per CO2 doubling), meaning that the Earth has to have a higher surface temperature to continue to radiate 240 W/m^2 to space.

    Of course, that’s just the direct CO2 forcing – feedbacks are expected to amplify that to ~3C/doubling depending on climate sensitivity.

    [ Note: raising air temperatures 1.1C with relative humidity remaining relatively constant, as observed, means by the Clausius Clapeyron relationship that increased total absolute humidity will add about another 1C/CO2 doubling; more than halfway to 3C already… and we’ve already seen ~4% increase in total humidity since the 1970’s. ]

  117. KR says:

    Sigh. I’m rushing my typing, making simple math errors. To be more exact:

    A decrease of 3.7 W/m^2 emitted at top of atmosphere leads to:

    Emissivity = 236.3 / (1*SBconstant*(288.15)^4) = 0.6045
    T = [ 240 / (1*SBconstant*0.6045) ] ^0.25 = 289.27

    289.27 – 273.15 = 16.12, or ~1.1C increase per doubling of CO2, a change in emissivity of -0.009, not -0.008.

  118. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Waste heat is a trivial consideration. The “blanket” is produced by non-radiative diffusion processes primarily involving nitrogen and oxygen at the surface-atmosphere boundary. If the only consideration were the effect of water vapour and carbon dioxide you’d be sleeping under a handkerchief.

    Discover “The 21st Century New Paradigm in Climate Change Science” (on the Principia Scientific International website) and discover what real physics has now proved, completely negating any significant relevance of the old 20th Century radiative greenhouse concept.

    No back radiation caused the Earth’s surface to be 288K (or the Venus surface to be over 730K) all on its own, somehow multiplying the Sun’s energy. What did cause it was the temperature distribution brought about by diffusion of kinetic energy in a gravitational field, and this process continues to maintain surface temperatures as atmospheres absorb direct incident Solar radiation, the only possible radiation that can keep them at the observed temperatures. For more detail read “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” published by PSI in November 2012, as well as this week’s article mentioned above.

  119. Doug Cotton says:

    No KR, it is IPCC & Co who “claim to have overturned the 150 years” by ignoring what Loschmidt put forward in the 19th century, and which is now proven fact established with over 800 empirical experiments.

    You can say all you like, but the IPCC assumption that WV and GHG raised the surface temperature 33 degrees is wrong. In fact, water vapour cooled it from a temperature over 300K. Get your physics right and stop propagating absolute rubbish implying theworld’s climate is all about radiative imbalance at TOA.

    I challenge you to prove me wrong with standard physics. But you had better read my papers and this week’s article on Principia Scientific International which has been reviewed and endorsed by all those asked from among 200 members at PSI. So, go on, prove me wrong. PU or SU.

    And don’t bother with SoD thinking that disproves me. Nothing could be easier to overturn than SoD’s concept of cold radiation transferring heat to a warmer surface and magnifying the Sun’s energy 1,600 times on Venus.


  120. Doug Cotton says:

    KR Your calculations are right. But your fundamental assumptions are wrong, because adiabatic diffusion of kinetic energy in a gravitational field has been proven to establish a vertical thermal gradient.

    You, KR, have not taken this fact of physics into account, and nor have you even discussed it, let alone attempted to rebut it – which would require violation of the First law of Thermodynamics. You have a lot of physics to learn. Keep posting invalid physics and I will keep exposing you to all the silent readers.

  121. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and KR (and of course many others) are still living in the 20th century and are still brain-washed by the likes of Myhre whose 1998 paper KR cited – yes, a 14 year old paper that has been completely rubbished because, like all the pseudo physics of climatologists last century, it completely overlooked the proven fact that adiabatic dispersion of kinetic energy (ensuring isentropic conditions) necessarily produces and supports a vertical thermal gradient in any planetary atmosphere.

    Any atmosphere on any of the planets Earth, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune could have, and would have reached the temperature at its base even if the surface had been somehow removed, provided the same gravity existed. The dark side of Venus shows how a surface receiving no solar insolation for 4 months still remains within 5 degrees of its “daytime” temperature because of this diffusion. The Poles of Venus receive less than 1W/m^2 of solar insolation on average throughout the Venus year. Yet people like the anonymous “Science of Doom” (SoD) would have you believe that placing a mirror above the surface (like carbon dioxide radiating back some of the energy it just received from the surface) would magnify the energy of 1W/m^2 at the Venus poles, by over 16,000 times just in order to satisfy the mathematics of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

    The Venus atmosphere absorbs at least 98% of the incident Solar radiation on its way in. Earth’s atmosphere also absorbs quite enough incident Solar radiation to explain the observed temperatures. After all, these planets have been around for hundreds of millions of years – plenty of time for incident Solar energy to be absorbed and then diffused (by molecular collisions) all around the Venus globe, for example.

    The vast majority of the energy required to heat the surface of Venus (and Earth etc) does not come from Solar insolation previously absorbed by the surface. It comes from incident Solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere on its way in before it can get to the surface. Only this direct Solar radiation is “hot” enough.

    The automatic thermal gradient on Earth would have raised the surface temperature to over 300K with a gradient of about 9.8C/Km, but fortunately water vapour (producing the wet adiabatic lapse rate of about 6.5C/Km in the tropics, for example) has reduced the surface temperature to its present mean value around 288K because the whole thermal profile (“plot”) swivels around a pivoting altitude, which is a median height as far as outward radiation is concerned.


    Now maybe you see why I entitled this week’s article on Principia Scientific International “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science.” Just Google this title.

    Doug Cotton 

  122. KR says:

    Doug Cotton“…prove me wrong with standard physics.”

    Sigh – too easy.

    Energy impinging on the Earth from the sun (minus rounding errors such as anthropogenic waste heat): ~240 W/m^2.

    Energy leaving the _surface_ of the Earth (measured!): roughly 396 W/m^2 infrared, 80 W/m^2 evapo-transpiration, 17 W/m^2 thermals, sum of ~493 W/m^2.

    Energy leaving the top of the atmosphere (again, measured): ~240 W/m^2.

    Difference between Earth surface energy and top of atmosphere? ~253 W/m^2, the result of the greenhouse effect reducing the radiative efficiency to space.

    We know from basic spectroscopy that increasing greenhouse gases will reduce Earth radiative efficiency to space (are you rejecting all of spectroscopy too?). Satellite measures, while not accurate enough for sums, show _exactly_ the spectral changes predicted (Harries 2001 http://tinyurl.com/bs8rloa), the reduction in spectral lines for increasing CO2 and H2O. And the observed temperature changes, both in the atmosphere and in ocean heat content (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ – are you rejecting ocean temperature measures?), cryosphere reductions (note changes in the Arctic), etc, all confirm it.

    On your side we have your claims (based on bad semantic interpretations, for the most part, not maths) of “resonant” rejection of low energy photons and misinterpretations of thermodynamics, completely contrary to observations (bolometers, microwave ovens, CO2 lasers, Stephan-Boltzmann relationship, quantum mechanics, etc). Your claims are waaaaaay out on the fringe, and have resulted in your outright banning on multiple sites – including The Blackboard, SOD, SkS, and even WUWT (http://tinyurl.com/c2f3ckj), which should tell readers quite a lot.

    From Anthony Watts (http://tinyurl.com/cy36zvm):

    I’ve had it up to my Keester with these “slayers”. They badger me constantly behind the scenes to carry their stuff from the fake journal “Principia” and then try to throw guilt trips and belittlement when I tell them no. For the record, its not just no, but HELL NO. These folks are a scourge to other skeptics, because the warmers rightly point to them as examples of scientific quackery and then unjustly paint us with the same brush.

    I’ve made it abundantly clear to Doug Cotton that his commentary is unwelcome, as are discussions on bigfoot, UFO’s, chemtrails, and other quackery.

    There is plenty of room for skepticism in models, feedbacks, sensitivity, and amplifications. We don’t need to commit scientific hari-kari by denying the greenhouse effect exists…which is what Cotton and Slayers et al are doing. Some days I wonder if they aren’t a “plant” to damage climate skepticism, because they act with the same sort of zealotry that we’ve seen from some of the save the planet types…

    I don’t often agree with Mr. Watts, but I do here – enough said. Folks, just don’t bother with Doug or with PSI.

  123. Doug Cotton says:

    The difference in net radiative flux upwards or downwards at TOA rarely represents more than 0.5% of either. Models have a far greater degree of uncertainty than 0.5%, so they can’t predict positive or negative differences.

    Every single point you make is countered in my papers, starting with “Radiated Energy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics.” You could read the FAQ’s in the Appendix for a response to missing carbon dioxide frequencies at TOA, for example.

    Radiative imbalance is the result of natural climate cycles, not the cause of climate change. As Roy’s figures indicate, 2012 was cooler than 1998, so there has been a net outflow of radiation in that period. That should trouble you a little, especially when carbon dioxide levels have been the highest in the last century at least.

    I’m not the slightest bit influenced by the likes of Anthony Watts with his valuable website and domain name to protect. Of course he doesn’t want me destroying his investment. Same goes for SoD. I do not respond to any “call to authority.”

    The measurements of radiation leaving the surface of the Earth tell you nothing about the amount of thermal energy being transferred by such radiation from the surface to the atmosphere. More than two-thirds of the actual cooling of the surface is by way of non-radiative processes. The evidence is in my papers, but you will no doubt refuse to read such, so I’m not going to help you any more on that.

    The surface has been warmed to its current temperature mostly from energy originally absorbed by the atmosphere, because radiation can only transfer thermal energy from a hotter source to a cooler one. Such energy is distributed with a vertical gradient determined by gravity, specific heat and intra-atmospheric radiation.

    This is even more obvious on Venus, where it is clear that the atmosphere supports the surface temperature. You cannot explain Venus temperatures of over 730K everywhere on the planet (even at the poles and on the dark side) by any other means than the correct one which I have outlined in “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    If you want to prove me wrong, you have to prove the “Second School of Thought” in that paper to be wrong, and you can’t. All you are doing here is reiterating the old “First School of Thought” which I have disproved in the paper. You have neither countered my arguments therein, nor disproved the Second School of Thought, namely “the 21st Century New Paradigm for Climate Change Science.”

  124. Doug Cotton says:

    Nowhere in any of the GHE models or descriptions is there any allowance for the fact (first postulated by Loschmidt in the 19th century) that a requirement of the First Law of Thermodynamics is that a temperature gradient must develop in still, adiabatic conditions in any gas subjected to a gravitational force, that gradient being -g/Cp where Cp is specific heat. This is derived in just three or four lines from first principles.

    The effect of this gradient (about 9.8C/Km) could be expected to raise the temperature at the base of the atmosphere to over 300K, such being only possible from incident Solar radiation, not re-emitted energy from a cooler surface. The issue to consider is just how that 300K is reduced to around 288K, and I seem to have been the first to explain that, whether on Earth, Venus or those other planets, the reduction in gradient is due to intra-atmospheric radiation transferring heat from lower. warmer layers to higher cooler layers. This is the role of water vapour and radiating gases such as carbon dioxide.

    As I have said, the expensive models are not accurate enough to determine the difference between positive or negative imbalance at TOA, and in practice it varies, but rarely by more than 0.5% from zero. So your calculations are meaningless. But even if they could be improved, they completely ignore the pre-existing thermal gradient that has nothing to do with back radiation, as is easily seen at the poles of Venus where there is nowehere near sufficient energy getting through to the surface. How could 1W/m^2 heat it over 500 degrees to 730K?

    So, KR, you have a lot of explaining to do.

  125. Doug Cotton says:

    I suppose KR imagines that, if you held a torch shining 1 Watt onto a square meter at the surface of Venus, then placed a mirror measuring 1m x 1m horizontally above so that it reflected the resulting upwelling radiation back into the surface, then, after more than 16,000 such “back radiation” reflections, that square metre of the surface at the Venus poles could heat up to 730K, just as a result of this better-than-natural back radiation created with a 1 square metre mirror.

    Is that right, KR, or do you have a better explanation than mine which explains a perfectly feasible mechanism obeying the laws of physics in every detail?

  126. Dr No says:

    Doug, you cannot have multiple reflections of 1 Watt.
    One Watt is one joule per second and measures the RATE of energy conversion or transfer.
    So, when you talk about multiple reflections, what do you mean? 16000 reflections per second, minute , hour, day, year ?????

    Secondly, what is so special about Venus ? Why dont we get 730K on Earth?

    You still dont understand that the temperature is due to adiabatic warming – and little to do with the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface.

  127. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No I agree of course. I have been saying that the surface temperature has little to do with the amount of thermal energy absorbed by the surface. All that such heat does is create more convection, evaporation and radiation from the surface to the atmosphere – oh and more back radiation as a result. So of course, when we have only 1W/m^2 at the Venus poles, we have no more than 1W/m^2 of back radiation. It does not multiply by 16,000.

    I was just pointing out the absurdity of assuming multiple back radiation (16,000 times up and down between the surface and atmosphere of Venus) would not cause a single degree of that 730K at the Poles of Venus which receive only 1W/m^2. So of course the heated surface at the poles of Venus could not have been caused by a “runaway” (like 16,000 times) greenhouse effect. QED

    Of course I understand the temperature is due to adiabatic warming as molecules exchange potential energy and kinetic energy in a diffusion process, not only on Venus, but on other planets as well as Earth. What do you think my November paper and this week’s article are about?

    On Earth the the thermal gradient of about 6.5 to 7C/Km develops totally automatically, being a gravitational component of about 9.8C/Km minus an intra-atmospheric radiation component between radiating molecules, which thus have a cooling effect. You seem to be getting close to understanding, Dr No.

    It doesn’t take long to read the article I wrote on PSI “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science.” Just Google that title.

    So the IPCC concept of isothermal 255K atmosphere is impossible. In fact the thermal gradient of such would be about 9.8C/Km, so we might see, instead of a mean of 255K, a minimum of, say, 200K at the top of the troposphere, and about 310K at the surface. Luckily, water vapour reduces the gradient to about two thirds, so the plot swivels back to perhaps 288K at the surface, thanks to WV and GHG which cool by radiating heat away from lower levels to higher levels and then on to space. Heat can never be radiated back to warmer regions: there’s a Law against it.

  128. Massimo PORZIO says:

    you, responding to KR wrote:
    “The measurements of radiation leaving the surface of the Earth tell you nothing about the amount of thermal energy being transferred by such radiation from the surface to the atmosphere. More than two-thirds of the actual cooling of the surface is by way of non-radiative processes. ”
    KR cite:
    (Harries 2001 http://tinyurl.com/bs8rloa)
    As I explained in a previous my post to David Appell, Harries et al 2001 used narrow field of view spectrometers which just see the outgoing radiation at the nadir. That is they just see the non scattered outgoing IR which doesn’t address the whole outgoing flux..
    I read SoD on his web site explaining how to deal with the transmittance of the atmosphere in note 2 he wrotes:
    “When considering solar radiation (shortwave), scattering is important. When considering terrestrial radiation (longwave), scattering can be neglected. In this article, we will ignore scattering, so the results will be appropriate for longwave but not correct for shortwave.”
    So what?
    “When considering terrestrial radiation (longwave), scattering can be neglected” ???


    I would ask them: what is supposed to do the CO2 and all the other GHGs at the LWIR?

    That statement is incredible to me.

    No KR, at least your “Energy leaving the top of the atmosphere (again, measured): ~240 W/m^2” is not true.

    Men never measured it; and involuntarily this paper:


    (that I’m tired to report here more an more), well shows what I mean.

    In fact, into its fig.3 is shown as there is an outgoing peak exactly where at the nadir the spectrometer sees the CO2 pit.
    When CO2 concentration increases, as the nadir pit became deeper, that peak of non-nadir outgoing scattered radiation became higher. To compute the right (if even exists) real energy back radiation, one should integrate the whole half spherical view of the input slit of the spectrometer for each TOA point; and if that pit still exist, it must be many times lesser than those currently measured by the satellites on board spectrometers.

  129. Richard LH says:

    Would someone care to address the fact that any small continuous input such as Roy observes, running 24 hours a day, will alter the overal outcome when mixed with a variable solar input (of approximately one large positive half of a sine wave a day) in a way that simple addition may not show.

    During the day the addition is very small. At night, compared to zero input from the Sun, it is a different picture.

    Averages will not show any of this (or at best conceal any true effects).

    Like low level mains hum, often only audible during quiet passages.

  130. Doug Cotton says:

    Massimo (and others)

    Re: radiation leaving the surface, please read Section 2 of “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” noting in particular the paragraph beginning “Returning to the issue of …” All should look at the net energy transfer diagrams published by NASA. Click here.

    Matters relating to spectrometer readings and IR readings are well covered by Nasif Nahle, Professor of Physics, whose paper is on the Principia Scientific International website.

    Personally, I see little point in discussing radiation any more, since there is no “33 degrees” left for it to raise the surface temperature once gravity has formed the thermal gradient. Any and all effects of backradiation are nullified by compensating non-radiative transfers, because back radiation cannot affect the rate of cooling by non-radiative processes. We have seen in “The Second School of Thought” in the above paper that intra-atmospheric radiation, mostly between water vapour molecules, reduces the thermal gradient, thus reducing the surface temperature from what it would have been around 310K to a more comfortable 288K. This is all 21st century physics, now proven beyond reasonable doubt, both computationally and empirically.


    Please do not comment on any of the above without reading this week’s article “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science” and perhaps also watching my video: http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

    All future responses will be answered by referring to appropriate paragraphs in my papers or articles (as I did in the first paragraph above) so why not just read them first?

  131. Doug Cotton says:

    I don’t know why the link to the NASA net energy budget didn’t work above, but here it is in fill ..


  132. Doug Cotton says:

    In regard to the thermal energy transferred from the surface to the atmosphere, the NASA net energy budget diagram shows figures as a percentage of TOA insolation …

    Non-radiative: Latent heat (23%) + conduction (7%) = 30%

    Radiative: radiation absorbed by atmosphere: 15%

    Hence, as I have said, about a third of all thermal energy transferred from the surface to the atmosphere is by radiation, and about two-thirds by non-radiative processes. Back radiation slows the one-third, whilst the other two-thirds increases to compensate and thus nullify the effect of back radiation..



  133. Doug Cotton says:

    KR: Regarding “the reduction in spectral lines for increasing CO2” read FAQ 6 in the Appendix of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several sites in March 2012.

  134. Doug Cotton says:

    KR Regarding “bolometers, microwave ovens, CO2 lasers read FAQ 4 & FAQ 5 in the Appendix of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” and regarding Stefan-Boltzmann Law read all of Sections 1 to 5 of the main part of that paper.

  135. KR says:

    Massimo PORZIO“KR, at least your “Energy leaving the top of the atmosphere (again, measured): ~240 W/m^2? is not true.

    Men never measured it…”

    That would be a completely incorrect statement. Try reading a bit on the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), on CERES, etc: Leob 2008 (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008JCLI2637.1) is a reasonable reference here, noting:

    “Table 1 compares 5-yr global mean TOA ?uxes from ERBE, CERES Terra, GEWEX SRB, and ISCCP-FD. All-sky LW TOA ?ux shows a range of 4.6 W/m^2
    (235.8 W/m^2 for ISCCP-FD to 240.4 W/m^2 for GEWEX SRB)…”


    These values have been measured repeatedly, with multiple instruments ranging from low orbit to geosynchronous – it would have required very little effort on your part to check that fact. If you are going to make _patently incorrect_ statements like this, I will not be able to take your comments seriously.

    Doug Cotton – As I like to say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him read the references. The claims you make in your various PSI screeds and circulars (“lasers… the target cannot handle a kind of “doubling up effect” in the radiation…” – hmm, where are your maths?) are nothing more than armwaving “Just So Stories”. They are contrary to observations, incorrectly describe various devices, photons, etc, are in contradiction to physics and present no replacement for the physics you dislike – your claims are unsupported nonsense. That has been shown over and over again, on multiple venues; as anyone can see with just a few moments on a search engine.

    You have simply presented nothing worth discussing.

    Back on topic (and I will restrict any further replies on this thread, if any, to on-topic comments only): waste heat is a forcing like any other, in particular very much like land-use albedo changes in acting at the surface. It adds to the incoming energy of the climate, and we should expect some warming to occur balancing that added energy through added outgoing IR. As a forcing, waste heat simply adds to other forcing changes such as GHG’s, solar, volcanic, etc. And when considering how much they add, the numbers, waste heat forcing is (globally) only 1/100th that of other forcing changes over the last 150 years.

    For all intents and purposes waste heat can be ignored as a global climate factor – it’s just tiny with respect to other forcings.


  136. Richard LH says:

    “For all intents and purposes waste heat can be ignored as a global climate factor – it’s just tiny with respect to other forcings.”

    Whilst I accept that may be true for 12 hours of the day, I do not accept it can so simply be dismissed during the 12 hours of night.

  137. Doug Cotton says:


    You have not explained how any greenhouse effect could possibly heat the surface at the poles of Venus. The solar insolation received there is less than 1W/m^2, like a torch. A mirror produces more backradiation than does carbon dioxide, because the mirror sends it all back to the surface, whereas carbon dioxide would re-emit some towards space. Stand in your backyard at night holding a mirror over the ground and see if the ground actually gets warmer, rather than just cooling more slowly.

    Lasers do not produce spontaneous emission. Energy is added with electricity, so they do not disprove the second law of thermodynamics, any more than does an electric jug heating water. However, microwave ovens do not heat everything, and even the water they do heat is not heated by atomic absorption, but by molecular rotation causing friction with other flipping molecules which all rotate in synchronisation with the passing waves of radiation. The fact that the low frequency (yet high intensity) radiation in a microwave oven does not heat substances by atomic absorption, does in fact provide an example which is in agreement with the computations made by Claes Johnson, a professor of applied mathematics, which is very similar to physics.

    Everyone who has read my November paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” or this week’s article “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science” or even just watched my video (linked above) will realise that the ball park is totally different from the IPCC concept that back radiation supposedly raises the temperature of the surface by 33 degrees from 255K. If you still believe that crap, then you believe energy can be created every time a molecule moves upwards.

    Physics tells us loud and clear (now with empirical evidence) that a thermal gradient develops automatically in a gravitational field, and does not need water vapour or carbon dioxide to produce such a gradient. In fact, the opposite is the case, and radiating molecules actually reduce the gradient by between 10% and 35% according to observations on various planets and large moons which have atmospheres in the Solar System.

    So KR:

    Q.1: Where;s your explanation of the Venus temperatures?

    Q.2: Where’s your explanation as to why all those photons in microwave radiation do not heat various substances (like plastic) which don’t contain water molecules? After all, the Sun could heat them with far less intensity of radiation than in the 750 watt microwave oven.

    Q.3: When the effect of gravity has been shown to produce an even steeper “lapse rate” than the 6.5C/Km rate observed in a moist atmosphere, what is left for carbon dioxide to do in the way of warming, and how could we calculate sensitivity to such?

    Until you answer these three questions, other readers will realise you are talking nothing but IPCC nonsense. Anyone can echo the lies they propagate if they have no conscience or concern for those in developing countries, who will suffer and die because of the huge waste of money involved trying to control climate rather than humanitarian aid. Think on that, all you who prosper by perpetuating the biggest fraudulent hoax the world has ever been gullible enough to lap up.

  138. Doug Cotton says:

    I noticed that KR backed away from discussing microbolometers which he raised as an objection to my March 2012 paper. Obviously he was sucked in by Jeff at “The Air Vent” who made the huge mistake of assuming that radiation from a colder source actually warmed the sensor of a microbolometer. It doesn’t. The rate of cooling of the sensor varies according to the temperature of the cooler object. This is the well known effect (which I discuss frequently in my papers) that radiation from a cooler source can only slow the rate of cooling of a warmer target. It cannot transfer thermal energy to that target, thus heating it. This is what Prof Claes Johnson proved. This is why back radiation cannot penetrate just below the surface of water and actually warm a lower layer. Instead, spontaneous radiation from a cooler source can only be used to supply electromagnetic energy, which must be used only for a part of the target’s own quota of radiation as represented by its Planck curve, which always envelopes the Planck curve of the cooler source. That radiation which each can radiate (corresponding to that under the Planck curve of the cooler one) merely gets immediately re-emitted due to resonating processes described by Prof Claes Johnson. The only transfer of thermal energy is that represented by the area between the Planck curves, as is well known in physics and confirmed empirically. This is how and why the Second Law of Thermodynamics works for radiation. There cannot possibly be any other explanation. All this is in my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012.

  139. Doug Cotton says:

    By the way KR how about declaring your full name and university degrees, as well as your career, so that we might be able to assess what financial interest you may or may not have in maintaining the carbon dioxide hoax. At least we know Jeff Condon at “The Air Vent” has such an interest. You obviously lap up his garbage in an unquestioning manner, even though I have shown him to be wrong about microbolometers, for example.

  140. Doug Cotton says:

    Oh, and KR asked “where are your maths?”

    The computations are in one of my references which it seems I could not lead the horse to read …
    “Computational Blackbody Radiation” by Prof Claes Johnson

  141. Doug Cotton says:


    Roy and others

    Although some of my comments above may seem of topic, I suggest they are not, for we need to understand the big picture. You can’t calculate sensitivity to carbon dioxide or anthropogenic heat when there never was 33 degrees of warming caused by WV and GHG. All along, on every planet or moon with a significant atmosphere, it is clear that the force of gravity acting on individual molecules in free flight between impacts causes those molecules which move with a downward component in their velocity to gain kinetic energy (KE), and those moving upward to lose KE. Since temperature measurements only reflect KE and not potential energy (PE) then a thermal gradient necessarily develops, as has now been shown to exist empirically in over 800 experiments this century.

    People like the anonymous KR and of course the IPCC choose to ignore this gravitational effect which completely explains the observed “lapse rate.” In fact, the gravitational component is -g/Cp (where Cp is specific heat) and that is about 9.8C/Km. Then radiation from warmer layers (mostly WV, but also some CO2) to cooler layers above has an opposite effect, reducing the “dry” adiabatic lapse rate to the wet one of about 6.5C/Km. This radiation effect also happens on Venus, reducing its gravitational thermal gradient similarly, so we know the reduction is not to do with the release of latent heat, but rather due to intra-atmospheric radiation. Hence such radiation reduces the surface temperature from what would have been between about 300K and 320K down to the observed 288K or thereabouts. Carbon dioxide actually plays a very minuscule role in reducing the lapse rate, and thus the surface temperature, though this role is probably less than 1% that of water vapour.

    Any additional heat from anthropogenic sources merely gets radiated away, because the underlying thermal profile cannot be changed significantly by such without also changing the gradient of the underground thermal profile all the way from the core to the surface, which would require far more energy.

  142. Massimo PORZIO says:

    I’m not sure, but maybe it’s because my English is not so good, it seems I’m not been able to allow you to get my point.
    You wrote “These values have been measured repeatedly, with multiple instruments ranging from low orbit to geosynchronous – it would have required very little effort on your part to check that fact.”
    This means nothing, because if you measure 100 times the same quantity using the same kind of (wrong) instruments, then you get the very same results.
    That paper that you suggested say nothing about what I wrote.
    The problem I raise is that if a radiometer doesn’t aim the whole planet projection (atmosphere included) then it doesn’t get the whole energy, because its sensor is insensitive to the radiation that diverges from its aiming center more than its field of view angle. No matter if the satellite cover the whole globe passing through its orbit. This kind of measurement was right if there weren’t the so called GHGs, which scatter the LWIR radiation in all the directions.
    In this context, we want just to prove how much (and if) GHGs retain some quantity of energy in the atmosphere, and we know for sure that they scatter the LWIR radiation.
    I don’t tell that I’m surely right, but I would like to know if someone has ever dealt with this issue.

    You wrote: “Personally, I see little point in discussing radiation any more”
    I don’t agree, because we could spend our whole life friendly discussing of our diverging theories and finally die remaining each on our side. While we can try to improve the real measurements, that in my opinion we found not so reliable; and make them more reliable hoping to finally get the truth.
    In this case, it seems to me that climatologist don’t know the difference between the diffused transmittance and the normal one.
    It’s like they believe that the whole LWIR radiation that diverges from the zenith is fully absorbed and in no ways scattered, so they measure the normal transmittance at the nadir and calculate the integral along the diverging angles, just to compensate for the different optical thickness.
    They also use the MODTRAN simulator to show what it happen in case of CO2 doubling, and say “look it predicts exactly what is seen by the satellites…”.
    Of course, MOTRAN was designed by the US Air Force to correct the views of their FLIR cameras on board of their missiles and it works great for that purpose, but FLIR stands for Forward Looking Infra Red. They are devices who are absolutely blind to the radiation outside of their field of views. If MODTRAN simulated the whole incoming radiation was useless for correcting the FLIR devices because they need to correct only their frontal viewing direction.
    To make an analogy, imagine you on a spacecraft looking from the window. You can see the whole Earth dish during the whole orbit of the spacecraft for any point of the globe. That what a satellite should see to really measure the whole outgoing LWIR radiation.
    Now imagine to put a cardboard on the windows so that instead of see the whole globe you can see a small piece of the Earth ground at the spacecraft nadir. That small part is so small that the size at ground is 45km of diameter (a very tiny hole indeed). Well, after the spacecraft completed the whole orbit you still have seen the whole ground, but your eyes didn’t get the whole light coming from the Earth during the flight. That’s what the satellites radiometers seem to see today.
    AFIK only the 2nd CERES radiometer on board of the Aqua satellites has a limb to limb swath normal to its orbital direction, but this don’t address completely the issue.

  143. Doug Cotton says:

    Massimo (and KR)

    I fully agree with Massimo (and have previously written myself) that carbon dioxide diffuses the radiation, so the spectrometers which are pointing to a particular “spot” on the surface don’t see direct CO2 radiation from that spot, because it has been absorbed and re-emitted in a different direction. Or, there may have been a heat transfer to other air molecules, and then to water vapour which could have radiated the original energy to space. All radiation in fact follows a random path often being partly re-absorbed by cooler molecules elsewhere in the atmosphere.

    This is why all such intra-atmospheric radiation reduces the thermal gradient, so that the gravity induced gradient -g/Cp which would have caused the surface temperature to be about 300K to 320K is reduced from the dry rate to the wet rate, so the surface temperature is lower, namely around 288K on average.

    The gravity induced gradient is easily derived by equating potential energy loss with kinetic energy gain, so that ..

    M.Cp.T = -M.g.H

    T/H = -g/Cp

    Meanwhile actual measurements at TOA rarely show a difference of more than 0.5% between outward and inward radiation, and this is probably just uncertainty (error) in measurement anyway. If the Earth cools as it has by about 0.3 degrees between 1998 and 2012 (as per Roy’s figures) then in that period there has probably been a net outward flux of radiation.

    Radiative imbalance at TOA does not cause climate change. Natural climate change causes radiative imbalance during extended 30 year periods of warming or cooling in a 59.6 year cycle, such as 1880-1909 (cooling), 1910-1939 (warming), 1940-1969 (cooling), 1969-1998 (warming). 1999-2028 (cooling).

    Meanwhile the long-term trend is increasing by about 0.05C/decade, but at a reducing rate of increase, because it is approaching a maximum after which the world will experience 500 years of long-term cooling. This is supported by data in the Appendix of my “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” paper.

  144. KR says:

    Massimo PORZIO – Please note that among the ERBE instruments is the Meteosat Second Generation satellites (MSG-1, MSG-2), carrying the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument (http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/view/badc.nerc.ac.uk__ATOM__dataent_gerb). This is one of the instruments mentioned in the Loeb reference in my previous post. These satellites are specifically located in geostationary orbit, viewing nearly an entire hemisphere at once, which should negate _any_ field-of-view issues.

    And they observe ~240 W/m^2 of infrared radiation from the Earth, in agreement with the low-orbit instruments. There is no issue with the measurements arising from field-of-view.

  145. Doug Cotton says:

    IPCC and Co assume that most of the effect of carbon dioxide is actually due to “feedback” in producing more water vapour which they say then warms the Earth more.

    But, as seen in the previous comment, water vapour has reduced the thermal gradient, and thus the surface temperature, from the dry adiabatic lapse rate (9.8C/Km) to the wet adiabatic lapse rate (6.5C/Km).

    If water vapour decreases, the “lapse rate” (thermal gradient increases, so the surface temperature increases. This produces more evaporation, so more water vapour is produced to compensate for the loss. Just imagine if the IPCC were right! If water vapour decreased it would get cooler (so they say) so less evaporation and even less water vapour, getting cooler and colder. Just as well the IPCC & Co are wrong, as usual.

  146. Doug Cotton says:


    KR These satellites are specifically located in geostationary orbit, viewing nearly an entire hemisphere at once, which should negate _any_ field-of-view issues

    Correct statement, but wrong conclusion. There will be plenty of radiation from CO2 sent off at angles which are out of the field of view from that particular instrument. But, more importantly, as I say in the Appendix of my “Radiated Energy” the radiation escapes by another path. If the absorption warms the molecules and energy is then conducted to another air molecule, and then eventually to water molecules (far more likely than back into CO2) then the radiation simply comes out with water vapour frequencies.

    How many times do I have to say, there is less than 0.5% difference at TOA and this fluctuates from positive to negative – just look at long term data of TOA net radiative flux. It does not cause climate change. Natural climate change causes it.

    Now I take it that you cannot answer my three questions. I’ll return in, say, 48 hours and see if you still score 0/3 for this simple test, Mr/Ms anonymous K????? R??????

  147. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi KR,
    your link reads: “The GERB instrument is specifically designed to be mounted on a geostationary satellite and is located onboard the Meteosat Second Generation satellite operated by EUMETSAT. It provides accurate radiation measurements every 15 minutes for the Earth disc centred on the Greenwich meridian and the equator (approx 60N-60S, 60E-60W).”
    Despite it should be better, I wonder if it isn’t very different from Meteosat 1st generation, which was geostationary too, but worked via a 5 sensors scanning radiometer.
    That radiometer still had a very little field of view to allow the image reception.
    If it had a wide FOV, it couldn’t show any image, instead he show them.
    Now is 1AM here in Italy.
    Next, I would investigate which kind of radiometer it mounts on board. You must know that in 1995 I was involved in the design of a PC board for the reception of the NOAA HR satellites images and the Meteosat 1st generation too. So I could retrieve some info from the EUMETSAT, I guess.
    Have a nice day

  148. KR says:

    Doug Cotton – No, I’m not going to play Q&A over red herrings with you. Your physics is not even wrong; it’s just invalid.

    Readers: As an example of DC’s work, I would suggest looking up bolometers and DCs erroneous claims thereof. Bolometers use a material whose resistance changes with temperature, connected to a heat reservoir of constant temperature. Any electromagnetic radiation absorbed by the detector raises its temperature above the reservoir, changing it’s resistance, which can be measured to determine the amount of absorbed radiation.

    The first of these (Samuel Pierpont Langley, ~1880) was constructed with two strips of platinum, coated with lamp-black, and placed in a Wheatstone bridge configuration to measure the relative resistance with a galvanometer. One of the strips was exposed to IR, the other kept as a reference, and with this instrument (and a telescope) Langley was able to detect the thermal radiation from a cow 1/4 of a mile away – quite sensitive.

    These instruments measure the amount of absorbed IR, the energy and thus heat transferred to the detector, of objects both above and below the temperature of the detector, in a _consistent relationship_ of incoming energy and temperature. Because the added warming of incoming IR changes the detector temperature, and that change allows determining the amount of IR coming in. The relationship is that of reservoir temperature + bias voltage + incoming EM -> enregy setting detector temperature and hence resistance. The additional heat from incoming IR is the measurement.

    But, by DC’s physics, that cannot happen – energy (he says) from a cooler object _cannot_ heat a warmer object. Once objects dropped below the temperature of the detector, they would no longer be visible.

    If your hypothesis is directly contradicted by observations (as is DCs), it’s time for a different hypothesis.

  149. Doug Cotton says:

    KR’s article is wrong about bolometers. The sensor’s temperature is not actually raised by radiation from a cooler source, as that would clearly violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The facts are that the rate of cooling of the sensor is detected, and the lost heat as it cools has to be replaced with further electrically generated heat. But KR would rather trust a manufacturer’s simplistic blurb than the work of physicists, including a professor of physics, whom I have consulted on this issue.

    If you can prove that, when a molecule moves upwards in its free path (between impacts) it can somehow retain all its kinetic energy (KE) even though gaining potential energy (PE) and if you can also produce counter experiments disproving over 800 experiments since 2002 which have confirmed the automatic formation of a thermal gradient in a gravitational field, then perhaps you can prove me wrong, though you would be implying a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics. See “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science” – Oh and also explain how a mere 1W/m^2 of direct sunlight reaching the poles of Venus makes them over 720K.

    KR will make all sorts of excuses for not answering the three questions Jan 16, 1:54pm because he can’t. He has no understanding whatsoever about the implications of the gravity induced thermal gradient in any atmosphere. That’s because, as I can easily detect, he doesn’t really understand physics. He just uses equations without understanding their limitations and prerequisites, as is nearly always the case in this hoax argument about carbon dioxide. He doesn’t think about what happens to the PE and KE in a molecule as it moves between collisions.

    He wants to remain in the comforting “First School of Thought” from the 20th century, and ignore the new paradigm in “The Second School of Thought” in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” because all he is capable of doing is, rather than thinking about the implications of a gravity induced thermal gradient, merely introducing red herrings like bolometers, which prove nothing other than the fact that he doesn’t understand the physics of heat transfer. Notice how he cannot explain how the high intensity photons in a microwave oven don’t heat plastic. In fact, they only heat food because the waves of radiation resonate with the natural frequencies of water molecules in the food. Raise or lower the wavelength by any significant amount and they wouldn’t even cook your dinner.

    Show all the silent readers that you can answer those three questions, KR, and thus prove me wrong in my claim that you don’t understand atmospheric physics. Go shine a torch on your grass at night, and set it on fire with a mirror – just like the Venus poles get heated by torchlight to over 720K all by back radiation you would say. Even Dr No has a better understanding of the adiabatic process.

    You’re a beggar for punishment, KR, I’ll give you that.

  150. Doug Cotton says:

    This is what I mean about KR not understanding physics.

    I quote from two of my comments above about bolometers …

    “The rate of cooling of the sensor varies according to the temperature of the cooler object. This is the well known effect (which I discuss frequently in my papers) that radiation from a cooler source can only slow the rate of cooling of a warmer target.”

    “The facts are that the rate of cooling of the sensor is detected, and the lost heat as it cools has to be replaced with further electrically generated heat.”

    Then KR displays a complete lack of understanding of this very standard physics, confirmed by a professor of physics, that a bolometer measures the rate of cooling of its sensor (whether the target is hotter or cooler) and KR writes: “Once objects dropped below the temperature of the detector, they would no longer be visible. (LOL)”

  151. Dr No says:

    Doug writes: “Even Dr No has a better understanding of the adiabatic process.”
    I don’t know whether to be feel praised or insulted!

    However, I do know something about atmospheric radiation.
    Doug also writes: “There will be plenty of radiation from CO2 sent off at angles which are out of the field of view from that particular instrument.”
    He obviously does not understand that the instrument measures radiation per degree of solid angle. It does not make sense to say that the radiation some how escapes to space without being detected. It would have to know where the instrument was so that it could do a left turn then a left turn! Please read a text book about atmospheric radiation before making such ridiculous comments. I must give you another F.

  152. Doug Cotton says:

    Obviously I should have said the bolometer measures the rate of cooling of its sensor when the object is cooler, or the rate of warming of its sensor if the object is warmer.

  153. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No Textbooks written by climatologists are full of errors. Radiation can follow a random path between molecules. It can go around the world before its energy gets to space. Of course the instrument measures a solid angle, but only radiation that came directly from any location on the surface in that solid angle, in a direct path to the instrument, from somewhere within its angle of view gets measured. However my main point is, as in the Appendix of my March 2012 paper, from which I copy and paste the following …

    Q.6 What happens to the radiation which is absorbed by carbon dioxide?

    When spectrometers near the top of the atmosphere (TOA) are pointed at a source of radiation on the surface they will detect rays which get straight through, but the rays with frequencies which can be absorbed by carbon dioxide are mostly missing, indicating that they have been absorbed by carbon dioxide molecules. When this happens some of the surplus radiated energy will be converted to thermal energy. This energy might or might not be shared with, for example, water vapour molecules. Whatever happens, subsequent spontaneous emission is more likely (because of the warming) but the new ray is highly unlikely to strike the spectrometer. If the new radiation heads towards warmer regions in the atmosphere, or to the surface itself, it will undergo resonant scattering. But if it heads upwards to cooler regions it will either get through to space or strike another molecule further up, where the process starts over again. One way or another, the energy gets out to space by another gate.

  154. Doug Cotton says:

    Of course carbon dioxide absorbs radiation. Just like water vapour it participates in the process I have called intra-atmospheric radiation. In this process, radiation from warmer, lower layers of the troposphere transfers heat to higher, cooler regions. Unlike convection and diffusion, which lead to cooler temperatures at higher levels due to gravity, intra-atmospheric radiation has a propensity to make temperatures more equal.

    So these two opposing tendencies have to find an equilibrium somewhere between. That is why the gravitationally induced temperature gradient (AKA “dry adiabatic lapse rate”) of about 9.8C/Km is reduced by about a third to the net thermal gradient (AKA “wet adiabatic lapse rate”) around 6.5C/Km.

    Now it also happens on Venus, for example, where carbon dioxide is doing nearly all the intra-atmospheric radiation. However, the effect is only about a 10% reduction in the thermal gradient, probably because of the fewer frequencies with which CO2 radiates compared with water. Water also deposits latent heat which has some contributory effect as well in some local areas.

    Anyway, my point is that the energy absorbed by carbon dioxide helps to lower the lapse rate by perhaps a minuscule amount. On Earth the dry rate (if world-wide) would cause a steeper gradient and thus a surface temperature of, I estimate, between 300K and 320K. But water vapour reduces this 50 or so degrees or warming to about 33 degrees of warming, so the temperature is about 288K.

    There is no back radiation effect in any of this, either from water vapour or CO2. It’s all about their effect on the thermal gradient via gravity and intra-atmospheric radiation. Do you guys get it yet?

  155. Dr. Strangelove says:

    The basic premise of the paper “Radiated Energy and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics” that radiation cannot be absorbed by hotter body from cooler body is wrong. Hence the whole theory is wrong. Very easy to show the premise is wrong.

    Open your freezer at home and point an infrared thermometer gun. You will get a reading of around 0 C. The IR gun is hotter than ice in the freezer yet it absorbed IR from a cooler body.

    You can perform this simple experiment to disprove the theory or you can pretend the theory is true despite all contrary evidences. Anthony Watts said it best. I rest my case.

  156. Doug Cotton says:

    Dear me, Dr Strangelove !!!!!!!!

    Go back to http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/waste-heat-as-a-contributor-to-observed-warming/#comment-68920

    and the correction in the following comment.

  157. Doug Cotton says:

    The comments of both Dr Strangelove and KR are the absolute epitome of the typical lack of understanding of physics among climatologists. Both have obviously been brain washed by Jeff Condon on his “The Air Vent” blog when he also made the same mistake.


    Q.4 How can an Infra-red thermometer measure cooler temperatures?

    The original types of infra-red thermometers measure the frequency of the radiation, and then calculate the temperature using Wien’s Displacement Law. Infra-red cameras can do likewise to form an image by representing temperatures with different colours. However, the newer microbolometers have sensors which warm or cool at different rates, and these rates are used to determine temperature. As explained in the last paragraph of Section 5, radiation from another body at a slightly lower temperature can cause the rate of heat transfer from the warmer body to vary as the temperature difference between the two bodies varies. The instrument’s sensors are warmed (using electric input) but while they are warming they are also radiating energy to the object whose temperature is to be measured. Such radiation will reduce the rate of warming, so that net rate of warming will be affected by the temperature of the object because the energy transfer rate from the instrument to the object varies with the area between the Planck curves.

    My response (as above) was in the very paper you referred to Dr Strangelove!!!!! So you, KR and Jeff Conlon were all wrong on this as I pointed out, backed by a professor of physics about a year ago. Now who’s going to be next to blurt out some invalid physics on this thread?

  158. KR says:

    Dr. Strangelove – Don’t bother. When faced with any clear contradiction between his imaginary physics and observations (which appears to require applying a nail gun, as he will determinedly try to change the subject) DC will immediately redefine his terms, and change his claims, so that his ever-changing physics produce exactly the same result as standard physics. Over and over again, with ever more arm-waving, as in this thread…

    If he was discussing Actual Science (TM) rather than the imaginary, he would have testable propositions wherein his hypotheses indicated different results than the currently accepted physics. And take the results of such tests as criteria for his hypotheses. That will IMO never, ever, happen. He simply will not state any observable difference between his predictions and standard physics, just assert his interpretation of what the causes are – interpretations that imply “it’s not our fault”, “we cannot affect the climate”, etc. It’s (IMO) ideological confirmation bias writ large and loud.

    “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw

    Dr. Spencer – Much as I hate to say this, but allowing Doug Cotton to derail your threads over and over really lowers the quality of discussion here.

  159. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton (or Doug Henderson, whatever your name is):

    For once and for all: what predictions does your theory make that canonical AGW theory does not?

    By now there are a host of fingerprints predicted by AGW theory that are observed: stratospheric cooling (especially in low latitudes), rise in the height of the tropopause, decreases in the Earth’s brightness temperature at GHG absorption frequencies (Harries et al, Nature 2001), and more.

    Does your theory predict *any* of these observables?

  160. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton: you keep referring to your writings as “papers.” They are not papers, they are writings — manuscripts.

    Have they been peer reviewed? Published anywhere except your vanity press?

    Have at least a little respect for the scientific process, if you want to call yourself a scientist.

  161. KR says:

    David Appell – Expect a DC response couched in conspiracy theories (the ‘establishment’ won’t/is afraid to publish my work), the Galileo fallacy (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Galileo_gambit – “…taking up the mantle of Galileo requires not just that you are scorned by the establishment but also that you are _correct_”), etc.

    While self-published and vanity press items (screeds? circulars?) don’t have _any_ validity until exposed to and _surviving_ the light of day and of criticism, DC and the PSI gang are likely going to continue pushing their theories. That doesn’t mean we have to pay any attention.

    By the way, as our last posts appear to have been written nearly simultaneously, I completely agree with you that without testable assertions of observable differences between DCs physics and what the last several hundred years have established, it’s nothing more than nonsense.

  162. Doug Cotton says:

    The IPCC & Co assumed there would be an isothermal atmosphere, all at the same 255K as the surface in the absence of WV & GHG. Hence they assumed there was a need to raise the temperature somehow by the extra 33 degrees, so they incorrectly blamed backradiation from WV and GHG for this extra temperature. The “greenhouse effect” hinges upon this assumption which they could never prove.

    However, back in the late 19th century, Loschmidt had postulated there would be a vertical thermal gradient in still air due entirely to the effect of gravity. Gravity affects molecules in motion just as it does the tennis balls I’m watching in motion in the Australian Open at the moment. As they lose potential energy in a toss, for example, they gain kinetic energy, and vice versa. Newton happened to notice this too when an apple fell off a tree. That’s physics.

    Now, in over 800 experiments this century, it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that a thermal gradient does develop in still air, even in a sealed cylinder in a laboratory. (The references are of course in my November paper.) Indeed, if it were not true, the First Law of Thermodynamics would be violated every time a molecule rose in a gravitational field.

    So the IPCC & Co were quite wrong in assuming anything like back radiation or heat trapping was needed, or was the cause of the observed thermal gradient. Gravity did it all, in fact more than enough, so water vapour reduced the gradient to the wet rate, and, instead of the surface being 300K to 320K it is only 288K thanks to the cooling effect of WV and GHG as they radiate energy from lower, warmer regions to higher, cooler regions up in the atmosphere.

    If you think I’m wrong, then prove somehow that molecules can retain the same KE as they rise in a gravitational field and their PE increases. Prove Loschmidt, quite a notable physicist at the time, was wrong about 150 years ago. Then explain how you think the energy gets to the Venus poles if it were not for what Loschmidt postulated, namely the diffusion of KE (at the molecular level) about which I have written in my November paper, as well as in the article “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science.”


  163. Doug Cotton says:

    Any of you could have read about the PROM system at Principia Scientific International on their website. Even my articles (let alone papers) are reviewed by several peers before being subjected to open world-wide review. Why don’t you arrange an official rebuttal by any of those “scientists” you worship?

    Here’s a quote from the PSI website …


    Scientists and the wider general public have grown increasingly mistrustful and wary of what is reported about science. Rightly or wrongly the traditional peer review process has fallen into some disrepute. The world has learned how a fledgling branch of science, Climatology, has become tarnished by a series of well-documented scandals.

    What has been exposed is an international ‘grading system’ among science journals that ranks publications for their adherence to an arbitrary code that is sinister and corruptive of an objective peer review process. Grassroots scientists, especially those active in the blogosphere, are welcoming a new approach: open peer review.

    We call the new concept Peer Review in Open Media (‘PROM’) and it will be carried out in the familiar user-friendly format of the most popular contemporary science blogs.

    As per our policy statement commitment, PSI is a champion of the new medium of mass peer-to-peer open scientific review. We will ensure that a team of fully qualified reviewers openly and objectively reviews all scientific papers that bear the PSI seal.

    As such, to build our body of experts, we are always looking for highly qualified and experienced new members to join our reviewing team. So whether you are interested in becoming a PSI Expert Reviewer, or simply want to be part of an exciting new movement in international science, please join us today.

  164. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    The IPCC & Co assumed there would be an isothermal atmosphere, all at the same 255K as the surface in the absence of WV & GHG.
    Absolutely, totally, completely false.

    First of all, the IPCC does not do science — they assess science.

    Of that science, the scientists model the physics and CALCULATE temperatures, using the known properties of gases and radiative absorption and emission. They don’t assume anything.

  165. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    January 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM
    Any of you could have read about the PROM system at Principia Scientific International on their website.

    PSI is clearly just a vanity press, created because you couldn’t get your work published anywhere respectable.

    Until your ideas get published decent, you will continue to be ignored, and viewed as a crank. (In fact, a vanity press is one of the hallmarks of crankdom.)

  166. Doug Cotton says:

    From the IPCC website* we read:

    “Without the natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature at Earth’s surface would be below the freezing point of water. Thus, Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible.”


    I deliberately said “IPCC & Co” David, but I really don’t care who said it first. That’s what the IPCC tell the world.

  167. David Appell says:

    There is no “IPCC and Co.” The IPCC assesses science, it does not do science.

    If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand much at all.

  168. Doug Cotton says:

    created because you couldn’t get your work published anywhere respectable. ??????

    It was around for a long time before I joined. Now there are over 200 well qualified and experienced members, including professors of physics and applied mathematics, at least three climatologists with PhD’s therein, an astrophysicist, a Nobel Prize nominee and many more whose biographies silent readers may wish to see. Roy won’t allow links, so Google “Principia Scientific International” then select “About” menu and “Why PSI is a Private Assoc”

  169. Doug Cotton says:

    Of course I’m aware of what the IPCC does. I used “IPCC & Co” to refer to all those climatologists from Michael Mann etc etc who contribute stuff through the closed network of “peers” equipped with rubber stamps.

  170. David Appell says:

    I don’t care when PSI was created, or by whom — it is clearly a vanity press, created only because none of you could ever get your work published anywhere decent.

    Have you ever submitted your manuscripts to a real journal, Doug? If so, what was the response?

  171. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    Roy won’t allow links,

    False. There are plenty of links in the comments above, if you’d notice.

  172. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    …Google “Principia Scientific International” then select “About” menu and “Why PSI is a Private Assoc”

    Not impressive in the least. Tim Ball misrepresented his degree in Canada, and it was admitted in court that he is not a climate expert (http://is.gd/brO4uO). Hertzberg had his ass handed to him by a reply from Michael Mann to the Colorado newspaper that used to publish Hertzberg’s idiocy, and Claes Johnson thinks he has disproven every major scientific finding of the 20th century.

    There isn’t a single climate scientist among the bunch.

    What I see is a collection of misfits and clowns who haven’t been able to get their work published in real journals, so have formed a little club of their own to pretend they do science.

  173. Doug Cotton says:

    You are so predictable, David

    Instead of trying to prove me wrong in this comment at 11:10pm you resort to the worn-out arguments about peer-review etc. All this is like water off a duck’s back to me and fellow peers at PSI who I can tell have a far better understanding of atmospheric physics than anyone on this thread,

    Go and watch my video http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY and think about real physics. Think!

    PS Roy has put automatic blocks on links to the PSI website and my own, maybe others.

  174. David Appell says:

    I’ve watched your video, Doug. It proves absolutely nothing, and isn’t impressive in the least.

    Where have your ideas been published besides your vanity press?

    Have you submitted your work to any respectable journal, anywhere?

  175. David Appell says:

    Funny — I can link to PSI just fine:


    Not that there is much there to be proud of.

  176. David Appell says:

    Doug: Have you submitted your work to a real journal?

    Yes or no?

  177. Doug Cotton says:

    And Michael Mann spent a million dollars or so in court costs trying to defeat Dr Timothy Ball (Chairman of PSI) in action initiated by Mann, but Mann could not produce a shred of evidence in support of any greenhouse effect.

    You try to rubbish a professor of applied mathematics, do you, David, or a professor of physics, or climatologists with PhD’s do you David? Tell us about your education in physics, then David.

    It seems neither KR nor you, nor anyone here can produce a shred of evidence to prove Loschmidt wrong. He has been right for nearly 150 years now, but it seems you want to throw out 150 years of valid physics and agree with the above quoted garbage promulgated by the IPCC which is contrary to such valid physics, and implies creation of energy.

    So I’m still waiting for you or anyone to prove Loschmidt wrong with valid physics theory and empirical evidence, contrary to the evidence in 800 experiments, plus that observed on Venus.

    You can side-track all you like, and introduce as many red herrings as you can in order to try to avoid the questions Q.1 to Q.3 posed to KR in this comment, but silent readers will observe your inability to answer – any of you that means.

  178. David Appell says:

    Doug: Have you submitted your work to a real journal?

    Yes or no?

    It is not up to anyone to prove you wrong — it is up to you to prove yourself right. By now there are a host of fingerprints predicted by AGW theory that are observed: stratospheric cooling (especially in low latitudes), rise in the height of the tropopause, decreases in the Earth’s brightness temperature at GHG absorption frequencies (Harries et al, Nature 2001), and more.

    Does your theory predict *any* of these observables?

  179. Doug Cotton says:

    Do you seriously think I would want to support a biased journal propagating the biggest fraudulent hoax the world has ever seen?

  180. David Appell says:

    So you’ve never submitted your work to a real journal.

    Just as I suspected. Because you know it’d be rejected. And if you took that risk, you couldn’t pretend it was real.

    You’re a complete joke, Doug.

  181. David Appell says:

    By the way, is your name “Doug Cotton” or “Doug Henderson?” You used both names when commenting at my blog, which is weird. People who aren’t ashamed of their work use their real name….

  182. Doug Cotton says:

    No, it’s up to those who invented pseudo physics to support their greenhouse hoax to answer to valid physics which proves them wrong. The trial needs to be re-opened in the light of new 21st century evidence for 19th century physics they ignored and which invalidates everything they claimed. Now we have instruments that can measure small temperature differences in cylinders of still air. Now the Russians have dropped probes onto Venus to measure the Solar insolation reaching the surface as averaging a mere 10 to 20W/m^2, even though they measured the surface temperature at over 730K. You cannot explain the Venus surface temperature by any other hypothesis than what is in my “Second School of Thought” now can you?

    What is in my papers explains every observable piece of temperature data on Earth or Venus and even other planets. What the IPCC publishes does nothing of the kind, and does not predict the slight cooling which will persist unril about the year 2028.

    I’m signing out as I have a meeting to attend now.

  183. David Appell says:

    Clearl you don’t understand science — those who put ideas forward must prove them.

    Do you really have a degree in physics? It doesn’t seem so.

    Meanwhile, AGW has predicted several fingerprints that have come true: stratospheric cooling (especially in low latitudes), rise in the height of the tropopause, decreases in the Earth’s brightness temperature at GHG absorption frequencies (Harries et al, Nature 2001), and more.

    Does your theory predict *any* of these observables?

  184. Dr. Strangelove says:


    As usual his explanation of how IR thermometer works is also wrong and absurd. How can ‘electric input’ warm the sensor? Where will electricity come from? Ice does not emit electrons. The correct explanation is IR is absorbed by the thermopile sensor producing a temperature gradient that creates an electric current (thermoelectric effect). How do you create a temperature gradient? Of course by heating the thermopile vs. local temp. IR from cold body is absorbed by hot body and converted to thermal energy thus falsifying Cottonball theory.

  185. David Appell says:

    Why are you using two different names — “Doug Cotton” and “Doug Henderson?”

    That’s not what a real scientist would do.

  186. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton/Henderson wrote:
    “What is in my papers explains every observable piece of temperature data on Earth or Venus and even other planets.”

    Please provide proof.

    Where in any of your “papers” do you predict a change in brightness temperature at GHG absorption frequencies?

    Where in any of your papers do you predict a change in tropopause height?

    Where in any of your papers do you predict stratospheric cooling?

    Please be specific.

    Please show how the magnitude of your predictions matches observations.


  187. Doug Cotton says:

    How can electric input (from a battery) warm the sensor? Same way as electric input warms your electric blanket.

    “Does your theory predict *any* of these observables” – like the lower and middle stratosphere being the same temperature (close enough) in 2008 and 2010, you mean? That is, in the coolest year since 2000 and the warmest year since 2000?

    The fact is that nothing much has happened since 1998 except for a slight overall cooling trend in sea surface temperatures, which could have been predicted at least 50 years ago, just as I predict it to continue until about 2028, followed by about 30 years of warming to a peak about 0.4 to 0.8 degrees above the 1998 peak.

    Now what on Earth does that have to do with why the poles of Venus are so hot? When you can answer that question without accusing a “runaway greenhouse effect” of causing it, then I will see evidence that you are starting to understand. Meanwhile it appears that thousands are reading my latest article, so you are but a drop in the ocean. I really don’t care what you choose to believe. The truth will surface, though you very obviously have no genuine desire to find out the truth.

    What I have explained to you about how molecules interchange PE and KE when in free flight between impacts ought to be enough for you to think for yourself and realise that such molecules would indeed register a higher temperature in lower regions, and that there would be a propensity towards isentropic conditions.

    If you know anything about the extended form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics then you would know that it states that, in adiabatic conditions, entropy will either increase or remain the same. That’s what happens when PE+KE=constant.

    Now all you have to do is put your thinking cap on to realise the implications of an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field – to realise it is the only possible way in which the Venus pole temperatures can be explained, and its surface temperature, especially during the 4 month long Venus night.

    So, either you cannot think this out for yourself, or you have a financial motive to propagate the hoax.

  188. Doug Cotton says:

    (1) http://www.iecinfrared.com/photovoltaic-versus-microbolometer-cameras.html

    “A microbolometer takes slightly longer to respond to changes since it needs to warm up or cool down, depending on the scene.”

    (2) Wikipedia: “In 1994 one company, Electro-Optic Sensor Design (EOSD), began looking into producing microbolometers that used a thin film transistor (TFT), which is a special kind of field effect transistor. The main change in these devices would be the addition of a gate electrode. Although the main concepts of the devices are similar, using this design allows for the advantages of the TFT to be utilized. Some benefits include tuning of the resistance and activation energy and the reduction of periodic noise patterns

  189. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr. Strangelove
    You wrote:

    “The correct explanation is IR is absorbed by the thermopile sensor producing a temperature gradient that creates an electric current (thermoelectric effect). How do you create a temperature gradient? Of course by heating the thermopile vs. local temp. IR from cold body is absorbed by hot body and converted to thermal energy thus falsifying Cottonball theory.”
    No, a thermopile always works by Seebeck effect, which is a differential voltage produced on the two sides of the thermopile sensor.
    Old IR thermometers (and FLIR cameras too) were cooled on the blind side of the sensor, so they produced a one polarity only voltage as function of the radiated energy incoming from the lens which focus was on the exposed other side of the same thermopile.
    Those devices measurable minimum temperature was the one established by the blind side cooling one.
    New IR thermometers (and FLIR cameras), embed a thermistor which establish the zero voltage temperature of the system. So when the lens aim to a body at the same temperature of the measuring device the thermopile produces zero volts. When the lens aim to a warmer body the side of the thermopile exposed to the lens focus is warmed respect to the blind side which is at the environment temperature, so the sensor produces a positive voltage.
    When the lens aim to a colder body the side of the thermopile exposed to the lens focus is just cooled respect to the blind side which is at the environment temperature, so the sensor produces a negative voltage. The measured temperature is computed by the algebraic sum of the value measured by the sensor plus the “zero voltage temperature” reported by the thermistor.
    In fact Doug is quiet right in what he wrote, except for the source of the warming of the sensor which is not coming from any electric device, but just by the environment which warm the
    thermometer itself.

    Have a nice day.


  190. Doug Cotton says:

    Well, the fictitious comedy film character Dr Strangelove has his or her answer to tell his or her teacher, and the anonymous KR might be absent eating humble pie. Oh, and yes I also used a fictitious name “Henderson” at one stage when I decided to write some comments on blogs where I’d been banned. Sorry I accidentally logged into that old Google account. You’d only have to look at my papers to see the name “Cotton” – grandson of Prof. Leo Arthur Cotton whose brother was Prof.Frank Stanley Cotton

  191. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dear Massimo Porzio,

    Cold cannot be radiated. An infrared thermometer is a non contact thermometer and measures always its own temperature. This temperature is the net between incoming and leaving radiations. It is the calibration curve that converts the measurement to volts, temperature, radiations, BTU’s, or any other energy units.

    When you point an infrared to two boiling pots of water made of stainless steel and steel, the readings are different. A contact thermometer will measure the same temperature. Therefore, when you point an infrared thermometer to a very cold body, the reading has no meaning unless the the thermometer is recalibrated for cold temperatures.

  192. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Nabil Swedan

    Yes, maybe I’ve not been clear, but it is the exposed face of the thermopile which lower its temperature because of the net radiation which passes through the lens.
    When I wrote “cooled” and “warmed” I meant that it is the IR flux which passes through the lens that “does the work” of warming or cooling the sensor surface.

    Thank you for having exposed my bad wording.


  193. KR says:

    Swedan, Porzio – The temperature of a non-contact thermometer, such as a bolometer, is determined by the local temperature of that sensor, plus resistive heating from the voltage bias (bolometer materials change resistance with temperature, but you need to supply some voltage across it to measure), _plus_ absorbed EM.

    (Measurement current + IR absorbance) – (Loss to heat sink) -> temperature of the detector

    The first bolometer, built by Samuel Pierpont Langley (~1880’s?), used identical platinum strips coated with carbon black, connected in a Wheatstone bridge configuration to a galvanometer, one exposed to incoming IR and the other not. This provided an immediate _reference_ for the instrument temperature, with the only difference in the platinum resistance being the amount of IR heating of the exposed strip. You can read the detector temperature _without_ such a reference, but you can’t identify the incoming IR contribution unless you correct for instrument temperature.

    [ As an amusing note, this instrument was sensitive enough that, when used through a telescope, Langley could detect the thermal signature of a cow a quarter mile away. ]

    Response time for a bolometer is dependent on the thermal conductivity to the instrument heat sink, with a trade-off between fast response and sensitivity.

    However, the temperature of the detector is determined by the total energy balance – it will again stabilize at the temperature where the output energy of cooling to the instrument heat sink equals the input energy of bias voltage plus IR absorption – as per conservation of energy. EM absorption always adds energy, whether a few long wavelength photons from a cool source or many short wavelength photons from a warm source (quantum mechanics in action). And the absorbance of a material does not have a temperature dependence or threshold – aim a bolometer at something close to absolute zero, up to the sun, and the detector temperature will increase with increasing incoming IR.

    Swedan – You are correct that a non-contact thermometer has to be calibrated to different materials; those will emit different power in IR dependent on surface thermal emissivity. The power measured by the bolometer is correct, but the interpretation to an object temperature scales with material emissivity.

  194. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi KR,
    I’m not sure I understood what you mean, if you intend that the surface exposed to the lens is always at an higher temperature than the “blind” one I agree with you.
    Because the two faces are at the very same temperature of the environment only when no energy at all income from the lens, that is when the thermometer is aimed to an hypothetical 0K body.
    Reading what I wrote, I realize that it could lead to the strange concept that the exposed side of the sensor could fall at a temperature below the other one, but it wasn’t what I meant.

    Thank you too.


  195. KR says:

    Massimo PORZIO – Actually, it’s quite possible that the detector might have a lower temperature (albeit warmer than the instrument body) than the reference, if the IR from the reference enclosure (where the detector would have its lens) is higher than the IR entering the detector lens.

    In fact, if the bolometer is aimed at an external material identical in emissivity to the enclosure, the detector and reference temperatures (and resistances) will be _equal_ if the external material is at the same temperature as the instrument.

    Again, the bolometer material temperature is that at which input and output energy (for reference or detector) are equal. And for any observed object warmer than absolute zero, emitting IR, sending energy to the detector, the detector will be _warmer_ than the instrument plus bias voltage resistive heating, warmer than the baseline for that instrument and read current.

  196. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “Actually, it’s quite possible that the detector might have a lower temperature (albeit warmer than the instrument body) than the reference, if the IR from the reference enclosure (where the detector would have its lens) is higher than the IR entering the detector lens.”
    I’m not sure it is possible because the detector warms for thermodynamic effect too, such as conduction and convection. So I believe (yes, it’s just a believing, because I’m not an expert in this kind of instruments) that the exposed surface could be always a little warmer than the other.

    “the instrument plus bias voltage resistive heating”
    I assure you that the two IR thermometers that I own don’t have any heating resistor, they just have a simple thermopile and a thermistor which measures the inner temperature close to the thermopile itself.

  197. KR says:

    Massimo PORZIO – I was specifically discussing bolometers, where the detector material changes resistance with temperature. Measuring that resistance requires placing a voltage (and current) across the detector. That voltage is not intended as a heater, but that is a side effect of running current through the material to detect its resistance.

    Thermopiles (bimetallic thermocouples) are a different technology, with their own operating characteristics – as an inherent voltage source, they do not need an additional bias current.

    Yes, you can indeed have a detector at a lower temperature than the instrument reference. Consider two identical detectors, one used as a reference (with a lens cap) – if the open lens is pointed at something cooler than the cap on the reference, the open detector will indeed have a lower input energy, and lower temperature, than the reference.

  198. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and others

    It should be clear from the above that Jeff Conlon (owner of “The Air Vent” website) was wrong in assuming that microbolometers (infra red thermometers) disproved what Prof Claes Johnson said about how one-way spontaneous radiation cannot transfer heat from a cooler source to a warmer target.

    My March 2012 paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” was in large part a review of what Claes had written. He and I are in frequent communication, along with about half a dozen core members of PSI who really know their physics, and we have not been proven to be incorrect on any of this by anyone offering a valid rebuttal based on valid physics.

    The significance of what Claes proved in “Computational Blackbody Radiation” is that back radiation cannot affect the rate of cooling by non-radiative processes. The latter account for at least two-thirds of all the thermal energy transferred from the surface to the atmosphere.

    The rate of cooling by non-radiative processes is slowed, not by back radiation, but by the presence of all air molecules at a very close temperature at the surface/atmosphere boundary. These air molecules are at the temperature they are, because Loschmidt was right and his physics, nearly 150 years old, has stood the test of time, and now been proven correct empirically. A thermal gradient does develop autonomously in a gravitational field and is more than sufficient to explain that “33 degrees of warming” supposedly due to WV and GHG. So the greenhouse is demolished and falls to the ground, which it never was warming in the first place. QED.

  199. Doug Cotton says:

    typo Jeff Condon was wrong

  200. Mack says:

    “Consider two identical detectors” Two detectors? You’re talking double dutch. You only need one instrument to take a reading mate.

  201. KR says:

    Doug Cotton“It should be clear from the above…”

    I do hope you’re not discussing the most recent exchange on bolometers, because Prof. Claes Johnson is indeed disproven by the physics discussed there, and Jeff Conlon is correct.

    [The following is unlikely to be accepted by DC – but for other readers…]

    Conservation of energy means that an object in equilibrium will be at a temperature where it loses just as much energy as it receives, output = input. That includes the energy in quanta of electromagnetic radiation absorbed by that object, the absorptivity of which does not depend on the object temperature. Denial of absorptivity is really a denial of quantum mechanics; good luck with that.

    Two joules enter, two joules leave!” (Bonus points for recognizing the reference.) Absorbed radiation whether from a cooler or warmer object _adds_ to summed object input energy (warming it above where it would be with no received EM), and the object will equilibrate at a temperature where summed input energy leaves again.

  202. Geoff wood says:

    Firstly Doug, strangely, although I have a physics qualification ( Astro) and I am so very seriously interested in climate, I am not the same person that comes up under that google search!

    Doug, I greatly admire your tenacity in dealing with the stubbornness and irritation of certain responders. Yourself, Nabil and Massimo to me, say things that make sense from logical arguments.

    To David and KR, I would direct this. ( sorry Doug, for I know this is painful reiteration of basic physics, that you have said a dozen times over),

    David and KR, do you remember high school physics ? Have they been rewritten at some point?

    Total energy is the sum of potential and kinetic energy.

    Are you aware that thermal energy in a gas is kinetic,

    The potential energy is due to gravity as a function of height.

    E(total)= kinetic + potential
    E(total)= thermal + gravitational potential energy

    The system at equilibrium will tend toward rate of change of total energy is zero

    As Doug has said about a dozen times, gravity modifies the mean free path between collisions. That is ‘every’ upward, ‘every’ downward ‘every’ sideways, ‘every’, ‘every’ free molecular path between collisions is modified. Therefore it is impossible for the modified ‘collisions’ that result, not to impart the gravitational ‘information’ into the macroscopic development of the gravitational thermal profile. This is the ‘diffusion’ process.

    Mathematically, equipartition allows us to align one of the mutually perpendicular translational degrees of freedom with gravity and consider the gravitational effect of work being done vertically and express this a single mechanical process acting singly but expressed as an equal energy modification throughout the total of available energy states (degrees of freedom/ heat capacity).

    The manifestation of this exchange is the adiabatic lapse rate. Total energy is largely conserved and gravity dictates the gradient for a given heat capacity. Gravity sets the thermal gradient.

    Heat travels according to the thermal gradient.

    At this point, we have a reasonable depiction of the thermal profile of ANY atmosphere. FROM BASIC PHYSICS.

    I would ask anyone now to think and please apply Occam’s Razor. Given a simple reason why any atmosphere tends towards this isentropic profile as depicted and described by entry level physics, why would anyone look for a more complicated reason to explain what we already know!

  203. Doug Cotton says:

    Thanks Geoff. You’d be a very welcome member at Principia Scientific International.

    The truth in physics will always prevail whilst there are a few honest scientists. It may take 150 years, but it will prevail. The Earth is not flat, and nor is it the centre of the universe. Einstein was right about relativity. Loschmidt was right about an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field. Prof Claes Johnson was right about one-way spontaneous radiation not transferring heat to a warmer target.

    KR doesn’t understand that radiation can be absorbed but its energy in a warmer target can only be used to immediately re-emit identical radiation with the same intensity and frequency. That electromagnetic energy can never be converted to thermal energy. It is used (and has to be used) only for a part of the SBL quota of radiation by the target, so the target does not use its own energy, and thus cools more slowly as I have discussed in all my papers and articles. KR also doesn’t understand (or failed to read) what I quoted above about microbolometers. In my March 2012 paper I wrote (in the Appendix) “However, the newer microbolometers have sensors which warm or cool at different rates, and these rates are used to determine temperature.” In the website quoted in my comment above we read ““A microbolometer takes slightly longer to respond to changes since it needs to warm up or cool down, depending on the scene.

    I don’t know what could be clearer, KR. Physics is universal. The truth will prevail, and the writing is on the wall for the GHE.

  204. Doug Cotton says:

    Some people seem to think the Second Law of Thermodynamics is all about “conservation of energy” so that all that matters is that energy is conserved in some overall “net” process. Well, I am not so naive as to think energy is not conserved. But that is the First Law of Thermodynamics, not the Second.

    As Geoff Wood has also pointed out, “conservation of energy” is the very reason why a thermal gradient develops autonomously in still air in a gravitational field, irrespective of the surface temperature or any convection. It is a diffusion process, diffusing kinetic energy at the molecular level, and conserving energy. If you favour the concept of an isothermal atmosphere without WV or GHG, as propagated by the IPCC, then you are claiming energy can be created and entropy reduced.

  205. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “I was specifically discussing bolometers, where the detector material changes resistance with temperature.”
    Yes you stated it before, I missed that point. I apologize for that, but sometimes I read with hurry and speaking an another language I miss some important details, really sorry.

    I investigated a little the Meteosat 2nd generation on board GERB instrument. It seems that they have limited the aperture to 60°N-60°S and 60°W-60°E because the radiation is considered insignificant outside that area.
    In my opinion, the problem is that there is no doubt that outside that area the the radiation is very little if compared to the one closer to the nadir, the problem is that whole that outgoing radiation is scattered by the so called GHGs, so when the GHGs concentration increases that radiation increases significantly too.
    Anyways a geostationary satellite is not so good for that purpose because the scattered radiation at the higher latitudes is consequence of a very little ground radiation if compared to the very high radiation measured at the nadir which is the equator.
    In fact the two polar areas are the places were an ideal satellites which catch the whole Earth dish would get the maximum GHGs scattered vs ground transmitted radiation ratio. Because in those areas most of the GHGs scattered radiation come from the tropical area, while the nadir transmitted radiation is little there.
    In my opinion, the only way to really measure the whole outgoing radiation is to scan the whole globe with a radiometer having a field of view sufficient to get the radiation from the whole dish (comprising the atmospheric ring) and compute the integral of those measurements.

  206. KR says:

    Doug Cotton“…radiation can be absorbed but its energy in a warmer target can only be used to immediately re-emit identical radiation with the same intensity and frequency. That electromagnetic energy can never be converted to thermal energy.” – So very, very, very wrong. In violation of quantum mechanics, of photon absorption by molecules, totally ignoring (as an example) the Boltzmann distribution, a complete Fallacy of Division (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/division.html), just fatuous balderdash.

    When you have _successfully_ refuted Max Planck, actually convincing physicists through experiments confirming your predictions, predictions differing from those of quantum physics (which you have never offered, oddly enough), please write. Until then… you are (IMO, and while I apologize for the tone, I cannot think of a better description) engaging in nothing more than semantic shell-games, in an attempt to redefine interpretations along with your ideology. Not physics.

    In the meantime I strongly encourage you (and readers) look at what _I_ consider a meaningful video on this discussion, regarding these unsupportable 2nd Law objections to greenhouse theory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G_zSos8w_I. It’s quite brief – viewing won’t take long at all.

    Sigh. Far too much time wasted on nonsense that isn’t even wrong, and far too much to do. Good-bye.

  207. KR says:

    Massimo PORZIO – Regarding bolometers/thermopiles, not a problem at all, I believe that clears up any misunderstanding on both parts, and I thank you for your response.

    Regarding fields of view: Greenhouse gases do _not_ scatter IR. They absorb it, thermalize, and later that energy (not those particular photons) are emitted as spherically isotropic radiation, spherically symmetric. Scattering is dependent upon input/output angles, re-radiation is not.

    That spherical symmetry means that given even a limited field of view, given the size of that field, allows you to extrapolate the radiance of that field to the rest of the atmosphere (albeit with uncertainties dependent upon length of observation and area observed). Given distance from the emitter and the solid angle subtended by your detector, simply calculate the ratio of your observation area to the full size of the sphere at that distance to scale your measurements.

    Field of view is _not_ an issue.

  208. Doug Cotton says:

    Imagine a thin metal plate (area 1 square metre) standing vertically in the middle of a room at 22 deg.C. When at the same temperature as the room, it is absorbing and immediately re-emitting about 430 watts on each side. This is more than the Earth’s surface receives on average from the Sun, and far more than the 10 to 20W/m^2 which the Venus surface receives direct from the Sun.

    Now, place a mirror the same size close to and parallel to one side of the metal plate in order to create a back radiation effect. Hence we have one side receiving direct radiation (as if from a super powerful Sun) and the other side receiving far more backradiation than the real atmosphere could ever deliver. Does the plate get any hotter even in the course of a few years? KR’s computations would suggest so, but then he forgot to apply the restrictions imposed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Why would backradiation from “a runaway greenhouse effect” on Venus heat its surface to 730K or more?

  209. Transport by Zeppelin says:

    David Appell

    “By now there are a host of fingerprints predicted by AGW theory that are observed: stratospheric cooling (especially in low latitudes)”

    David; I would like to read your comments on the data from this graph, –

    *Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – 1979 to Present*

    especially noting 1994 to present.

  210. Doug Cotton says:

    Not surprisingly, KR fails to admit his or her mistake about bolometers. I’m sure silent readers will understand that the words quoted in my comment above mean the same. Then he/she appeals to authority, strangely thinking I am not aware of Planck functions and how the Stefan-Boltzmann relationship is derived by integration of such over all frequencies. Silent readers would only have to read Sections 1 to 5 of my paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012 to see what an absurd assumption KR makes.

    So now he or she tries to impress with angry tones and smearing verbiage – a typical tactic, I find, of those who know they are stumped. Any genuine physicist would discuss in detail each and every point made, using valid physics, including the main point which demolished the greenhouse, namely Loschmidt’s physics from nearly 150 years ago. Do you see KR even mention the thermal gradient in a gravitational field. No. Yet that is the topic of my recent paper, article and video: http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY

    So KR totally avoids the key issue of how a thermal gradient develops in a gravitational field, as also clearly explained by an astrophysicist, Geoff Wood in this comment just above.

    Yes, the above comment by Geoff Wood was completely ignored by our KR because he or she has no valid response.

    That one has the anonymous KR completely stumped, as will my comment about the metal plate just above. Who are you KR and what education do you have, and how many years of experience do you have in the physics of heat transfer?

  211. Doug Cotton says:


    The Planck curve and Stefan-Boltzmann Law are discussed in detail in Sections 3 and 4 of my March 2012 paper, KR, and there is absolutely nothing in that paper which refutes these well-know functions and equations.

    If you understood the physics of heat transfer you would at least comment on what Geoff Wood wrote above about how basic physics proves that a thermal gradient develops in a gravitational field. I don’t know Geoff, and I didn’t ask him to write anything here.

    Readers may start here and click where it says to download the whole of my March 2012 paper ..


  212. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “Scattering is dependent upon input/output angles, re-radiation is not.”
    Ok, I’m not a physicist, I’m an electronic engineer so maybe I used the wrong word here. Re-radiation should be the right one, but your “spherical symmetry means that given even a limited field of view, given the size of that field,” is valid if, and only if, you have one spherical emitter in your field of view, the satellites look at a bunch of spherical emitters which “re-radiate” different fluxes depending on their displacement in the atmosphere.
    What I’m arguing here, is that there must be different spectra as the radiometer diverge from the nadir because they come from emitters in different spatial contexts. Their spectra are not predictable (as you believe) simply considering a spherical radiation. So since the radiometer sees almost only the vertical flux of the spherical radiators in its field of view and not the fluxes of the one outside of it , its measurement could miss the outgoing radiation of the GHGs gases that “spreads” (allow that instead of re-radiate) the radiation.
    Your argument could be valid if the whole atmosphere was made of GHGs and no outgoing radiation at the TOA came from the ground, which is not.
    I don’t know if you had the time to take a look to the Franch/Italian paper I linked. Well, if I’m wrong, how do you explain that Fig.3 upper graph, which at the limb shows an almost perfectly complementary radiation spectrum of the nadir?

    Have a nice day.


  213. Doug Cotton says:

    Massimo, yes you are right in what you say. But it is not actually very important, because radiation is rarely just a two stage process (or one stage) between the surface and the atmosphere. There can (and almost certainly are) many cases of multiple stages in a random walk fashion. Some, for example, will return to the surface before being re-emitted back to a higher, cooler altitude where its energy could be converted to thermal energy. In general, whenever the radiation passes from warmer to cooler regions it can transfer heat. After all, that’s what the original GHE explanation talked about, namely “trapping heat.” We know that wasn’t really trapping, however, because the heat transfers by diffusion in a random walk between all air molecules until it ends up in (mostly) water vapour which can re-emit the original energy with totally different wavelengths.

    But all of this has no effect on surface temperature. As Geoff Wood and I have explained, that temperature is fully explained (and maintained) by the autonomous formation of a thermal gradient due to the need to maintain isentropic conditions during molecular free path motion.

  214. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Doug,
    I agree with you about the back radiation issue, but I believe that if one could demonstrate that the pit at about 650cm-1 which is used by some climatologist as the “proven prof” of the energy trapping of the CO2, it is not as deep as presented, it could be a step in the right direction to get the truth about the so called GHGs.
    Because there are no doubts that the only ways energy has to leave Earth atmosphere is by radiation.
    Maybe we are wrong, but in that case, I would like to read someone who proves that we are wrong, using scientific argumentation which dismantle my own “belief” that at the TOA the energy exits in any upward direction with very different spectra as function of the angle respect to the zenith.

    Have a nice day.


  215. Nabil Swedan says:


    It is good that you mention potential energy as part of the energy balance of the Earth. This term is so important and has been so far ignored. For practical applications, the potential energy say in a combustion engine or air compressor, can be ignored. Not for the earth. The decrease in in the potential energy of the upper atmosphere, geopotentials, are well documented, and it is massive because of the large mass of the atmosphere. This reduction is responsible for about 50% of surface warming.

  216. Entropic man says:

    Massimo Porzio

    “at the TOA the energy exits in any upward direction with very different spectra as function of the angle respect to the zenith.”


  217. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Entropic man


    This link one more time:


    Look at fig.1 and note the mirror at the spectrometer input slit. That mirror allowed the spectrometer to move its field of view from nadir to the so called “limb” view, not so much but useful to see if the radiation exits the same ways at any angle.
    The “limb” radiation is exiting the atmosphere because it’s almost a sphere and the limb view is tangent to it.
    Note what upper graph of fig.3 shows. That is, there is an outgoing peak exactly where at the nadir the spectrometer sees the CO2 pit.
    So I suppose that there must exist a bunch of different outgoing radiation spectra function of the angles enclosed from the nadir to the limb view.

    Have a nice day

  218. Entropic man says:

    The limb view is monitoring stratospheric emission, mostly from CO2. The upward view is monitoring input from space. The nadir view is monitoring tropospheric emission from CO2 and, especially, water.
    The differences are due to different emission sources, not different emission directions.

  219. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Entropic man
    “The limb view is monitoring stratospheric emission, mostly from CO2. The upward view is monitoring input from space. The nadir view is monitoring tropospheric emission from CO2 and, especially, water.”
    I agree, there is no doubts that this was what the spectrometer seen there.
    Maybe I didn’t write well what I meant, when I wrote “a bunch of different outgoing radiation spectra function of the angles”, I refer to what should see the radiometer when it is aimed to that angles. At that stratospheric level or above, the spectrum seen at the nadir should slowly change to the one seen at the limb as the spectrometer input slit moves from the two extremes. All that radiation is escaping the atmosphere, and measuring only the spectrum at the nadir inferring that all the other spectra are the same, in my opinion, could lead at least to an overestimation of the supposed CO2 trapping.
    Note that as the radiometer/spectrometer angle diverges from the nadir, the direct radiation from the ground or that from the WV is reduced because of the increased atmospheric depth, while the one re-radiated by the CO2 should not (or better should be less reduced), because it’s concentration in volume it’s almost the same at any altitude. So the far from the nadir the slit is aimed the more the radiation exiting the atmosphere at the point of the TOA where the satellite is placed should be due to the CO2.

  220. Nabil Swedan says:

    Massimo Porzio,

    Is the measured radiations trend decreasing or increasing with climate change?

  221. Doug Cotton says:

    To all:

    In considering TOA radiative imbalance you are “failing to see the woods for the trees.” Radiative imbalance (which is rarely more than 0.5%, varies from positive to negative and can’t be measured within 0.5% anyway) is not the cause of climate change – rather it is the result.

    Geoff Wood (in this comment) and I have both shown you how the “dry adiabatic lapse rate” -g/Cp develops autonomously by diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level, even in still air without convection, simply because the laws of physics have to be adhered to, even at the molecular level. You cannot create energy and you cannot reduce entropy in an adiabatic process. The IPCC would like you to think that you can.

    So the thermal gradient has to be there because of gravity.

    So the temperature of the base of the atmosphere has to be raised by the necessity for this gradient. In fact it would be raised to between 300K and 320K.

    Fortunately water vapour and (to some minuscule extent) carbon dioxide reduce the gradient by radiating heat to higher cooler layers of the troposphere, and also, near the top of the troposphere, absorbing heat radiated by the warmer stratosphere and the Sun. Hence we have the wet adiabatic lapse rate, which is about two-thirds of the dry one, and is most noticeable in the tropics.

    The lower thermal gradient caused by water vapour then leads to a lower surface temperature, so that, rather than about 300K to 320K, we have only about 288K as observed.

    Yes, radiation from the atmosphere slows down the rate of radiative cooling of the surface after a sunny day. But ordinary air molecules (nitrogen, oxygen etc) slow down the rate of non-radiative cooling just by being there at a similar temperature to the surface.

    The surface cannot cool below the “supporting” temperature of the base of the atmosphere, but nor can it warm excessively above that temperature, because the cooling processes accelerate as the temperature gap widens.

    All this requires an advanced, up-to-date knowledge of the physics of all heat transfer processes. What the IPCC propagates to the public completely overlooks the effect of gravity on the thermal gradient, but the public are not aware of this fact of physics, first postulated by Loschmidt in the 19th century, and now proven empirically by Graeff with over 800 experiments in the 21st century.
    All this was in my paper and the article “The 21st Century New Paradigm Shift in Climate Change Science” easily found with Google.

    And, by the way, the same thing happens on Venus and other planets and moons with significant atmospheres.

  222. Doug Cotton says:

    If the hyperlink above doesn’t work for you, this is the full link to Geoff Wood’s comment ..


  223. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Nabil Swedan
    “Is the measured radiations trend decreasing or increasing with climate change?”

    Uhmmm… If I understand what you meant, I don’t have a reliable answer, because all the temperature records that I seen look too noisy to me (I supposed that your “climate change” was referred to the last century temperature increase).
    In my professional experience I always take care to get reliable measurements before using them to design a control loop. That’s because if you are not sure of the nature of the strong superimposed noise, you can’t correct for it with “magic” signal processing.
    No, if that was the question, I don’t know.

    Have a nice day.


  224. BS says:

    Essentially 100% of energy used becomes heat in the environment. And remember, most energy is released via burning fossil fuels (making heat, kinetic energy, or electricity) and turning motors.

    On the other hand, renewable (including hydro) shouldn’t be counted in the equation.

  225. BS says:

    Sorry, I meant to post that comment as a reply to another comment up at the top. I seem to be able to post comments, but when I try to use the “reply” link, the comments don’t work.

  226. Mack says:

    “…strong superimposed noise,….magic signal.”
    The thing is Massimo you have to distinguish the signal from the noise; but you may have a signal buried in noise,or a noisy signal, or just a signal overriding the noise. It’s climate science for monkeys with headphones.

  227. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Yes, Mack.
    In most of cases which we deal with noise, that noise is thermal noise. So it’s easy to remove because the information we want to extract from the noisy signal is known to have a coherence with the previous measurements which thermal noise doesn’t have. So it suffice a mere integral computation and we get the information even from very noisy signals.
    And in case the information is used as a feedback, we just have to take account of the delay introduced by the integral computation, which could lead to instability to the control system.
    In climate science the information is the temperature, the noise is a myriad of other strong superimposed and unwanted signals which we know a little of them.
    A typical example of what I mean is the simple fact that the US ground temperature database can be shown as increasing or decreasing depending if one takes account of the land irrigation or in alternative the UHI effect. This demonstrates that both the effects are dominant on the temperature trend which is buried in the signal, and both are computed simulations.
    A rhetoric question: where the measurements have gone?

    The Grace satellites measurement is not so different.

  228. Mack says:

    That was just mean’t to be a funny Massimo.
    Have a nice day.

  229. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Mack,
    yes I got your:

    “It’s climate science for monkeys with headphones.”

    I’m here just for fun too indeed, I’m not a “climate professional”.

    Have a nice weekend.


  230. Doug, you have shown us nothing and have proved nothing.

    Doug, there is a limited greenhouse effect.

    Doug the lapse rate is determined by atmospheric composition and surface albedo, gravity only sets the general parameters for lapse rates ,has next to nothing to do with a lapse rate over a given surface of the earth at a given time.
    Water vapor and co2 cause a net warming.

    Here is the latest fidings from the article that was just posted in the HOCKEY SCHTICK. Dated Jan. 16,2013.

    It states: Increasing downwelling longwave radiation from greenhouse gases (lw- down)of +1.5Wm-2 per decade and decreasing upwelling LW(infrared from the Earth surface)(lw up)of -0.9 Wm-2 per decade, produce a +2.3 Wm-2 increase in surface net LW.

    The actual data supports a limited GHG effect is going on. This data came from sixteen years of high quality surface radiation budget measurements over 7 United States stations.

    This data anotherwords supports everything that Dr. Spencer, Christopher Game , have said about the GHG, while showing everything Doug keeps trying to convey as being 100%incorrect and wrong.

    Of course anyone with any common sense knows Doug, does not know what he is talking about in the first place, but this just confirms it even more.

  231. DAVID APPELL, we don’t agree all that much, nevertheless I am way closer to your thoughts compared to Doug Cotton , who does not know what he is talkng about.

    At least you have a sensible approach to a point, whereas Doug, just rambles on and on in a senseless manner.

    There is a greenhouse effect, it is limited, and I think solar activity if extreme enough , and long enough in duration trumps the GHG effect.

    Still people that appraoch it from David’s point of view , at least have some sensible framework to base it on, whereas Doug, let me put it this way, everything Doug, says is in reality the opposite of what he says.

    I have never and will never disagree with a person more on climate ,on GHG effects ,on lapse rates, Venus, and whatever other topic this guy brings up and tries to force upon others.

    David, he is complete NONSENCE.

  232. Doug, I thought I was bad. I can’t believe how many times you keep saying the same things over, and over and over and over again and again.

    The same ridiculous arguments, which you can’t prove and will be unable to prove.

  233. DJ. Cotton says:


    The Second Law of Thermodynamics states (from Wikipedia)

    An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.

    Hence the Second Law of Thermodynamics confirms that, at equilibrium, an isentropic state will develop, simply because that is the state which has the most entropy of all states “accessible to the system.”

    This is why diffusion creates equal temperatures in a horizontal plane, but also unequal temperatures in a vertical plane. Isentropic conditions apply in each plane in equilibrium, but in the vertical plane potential energy varies, and thus kinetic energy does also so that PE+KE=constant..

    Hence an autonomous thermal gradient in a gravitational field is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and so the GHE is debunked by standard physics.

    See the comments starting here …


    Roy Spencer’s error will be very widely publicised within 2 or 3 weeks in an article likely to be read by tens of thousands.

  234. Dr No says:

    Back on topic, Roy’s post raises two key questions:

    Is Roy now acknowledging the existence of global warming ?

    Is he also now acknowledging the possibility of an anthropogenic effect (waste heat rather than co2)?

  235. DJ. Cotton says:

    Extra energy from waste heat merely flows down the “slope” more quickly, like water flowing over the top of a dam. It doesn’t raise the height of the dam wall.

    Neither waste heat nor CO2 can have any effect on the thermal gradient that is necessary in order to comply with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as explained above.

    As Roy still fails to acknowledge his error regarding conduction causing an isothermal gradient, we at PSI intend to publicise his error very widely.

  236. Steveta_uk says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Peer review means that an action of an individual person may be looked at again (reviewed) by someone of similar competence in that activity – a peer.

    Sums up “Principia Scientific International” quite nicely, I think.

  237. Not a physicist ! says:

    On the matter of waste heat..

    As others have posted before – energy cannot be created or destroyed and the term waste energy is misleading.

    Surely, therefore humans are not adding to the global energy equation, we draw existing energy from the global system, apply it to work and then energy returns to teh global system.

    The parameters at play would therefore be the cycle time between energy being stored and released.

    Drawing energy from the wind, soring it, using it and returning it to the global system would have a very fast turn around with limited impact on longer term trends.

    Drawing energy from fossil fuels clearly has a cycle time of millions of years, where energy has been drawn from the system and stored for a very long period before re-use and release back to the environment.

    However not all “energy consumption” is fossil fuels and not all work is released back to the system immediately.

    Potential energy stored in builidng construction could be in a range from 20 to 300 years for the building structure. Look at its constituent parts however such as the formation of rock within the earth and then gradual release of stored energy through quarrying, shaping for use in buildings, re-use in buildings, dumping in landfill and gradual disintigration into sand particles could take million of years itself.

    It would seem to be a gross over simplification to assume therefore that all energy consumption is released back into the environment as heat immediately and that some recognition of the effect of differnt usage timescales needs to be taken into account.

  238. DJ. Cotton says:

    Well said, and totally correct. Climatologists take a short-term view of things. They also don’t see the big picture.

    I wonder if any of them know that there can actually be a heat transfer by diffusion and convection up a thermal gradient in a gravitational field, provided that gradient is not steeper than the equilibrium thermal gradient which ensures isentropic conditions.

    This is actually as a direct result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which must be expressed in its more specific form (as in Wikipedia) namely …

    An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.

    Think about it. If there is already equilibrium, then adding extra thermal energy (eg release of latent heat) at the “cold” end would decrease entropy, so the energy has to move to warmer regions.

    The Clausius statement about heat transfer being only from hot to cold is only strictly correct in a horizontal plane for non-radiative processes. I bet Roy didn’t know that, nor most climatologists. That is how the energy gets into the Venus surface after the atmosphere absorbs incident solar radiation. It has nothing to do with any “runaway greenhouse effect.”

  239. salvatore delprete says:

    January 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM

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

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

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

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

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


    salvatore delprete says:

    January 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How does one reconcile this?



  240. Doug, you are wrong on everything you keep trying to convey.

  241. Doug’s post Jan. 18 2:48 pm is utter nonsence.

    The temp. at the base of the atmosphere determines the slope of the laspe rate as one proceeeds through the atmosphere with increasing altitude,in conjunction with the atmospheric composition, the surface make up ,surface insolation recieved.

    Gravity only determines the sum totals of all the lapse rates all over the globe which change hour to hour and place to place all over the globe, thus the need for constant monitoring through the use of radiosonde observations, taken twice daily all over the globe.

    Water Vapor, serving to raise the surface temperatures of the earth overall, due to it’s absorptions of out going long wave radiatin and radiating this back toward the earth’s surface.

    The latest hockey schick article I posted yesterday over this web-site is yet another confirmation of the GHG effect, through recent data that has been gathered.

    What he aritcle is saying however,is the effect is weak and is overwhelmed by solar changes. Nevertheless, they don’t agree with the AGW theory as I do not, still acknowledge the existence of the GHG effect, as does Dr. Spencer, and most everyone else, that has any knowledge reasonable of earth’s climatic system.

  242. Entropic man says:

    Not a physicist!

    “humans are not adding to the global energy equation, we draw existing energy from the global system, apply it to work and then energy returns to teh global system.”

    Renewables such as wind, tidal, hydroelectric and solar energy are as you describe, temporarily redirecting incoming energy which would find its way into the outgoing heat budget anyway.

    However, fossil fuels and nuclear power release energy which has been sequestered for millions of years. That definately adds to the surface energy budget.

  243. Doug Cotton says:


    Re: Stratosphere – see third page of the Appendix of my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” The stratosphere does not violate the entropy requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which is “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.” (Wiki)

    Re: Gravity – see derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate, either under “Lapse Rate” in Wikipedia, or in the above Appendix. It is -g/Cp where g is the acceleration due to gravity, and Cp is specific heat. That’s physics, not Salva-tricks.

    You are the one saying radiation from a cooler atmosphere transfers thermal energy to warmer layers and the surface below. That would not be a case of the “greatest entropy amongst the states available to the system” and so you are claiming that the Second Law could be violated. Go and edit Wikipedia and win a Nobel Prize for your discovery – when you prove it, that is.

    The thermal gradient is a direct result derived directly from the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    You can learn what entropy is in Wikipedia, where you might also pick up a bit of other physics one day.

  244. Doug Cotton says:

    If Salvatore were to use his trusty online Stefan-Boltzmann calculator he would find that the 20W/m^2 of sunlight (at the most) reaching the Venus surface would warm it to about 137K (that is about -136C) so then he could work out the lapse rate from that. Ooooops!

  245. Steveta_uk says:

    Doug, you’re a silly billy at times.

    If there is already equilibrium, then adding extra thermal energy (eg release of latent heat) at the “cold” end would decrease entropy, so the energy has to move to warmer regions.

    I’d re-phrase that somewhat.

    If there is already equilibrium, then by definition there isn’t a cold end.

  246. Mack says:

    I would say the earth is in thermal equilibrium with space. Space being the cold end.

  247. Steveta_uk says:

    Mack, the Earth in space is not a closed system, so you cannot make any assumptions about entropy increase or decrease.

  248. Doug, as I expected has no answers, that have any substance to them.

  249. Doug Cotton says:


    Yes there is a cold end. The equilibrium is one of greatest entropy and the whole point of what I have been saying has gone completely over your head. Go and read my paper* and don’t comment again with incorrect statements that show no comprehension as to how the entropy requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics demand a thermal gradient in a gravitational field. If you don’t understand the physics, then I suggest you don’t make comments that demonstrate such to all the silent readers.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics reads: “

    “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system “ (Wikipedia “Laws of Thermodynamics”)

    * Google: “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

  250. Steveta_uk says:

    Doug, I must apologize for my misunderstanding. I foolishly thought that there is no way that there can be any thermal gradient in a closed system which is at equilibrium.

    I was probably confused by the physics I was taught in university, and read in all the physics text books ever written, and by amateurish blog posts such as this:


  251. Massimo PORZIO says:


    IMO that explanation at WUWT doesn’t take account of the different density of the silver conductor which itself establish a gravitational field (horizontal in that case, where the silver conductor is placed vertically respect to the ground).
    So the gas in that column is subject to two gravitational fields, which creates a vertical (huge) thermal gradient and an horizontal (tiny) thermal gradient around the silver conductor.

  252. Steveta_uk says:

    Massimo, I’m not sure, but I think that’s quite amusing. Was that the intent?

  253. Nabil Swedan says:


    A thermodynamic system is said to be closed if it exchanges heat only with its surroundings and matter is not exchanged. The earth is, therefore, a closed system.

    • John says:

      Nabil Swedan,

      You claimed:

      “A thermodynamic system is said to be closed if it exchanges heat only with its surroundings and matter is not exchanged. The earth is, therefore, a closed system.”

      The earth receives, in addition to cosmic and solar radiation, solar wind (plasma) from solar coronal mass ejections, meteoritic dust and God knows what else from space. Precisely how is the earth a closed system?

  254. Massimo PORZIO says:

    In my former message, I’ve been not clear on what I meant. I say that if the intention is to demonstrate that the adiabatic lapse rate doesn’t naturally exist into a gravitational field, one should not consider the interface from the two ends of the silver thermal conductor as a temperature step boundary.
    Doing that, you miss that if a vertical lapse rate exist (note “if”, I don’t know if it exist or not indeed), you should take account of a little, but existent lapse rate around the wire ends which should have a non negligible effect on the very light molecule of gas; and which avoid any heat flow across the interfaces indeed.

  255. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and others:

    The WUWT attempted rebuttal has been rebutted in my paper, simply because the wire itself develops a thermal gradient due to the same conduction/diffusion process in the air. The net gradient is always based on the weighted mean specific heat of all substances, solid, liquid or gas in the system, and the wire becomes part of the system.

    Other attempts at rebuttal have started out with an incorrect assumption that the Zeroth Law is valid itself in a gravitational field, then used it to “prove” the original old Clausius statement of the Second Law is valid in a gravitational field. The conclusion will be wrong if the original assumptions are wrong. (Just like the conclusion that we need back radiation to raise surface temperatures is wrong because the original assumption of an isothermal troposphere is wrong.) Why do you think physicists even needed to introduce entropy into the Second Law, if all they had to worry about was temperature? We need to consider all kinetic energy (KE) and potential energy (PE), the latter including chemical energy, which is not relevant for inert molecules making up nearly all the troposphere. There’s an analogy with Newtonian physics and Einstein’s “refinement” with the Theory of Relativity. The Clausius statement had to be refined because of the effect of force fields. Temperature comparisons are only valid in horizontal planes wherein PE = constant and thus does not affect entropy.

    So the Second Law of Thermodynamics can now be expressed: “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system “

    If you correctly understand what entropy is all about, then, as I have said, it is obvious, for air which is initially isothermal, that some of the air molecules in the top half of an insulated sealed cylinder (with more total energy per molecule) will have a propensity to move to the lower half, thus having the capacity to do work. Hence entropy increases when molecules thus move. And so some more do move downwards than upwards, and thus the lower half ends up warmer, because air molecules which move there gain KE at the expense of PE as they move between collisions.

    Similarly, imagine three equal sized volumes in a cylinder with physical dividers that can be slid out. Now, pump three times as much air as you normally would have into the central cylinder and create a vacuum in the other two sections above and below. Remove the partitions and what happens? Those molecules which move into the lower section lose PE and gain KE. Those that go into the top section gain PE at the expenses of their own KE. Temperature is a measure of mean KE and has nothing to do with density. So the top section is cooler than the bottom section. Elementary my dear Fan.

    There can be no other valid explanation for the temperature of the Venus poles and the troposphere above them. There’s no significant convection above those poles, yet there is a thermal gradient in the troposphere surprisingly close to -g/Cp. The poles can only be that hot if diffusion of KE can cause absorbed thermal energy from the Sun (KE) to appear to pass up the temperature gradient. Entropy considerations show that this is possible iff the absolute magnitude of that gradient were anywhere less than -g/Cp. Hence the vertical temperature gradient will be autonomously maintained by diffusion of KE, as explained in my paper. Diffusion, over the life of Venus, has also ensured horizontal isothermal conditions right around the globe, because of its slow rotation and relatively still atmosphere.

    So, as I have said, there simply is no other way to explain the temperatures of the Venus poles and the troposphere above them. Nor is there any other way to explain over 800 experiments by Roderich Graeff who measured a temperature gradient in well insulated sealed cylinders here on Earth.

    There is no valid counter argument, Roy, and the above will be the substance of an article soon to be published about your mistake.

  256. Norman says:

    Doug Cotton,

    I have been reading your report “Planetary Surface Temperatures A Discussion of Altenative Mechanisms”.

    I do have a couple of questions. How come the oceans do not show this gravity gradient effect? Should not the bottom of the ocean be much warmer than the surface for the same reasons as the atmosphere has a warmer bottom layer? The ocean bottoms are much colder than the surface in most oceans as well as large lakes outside of winter conditions with minimal solar energy.

    Also how does your theory explain why a cloudy night is much warmer than a clear night?

    Thanks for your reply.

  257. Doug Cotton says:

    The specific heat of ocean water is more than double that of air. So the gravitational contribution to the gradient would be less than 5C/Km in the ocean. But diffusion is a slow process and is over-ridden by much faster flowing currents in the ocean. Also, the Sun warms the top levels in the ocean, more than compensating for the gravity gradient, and the base of the atmosphere also “supports” the ocean surface temperatures by non radiative processes.

    Regarding radiation matters it would be best to read my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published on several websites in March 2012. Water vapour radiates from clouds and slows that component of surface cooling which is by radiation. Hence it feels warmer where there are such clouds. But this is weather, not world-wide annual climate change.

    It is mentioned in the November 2012 paper how the temperature at the base of the atmosphere “supports” the surface temperature, and this is a part of that supporting process, preventing the surface getting colder at night. Oxygen and nitrogen of course provide far greater support as they slow the rate of non-radiative cooling. Water vapour reduces the “lapse rate” by about a third (as is well known of course) and so it reduces the surface temperature from what would have been over 300K back down to around 288K.

  258. Norman says:

    Doug Cotton,

    Thank you for answering my questions. I will continue to investigate the theory you are proposing.

    I am glad Roy Spencer does not listen to KR and ban you from posting. I have been banned from both Skeptical Science and Open Mind. Not for abusive or negative language. My goal was to challenge thinking by questioning the assumed truth (like weather is becoming more extreme).

    I have read the critics of your theory it seems more attacks than reasoned rebutals. I would rather have them use logic and reason to prove why your temp gradient idea as the explanation for a warm surface is wrong rather then saying you are wrong without good valid reasoning.

    At this time I do not know if your idea is correct but I would rather try and learn and understand it as just a rapid refute because it sounds different.

  259. Doug Cotton says:

    Thanks Norman, much appreciated.

    Actually there’s an article that explains it in more detail which I have submitted to Principia Scientific International for publication soon. If you care to email me I’ll send you it prior to publication [email protected] – There’s also my 10 minute video.http://youtu.be/r8YbyfqUvfY


  260. The Realists Take on Climate Change

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    Solar Climate Change: Cyclone “Garry” powers up to CAT 2

    Friday, January 25th 2013, 12:54 PM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    The last time I noticed a Tropical Storm “power up” was 10th January and it is of no surprise we have one now after the TWO Erupting Filaments of Solar Magnetism on Wednesday. The only surprise for me was that it’s nealy taken two days for any solar effect to take place on Earth. This could explain why Piers put this period down as a R2.

    Using the above TropicalStormRisk.com chart as an indicator of solar activity this would indicate that storms may be enhanced…so UK look out….more to follow.

    Southern Cooks on alert for Cyclone Garry – solomonstarnews.com: RNZI: A Tropical Cyclone warning is now in effect for all of the Southern Cook Islands ahead of Cyclone Garry’s expected landfall within the next 24…click solomonstarnews.com for more

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    views 77 | comments 0


    Astrophysics v Meteorology: Countdown to the “Coldest Thaw”!

    Friday, January 25th 2013, 11:19 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    After reading John O’Sullavans Blundering British Met Office Now forecast Nations “Coldest Thaw” I thought I would try and keep track of this forecast, best of luck Piers.

    Above latest Met Office forecast for widespread snow cover in the UK for Today and Tomorrow (Saturday 26th January) indicates….according to the Met office…..a thaw will take place very soon as there is a very warm weather system coming to the UK and starting from Sunday there will some heavy rain and warmer temperatures?

    Piers is not so sure they have this correct as there is not much mobility going on, and the Atlantic front due to hit the UK does not look as if will pass through from West to the East of the UK in the way the Met Office have forecast……more to follow.

    See below latest forecast for Sunday 27th January

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    Reply to article: Piers Corbyn: Bishop of warmist delusion called in to attack Boris

    Friday, January 25th 2013, 10:30 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Piers Corbyn says: “Prof Joanna Haigh, head of Physics of Imperial College and a leading Bishop of the CO2 warmistas religion, has made misleading statememts in the Telegraph (link below) which are easily refutable by any student in Imperial College Physics1.

    One might find it curious (but I don’t) that she finds the time to attack a politician for seeking a more open approach on the issue yet was unable to find the time to walk 100 yards to actually debate by invitation the matters at our WeatherAction – Climate Realists conference which included international speakers by video links and was attended by the BBC, in Imperial College October 2009 (the first Climate Fools Day event).

    In The Telegraph she misleadingly implies Boris Johnson believes in a direct correspondence between solar activity amounts and London weather and then says he should be wary of drawing such conclusions – which he has never drawn. [There is of course a complex yet predictable relationship between modulated solar activity and weather patterns]. She knows and Telegraph readers (whom she takes for stupid) know that Boris made it clear he cannot comment on science details but has seen WeatherAction forecasts, which he receives on a regular basis, succeed again and again and again and is simply saying WeatherAction should be listened to, especially because of the economic implications of any coming mini ice age.

    WeatherAction being listened to is the Co2 warmistas great fear because it would bring in a new age of enlightenment of evidence-based science and poltics and would end the corruption of science expressed by the stranglehold of CO2 warmistas on UK schools and academia from year one in Primary schools to the Royal Society (a door upon which Prof Haigh is knocking).
    Source Link: weatheraction.com


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    Reply to article: Prof. Joanna Haigh attempts to fool Telegraph readers about Boris Johnson’s climate views

    Friday, January 25th 2013, 10:24 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Misleading statements: Prof. Joanna Haigh attempts to fool Telegraph readers about Boris Johnson’s climate views – tallbloke.wordpress.com

    Letter – The Telegraph – 23rd January

    SIR – As a professor of atmospheric physics, at Imperial College London, I’m delighted that Boris Johnson maintains his interest in weather and climate (“It’s snowing, and it really feels like the start of a mini ice age”, Comment, January 21), but he should be wary of drawing generalised conclusions from his observations. He suggests that the cold weather is due to declining solar activity – but the sun is more active now than it has been since 2009, and about the same as it was in 2004 and 1998. What we have is the lovely variability of British weather sitting on top of a long-term global average warming due to greenhouse gas increases. This is not an issue of opinion, but one of basic physics.

    We don’t need to invoke mysterious solar particles to understand long-term trends.

    Professor Joanna Haigh

    So let’s have a look at the cherry picked dates Joanna uses:
    Source Link: tallbloke.wordpress.com


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    Don’t put your gloves away yet! Big Freeze to go out with a bang as Met Office issues weather warnings for up to a foot of snow

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 4:46 PM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    The cold snap is expected to ‘go out with a bang’ tomorrow as up to a foot of snow is expected to fall and much of the country will receive a final blanketing.

    The Met Office has put out amber and yellow warnings for much of Scotland, the north of England, east of England and East and West Midlands, with yellow warnings in Wales, south west England and London and the South East.

    It warned that strong winds will also lead to drifting and blizzard-like conditions, particularly over higher level roads in the north. Head of special operations Darron Burness said: ‘It looks likely that the current cold spell will go out with a bang tomorrow….click source to read FULL Daily Mail report

    Also read this report from John O’Sullivan Blundering British Met Office Now forecast Nations “Coldest Thaw”
    Source Link: dailymail.co.uk/news

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    Further snow forecast for parts of the UK BBC News

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 10:05 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    There are warnings of further snow in the UK on Friday, as the weather continues to cause disruption in parts of the country.

    The Met Office has issued an amber warning of snow, meaning be prepared, across eastern Scotland, northern England and the Midlands.

    In addition, rain and melting snow are expected to lead to rising water levels in rivers in south-west England.

    The Environment Agency has two flood warnings and over 30 alerts in place.

    Forecasters are warning of heavy rain in south-west, central, northern and western England, Northern Ireland, eastern Wales and the southern half of Scotland during Thursday and Friday which, combined with snow melt, could cause flooding.
    Source Link: bbc.co.uk/news


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    Did TWO Erupting Filaments of Solar Magnetism alter short term Met Office Weather Forecast for the UK?

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 9:51 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Only time will tell how the Met Office weekend weather outlook for an end of the cold weather in the UK, issued on the 23rd January is made to look rather silly. But one thing is for sure, there were TWO Erupting Filaments of Solar Magnetism on the Sun yesterday, and these changes to the Met Office forecast for MORE SNOW and NOT LESS and the very intense Atlantic storm coming to the UK in the next 24 hours could well be related to the recent events on the Sun.

    I Had a look at the same period using the WeatherAction.com forecast issued late December, and Piers was confident that the colder conditions would continue for the UK, and yes, he seems to have that part correct, but as far as the huge storm coming our way, I can only guess that the Sun produced something even Piers did not foresee at the end of last month.

    But having said that, he has updated his website in regard to this change…more to follow

    Latest from SpaceWeather.com FILAMENT ERUPTIONS: Two long filaments of solar magnetism erupted yesterday, Jan. 23rd, hurling bright coronal mass ejections into space… A second CME sailed high over the sun’s north pole: image. Earth was not in the line of fire of either eruption…These events show that sunspots are not required for solar activity. Neither of the filaments that erupted yesterday were rooted in a sunspot’s dark core….click SpaceWeath.com link for more [VIDEO].

    See below WeatherAction.com chart for this period and note the temperature forecast.

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    MUST SEE YOUTUBE: Marc Morano on “Your World” and also Sun News Video on Obama’s Inauguration speech

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 8:38 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Watch Now: Climate Depot’s Morano on Fox News on World Economic Forum $14 Trillion Climate Plan: ‘It implies that if we spend $14 trillion we can prevent another storm like Sandy’

    Morano: ‘With Obama now invoking God, this report is a serious threat…Governments cannot control weather and climate…but the report implies we can control the weather. At the same time it wants to control the economy. It’s as though the World Economic Forum report looked at Obama’s green stimulus and instead of seeing a fiasco — which it was — they looked at it and said wow, how can we expand this globally’

    See also below for Sun News Interview

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    What the Met Office stated on the 23rd January for the UK: Updated

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 7:43 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Freezing weather gradually eases in the UK, Met Office 23rd January – Met Office forecasters are predicting that the cold weather will continue until the weekend, with some very cold nights in store.

    Met Office Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for the ice and snow. Yellow warnings are in place across parts of the UK, and the public are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings and plan ahead if they are travelling. Met Office weather warnings help you plan, prepare and protect yourself and others from the impacts of severe weather.

    Paul Gundersen, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The weather will stay very cold, but mostly dry through the rest of the week with severe frosts and patchy fog at night continuing to make it very icy.

    “Everyone should continue to be aware of severe weather over the next few days and should plan ahead to take account of possible travel delays or disruption.”

    Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “With freezing conditions set to continue till the weekend, ice is going to be the biggest ongoing hazard over the next few days. Even if your car’s thermometer shows the air temperature above freezing, bear in mind that the ground takes longer to thaw out, so ice is still a risk. Wherever you’re travelling this week, stick to the gritted main roads where possible and check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports before departing.”

    See below latest forecast issued one day later (24th January): Now Updated with NEW Met Office forecast and an out of date Media report issued TODAY!

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    views 367 | comments 2


    Piers Corbyn: It looks increasingly like standard models are heading for another blunder this weekend

    Thursday, January 24th 2013, 7:18 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    Examination of successions of forecast maps for Sat 26th and Sun 27th from MetOffice, GFS and ECMWF models show them back-peddling on their much heralded major warm-up.

    “We warned they were overstating this event”, said Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction, “There is just not enough solar-wind input coming to make the change they expect and our lunar and geomagnetic factors are against. A look at http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?month=01&day=23&year=2013&view=view confirms the very low levels of activity we predicted for now from over 5 weeks ahead. Something will happen, indeed our forecast said so, but not much – and qualitively weaker, compared to their projections. This is yet another blunder in a series of major errors this winter in forecasting from only a few days ahead for Britain/Ireland, Europe and the USA where there have also been very major errors recently.

    “Of course standard meteorology has no comprehension of what we are talking about and as long as it remains wedded to the delusional nonsense of CO2 warmism and ‘weather drives weather’ tenets of computer forecasting they will never learn. Admission that solar activity is the decisive driver of weather especially extreme events and of climate change – a fact which our success demonstrates – spells the end of the CO2 warmist religion and the electricity price hikes, taxes and green handout gravy train that it brings.

    “It also means that however many millions or billions, are spent on extra computer power for the juggernaut of standard warmist meteorology thay will never improve but only get wrong answers quicker and mislead the public more often. Politicians must now get to grips with reality, cast aside the CO2 warmist sect of BBC-MetO and the so called ‘Climate-Science’ empire in academia and instead support accountable evidence-based science and policies”
    Source Link: weatheraction.com

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    Headline Stories

    #1 Solar Activity At End Of 20th Century Was At Highest Levels Of Past 9,000 Years

  261. Doug Cotton says:

    So where’s your own personal chart of world temperatures, weighted over 90% for sea surface (because of all the energy in the oceans) and is your chart showing anything much different from Roy’s figures, which show a net decline these last 14 years or so?

  262. Doug Cotton says:

    PS: May I suggest it would be more appropriate to discuss this on Roy’s previous thread where temperature data he provides includes a ranking of years …

    1. 1998 0.419
    2. 2010 0.394
    3. 2005 0.260
    4. 2002 0.218
    5. 2009 0.218
    6. 2007 0.202
    7. 2003 0.187
    8. 2006 0.186
    9. 2012 0.161
    10. 2011 0.130

    Mmmm 0.419 down to 0.161 yet levels of carbon dioxide still increasing.

  263. Doug Cotton says:


    Let me archive my predictions …

    2013: Between 0.12 and 0.22
    2014: Between 0.05 and 0.15

    continued slight cooling until 2027

    2026 to 2028 mean of those three years between -0.2 and 0.0

    then 30 years of warming

    2056 to 2058 mean of those three years between 0.2 and 0.7

    then, 30 years of cooling, 30 years of warming

    But, somewhere between 2100 and 2180 the long-term ~1,000 year natural cyclic trend will reach its next maximum and 500 years of cooling starts at a mean rate of about 0.5C per century. The current rate of long-term warming has reduced to about 0.05C per decade from about 0.06C per decade a hundred years ago, because the trend is approximately sinusoidal and is approaching a maximum.
    Signed; Douglas Cotton

  264. David Appell says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    January 24, 2013 at 9:51 PM
    Thanks Norman, much appreciated.

    Actually there’s an article that explains it in more detail which I have submitted to Principia Scientific International for publication soon.

    Why didn’t you submit it to a real journal, instead of a pretend journal?

    Afraid it won’t be accepted?

  265. David Appell says:

    salvatore delprete says:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM
    DAVID APPELL, we don’t agree all that much, nevertheless I am way closer to your thoughts compared to Doug Cotton , who does not know what he is talkng about.

    At least you have a sensible approach to a point, whereas Doug, just rambles on and on in a senseless manner.

    Whatever. In your own way, you are just as unscientific as Doug Cotton/Henderson.

  266. Doug Cotton says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble understanding the physics I’m describing, David. I admit that some of the concepts, such as entropy, do require fairly advanced knowledge of physics – usually somewhat more than the average climatologist has learnt. Maybe this comment will help http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-69198


    Solar Activity At End Of 20th Century Was At Highest Levels Of Past 9,000 Years

    Wednesday, January 23rd 2013, 8:04 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    A 2012 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reconstructs solar activity from isotopes in ice cores and tree rings, and finds solar activity at the end of the 20th century was at the highest levels of the past 9,000 years.

    The paper confirms other peer-reviewed publications indicating that the Sun was particularly active during the 20th century in comparison to the past several millenia In addition, the authors find good agreement between solar activity and the Asian climate as determined from stalagmites in the Dongge cave, China.

    Blowup and flipped 1st graph (above) from Fig. 4 below shows the year 2000 at the right side of the graph, 9000 years ago at the left side. Added red line shows solar activity in blue at the end of the record was at the highest levels of the past 9000 years. Note graph has been reversed vertically since the graph below in Fig. 4 is on a reverse scale.
    Source Link: hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk


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  268. Solar Activity At End Of 20th Century Was At Highest Levels Of Past 9,000 Years

    Wednesday, January 23rd 2013, 8:04 AM EST

    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

    A 2012 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reconstructs solar activity from isotopes in ice cores and tree rings, and finds solar activity at the end of the 20th century was at the highest levels of the past 9,000 years.

    The paper confirms other peer-reviewed publications indicating that the Sun was particularly active during the 20th century in comparison to the past several millenia In addition, the authors find good agreement between solar activity and the Asian climate as determined from stalagmites in the Dongge cave, China.

    Blowup and flipped 1st graph (above) from Fig. 4 below shows the year 2000 at the right side of the graph, 9000 years ago at the left side. Added red line shows solar activity in blue at the end of the record was at the highest levels of the past 9000 years. Note graph has been reversed vertically since the graph below in Fig. 4 is on a reverse scale.

    Article continues below this advert:

    Cosmic ray intensity is inversely related to solar activity. High solar activity is indicated by low cosmic ray intensity, as shown by graphs B, C, and D at different timescales.

    ABSTRACT – 9,400 years of cosmic radiation and solar activity from ice cores and tree rings

    Understanding the temporal variation of cosmic radiation and solar activity during the Holocene is essential for studies of the solar-terrestrial relationship. Cosmic-ray produced radionuclides, such as 10Be and 14C which are stored in polar ice cores and tree rings, offer the unique opportunity to reconstruct the history of cosmic radiation and solar activity over many millennia. Although records from different archives basically agree, they also show some deviations during certain periods. So far most reconstructions were based on only one single radionuclide record, which makes detection and correction of these deviations impossible. Here we combine different 10Be ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica with the global 14C tree ring record using principal component analysis.

    This approach is only possible due to a new high-resolution 10Be record from Dronning Maud Land obtained within the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica in Antarctica. The new cosmic radiation record enables us to derive total solar irradiance, which is then used as a proxy of solar activity to identify the solar imprint in an Asian climate record. Though generally the agreement between solar forcing and Asian climate is good, there are also periods without any coherence, pointing to other forcings like volcanoes and greenhouse gases and their corresponding feedbacks. The newly derived records have the potential to improve our understanding of the solar dynamics and to quantify the solar influence on climate.

    Click source for more [LINKS]
    Source Link: hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk

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    Comments section below this advert:

  269. If one were to read this article and click on the web-site hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk ,one will see exactly where I am coming from and how both Doug Cotton and David Appell ,both don’t know what they are talking about although they have the opposite extreme points of view.

    Both are ridiculous, and will be proven wrong.I should say are already being proved wrong.

    This is where I am coming from, in the above article and all the attachements to this article.

  270. Doug Cotton says:

    What’s your problem, Salvo? I’ve been saying all along that climate is controlled primarily by variation in Solar activity and possibly cosmic ray intensity, which may affect cloud formation.

    The paper has no grounds for assuming a greenhouse effect did anything. They might just as well have talked about cloud cover and water vapour content, or maybe even the number of nuclear tests carried out in the latter part of the 20th century. It’s easy to find things that were increasing then along with temperatures, and, like nuclear testing, stopped when temperatures stopped climbing. You can “prove” anything with statistics if you’re good at cherry picking, like the IPCC is.

  271. Doug Cotton says:

    Why didn’t you submit it to a real journal, instead of a pretend journal?

    Why would I want to support a “journal” which helps propagate the biggest travesty of standard physics which the world has ever seen – a supposed “greenhouse effect” supposedly raising thermal gradient in the atmosphere, where 800 experiments have proved that gravity did it all in the first place?

    I’d rather write an article which appears on a website getting 500 hits an hour because people know it publishes the truth.

  272. Mack says:

    You cannot remain in no-mans-land between Doug Cotton and David Appell on this AGW issue. If you sit on the fence and say “I’ll just have a little bit of “greenhouse effect” thankyou” then suddenly you’ve become bereft of numbers and figures to support your stance, and are in fact just floating around in a void of a sort of scientific hypothesising thought process. Nothing tangible. You’ve either have to accept David Appell and the IPCC’s science and numbers which say that the oceans would be frozen without a “greenhouse” effect, or agree with Doug and Jeff Wood here.
    The fact that Dr Spencer has allowed Doug to have free reign on his site indicates to me he gives tacit approval of the PSI science.

  273. Doug Cotton says:


    So if there would have been a level thermal gradient without water vapour and Co2 etc, then, since we know that water vapour reduces the steeper “dry adiabatic lapse rate” by about a third, then CO2, methane and not much else must have raised surface temperature by about 50 degrees, and then water vapour would have reduced the gradient by about a third, so that the increase was the observed 33 C degrees.

    Hence, Roy, if you were right in Point (6), then the sensitivity to carbon dioxide would be something like 50 degrees, and water vapour cools, as I have been saying all along. Alternatively, if I am right, then gravity creates the required thermal gradient instead of CO2 doing most of that 50 degrees of warming almost all by itself.

    PS: Thanks Mark.

  274. Dave Springer says:

    The global ocean IS nearly frozen. The average temperature of the global ocean, top to bottom, is less than 4C.

    Average insolation at top of earth’s atmosphere is 340W/m2. The emitted energy of a blackbody at 4C is, not coincidentally, 340W/m2. Greenhouse warming of the ocean is limited to the amount of power available at the top of the atmosphere. The effect is evidently at 100% capacity already. Miskolczi’s saturated greenhouse effect appears to be the winner.

  275. Mario Lento says:

    @Doug Cotton: Do you believe that by changing the pattern of cloud cover over the tropical Pacific, ENSO conditions can actually change the total solar energy received by the oceans? …and that they can also store that solar energy deep within the oceans, and distribute it around the world, resulting in actual changes in the total energy balance of the climate system?


  276. Rich says:


    Here is a good example of waste heat causing snow. I have personally driven through snow caused by this waste heat. In the summer this waste heat causes clouds of equal size.


  277. Doug Cotton says:

    Mario I have always agreed that variations in cloud cover can affect climate. It is postulated that such variations might result from variations in cosmic ray intensity, and that cosmic ray variation might result from variations in planetary magnetic fields which easily reach the Sun itself. This effect on cloud cover, plus other natural variations in solar intensity received by the Earth leads to the observed natural cycles, which fully explain all observations relating to surface temperatures over the last few thousand years.
    ENSO is a result of these forcing factors, not a cause. Energy imbalance at TOA is rarely measured as more than 0.5% of incident radiation – and probably has an error bar greater than that anyway. Such energy imbalance is a result of natural climate change, not the cause.
    Please see my comments above (and on other threads) about how gravity causes the observed thermal gradient in the atmosphere of Earth and other planets. The reasons are in my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” easily found with Google.

  278. Doug Cotton says:

    Dave Radiation doesn’t come from the deep depths of the ocean which are mostly about 2 to 4 deg.C. (The freezing point of salt water is of course lower than 0C.) Radiation comes from the much warmer surface. The rate of cooling of the surface is also slowed mostly by the blanket effect of (mostly) nitrogen and oxygen molecules colliding with it. A very small portion of the slowing process is due to back radiation from water vapour and suspended water droplets, and a far, far smaller amount by carbon dioxide. However, water vapour reduces the thermal gradient, and so the surface is not 50 degrees warmer than the “radiating temperature” but only 33 degrees warmer. Those figures are very approximate of course, because it was thought the Earth was flat when calculations of such were carried out in a very simplistic manner, not even using integration over a spherical surface.

  279. Doug Cotton says:

    PS: Dave The temperature corresponding to the weighted mean radiation intensity from all sources within the Earth’s system (surface and atmosphere) is indeed about 4 deg.C. This temperature has to be calculated by first determining radiation levels, then using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law to get temperatures (based on the fourth root) at each level, and then integrating over all altitudes, with allowance for reflection and radiation through the atmospheric window.

  280. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Great stuff as usual, Dr. Roy. I get the same number as you for the US. Here’s all of the countries where the waste heat is more than 1 W/m2.

    Singapore, 31.76 W/m2
    Gibraltar, 21.13 W/m2
    Hong Kong, 17.64 W/m2
    Bahrain, 16.03 W/m2
    Trinidad and Tobago, 5.17 W/m2
    Malta, 3.45 W/m2
    Korea, Rep., 3.08 W/m2
    Qatar, 2.66 W/m2
    Netherlands, 2.57 W/m2
    Belgium, 2.5 W/m2
    Luxembourg, 2.12 W/m2
    Kuwait, 2.1 W/m2
    Japan, 1.74 W/m2
    Maldives, 1.33 W/m2
    Israel, 1.32 W/m2
    Barbados, 1.24 W/m2
    Germany, 1.23 W/m2
    United Kingdom, 1.12 W/m2

    For the globe, of course, it is much smaller, about 0.04 W/m2. Lets you know how important we really are …

    All the best,


  281. Mike M. says:

    Almost all the energy we use ends up as heat so using the term “waste” doesn’t make sense to me. An airplane takes off with 50,000 pounds of kerosene and lands empty. 99.9999% of the the energy of that fuel ended up as heat – ‘wasted’ or not.

  282. Doug Cotton says:


    David Appell has been challenged to an open public debate on the physics involved here ..


    Come and watch the fun!

  283. Let me say this , I believe in a limited greenhouse effect, which is insigificant in comparisome to solar variations when it comes to determining the climate, due to direct solar variations, but more so to all the secondary effects.

  284. Rich says:


    @Willis Eschenbach and @Roy

    As I put in an earlier post. IF you are basing this calculation on the power delivered (the DOE data – the electricity used) THEN you are ignoring the REAL waste heat. Let me explain. A nuclear power plant is only ~30% efficient. That means that of the 100% power generated by the reactor, Only 30% makes electricity. 70 percent is lost – it goes into the cooling tower, lake, or river. The same is true for Coal powered plants, and to a lesser extent gas turbine generators. THEREFORE you need to multiply these numbers by about 3 to get the true number.

  285. Massimo PORZIO says:

    I’m not sure, but I believe that Dr.Spencer was discussing the UHI effect on the weather stations when he wrote about “waste heat”.
    Since I don’t believe that there are weather stations installed nearby power stations (I hope at least), he is doing the right computation; and the whole globe waste heat average should be meaningless in this context.

    Have a nice day.


  286. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes Salvo we all know what you believe in, but that’s your uninformed choice. The trouble is, if you believe in an isothermal atmosphere then you are believing in a physical state which is not a thermodynamic equilibrium state of maximum entropy as described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So it seems you do not believe in the science of physics. If you think I’m wrong, then explain why Roy’s Point (6) in the “misunderstandings” thread would be a valid thermodynamic equilibrium state in which entropy could not increase, thus not violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics. How about you start talking facts, not beliefs? Believing in fairies doesn’t make them a fact.

  287. Doug Cotton says:

    Silent readers may wish to refer to this comment on another thread which explains why Roy’s isothermal assumption would not be in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics …


  288. Robert Whittier says:


    I read your book “Blunder,” and greatly appreciated the effort you put into framing your arguments to make them accessible to non-engineers and non-geophysicists. Your arguments there all made sense to me. Your arguments here also make sense to me except for one:

    “2) Waste Heat is Mostly Released in the Lowest 10% of the Atmosphere
    The second point we would be missing is that, whereas radiative forcing from GHGs is distributed throughout the atmosphere, most waste heat (except for jet traffic) is concentrated close to the ground…in the lowest few hundred meters. And the smaller the mass of air heated by the same energy input, the greater the temperature rise will be.”

    Fine, waste heat is released at the surface, while the heat-insulating effects of GHGs are distributed across all levels of the atmosphere. What I don’t get is this: GHGs ultimately exert their effects on heat absorbed at the surface from solar radiation (disregarding particulates), and re-emited from there as IR, or carried slightly aloft by convection before re-emission as IR. Why should either effect alter temperature at the surface more than the other? I suppose I’m being dense, but I just don’t appreciate why the distinction you are making is important.

  289. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:
    You say”
    “The whole thermal “plot” of temperature versus altitude swivels around a median radiation altitude “

    Have you ever shown this to be the case or is this median height somehow marked in red?

    Now before you go off and give us red herring answers involving Venus and Mars or go do a quick side step into some other issue I will say that I believe you are right about an isentropic atmosphere ( always have agreed). I will also recant on my statement that the experiments were not really valid as you had decreased the entropy to start the tube experiment.

    On reflection it would not matter what was done to the isolated gas system initially as the end results are what count. If experimental physicists or engineers can’t fault the measurement results then I suggest those experiments do support your hypothesis of an isentropic atmosphere (with caveats for turbulance etc)

    But your glib answer where the oceans do not follow this isentropic plot sidesteps the issue and is not an acceptable answer. The currents are very slow moving indeed; certainly slower than turbulance in the atmosphere so you can’t hide behind that.

    Now back to the issue which in part covers a previous question and statement. To disprove GHG you need to show that energy suppression is immediately offset by other routes. You ducked on this previously when I challenged your response with a part covered hot steel plate.

    If as you agree, GHGs suppress the release of heat from the surface and unless it is offset by some other means then the T of the surface must rise (AOT BE). So too would this happen with water vapour as a GHG. Exclude for now the effects of albedo.

    The only physical requirement for earth is for radiative balance at TOA (within reason for the argument).

    If you are going to assert that there is a swivel radiation altitude you must show it to be so. Your glib sliding into it is just verbiage rather than physics.

    The lapse rate does not need to swivel around any notional and arbitrary median radiation altitude that you suggest. That is pure conjecture and puts the cart before the horse. The SB law is adequately catered for by raising the height at which the earth/air ensemble will radiate to space (on average – yes integrated). This is in perfect harmony with any lapse rate. It is also in perfect harmony with what we know of GHG effect.

    Indeed if it did not do this it would be logically incoherent. That is the GHG suppresses the outgoing long-wave radiation but you are at the same time asking that it radiates it out to space at the same “median radiation altitude” as if there were no GHG. Oxymoron I suggest. Intuitively I would expect it to radiate at a higher altitude because GHG are suppressing the release to space until they get to more “open space” i.e. lower concentrations further up.

    Please stick to the point and no more about Venus as I am talking about earth. BTW there is nothing in the lapse rate formula which says anything about surface T. And no I don’t wish to go read your paper which is “supposed” to cover it all; kindly be specific.

  290. I agree with the concept of an isentrpic atmosphere, which is an atm. which has a constant potential temp. more or less.

    I agree with that.

  291. Tony, he will not be able to address the points you bring up in an adequate fashion in my opinion.

    Getting back to the constant potential temp.(isentropic atm.) of an air parcel, that constant potential temp. comes as a result of what temperature the parcel of air has to begin with. Which is related to the enviroment it happens to be in.

    So once the INITIAL temp. is established for a parcel of air at the surface, then it’s potential temp. will remain the same if the air undergoes adiabatic processes.

    But non adiabatic processes will change the potential temperature of an air parcel, such as the amounts of solar radiation a parcel of air receives.

    Amounts of solar radiation able to change due to changes in the sun itself, or changes in the albedo of the earth due to clouds, atmospheric composition etc etc.

    So Doug, I don’t have to change my way of thinking at all to agree with your statement about an isentropic atmosphere.

  292. Doug Cotton says:


    Your statement “The lapse rate does not need to swivel around any notional and arbitrary median radiation altitude that you suggest” does not make sense, because a lapse rate is a thermal gradient, namely a number such as 9.8 or 6.5C/Km. So it is not the lapse rate that I am talking about when I say swivel. Rather it is the fairly linear plot of temperature against altitude. If this plot in the troposphere is linear, we can express its equation in the form y=mx = b where m is the thermal gradient (AKA effective lapse rate) and b is set at a reasonably constant value, generally only altered by slight natural variations in insolation levels and related parameters such as albedo.

    Let us assume that b is constant, at least over the short term, and so, for balanced radiative flux the area under another plot representing the radiative flux corresponding to each temperature (raised to the fourth power) plotted against altitude must remain constant. Hence any reduction in the slope means the line must swivel around some point between its ends. QED

    Hence, water vapour (which causes a lower gradient due to intra-atmospheric radiation) has a cooling effect (quite contrary to IPCC guesses) and thus water vapour eclipses any minuscule CO2 warming effect if the latter produces more water vapour.

    Regarding the ocean, and the stratosphere, each receives a significant input of solar energy which is absorbed at a rate which the slow process of diffusion of kinetic energy, and adiabatic convection can’t keep up with. So the top layers of the ocean are far warmer, up around 20 deg.C and there is an initial very steep cooling gradient down to about 4 deg.C. Then there is a much more gradual cooling down to about 2 deg.C in the depths. Even this remaining slope is affected by slow downward convection and currents from the warmer surface which more than compensates for the gravitationally induced gradient of about 3C/Km. The thermal gradient in water has also been demonstrated empirically by Graeff.

    Any substance, solid, liquid or gas, in an adiabatic, isolated state has to come to a thermodynamic equilibrium state which is one of maximum entropy. So the thermal gradient evolves as a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You can’t argue against such without proving the Second Law wrong empirically.

    The compensating effect is necessitated by the need to maintain radiative balance. So, if radiation widens the temperature gap at the surface/atmosphere boundary then, as is well known in physics, both conduction (diffusion) and evaporative cooling will increase. It is the pre-determined thermal plot which supports the surface temperature, just because all the air molecules at the boundary are at a similar temperature. The surface gets a little warmer due to day/night variations, but it could never have got to 288K by absorbing solar insolation. Instead, it needed the “ratchet effect” so that the Sun only has to do a little extra warming.

    See my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” because I am not going to continue typing out again all this which is in the paper.

    Salvo Read the above and my papers, articles and comments on the Principia Scientific International website. I am ignoring your comments from now on because it is apparent you have a vested interest in maintaining the hoax that there is a radiative greenhouse effect. Nitrogen and oxygen are the main blanket, operating through non-radiative processes. Have I not made that clear?

  293. Yes you always make yourself clear, the problem is we don’t agree.

  294. Doug Cotton says:

    And you never explain your reasons with valid physics, whereas I always do. If there is an autonomous thermal gradient due to gravity, as you seem to agree, then there is no “extra 33 degrees” due to any radiative greenhouse effect because gravity has already done the job. You are self-contradictory, Salvo.

  295. Doug Cotton says:

    Sorry – obvious typo in main comment: y = mx + b

  296. And by inference you must feel the same about Dr. Spencer, and everyone that does not agree with you.

    Gravity is but a part of the puzzle, not the puzzle which is the way you want it to be.

  297. Doug Cotton says:

    Once again you never explain yourself using physics when you just make assertive statements. The IPCC claims that a greenhouse effect causes all that 33 degrees of warming, and they claim incorrectly that the component due to CO2 (in itself greatly overstated compared to water vapour) is then magnified by a positive feedback of water vapour.

    So the IPCC is wrong …

    (a) In saying all the 33 degrees is all due to WV and GHG, when none of it is

    (b) Water vapour has a positive feedback, when in fact it is negative

    (c) The CO2 has a greater effect per molecule than water vapour, when in fact it has far less.

    That’s the whole puzzle, and a bit more, because the net effect of carbon dioxide is a minuscule amount of cooling.

    See the topic “Glaring Errors in the Greenhouse conjecture” on the Forum on the Principia Scientific International website where I shall continue this discussion.

    There is NO radiative greenhouse effect, and you cannot prove me wrong on that using valid physics. All your assertive opinions oriented statements are not science in my books.

  298. Mack says:

    There are some people you could waterboard in the fount of knowledge but they still wouldn’t drink.

  299. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy has been very quiet for weeks – can we hope he’s drinking …


  300. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:
    In the heat of the late night one can jump ahead of oneself. I did state it wrongly in saying that you claimed the lapse rate pivots. In a similar vein you meant “b” to be a constant in the linear formula. You have since corrected it further down. But I think we both should have interpreted the correct intent.

    For the life of me I cannot comprehend what you are saying about a simple linear equation:

    T = mz+b

    where “ T” is Temperature at height “z” and “m” is lapse rate and “b” is a constant (surface T).

    If we fix “b” (say 288 deg K) then the equation is defined by the lapse rate and cannot swivel at all other than around “b” or zero height T (288K) – no matter the lapse rate. It is anchored.

    If you do not fix “b” but fix the height at which T is a constant (according to your seeming suggestion of of SB law) then you establish a FIXED swivel height (z) for a given emission T (say 255K).

    But this is just artificial nonsense and non physical as you have constrained one of the degrees of freedom which is not imposed by the equation or by its derivation. Yes one can conclude whatever you wish to conclude including that H2O reduces surface T; but why bother if it is not physical and simply an assumption restated?

    You would have to prove that assumption holds – and I can’t see how it could hold.. Surface T is the primary response to insolation – not the emitting T height (z).

    If you allow for a real world effect then changing the lapse rate (say to more moisture and higher heat capacity Cp) and leaving surface T the same will simply increase the effective height at which T (emission) will occur i.e. effective emitting “ z” is higher up to achieve the same emitting T.

    The SB law is then satisfied with different lapse rates without any artificial constraints. It also is in line with the physics of GHG suppressing radiation by simply going higher to emit to space at the same emitting T.

  301. Doug Cotton says:

    It should be clear what I am saying from my paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.” As z=0 is not the surface, I guess it would be more explanatory to write it (with a negative gradient) as …

    T = -m(z – c) + b

    where T is temperature at altitude z,
    c is another constant, namely the pivoting altitude,
    b would be a constant, namely the temperature at the pivoting altitude, and
    z=0 would be the surface

    Just Google the title read the paper as I don’t have time to write out everything again, and a few paragraphs copied out of context could be confusing.

  302. Doug Cotton says:

    PS: I am not applying an artificial constraint. The level of incident radiation determines b and c such that the total outward radiative flux matches the incident flux. The concept of all radiation being at any particular altitude is a misrepresentation, because you have to consider total area under the plot of radiative intensity at all altitudes. You can’t fix the surface temperature and raise the level of the whole plot because then (assuming height of atmosphere is fixed) the area under the plot would increase. It has to be lowered at the surface end. At the surface T=mc+b and so T goes up and down with the absolute value of the thermal gradient. So T is lower due to water vapour.

  303. Doug Cotton says:


    Here’s a copy of a relevant comment I posted on the PSI forum …

    Yet another glaring error is the concept of a “radiating altitude” which is supposedly to be visualised as the altitude where the temperature happens to be the Earth’s radiating temperature, namely the flat earth calculation of that 255K propagated by the IPCC. Effectively they are saying that it is OK to model the atmosphere and surface just as if all the outward radiation comes only from that radiating altitude.

    Now this leads to a subtle error in which they say that, if the thermal gradient is reduced in magnitude, and yet the surface temperature somehow stays the same, then the radiating altitude moves upwards and, because it is colder up there, then they assume there will be less outward radiation.

    This gross over-simplification is nothing at all like what would happen. The total outward radiation automatically adjusts to match the total incident radiation. Observations show that this does in fact happen, and it does so to within margins of about plus and minus 0.5% of incident radiation. In other words, outward radiation is generally observed to be between 99.5% and 100.5% of incident radiation. There would be at least 0.5% error margin in the measurements and, in fact, they have admitted to more. So they have no empirical proof at all that any energy is being trapped.

    Now, using this observed fact, and knowing that radiation comes from virtually all altitudes, you cannot raise the temperature at the top of the tropopause whilst keeping the surface temperature the same, because the total outward flux would be more and net flux would no longer be close to zero. Instead, the surface temperature is reduced due to the reduction in the gradient caused by water vapour. This means that the whole plot has to swivel around a “pivoting altitude” which is somewhere between its ends.

    Hence, in summary, the glaring error of assuming radiation can be represented as all coming from a radiating altitude (where the temperature happens to be that 255K) leads to totally false conclusions regarding the effect of water vapour upon surface temperatures.

    Without water vapour the plot would have been steeper (about 9.8C/Km) and would have swivelled to produce a surface temperature that would probably have been a little over 300K. Then water vapour reduced it to about 288K as observed. But the 300K could never have been caused by carbon dioxide, methane etc. Instead, we now know it could only have occurred because a thermal gradient would have to evolve in order to comply with the thermodynamic equilibrium state of maximum entropy, as required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  304. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:

    We seem to go around in circles with conjecture, artificial constraints and self contradictions. Furthermore science is meant to be about empirical evidence.

    Your now newly surfaced lapse rate related T formula is poorly defined with contradictory statements.
    T = -m(z – c) + b

    You say “As z=0 is not the surface “ followed later by “and z=0 would be the surface. “
    I don’t intend deciphering what you mean other than suggest you make up your mind.

    My statement about a radiating effective T has nothing to do with a flat disc or even a specific height and you are over exaggerating its significance. It simply is SB effective radiating T notionally to balance the energy at TOA.

    Do you have a better suggestion? Your proposals suffer from the same oversimplification unless you have managed to put them into Crays. But there is little that you can computerise. Most of it is pure conjecture with little by way of quantification.

    You say “So they have no empirical proof at all that any energy is being trapped.”
    I suggest much of your work suffers from the same problem viz.. no empirical evidence.

    You say: “and knowing that radiation comes from virtually all altitudes, you cannot raise the temperature at the top of the tropopause whilst keeping the surface temperature the same. “

    Where exactly do you derive that? That is just nonsense talk on your part without quantification.

    In any case who says that the tropopause T would increase given that atmosphere would expand under such circumstances. We see this in the tropics and see these effects every day there which is not so exaggerated at lower latitudes with even higher surface T but lower lapse rates.

    So much for your conjecture that it would result in more outward flux. You have not even bothered to take into account the suppression of outgoing energy due to the GHG which in their absence would radiate from much lower altitudes (and higher T). In the absence of any GHG virtually all the radiation from the ground would go directly to space and again from much higher T.

    Your explanation for not seeing this lapse rate in the oceans is just meaningless. You expect the atmosphere to change from day to night and maintain instant lapse rates and yet cant account for millions of years of slow moving oceans not showing any lapse rate. Go on now… you’re pulling my leg.

    Heavens there is enough permanent hot water sitting atop the Pacific equatorial regions to more than offer enough energy for some lapse rate development. Instead the reverse has happened; we have a positive lapse rate so it is a double banger!

    And to make it a triple banger the earth all the way to the core hasn’t yet adjusted after billions of years. Go figure!

    You still have not addressed how a suppression of radiation from the ground by GHG will be instantaneously offset by other mechanisms to its full extent. Do you wish me to remind you of the hot steel plate experiment?

    Finally I make this observation: Lapse rates lose most of their significance at around 20% of the surface air pressure. So I am not sure how you take this into account in much of your conjecture with swivel points and so on.

  305. Dr No says:

    Doug, You are getting close but are still wrong.
    Here are some very simple examples to think about.

    Imagine we remove the entire atmosphere except for a very thin layer, and keep everything else the same. What is the surface temperature?
    Answer 255 K.
    What is the surface at the top of this very thin atmospheric layer?
    Answer 0 K

    Now imagine we put the atmosphere back, but this time it is composed entirely of a radiatively INactive gas (e.g. nitrogen)
    What are the temperatures now?
    Answer 255 K
    Answer 0 K
    The temperature varies with height according to the adiabatic lapse rate. Roughly, if we assume this lapse rate is about 10 deg per kilometer, the top of the atmosphere (where the last molecules can be detected) must be about 25.5 km.

    Finally, we make the atmosphere a mix of gases, some of which are radiatively active (e.g.co2, h2o,). The surface temperature increases to 288K (because it now receives back radiation). The temperature at the very top is still 0 K. The lapse rate is the same as before but now the top of the atmosphere is about 28.8 km – the top is higher because the atmosphere is warmer and has expanded.

    In reality, the stratosphere complicates this simple picture because of the absorption of solar radiation at height.

    Tell me where and why you might disagree.

  306. tonyM says:

    We see this in the tropics and see these effects every day there which is not so exaggerated at HIGHER latitudes EVEN with higher surface T but lower lapse rates.

  307. Doug Cotton says:

    TonyM< and DrNo

    DrNo’s assumption that pure nitrogen would not absorb and re-radiate any incident solar radiation (in the visible and UV spectra for example) is incorrect. There is no point in discussing such. An atmosphere of pure nitrogen would have a thermal gradient much closer to the -g/Cp value (9.8 C/Km) and so the surface temperature would be around 300K. Adding water vapour reduces the gradient and thus the surface temperature to about 288K. Back radiation cannot and does not add thermal energy to the surface of any planet, as is very obvious on Venus.

    If you don’t believe any of this, then read my paper or wait for the book around the end of the year which will expose the errors in, for example, Roy’s six points of misunderstanding.

    The equation z=0 is not the surface in the first form of the equation, only in the second. Try to understand!

    All the evidence, and the computations based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics are in my paper. I cannot do justice to the paper by trying to summarise it in a few lines here.

    Go the the Principia Scientific International website and then to the PROM menu. If it is no longer there at a later date, go to the Publications menu. (Peer-Review is in progress at the moment and you are welcome to comment on the content of the paper which, will become the theme of a new book later in the year.)

    Are you not aware that the models cited by the IPCC in effect reduce the Earth to a flat disc. There is no integration over a sphere, for example. Read Joe Postma’s paper on this in the Publications menu at PSI. You have a lot to learn from papers there.

    You have “not even bothered” to read about the “Second School of Thought” – the 21st century paradigm shift. You need to think outside the square.

    You won’t have a clue what I’m talking about until you read the paper on planetary surface temperatures.

  308. tonyM says:

    Correction again – last one promise :):
    We see this in the tropics and see these effects every day there which is not so exaggerated at HIGHER latitudes EVEN with higher surface T but lower lapse rates (i.e STEEPER -ve gradient).

  309. tonyM says:

    dOUG cOTTON:

  310. Doug Cotton says:

    It does, but it seems you don’t yet understand the mechanism. The total outward radiation can be derived by integrating the corresponding plot of radiative intensity against altitude. Integration amounts to calculating the area under the plot. If you have a right-angled trapezium shape and then reduce the angle of the only sloping side (the thermal gradient) by rotating it upwards around the end of the longer parallel side (the surface temperature) then the area increases, as it would also do even more so if you increased the distance between the parallel sides – ie raised the tropopause.

    Make sure you read the four page Appendix. Then tell me any paragraphs which you consider to be incorrect, and what physics supports your argument. Finally, try explaining what I have said in Section 3 on the Second School of Thought in your own words, so I can assess your understanding. In a nutshell, I have no problem in explaining all observations in the atmospheres of Earth of other planets, but you certainly would have trouble using the First School of Thought, namely the old, invalid conjecture about some radiative greenhouse effect.

  311. Doug Cotton says:

    We are talking about world-wide climate which has to be averaged over at least a year. Why do you introduce red herrings such as the tropics? Of course the mean temperature in the tropics is higher – they receive more insolation, so the thermal plot rises to a higher, but parallel position. The lapse rate in the 17Km high troposphere at the tropics is very close to 6.5C/Km as temperatures vary by about 110 degrees in those 17Km. But what is interesting is that the water vapour tends to set a limit on the maximum temperatures in moist humid regions such as Singapore, where the maximum temperature is 31 or 32C every day of the year. In contrast, in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth we can get temperatures over 45C as just observed recently in the all-time record for Sydney CBD of 45.8C.

  312. Doug Cotton says:

    What do you think happens in the thermosphere, DrNo?

    I quote Wikipedia ..

    “Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation. Temperatures are highly dependent on solar activity, and can rise to 2,000 °C (3,630 °F). “,

    It’s mostly nitrogen molecules up there, not much closer to the Sun relatively speaking than identical nitrogen molecules in your pure nitrogen troposphere. Why wouldn’t a few of them down there also absorb likewise and become very hot, then sharing the extra KE with their cooler neighbours by diffusion processes such as I describe in my paper?

  313. Doug Cotton says:

    It would be more appropriate to continue this on the “Misunderstandings” thread, where I have just posted this comment …



  314. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:
    You misrepresent your paper a lot and what it is supposed to contain. Some points may be there in some obscure way.

    You have basically few or no equations there for a start. This is the first time you have presented your conjecture about pivot points in equation form and even then poorly described. It is simply your conjecture and nothing more for there is no derivation from physics.

    The paper is full of conjecture and little empirical evidence.

    Doug, do you really believe I could ask you the questions that you have difficulty answering if I did not comprehend what you are saying.

    Why don’t you simply address the questions as put? They are quite specific.

    Have you actually done the annual integration you speak of? If not kindly try not to teach me how to suck eggs for you will find I did state in my earlier comment that I was taking about integration. I quote from my comments above:

    “The lapse rate does not need to swivel around any notional and arbitrary median radiation altitude that you suggest. That is pure conjecture and puts the cart before the horse. The SB law is adequately catered for by raising the height at which the earth/air ensemble will radiate to space (on average – yes integrated). This is in perfect harmony with any lapse rate. It is also in perfect harmony with what we know of GHG effect. “

    Perhaps if you actually read the question posed you would not be silly enough to ask why I gave the tropics as an example. Do I really need to spell it out again? No it is not because the average annual T is higher. Guess again! It’s in my comment – and I made corrections twice to part of it.

    You expect to be taken seriously but mostly answer with red herrings, condescendingly or ignore the issues and simply try to push your paper which just doesn’t address the issues raised.

    Science is all about questioning and whether you like it or not you will be grilled on those issues I raise by others less benign to your cause. I am a skeptic of CAGW.

    I’m glad you raise Australia. Perhaps you can tell me why central Australia has been so hot these past weeks causing havoc in the Central /Eastern areas. Then you might like to revisit your Singapore example. Both of these are quite irrelevant to the tropics illustration I gave.

  315. Doug Cotton says:

    The only computations I need are in the Appendix. Perhaps you’re more impressed by the clumsy multi-line derivation climatologists use to get to the -g/Cp gradient, but I prefer my two line derivation from first principles. After all, they quite unnecessarily introduce pressure and then are perhaps surprised to find it cancels out. Do you judge “review” type papers by the number of lines of computations, disregarding the computations in the cited papers being reviewed?

    You don’t think the cited 800 experiments of Graeff are sufficient empirical evidence? Go and do 900 yourself and prove him wrong then!

    You don’t think the cited measured data on Venus and other planets is empirical evidence?

    What on Earth do you imagine is the physical representation of what you call “the height at which the earth/air ensemble will radiate to space” ?????

    It radiates to space from just about everywhere – the surface and all levels of all the “spheres.”

    You’re still talking about thermal gradients (AKA lapse rates) swivelling. I pointed out your error in this regard before. It must be ingrained in your thinking I suspect, not just a typo like my = sign.

    I suggested above that this discussion should continue on the more appropriate thread, where I already have dozens of comments. I’m not wanting to answer different people on different threads, so see you there if you dare.

    My latest paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” discusses all the issues I need to discuss, and will be discussing in a new book later this year, and you have not addressed a single issue in that paper.

    It was just as hot (around 43 deg.C) when I was in Alice and at Uluru in January 2001 and again 8 years later. The thermal gradient is closer to the dry adiabatic lapse rate because of the lack of much water vapour, and so the surface is supported at a higher temperature. Remember, Singapore is about the most humid place I’ve been too, but at least the water vapour stops it getting hotter than 32 deg.C. So what? The year 1998 was the hottest on record, as the projections of the natural cycles could have predicted it would be, just as they are predicting very slight cooling until at least 2027. What is your point talking about weather conditions in certain cherry picked areas?

    Meet you on the other more relevant thread.

    Meanwhile, find even just one sentence in my paper which you can prove wrong with valid physics.

  316. Doug Cotton says:

    PS The reason the atmosphere is higher in the tropics is not primarily caused by thermal expansion. The height of the tropopause there is about 17Km, whereas half way to the poles it may be about 11Km. The difference in density due to temperature differences could go nowhere near explaining that ratio in the difference in height. The real reason is that the atmosphere above the Equator is moving faster due to the rotation of the Earth, and so centrifugal force stretches it towards space. Maybe one of these days you’ll understand atmospheric physics, but at the moment you have a lot to learn.

  317. Doug Cotton says:

    I don’t answer the question as you put it for the simple reason that you build into your question a totally false assumption that there is a ” height at which the earth/air ensemble will radiate to space” and so I would be implicitly agreeing with such nonsense. I have explained quite clearly in my paper and comments on the other thread that I’ve been trying to get you to read, that …

    (a) The thermal gradient is predetermined by the need for thermodynamic equilibrium in a state of maximum entropy in a gravitational field. Proof and computations are provided. The gradient is reduced by intra-atmospheric radiation, mostly by water vapour. Evidence: the wet lapse rate is less steep.

    (b) The level of the thermal plot adjusts (keeping the gradient fixed) so as to ensure radiative equilibrium. Evidence: such is observed within the degree of error in the measurements.

    Hence the temperature at the surface is determined by that predetermined plot of temperature against altitude. Evidence: standard physics verifies the temperature gap at the boundary will have a propensity to reduce.

    Hence no greenhouse effect is needed to explain the observed surface temperature.

  318. Doug Cotton says:

    No, it is climatologists who put the cart before the horse in assuming the Sun could heat the Earth’s surface to a mean of 288K, or the Venus surface to 730K. If the base of the atmospheres in these planets were not autonomously maintained at the temperatures observed, primarily by absorbed insolation, then the atmospheres would cool far more and the oxygen and nitrogen would not provide anywhere near as effective a blanket on Earth, nor the carbon dioxide on Venus.

    Now I’m sure you understand why I’m saying all the above, because, as you claimed, you do understand my review paper “Planetary Surface Temperatures. A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms” and papers such as that of Hans Jelbring who wrote along similar lines back in 2002. I presume you read his paper, and Alberto’s as part of your comprehensive study of my paper and the cited papers which I was reviewing. Both are PSI members.

    But it seems that you are unfortunately still under the impression that all the outward radiation from earth comes from a single radiating altitude. I wonder how you calculate that anyway? Let’s see what you make it to be 5Km, 11Km what would you suggest? How do you calculate it? Of all the water vapour in the 17Km of troposphere above the tropics, which particular layer does all the radiating to space? What mechanism in physics stops the surface and all the other layers radiating to space, or do they only radiate to the surface, multiplying energy until Venus gets to 730K? /sarc

  319. Dr No says:

    Doug, I think you are being disingenuous – if not blatantly wrong again. In my simple example I ask you to imagine that the atmosphere contained a radiatively inactive gas. Forget nitrogen, and pick any other gas. Say, (argon?, helium? … I do not know their absorption lines in either the shortwave of infrared part of the spectrum but it doesnt matter. Just imagine the atmosphere lets all the solar radiation through, and lets all the infrared radiation out. Now, tell me what the temperature profile looks like from your viewpoint.

  320. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton,
    I won’t wade through your paper and writings as you suggest. I must admit I had your paper without the appendix. I will paraphrase some points.

    Doug, let me commend you on sticking with the gravity/lapse rate idea and experiments as I believe it to be right but only as an underlying force. Let me also say that you are a bright guy and have a lot of knowledge and an imaginative mind. All essential in science. But sometimes confirmation bias and enthusiasm gets the better of us all.

    That being said pulling me up on restating the error lapse rate comment is a bit of grandstanding as I quoted (and stated this) from my previous comment; it would hardly be a quote if I actually altered it. I quoted it to dispel you assertion that I believed there was some single height of emission to space. Even gave you by example if no GHG existed. But let it be.

    The key reason for that disastrous central Australian led weather was not simply low moisture but indirectly no clouds with the sun a stones throw away near the Tropic of Capricorn. Just putting some moisture would not have done a great deal unless significant albedo could be established through a lot of cloud formation.

    Singapore lies in the high zone for low level cloud formation. It is one of Dr Spencer’s key insights into variables affecting climate and T (apologies if I am being too loose with his thoughts). It is also the area that I think is GHG’s weakest point (via supposed positive feedback).

    I’m being pedantic here for another reason – cause and effect for it impacts on your key mantra which has been along the lines that the lapse rate is first and foremost and takes precedence over anything else or “flow of existing hills” – created by the lapse rate because “the lapse rate comes first” as you say and determines the T of earth…ad nauseum.

    You are the one asserting some pivot T line. May I remind you that the onus is on you to not only show your hypothesis has merit but also to validate it empirically. A skeptic does not need to disprove your hypothesis. So it is up to you to show that your concepts hold.

    Your paper’s objective:
    determine the mechanism which determines the surface temperature of any planet

    1st school of thought:
    Insolation of surface and then dissipation of said energy. Dismissed by Doug. BTW that is a very limited view of the 1st school. You focus basically on radiated cooling from the surface.

    Furthermore you counter with “rate of non-radiative cooling will accelerate and/or last longer in order to compensate for, and thus nullify the effect of the slowing of radiative cooling.”

    This certainly defeats you before you start. If it lasts “longer” it is precisely the equivalent of warming. Warming is not simply Tmax. It is the average of primarily two daily measures for expediency but really should be averaged over the whole day.

    You don’t (and can’t) show that the non radiative cooling accelerates instantaneously as the complete offset to radiative suppression. This is a question I asked of you before and went through the hot steel plate experiment which you then never answered.

    Unless you can do that then the GHG hypothesis is not defeated.

    2nd school of thought:

    “..This gradient relates to a natural adiabatic lapse rate and it causes the base of the atmosphere to be warmer than the top. The warm base then interacts with the surface by both radiation and conduction, ensuring that the surface is at a very similar temperature.”

    This may be true on Venus but we are talking earth and there is one thing that always takes precedence here overall … “O sole mio;” nice Neapolitan ballad!

    The evidence is simple. How do you increase your comfort when out in the sun. The shade of a coolabah tree perhaps? Why, if it is the lapse rate that determines the T. Why bother covering T
    measuring equipment but allowing free flow of air. The lapse rate is not different. But the T is certainly different between shade and sun.

    The same when I get hit by radiation and convection from the bitumen in the hot sun as opposed to the shade. Very little difference in lapse rate but I sure feel happier walking on shaded bitumen. A cloud passing overhead surely helps keep one cool even though the lapse rate and air T stays the same.

    We could do controlled experiments but I think my observations ought suffice that the sun takes precedence.

    Even at night the lapse rate can be seen to be secondary. Go feel the warmth of a nice, big boulder or rock of granite that’s been sitting in the sun while the air and ground T has dropped but lapse rate has stayed the same as evening progresses. It is not the primary mover of T of earth.

    Take an el Nino event where huge swathes of energy are dumped into the atmosphere. The existing lapse rate does nothing for the T and indeed would be thrown totally out of kilter.

    With moisture content changing daily, dumps of snow, cyclones and other major turbulence the local lapse rates would require time to adjust. It cannot be the sole focus or major force.

    Clouds themselves which cover a huge proportion of the earth surface have an enormous effect irrespective of lapse rates. Melbourne overnight ironically is regularly warmer in mid winter than Perth even though it has had colder day T and is further south in latitude and lower lapse rate (more moisture) which according to you should make it cooler.

    Recently I saw an article but can’t say if it was from a peer review paper or not so perhaps you should check this out. In central USA there are huge irrigation schemes. This years “heat wave” was being attributed to this – but this is from memory which may be faulty.

    “If there is anything I’ve learned in Alabama, it is that humidity can make summer nights very warm,” said Christy, a Fresno, Calif., native who has lived in Alabama since 1987. This is Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). See WUWT.

    The empirical evidence, at least for nights, will contradict your assertion that a a lower lapse rate will cool the surface T. As I said earlier global warming T is not simply Tmax but an attempt at average T over the course of the day.

    I actually believe in the lapse rate/gravity concept. Whilst the underlying direction is in line with entropy the 2nd L of T doesn’t give any guide as to how long it takes to achieve equilibrium. The world could have ended in the meantime.

    This does not reduce the onus of addressing the oceans. I repeat, you expect the atmosphere T to change rapidly from day to night and maintain instant lapse rates and yet can’t account for millions of years of slow moving oceans not showing any lapse rate. In fact the lapse rate is reversed – a double whammy. There is no evidence from the Argo buoys of heat descending (see Pielke Snr).

    It is ultimately up to you whether you wish to address some of these in a cogent manner. Giving a glib answer neither satisfies me nor real skeptics to your thoughts.

    You are the one who creates the artificial either/or dichotomy of two schools of thought. I am quite comfortable with both coexisting as components in the whole complex web of variables.

    There is too much evidence to simply dismiss GHG’s from the equation. There is also plenty of empirical evidence to suggest CAGW is a dud.

  321. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No: Your question is not about waste heat, so I have answered on a more relevant thread here …

  322. Dr No says:

    Doug, you are being annoyingly stubborn.
    Remember, gases do not behave like black bodies so the Stefan Boltzmann law does not apply.
    They can absorb and emit only in certain spectral bands.

    Considering the wavelengths that represent solar radiation, some gases can be described as transparent.
    Considering the wavelengths that represent terrestrial (longwave) radiation, some can also be described as transparent.

    Simply imagine a gaseous atmosphere which is transparent to both spectra and therefore absorbs very little solar radiation, and very little infrared radiation. This is a physically plausible situation.

    Now tell me what the temperature profile looks like. This is not difficult – students can answer this question.

  323. I see a reason why W/m^2 from energy consumption can cause more surface-level atmospheric warming (at times) than same W/m^2 radiative (including greenhouse-gas) forcing:

    Sunlight mostly warms the surfice at times more favorable to convection. Sunlight being absorbed by the surface directly causes most of the convection. The convection distributes the heat through much of the lower troposphere.

    As for heat from energy consumption – that often gets confined to the lowest few hundred meters at night and dawn, through shortly after sunrise. This also occurs during cloudy times with stable air or inversions in the lowest kilometer of the troposphere. (For example, around or ahead of a warm front, or when nighttime fog is not yet “burned” away.)

  324. Doug Cotton says:


    Any energy deposited anywhere in the atmosphere will have a propensity to cause convection and, sooner or later, get radiated away when the energy diffuses into radiating molecules like water vapour or carbon dioxide, which act like holes in the blanket of (mostly) nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules.

    Temperature inversions are relatively rare weather events, and so, even if they trap the energy for a while, perhaps sending it back into the surface, it will all get back into the atmosphere when the weather changes, just like any other heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere, two thirds of which occurs by non-radiative processes as shown here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Breakdown_of_the_incoming_solar_energy.svg

  325. Doug Cotton says:

    Other readers might note that I explained to the anonymous DrNo how the thermal profile is established in any atmosphere way back on January 1st here http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/01/misunderstood-basic-concepts-and-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-67695

    Now it’s February 1st and he still hasn’t read my paper or understood how the Second Law of Thermodynamics must always apply, and so any atmosphere made up of any element(s) known to mankind will exhibit a thermal gradient in a gravitational field. That gradient can be calculated using the thermodynamic equilibrium state of greatest entropy which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve.

    Now the effect of waste heat can, at the most, only raise the thermal profile to an extent comparable with its proportion of total incident Solar radiative flux, whilst maintaining the same thermal gradient (AKA “lapse rate”.) The human contribution is orders of magnitude less than that of the Sun. Any variation likely to be achieved would be orders of magnitude less again. It really does not seem worth discussing any further. After all, in another century or so the world will start 500 years of cooling by about half a degree per century, so we may appreciate the extra warmth, if we notice it.

  326. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:

    You asked that people try to fault your paper.

    I pointed to the flaws and the logical incoherency in some statements in your paper.

    You take a separate comment of mine….“putting some moisture would not have done a great deal “
    turn this into your statement about Singapore which you say is “in that very humid place “ and believe there is a like for like comparison. To you “some moisture” is equivalent to “very humid!”

    You also miss the obvious and that is that T in Sing would rarely go below say 25C at night which counters your belief that a low lapse rate makes surface T cooler.

    So I say Mickey Mouse and you decide to turn it into Donald Duck. Farcical comedy of errors.

    You say “I don’t have to show “non radiative cooling accelerates instantaneously” because we are talking about climate, not weather”

    To the extent that you are not compelled, then you are right. To the extent that it forms part of your flawed logic in your “1st School of thought” you are now being illogical as that has nothing to do with whether it is weather or climate.

    You have stated there: “rate of non-radiative cooling will accelerate and/or last longer in order to compensate for, and thus nullify the effect of the slowing of radiative cooling.” I give you the comprehensive set of issues and say “This certainly defeats you before you start.”

    Yet have managed to turn this into another MM to DD transfer with Goofy in attendance.

    I could not make it clearer for you even if I wrote it in different ways that your logic in dismissing the 1st School as written in your paper is flawed. In any case you would still manage to find DD from MM.

    The main thrust of reference to clouds was albedo; again DD surfaces as you talk about heat retention.

    I’ve stated clearly that I believe in an isentropic tendency and yet DD surfaces again with a totally illogical question as to whether I believe in an isothermal atmosphere; the two are mutually exclusive.

    My statements re your paper were pretty specific. Yet you manage to avoid confronting the key issues totally by doing the foxtrot and quickstep with DD and Goofy.

    I give up.

    I am now starting to understand why many sites have banned Doug from commenting.

    N.B. I have re-posted this here for reader’s convenience as Doug decided on our behalf to split the comments.

  327. Doug Cotton says:

    TonyM really misses the point altogether. Solar insolation in the tropics makes the whole plot higher. Then the gradient is less than it would have been if the atmosphere were dry. The very fact that it is also always about 25 deg.C minimum demonstrates the very “support” mechanism I have been talking about. You tell me why it doesn’t keep cooling more at night.

    Do you or do you not accept the proven fact that a thermal gradient evolves autonomously in a gravitational field, thus obliterating any need for any GHE supposedly caused by back radiation?

    If you don’t then go and read a computational proof linked in the comment I’ve just posted above.

  328. Doug Cotton says:

    “The comment above” was this on the other more relevamt thread. I’ve copied it here because TonyM decided to keep posting off topic comments on this Waste Heat thread.


    Regarding the thermal gradient due to gravity, the paper http://wwwold.nioz.nl/public/fys/staff/theo_gerkema/jas04.pdf
    is correct up to the end of Section b, where it shows that isentropic conditions will prevail, as I show from a simple consideration of molecular free flight.

    However, then realising that the -g/Cp figure of 9.8C/Km (ie the dry rate) is too high, they then fudge a compromise result to get closer to the wet rate. The fudge amounts to saying, let’s also impose an isothermal constraint. This is absurd.

    What they failed to realise is what I have been saying all along, that the wet rate is less steep simply because it involves water vapour which can radiate heat to higher cooler layers. Such radiation has a propensity to equalise temperatures. They were looking for such a constraint, but completely overlooked intra-atmospheric radiation. This radiation is another reason why carbon dioxide also leads to a less steep thermal gradient and thus lower surface temperatures.

  329. Doug Cotton says:

    PS You can see the effect on Singapore temperatures as the Sun passes directly overhead around March/April and Sept/October, these being their dual summers with just slightly warmer temperatures.
    This establishes that it is Solar insolation levels that raise the thermal profile to slightly higher summer positions or lower parallel winter positions with the same gradient (AKA “wet adiabatic lapse rate”). Outside of the tropics the same summer / winter effect happens once a year of course. There are also similar movements between parallel positions even just between day and night.

    Don’t forget to answer the bold type question above. I know you accept isentropic conditions, but do you realise the consequences of this correct application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and, in particular, how it explains how energy flows up the thermal gradient by convection (and diffusion) towards the surface? There’s no other way to explain Venus temperatures either.

  330. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:
    You keep dancing with transforms of Donald Duck and Goofy.

    I responded to your challenge to critique your paper and found major flaws which you have refused to address.

    The flaws are still there.

    Trying to go on the attack will not change that; your paper is palpably flawed.

    I don’t have to show anything as I am not the person positing the hypothesis. It is for you to defend your hypothesis and also show the empirical evidence which supports it.

    Showing the Graaef experiments hold and that back radiation suppresses the radiation is not sufficient for what you propose.

    In your paper your dismissal of the “1st School of thought” is flawed in logic and fact. I have spelled this out clearly. Instead of obfuscating and being confrontational you should have addressed this.

    I have highlighted that your “2nd School of thought” is also open to question in logic and contradictory empirical evidence.

    This does not mean that I dismiss the tendency to an isentropic distribution – I actually support it. But it is simply the underlying tendency and I have pointed out that the Entropy law makes no statement re the speed with which equilibrium is to occur.

    You claim it to be almost instantaneous – as I interpret it. I question this. I pointed to the oceans and repeat :
    “ ..you expect the atmosphere T to change rapidly from day to night and maintain instant lapse rates and yet can’t account for millions of years of slow moving oceans not showing any lapse rate. In fact the lapse rate is reversed – a double whammy. There is no evidence from the Argo buoys of heat descending (see Pielke Snr).”

    Instead of obfuscating and seeing Donald Ducks rather than what I actually say you might devote your energy to addressing the issues I raise. Those issues will not go away just because you wish to get angry with such challenges.

    If you can’t do that or won’t which is what you have already said and demonstrated then don’t bother me; I have wasted enough time. I did critique your paper in good faith.

    You obviously were not so inclined in the process.

    PS.. I did try to post on the other topic..but failed a dozen times – have no idea why.

  331. Doug, it is you that misses all the points ,all of the time, all together.

  332. Doug Cotton says:

    Neither of you has spelled out anything using correct physics which in any way refutes anything at all in any of my comments or my papers and articles. I don’t claim that diffusion completes the “repair” to the thermal “plane” instantly. I have been very specific in pointing out that diffusion is a very slow process, as is genuine adiabatic convection – as distinct from wind.

    The very fact that the oceans cool rapidly from over 20 deg.C to about 4 deg.C is proof of what I say that the absorption of heat from penetrating insolation over-rides the very slow process of diffusion. Then the gradient reduces dramatically and the net effect of convection from the warmer surface layers takes over from direct radiation, but still dominates the -3 C/Km “gravity effect” because there is still further cooling from 4 deg.C down to 2 deg.C spread out over the vast majority of the ocean depth. This cooling would have been faster but for the opposing gravity effect, but a gravity effect resulting in diffusion, will always be dominated by convection and currents, just as in the atmosphere it is dominated by wind. However, over the whole atmosphere, weather events tend to average out, and that’s what climate is all about – average world-wide measurements over at least one full year.

    There is far more detail in my comments starting here

    In summary, those suggesting a GHE thought that they needed some reason to explain that extra 33 degrees observed in the surface temperature (288K – 255K) but the reason was there all the time – namely the autonomous thermal gradient due to gravity which, when calculated, would actually cause a rise of about 50 degrees were it not for water vapour, which reduces the gradient by a third (as is well known) so that the rise is only about 33 degrees.

    This same mechanism does of course also function on other planets, because physics is universal. It provides the only possible explanation for Venus temperatures, and this “Second School of Thought” obliterates the “First School of Thought” which is plagued by numerous errors in physics, that not being surprising because it was a wild conjecture in the first place by those with limited understanding of atmospheric physics – as hundreds of scientists now agree – far more than the original 77 who got together to promote and promulgate the GH pseudo science.

  333. Doug Cotton says:


    PS For more on ocean profiles click here.

  334. Doug Cotton says:

    Don’t complain to me about your wasted time, TonyM. How much of my time do you think you have wasted because you refuse to study my papers, articles and comments with an open mind, as well as the papers linked from my Planetary Surface Temperatures paper – especially Section 8 of Alberto Miatello’s paper and also this 2002 article by Dr Hans Jelbring (PhD in climatology)? Venus is relevant, whether you think so or not: http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    All your comments contain about 99% assertive statements without a single word of physics or a link to back up your guesswork. You think you have “proved” me wrong just by postulating examples like oceans, or central Australian temperatures. How ironic, because Alice Springs in summer has just about the same Solar insolation as Singapore when the Sun is directly above, and yet Alice gets maximums which are 12 or 13 degrees higher than Singapore. And what’s the difference? The humidity is – yes the water vapour reducing the 50 degree increase back to more like a 33 degree increase. We’ll allow some humidity at Alice, so the reduction is not 17 degrees, but 12 or 13 degrees. And ocean profiles are explained with one click on the link to the graphic in the above comment.

  335. Doug Cotton says:

    Actually the link I gave for Dr Hans Jelbring was for his peer-reviewed paper published the next year in …

    Energy & Environment · Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003

    I’m in frequent contact with Hans, so if you’d like to offer a critique of his paper I’d be happy to draw his attention to such. Here’s the abstract, and the link is in my last comment.


    The main reason for claiming a scientific basis for “Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW)” is related to the use of “radiative energy flux models” as a major tool for describing vertical energy fluxes within the atmosphere. Such models prescribe that the temperature difference between a planetary surface and the planetary average black body radiation temperature (commonly called the Greenhouse Effect, GE) is caused almost exclusively by the so called greenhouse gases. Here, using a different approach, it is shown that GE can be explained as mainly being a consequence of known physical laws describing the behaviour of ideal gases in a gravity field. A simplified model of Earth, along with a formal proof concerning the model atmosphere and evidence from real planetary atmospheres will help in reaching conclusions. The distinguishing premise is that the bulk part of a planetary GE depends on its atmospheric surface mass density. Thus the GE can be exactly calculated for an ideal planetary model atmosphere. In a real atmosphere some important restrictions have to be met if the gravity induced GE is to be well developed. It will always be partially developed on atmosphere bearing planets. A noteworthy implication is that the calculated values of AGW, accepted by many contemporary climate scientists, are thus irrelevant and probably quite insignificant (not detectable) in relation to natural processes causing climate change.

  336. Doug Cotton says:

    I have been telling you all along that my November paper is merely a review of the work of others. Hence the title refers to “A Discussion of Alternative Mechanisms.”

    It was Dr Hans Jelbring who appears to have been the first to observe that the gravity gradient negates the greenhouse conjecture. This was a part of his work for a PhD in Climatology in 1999.

    If you criticise what I say, then you are criticising his peer-reviewed work, which also gained him his PhD, so his concept was endorsed back then as well.

    So argue with Dr Hans Jelbring, not me, because we are saying the same thing.

  337. Doug Cotton says:

    Here’s another similar review article (pre-dating my November paper) referring to Hans Jelbring’s work …


    From it, I quote …

    III. Advanced theoretical considerations

    The theoretical temperature lapse rate that can be expected to be found in the earth’s atmosphere depends on a number of physical processes that are possible to identify. The GE is basically determined by the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The energy per mass unit of an atmosphere will tend to equalize and become constant from the surface upwards. This will lead to an average vertical cooling rate defined by –g/Cp, (g is gravity and Cp heat capacity of air) which also is named the dry adiabatic temperature lapse rate. This lapse rate is modulated by condensation processes in the atmospheres (clouds) and other less important physical processes. The influence of greenhouse gases is small. These additional processes lead to an average observed global temperature lapse rate around -6.5C/km (ref 1). This temperature decrease can be directly verified by any airplane passenger. A strict proof showing that there is no theoretical reason to assume that greenhouse gases cause the bulk of the 33 ºC GE can be found in the peer reviewed article in ref (2). There are several other relevant articles in scientific journals.

  338. USAtheThirdWorldCountry says:

    You made a major typo I fixed for you.

    Now I’m not so sure….at least for industrialized and economically active countries like China and India., it looks like waste heat production from our energy use could be a major player. End Quote:

    I stopped reading as soon as you said the USA as I seriously hope you are joking when you wrote that because 95 percent of our jobs that are not service jobs like pumping gas or flipping burgers have been shipped overseas to China and India since the 1970s which China uses slave labor.

    Now we are starting to get medical supplies from China with reduced effects in the last few years and I know because Dad is a pharmacists and sees the effects all the time not liking where things are headed.

    We are now literally a third world country and the USA is only a name though SOME manufacturing jobs are trickling back because people in China are demanding better wages!

  339. USAtheThirdWorldCountry says:

    Dad has gone to working part time doing relief work because he doesn’t agree with the global government getting ready to set up shop.

    In fact about jobs being shipped over seas.

    We don’t use much energy anymore from factories because THEY DON’T EXIST!

    By the early 1990s a little over half the energy wasting/Global Warming contributing jobs were shipped out but you could still find valuable products made in the USA…………even in Kmart and Target.

    That’s when we noticed quality of clothes starting to become bad but we could still find USA made clothes that lasted us a VERY long time if we did a lot of hunting and electronics like TV’s made in Japan that outlasted their lifetime by a long shot!

    By the late 90s it was almost impossible to find American brand clothes except in malls like JC Penny’s and felt good supporting our country.

    Now even JC Penny doesn’t have clothes made in USA though some clothes are starting to coming from Canada which is good because Canada is doing the right things to make their economy work and NOT USE slave labor where they beat people who are not fast enough.

    People in FoxCon who make parts for you’re Ipods and Ipads were jumping out of windows and the company installed giant suicide nets outside not knowing how to handle the problem.

    Don’t you tell me the USA is a giant producer.

  340. USAtheThirdWorldCountry says:

    ANYBODY who thinks the USA is still number one in production seriously need to get their heads examined.

  341. J Williams says:

    Oh my goodness…what has happened to this blog???

  342. Dr No says:

    Doug writes:
    ” The height of the tropopause there (the equator) is about 17Km, whereas half way to the poles it may be about 11Km. …. The real reason is that the atmosphere above the Equator is moving faster due to the rotation of the Earth, and so centrifugal force stretches it towards space. Maybe one of these days you’ll understand atmospheric physics, but at the moment you have a lot to learn.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Of course that must be true! It explains why Pygmies grow twice as tall as Eskimos!!

    Amongst the many strange, unsupported, scintifically incorrect and sometimes hilarious statements by Doug this must be in the top ten.

    Doug, I will give you a few days to read up and then explain to us the concepts of:
    Apparent gravity
    The shape of the Earth (it is not spherical).

    A good place to start is Holton, “An Introduction to Dynamical Meteorology”

    You have a lot to learn.

  343. Doug Cotton says:

    I’m not interested in red herrings as to whether the Earth is a perfect sphere or not, which it isn’t.

    But the circumference of each successive roughly circular line of latitude decreases as you go towards either pole.

    Maybe you need to read about “centrifugal force” DrNo – perhaps have a ride in a satellite to appreciate how it nullifies gravity.

    Next time, just talk physics will you, rather than condescending waffle.

    Declare your full name, experience and qualifications, Dr Anonymous No.

  344. Doug Cotton says:

    And, if you think you understand the physics of heat transfer in an atmosphere in a gravitational field, then explain how the thermal energy absorbed in the Venus atmosphere is transferred to the hotter surface in order to maintain the temperature of that surface at over 730K. When you fail to answer correctly, I’ll refer you to my new article, once it’s peer-reviewed and published, because you won’t learn the correct answer from any textbook.

  345. Doug Cotton says:

    Centrifugal force affects the pressure altitude. This leads to a difference in the atmospheric height) between the Equator and poles.

    I quote from here, for example …

    Effect of Latitude

    Latitude, via a shift in the acceleration due to gravity, causes a change in pressure altitude from a combination of centrifugal force and mass-distribution effects arising from Earth’s eccentricity.

    A centrifugal effect indeed manifests itself by a change in the effective value of g …”

  346. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:

    At your behest or challenge,
    “Prove me wrong with valid physics, any reader “

    and other statements like,

    “….and I’m genuinely interested to see if anyone in the world has a valid counter argument. So, yes, it’s still subjected to world-wide open peer-review, and you are welcome to submit an attempted rebuttal. “

    I did critique your paper (you do indeed state it is your paper).

    I find that your paper is flawed in logic and fact. I have stated this specifically and has nothing to do with anyone else’s paper.

    Yet, you now tell me to take it up with other writers!!!:
    “So argue with Dr Hans Jelbring, not me, because we are saying the same thing.”

    Is this what is called “abdication?”

    The Donald Duck n Goofy show again.

  347. Doug Cotton says:

    TonyM thinks he has disproved my paper and the content of the peer-reviewed journal paper by Dr Hans Jelbring, but he hasn’t and can’t even give a simple computation or explanation based on valid physics which disproves a single point in my paper. Nor can he explain how the thermal energy absorbed from incident Solar radiation in the atmospheres of Venus and Earth gets down towards the hotter surfaces, as it obviously has to, very clearly on Venus, even if not so obviously on Earth. See this comment where discussion off this off topic continues on this more appropriate thread …


  348. Doug Cotton says:

    Having written many thousands of comments on climate blogs, I have of course come across many arrogant commenters (like tonyM) who make assertive statements, such as his to the effect that the thermal gradient in the oceans proves my paper wrong. Then, quite regardless of the fact that I post a comment explaining why the thermal gradient in the oceans is as observed, and why that in no way proves my paper wrong, he ignores that. Then in subsequent comments, rather than attempt to counter the physics in my response, he merely echoes assertive statements like “I find that your paper is flawed in logic and fact.” He shows absolutely no correct understanding of the paper, not even the key arguments therein. And I defy him to use correct physics and spell out why even just one sentence is wrong and contrary to the laws of physics. In contrast, for example, on Roy Spencer’s thread about “Misunderstandings” I have spelled out with valid physics (in several comments) precisely where and why Roy’s assertions in several points are contrary to the laws of physics. A understanding of the Venus temperatures and how the energy gets to the surface is of vital importance to an understanding of how exactly the same processes function on Earth and explain why no GHE is necessary to account for that extra 33 degrees.

  349. Dr No says:

    quoting from the very same source you provided:
    “The acceleration due to gravity varies with latitude from two sources. One is the centrifugal pseudo-force owing to Earth’s rotation, and amounts to a 0.34% decline in g as one travels from either pole to the equator.”

    That is 0.34% !!!!!
    I repeat, zero point three four per cent!!!!

    And you claim that is enough to “stretch” the atmosphere from 11 km to 17 km ????????????

    You are embarassing yourself with claims such as these.

  350. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, that’s the effect at surface levels. By the time you get to satellite levels it’s 100%. And somewhere in between, at least in the mesosphere, it’s also somewhere between that small value and 100%.

    Now, how about you get back to trying to explain in any other way to the way I have, how the thermal energy gets into the surface of Venus?

    You have no empirical proof that there would be any climate forcings by carbon dioxide, because climate forcings are all natural and primarily from extra terrestrial sources over which mankind has no control. The laws of physics fully explain this, showing how surface temperatures relate to such things as the level of Solar insolation, atmospheric height, gravity and the mean specific heat of the atmospheric gases, and that no greenhouse effect has been responsible for raising Earth’s surface by 33 degrees or the Venus surface by about 500 degrees.

    I suggest you also read this* peer-reviewed journal paper which, you may note, refers to the thesis which the author wrote for his PhD in Climatology back in 1998. No one has successfully rebutted his work with valid physics. Either be the first to do so, or stop propagating the greatest scientific mistake of all time, because it’s going to cost many lives. Think on that, even if you have a vested interest in maintaining the hoax.

    * http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

  351. tonyM says:

    Doug Cotton:
    It seems we have to deal with you one point at a time. As usual you try to confound and obfuscate by referring to the loose explanation you gave for why the lapse rate in the oceans is opposite to your hypothesis in the 2nd school of thought. Is it to avoid addressing your illogical argument in dismissing the “1st school of thought?”

    I requote myself – go check:
    “In your paper your dismissal of the “1st School of thought” is flawed in logic and fact. I have spelled this out clearly.”

    The only attempt Doug made on this was to suggest I take it up with Hans Jelbring or to say:
    “I don’t have to show “non radiative cooling accelerates instantaneously” because we are talking about climate, not weather”

    What nonsense! My reply was:
    “To the extent that you are not compelled, then you are right. To the extent that it forms part of your flawed logic in your “1st School of thought” you are now being illogical as that has nothing to do with whether it is weather or climate.”

    This issue has been with Doug for months. He just runs from it.

    I quote from my earlier comment which makes clear what is being discussed. In Doug’s paper he talks about the “1st school of thought”
    I summarize:
    “Insolation of surface and then dissipation of said energy. Dismissed by Doug. BTW that is a very limited view of the 1st school. You focus basically on radiated cooling from the surface.
    Furthermore you counter with “rate of non-radiative cooling will accelerate and/or last longer in order to compensate for, and thus nullify the effect of the slowing of radiative cooling.”

    My critique:
    “This certainly defeats you before you start. If it lasts “longer” it is precisely the equivalent of warming. Warming is not simply Tmax. It is the average of primarily two daily measures for expediency but really should be averaged over the whole day.
    You don’t (and can’t) show that the non radiative cooling accelerates instantaneously as the complete offset to radiative suppression. This is a question I asked of you before and went through the hot steel plate experiment which you then never answered.
    Unless you can do that then the GHG hypothesis is not defeated.”

    Doug resorts to ad hominems, obliviously or conciously, marching on in denial of the fact that his flawed paper still remains palpably flawed.

  352. Dr No says:

    “Yes, that’s the effect at surface levels. By the time you get to satellite levels it’s 100%. And somewhere in between, at least in the mesosphere, it’s also somewhere between that small value and 100%.”

    This is pure gobbledygook.

    I am now concerned for you Doug.
    Please take a deep breath, go and lie down, do not respond to any more comments until you have thought about them for at least 24 hrs, and read Holton, “An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology”

  353. Doug Cotton says:

    Very briefly, water in the depths of the ocean cannot freeze because it starts to expands when it starts to get colder than 4C, and hence water below 4C rises (so you only get ice on top) and then warmer water flows down to replace it, totally over-riding the -3C/Km gravity gradient. There is no such change in the atmosphere as happens at 4C with water – a fact well known in physics, but perhaps not to certain commenters here.


    At the very top of the atmosphere, where some air molecules start to fly off into space, centrifugal force starts to exceed gravitational force – this being blatantly obvious I would have thought.

    That is all I have to say on the above two topics and I am not getting further side tracked onto any more red herring topics.

    I have reviewed in my paper a peer-reviewed journal paper by Dr Hans Jelbring, namely http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    I have shown how what Hans says is totally in agreement with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and how the concept of an isothermal atmosphere at 255K (as in Roy’s misunderstanding (6)) would be a violation of the maximum entropy conditions of that law which reads as below.

    An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.

    No one here (or on any climate blog that I write on) has been able to submit a valid physical argument as to why Hans Jelbring’s journal paper is in any way wrong, and that is the very basis of my review-type paper in the PROM menu at Principia Scientific International.

    If you (or any silent reader) thinks he or she can proof Jelbring, a member of PSI, or myself wrong on the basis of valid physics, then you have only to submit an official rebuttal to PSI where it will have the attention of quite a number of top minds in our organisation, which comprises nearly 200 members, all of whom recognise that the carbon dioxide “threat” is a huge mistake.

  354. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr. No
    ““The acceleration due to gravity varies with latitude from two sources. One is the centrifugal pseudo-force owing to Earth’s rotation, and amounts to a 0.34% decline in g as one travels from either pole to the equator.”

    That is 0.34% !!!!!
    I repeat, zero point three four per cent!!!!”

    I’m not entitled to state if Doug’s theory is right or not, even if I always have been suspicious about the isothermal atmosphere, but the poles Earth’s averaged radius is 6357 km while at the equator it is 6378 km which is about 0.33% greater and as far I know it is all due the centrifuge force of the Earth rotation.
    So, since 6378-6357 gives a 21km difference of radius at the sea level, I don’t understand your: “That is 0.34% !!!!!
    I repeat, zero point three four per cent!!!!”

    In my own opinion that 0.34%it’s not so negligible as you allude.

    did I miss something?


  355. Dr No says:

    Massimo, you are correct. The centrifugal force explains why the earth is distorted.
    The net effect is that, at the surface, the acceleration due to gravitational attraction with the solid earth, plus the centrifugal effect, almost cancel. In other words, the earth has deformed over time to accommodate this effect.

    Doug does not understand basic physics sufficiently to understand this. His latest weird statement implies that the centrifugal effect varies with elevation, and that the effect of gravity decreases with elevation! And that at the top of the atmosphere, gravity goes to zero! And that molecules fly off into space because they are somehow “flung”!

    This is pure nonsense to anybody who studied physics at high school. The same applies to all of Doug’s ideas. Do not get fooled by the amount of words he uses.

  356. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr No
    “The net effect is that, at the surface, the acceleration due to gravitational attraction with the solid earth, plus the centrifugal effect, almost cancel. In other words, the earth has deformed over time to accommodate this effect.”

    Right, what I miss to understand is:
    does the 0.34% change in gravity explain the 11km/17km polar/equatorial tropospheric depths?

    I guess yes, because the atmosphere should be deformed the very same way the solid Earth does.

    am I correct?


  357. Doug Cotton says:

    The very reason that a satellite (which can “hover” over a fixed point on Earth) stays in orbit is because the centrifugal force exactly balances the gravitational force. Have you not seen vision of astronauts floating in a space station, Dr No?

  358. Doug Cotton says:

    Regarding the main point that I am making, see this comment on the more appropriate thread …


  359. Doug Cotton says:

    The highest altitude in the exosphere at which air molecules (which are not moving relative to the surface) will not escape to space corresponds with the altitude at which a satellite hovering above that point on the surface would stay in orbit. If air molecules were to rise above such a satellite then centrifugal force would send them to space. This is the true physical top of the atmosphere, and it is very much related to centrifugal force.

    However the top of the troposphere is affected only partly by the imbalance of centrifugal force, which increases proportionally with distance from the centre of the Earth, and gravity, which decreases with altitude, though only by the inverse square of the distance from the Earth’s centre of gravity.

    The top of the troposphere does not, however, vary primarily as a function of thermal expansion either. That cannot explain the ration of 17:11 from the Equator to Poles.

    What does explain most of the difference is all to do with actual surface temperatures being greater at the Equator, so that the thermal plot starts at a higher level and thus has further to go until it gets down to the temperatures of the base of the stratosphere. This base (at the tropopause) is at around -80C above the Equator, but only -50C above the poles. So stratosphere temperatures contribute to setting the height of the tropopause, and you would need to investigate why they vary, probably due to variation in ozone levels, but not something I’ve looked into. My interest is in the broader context relating to how the surface temperature is supported at around “33 degrees” above the radiating temperature. This “support” is not due to backradiation, but to the autonomous thermal gradient which evolves in a gravitational field. For more on this, see my comment on the “misunderstandings” thread linked in my earlier comment above.

  360. Dr No says:

    the net force on an object due to gravity and centrifugal forces is almost identical at the poles and at the equator.
    (that is what the 0.34% refers to).

    It does not vary much as you go higher.

    The that means that the atmosphere, and you and I (and even Doug) feel the same vertical force (acceleration of about -9.8 meters/second/second) no matter where we are.

    That means that the difference between 11 km and 17 km has nothing to do with centrifugal forces. It is due to the fact that the atmosphere is warmer, less dense, and occupies more volume at the equator than it does at the poles.

    Doug’s comments about satellites is complete nonsense again.
    These objects travel at about 3 km per second relative to the earth’s surface.
    Yes, 3000 meters per second ! That is the speed needed for the centrifugal force to balance gravity.

    The atmosphere moves two orders of magnitude slower than this. So this is another of Doug’s red herrings.
    I hope this helps.

  361. Doug Cotton says:

    The atmosphere at the Equator varies from about +30C at the surface to about -80C at the tropopause 17Km above. Average temperature -25C. Thermal gradient -6.5C/Km

    The atmosphere at the North Pole varies from about 0C at the surface to about -50C at the tropopause about 7.5Km above. Average temperature -25C. Thermal gradient -6.7C/Km

    Do your sums for thermal expansion Dr No, especially when mean temperature is about -25C in each case.

  362. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No:

    I was talking about geostationary satellites, as I’m sure my comment made clear. You can read about them here

    Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), is a circular orbit 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi) above the Earth’s equator and following the direction of the Earth’s rotation.

    The top of the atmosphere at the Equator (that is the top of the exosphere) would be at the same height, if the air was moving with the surface. If so, this would be at 35,786 kilometres.

    Now I know they do observe the Exosphere at up to 100,000Km. This is probably because the air does slow down relative to the surface because it lags behind the spin of the Earth, causing apparent strong winds which are observed even down in the mesosphere.

    In general, my point still holds. The centrifugal force above the Equator at those heights is far greater than that at the poles which is virtually zero.

    Now of course the top of the troposphere is not influenced significantly because 17Km is a lot less than 100,000Km, or even the theoretical height of 35,786 kilometres where centrifugal force above the Equator is equal to gravitational force.

    But neither is the height of the tropopause significantly affected by thermal expansion as you claim when, after all, the mean temperature is about the same (-25C) at both the Equator and the North Pole. You may dispute my figures (quoted from memory) but you won’t be able to stretch them enough to make your assumption of thermal expansion the sole reason for the height of the tropopause.

  363. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy and others

    Waste heat will have no net effect that could be measured. In general, it will simply lead to more energy being radiated away to space, because it will not affect the overall thermal gradient in the atmosphere, nor the level of the whole thermal plot, which actually runs from the core to TOA.

    By the time waste heat is averaged over the whole planet, its magnitude is minute compared with Solar insolation levels. In any event, it is not about trapping energy, as explained below.

    The troposphere is the main thing to consider. It has about 99% of all the water vapour, and so it does most of the radiating of outward flux and some of the absorbing of incident flux. However, other air molecules (nitrogen, oxygen and argon) also absorb incident insolation in the troposphere in the UV and visible spectra, and this energy can be converted to thermal energy which can then be conveyed to other molecules by diffusion of KE and by convection.

    So all the inert air molecules (nitrogen, oxygen and argon) act as a blanket for upwelling non-radiative energy and a partial umbrella for incident radiation from the Sun. Of the molecules such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane etc water vapour probably has at least 99% of the effect and these will act, not only in a non-radiative manner (as for nitrogen etc) but also in a radiative manner, absorbing some upwelling radiation and also some incident solar radiation which, in general, has more energy per photon.

    The net effect of all these processes is not easy to calculate by modelling, but we know from empirical date that the outward flux rarely varies outside the range 99.5% to 100.5% of the incident radiation. The error margin in those measurements makes it impossible to determine any statistically significant variation from net radiative balance, positive or negative. Quite possibly the observed long term natural variations cause some imbalance, depending on whether the current trend is one of warming or cooling. But, in general, there is no evidence that net radiative flux causes (forces) climate. The opposite is the case, and natural climate change forces very minor variations in net TOA radiative flux.

    The surface temperature, as on Venus, is determined by the atmospheric temperature, the height of

  364. Doug Cotton says:

    Sorry – last para should read …

    The surface temperature, as on Venus, is determined by the atmospheric temperature, the height of the troposphere (mostly) and the thermal gradient, the latter being a function of the force of gravity, the mean specific heat of the gases and the degree of intra-atmospheric radiation, such as that between water vapour molecules which reduce the absolute magnitude of the gradient, and thus cause a lower surface temperature when radiative flux is balanced.

  365. Dr No says:

    The following are annual average temperatures (degC, plus or minus a couple of degrees, it does’nt make much difference)

    Equator North Pole
    1000 hPa 30 -20
    800 hpa 15 -20
    600 hpa 0 -25
    400 hpa -20 -45
    200 hpa -60 -55

    Most of the atmosphere (80%) above the equator is warmer than above the pole. Only in the thin topmost layer near 200 hpa does it reverse.

    Can you see how Doug made the mistaken of claiming that the average temperatures are the same?

  366. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, I accept your -20°C for the North Pole mean surface temperature. I was thinking of summer values when there is often exposed water which could not be below freezing point. Of course the water under the ice is always above freezing point, even in winter.

    But I don’t accept that the tropopause at 17Km above the equator is -60°C because that would be a mean lapse rate of (30+60)/17 = 5.3C/Km which is way below the wet rate of 6.5C/Km.

    I have read -80°C for the equatorial tropopause, and this says -75°C … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troposphere

    ”Temperatures decrease at middle latitudes from an average of 15°C at sea level to about -55°C at the top of the tropopause. At the poles, the troposphere is thinner and the temperature only decreases to -45°C, while at the equator the temperature at the top of the troposphere can reach -75°C”

    So, out of the 4 figures for surface and tropopause, I was out by 20 degrees with the North Pole surface, and you did a little better being only out by perhaps 15 degrees with the Equator’s tropopause.

    But I’m still waiting for your computational proof that thermal expansion could explain the difference between the heights of the tropopause, and perhaps you might also discuss comparing equatorial values with those around middle latitudes using “15°C at sea level to about -55°C at the top “ as this would be more meaningful for most of the world’s population. After all, using their figures, the mean for the equator would be -22.5°C and the mean for middle latitudes would be -20°C. So go for it and show how a 2.5 degree difference in the mean temperatures (ie less than 1%) can account for a difference of about 11Km to 17Km in tropopause height.

    And I’m still waiting for your explanation of how sufficient energy gets into the Venus surface.

  367. MikeB says:

    Satellites don’t ‘hover’ because some fictitious centrifugal force exactly balances gravitational force. If that were so, then astronauts would be pressed against the outer wall of the space capsule, as in a centrifuge.

    The only force acting on a satellite is the force of gravity, which pulls it and the astronauts down to Earth equally. There are NO other forces.. The astronauts appear weightless because they are in ‘free fall’ – like a sky diver – plummeting towards the centre of the Earth.
    They don’t get to hit the surface because the tangential velocity of the spacecraft is such that, as they fall towards the Earth, the surface curves away from them so that they never get there.

    However, there is good advice for me and others on Anthony Watts blog –

    ““Never argue with a fool, onlookers might not be able to tell the difference“
    Mark Twain

  368. Dr No says:

    You still don’t get it. These are number based on observations.
    The bulk of the atmosphere is much warmer over the equator than over the poles. I referred to temperatures as a function of pressure(hPa). This takes into account the mass of the atmosphere.

    Let me help you:
    the lowest 20% is warmer by at least 40 deg
    the next 20% is warmer by at least 30 deg
    the next 20% is warmer by about 20 deg
    the next 20% is warmer by about 10 deg
    the last 20% may be cooler by (lets say) 20 deg

    I estimate that, on average, it is warmer by 16 deg.

    Admit you are wrong.

  369. Doug Cotton says:

    MikeB In my last comment I made it quite clear that the “hovering” satellites were one and the same as “geostationary” ones which you can read about here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostationary_orbit

    I am fully aware that centrifugal force is an imaginary force, but your description is incorrect. The satellites have momentum which has a propensity for them to continue in a straight (tangential) path, and that “propensity” is expressed as a vector pseudo force opposite to the force of gravity.

    Dr No: Yes, and 16 degrees is a less than 6% on the K scale. So do your integration taking density into account if you think it makes a difference to thermal expansion. I’m still waiting for your computations comparing middle latitudes with Equatorial latitudes. Even at the surface the difference between 288K in middle latitudes and 303K at the Equator is only about 5%, but you need to explain 10 times that percentage variation in the troposphere heights. Surely you can post a link to some computational proof that supports your extraordinary claim that the troposphere is more than 50% higher at the Equator than at middle latitudes solely because of thermal expansion. I mean, there must be a Skeptical Science or Science of Doom “proof” or something you can put your hands on Dr No.

    I’m still waiting for this, as well as your explanation as to how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus. I’ve already given my answer on the “Misunderstood” thread.

    Everyone: There’s another good article about the Greenhouse hoax on the Principia Scientific International website today, and mine will follow soon.

  370. Doug Cotton says:

    Dr No: Your comparisons using pressure lead to an error in that you automatically omit consideration of the altitudes above the Equator (from 11Km to 17Km) which do not have corresponding altitudes (and pressures) in the troposphere in middle latitudes.

    As the thermal gradient is fairly linear, it is quite valid to consider the temperature at the mid points and compare them. The middle latitudes actually have a slightly warmer mean than the Equator, being 15 degrees cooler at the surface, but 20 degrees warmer at the tropopause.

    Temperature at Surface Tropopause Mid-point

    Equator 30C -75C -22.5C

    Middle latitudes 15C -55C -20C

    I’m sure all the silent readers can imagine a straight line plot of temperature against altitude with a mid-point at the above temperatures which are different only by about 1%.

    I’m still waiting on your computations of thermal expansion for that negative 1% difference.

    And I’m still waiting for your explanation of how sufficient energy gets into the surface of Venus.

    How about you answer both these questions in your next comment, using whatever data you can confirm, but not garbage like your comparison of temperatures at equal pressures, omitting higher altitudes at the Equator. I’ll just keep watching until you stop avoiding the key issues and answer those two questions.

  371. Ted says:

    Dr. Spencer says, “I sometimes get asked about the possible contribution of our daily energy consumption to warming in the U.S. With the recent announcement that the U.S. experienced the warmest year on record in 2012 (in the surface temperature data), I thought I would revisit this issue.” He continues, “…at least for industrialized and economically active countries like the U.S., it looks like waste heat production from our energy use could be a major player.”

    Dr. Spencer admits that human-caused waste heat is a “major player” in observed temperature increases. So, apparently, he believes in AGW.

  372. Doug Cotton says:

    Yes, Ted – there is no middle ground. In Roy’s “Misunderstood” thread he clearly talks about the major GHE conjecture that the atmosphere would have been isothermal without water vapour and carbon dioxide etc. This is not the case in a gravitational field, as it would not be a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, as is required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I have pointed out on that thread several serious mistakes in physics that Roy and AGW proponents continue to make. Keep watching PSI.

  373. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @Dr No & Doug.

    Even if I find hard to understand a 6km vertical extension at the equator only due to the thermal expansion, I think that the only way to know who is right or wrong is to locate where the troposphere is higher.
    That is: if Dr No is right I expect a moving TOA cuspid which moves along the zeniths of the whole tropical area with a cycle of one year; if Dough is right instead the cuspid should be expected static over the equatorial parallel.
    I’m not an atmospheric physicist, so I don’t know if someone has ever considered that measurements.
    Does anybody know if someone has did it?

  374. Doug cannot be reasoned with.

  375. Doug Cotton says:

    Massimo You make a good point, but it wouldn’t prove DrNo right as I also would expect that to happen. The height of the troposphere depends on where its cooling plot meets the warming plot from the stratosphere. You see, if the stratosphere temperatures are based on solar absorption by ozone, then they having nothing to do with surface temperatures. So if the surface is hotter, and yet the thermal gradient is the same, then the plot will meet the stratosphere plot at a higher altitude. Even Salvo might be able to understand the simple geometry involved, though I realise he cannot be reasoned with.

    In summary, guys, there is growing agreement among many at PSI that Hans Jelbring’s peer-reviewed journal paper was quite correct, and the greenhouse should have collapsed back then in 2003 – and would have if the powers that be had been able to understand what he wrote. Hans has confided that I am one of only a few who have understood it in all of these last 10 years.


    Be the next to understand Hans Jelbring, Roy. My article will explain more. Dr No and Co can believe what they wish.

  376. Massimo PORZIO says:

    “The height of the troposphere depends on where its cooling plot meets the warming plot from the stratosphere. ”

    Ok I get your point.


  377. Dr No says:

    Doug, admit you are wrong – the atmosphere above the equator is significantly warmer than over the poles.

  378. Doug Cotton says:

    Of course, why wouldn’t it be colder at the poles? It gets more sunshine doesn’t it? Totally in keeping with all I have said. It’s just the tropopause which is warmer at the poles (and middle latitudes) than at the Equator.

    So there’s not much difference between the mean temperature in middle latitudes compared with the tropics, now is there? No Dr.

    Still waiting for your alternative explanation, Dr No, of how the Venus surface gets its energy, and also your computations comparing thermal expansion in the troposphere in the tropics and middle latitudes.

  379. Dr No says:

    But Doug, you said:
    “…Do your sums for thermal expansion Dr No, especially when mean temperature is about -25C in each case.”

    Admit that statement was wrong.

  380. Doug Cotton says:

    I really don’t care if it’s -20C or -22.5C as in my adjusted figures. “About -25C” was near enough and I was very clearly talking about the troposphere only.

    Your “exam” time is soon running out, as is my patience with you, Mr Anonymous “No to everything” Dr No.

    You still have two questions to answer, each worth 50% in your exam, and you haven’t even started yet.

    The science in my paper has now been reviewed by top level scientists, and given the OK. Do you really think I’m going to accept your anonymous “voice” over and above theirs?

  381. Rogerio Maestri says:

    Are forgetting something important. All gas burned in oil extraction. This gas does not enter the estimation of global energy consumption .

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