At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit

September 5th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

energy-summit-regonline-H.jpg I will be appearing at a 2-day conference called At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit, at the Hyatt Regency in Houston, TX, Sept. 25-26, 2014.

Speakers on the star-studded agenda currently include (in the order they appear):

Matt Ridley (“The Rational Optimist”)
Roy Spencer (UAH)
Judith Curry (GaTech)
Hal Doiron (The Right Climate Stuff)
Zong-Liang Yang (U. Texas – Austin)
Eric Groten (Vinson & Elkins)
Marlo Lewis (CEI)
Mike Nasi (Jackson Walker)
Rupert Darwall (“The Age of Global Warming”)
Stephen Moore (Heritage)
Marc Morano (Climate Depot)
Mark Mills (Manhattan Inst.)
Rob Bradley (Inst. for Energy Research)
Peter Grossman (Butler U.)
David Kreutzer (Heritage)
Calvin Beisner (Cornwall Alliance)
Kathleen Hartnett White (Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment)
Caleb Rossiter (American University)
H. Leighton Steward (Plants Need CO2)
Frank Clemente (Penn State)

Standard registration is $75, while students, media, and government representatives are free.

44 Responses to “At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit”

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  1. Doug says:


    This is your opportunity to throw light on the truth that planetary surface temperatures are not primarily determined by incident solar radiation (or back radiation) into the surface.

    Remember I’m offering $5,000 to the first person to prove me wrong.

    Solar radiation of only 161W/m^2 entering the transparent thin surface layer of the oceans mostly passes into the depths of the ocean thermocline several meters below, where temperatures are cooling rapidly. Such radiation cannot significantly heat the Earth’s surface. Neither can back radiation which does not penetrate the oceans at all. It’s no use talking about back radiation slowing cooling if the temperature cannot be raised in the first place.

    Roy, you would be very hard pressed to refute what the brilliant 19th century physicist said about the gravito-thermal effect. He was first to estimate the size of air molecules (quite a feat back then) and he understood how those molecules react to gravity. It is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as I demonstrate in “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”

    All planetary surface temperatures can only be calculated using the temperature gradient determined by the gravito-thermal effect. Because the temperature gradient is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium (which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will evolve autonomously) then the equilibrium state will tend to be restored when disturbed by new energy absorption in the upper atmosphere each morning. That is how the necessary thermal energy makes its way into the surface – not by radiation but by convection which (in the field of physics) also includes diffusion – that convection restoring thermodynamic equilibrium.

    • Jim Curtis says:

      Doug, how does all that warm air sneak down through the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere which are about 75 deg C cooler than the surface? Why is the temperature gradient in the wrong direction for your theory? The troposphere is heated from below where the earth (including water) have absorbed visible solar and reradiated the energy as IR which doesn’t just pass through like the visible did. If your (mis)interpretation of a 19th century writer doesn’t agree with measurable facts, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

      • Lemon says:

        Looks like DOug might have to get out his chequebook. Those darm laws of thermodynamics.

      • Doug says:

        The temperature gradient is (as observed in all planetary tropospheres) equal to the quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases. This then is reduced by up to about a third in some cases (like Earth) by the temperature levelling effect of intermolecular radiation, mostly between water vapour molecules on Earth. That is why my study showed more moist regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.

        The reason that the temperature gradient is what it is is that it represents the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. That is exactly what the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us will evolve spontaneously as entropy increases towards the maximum accessible by the system.

        Now, the gradient evolves because thermodynamic equilibrium is an isentropic state with no unbalanced energy potentials. This means that the mean sum of gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy is homogeneous in a vertical plane. Hence there is a temperature gradient because temperature is proportional to the mean kinetic energy of molecules.

        However, when a state of thermodynamic equilibrium is disturbed by the absorption of new kinetic energy (heat) in the upper regions then the equilibrium can only be restored by distributing some of the new energy towards the warmer regions. This all happens in molecular collisions and so (in the strict terminology of physics) it is convection, where that term also includes diffusion. It has nothing to do with radiation.

        And that, my friends, is why all planetary temperatures above and even below their surfaces are what they are. The gravito-thermal effect explains reality. Back radiation never will. Water vapour and carbon dioxide both cool the surface. We have empirical evidence of water vapour doing so, but the cooling by CO2 is only of the order of 0.1 degree and so cannot by isolated in any temperature data.

        • RW says:

          Except the GHE is not driven by ‘back radiation’, but rather radiative resistance to cooling — which has very little to do with the amount of LW that passes from the atmosphere to the surface.

          • Doug says:

            Not what the IPCC says. And if you don’t (incorrectly) add back radiation to the 161W/m^2 of direct solar radiation you cannot explain the 288K. Perhaps you didn’t realise that is why James Hansen put the back radiation into the diagrams. It wasn’t there in the original NASA diagrams. Anyway, empirical evidence shows that the “greenhouse gas” water vapour cools rather than warms. Sorry about that spanner in the works.

        • Jim Curtis says:

          Sorry Doug, I don’t mean to pile on. But if your “gravito-thermal effect” is an appeal to the ideal gas law, you have to show me an adiabatic process continually moving air vertically between upper and lower troposphere. And in the upper 2/3rds of the stratosphere (which is warmed from above by solar UV and the O2/O3 cycle) the temperature gradient is reversed.

          • Geoff wood says:

            But Jim, the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar convective cells do continuously overturn the troposphere. Also the whole atmosphere is stratospherically ‘processed’ within three years. 10^10kgs-1 passes through the tropopause. Do you deny that between two adjacent layers the higher one has greater gravitational potential energy? Any material exchange involves work being done from or energy released into the kinetic states. Where is there a problem?

          • Doug says:

            No I don’t have to show you air moving as such, because it happens at the molecular level. And no it is not an appeal to the Ideal Gas Law and I make no use of that in my calculations in the book. Furthermore, you demonstrate absolutely no understanding of what is explained in the book. When you can explain how the necessary thermal energy gets into the surface of Venus to raise its temperature by about 5 degrees while the Sun shines then you will be starting to understand what actually happens. But I’m not here to reproduce my book, complete with the diagrams and calculations.

          • Geoff wood says:

            Hi Doug. Another point in your favour Doug, and counter to Jim’s is that the gas laws can be derived from statistical mechanics and kinetic theory. The derivation of the lapse is direct application of conservation of total energy in a gravitational field. It is a fundamentally logical conclusion of this!

          • Doug says:

            And no it has nothing to do with Hadley cells – I doubt there are any doing the job in the calm 350Km high troposphere of Uranus, the base of which is hotter than Earth’s surface. And no it’s not a totally adiabatic process because it’s driven by new solar energy absorbed each morning in the upper troposphere and above. Unlike wind cells, the heat transfer is downwards by day and upwards by night. And no the temperature inversion in the stratosphere does not disprove the existence of the process which is slow and over-ridden by high rates of absorption in the stratosphere. That’s also explained in the book. And no it does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says nothing about heat only transferring from hot to cold, but rather describes a process with a propensity towards thermodynamic equilibrium, wherein there are no remaining unbalanced energy potentials. Until you understand these energy potentials and why thermodynamic equilibrium equates with hydrostatic equilibrium, each being isentropic, then you are also not getting off Square One.

          • Doug says:

            Yes Geoff. It’s quite straight forward equating gravitational potential energy lost with kinetic energy gained, and it’s in my book. For mass M, height difference dH and temperature difference dT, the kinetic energy difference is derived from the specific heat, Cp and is thus M.Cp.dT whilst the potential energy difference is of course M.g.dH. Hence M cancels out and the gradient, dT/dH is g/Cp where g has opposite sign to dH.

    • Doug says:

      You all need to consider Venus. The solar radiation cannot warm regions that are already 400K or more. The energy transfers from these relatively cooler regions to the 735K surface by the process described in great detail in my book. The process is exactly the process which is described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Sun cannot warm Earth’s thin transparent ocean surfaces to anywhere near the observed temperatures, and back radiation does not even penetrate a few nanometres, as even Roy admits. You all need a paradigm shift in your thinking. Why is the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere hotter than Earth’s surface. I have explained all these temperatures. Radiation calculations never will.

  2. Doug says:

    You see, Roy, comparing (1) radiation calculations with (2) calculations based on the gravito-thermal effect.

    For Venus (1) gives (with 20W/m^2 and emissivity 0.9) about 141K whereas (2) gives about the right answer around 735K.

    For the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere (1) gives (using 0.1W/m^2 and emissivity 0.9) about 37K whereas (2) gives about the right answer 320K.

    For Earth, (1) gives (using 161W/m^2 and emissivity 0.9) about 237K whereas (2) gives about the right answer 288K.

  3. Johan says:

    I noticed that Caleb Rossiter is also attending the Summit.

    On May 13, 2013, he wrote “Both sides even have their own data streams (CRU’s ground instrument set and the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s satellite wave-length set)that require significant and judgment-laden adjustments. (Unlike the case of the U.S. Consumer Price Index, the measurements and corrections are not handled by an unbiased, protected team, but by the protagonists themselves!)”

    Hm, shouldn’t you have a word with him about that?

  4. Dennis Hlinka says:


    So in 1-hour this summit will address the “State of the Science” by 4 recognized representatives of the 3 percent whose ideological belief system doesn’t really support AGW thinking. If the summit was to fully represent the current “State of the Science”, this summit would need to have at least an 30 additional hours in order for about 123 representatives of the 97 percent to fully present their ideas and their understanding of their current scientific thinking as well.

    But then the actual purpose of this Heritage Foundation funded summit isn’t really meant to present the real “State of the Science” is it? So much for presenting all the facts before those that need to make societal decisions.

    • Johan says:

      Well, maybe you should read Rossiter’s piece I linked to above

      An excerpt:
      ““The debate is over on Global Warming.” That statement has been popular for 25 years with a group I call the catastrophists. During this period they have held true to their claim, consistently refusing to engage in debate, as opposed to polemics. As a result, the catastrophists have perversely made it true for all of us, as not just public discourse but scientific inquiry, not just interpretive models and statistical studies but the basic data itself, about human influence on global climate have all been hopelessly politicized in a scurry for money, loyalty, and reputation. Finally, the catastrophists are right: the debate is over, because the fundamental elements of a useful debate are lacking.”

      • Ernest Bush says:

        It is good to read the rebuttals by Johan and Ken, but they will never convince a Dennis, who has already rejected any real argument. He is obviously all about politics and not about a real debate based on interpretation of scientific data. He obviously missed Judith Curry’s name on that list. I wish I could attend. The Heartland Institute’s Climate Change conference was so enlightening to this layman. It is important that we see there is real science out there that undermines the entire Warmist agenda.

    • Ken Gregory says:

      Dennis, the 97% number you mentioned includes all of the participants of this conference. It is the alleged fraction of scientists who believe the human activity has some effect on climate, which may range from 1% to 100% of the actual observed 20th century temperature change. The 97% figure is often called the “consensus” but that term is wrong because consensus means the group has a strong agreement. People who think humans caused 10% of the warming do NOT agree with people who think humans caused 100% of the warming, so they should not be grouped together in a phony 97% consensus. See our report on this at:

      None of the “consensus’ reports suggest that warming is dangerous. If fact, it is hugely beneficial. The 20th century warming has increased world economic output by 1.4%, and future warming is expected to increase the benefits in the decades ahead.

    • Jim Dean says:


      Your understanding of the Heritage Foundation seems to be limited. Take the time to watch the video of the ICCC-9 conference in Las Vegas. As in the other conferences, scientists with opposing views are invited to speak and present information supporting their views. The problem is, they don’t show up or decline the invitation. I don’t know for a fact that the (97%) you speak of were invited. I suspect, from my perception of previous occurrences, they were invited and wouldn’t attend. I’m basing my entire supposition on past observations.

      I’m not sure what your question for Roy was, but my question for you is…Do you know for a fact that the (97%) weren’t invited?


      • Ernest Bush says:

        A straw poll vote taken at one of the award banquets at the ICCCp-9 shows that all the attendees, 600 of them, agreed that they believe that man-made CO2 has caused some effect on the climate. The disagreement only comes when you ask how much? There were no deniers at the conference. Only scientists and interested laymen. Where do they fit in this phony 97 percent.

    • Doug Lampert says:

      Ken Gregory is correct that Roy Spencer is solidly in the 97%, IIRC his papers have been counted as supporting the consensus too in survey papers claiming that publications are solidly pro-consensus.

      I don’t know if he’s correct about everyone being in the 97%, but he clearly is in Dr. Spencer’s case. Hence you need not worry, the 97% are solidly represented at this conference.

      • Fonzarelli says:

        Yeah, Dr. Spencer has actually used his inclusion among the 97% as a “talking point” in debates…

      • Dennis Hlinka says:

        Doug Lambert,

        By pure numbers alone your statement is not true. You can’t just have 1 person from the 97% and 2 persons from the 3% as advertised here: []. That advertisement doesn’t even pretend to create an impression that the debate will be it evenly matched 50-50 when it in fact should even be more lopsided the other way. For a solid representation of the 97%, the relative size of the opposing side it is not 1 against 2, it should be some ratio relative to 97-3 in the favor of the climate scientists that agree that man is at least partially responsible for the climate change due to increasing greenhouse gases. Only then will the real “State of the Science” discussion in its true representation take place.

        I have heard from a number of Dr. Roy supporters (no surprise), saying he feels he represents the current 97% regarding AGW scientific thought, but I would like to hear directly from Roy about exactly what he actually plans to talk about and how the invitation for him to participate in this particular “debate” at the summit came to be.

        With Marc Morano (with no climate science credentials – only political science) being listed as the moderator for that particular “State of the Science” debate, I have this pretty strong feeling that the discussion in that debate will not be directed anywhere towards the position of the 97% of those more experienced and professional climate scientists in the actual subject. But that goes back to what I said earlier about this being a Heritage Foundation sponsored summit and my feeling that it is not a real scientific debate of the true representation of the actual “State of the Science.” I have little confidence that this summit will be any different from the typical ICCC conference of the representation of the 3% in full attendance.

        Regarding those arguments that many of Dr. Roy supporters “think” that invitations to the summit went out to the 97% of climate scientist, let’s ask him if he knows or whether or not it is even considered a possibility (let’s be honest now).

        But I do know what types of groups did received special invitations to attend it. Here is one example I found from the National Tea Party:

        What I find particularly ironic in that Tea Party invitation is this: “…it is essential that your members learn, first hand, of the truth behind politicized science…”

        They certainly will discover that truth as soon as they enter the hotel meeting rooms since all they have to do is look in the other invited members and corporate sponsors of this summit and they will quickly see the true founders of that particular politicization of the science. Marc Morano being a particular example of that politicization when he moderates a scientific discussion in which he has no real professional knowledge of but will likely guide the discussion toward his particular political beliefs on the issue.

        • Ernest Bush says:

          When was the last time the scientists listed for this conference got invited to a government-sponsored conference? Reality makes this a rhetorical question.

          You are here as a troll stirring up political controversy at a site dedicated to scientific discussion. Dr. Spencer must be making some very important waves if the Warmist cult is sending over people like you in a desperate attempt to harm his reputation. The only person being shredded here is you, but I assume you don’t really care. Anything for the cause.

  5. rick says:

    Apparently, somebody called Caleb Rossiter made some reference to the “protagonists”. I do not believe that RSS is any sense a protagonist. If it was just UAH, I might be a little reticent to put full reliance on their findings. But RSS seems a very good confirmation of the satellite knowledge.

    As far as I know, both RSS and UAH are staffed by “warmists”.
    Dr Spencer did say, only a short while ago, that Professor Christy expected a new “warming high in the UAH series” as a result of the present El Nino. Although that now seems somewhat unlikely.

    As to the reference to “both sides hav[ing] their own data streams” there has been an Hegalian synthesis! Everybody is cooing from the same song-sheet now. And, as the IPCC says, there is a “pause” or “hiatus”.

  6. Great Debate: Dr. Judith Curry & Dr. Roy Spencer set to debate Warmist Scientist at Houston Conference (Sept. 25-26) – Features Climate Depot’s Morano as debate moderator

    Dr. Spencer I am excited about this. Do not give an inch.

  7. My humble suggestion is shower them with data which does support their AGW theory. Data does not lie. You have some visibility unlike many of us.

  8. Which does NOT support their AGW theory. Careless of me.

  9. Below is my argument for climate change which I think is far superior to AGW theory.

    I think how dramatic a climate effect may or may not be depends on how the candidates for climate change phase together. Also the circumstances at the time they phase together.

    Those candidates for my two cents worth being

    solar variability and primary and associated secondary effects

    strength of the earth’s magnetic field which will moderate solar effects

    initial state of the climate -how close to threshold climate is from glacial versus inter-glacial conditions
    which will greatly moderate GIVEN solar effects and earth magnetic field effects

    milankovitch cycles where is earth in reference to these cycles.

    Another factor which is sort of way out is what is the concentration of galactic cosmic rays in the vicinity of the earth (within 6 light years) when solar effects/ geomagnetic effects may be taking place. This might have a moderating effect on their effectiveness.

    Geographical positions of land versus oceans and the ice dynamic at the time.

    This is where I am at. Yesterday’s post was partly out of frustration.

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  13. My humble suggestion is shower them with data which does support their AGW theory. Data does not lie. You have some visibility unlike many of us.

    I have to write this mess(above) over.

    My humble suggestion is to show them through the use of data that AGW theory does not hold up nor are the claims about the extreme climate they have been making of late.

    • Doug says:

      Roy, feel free to show them the study in the back of my book which uses 30 years’ of temperature data from three continents and which proves with statistical significance that water vapour cools.

  14. Doug says:

    Roy, here’s one to really think about …

    Suppose you suspend three large parallel plates outside a spacecraft shaded from the Sun. Call them Plates A, B and C in order of their positions. Suppose plates A and C can be heated with water at a controlled temperature fed through pipes from the spacecraft, with the water flowing through cavities in the plates. The middle plate has no heating mechanism. Now you heat Plate A to, say, 80C. It radiates to Plate B (assumed very close and parallel) and so Plate B eventually acquires very close to the same temperature, and it will also radiate from its other side towards Plate C. Now what happens as you start to warm Plate C to, say, 75C? Will Plate B ever get hotter than 80C whilst Plate C is not that hot? According to your reasoning about effective emissivity, the radiation from Plate A should now be able to make it hotter than 80C. Well of course it can’t.
    Neither does radiation from the Sun to a planet’s surface somehow warm the surface more because of radiation from the atmosphere. Back radiation can only slow that component of surface cooling which is itself by radiation. It cannot slow non-radiative cooling, and that component (which is larger) can and will accelerate with a tendency to compensate for the slower radiative cooling. It does so because if radiative cooling of the surface is slowed, a larger temperature gap develops and thus the rate of non-radiative cooling accelerates. In any event, it is the supporting temperature at the base of the troposphere which slows down both by non-radiative and radiative processes as the temperature of the surface approaches the supporting temperature in the early pre-dawn hours. We all know that surface cooling slows by that time and is nowhere near as fast as it can be in the late afternoon and early evening.

    The atmosphere makes a planet’s surface hotter, not because of back radiation, but because of the gravitationally induced temperature gradient which enables non-radiative thermal energy transfers towards the warmer surface, provided they are restoring thermodynamic equilibrium. That is the key to understanding the real paradigm which really does explain real temperatures.
    With regard to the plates in space, we shall assume that there is excellent insulation in the pipes from the spacecraft to the plates, so the water entering the plates will be at the temperature of, say, 80C which was generated within the craft. The cooling of such flowing water would not be fast enough for it to freeze or even cool much below the desired temperatures of 80C for Plate A and 75C for Plate C.

    It’s not strictly correct to say most radiation will be to the cooler side. The radiative flux which emanates has a Planck function. What you are thinking about is the rate at which thermal energy is transferred out of the plate, which is quite a different rate to that at which electromagetic radiation emanates from the plate. My PSI paper on Radiated Energy explains that point.

    The Plate B represents the Earth’s surface receiving a steady flow of radiation from the Sun which is represented by Plate A. When Plate B reaches 80C we have energy balance with no transfer of thermal energy either way between those plates – only electromagnetic energy in the radiation going each way.

    We warm Plate C to 75C in order to emulate the atmosphere sending back radiation to the surface. But even though this slows radiative cooling (such as if we lowered the temperature of Plate A to emulate night) it does not at any stage allow the Plate A (the Sun) to warm the surface (Plate B) to any higher temperature than it already was before we introduced that Plate C, that is , the back radiation.

    My point is that you cannot add radiation from the atmosphere to that from the Sun and bung the total into S-B calculations – which is what James Hansen and his believers did in fact do. Otherwise, as they realised, 161W/m^2 is not enough.

    I can lead a hors to water but can I make him (Roy) think?

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  16. Eli Rabett says:

    That, is a real thin bench there Roy. Bunch of polisci think tank folk, only three people active in climate related science. Who, exactly are you trying to fool?

  17. Doug says:

    The effect of the Sun (and planets) on Earth’s climate is a fascinating study indeed.

    Just over three years ago I archived the following on my website

    “From 2003 the effect of El Niño had passed and a slightly declining trend has been observed. This is the net effect of the 60-year cycle starting to decline whilst the 934 year cycle is still rising. By 2014 the decline should be steeper and continue until at least 2027. (This statement was archived 22 August 2011)”

    All climate change is natural, and in 100 years or so from now the world will enter another period of about 500 years of cooling such as between the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age. The natural cycles are strongly correlated with the inverted plot of the scalar sum of angular momentum of the Sun and nine planets. In that plot (also on my website) you can clearly see the long-term cycle (934 years) and the superimposed 60 year cycles. Of course we don’t know exactly why this correlation exists, but it could have to do with magnetic fields from planets affecting cosmic ray and sunspot levels. Cosmic rays may affect cloud formation, for example, and sun spots certainly appear to relate to the long term cycle at least. Even longer cycles like the 100,000 glacial cycle are probably also related to planetary orbits. The gravity from Jupiter affects the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit and that eccentricity variation has a cycle of about 100,000 years also, and it leads to variation in the annual mean distance between Sun and Earth, and thus to variations in the solar flux reaching Earth.

    The general thrust of what I explain with valid physics in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” is that planetary surface temperatures are not primarily determined by the solar radiation that they receive (let alone the back radiation) but by the gravito-thermal effect first postulated by the brilliant 19th century physicist Josef Loschmidt who was the first to estimate the size of air molecules. He also understood how gravity affects those molecules in free flight between collisions. Now in the 21st century we have a better understanding of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and how it tells us that unbalanced energy potentials will tend to level out as entropy increases towards the maximum that can be attained within the constraints of an isolated system. What this leads to is an understanding that the temperature gradient seen in every planetary troposphere is in fact the state of thermodynamic equilibrium which the Second Law says will evolve autonomously. This means that when new solar energy is absorbed each morning in the upper troposphere the equilibrium state is disturbed and, to restore it, some thermal energy will in fact move up the temperature gradient towards the surface. This for example is the only possible way in which we can explain how the necessary energy gets into the surface of Venus in order to raise its temperature from 732K to 737K during the 4-month-long sunlit period. Now, intermolecular radiation (such as between water vapour molecules) reduces the magnitude of the gravitationally induced temperature gradient, and this leads to lower supported temperatures at the surface. I back this up with a study of real world temperature data which does indeed show water vapour causing cooler surface temperature in more moist regions. Thus the greenhouse is smashed in a single blow because regions with, say, 4% water vapour are not 30 degrees hotter than regions with 1% water vapour, as of course we all know, but James Hansen and his followers would like you to think is the case due to back radiation supposedly trebling the warming effect of the Sun.

    • Ball4 says:

      Doug 5:39pm: “..I explain with valid physics…

      No. Much of Doug’s physics is at best somewhat confused. Here are few examples:

      “…molecules in free flight between collisions..”

      No molecule in the atm. is in free flight, gravity is always turned on & p*V energy term (from J.C. Maxwell!) is always being applied as f*d to & among parcel molecules. No free flight. Though there is free convection.

      “… entropy increases towards the maximum that can be attained within the constraints of an isolated system.”

      The only perfectly isolated system understood to exist is the universe. All other systems Doug can specify are not perfectly isolated and thus cannot attain maximum entropy – only the universe can do so. Within every real system Doug can specify in the universe – entropy relentlessly increases so they cannot ever achieve thermodynamic equilibrium. This concept only is useful in theory for explaining non-real perfectly isolated systems when entropy reaches a max. and stops increasing mathematically.

      “This for example is the only possible way in which we can explain how the necessary energy gets into the surface of Venus in order to raise its temperature…during the 4-month-long sunlit period.”

      You have not ever calculated the time for this to happen. Diffusion of this added energy down the column to Venus surface takes a much, much longer time than 4 months or show your calculation. Fick’s Law will be useful.

      “I back this up with a study of real world temperature data which does indeed show water vapour causing cooler surface temperature in more moist regions.”

      Doug miscalculates the irradiation of the surface from the precipitable water vapor in the column overhead thus draws an incorrect conclusion. For the correct column surface terrestrial irradiance calculations (desert & forest) to compare and find Doug’s error see Dr. Bohren’s 1998 text Sec. 7.1 pp. 365-6. The correct conclusions are drawn. (Hint: calculating water vapor partial pressure in the column & conversion to its density is a key component.)

      Try not to take this as criticism but as constructive; continuous improvement is good for Doug et. al. I understand getting incorrect views out of people’s heads is a task of heroic proportions. Doug is smart, Dr. Bohren is right, eventually with work, Doug will improve understanding. Hard work ahead for Doug. Best time to start is right now. Go to the library….or download the book on the internet Doug. Read it. Epiphany ( Item 3&4).

      • Doug says:

        Whilst Wikipedia is often far from reliable, I will quote a paragraph from their “isolated system” article. It reads …

        “The concept of an isolated system can serve as a useful model approximating many real-world situations. It is an acceptable idealization used in constructing mathematical models of certain natural phenomena; e.g., the planets in our solar system …”

        Regarding my study, you don’t appear to have read it at all. When you have, submit your relevant criticism by all means, but you will be a long way short of proving the opposite result. Indeed, if you can prove from real world temperature records that regions with 4% water vapour above them are about 30 degrees hotter than ones with about 1% water vapour at similar latitudes and altitudes (as the AGW assumptions imply should be the case) then perhaps you are on your way to receiving the $5,000 reward I’ve offered for the first to prove the content of my book substantially incorrect.

        Now, there’s a question I’ve posed on another thread here (as well as on other climate blogs) pertaining to a region on Earth under cloud cover for 72 hours. Have a go at answering it, as no one else has been able to yet.

        And by the way, your patronising tones are like water off a duck’s back. You know full well what I’m referring to regarding the motion of molecules between collisions, during which that motion is indeed modified by the gravitational field – a fact I point out in detail in my book. You should also know full well that, for purposes of the exercise, it is perfectly reasonable to discuss a hypothetical isolated system. The Ideal Gas Laws are of course based on such an assumption, and yet they have proved useful tools in numerous practical situations. Furthermore, temperature data from Earth and especially from Venus and Uranus provides solid evidence of, for example, gravitationally induced temperature gradients which are very close to those derived theoretically (as in my book) using Kinetic Theory, similar to the derivation of the Ideal Gas Laws and numerous examples such as used successfully by Einstein and others. In short, your pedantic blurb about maximum entropy not being achieved is both pompous and irrelevant for all practical purposes. We only need to know and understand the general direction in which a system has a propensity to evolve. If you don’t accept this concept even in a horizontal plane then you might as well say you have no proof that heat transfers from hot to cold in such a horizontal plane. In short you leave yourself with no practical thermodynamic theory. And that, my friend, would wipe out a lot of very useful and well established physics.

        Regarding the time frame for the Venus troposphere to warm by 5 degrees at all altitudes – well, guess what, it is the same as the 4 months it takes to cool by the reverse process during the 4 month long Venus night. And that’s because the whole Venus-plus- atmosphere system acts as a pretty reasonable sort of black body over an 8-month rotation. Fancy that! Your understanding of what I have explained is seriously lacking as this demonstrates, as well as your comment about irradiation, which just shows me you work on your own assumptions about what I have written in the book, without deigning to read a word of it – the height of arrogance I would suggest.

        So come back when you think you can answer the question about 72 hours of cloud cover in which a region on the surface receives no solar radiation, and yet remains about 20 degrees warmer than clouds 3Km above it. And give me your explanation as to how the necessary energy gets into the Venus surface to raise its temperature. Oh, and how does the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere remain hotter than Earth’ surface, or the core of our Moon remain hotter than its surface ever is? And finally, why is Earth’s surface over 50 degrees hotter than the temperature to which solar radiation reaching it (161W/m^2 on average) could warm an asphalt-covered globe?

      • Doug says:

        Now, as for Dr Craig Bohren* note firstly that he was writing last century before physicists really started to understand how even one-way radiation still obeys the Second Law, as in my paper on Radiated Energy. His discussion of the role of clouds incorrectly focusses on radiation. In fact clouds keep local regions a little warmer because they themselves absorb energy from the sun shining from above – more so than would cloudless layers of the atmosphere at similar altitudes. (There, I’ve given you a hint for answering the first question.) But this does not negate the over-riding fact that water vapour reduces the temperature gradient and thus the supported surface temperature – as real world temperature data confirms.

        * Bohren “Fundamentals of Atmospheric Radiation”

  18. Doug says:

    You see, Ball4, Bohren’s “explanation” (similar to that adapted by climatologists when they claim water vapour is warming the surface) comes down to a simplistic concept that back radiation (be it from clouds or the atmosphere) supposedly slows surface cooling and hence, supposedly keeps the surface warmer. This is primitive logic completely ignoring the fact that clouds block the Sun’s radiation from reaching the surface in the first place. Furthermore (as in my “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” paper) back radiation can only slow down that portion of surface cooling which is itself by radiation. Back radiation cannot help the Sun to make the surface hotter in the first place, and back radiation cannot slow down evaporative cooling (latent heat transfers) or slow down conduction followed by convection.

    We only have to consider other planets like Venus and Uranus to realise that, despite such small amounts of solar radiation reaching the base of their tropospheres, the temperatures are far higher than even all the solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere could make them. No atmosphere can multiply the energy entering at the top and deliver several times as much out of its base and into the surface.

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