Can Infrared Radiation Warm a Water Body?

April 21st, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

ocean-surface
I frequently see the assertion made that infrared (IR) radiation cannot warm a water body because IR only affects the skin (microns of water depth), whereas solar radiation is absorbed over water depths of meters to tens of meters.

Before discussing the issue, though, we first must agree that temperature and temperature change of a body is related to rates of energy gain and energy loss by that body. If we cannot agree on the basic concept that temperature changes when energy gain does not equal energy loss, then there is no basis for further discussion.

If the surface of a water body is emitting IR, then IR must be part of its energy budget, and therefore of its temperature. Evaporation only occurs at the skin, and we know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies. How is it that evaporation can perform this function, and IR cannot?

The temperature of land clearly is affected by IR, and that only occurs at the surface of the soil. So, how can IR affect land temperature and not ocean temperature?

If you claim that any additional IR (say, due to increasing carbon dioxide) is immediately lost by the water body through evaporation, how exactly does that occur? The surface doesn’t know why it has the temperature it does, it will evaporate water based (partly) on surface temperature, and it does not distinguish where the heat comes from (solar radiation from above, mixing from below, IR from above, sensible heat flux across the air/water interface). To claim that any energy gain from IR is immediately lost by evaporation is just an assertion.

NEVERTHELESS…

It might well be that solar radiation is more efficient (on a Watt per Watt basis) than IR radiation at changing ocean temperature. In other words, that IR warming of a water body is more likely to be lost through evaporation, since its warming effect does occur only at the surface, and so that energy is more likely to be lost through evaporation than absorbed solar radiation would be.

The effect would be greatest during low wind conditions, when vertical mixing of the water is weakest.

From what little I know of ocean modelling, this potential effect – which I presume is what people are talking about — is not taken into account. I suspect it would have to be parameterized, because it occurs on such a small scale. As far as I know, a Watt of IR is treated the same as a Watt of solar in the energy budget of the top ocean layer in a model.

I would like to hear what others know about this issue. I suspect it is something that would have to be investigated with a controlled experiment of some sort.


142 Responses to “Can Infrared Radiation Warm a Water Body?”

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  1. Thanks, Dr. Spencer. Good article.
    I think a thought experiment favors the hypothesis that “solar radiation is more efficient (on a Watt per Watt basis) than IR radiation at changing ocean temperature.”
    But you are absolutely right, a controlled experiment should tell us what is correct.

    • Berthold Klein says:

      Why are we making these distinctions when all of Electromagnetic radiation(EMR)from the sun should be included in the energy balance. Thus Gamma,UV, visible light, IR, microwave, radio, etc are absorbed by the earth we just have not studied what amount and effect they have.
      Obviously we have a large data base on microwaves just because of microwave communication, microwave heating in microwave ovens,furnaces for purifying metals, etc.
      The amount of heating from IR can be determined by very simple test, no need to guess. Anyone that has done underwater photography knows that red light is absorbed within a few feet of the surface and blue light penetrates about a hundred feet or more. All the energy is absorbed eventually, thus it has an effect on temperature.
      Here is an article that address IR absorption characteristics of water. We need someone to do the same with UV, microwaves, etc. Stop speculating and do some science.
      http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html Water Absorption Spectrum by Martin Chaplin
      In addition there is an experiment that proves that the Greenhouse gas effect does not exist. It’s time to realize that the 1824 Hypotheses of greenhouse effect/greenhouse gas effect is a failed hypotheses. There is no credible experiment that proves that it exists.

      • Robert JM says:

        My understanding of quantum physics is that GHGs should both insulate the surface through absorption and emission while simultaneously being responsible for atmospheric cooling via conversion of sensible heat energy to EMR. Net effect unknown.

        • Berthold Klein says:

          Robert JM you better go back to school and get it straight. You are mixing up two very important sciences, quantum physic and thermodynamics. While they overlap is some respects they address different properties of materials.
          Thus according to thermodynamics CO2 has a specific heat which is lower that O2 and N2 and heat transfer rate that is higher that O2 and N2. The effect is that by adding CO2 to the atmosphere you lower the insulation characteristic of the air. This is theoretical because there is so little CO2 compared to O2,N2 and water/liquid/vapor/ solid that it would be near impossible to measure. But there have been experiments performed that show that water/l/v plus CO2 do cause the atmosphere to cool.(see work of Dr. Nasif Nahle on http://www.climateClash.com)
          Now when we look at the IR absorption properties of gases we are in quantum physics. When a gas molecule absorbs IR it effects the energy of the molecule changing the vibrational
          action of the protons, neutrons and electrons( Quantum physicists will jump all over this oversimplification) but the net energy gain will not cause other molecules in the gas to “heat”. The reasons can be simplified by saying that the molecules in a gas are to far apart and some are at higher energy(hotter) levels already,The net results in no measurable “heating” of the gas.
          This “heating of the gas”which does not happen is one of many proves that the “greenhouse gas effect” does not exist. As recent finding show that both O2 and N2 do absorb IR should they be called GHG’s? (See Alan Siddons “The hidden flaw in greenhouse theory”). This has been verified by experiments which I’d be happy to share with readers when they are read to review the experiment with an open but “critical thinking” mind.

  2. The question to ask is which exerts a greater force on the warming of water ,solar radiation or IR radiation.

    The answer hands down is solar radiation which penetrates the ocean surface waters many times the depth IR penetrates the surface ocean waters.

    Which is what you say in the first paragraph which ends the discussion.

    Of course IR will warm the ocean surface waters but it’s effects are overwhelmed by solar radiation.

    • Ben Wouters says:

      “Of course IR will warm the ocean surface waters but it’s effects are overwhelmed by solar radiation.”

      Problem is that over 50% of solar radiation that reaches the surface is IR (> 700 nm).
      That is AFTER large bites have been taken out of the clean TOA spectrum by H2O and CO2.

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

      • David Springer says:

        IR from the sun is near IR (2um)is mid to far IR and water is almost completely opaque to it. You probably shouldn’t even comment on this topic if you don’t know the difference between near and far IR.

    • Berthold Klein says:

      When does a hypotheses become Theory?
      The 1.5 to 2.0 million scientists that are “skeptics” are accused of ignoring two hundred years of science when they claim that the Hypotheses of the greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) does not exist. This is a falsehood ,just the opposite is true. To prove this we must start with a definition and procedure of science. Science is never settled!
      A scientist looks at some event in nature and asks why?
      The scientists start to gather data that will help explain the event.
      To organize the data a hypotheses is proposed.
      The data is rearranged to see if it correlates to the hypotheses.
      If the data and the hypotheses seem to agree, more data is obtained and an experiment most be developed to prove the hypotheses.
      The experiment is performed with variations of the perimeters.
      The results are compared to the hypotheses.
      Does results agree with the hypotheses and the original “nature event “
      If the original “nature event” , hypotheses and experimental results agree a paper would be prepared to present to the scientists with the most knowledge of the subject to review and attempt to duplicate the results.
      If the results do not agree with either the” nature event” and /or the hypotheses then back to the drawing board. Many hypotheses fail. Some succeed and go on to further testing and evaluation.
      Progress in science is made from both successful and failed hypotheses. Failed hypotheses can only help if they are analyzed honestly why they failed.

      With this outline as a basis, lets look at the Hypotheses of the Greenhouse effect and then the modified Hypotheses of the greenhouse gas effect. These are often confused by the public and especially the nitwits in the media. They really don’t understand that a few wrong words make a difference especially in science.
      During the 1800’s it was thought that The greenhouse effect was do to resonance of IR within the glass wall of the structure. IR and visible light passed through the glass, heated the contents, which radiated IR of a different wavelength that did not go through the glass but reflected back to build up the heat within the greenhouse.
      In 1909 Robert W. Wood an expert in both IR and UV radiation did a very simple experiment that proved that the original Hypotheses was wrong. His experiment which can be found on the internet and is listed in the list of references proved that what happens in the “greenhouse or any other similar hot box is “ confined space heating”. This concept is address in many papers and other experiments including The paper “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effect within the frame of physics” by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner and Wood is correct: There is no Greenhouse Effect
      Posted on July 19, 2011 by Dr. Ed (Berry @ www. ClimateClash.com)
      Repeatability of Professor Robert W. Wood’s 1909 experiment on the Theory of the Greenhouse (Summary by Ed Berry. Full report here or here. & PolyMontana.)
      by Nasif S. Nahle, June 12, 2011
      University Professor, Scientific Research Director at Biology Cabinet® San Nicolas de los Garza, N. L., Mexico.
      End part 1

      • Berthold Klein says:

        Part 2.
        Although the concept of back radiation (back forcing) is still believed to exist and is covered in the papers of G&T but it can not be proven by experiment.

        Now lets look at the other Hypotheses of greenhouse gas effect.
        The original Hypotheses was proposed by Fourier in 1824. Fourier is a very credible mathematician and physicists but I have not found any indication that he actually attempted to prove the Hypotheses that gases could cause the back forcing of radiation or heating of the gases in the atmosphere.
        In the 1850-60 period John Tyndall a scientists and physicists carried out experiments that proved that certain gases will absorb IR; there is no question about this,every IR spectrophotometer uses this as an analytical tool millions of times a day. A question I ask myself is would the spectrophotometer work if back-forcing exists.
        When I first learned about IR absorption I was told that that only three or more atom molecule would absorb IR. Since doing more research it is shown that both O2 and N2 absorb IR, this has a significant impact on what are “greenhouse gases”.
        When reading the papers of Tyndall he stated that the most significant “GHG is water vapor” This is questionable see the following experiment http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.htmlWater Absorption Spectrum by Martin Chaplin. What phase we are looking at is very important which will be discussed later. Tyndall himself stated that there was not enough “traces gases in the atmosphere “ (including CO2 )to cause measurable temperature change.
        His experiments did not prove that when a gas absorbs IR that it caused gas molecules around it to heat.
        In 1896 Arrhenius gave a paper that “speculated” that increasing the CO2 concentration would cause the atmosphere to heat. Quoting a foot note by the IPCC Fouth Addition-In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first speculated that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.”
        Now Arrhenius was a very accomplished Biological physicists having been recognized with a Noble prize for his work. To him more CO2 and higher temperatures were beneficial to growing plants. However in 1903 Knut Angstrom pointed out significant flaws in Arrhenius’s work. Later I ‘ve been told that Niels Bohr told Arrhenius that he was all wrong. Niels Bohr knew something that Arrhenius did not know.( now called quantum physics)
        When Arrhenius did his paper , he did a series of experiments however he was not able to prove that the effect existed. Another failed hypotheses.
        After the turn of the century many significant developments in physics, quantum physics , and thermodynamics changed how we look at the world. The works of R.W.Wood, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Max Plank, etc. etc. etc. etc. During this period between 1900 and 1970 there were many paper claiming that based on observations of atmospheric conditions that showed the “greenhouse gas effect” existed. The problem is that observation could not be repeated, because there are to many variable that can not be controlled. These observations are subject to subjective interpretation. Because the researchers had an ax to grind they blamed CO2 and other “GHG’s” for the effect.(They have ignored the fact that O2 and N2 which compose 96% of the atmosphere also absorb some IR thus should be called GHG’s) They never bothered to actually prove that the Hypotheses existed. Experiment after experiment( really only observations) were performed by people that had no business attempting to do scientific experiments, they called themselves “climatologist” most did not have any training in the field that really should be studying “ atmospheric physics “ – physicists, meteorologists, radiation scientists, and mechanical engineers trained in thermodynamics and HVAC. IF any of these observation were meaningful why can’t they decide what the atmosphere sensitivity of CO2 is supposed to be? There is absolutely no reason to spend billions of dollars to control CO2 when there is not one experiment that shows what effect reducing the CO2 will cause. Everything is “speculation” and bad speculation at that.

        • Berthold Klein says:

          Part 3

          n the list of references are experiments that show that mixtures of Water/liquid/ solid and CO2 cause the atmosphere to cool not heat. Again there are experiments that prove that the greenhouse gas effect does not exist. These are experiments not speculation.
          The reference http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html Water Absorption Spectrum by Martin Chaplin. Which is based on experimenters; it is shown that ice absorb significantly more IR that liquid and vapor. This has to be understood when we evaluate the melting of glaciers. Air temperature is insignificant when observing the melting of ice. When it is sunny,snow and ice melts at significant rates even when the air temperature is below 32 degrees F. A simple observation proves this. For those of us that get ice dams and icicle go out on a below 32 degree F but sunny day, look at snow and ice in the shade, not a sign of melting. Then go to a part of your house that is in bright sunshine the snow and ice will be melting and flowing like you’re under Niagara Falls.
          It is claimed by the cult of AGW that when the north pole is white it reflects significant visible light thus it does not cause the glaciers to melt and that small changes in average atmospheric temperature is responsible for the loss of the glaciers. They are wrong which is proved by the above. Ice absorb significant IR even when the visible light is reflected. IR melts ice far faster that air temperature. The world is in an inter-glacier period the glaciers are supposed to be receding. The fear -mongers are at it again. If the glaciers had not melted much of the northern and southern hemisphere would be under 2 miles of ice.

          The Greenhouse Effect Explored 
          Written by Carl Brehmer | 26 May 2012 
          Is “Water Vapor Feedback” Positive or Negative?
          Exploiting the medium of Youtube Carl Brehmer is drawing wider attention to a fascinating experiment

          Your right : what John Tyndall said in 1850-60 was based on the misconception that the Greenhouse effect was caused by resonating IR within the container. This was proved false in 1909 by Robert w. Wood a professor of Optics at John Hopkins University. His experiment proved that the “greenhouse effect ” is really “confined space heating” a totally different concept. R.W.Woods was a recognized expert in IR and UV radiation, Many of his finding are referenced today in the world of optics ,IR ,and UV radiation.
          The Wood experiment was verified in 2009 referenced below.
          Greenhouse Gas Hypothesis Violates Fundamentals of Physics” by Dipl-Ing Heinz Thieme Many link are included that support the truth that the greenhouse gas effect is a hoax.
          R.W.Wood
          from the London, Edinborough and Dublin Philosophical Magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320. Cambridge UL shelf mark p340.1.c.95, i
          The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory
          By Alan Siddons
          from:http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html at March 01, 2010 – 09:10:34 AM CST
          Wood is correct: There is no Greenhouse Effect
          Repeatability of Professor Robert W. Wood’s 1909 experiment on the Theory of the Greenhouse (Summary by Ed Berry. Full report here or here. & PolyMontana.)
          by Nasif S. Nahle, JunPosted on July 19, 2011 by Dr. Ed
          e 12, 2011
          University Professor, Scientific Research Director at Biology Cabinet® San Nicolas de los Garza, N. L., Mexico

          Science is never settled. When the Cult of AGW goes back 200 years and claims that a Hypotheses or similar reference is valid but does not look at the developments that have occurred since that disprove the old hypotheses then we know they don’t know a thing about science. Science is built on failed and correct hypotheses.
          New information trumps old unprovable data.

        • Berthold Klein says:

          Part 3

          n the list of references are experiments that show that mixtures of Water/liquid/ solid and CO2 cause the atmosphere to cool not heat. Again there are experiments that prove that the greenhouse gas effect does not exist. These are experiments not speculation.
          The reference http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html Water Absorption Spectrum by Martin Chaplin. Which is based on experimenters; it is shown that ice absorb significantly more IR that liquid and vapor. This has to be understood when we evaluate the melting of glaciers. Air temperature is insignificant when observing the melting of ice. When it is sunny,snow and ice melts at significant rates even when the air temperature is below 32 degrees F. A simple observation proves this. For those of us that get ice dams and icicle go out on a below 32 degree F but sunny day, look at snow and ice in the shade, not a sign of melting. Then go to a part of your house that is in bright sunshine the snow and ice will be melting and flowing like you’re under Niagara Falls.
          It is claimed by the cult of AGW that when the north pole is white it reflects significant visible light thus it does not cause the glaciers to melt and that small changes in average atmospheric temperature is responsible for the loss of the glaciers. They are wrong which is proved by the above. Ice absorb significant IR even when the visible light is reflected. IR melts ice far faster that air temperature. The world is in an inter-glacier period the glaciers are supposed to be receding. The fear -mongers are at it again. If the glaciers had not melted much of the northern and southern hemisphere would be under 2 miles of ice.

          The Greenhouse Effect Explored 
          Written by Carl Brehmer | 26 May 2012 
          Is “Water Vapor Feedback” Positive or Negative?
          Exploiting the medium of Youtube Carl Brehmer is drawing wider attention to a fascinating experiment

          Your right : what John Tyndall said in 1850-60 was based on the misconception that the Greenhouse effect was caused by resonating IR within the container. This was proved false in 1909 by Robert w. Wood a professor of Optics at John Hopkins University. His experiment proved that the “greenhouse effect ” is really “confined space heating” a totally different concept. R.W.Woods was a recognized expert in IR and UV radiation, Many of his finding are referenced today in the world of optics ,IR ,and UV radiation.
          The Wood experiment was verified in 2009 referenced below.
          Greenhouse Gas Hypothesis Violates Fundamentals of Physics” by Dipl-Ing Heinz Thieme Many link are included that support the truth that the greenhouse gas effect is a hoax.
          R.W.Wood
          from the London, Edinborough and Dublin Philosophical Magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320. Cambridge UL shelf mark p340.1.c.95, i
          The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory
          By Alan Siddons
          from:http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html at March 01, 2010 – 09:10:34 AM CST
          Wood is correct: There is no Greenhouse Effect
          Repeatability of Professor Robert W. Wood’s 1909 experiment on the Theory of the Greenhouse (Summary by Ed Berry. Full report here or here. & PolyMontana.)
          by Nasif S. Nahle, JunPosted on July 19, 2011 by Dr. Ed
          e 12, 2011
          University Professor, Scientific Research Director at Biology Cabinet® San Nicolas de los Garza, N. L., Mexico

          Science is never settled. When the Cult of AGW goes back 200 years and claims that a Hypotheses or similar reference is valid but does not look at the developments that have occurred since that disprove the old hypotheses then we know they don’t know a thing about science. Science is built on failed and correct hypotheses.
          New information trumps old unprovable data. es could cause the back forcing of radiation or heating of the gases in the atmosphere.
          In the 1850-60 period John Tyndall a scientists and physicists carried out experiments that proved that certain gases will absorb IR; there is no question about this,every IR spectrophotometer uses this as an analytical tool millions of times a day. A question I ask myself is would the spectrophotometer work if back-forcing exists.
          When I first learned about IR absorption I was told that that only three or more atom molecule would absorb IR. Since doing more research it is shown that both O2 and N2 absorb IR, this has a significant impact on what are “greenhouse gases”.
          When reading the papers of Tyndall he stated that the most significant “GHG is water vapor” This is questionable see the following experiment http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.htmlWater Absorption Spectrum by Martin Chaplin. What phase we are looking at is very important which will be discussed later. Tyndall himself stated that there was not enough “traces gases in the atmosphere “ (including CO2 )to cause measurable temperature change.
          His experiments did not prove that when a gas absorbs IR that it caused gas molecules around it to heat.
          In 1896 Arrhenius gave a paper that “speculated” that increasing the CO2 concentration would cause the atmosphere to heat. Quoting a foot note by the IPCC Fouth Addition-In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first speculated that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.”
          Now Arrhenius was a very accomplished Biological physicists having been recognized with a Noble prize for his work. To him more CO2 and higher temperatures were beneficial to growing plants. However in 1903 Knut Angstrom pointed out significant flaws in Arrhenius’s work. Later I ‘ve been told that Niels Bohr told Arrhenius that he was all wrong. Niels Bohr knew something that Arrhenius did not know.( now called quantum physics)
          When Arrhenius did his paper , he did a series of experiments however he was not able to prove that the effect existed. Another failed hypotheses.
          After the turn of the century many significant developments in physics, quantum physics , and thermodynamics changed how we look at the world. The works of R.W.Wood, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Max Plank, etc. etc. etc. etc. During this period between 1900 and 1970 there were many paper claiming that based on observations of atmospheric conditions that showed the “greenhouse gas effect” existed. The problem is that observation could not be repeated, because there are to many variable that can not be controlled. These observations are subject to subjective interpretation. Because the researchers had an ax to grind they blamed CO2 and other “GHG’s” for the effect.(They have ignored the fact that O2 and N2 which compose 96% of the atmosphere also absorb some IR thus should be called GHG’s) They never bothered to actually prove that the Hypotheses existed. Experiment after experiment( really only observations) were performed by people that had no business attempting to do scientific experiments, they called themselves “climatologist” most did not have any training in the field that really should be studying “ atmospheric physics “ – physicists, meteorologists, radiation scientists, and mechanical engineers trained in thermodynamics and HVAC. IF any of these observation were meaningful why can’t they decide what the atmosphere sensitivity of CO2 is supposed to be? There is absolutely no reason to spend billions of dollars to control CO2 when there is not one experiment that shows what effect reducing the CO2 will cause. Everything is “speculation” and bad speculation at that.

      • Berthold, below you mention mechanical engineers experienced thermodynamics but left out chemical engineers who not only have experience in thermodynamics but also have understanding and experience in heat and mass transfer and are probably the only ones that understand heat flow at surfaces.
        I suggest that you read chapter 5 of Perry’s Chemical Engineering -Heat and Mass transfer by Prof Hoyt Hottel (late Prof of Chemical Engineering at MIT). Hottel also wrote a chapter in Marks Mechanical engineering Handbook on Heat Transfer. Hottel carried out a large amount of experimental work in furnaces (where there are flames and gases containing CO2 and water vapor) and in heat exchangers. Some of his students carried out experimental work to cover temperatures below normal atmospheric and above high flame temperatures. It is all there if you look in engineering text books such as on Process Heat transfer or look in journals such Chemical Engineering. Hottel wrote a book with Sarofim called “Radiative Heat Transfer” McGraw-Hill 1967 You can download Chapter 5 of Perry for free ( http://en.bookfi.org/g/%20Kent%20S.%20Knaebel%20Hoyt%20C.%20Hottel)not sure about Hottel’s book.

        • Berthold Klein says:

          Sorry chem engineers you are correct. I have left out many technical field that have extensive knowledge of thermodynamics, quantum physics and radiation physics. We need all of your input to educated the public and especially the politicians,lawyers and judges that may know the laws of men but have little to no knowledge of the laws of science.
          The real problem is that many people with technical knowledge are either not using “critical thinking” or are willing to corrupt themselves for the dollars or misunderstanding of the “environmental” importance of telling the truth.
          Many thanks to you “cementafriend” and everyone that is applying your years of study and experience to let the world know the truth.
          Science is never settled.
          Albert Einstein once said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Einstein’s words express a foundational principle of science intoned by the logician, Karl Popper: Falsifiability. In order to verify a hypothesis there must be a test by which it can be proved false. A thousand observations may appear to verify a hypothesis, but one critical failure could result in its demise. The history of science is littered with such examples.
          The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.”
          —Albert Einstein
          “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb.” Benjamin Franklin

  3. benpal says:

    Pondering … I have an infrared cooking plate in my kitchen; but it heats the metallic pot, not the water. Can an infrared heater right above the water heat the water? Curious to hear about reproducible evidence.

  4. benpal says:

    “For practical applications, the efficiency of the infrared heater depends on matching the emitted wavelength and the absorption spectrum of the material to be heated. For example, the absorption spectrum for water has its peak at around 3000 nm. This means that emission from medium-wave or carbon infrared heaters is much better absorbed by water and water-based coatings than NIR or short-wave infrared radiation.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_heater

    What is the wavelength of CO2 emitted infrared?

  5. benpal says:

    “Infrared radiation from ‘greenhouse gases’ causes evaporative cooling of the oceans rather than heating”

    Roger Pielke, Sr: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.fr/2010/08/why-greenhouse-gases-wont-heat-oceans.html

    • yes, that post makes similar assertions, but without any proof…except it IS true (as I have mentioned) that IR cannot penetrate the surface. But since there is always mixing of surface water and deeper water going on, IR is capable of affecting temperature at any depth.

      The question is how much of downwelling IR energy is lost through evaporation, compared to (say) absorbed solar energy. That is the more pertinent question.

      • BBould says:

        Unless well mixed because of moving water, water in shade in a lake is always cooler than the water in the open sun at the same depth. And can be readily felt when moving through the two different areas.

        If back radiation warmed the water wouldn’t the two spots be the same temp?

    • David Springer says:

      Dr. Spencer,

      The skin layer of the ocean is cooler than the water immediately below it by roughly 0.3C so if the cool skin layer is mixed downward it will cool not warm the lower layers.

  6. …and this also raises another question. It is generally assumed that the cool skin is caused by evaporation…yet the net IR flux from the ocean to the atmosphere is, I believe, about the same as the evaporative heat flux. So, the cool skin would seem to be due to both evaporation and IR loss.

    • sky says:

      Heat flux experiments at sea have shown persistently that evaporative transfer from ocean to atmosphere exceeds that of IR radiation and all other mechanisms COMBINED. A good source for nonspecialists is Pickard’s “Descriptive Oceanography,” which has a section on the topic.

    • David Springer says:

      Dear Dr. Spencer,

      Latent heat loss over the ocean is hugely larger than radiant heat loss. Have you never looked at heat budget diagrams? I suggest you do so immediately.

      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/chapter05_06.htm

      5.6 Geographic Distribution of Terms in the Heat Budget

      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/Images/Fig5-7.htm

      One can easily see in figure 5.7 that Q-l (latent heat loss) is twice that of Q-lw (longwave heat loss) between approximately 30N and 30S latitude which is, by far, where most energy enters and leaves the ocean. It is not until 50N/S latitude that longwave loss begins to exceed latent loss but the energy exchanges are very small at high latitudes and the imbalance very small.

  7. From Roy Clark’s paper p 180:

    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/EE_21-4_paradigm_shift_output_limited_3_Mb.pdf

    …It is also straightforward to show that a 1.7 W.m−2 increase in downward LWIR flux at the ocean surface cannot cause measurable changes in ocean temperatures. Water is almost completely opaque to LWIR radiation.19 The LWIR absorption/emission depth is less than 1 mm, so the interaction volume is at most 10 cm3
    .
    Following the Kirchoff Exchange Law, an increase in downward LWIR flux at the ocean surface of 1.7 W.m−2 reduces the ocean LWIR cooling flux by a corresponding amount.
    This heats the surface layer at an initial rate of at least 2.4 C per minute. The ocean responds by rapidly increasing the surface evaporation rate, although the
    level of evaporation produced depends on local micro scale ocean mixing effects which are difficult to estimate. A flux of 1.7 W.m−2 represents a water evaporation
    rate of 2.7 g.hr−1 m−2 for ideal ‘clear sky’ conditions. This corresponds to a 2.4 cm.yr−1 increase in evaporation rate since 1800, with 1.7 cm.yr−1 of this
    increase occurring over the last 50 years. Global estimates of ocean evaporation rates show that between 1977 and 2003 the global ocean evaporation rate has increased from 103 to 114 cm.yr−1 with an uncertainty of ±2.72 cm.yr−1
    .
    20 This was caused by a 0.1 m.s−1 increase in average wind speed. The ‘clear sky’ upper limit for the CO2 induced increase in evaporation is below the measurement
    uncertainty bounds. Long term averages of surface air temperatures are approximately 2 C below the corresponding ocean surface temperatures.21 This means that there is usually no direct heating of the ocean by the atmosphere, as
    required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As discussed below (Figure 15), any slight increase in atmospheric H2O vapor concentration will produce atmospheric cooling through increased upward LWIR emission under these
    conditions. Latent heat of evaporation is not released until the water condenses, which is generally at altitudes above 1 km. It is therefore impossible for an increase
    in downward atmospheric LWIR flux of 1.7 W.m−2 to heat the ocean. The increase in flux is converted by the ocean surface into an insignificant change in evaporation
    rate. This is buried in the noise of wind induced fluctuations in evaporation and changes in LWIR flux caused by variations in solar illumination, aerosols, clouds
    and near surface humidity.

    • Ahhh, once again the 2nd Law is invoked to claim insulating a house can’t keep the house warmer in winter, since the insulation is colder than the house interior. 😉

      That’s why we probably shouldn’t say that the greenhouse effect heats the surface of the Earth…it’s more accurate to say it slows its rate of cooling.

      Clark’s paper of course ignores the fact that water bodies are constantly mixing, so anything that affects the skin temperature affects the bulk temperature.

      • Roy,

        1. Clark does talk about mixing, in the excerpt above and elsewhere in the paper, although admits mixing is “difficult to estimate”

        2. The skin evaporation phase change occurs in microseconds, on a much shorter time scale than mixing, therefore mixing doesn’t have adequate time to mix any heat left over, even if there was heat left over after the phase change, but there isn’t:

        3. “The effect of downwelling infrared is always to use up all the infrared in increasing the temperature of the ocean surface molecules whilst leaving nothing in reserve to provide the extra energy required (the latent heat of evaporation) when the change of state occurs from water to vapour.” Not only is there no heat left over to mix, the phase change removes additional heat causing evaporative cooling of the skin surface. If anything is mixed in it’s the COLDER skin surface not warmer, thus cooling the bulk.

        4. Below the skin surface where solar shortwave only can penetrate, there is not a phase change and the solar heat is retained and mixed. Thus, only the Sun can heat the bulk of the oceans.

        4. Roy, home insulation works by limiting convection, not “radiative forcing.” Greenhouses work by limiting convection, not “back-radiation radiative forcing.”

        5. So now you say the GHE doesn’t “heat the surface of the Earth” How can you simultaneously claim the GHE heats the surface of the Earth 33K, but doesn’t “heat the surface of the Earth”?

        6. I agree the “GHE” causes 33K warming – but it isn’t due to “radiative forcing” – it’s due to atmospheric mass/gravity/heat capacity of the atmosphere as calculated using the lapse rate/barometric equations:

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-earths-climate-is-self-regulating.html

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-ideal-gas-law-gravity-atmospheric.html

        7. Even if there was any significant heat from or mixing of the said heat from LWIR, the huge heat capacity of the oceans precludes any significant warming of the oceans.

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/08/why-greenhouse-gases-wont-heat-oceans.html

        8. Even if LWIR could warm the bulk of the oceans a tiny fraction of a degree, due to the 2nd law, the most that could re-warm the atmosphere is limited to that tiny fraction of a degree.

        9. Even RealClimate admits doubled CO2 can’t significantly warm the oceans:

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/09/realclimate-admits-doubling-co2-could.html

        • joletaxi says:

          Ahhh, once again the 2nd Law is invoked to claim insulating a house can’t keep the house warmer in winter, since the insulation is colder than the house interior. 😉
          That’s why we probably shouldn’t say that the greenhouse effect heats the surface of the Earth…it’s more accurate to say it slows its rate of cooling.

          that’s how long this controversy lasts?
          There is no doubt that the insulation by any material , which incidentally is always colder than the heat source , slow the flow of energy escaping from the enclosure.
          But it is a material that has flow characteristics within the same material , which hinders the propagation of heat .
          The surface facing the source emits IR , even if it is colder but than ,it does not change the fact that if the material was perfectly conducting heat , the energy flow wouldt not be modified with or without IR , the source would not be warmer.
          The CO2 molecule can indeed be brought to a state of higher exitation by capturing a photon, but he will relax immediatelyt.Te only way to imagine an insulating effect , is that the CO2 molecule by collision , exite a molecule off’ air, just guessing that the time of relaxing an photon, will anytime, shorter that the probabilty of a n collision?That can be, … or not?
          but again, even if the air colone could be heated by this mechanism , it will go into expansion , climbing, and thus regain its equilibrium.
          In this sense, one could say that CO2 increases the height of the troposphere locally , but it does not influence the overall heat exchange.
          And, if the air colone is higher, the aera at the tops will increase( one imagine an perfet spheric troposhere, but it is’nt) and so the exchange capability?
          But it is still necessary that a molecule of CO2 in an unconstrained environment, can warm ?
          I ask to see !
          In this connection, why do not you put CO2 in insulating glass , in place of air dried up ,it could make million $ in the actual mood?
          best regards
          Jo

  8. Jonthetechnologist says:

    Hockeyschtick and Dr. Roy, am I correct in stating to others that H2O only absorbs or gives off energy (heat) when it goes through a change of phase. Best classroom on the net.

    • Jon, that’s latent heat of phase change, which is then conducted to or from the air.

      Water vapor also absorbs and emits IR radiation (as does any greenhouse gas), which also causes warming or cooling. The rate of absorption is approximately constant with temperature, the rate of emission goes up with temperature.

  9. Fulco says:

    Is it possible that water reflects IR. If you look at IR pictures of the earth oceans are white and land is dark. In visible light it is the other way around.

  10. Fulco says:

    Roy, since you have an IR meter you can do the experiment in your swimming pool the up dwelling should be the black body radiation of the water plus the reflected down dwelling.

    • yes, my IR meter gives a pretty accurate water temperature when I set the emissivity to 0.95.

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        Dr Spencer,
        could you try the following?

        Watch your swimming pool with your FLIR camera in a sunny day, than take a small black anodized aluminium sheet and try to see it through the FLIR camera when you slowly submerge it below the water under the sun.

        I would like to know how much millimeters below the water/air interface you can still see it.

        Have a nice day.

        Massimo

  11. Arfur Bryant says:

    Dr Roy,

    [“I would like to hear what others know about this issue. I suspect it is something that would have to be investigated with a controlled experiment of some sort.”]

    As it happens, this is being discussed over at WUWT following Konrad’s comment:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/20/dueling-climate-reports-this-one-is-worth-sharing-on-your-own-blog/#comment-1617674

    In it, Konrad asserts:
    “I have run a number of experiments dealing with this. The answer is that incident LWIR can neither heat no slow the cooling rate of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool.”

    And here is the experiment:

    http://i42.tinypic.com/2h6rsoz.jpg

    I must stress I do not know the answer, so I am just an interested bystander. I do, however, suspect that CO2 backradiation can have no effect on surface temperature except in those rare occasions where the surface is colder than the atmosphere. The 2LoTD stands.

    Re your comment:
    “That’s why we probably shouldn’t say that the greenhouse effect heats the surface of the Earth…it’s more accurate to say it slows its rate of cooling.”

    Unfortunately, the IPCC states exactly that the GHE heats the surface of the Earth!

    Regards,

  12. wizard says:

    There is no green house effect. The earth is a living breathing body that self regulates, just like humans.
    Water is always evaporating.
    Who cares what the IPCC says, they are are bunch of idiots poisoned by DOGMA. Does it take longer to boil water on cold morning as apposed to a warm morning? Does it really matter? The coffee does not care. Enjoy your day.

  13. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Penetration depth of radiation is important to heat transport to greater depths only when there is poor heat conduction from the surface. However, under conditions of strong convection/turbulence over the range of penetration depths being considered, heat will be transported effectively regardless of the value of the penetration depth.

    • sky says:

      Strong density stratification, along with omnipresent evaporation and surface tension, makes it very difficult for the IR-heated surface skin to be mixed downward. It is SUB-surface layers stirred by wind stresses that are involved in creating a well-mixed layer of nearly uniform temperature above the thermocline. And the heat capacitance of H2O is so high that, in the absence of wind, there’s hardly a diurnal cycle that’s measurable within that layer.

    • David Springer says:

      It doesn’t matter if the IR heated surface is mixing downward. The skin surface temperature of the ocean averages 0.3C cooler than the water immediately below it.

      If it *were* to mix downward it would only serve to cool the water below it not heat it.

      Downwelling IR from the atmosphere is for all practical purposes completely absorbed in the first 10 micrometers in depth. All infrared radiation also takes place from the first 10 micrometers of the surface. The cool skin layer averages 1000 micrometers deep.

  14. Paul Linsay says:

    The answer to the title question is yes. The issue is time scales. The incident IR is absorbed in a thin absorption layer and heats it up until the latent heat of vaporization has been collected in the layer when it evaporates. (This is a highly simplified description since evaporation occurs continuously, depends on the vapor pressure above the water’s surface, and so on.) While the absorption layer is heating up it is in contact with the water below and heats it by conduction. Conduction will carry the heat energy downwards since it is a molecular process and unaffected by gravity. The speed at which the heat energy diffuses downward is determined by the thermal diffusivity of water, 146 10^-9 m^2/s. My back of the envelope calculation gives a diffusion depth of 44 mm for a 1 W/m^2 flux at 15 um and an absorption layer 10 um thick. The time to evaporate the water is 1.33 10^4 s. If the flux is 25 W/m^2 (the atmospheric blackbody flux at ~280 K), the diffusion depth is only 8.8 mm since the heating time is reduced by 25 to 532 sec = 8.9 minutes.

    The conclusion is that if the water is very, very still for a long enough time the heat will certainly diffuse to lower depths. This may add some extra heating to a small solar pond but is meaningless as a heat source in the ocean which is never still.

  15. Type of prediction

    Ocean warming

    Model prediction

    Warming caused by direct heating of thermal radiation at 15 microns.

    Actual measurements

    Warming of about 0.06 C over 50 years.

    More here.

    Comment

    The absorption coefficient for liquid water as a function of wavelength is given at http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html (see the figure near the end). Thermal infrared in the Earth’s atmosphere is around 10 to 20 microns where the absorption coefficient (A) is about 1000 cm-1. The transmission in liquid water (T) equals exp(-A*L) where L is the depth of penetration. For the case where 1/e or 27% of the incident photons remain unabsorbed, with A=1000 cm-1, the L= 1/1000 cm = 1/100 mm. 98% of the incident photons will be absorbed within 3 times this distance. So one can see from the figure, than practically no infrared photons penetrate beyond 3/100 mm. When I said all the photons are absorbed in the top millimeter of the water, I was being very generous. A more precise estimate of A is 5000 cm-1 at 15 microns where carbon dioxide is emitting radiation, so even 0.03 mm is extremely generous. Since the liquid water is such an effective absorber, it is a very effective emitter as well. The water will not heat up, it will just redirect the energy back up to the atmosphere much like a mirror.

    It is worth mentioning for A = 5000 cm-1 at 15 microns, the implied water emissivity is 0.9998 implying that of the incident radiation only 0.02% of it will be absorbed. The emitted radiation will closely follow a blackbody emission curve whereas the incident flux from carbon dioxide is confined to a band centered at 15 microns. The implication of this is that much of the radiation emitted will escape directly to space through the IR windows, so it is a negative feedback. The initially absorbed energy cannot be transferred to the ocean depths by conduction (too slow), by convection (too small an absorption layer), or by radiation (too opaque). It must escape by the fastest way possible meaning upwards radiation away from the water. I don’t see why anyone is having problems understanding basic physics.

    The only way to explain the ocean heating in depth is for the solar radiation to change and decreasing clouds, as measured by ISCCP, indicate increasing solar radiation is occurring right where the ocean heating is reported to be occurring. The Willis paper does not even mention the ISCCP data that has a similar geographic distribution to the water warming. Simply put, where clouds decrease in amount, the water warms. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. A handy plot of the ISCCP results can be found as Figure 3 at http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2006/01/11/jumping-to-conclusions-frogs-global-warming-and-nature/ Clouds have large natural variations going up and down entirely independent of any greenhouse effect. The climate models do not predict these variations and apparently Willis and others are unaware of these variations.

    My points from earlier.

    • Douglas Hoyt says:

      The above comment is the most lucid one I have seen yet.

      It is also worth adding that if you shine a 10.6 micron laser on water, the surface layer will boil off, but a few centimeters below the surface there will be no change in the water temperature. Typical 10.6 micron lasers have millions of times the power per unit area that any doubling of CO2 would have.

    • David L. Hagen says:

      Salvatore
      Re: “The water will not heat up, it will just redirect the energy back up to the atmosphere much like a mirror.”

      With 0.99 absorptivity/emissivity is like a black body. A mirror would have ~ 0.09 absorptivity/emissivity. e.g. see the Engineering Toolbox.

      For an increase in IR onto water to show an increase in surface outward radiation, the surface would have to increase in temperature, even at T^4. That would correspondingly also increase evaporation and conduction. As you note, thermal mass will result in lags – consequently for all three.

  16. David L. Hagen says:

    Some understanding of ocean surface processes can be obtained by observing lab scale and full scale modeling of solar ponds. E.g., see:
    Understanding the expected performance of large-scale solar ponds from laboratory-scale observations and numerical modeling

    F Suárez, JA Ruskowitz, AE Childress, SW Tyler – Applied Energy 117 (2014) 1–10

  17. David L. Hagen says:

    On measurement, Fiberoptic Distributed Temperature Sensing may be useful:

    Heat Transfer in the Environment: Development and Use of Fiber-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing, Francisco Suárez et al.

  18. As my post eluded to earlier another part of the global warming hoax is this illusion that IR radiation is the cause for ocean warming.

    The reality is it is the sun and clouds.

  19. http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2006/01/11/jumping-to-conclusions-frogs-global-warming-and-nature

    Shows cloud amount changes over recent years and what might influence that galactic cosmic ray counts which of course are tied in with solar variability.

  20. RW says:

    Roy,

    “It might well be that solar radiation is more efficient (on a Watt per Watt basis) than IR radiation at changing ocean temperature. In other words, that IR warming of a water body is more likely to be lost through evaporation, since its warming effect does occur only at the surface, and so that energy is more likely to be lost through evaporation than absorbed solar radiation would be.”

    That’s interesting. I would not intuitively think that myself. Is there a clear way this could be tested?

  21. m says:

    It has been shown through controlled experiments that heating just the skin of the ocean via LR is enough to insulate and slow the heat loss from the bulk temp of the water to the air above it.

    If you reduce the thermal gradient of the skin, you reduce the rate of heat loss and heat begins to accumulate, which is what we’ve been seeing in the past decade.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?n=2214

    • Pierre-Normand says:

      This may be the most relevant post in this thread so far. The issue about back-radiation isn’t its ability to actually transfer heat to the ocean but rather it relevance to the energy balance of the climate system. If the incoming Solar energy can’t escape as efficiently (either from the surface or the TOA), then it will have to accumulate *somewhere* until the energy balance is restored both at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere.

    • David Springer says:

      No experiment has shown what you claim.

  22. RealOldOne2 says:

    First, thanks for taking the time to have this blog Roy. I have learned a lot from reading your posts and the comments in response to them.

    Second, thanks for this post on the interesting subject of IR heating a body of water.

    Confusion can arise from different understanding of terms, so I’ll begin with a couple definitions.

    From Donlon et al., 2001 ‘The character of skin and subsurface sea surface temperature’ ( bit.ly/PoarM5 )

    – SSTskin = “temperature at some measured depth, within a a thin water layer (~500μm) at the air-sea interface where conductive and diffusive heat transfer processes dominate.”

    – SSTinterface = “temperature of an infinitely thin layer at the exact air-sea interface.” This is the top of the uppermost ~3μm which the IR 15μm wavelength of CO2 ‘backradiation’ (‘br’) penetrates ( bit.ly/133RtMo ). The upper 3μm layer that ‘br’ influences is only ~1% of the skin thickness. To put it into perspective, that layer is ~1/10 the thickness of a human hair. Thus ‘br’ from CO2 only impacts a minute layer, as compared to solar radiation which penetrates up to 200 meters deep. So just on an order of magnitude effect, the energy from the Sun impacts (heats) ~50 million times or ~7 orders of magnitude more volume of water than it is possible for ‘br’ to impact.

    Now on your question of does ‘br’ cause immediate evaporation. The first observation that I make is that according to Donlon2001, The SSTint layer is always cooler than the rest of the 99% of the skin layer just below it ( http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceans/science-focus/modis/MODIS_and_AIRS_SST_comp_fig2.jpg ). To my knowledge this is true in perfectly calm, no wind conditions so I don’t see how “mixing” really can factor in, as it’s a matter of conduction and the uppermost ~3μm layer is always cooler than the rest of the skin layer just below. Fundamental thermodynamics and heat transfer says that heat flows from the warmer object to the colder object (yes, 2nd law), and since the remaining 99% of the skin layer is warmer, the heat flow from the interface layer is out of the ocean, not into the ocean. In calm daytime conditions when the sun is shining, the SST500μm (SSTsubskin on Donlon2001 Fig.1) is higher than the layers just below it, so heat is conducted both downward and upward. And of course solar radiation at shorter wavelengths passes through the skin layer deeper into the ocean and heats the layers below, which is how the overwhelming quantity of heat gets into the ocean (the 7 orders of magnitude again).

    I only see three possible physical explanations for the observation that the SSTint is always cooler than the layers just below. One would be that any ‘br’ is immediately evaporated as Clark2010 suggests. Another would be that outgoing ‘br’ increases, but that would require an increased temperature, and we don’t see that, as the SSTint is always cooler. The third would be that there is no actual heat flow (increased T) into the ocean from ‘br’. I think #3 is most likely correct, based on thermodynamics and heat transfer, as I will explain below.
    I would add that I do agree with you that both evaporation and longwave IR (outgoing ‘br’) contribute to the innterface layer being cooler.

    The primary issue I have with the typical ‘Trenberth/IPCC Energy Flow’ diagrams such as this, ( bit.ly/1i9c4u9 ), is that not all the components are actual energy flows, specifically, the 324W/m2 ‘br’.
    This Columbia Univ. lecture ‘Ocean-Atmosphere Coupling’ ( bit.ly/10Sr1a4 ) defines all the heat exchange processes and heat flows into and out of the ocean.
    On a global average, there is a heat flow of solar radiation into the ocean of 168 W/m2, a latent heat flow from evaporation out of the ocean of 78 W/m2, a heat flow of conduction out of the ocean of 24 W/m2, and a heat flow of ‘br’ out of the ocean of 66 W/m2.

    I don’t believe there is any “real” heat flow into the ocean on a global average basis from the ‘324 W/m2 ‘br’ ‘. If it was real it could be ‘collected’ like solar radiation, which is only ~1/2 that amount. W/m2 is a measure of energy flow, and W/m2 are W/m2. No one has been able to explain what is different or special about these ‘br’ W/m2 that prevent them from being collected, used, harnessed, as the solar radiation can. Or as someone has asked, why is there no such thing as a ‘backradiation collector’, if there is really twice as much heat flow (W/m2) as solar radiation. After all, this would be tremendous source of energy, since it operates 24/7 and supposedly is twice as great as solar radiation.

    To be clear, I accept the ghe. I just understand it to operate as a ‘resistance’ to heat loss, or as you said, “it slows the rate of cooling” both of the ocean and the Earth as a whole. The sole source of heat is the Sun. The ghgs act as a sort-of resister network as the heat escapes back into space. On a global average basis, other than solar radiation, the direction of heat flow is out to space.

    Oversimplified and certainly not an exact analogy, I see the ghe, ‘br’ acting as a semi-transparent ‘radiation shield’. Some ‘br’ escapes directly to space through the “atmospheric window”.
    A heat transfer textbook says “One way of reducing radiant heat transfer between two particular surfaces is to use materials which are highly reflective. An alternative method is to use radiation shields between the heat-exchange surfaces. These shields do not deliver or remove any heat from the two overall system; they only place another resistance in the heat-flow path so the overall heat transfer is retarded.” – Holman, ‘Heat Transfer’, 1968. I see this being parallel to your house insulation illustration. Insulation isn’t a heat source (doesn’t deliver heat to the house), it merely slows the heat loss. For the Earth’s ocean-atmosphere system, the heat source is the sun, and as the Columbia lecture states, all other heat exchange processes cool the ocean. Adding more ghgs to the atmosphere increases the resistance to heat flow and thus slows the cooling.

    I’ll stop this comment here. I’ll add another comment quantifying the effect of “slowed cooling” due to ‘br’.

    I hesitated to reply since you asked “I would like to hear what others know about this issue.” I don’t know these things. They are merely my understandings, perhaps right, or perhaps wrong. I offer them for discussion and to stimulate further thoughts. I am interested in being corrected if what I understand is incorrect. Please quote the specific aspect where you believe my understanding is incorrect, and give evidence that supports your claims. Thanks.

    • RealOldOne2 says:

      A couple of the shortened links didn’t come through, so I’ll try again:
      Donlon2001 – http://bit.ly/PoarM5
      ‘br’ penetration ‘ http://bit.ly/133RtMo
      Energy flow diagram – http://bit.ly/1i9c4u9

      • RealOldOne2 says:

        Part 2: Quantified “reduced cooling due to ‘br'”

        I think the interesting question pertinent to the recent “pause/hiatus/halt” or whatever you want to call it in global warming during the ~16 years, is: can the increase in OHC be attributed to the increase in ghgs. My answer is no. That is based on the above which I believe shows that ghgs can’t directly add heat to the ocean, because they impact too little of the ocean volume compared to the solar heat input, and any increase in OHC due to ghgs would be due to slower cooling.

        Using the IPCC formula we get an increase in CO2 forcing of ~0.4 W/m2 [5.35*ln(396/367)]. Then using the Trenberth/IPCC diagram of heat flows, this increases the ‘br’ by a factor of 1.0012 [(324+0.4)/324]. Now both the IPCC/Trenberth diagram and the Columbia Univ. lecture show the net ‘br’ heat loss from the ocean is 66 W/m2. Applying the 1.0012 factor to this 66 W/m2, we get a reduction in net ‘br’ ocean cooling of 0.08 W/m2. [66-(1.0012*66) or (66-65.92)].

        That’s very small. So what caused the increase in OHC?
        Global mean cloud amount during the last 15yrs has averaged ≈65% vs ≈67% during the late 20th century according to NASA .( http://bit.ly/19tIZBw ) This has allowed ≈3% (0.67/0.65=1.03) more solar energy to reach the surface of the oceans. This 3% increase in solar energy reaching the oceans means the net global average solar heating of the oceans was 173 W/m² vs the 168 W/m² figure in the Columbia lecture. (168*1.03=173) So actual change in solar heating of the oceans was ~5 W/m² vs. max theoretical change in ghg ‘br’ of ≈0.08 W/m², in other words solar heating was ~60X greater than the max theoretical heating due to ghgs.
        That was a rough calculation. There are a couple peer reviewed papers that quantify this.

        “Applying a 3.6% cloud reflectivity perturbation to the shortwave energy balance partitioning given by Trenberth et al. (2009) corresponds to an increase of 2.7Wm-2 of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface” – Herman2013 ‘A net decrease in the Earth’s cloud, aerosol, and surface 340nm reflectivity during the past 33 yrs (1979-2011)’

        And:
        – “The linear regression analysis applied to 204 global averages of monthly mean DSR fluxes, reveals a significant decadal increase in SW radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, equal to 2.4 Wm¯², associated with a corresponding decadal increase in surface solar absorption of 2.2 Wm¯², over the 17-year period 1984-2000. The performed analysis has shown that the increased surface solar heating, indicated by positive DSR and net DSR anomalies, started after the year 1992, and it has been caused by a significant reduction in cloudiness during the last decade of the 20th century… Our results are in agreement with surface observations (Wild et al., 2005), also indicating an increase in DSR starting after 1990. A further analysis has demonstrated that the reduction in low-level cloud amounts, accounts for about 70% of the computed increasing trend in DSR.” – Hatzianastassiou et al., 2005 ‘Global distribution of Earth’s surface shortwave radiation budget’

        So two peer reviewed papers quantified the increased solar radiation reaching the surface was about half the ~5 W/m² of my rough calculation. That still means that solar radiation is 97% of the cause of OHC increase, and ~3% could be attributed to “reduced cooling” from increased ghgs. So that is why I understand the empirical evidence shows that the Sun has been the overwhelming cause of the increase in OHC, not the increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

        The bottom line from the above is that OHC increase is not a valid explanation for the lack of atmospheric warming over the last ~16 years, while humans have emitted over 460 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  23. MikeB says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    You say “We know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies”. How do you know that? This seems to be at odds with the Kiehl and Trenberth energy budget which clearly shows that that the major heat loss is from radiation.
    They give the loss from radiation as 390 watts per sq. metre. This is easily checked using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and is correct for a body at about 15 degrees Celsius. As you say later, the emissivity of water in the infrared is close to that of a blackbody, so 390 watts is correct.
    The loss due to evaporation is 78 watt per sq.metre. This is calculated from amount of rainfall each year on the basis of what goes up must come down. If we know the annual rainfall then we know how much latent heat of evaporation was required to put it there.
    Even if we assume all evaporation is from oceans and surface water (which cover 70% of the planet) this still leaves the greatest radiation loss from water as being due to radiation.

    Do you have some other source of information?

    • Kristian says:

      MikeB says, April 22, 2014 at 2:29 AM:

      “Dr. Spencer,
      You say “We know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies”. How do you know that? This seems to be at odds with the Kiehl and Trenberth energy budget which clearly shows that that the major heat loss is from radiation.
      They give the loss from radiation as 390 watts per sq. metre.”

      **Rolls eyes and shakes head in a mix between amusement and consternation**

      HEAT loss, MikeB. HEAT loss.

      • Pierre-Normand says:

        Kristian, you don’t believe heat can be lost radiatively? Where do you think the joules that are radiated away come from?

        • Pierre-Normand says:

          OK, I see what you mean. 80W/m^2 is lost from the surface through evaporation while just 40W/m^2 is lost to space through radiative cooling. It is still puzzling why Spencer asks “How is it that evaporation can perform this function, and IR cannot?”

          IR radiation to space, through the atmospheric window, clearly cools the whole climate system, while surface evaporation merely is an internal energy exchange. Also, has someone already pointed out, increased downwelling IR doesn’t so much increase evaporative cooling as it reduces the skin temperature gradient and impedes the radiative shedding (to space) of the heat gained by solar radiation.

  24. I went into this very issue some time ago:

    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/the-setting-and-maintaining-of-earths-equilibrium-temperature/

    “the extra longwave IR radiation in the air from more
    greenhouse gases has no opportunity to heat up anything other than the specific water molecules that then evaporate earlier than they otherwise would have done.

    Nothing is left to add energy to the oceans, it all disappears as latent heat and the background energy flow from oceans to air continues undisturbed.

    The process is even self- limiting because, if the flow of downward IR were to stop, the rate of evaporation would simply fall back to the normal background rate set by atmospheric pressure, solar input and the energy value of the enthalpy of vaporisation.

    The effect of downwelling infrared (IR) from the air is always to use up all the infrared in increasing the temperature of the ocean surface molecules whilst leaving nothing in reserve to provide the extra energy required (over five times as much) when the change of state occurs
    from water to vapour.

    That extra energy requirement is taken from the medium (water or air)in which it is most readily available. If the water is warmer most will come from the water. If the air is warmer most will come from the air.

    However over the Earth as a whole the water is nearly always warmer than the air (due to solar input) so inevitably the average global energy flow is from oceans to air via that latent heat of evaporation into the air and the energy needed is taken from the water.

    This leads to a thin (1mm deep) layer of cooler water over the oceans worldwide and below the evaporative region that is some 0.3C cooler than the ocean bulk below. The evaporative process extracts energy faster from the oceans than it can be drawn up from below and added from above otherwise that cool layer could not be present.”

  25. MikeB says:

    Of course infrared radiation can warm water. Water is a near blackbody body in the infrared and so it absorbs infrared radiation. Radiation conveys energy. When radiation is absorbed then the energy it carries is also absorbed and, in this case, manifests itself as heat. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (1st Law of Thermodynamics) so what else can happen?
    Some of the heat may contribute to the latent heat of evaporation, but this is happening anyway and it governed by the water temperature and the humidity of the air above it – not by incoming radiation.
    There is a very fine answer on this topic from Robert Brown of Duke University over at WUWT
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/20/dueling-climate-reports-this-one-is-worth-sharing-on-your-own-blog/#comment-1618097

    • Robert Brown doesn’t seem to distinguish between wavelengths that get past the evaporating layer and those that do not.

      Apparently IR does not.

      • MikeB says:

        Why would he? What difference does it make? The only reason that visible light can penetrate water to some depth is because it not being absorbed efficiently. If it is not being absorbed, it is not transferring energy. Infrared is absorbed in a short distance and transfers its energy there but both forms of radiation (given that the visible is eventually absorbed) heat the water.

        • Evaporation is a net cooling process, hence the ocean skin being cooler than the ocean bulk.

          The phase change takes up more energy than is required to initiate it (5x) at standard atmospheric pressure.

          If IR from the air could create a net warming effect sufficient to offset the net cooling effect of evaporation then the cooler ocean skin would not be present.

          ALL IR at a water surface goes either to evaporation and conversion to latent heat or to conduction to the air and conversion to gravitational potential energy as the air rises.

          None is left over to heat the ocean bulk any more than the weight of the atmosphere on the ocean surface already permits.

  26. “Some of the heat may contribute to the latent heat of evaporation, but this is happening anyway and it governed by the water temperature and the humidity of the air above it – not by incoming radiation.”

    Humidity can affect the rate of evaporation locally but since humidity is water vapour and water vapour is lighter than air it does not have a significant effect averaged around the globe.

    Temperature does affect evaporation but if the temperature rise is from IR then it is only relevant on a molecule by molecule basis and affected molecules will be cooled by the phase change earlier than would otherwise have been the case for a zero net effect on the temperature of the bulk.

    • MikeB says:

      What?
      The humidy locally determines how much evaporation you can have locally. The humidity at the other end of the planet has nothing to with it.
      For instance, once the relative humidity reaches 100% (locally) you will get no more evaporation (locally).

      • The amount of evaporation globally is related to the level of humidity globally but we can see from the water cycle that moist air rising is matched by dry air descending so it is relevant that dry air in one location increases evaporation as much as humid air in another location reduces it.

  27. Stephen, you are most right in that back-radiation that IPCC insists on causing the warming of the oceans is completely wrong. The IR energy from CO2 is narrow band between(wavenumbers 700-600)and cannot penetrate beyond 10-20 microns into water, hence warming only the very topmost film and cannot explain any of the warmth that ahs vanishd into the oceans post 1998.

  28. geran says:

    The IR/water body question, as many comments indicate, leads directly to the “back radiation”/GHE topic. There is much interest in this topic, as well as much confusion. IMO, this confusion is why some “lukewarmers” exist. They are confused about back radiation.

    And, again in my opinion, this confusion is linked to an unclear understanding of quantum physics.

    No, I’m not going to start a short course in quantum physics. But I do pose a simple experiment for the folks that believe in back radiation, the “steel greenhouse”, mirrors that can reflect light back to a light bulb and warm it, and other such things.

    Take a glass of water that holds 8 oz. Put exactly 4 oz. of water in the glass. Adjust the temperature of the water to exactly 70ºF. Now, add ANOTHER 4 oz. of water to the glass, also at the temp of 70ºF.

    Does the temperature of the water in the glass now become 140 (70 + 70) degrees? But, why not, you have “added energy” to the glass?

    HInt: Adding energy to a system does not always imply an increase in temperature.

    Something to think about….

    • MikeB says:

      Hint: You changed the system (from one of 4oz to one of 8oz

    • Kristian says:

      geran says, April 22, 2014 at 5:01 AM:

      “Take a glass of water that holds 8 oz. Put exactly 4 oz. of water in the glass. Adjust the temperature of the water to exactly 70ºF. Now, add ANOTHER 4 oz. of water to the glass, also at the temp of 70ºF.

      Does the temperature of the water in the glass now become 140 (70 + 70) degrees? But, why not, you have “added energy” to the glass?”

      You also add more water, geran. Twice as much water, twice as much energy – same temperature.

      Not a good analog.

      • geran says:

        Mike and Kristian: Okay, we won’t add any mass to the system.

        A glass of water with the two 4-oz parts separated by a perfect insulator. Both parts at the same 70ºF temp. Now, magically remove the insulator!

        (Hey, I know it’s silly, but remember the “steel greenhouse”.)

  29. Kristian says:

    Roy, you say in the top post:

    “If the surface of a water body is emitting IR, then IR must be part of its energy budget, and therefore of its temperature.”

    Er, yes.

    “Evaporation only occurs at the skin, and we know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies. How is it that evaporation can perform this function, and IR cannot?”

    Who says IR cannot?

    “The temperature of land clearly is affected by IR, and that only occurs at the surface of the soil. So, how can IR affect land temperature and not ocean temperature?”

    You’ve got it backwards, Roy. The IR of the land is affected by its temperature. IR emission is a RESULT OF temperature. It’s not a CAUSE OF temperature. Neither at sea nor on land.

  30. Kristian says:

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says, April 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM:

    “It is generally assumed that the cool skin is caused by evaporation…yet the net IR flux from the ocean to the atmosphere is, I believe, about the same as the evaporative heat flux. So, the cool skin would seem to be due to both evaporation and IR loss.”

    Roy, the average IR heat loss from the global ocean surface is nowhere near of equalling the latent heat loss. The latter is at least twice as big as the former, most likely even quite a bit more.

    Further, since the atmosphere receives and absorbs all (100% of) the latent energy from the ocean surface, but only about 60% of the radiative energy (the rest goes directly to space), then evaporation brings at least three times as much heat from the ocean into the atmosphere as does radiation.

    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/indexe_column1.htm
    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/indexe_surface13.htm

    But the ocean surface does lose heat through IR radiation also, by all means.

    • Kristian says:

      Sorry, that last line should say: “But the ocean surface does lose ENERGY through IR radiation also, by all means.”

  31. Quondam says:

    Which can do more work, a joule of energy at 5600K or a joule of energy at 250K? Does the name Carnot ring any bells?

    Q

    • David Springer says:

      A joule is a unit of work. It not change with temperature. Is a gram a gram at both 250K and 5600K? Of course. It is a unit of weight and does not change with temperature either.

      Carnot’s heat engine is about how efficiently heat gradients may be converted to work. If the gradient is 5600K to 5500K that is the same as a gradient of 250K to 150K as far as work that can be performed by a heat engine.

  32. AlecM says:

    The Earth’s surface emits mean net IR at about 1/6th black body Power with the rest of the solar SW thermalised at the surface leaving convectively and as latent heat. The reason, as any engineer knows, is that net IR at a plane is the difference of opposing ‘Thermal Radiation Fields’. Climate Alchemy incorrectly claims TRFs are real when they are the potential flux from surface or atmosphere to a sink at absolute zero.

    There is virtually zero net surface IR emission from the Earth in most CO2 and H2O bands and even if there were, basic IR physics shows there can be no thermalisation of it in the gas phase. So ‘back radiation’ does not exist: to believe otherwise is to confuse the atmospheric TRF, a potential energy flow, with a real energy flux.

    Evaporation from the oceans is strongly dependent on temperature. It takes over completely at ~31 deg C. Hence IR emission maximises for temperate water, off the New England and Japanese coastlines.

    To summarise; There is no IR warming of the ocean surface; thee energy input is from thermalised Solar SW. Because of the strong temperature dependence of evaporation kinetics, operational IR emissivity** peaks at about 25 deg C.

    **Engineers like me, who have to get the sums right, also proper scientists, use the term ‘operational’ to define a parameter which depends on the particular conditions of measurement. Operational emissivity is the real net energy flux by IR divided by the black body level for the hotter emitter’s Planckian Temperature.

  33. Kristian says:

    “I frequently see the assertion made that infrared (IR) radiation cannot warm a water body because IR only affects the skin (microns of water depth), whereas solar radiation is absorbed over water depths of meters to tens of meters.”

    This is all very simple, Roy. IR can indeed warm (that is, bring energy to, increase the internal energy of) even a water surface … IF IT’S COMING FROM SOMEWHERE WARMER THAN THE SURFACE. A surface only thermally acquires energy from surroundings or objects that are WARMER (has a higher temperature) than itself.

    This is the most basic thermodynamic knowledge there is.

    “If you claim that any additional IR (say, due to increasing carbon dioxide) is immediately lost by the water body through evaporation, how exactly does that occur?”

    This is a huge misunderstanding. There is no ‘additional IR’, because the surface does not receive radiative energy from the atmosphere, it delivers radiative energy to it. Just as it delivers (not receives) conductive/convective energy or latent energy (evaporation).

    If anything, there is ONLY more or less energy going OUT from the surface to the atmosphere per unit of time. As a result of a change in temperature gradients between them.

    “The surface doesn’t know why it has the temperature it does, it will evaporate water based (partly) on surface temperature, and it does not distinguish where the heat comes from (solar radiation from above, mixing from below, IR from above, sensible heat flux across the air/water interface). To claim that any energy gain from IR is immediately lost by evaporation is just an assertion.”

    Again, this points to major confusion.

    The surface cannot distinguish where the ‘heat’ comes from?!

    The surface ONLY receives ‘heat’ from the sun, Roy. And then it BRINGS ‘heat’ to the atmosphere through IR radiation, conduction/convection and evaporation. That’s the way ‘heat’ flows through the system.

    This is sooo basic and fundamental.

    For a system to ‘gain energy’ it needs to receive ‘heat’ (or work). Hence, there is no ‘energy gain from IR’ (from the atmosphere) by the ocean surface. The energy gain from IR is by the atmosphere above it.

    • sky says:

      You’re one of the few who grasps the critical distinction between one-way heat transfer and isotropic radiative intensity that I’ve been trying to get across on blogs for some time.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @Kristian “The surface ONLY receives ‘heat’ from the sun, Roy. And then it BRINGS ‘heat’ to the atmosphere through IR radiation, conduction/convection and evaporation”.

      Technically, the surface does not receive heat from the Sun, it receives electromagnet energy in a broad spectrum of frequencies and intensities. There is no heat contained in EM and it warms nothing till it contacts a body where it can be absorbed. The heat is produced in the surface when EM is absorbed and raises the KE of atoms/molecules. It does not travel from the Sun to the surface.

      AGW proponents have done science a disfavour by claiming only greenhouse gases can absorb IR. They are referring to molecules only, of which the atmosphere exists as N2, O2, CO2, etc., where absorption depends on the rotational states of bonds.

      If a cooler block of copper is held close to a radiating infrared heat source, the copper atoms will gain kinetic energy and warm.

      Although I have utmost respect for Roy as a climate scientist, he has expressed some….em…weird…views on thermodynamics. A while back, he offered a thought experiment showing how heat could conceivably be transferred from a colder body to a warmer body using natural processes.

      (said with humour and affection, Roy)

      Clausius claimed in his treatise on heat that infrared energy can be exchanged in both directions between bodies of different temperature but that heat can only be transferred from a warmer body to a colder body under normal means. He meant that you have to supply external energy to reverse the process and the atmosphere does not have that means.

      Climate scientists who promote AGW have made a crucial error by mistaking IR for heat. They have applied the 1st law of thermodynamics and summed infrared energies then claimed that is the same as summing heat, therefore the 2nd law is not violated as long as the sum of the IR energies is positive. As Gerlich and Tscheuschner tried to point out, the 2nd law is about heat, not IR.

      Heat and IR are not the same. Heat is a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms in a substance. IR is electromagnet energy emitted when an electron changes energy states in atomic energy shells or when molecular bonds change their vibrational states.

      More than half the EM emitted by the Sun is in the infrared range and the IR frequency is related to the temperature of the emitting source.

      Maybe I am over-simplifying but I think it is obvious why heat can be transferred only in one direction between a warmer body and a cooler body. The atoms in a warmer body are vibrating with a higher kinetic energy than those in a cooler body. Since the IR emitted by the warmer body have a higher intensity they can raise the KE level in atoms in a cooler body but the IR from a cooler body does not have the intensity to raise the KE in atoms in a warmer body.

      • Kristian says:

        Gordon Robertson says, April 22, 2014 at 6:41 PM:

        “Technically, the surface does not receive heat from the Sun, it receives electromagnet energy in a broad spectrum of frequencies and intensities. There is no heat contained in EM and it warms nothing till it contacts a body where it can be absorbed. The heat is produced in the surface when EM is absorbed and raises the KE of atoms/molecules. It does not travel from the Sun to the surface.”

        I’m sorry, Gordon, but then you’re not up to speed on how ‘heat’ is defined in physics. The opposite of what you say is true.

        HEAT is simply energy in transit between two systems at different temperatures. HEAT only ever in nature moves from the hotter system to the colder, never the other way. It warms the colder system and cools the hotter system, meaning, energy is transferred from the hot system to the cold system by virtue of the temperature difference between them.

        HEAT is never contained within a system. As soon as the ‘heat’ (the transferred flow of energy from hot to cold) is absorbed by the colder system, its internal ENERGY increases, making it warmer.

        Yes, I’m aware of the fact that the energy coming from the sun and ultimately being absorbed by the earth system is pure EM radiation. But no one is claiming that HEAT is a specific kind of energy. It is simply that energy in transit between two systems at different temperatures that will eventually make the colder system warmer upon absorption by increasing its internal ‘energy’ content.

  34. Arfur Bryant says:

    Kristian says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:43 AM

    [“A surface only thermally acquires energy from surroundings or objects that are WARMER (has a higher temperature) than itself.”]

    Kristian, I completely agree. See my post here:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/04/life-on-earth-principal-control-knob-governing-earths-temperature/#comment-110668

    Eventually, folk may get this concept. It’s not so much about radiation, as absorption – IMO.

    I would like anyone who believes otherwise to show one single experiment which demonstrates that a cooler object can, by itself, warm a warmer object. Just one!

  35. neddy says:

    Essentially , the question comes down to the following, with respect to the sea surface:

    If one replaced the downwards IR radiation with equivalent extra energy carried by visible light, what would happen to the evaporation rate and to the upwards IR radiation from the sea?

    Seems like something that could be experimentally investigated.

  36. Gordon Robertson says:

    “It might well be that solar radiation is more efficient (on a Watt per Watt basis) than IR radiation…”

    Roy…solar radiation is over 50% IR. That’s why the AGW theory is so annoying. It focuses only on IR generated by the surface whereas the Sun generates IR at higher intensities because the source it at a far higher temperature than the Earth’s surface.

    If atmospheric gas is being warmed by IR, should it not be warmed more by incoming IR? And why is that IR not accounted for in the AGW theory.

    • MikeB says:

      If atmospheric gas is being warmed by IR, should it not be warmed more by incoming IR?

      No, learn the basics first Gordon, then you wil know why.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Mike B “No, learn the basics first Gordon, then you wil know why”.

        I am questioning the basics as you seem to understand them and I am basing my questions on experts like Clausius. Since you have not supplied a rebuttal I am sure you are going on blind faith and you don’t have the answer yourself.

        Atmospheric molecules don’t care where the IR comes from. If half the radiation from the Sun is IR then why should it not affect atmospheric molecules?

        • David Springer says:

          The IR component of sunlight is called near infrared. Near infrared is not absorbed by the skin layer it penetrates almost as well as visible light.

          http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html

          Note the last two diagrams. At 2 micrometers wavelength the absorption coefficient is 100 times less than it is at 10 micrometers. There is very little energy left in sunlight at 2 micrometers and longer.

  37. Go Whitecaps!! says:

    MikeB: “You say “We know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies”. How do you know that? This seems to be at odds with the Kiehl and Trenberth energy budget which clearly shows that that the major heat loss is from radiation.”

    You are misinterpreting the KT energy budget. The radiative energy into the atmosphere is about 25wm2 versus about 80 wm2 by latent heat transfer. The 25wm2 is the net result of UW-DW IR.

    • MikeB says:

      Are you trying to be stupid or are you just stupid?
      Radiation from the surface of the Earth is 390 W/sq.metre. It has to be so to accord with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, discovered in 1859, try to get up to speed.

      • Go Whitecaps!! says:

        I am up to speed. Your the one that’s an idiot. Look at the KT diagram again. 390 wm2 minus about 40 wm2 = 340 wm2 into the atmosphere less downwelling IR of approximately 325wm2.

        This is in agreement with Dr. Spenser’s calculation previously posted that latent and sensible heat is 4 times the radiation transfer into the atmosphere.

        • MikeB says:

          You cannot subtract them!!!!

        • MikeB says:

          Sorry George, I just get frustrated with idiocy sometimes.
          To progress you need to show that you understand the basics( can I be bothered to do this?). So, as a test, work out from Stefan’s Law (you will find it on Wikepidia) how much energy a blackbody at 15 degrees Celsius will emit. You will see that this agrees with emitted radiation value of 390 watts per square metre on the energy budget diagram. Then look at the ‘back radiation’ figure of 324 watts per square metre. What temperature does this indicate for the atmosphere, do you think?

        • Kristian says:

          The point here is, Go Whitecaps!! MikeB evidently doesn’t know what HEAT is. He also doesn’t seem to know that only transfers of HEAT (or work) are meaningful in determining whether or not an object is going to cool or warm.

          Give it up. You can’t educate people who don’t want to be educated.

      • sky says:

        Mike B:

        The S-B radiation law applies only to a blackbody kept in thermal equilibrium. You need a steady power source to accomplish that. Insolation is practically the sole source on Earth. The atmosphere generates NO energy whatsoever; a parcel of it can only radiate isotropically what it either absorbs or acquires through non-radiative means.

        It’s the simplistic idealization made in undergraduate texts that all horizontal fluxes cancel out, leaving only vertical ones, that leads to much confusion. Backradiation is not like having a second sun as a power source; it’s an inseparable part of the nearly null-net radiative exchange between the thermalized surface and the adjacent atmosphere heated from below.

        While the radiative intensities may be semi-realistic, they don’t represent energy in transit (the fundamental definition of heat). They express energy not in flux, but in internal storage. Careful in situ experiments clearly show that only a minor fraction of heat transfer on climatic time scales is by radiation. More advanced, serious treatments by those qualified to explicate the physics, e.g., Peixoto and Oort, don’t entertain such confusion. Neither should anyone else.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        @Mike B “It has to be so to accord with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, discovered in 1859, try to get up to speed”.

        Another expert who doesn’t understand the difference between infrared energy and heat.

        Boltzmann is meant for stellar atmospheres where temperatures are very much higher and the gases far more dense.The reason we have this AGW nonsense is mathematical theoreticians who live on a computer programming nonsense into the computer.

  38. bernie says:

    “Can infrared radiation warm a water body?”

    This is purely a matter of for empirical investigation, for consider the two logical extremes.

    If IR penetrated deep into water before being absorbed, of course the main body of the water would be warmed, because the energy would be gradually distributed throughout the column.

    If IR only penetrated a layer one molecule thick before being absorbed, of course the main body of water would NOT be warmed, because the energy lost to the surface layer would be enough to blast it into super heated steam, and the evaporation would carry away the energy.

    In fact, the actual situation is somewhere in between. So it is a question for actual measurement, or for calculation based on a firm knowledge of the parameters.

  39. The absorption coefficient for liquid water as a function of wavelength is given at http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html (see the figure near the end). Thermal infrared in the Earth’s atmosphere is around 10 to 20 microns where the absorption coefficient (A) is about 1000 cm-1. The transmission in liquid water (T) equals exp(-A*L) where L is the depth of penetration. For the case where 1/e or 27% of the incident photons remain unabsorbed, with A=1000 cm-1, the L= 1/1000 cm = 1/100 mm. 98% of the incident photons will be absorbed within 3 times this distance. So one can see from the figure, than practically no infrared photons penetrate beyond 3/100 mm. When I said all the photons are absorbed in the top millimeter of the water, I was being very generous. A more precise estimate of A is 5000 cm-1 at 15 microns where carbon dioxide is emitting radiation, so even 0.03 mm is extremely generous. Since the liquid water is such an effective absorber, it is a very effective emitter as well. The water will not heat up, it will just redirect the energy back up to the atmosphere much like a mirror.

    It is worth mentioning for A = 5000 cm-1 at 15 microns, the implied water emissivity is 0.9998 implying that of the incident radiation only 0.02% of it will be absorbed. The emitted radiation will closely follow a blackbody emission curve whereas the incident flux from carbon dioxide is confined to a band centered at 15 microns. The implication of this is that much of the radiation emitted will escape directly to space through the IR windows, so it is a negative feedback. The initially absorbed energy cannot be transferred to the ocean depths by conduction (too slow), by convection (too small an absorption layer), or by radiation (too opaque). It must escape by the fastest way possible meaning upwards radiation away from the water. I don’t see why anyone is having problems understanding basic physics.

    The only way to explain the ocean heating in depth is for the solar radiation to change and decreasing clouds, as measured by ISCCP, indicate increasing solar radiation is occurring right where the ocean heating is reported to be occurring. The Willis paper does not even mention the ISCCP data that has a similar geographic distribution to the water warming. Simply put, where clouds decrease in amount, the water warms. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. A handy plot of the ISCCP results can be found as Figure 3 at http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2006/01/11/jumping-to-conclusions-frogs-global-warming-and-nature/ Clouds have large natural variations going up and down entirely independent of any greenhouse effect. The climate models do not predict these variations and apparently Willis and others are unaware of these variations.

    I SENT THIS EARLIER AND THIS IS THE BEST MOST CORRECT ANSWER.

  40. Climate alarmists claim that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil, have raised global air temperatures to their highest level in the past one to two millennia. And, therefore, investigating the possibility of a period of equal global warmth within the past one to two thousand years has become a high-priority enterprise; for if such a period could be shown to have existed, when the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration was far less than it is today, there would be no compelling reason to attribute the warmth of our day to the CO2 released to the air by mankind since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Thus, in this review of the pertinent scientific literature, results of the search for such knowledge are presented for studies conducted within the borders of Canada and other regions north of the lower 48 states of the United States of America.

    There is nothing unusual or unnatural about climate change. It happens on decadal scales, centennial scales and millennial scales. And over the past century or two, the earth has experienced a natural and not-unexpected millennial-scale climatic shift that may or may not have yet run its course.

    The fact that the air’s CO2 content increased in phase with this shift is simply due to the coincidental concurrent development of the Industrial Revolution and its subsequent transformative impact on humanity.

    Since the peak warmth of the Medieval Warm Period was caused by something quite apart from elevated levels of atmospheric CO2, or any other greenhouse gas for that matter, there is no reason to not believe that a return engagement of that same factor or group of factors is responsible for the even lesser “peak” warmth of today.

    But if not CO2, then what? According to Luckman and Wilson, some solar-related phenomenon may well be the main driver of the low frequency temperature trends.

    The same story is also told by tree ring-width anomalies from the adjacent Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. Hence, it can be concluded from two different data bases that the region’s current temperature is, in fact, lower than it was during the warmest part of the Medieval Warm Period, adding more weight to the growing mountain of evidence that indicates there is nothing unusual about the planet’s current level of warmth.

    These results now join the many other similar results, from all around the world, which have been archived in the databases of co2science.org’s Medieval Warm Period Project29, where it can be seen that the Medieval Warm Period was not only a global phenomenon, but that its peak warmth was very likely significantly greater than that of the Current Warm Period.

    THIS IS JUST MORE EVIDENCE THE AGW IS A HOAX. IT IS BUILT UPON FALSEHOODS. PAST HISTORY DOES NOT LIE.

  41. Lovejoy Global Warming Paper 100% Wrong to Omit Previous Natural Warm Periods Say Friends of Science

  42. The chart clearly shows NO NO NO correlation between CO2 and temperature. What does it take to show AGW theory is trash?

  43. Greg says:

    My gut feeling on this is that a water molecule within microns of the surface of water, that is near equilibrium with its surroundings, and absorbs an IR photon will be energetic enough to evaporate unless there is a high vaporu pressure just above the water surface.

    This proviso means extremely still conditions and probably a temperature inversion to prevent convection cells emerging.

    That’s idealised and in reality I don’t see it happening enough to matter.

    Possible exception is oils or surface contaminants, oil from sea weed or pollution or the mysterious liquid crystal effects of the water surface.

  44. Geoff Duffy says:

    Personally, I think we need to examine all the MECHANISMS involved to really get a grip on this problem. The bigger picture is needed first. Let me add a few thoughts as a chemical engineer.

    Things to consider >>
    There is SIMULTANEOUS Heat – Mass – Momentum transfer in 5 distinct regions or zones near the ocean surface.

    1. At the water-air interface (skin) 2. In the thin air-vapour Boundary Layer immediately above the skin 3. In the water-water Boundary Layer immediately below the skin 4. In the bulk of the atmosphere, and, 5. In the bulk of the water below the surface, away from the water boundary layer. Each needs to be examined separately. Also knowledge of the concepts of EQUILIBRIUM, and equilibrium shifts, as well as thermal and concentration gradients, are required as we rarely have steady-sate conditions.

    MOMENTUM and MASS TRANSPORT: In each region/zone described above there can be natural and forced mixing [ABOVE the surface: winds and natural convection (thermals)]; [AT the ocean-air interface: surface waves, small-scale mixing, and foam formation]; [BELOW the sea surface boundary layer: internal sub-surface sea agitation /mixing]. Molecular diffusion occurs in all regions.

    HEAT TRANSFER: Conduction (particularly in stagnant water), convection (in boundary layers, water, and the atmosphere, as well as radiation (boundary layer, atmosphere, molecular excitation) must ALL be considered simultaneously, and not in isolation. Thermal gradients are significant even in thin boundary layers.

    I will only address a couple of issues to trigger some dialogue:

    The Vapour-Air Boundary Layer: Liquid water molecules need ‘energy’ to transfer to water vapour molecules in the boundary layer. At dynamic equilibrium water molecules are moving to-and-from both phases. If there is either a wind or a temperature difference between the air above the boundary layer, some vapour molecules leave the surface boundary layer to move to the bulk atmosphere. Equilibrium is upset, and then more water molecules go into the vapour-state boundary layer (evaporative cooling occurs). Thermal energy to the water surface can be by convective, radiative, or by diffusional mechanisms, if the atmosphere is warmer (opposite if the atmosphere is cooler). The IR driving force depends on temperature difference, but the radiant energy must pass through the vapour boundary layer (different from liquid water) where some of it is absorbed by the vapour by molecular excitation. The boundary layer gradient and thickness are significant in IR energy transfer.

    Illustration 1: On a windy night (no solar energy), the bulk temperature of a swimming pool with no cover drops dramatically. The water level also drops overnight. Evaporative cooling is the key mechanism. A big difference is noted when there is virtually no wind. Here the water level is almost unchanged, and the temperature drop is far less; probably more due to conduction from the pool walls/base, and some radiation from the warmer pool water to the atmosphere.

    Illustration 2: Working with a gas-fired radiant heater I observed little energy transfer to a thin free-falling water film, 5-10mm thick. I repeated this with the thin water film flowing over an almost-vertical steel surface, but the improvement was still very small indeed. I replaced that with a blackened steel plate and got a noticeable gain in water temperature increase, but still far too small to be of practical value. Although this was a general preliminary water heating experiment, the method could be the basis for an experiment in radiant energy transfer at sea level (need a lower temperature radiant heater).

    Illustration 3: In an experiment using a radiant heater (admittedly at a higher temperature), to heat a moist, continuously-moving paper web, I found that the radiant energy transfer was far less than expected. The boundary layer travelled with (adhered to) the web. I applied ambient air jets to the surface to SCAVENGE the boundary layer and obtained a marked increase the transfer of radiant energy to the moving web [hot air jet impingement (forced convection) was virtually the same and not needed]. At least this showed the importance of the boundary-layer structure and thickness in radiant energy transfer. Hence, I would assume that localised air motion and winds play a big part in the ocean water-air boundary (governs boundary layer thickness), which in turn either augments or reduces the effective radiant energy transfer to the liquid surface.

    Those majoring on greenhouse gas-radiation energy effects miss other methods of energy transport by bulk motion, local thermal and concentration driving forces, as well as

    • sky says:

      Couldn’t agree more on the points you make about the multiplicity of mechanisms that affect heat transfer in the real world, as opposed to the radiation-myopic world of academic teaching and computer modeling. Mention “Knudsen layer” to a “climate scientist” and you’ll draw a blank stare!

  45. bernie says:

    The question is pretty simple.

    Consider liquid water at a certain temperature and in certain ambient conditions. It will be emitting radiation from its surface in certain wavelengths and amounts, and evaporation will be occuring at a certain rate. Shine some IR radiation on it. What is the IMMEDIATE effect on the emitted radiation spectrum and the rate of evaporation. I know there are people who study interfaces in great detail. Some expert should be able to answer in a single sentence.

  46. bernie says:

    “Shine some IR radiation on it.”

    I guess one might need to be a litle more specific as to which wavelengths of IR are used*. One would also need to stipulate the intensity; very intense radiation would obviously boil everything away!

    Really, we are wondering whether the surface skin acts as a sort of second body on top of the main body. The phenomena of surface tension show that sometimes it is necessary to make that sort of distinction.

    *I believe, however, that water absorbs most wavelengths equally well.

  47. Curt says:

    In theory, you can make a good argument that downwelling LWIR, even if absorbed in the top few microns of the surface and leading to evaporation from that surface, would lead to higher water temperature than a comparable situation without (or with less) downwelling LWIR. However, this looks very difficult to test because of the problems in isolating just this factor.

    The theoretical argument is this. Without DWLWIR, there would still be evaporation into a non-saturated atmosphere. Without energy input, the evaporation would simply occur from the more energetic portion of the distribution of water molecules, leaving the less energetic portion, which would be definition have lower temperature. This is why we say that “evaporation cools”. At some rate, this lower surface temperature would be mixed in with the lower levels by conduction and convection.

    However, with DWLWIR, there is energy addition to the system, even if entirely absorbed in the top few microns of the surface, causing quick evaporation of the absorbing molecules. But this evaporation from the addition of energy would not lead to net energy loss, and therefore cooling, of the body of water.

    So that’s the theory, anyway. But how to test? Given that the major source of DWLWIR is water vapor, varying water vapor would not change this factor alone, as it would affect the evaporation dynamics as well.

    If I had to test this, I would be tempted to use a large bank of “heat lamps” at low voltage so the radiation came out as much as possible in the LWIR. Test on a body of water under well-controlled conditions with this bank on and off to see what the difference in water temperature is. I don’t know if this would be a good enough test.

    • RealOldOne2 says:

      “If I had to test this, I would be tempted to use a large bank of “heat lamps” at low voltage so the radiation came out as much as possible in the LWIR”

      To accurately represent the ghgs in the atmosphere, be sure that the temperature of those heat lamps is lower than the water surface temperature.

      Better yet, rather than using heat lamps, why not use CO2 itself. It is heavier than air. So make two insulated water tanks several meters deep and set them up to measure temperatures from the top of the water level to the bottom. Then construct clear insulated cylinders several meters tall. Instrument to measure temperatures throughout the column of ‘atmosphere’ above the water in the tanks. Then fill one of the tall cylinders with CO2. Since CO2 is heavier than air, it will pretty much remain in the cylinder, but CO2 could be periodically added, making sure it was at the same temperature as the air in the other cylinder which had “air” above the water. Atmosphere ‘taps’ could be added to pull gas samples to document the CO2 levels of both cylinder ‘atmospheres’ throughout the test.

      Ideally the experiment should be conducted outside during a sunny period allowing the sun to warm the tanks during the daytime and cool during the nighttime by radiating into the sky. The test should ideally be conducted during a calm, non-windy period. If the water in both tanks was the same at the beginning of the test, after a few days it should be apparent if the nearly CO2 filled “atmosphere” would “trap” more heat and raise the water temperature relative to the air-filled cylinder. If ~100% CO2 concentration could be maintained, that would be a forcing ratio of 40X [5.35*ln(1000000/400)], so any difference should appear fairly quickly.

      Prior to the tests, predictions should be made based on the CO2 forcing formula and the initial conditions. They could be corrected for actual solar irradiance of the period of the test.

      If the “ghg warms the ocean” hypothesis is true, the water in the CO2-filled cylinder should be warmer than the air-filled cylinder, and the ‘atmosphere’ above the water in the CO2 filled cylinder should be warmer than the air-filled cylinder, with higher ‘atmosphere’ temperatures than the air-filled cylinder.

      An alternative would be to conduct the test indoors to eliminate wind effect, and better have a controlled environment. An equal amount of heat could be added to the two water tanks tanks using electrical resistance, to represent solar radiation.

      That’s my quick thoughts on a controlled test that Roy asked about.

    • Ball4 says:

      Curt 2:19pm: “I don’t know if this would be a good enough test.”

      http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/personal/pminnett/Complete_List/complete_list.html

      Here is a guy with a bunch of others built sensitive instrumentation to measure whether or not delta +DWLW wins over evaporation in the early to mid 2000s. They used the modulation of LW by clouds during sea based testing. Couldn’t modulate IR active gas at large.

      If I ran the math right, they found increased LW does win over evaporation by a very small amount in well scattered data. Whether proper statistics prove out their result within CIs is open question AFAIK.

      They found for a net outgoing surface LWIR similar Stephens 2012 global surface net balance -53K that a forcing of +2W/m^2 DWLW change resulted in +.004K measured sea surface skin temperature. Meaning increased DWLW does increase sea surface skin temperature over wide areas a very slight amount. So you would need similar precision equipment. After doing lotsa’ reading on the subject come up to speed.

      • The question was whether that warming of the surface skin then warms the ocean bulk without being lost in the subsequent increased evaporation.

        That finding doesn’t address that issue.

        • Kristian says:

          Ah, that sad story once again. That’s all you alarmists have ever had, isn’t it? So you’re still to this day forced to refer to it. That silly, specious article published at RealClimate.org in 2006 (!) but never published as a peer-reviewed scientific paper. (Wonder why …)

          Minnett obviously misinterpreted his results. He started out with the assumption that something postulated as DWLWIR could actually directly warm (raise the temperature) of the ocean’s surface skin. Then, when he observed a short-term warming of the skin, he immediately interpreted his assumption to be correct, that what he observed was in fact direct DWLWIR warming of the skin.

          This is called circular reasoning AND confirmation bias. Both are all-pervasive in today’s ‘Climate Pseudoscience’.

          First of all, they were at sea in the tropics. It is a well-known circumstance that clouds on average cool the surface in the tropics. The stronger the sun, the more they cool. So close to the equator, they’re cooling influence would be rather large.

          This means that in the end, Minnett’s observed short-term skin warming would transition into a significant skin cooling.

          No one is denying, though, that clouds also have a cooling-reducing influence on the surface. This is trivial and happens for the most part during the night (when the sun is away).

          The net effect of clouds in the tropics, though, is clearly cooling.

          So, what was it that Minnett actually observed? It sure as hell wasn’t ‘DWLWIR’ from the cool clouds raining down on the warm surface, raising its temperature directly and in absolute terms. That would after all violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. An energy flow from one system to another giving the direct result of a higher temperature for the receiving system is in physics defined as HEAT. HEAT in nature never flows from cold to hot. So that’s a given, a done deal. This is NOT what caused Minnett’s ‘effect’. It doesn’t matter how he interpreted it. His interpretation was wrong, based on simple first principles.

          So what happens when you slide a lid (a cloud layer) over an open atmosphere? You confine the space. You have fundamentally changed the system properties. This has got nothing to do with ‘radiative forcing’ or anything silly like that (radiation, however, is also affected, this is what Minnett observed/measured). This has to do with perturbing the free air column, the temperature profile, first and foremost affecting convection (the movement of air) and evaporation rates, the latter one being by far the biggest and most responsive heat loss mechanism of the ocean.

          We know that convection is what transports energy from surface to tropopause, not radiation. You can easily verify this by lighting a candle. Hold you hand just a few inches to the side of the flame and you can no longer feel its radiative heat. (And remember, the flame is MUCH hotter than the surface of the earth.) Where did it go? Up. The radiative energy is quickly absorbed by the surrounding air, whereupon it warms, expands and floats up. This happens instantaneously.

          By this we can also know that any potential downward radiation from a cloud one mile up could never reach the surface, let alone warming it. If it were able to warm anything upon absorption (this could only happen if there were cooler air just beneath the cloud), then this would happen within inches (or even less) from emission and the energy simply be briskly transported back up by the resulting buoyancy of the air.

      • Ball4 says:

        Stephen 3:54am: The huge amount of work linked does address the exact issues raised in top post. Clipped for your convenience pertinent stuff from top post: “Evaporation only occurs at the skin, and we know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies. How is it that evaporation can perform this function, and IR cannot? The temperature of land clearly is affected by IR, and that only occurs at the surface of the soil. So, how can IR affect land temperature and not ocean temperature? If you claim that any additional IR (say, due to increasing carbon dioxide) is immediately lost by the water body through evaporation, how exactly does that occur?”

        The top post questions deal with the added LWIR effect on ocean skin layer bulk temperature in the face of ocean surface skin layer bulk added evaporation. If that layer is increased in T by increased DWLW more than decrease of T by evaporation then I will leave it to your imagination for what direction that net will add to the bulk of the ocean energy content (& temperatures) in addition to SWIR. The papers I linked deal with a ton of accomplished work understanding the very small net effects from tons of precise data taking; have fun catching up on your marine research reading (i.e. imagination).

        PS: Corrigendum 8:47pm: -53K should be L&O surface net balance -53 W/m^2.

  48. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Roy

    On average, evaporation accounts for less than 25% of downwelling longwave IR. At least 75% is absorbed by seawater and re-emitted to atmosphere. The proof of this is if water is evaporating 100% of LWIR, then the net solar radiation it is receiving is 200 W/m^2 and it is also emitting that much. All the oceans will freeze since the equilibrium temperature is negative 26 C.

    Of course LWIR can heat water. Put cold water in a thermos without a cover. It warms faster than with cover. The difference is water is absorbing IR from the air without the cover.

  49. gbaikie says:

    “I frequently see the assertion made that infrared (IR) radiation cannot warm a water body because IR only affects the skin (microns of water depth), whereas solar radiation is absorbed over water depths of meters to tens of meters.

    Before discussing the issue, though, we first must agree that temperature and temperature change of a body is related to rates of energy gain and energy loss by that body. If we cannot agree on the basic concept that temperature changes when energy gain does not equal energy loss, then there is no basis for further discussion.”

    One can have water where the top of the surface of the water is say 30 C, but what important is not the temperature of the first inch, but the temperature at meters below the surface.

    So in the beginning the ocean is 3 C, and sun shines on the Ocean and in few day the top inch of surface of the ocean
    warms to 30 C, but below the surface the water remains cold.
    So days pass and water become a bit warmer under the surface
    and top inch of surface remains at 30 C. Now during the night the top surface could cool a bit, but warms up 30 C during the day. Decades or centuries past, and water near 100 meters of surface warm to higher temperature than 3 C.

    Ocean water which warmer below the surface, say about 30 C down to say 10 meters, does not radiate more heat than 30 C which only 1 inch deep. But ocean with warm water 10 meter deep, does not cool during the night, cooled water falls and is replaced with warm water. So only because it’s nighttime temperature may be warmer does the 10 meter warm water radiate more energy than water which is only 1 inch of warm water.

    In terms of a warmer world what matter is the warmer water under the surface.
    Or gulf stream can not transport warmth to Europe if only top few inches is warm.

    So mixing of ocean with wind and waves is actually warming the ocean because cooler water is warmed and well mixed water stays warm. So if you have 100 meters of warm water and it somehow mixes with the cooler 3 C water, and makes the surface 20 C, and warms little bit of colder water, you are warming Earth, as sun warm the water back up and the colder water stays slightly warmer.
    Or if Earth has average ocean temperature of 10 C, it’s a much warmer world than our world with average temperature of
    3 C, even though the surface is same temperature and radiating about the same amount of energy.
    So ocean can warm up a lot, and atmosphere doesn’t warm up
    much.
    So our world is ice box because our average ocean temperature is cold, and it would take thousands of year before it could get much warmer.

  50. beng says:

    My argument is that IR backradiation from GHGs, tho it obviously reduces cooling (1st law), is manifested immediately as skin-temperature & added water vapor, and has insignificant time-lag (maybe a week or two) because it cannot penetrate. IOW, what we have now from GHG changes is all there will be. If GHG changes cause more SW radiation (less clouds?) or melts sea-ice or glaciers, that will “store” heat (or reduce “stored” cold) & would manifest later, but that is difficult to prove.

    It seems modelers treat forcing all the same (watts are watts), but GHG IR forcing is different from SW forcing.

  51. As I have said many times I think the GHG effect is in response to the total energy in the climatic system of the earth. The GHG effect responds to the climate , it does not control/lead the climate. Nevertheless it is real.

    Evidence of this is the fact that CO2 follows the temperature does not lead it.

  52. ray says:

    The mere existence of a massive heat bridge(evaporation/condensation) between the ocean and the atmosphere makes a nonsense of any calculation of temperature differences based purely on “radiative balance”.

  53. observant says:

    “…massive heat bridge…”

    Not to mention the massive heat bridge caused by convective mixing IN the atmosphere, between the bottom and the top of the troposphere. A radiative balance that is necessarily constantly upset by turbulent processes, is a useless paradigm.

  54. ray says:

    “…uselss paradigm…”

    Also boring.

    Shades of Kuhn.

    Smash the icons.

    Power to the taxpayer! (well, that is never going to happen).

  55. RealOldOne2 says:

    Roy, you conclude by saying: “As far as I know, a Watt of IR is treated the same as a Watt of solar in the energy budget of the top ocean layer in a model.

    I would like to hear what others know about this issue. I suspect it is something that would have to be investigated with a controlled experiment of some sort.”

    A Watt of IR may be “treated” the same as a Watt of solar energy in the models, but the real questions is: IS a Watt of IR the same as a Watt of solar?

    “A calorimeter is a device used to measure the quantity of heat transferred to or from an object.” – http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/thermalP/Lesson-2/Calorimeters-and-Calorimetry

    Physical experiments using calorimeters can measure and quantify the amount of heat transferred to to a quantity of water due to solar radiation Watts.

    Can anyone cite science documenting a calorimeter experiment where an actual quantity of heat has been transferred to a quantity of water due to IR “backradiation” Watts?

  56. Richard says:

    Nit sure what this proves but years ago we had an open fire in the living room, I would sit a yard or so away and face sideways so one side of my face was facing the fire and this side would be hot, we had a large copper spoon with a handle , if I held that angled towards the side of my face not facing the fire it reofelectd the heat of the fire and felt hot, if I held it angled against the side of my face facing the fire I felt no change.

    To me that would show back radiation had no effect apart form against a cooler surface, anyhow a cheap fun experiment.

  57. Richard says:

    Sorry about spelling , on the hoof on my ipad

  58. bernie says:

    Richard has discovered something well known about the nervous tissue thermoreceptors in the skin. There are two types.

    ‘Cold’ receptors increase their rate of firing in response to a fall in skin temperature in the range 30-42 C.
    Below 25 C their firing rate decreases.

    ‘Warm’ receptors increase their rate of firing when skin temperature increases in the range 30-45 C, BUT HAVE A SUDDEN ‘CUTOFF’ at temperatures greater than 45 C.

    The skin on the side of the face turned to the fire was undoutedly heated above 45 C and so unable to notice any extra warmth reflected from the spoon. The side of the face turned away was presumably in the range 30 to 40 C and so was able to notice extra warmth falling on it, reflected from the spoon.

    Of course, if the skin next the fire got still hotter, pain receptors as opposed to warmth receptors would start to fire.

  59. dickie says:

    We waited for “an expert” to tell us something about the original IR question. But all we got was deafening silence.
    Which is typical; “experts” never stray outside of their comfort zone to answer sharply directed questions.

    I think we can sum it up, though:

    We know that downwelling radiation is considerable, and that transfer of heat from the surface to the atmosphere via evaporation and subsequent condensation in the atmosphere, is also considerable. Likewise we know that both processes take place mainly over the oceans (70% of the world’s surface).

    It seems likely the first process IMMEDIATELY CAUSES the second process*, and any increase in the magnitude of the first process will automatically increase the return of heat to the atmosphere.

    Since condensation**, to form clouds, happens some way above the surface, any increase in “greenhouse-gas mediated warming” should show in the mid-troposphere rather than in the lower troposphere. The mid-troposphere data series is where we should be looking for clues. The latest global anomaly up there is only + 0.1 C.

    * By boiling away the top skin of the water.

    ** It is the condensation process which gives the heat back to the air.

  60. bernie says:

    “…increase…should show in the mid-troposphere…”

    But doesn’t. A fact well-enough known in the official climate community; yet which fails to disturb their complacency.

    Onlookers see what seems to be highly damaging evidence offered to them by more knowledgeable scholars who seem not to worry about it to anything like the degree that they would expect.

  61. CO2isLife says:

    “Im sure it would heat the water. The question is how much of that extra heat gets lost almost immediately through extra evaporation.”

    I would speculate that IR is much like sweat is to the body. Sweat evaporating on the skin cools the underlying tissue. LWIR between 13 and 18 can only energize the very top micro-level, the level that evaporates. What I find most interesting is how this question hasn’t been demonstrated millions of times through experimentation. We are talking spending trillions of $US, yet we don’t even have answers to the most fundamental and basic questions. That alone proves that this isn’t a serious science. They obviously don’t want to understand the issue and reach the truth.

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