Explaining misconceptions on “The Greenhouse Effect”

Guest post By Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.

Image: University of Arizona

During the past several months there have been various, unpublished studies circulating around the blogosphere and elsewhere claiming that the “greenhouse effect” cannot warm the Earth’s atmosphere. We would like to briefly explain the arguments that have been put forth and why they are incorrect.  Two of the primary arguments that have been used are

  1. By virtue of the second law of  Thermodynamics, heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body, and
  2. Since solar energy is the basic source of all energy on Earth, if we do not change the amount of solar energy absorbed, we cannot change the effective radiating temperature of the Earth.

Both of the above statements are certainly true, but as we will show, the so-called  “greenhouse theory” does not violate either of these two statements. (we use quotation marks around the  words “greenhouse theory” to indicate that while this terminology has been generally adopted to explain the predicted warming with the addition of absorbing gases into the atmosphere, the actual process is quite a bit different from how a greenhouse heats).

With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.

Going to the second statement above, it is true that in equilibrium, if the amount of solar energy absorbed is not changed, then the amount of IR energy escaping out of the top of the atmosphere also cannot change.  Therefore the effective radiating temperature of the atmosphere cannot change. But, the effective radiating temperature of the atmosphere is different from the vertical profile of temperature in the atmosphere. The effective radiating  temperature is that T that will give the proper value of upward IR radiation at the top of the atmosphere  such that it equals the solar radiation absorbed by the Earth-atmosphere system.

In other words, it is the temperature such that 4 pi x Sigma T4 equals pi Re2 Fso, where Re is the Earth’s radius, and Fso is the solar constant. Now, when we add more CO2, the absorption per unit distance increases, and this warms the atmosphere.  But the increased absorption also means that less radiation from lower, warmer levels of the atmosphere can escape to space. Thus, more of the escaping IR radiation originates from higher, cooler levels of the atmosphere. Thus, the same effective radiating temperature can exist, but the atmospheric column has warmed.

These arguments, of course, do not take into account feedbacks which will  kick in as soon as a warming (or cooling) begins.

The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway.  But the radiational forcing due to the addition of greenhouse gases must result in a warming contribution to the atmosphere. By itself, this will not result in a change of the effective radiation temperature of the atmosphere, but it will result in changes in the vertical profile of temperature.

The so-called “greenhouse effect” is real. The question is how much will this effect be, and this is not a simple question. There are also questions being raised as to the very sign of some of the larger feedbacks  to add to the confusion.  Our purpose here was to merely point out that the addition of absorbing gases into the atmosphere must result in warming, contrary to some research currently circulating that says to the contrary.

For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else,  i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of  the atmosphere.

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632 thoughts on “Explaining misconceptions on “The Greenhouse Effect”

  1. Good article Dr. Pielke. It is unfortunate that this needs saying at all, but I fear the infamous G&T paper has done a bit of damage to the credibility of sceptical science.

  2. Greenhouse Gases emitted in all directions. Also into outer space. Seems to forget this detail.

  3. Hi there,

    well .. I usually describe it the following way:
    It is a fact, that with increasing CO2 the characteristic CO2 emission into space comes from a greater atmosphere layer (measured by the temperature of the emitting molecule via the spectrum width).
    In layman terms this means the lower layer losses one way to transport energy and thus has a lower thermal conductivity (which means it warms)
    This effect is well understood and can be calculated to the 3.7 W/m^2 cited by IPCC, the question reamins, what this means to the temperature.

    All the best regards,
    LoN

  4. The amount of warming from the greenhouse effect varies by a large amount between the tropics and the poles, due to the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. The tropics experience much more more greenhouse effect than the south pole, because there is almost no water vapour in the atmosphere over the south pole.

  5. My guess is all of the feedback ‘constants’ are driven by the variables “The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway.” Without understanding those variables ones instrumentation is left to quantify the dynamics. Empirical prediction?

  6. The conditions forcing the escape of radiation the atmosphere must also force the escape of atmospheric gases. As such, wouldn’t the conditions for escape of those gases be the determinant of the rate of the greenhouse effect
    ….There is dusted together water on the moon and mars………

  7. Surely the ultimate question is – Is the Earth sensitive to changes in CO2 levels?

    The earth has had much higher levels of CO2 in the past so the knee jerk reaction to this must be NO, or else we would not be here to talk about it.

    Is industrialisation altering our atmosphere to such an extent that we face imminent virtually immediate doom?

    Again looking at the last 20 years I would say NO. So whatever we need to do whatever we need to measure and calculate we can do rationally and sensibly and slowly and openly.

    Is this happening? NO ….

  8. You have to add the trapping effect of the clouds and you have the basic story complete.

  9. Anyway, it looks like Kevin Trenberth’s backradiation hop (up, down, up, down) as described here

    http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/19541.html

    vastly overestimates back radiation because they just didn’t follow the established vector calculus rules (subtracting energy that goes into the opposite direction).

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-unphysical-agw-simulator-available.html

    The atmosphere is due to the density of CO2 a dense fog for the absorption bands of CO2 even where there is no water vapor, and this was so even before the increase in CO2 emissions. The light (or LWIR) from a diffuse surface like the Earth’s surface must be diffuse. The fog will re-emit the light into all directions equally. What does it matter whether a ray from the surface is intercepted after 23 m on the average or after 15 m the first time, to be re-emitted? Nothing at all when the atmosphere is 10,000 times as high.

  10. slowing down the cooling of an object cannot cause it temperature to rise … THAT would violate the 2nd law …

    if a black box is warmed to x degrees by the sun then its temperature cannot rise above x no matter how much greenhouse gas it is surrounded by …

    x becomes the upper threshhold of the objects temperature (assuming no other energy inputs …)

    yes, it may REMAIN at some temperature between x and zero longer than it would but it can never rise above x … it may be relatively warmer because of slowed cooling but it has certainly not “warmed” up …

    if you say something has warmed you are implying that its temperature has RISEN … not cooled slower …

  11. Good article. In a way it reminded me of another item I read today, not exactly on the subject, but interesting, about Enrico Fermi, and connections.

    This connection is CO2 causing GW simply because CO2 was increasing and some recent warming. This idea was noted in similar to a train of thought that Enrico Fermi discussed with his friends Teller, John von Neumann, and others over lunch at Los Alamos. The subject was the recent disappearance of NY trashcans and increased appearance of flying saucers. The logical, but not necessarily correct, conclusion was aliens were stealing NY trashcans.

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/07/et-phone-here

  12. “The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc…. are not completely understood anyway. … There are also questions being raised as to the very sign of some of the larger feedbacks to add to the confusion. ”

    Dr Pielke, I note you talked about warming the ground, but carefully avoided reference to the ocean, the really big dog on the climate block. Since longwave radiation can’t penetrate the ocean, but only causes increased evaporation at its surface, and since as you note, there’s lots we don’t know about convection etc, what makes you so sure adding more co2 will cause warming? Is Miscolzci to be ignored forever?

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/why-the-sun-is-so-important-to-climate/

    Earth warmed while solar activity was high, and cloud albedo diminished, and ocean heat-energy content has been dropping since 2003 when the sunspot count dropped below its long term average of 40, and cloud increased again.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  13. I guess I have a problem with the over simplistic model. Yes, absorbing gasses in the atmosphere ‘slow’ the cooling because the radiated heat bounces a like a pinball from molecule to molecule before it actually radiates to space.

    However, the movement of air columns can shorten or lengthen that wayward path, as can precipitation which tends to absorb heat and drop it back into the oceans.

    When air heats it rises, but the atmosphere also expands (something easily detected in satellite orbits, which experience changes in atmospheric drag constantly as the atmosphere expands and contracts – sometimes regionally). An expanding atmosphere lowers the density as volume increases. Already ‘thin’ air becomes even thinner, which means the chances of IR radiation bouncing back into the atmosphere should decrease and radiation rates escaping should increase.

    If the Earth’s atmosphere actually has built in thermal balancing – which must be the case given it has survived for billions of years – then the combination of precipitative cooling and increased radiative cooling because of lower density and greater surface area to space would seem to more robust than many climate alarmists would consider.

    This becomes even more true if recent human actions on climate are driven by the UHI and expanding population centers (changing the basic reflective/absorptive characteristics of the Earth’s surface). I seriously doubt CO2 or any GHG can go into a ‘runaway’ mode. If you look at Mars, Earth & Venus it is not the GHG gas necessarily that drives their climate, but the distance from the Sun (i.e., solar flux intensity) and their mass (how much atmosphere they can hold gravitationally) which dictated their atmospheric stability point.

    No one has proved reducing GHG on Venus or increasing it on Mars would change a damn thing. These kinds of theories border on the science fiction concept of terra forming – something never proved even slightly.

    The billion year stability of our atmosphere, through massive eruptions, massive (but slow) changes in content, though large impact events, would indicate the cross-checking balancing mechanism always bring the system back to a nominal range of climate. A range we have seen for millions of years and a wide range of CO2 and GHG concentrations.

  14. While it doesn’t refute your argument, I want to point out that assertion #2, technically, is not correct. There are many sources of energy on Earth that are not sun related. Simply because it has mass, the Earth contains ~5^41 J of energy. It creates a vast gravitational well that imparts energy on all objects on the planet. Additionally, a lot of our energy sources have no ties to solar energy (e.g. fission reacts on Uranium which is, most likely, a remnant of a distant supernova).

    However, if you were to say that the sun is the source of all BIOLOGICAL energy, I wouldn’t argue.

  15. “The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway.”

    But that’s the crux of the matter. For starters, there cannot be a proper greenhouse effect in the presence of constant convection. And the biosphere is a temperature regulating mechanism that constantly changes the chemical composition of atmosphere, therefore defining, where the equilibrium will be.

    Therefore, all this talk about “greenhouse effect being real” is nonsense. No, it’s not “real,” it exists only within the simplistic framework of intentional misunderstanding.

  16. How much of the 33 degrees is due to heat escaping from the Earth’s core and tidal forces?

  17. For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else, i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.

    A bit misleading, this last paragraph.
    The dry atmosphere consists of:

    N2 78.084%
    O2 20.946%
    Ar 0.934%
    rest 0.03768%

    and if there is humidity around, H2O 0.4% and more near the surface.

    The trouble is not with whether the atmosphere keeps temperatures temperate, but whether the tiny amount of CO2 can contribute significantly to this, considering also that H2O covers most of the spectrum and CO2 only some windows.

    I am curious if anybody has calculated a toy earth with only N2 and O2 as an atmosphere. Deserts do get cold at night and hot in the day, but on average would not be too far off current global averages.

  18. “If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”

    Um, what about an atmosphere devoid of greenhouse gases? What about the dry adiabatic lapse rate?

  19. That is a very good simple explanation of the greenhouse effect.

    Can you tell me, does atmospheric CO2 currently absorb 100% of the longwave IR in the bandwidths which apply?

    If so, at what altitude is the saturation achieved?

    Assuming that additional CO2 would lower that altitude, what sort of effect would this actually have on surface T? I mean, given what we know about the atmosphere I would think convection would distribute this additional atmospheric heat well enough to prevent a significant increase to the ground temp and probably keep the increased surface atmospheric temp from increasing a great deal as well. I guess what I’m really asking is, if all of the IR that CO2 can absorb is already being absorbed by CO2 within the first several tens of meters above the surface (to my understanding), what additional impact can more CO2 have on the overall heat content of the atmosphere, and does it really make a difference if that heat is added in the first 50 meters or the first 5?

    Maybe this isn’t so, I do not know for a fact if the CO2 is currently absorbing 100% of the IR it is capable of, though I’ve read and been told that this is true. Maybe science doesn’t yet know the answer to these other questions, which would seem plausible as this is almost bordering on chaos theory; (everything’s just so, you have all of the measurements and can accurately predict what will happen forever, then a butterfly flaps it’s wings and all of your calculations go awry.)

    Or maybe I’m just way off base in my line of thinking here.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    And again, this is a really good article in describing the greenhouse theory of global warming to someone (like me) who hasn’t the scientific background to do the math, but is really trying to understand and keep up with the debate.

  20. Dr. Pielke
    For your demonstration of the greenhouse effect WUWT has used the Arctic part of the globe, which is currently very popular with many researchers. In a way of a modest contribution, I think I may have found an important correlation as shown here.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

    You may not agree with the explanation for this unusual phenomenon, but in the interest of science and the readers of WUWT (well over 3000) who viewed this graph, I would very much appreciate your comment.
    Thank you.

  21. This is entirely reasonable. For me, that we have greenhouse affects on the planet is rather boring (not that your presentation was). It’s kind of a stable thing and of not much complexity relatively speaking.

    It’s the feedbacks and turbulent nature of the thermosphere that fascinates me. Much harder to simply explain and therefore endlessly fascinating to me. If each of our gasses and particulates in our overturning thermosphere (warm to cold in height so it wants to be turbulent) were colored, it would be a right pretty ever changing kaleidoscope of swirling color topped with a ribbon-like fairly stable stratospheric layer (cold to warm in height so those layers don’t want to be turbulent), and so on. If one were to try to demonstrate AGW increases in any one color in that thermosphere, stratosphere, etc, you would be hard pressed to do so. But regardless I could stare at such a presentation for hours.

  22. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:20 am
    “[...]The atmosphere is due to the density of CO2 a dense fog for the absorption bands [...]”

    Such a re-emitting fog must tend towards an equilibirum, and that’s why its exact density does little to change the overall distribution of re-emittance towards the ground or space; just like adding another 15m of atmosphere does not change the distribution. I’m assuming a 100% re-emittance here. If the re-emittance is smaller, energy will just be distributed to non-LWIR-emitting molecules like O2 which results in heating where we enter the area of “not well understood anyway” convection and conduction so that would steal some more energy from Kevin Trenberth’s beloved backradiation, torpedoing his assumptions further.

  23. I don’t think that most of the arguments circulating (such as Lubos’s or mine) are contradicting what you said. Their point is that, at least for Venus, it is mainly the fact that the atmosphere is very tall due to much higher mass of the atmosphere that causes the very high surface temperature. There still needs to be greenhouse gas and clouds, but they could be a far lower percent of the composition and still get most of that high temperature as long as the mass of the atmosphere is high enough to maintain the approximate altitude where outgoing radiation leaves the atmosphere. If the Earth had 100,000 ppm CO2 rather than 390 ppm, the temperature would only be a few degrees higher that at present, due to the limited size of our atmosphere. In other words, it is the COMBINATION of mass of the atmosphere that is resulting in it’s thickness combined with the trapping effect of greenhouse gases and clouds that result in the ground temperature. The concept that had been often stated, of a “runaway” greenhouse effect, is what brought that point up. There is no runaway, just straightforward fluid dynamics and radiation heat transfer.

  24. bah. I pounced on the sentence without reading the context. You were quoting other sources. Nevermind. I guess I’m the troll here. :)

  25. This shows a lack of understanding of how a green house works. A green house restricts transfer of energy it does not heat or cool. By claiming that green house gasses that restrict energy transfer result in warming you are missing half the equation because they also restrict the increase in warming to start with. The restriction leads to less extreme temperatures both warm and cold. If the globe was experiencing an increase in Green House Effect we would see a reduction of extreme weather events because of the restrictive nature you claim. There is no evidence of that! Climate continues within the range expected for an interglacial period as displayed by historic interglacials.

  26. Dear Dr Pielke:

    The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up.

    What are “IR absorbing gases”? As far as I am aware, gas molecules can absorb light quanta but by becoming excited, they give up the energy just as quickly. There is a slight loss of energy because of increased entropy on the release of that energy, because some of that motion is converted into molecular oscillation and some into translational energy.

    You appear to reject the nomeclature of “greenhouse theory” because that isn’t how greenhouses warm up, but you describe the warming of the lower atmosphere as if there was a sheet of glass high up there which heats up and then magically re-radiates the energy to the ground and then slows down the re-emission of the heat back into space. This is a false model.

    Real greenhouses don’t work like this either – they warm because they restrict the convectional motion of the air, something demonstrated one hundred years ago by Robert Wood.

    The atmosphere also has massive convectional motion driven by the Sun which (somewhat to my surprise) is completely ignored in those idiot cartoons by Trenberth which treats the Earth’s atmosphere as if it was made of lucite. The circulation of the oceans is an even bigger thermodynamic engine driven by the Sun.

    I’m afraid you have failed to grasp the main criticism of the greenhouse gas hypothesis – the atmosphere is not restrained from convecting.

    Why does it not get so cold at night? Because of water vapour in the atmosphere. Not because water vapour is “a powerful greenhouse gas” whatever that means, but because in the atmosphere water vapour changes state from gas to liquid as it cools and liquid to gas as it heats up. Thus some of the energy from the sun is captured in the latent heat of vaporization (NOT “re-radiated”) of water backwards and forwards from gas to liquid to gas. The heat captured by water condensing in the atmosphere during the day is transported to the nightside (by the rotation of the earth) where the loss of the Sun is compensated by emission of heat as water evaporates and re-emission of heat as water condenses higher up.

    It is the water vapour effect of retaining heat by constant cycling from liquid to gas to liquid that slows the re-emission of heat energy back into space, not “re-radiation”. Water vapour clouds glow in IR because of this effect, which is why they can be pictured at night from satellites.

    The more water vapour in the atmosphere (as in the tropics) the greater this heat trapping in clouds becomes.

    It explains why the greatest difference between day and night temperatures occurs in the major deserts where water vapour in the atmosphere is scarce. It also explains why the difference between day and night on Mars is even more extreme than the Earth despite having eight times the partial pressure of CO2 at the surface than the Earth – its the lack of heat energy “trapped” by water vapour of which Mars has very little, from changing state in the atmosphere in the form of clouds.

  27. While I agree that so-called greenhouse gases reduce the cooling rate of the earth, the degree that CO2 affects that cooling rate is in question. Ibelieve the formula used by IPCC is in serious error.

    The IPCC contends that doubling the co2 concentration will cause a forcing of 3 to 6 degrees C. Unfortunately they seem to be better at fudging data than applying physics. Their standard calculation is shown below.

    ∆T=4.7ln(c/co)=4.7ln(836/368)=4.7*.69=3.2Deg C

    However, H20 also absorbs 15 micron radiation. Since water vapor concentration is 1 to 4% of the near earth atmosphere, it would be more accurate to include all gasses that absorb 15 micron radiation. To be clear, c should include 10000ppm water vapor plus 836 ppm co2, and co should be 10000 ppm water vapor plus 386 ppm co2.

    ∆T=4.7*ln(10836/10386) = 4.7*.044 = .2 degrees C

    I can live with that.

  28. I need to add another point mainly related to Venus. Absorption of the radiation from the ground is important so that back radiation nearly equals radiation up as a trapping mechanism. However, this DOES NOT significantly directly change the atmospheric temperature. The main factors that determine the atmospheric temperature are the effective location of outgoing radiation (which sets the value of temperature in the atmosphere at that location) and lapse rate, and the lapse rate will (on the average) be the wet or dry lapse rate. The atmospheric convection totally dominates in retaining that lapse rate level (it transports much more energy that the radiation flux). The trapped heat was important is setting the location of the outgoing radiation, and for Venus, that is its only important function. Earth is much more complicated due to the fact that the outgoing radiation leaves from all altitudes from the ground up, so that can’t be treated as simply as Venus.

  29. The radiation density in my idealized CO2 fog must, when it reaches equilibrium with the LWIR-radiating Earth surface, have the same radiation density as the Earth’s surface. It cannot exceed this radiation density. The CO2 concentration is not a variable that can manipulate this. The fog model only breaks down with extremely low CO2 concentrations; but the variation in CO2 concentration from 270 ppm to 390 ppm does absolutely NOTHING to the radiation density in this fog.

  30. tallbloke, the GHE will by itself (i.e. without feedbacks) cause warming. However as it happens, other collateral effects may cause the warming to be increased, decreased or perhaps even reverted into cooling. Roger is only talking about the GHE, alone, without considering feedbacks.

  31. So any measured INCREASE in downwelling CO2-caused LWIR radiation must be caused exactly because this fog model is idealized and the real atmosphere behaves differently. IOW, CO2 moelcules collide with O2 etc and heat the gas mix up via conduction. Where, again, energy leaves the radiation model and turns into plain old kinetic energy, heats the atmosphere up, leading to convection. As Abdusamatov has said “Heat rises up, not down”.

  32. Tallbloke is right. Do you prepare your breakfast with a hair dryer? “Your are going against the wind”. Have you already found that atmosphere’s heat piggy bank you dreamed of?. You integrate from 0 to infinite, that’s like asking, how much will I warm up by putting on my bed an infinite number of covers?. Add all the warm you can to the atmosphere and it won’t warm up sea water. Please, let us not cheat people: The heat capacity of the air is 3227 times less than water. Would you warm your feet, when cold, with a bottle filled with hot air, or instead with hot water?

  33. “If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”

    I politely disagree. That 255K has been obtained by blackbody calculation, but confusingly with present Earth’s albedo (which is predominantly made by clouds and snow/ice). Look at the nearby Moon with albedo 0.11 (Earth has ~0.3): its average temperature is 270K.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/moonfact.html

    So for start, 288-270K = 18K is more correct.

    Second, this temperature difference is because of existence of ATMOSPHERE, not greenhouse gases. It is easy to show, that on Earth, the main “greenhouse gas”, water vapor in various states, effectively cools the Earth: a) by clouds, creating major part of albedo, b) by evaporative cooling, preventing all Earth being hot as dry deserts, c) by ice/snow, participating on albedo.

    Mere greenhouse gases in a thin atmosphere create no “greenhouse” effect. Mars atmosphere consists of 95% CO2 – but Mars blackbody T = Mars actual T = 210K.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/marsfact.html

    You need a bulk atmosphere (in our case composed of N2 and O2) and water in liquid/vapor state to get habitable conditions with mild diurnal cycle and pleasant average temperature. Our nights are warmer than on the Moon not because of “backradiation”, but mainly because the atmosphere holds the daily heat. “Backradiation” on Mars does NOTHING, and the effective concentration of CO2 there (6,000 ppm) is that of CO2+water vapor on Earth (if water vapor creates 90% of GHE).

    In my chemist opinion, the greenhouse theory confuses the simple heat storage in the atmospheric mass with hypothetical arrows in radiation diagrams.

    Not to forget, how do I know the IR radiation is coming from IR active gas, and not from nitrogen/oxygen bulk atmosphere? That forgotten 99% of the atmosphere radiates in IR spectrum, as every material with its temperature above zero K.

  34. Speaking for the simple-minded among us, I think we are very fortunate to have an atmosphere that “behaves/responds” as well as it does supporting life as we know it. Keeping it simple, I don’t think anyone would argue that the atmosphere is in equilibrium. But it is “responding” to something. Right? Could it be the sun above and/or the oceans and land mass below or volcanic emissions or even the pesky humans? I’ll stick with Ian Plimer on this one and say the pesky humans are the least of out worries.

  35. ….. but the atmosphere is not a perfect blanket around this planet. Additionally CO2 only constitutes a small fraction of the atmosphere’s composition. So the % of IR radiated directly back to Earth is small.

    Also the oceans, which covers 70% of this planet’s surface, lose most of its heat thru evaporation, which involves a completely different physical process.

    If this planet had no oceans and a thick atmospheric blanket of CO2 then I would agree that there would be a significant rise in surface temperatures ……….. but this planet doesn’t.

  36. What is Governing the Temperature of the Earth?

    The surface of Planet Earth is heated by the incident short-wave electromagnetic radiation from the sun. In order to balance the temperature of the earth, most of this incident radiation energy is, contrary to the assumption made in the AGW hypothesis, removed from the surface by convective cooling by a flowing atmosphere and by evaporation (removal of latent heat) from the surfaces of the seas, lakes and moist soil; and by transpiration of plants. Only a small fraction of the incident energy is radiated by the surface towards space in the long-wave infra-red (IR) part of the electromagnetic spectrum [1]. Consequently, the lower atmosphere, is heated by convective heat transfer from the surface of Earth; by release of latent heat during condensation of water vapour (formation of clouds) and; to a small extent, by thermalisation of excited GHG molecules. The so heated air parcels increase in volume (reduce their density) and rise towards higher altitudes, while their temperature reduce along the lapse rate function. The rising warm air is replaced by cooler air, thus maintaining a continuous convective churning/stirring of the atmosphere that we call wind.

    In the upper part of the troposphere and in the stratosphere, IR energy can more efficiently be emitted towards space to achieve the required radiation balance of Earth’s. That is, the estimated effective radiation balance temperature for the earth, ‑18°C, is established in the upper portion of troposphere and in the stratosphere and not at the surface of the earth, as anticipated by IPCC and the AGW proponents.
    The bottom portion of the troposphere and thereby also the surface of the earth, exhibit an average temperature of +15°C. This is approximately 33 K higher than what can be estimated based on the radiative balance with space. This temperature increase is the direct result of the presence of an atmosphere, with its given mass, within the gravitational field of the earth (see contributions by Jelbring and Thieme below). The atmosphere (the air), with its mass, is attracted towards the surface of the earth by the gravitational field. Most of this atmospheric mass will thus reside close the surface of the earth where it is compressed to a higher pressure (on average 1.013 bar) and obtains thus a higher temperature. Correspondingly, the atmosphere becomes thinner (less compression and thus lower pressure) and cooler, the higher the altitude is. This pressure and temperature distribution is governed by a restricted thermodynamic equilibrium, so-called adiabatic condition. Such a condition prevails when the size of the air parcels is large in comparison to the length scales for heat conduction and diffusion during the time interval pertaining to the state change. Adiabatic changes in temperature thus occur due to changes in pressure of a gas while not adding or removing any heat from or to the surrounding. This entails that the total energy content in an air parcel with a given mass remains constant when it moves vertically, that is, the sum of potential and thermal energy remains constant, independent of the altitude.

    The (vertical) circulation of the air is a continuous process that is driven by the sun and the dynamics of the planetary atmosphere. At high altitude (high potential energy), a parcel of air of given mass has a large volume and low temperature (low thermal energy). When brought to lower altitudes (low potential energy and high thermal energy) it becomes compressed and thus heated. Again, the temperature of the air parcel will be governed the lapse rate function, which is a consequence of the prevailing thermodynamic equilibrium under adiabatic conditions.

    The mathematical description of this mechanism has been called the adiabatic model of atmospheric temperature (see papers by Khilyuk and Chilingar) and can closely (within 0.1%) describe the long-term average temperature distribution as function of altitude in the troposphere. The normal atmospheric pressure (1.013 bar) near the surface of the earth will bring the air temperature to around +15°C, or TEarth  33 K higher than the temperature determined from the radiation balance between incident (short-wave) radiation from the sun and outgoing (long-wave) radiation from the upper part of the atmosphere towards space.

    The cyclic heat input from the sun (over day and night; seasonal variations at different latitudes, etc.) provides the driving forces behind the continuously circulating atmosphere and its vertical transport of heat from the surface of the earth to higher altitudes, where heat balance can be established by long-wave radiation towards space. Well proven, basic physics considerations (radiation balance and adiabatic compression) therefore directly explain the observed temperature of Earth’s atmosphere, without the need to revert to obscure and unverified greenhouse effects from greenhouse gases.

    The Hothouse Venus

    Planet Venus, with its CO2 rich atmosphere (96.5% CO2) has a very high surface temperature, in the order of 462°C (735 K). This high surface temperature is often claimed to be the result of a runaway greenhouse effect due to the high CO2 concentration, evaporation of the surface water and subsequent rise of the levels of other GHGs. This, of course, sounds plausible in the ears of the AGW proponents, who want to scare the inhabitants of Planet Earth that similar dramatic temperature increases (beyond the tipping point) may develop also here, if we do not take appropriate measures to curb the emission of GHGs.

    There exists, however, a physically well-founded, explanation for the high surface temperature on planet Venus, namely the adiabatic model of atmospheric temperature (see papers by Khilyuk and Chilingar), mentioned above. Not only is the concentration of CO2 much higher at Venus than on Earth, but also the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is much higher, approximately 90 bar. While the gravitational effects on the mass of the (dynamic) planetary atmosphere heats the bottom of the atmosphere and the surface of Earth by TEarth  33 K above the effective temperature expected from radiation balance alone, the same effect on Venus heats its surface by TVenus  507 K above its effective radiation balance temperature, which is ‑45°C (228 K). The adiabatic model of atmospheric temperature also well describes the temperature of the Venusian atmosphere as function of altitude, within 1%. Again, there is no need to revert to an (unverified) runaway greenhouse hypothesis to explain the high surface temperature of Venus. Plain, well established, physics suffices. Consequently, the (runaway) greenhouse effect does not exist.

    Suggested Reading:

    H.R. Jelbring. The Greenhouse Effect as a Function of Atmospheric Mass, Energy & Environment, Volume 14, Number 2 – 3, May 2003, pp. 351-356, http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    Hans Jelbring, Politics and the Greenhouse Effect, http://www.tech-know.eu/NISubmission/pdf/Politics_and_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf
    Heinz Thieme, The Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect – explained stepwise, http://realplanet.eu/atmoseffect.htm

    L. F. Khilyuk, G.V. Chilingar, On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved? Environmental Geology, Volume 50, Number 6 / August, 2006, pp. 899-910, http://www.springerlink.com/content/t341350850360302/ (behind pay-wall)

    G.V. Chilingar, L.F. Khilyuk, O. G. Sorokhtin. Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2008, pages 1‑9

    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Calen9/Chillingar_Atm_Cooling_due_to_CO2.pdf

  37. I am delighted that this simple and clear but authoritative statement of the reality of the “greenhouse effect” has been posted here. Too many inaccurate statements to the effect that there is no greenhouse effect have been published recently, and they do not deserve to be given any credence. The true debate in the scientific community is not about whether there is a greenhouse effect (there is), nor about whether additional atmospheric CO2 causes warming (it does), nor about whether CO2 concentration is rising (it is), nor about whether we are the cause (we are), but about how fast CO2 concentration will rise (for a decade it has been rising at a merely-linear 2 ppmv/year, against the IPCC’s projection of an exponential increase at today’s emission rates), how much warming a given increase in CO2 concentration will be expected to cause (around a third of what the IPCC projects), whether attempting to mitigate future “global warming” will make any real difference to the climate (it won’t: remember Canute), whether the cost of forestalling each degree of “global warming” will be disproportionate to the climatic benefit (it will), and whether focused adaptation to any change in the climate, where and if necessary, will be orders of magnitude cheaper than trying to prevent that change from occurring in the first place (yes).

  38. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.

    This is a bit misleading. As you point out later, the total heat released to space is going to be the same eventually. And the amount of radiation released by the surface will actually increase to include the increased amount of long-wave radiation downward. What’s really changed is the ability of the atmosphere to absorb additional heat because of the increased amount of GHGs in it. This means both the surface and the lower atmosphere will warm (if feedbacks are ignored.)

  39. Is it possible to discuss briefly the effects of changes in the night sky temperature? (I say night sky only because it is easier to visualize, but it is in fact a twenty four hour effect).

    As a side note to my interest in studying night sky radiation as an energy source for heat engines is that the temperature of the sky at the galactic plane is quite different than what it is away from the plane, and that the alignment of this plane with the earth’s equator is cyclical over time. This periodic alignment (and other celestial alignment variations) exposes the equatorial earth to longer periods of warmer areas of space and of course the poles to cooler areas, and this, it seems, should affect the ability to cool by radiation.

    This question occurred to me because the article discusses the thermal properties of the sky as an unchanging component of the process. Surely in my lifetime it will be, but over the period of time important to climate this may be non-trivial.

  40. Though I agree with the general idea written about here, I still have a few questions about the greenhouse effect that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere yet (perhaps I just missed it along the way). If greenhouse gases increase, would they not absorb incoming IR as well as outgoing IR? If they do, how do we determine which IR they abosorb at what rate? Also, since CO2 and other gases can/do emit IR in all directions, how do we determine where the radiation emitted goes or is it just assumed that it is emitted in all directions at the same rate/proportion? Is it easier to emit IR outward, sideways, down, any other direction depending on which layer of the atmosphere said greenhouose gas is in? Is all or some of this part of the great unknown at this point?

  41. The weakness in all this seems to me to be the impression I gain that this is all just theory… there MUST be warming because, based on the line of reasoning, it seems to make sense. Is there any experimental method or data that actually confirms that the theory is valid? Yet some of the other theories that have been circulating have also seemed to make sense. Frankly, having spent countless hours reading on this (excellent) site, I have come to the conclusion that even the most sincere analysts and philosophers here are still dealing out opinions and theories that, while interesting, still fail the test of hard science in that nothing can yet be proven. My own skepticism goes beyond just AGW to encompass the entire field of the related science. The actual reliable knowledge here is still dwarfed by the vast unknown. Sorry guys..

  42. Is it not true that your explanation is based on the assumption that CO2 molecules are distributed randomly in the atmosphere? Is it not true that there have been no experiments to test the assumption that CO2 molecules are randomly distributed throughout the atmosphere?

  43. Lord Kelvin’s second Law lof Thermodynamics paraphrases as heat flows from a hotter body to a colder body. Thus heat from earth’s surface and lower atmosphere must flow to a colder body, perhaps the 0.389 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. However CO2 does not radiate heat to space or back to earth in certain fairly narrow wave lengths. This means we have lot of hot CO2 floating around in the atmosphere, don’t we? No we don’t, becuase hot CO2 molecules pass on their heat to cooler fuller spectrum radiating nitrogen and oxygen molecules. The very slightly heated Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules radiate more energy to space than they did before. Thus CO2 may have an effect but it is going to be very very small until the atmosphere gets to about 13% Co2 when CO2 molecules will start to have to try harder to pass on heat to oxygen and Nitrogen and Helium and Argon molecules.

    Of course water vapour mucks things up, there are about 2790 times more water vapour molecules in the atmosphere than there are CO2 molecules and water vapour acts both as a solar sheild/reflector as well as an emitter when not in clouds formation. Water vapour also blocks heat radiation in same frequencies as CO2, again a very small part of the radiating spectrum.

    Please stop knocking CO2 – it is free plant food. We need every bit of growing power as earth gets fuller of people.

  44. And then… then there’s night. That would be what half of the planet is experiencing at any one time.

    Has anyone tried using a satellite to measure IR radiation on the night side? If night time IR emissions are dropping, then I’d accept that “something” is happening. But as it is, “nothing” out of the ordinary is happening.

    Any attempt to show “something” will continue to fail as long as heat continues to radiate away on the night side. That would be the major mechanism of the planet’s temperature self-regulation.

    Of course the “greenhouse effect” is real, and of course H2O is the overwhelmingly dominant factor. The currently popular fantasy about CO2 “tipping” the balance in some dramatic fashion is ludicrous, and ignores historically significant CO2 levels that did not (and can not) cause any of these “tips”.

    If only some of these people would stand back and see how insane the concept of runaway “feedbacks” is at the gas percentages we’re talking about… especially in the context of an atmosphere that has remained relatively stable for BILLIONS of years.

  45. Claes Johnson says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
    “I question the analysis by Herman and Pielke in [...]”

    Great to see you here, Prof. Johnson! I guess your argument (ignoring the low frequency backradiation) is the classical thermodynamics position. My model of a “CO2 fog” that redistributes the “backradiation” around until an quilibrium is reached practically has the same effect: As the radiation in this absorption band goes back and forward in all directions, it practically cancels out, and that is exactly what your argument says (that it’s irrelevant).

    Yours is the general view of energy balance, mine – or Dr. Pielke’s – looks at individual rays and tries to figure out the system dynamics.

  46. Reading some of the comments suddenly makes me feel sympathetic with the few warmists that read sceptical blogs.

    …and that is an amazing feat…

  47. There is no such a thing as the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 like the window panes in a greenhouse, but …the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.

    See:

    No CO2=No life on earth=No YOU.
    BTW: CO2 it is not black, ya know, it’s what you exhale (900 grams a day)and plants breathe.

  48. John Prendergast says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:20 am
    “[...]cooler fuller spectrum radiating nitrogen and oxygen molecules. The very slightly heated Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules radiate more energy to space than they did before. ”

    One objection, John: O2 and N2 don’t radiate in the LWIR range. What they can do is rise, give the heat back to CO2 molecules higher up in the atmosphere via collisions, and CO2 is a good radiator in the LWIR range – namely in its absorption band. That is why CO2 and water vapor act as coolants in the stratosphere because these molecules are best suited to radiate LWIR to space.

  49. I disagree completely with the 3rd and 4th paragraphs because they refer to a step change in absorption and not the resulting steady state condition after the system returns to equilibrium! The temperature of theEarth is controlled by the radiation received from the sun. If that radiation is held constant, the changes in the CO2 concentration will not deduce the energy out, only slow the transit time temporarily until the new equilibrium condition is achieved. Energy in was balanced with the energy out prior to the step change and if the energy in does not change, the energy out will again balance the energy in at the new equilibrium level. The only change is the temporary change to the radiation transit time.

  50. Mr. Juraj V;

    Are you saying there is more CO2 on Mars than on Earth, yet there is no discernible ‘greenhouse warming’ on Mars? Yikes!

    From those very handy links,

    Mars atmosphere is ~2.5 x 10**16 kg, @950,000 ppm CO2, yes?
    Earth atmosphere is ~5 x 10**18kg, @ 400ppm CO2.

    This seems to be a very potent issue for the greenhouse advocates.
    Maybe RC can answer this one.
    RR

  51. What is patently obvious is that there are too many processes going on in the atmosphere, including daytime/nighttime effects, seasonal effects, land versus ocean effects, conduction, convection, radiation etc etc for simple explanations to answer the question. It is because “climate scientists” try to oversimplify what is a very comples process and include “back-radiation” that non-experts in thermodynamics get very confused.

    Perhaps it is the purpose of “climate scientists” to spread confusion because they do not understand it themselves.

  52. Explaining misconceptions on “The Greenhouse Effect”
    Posted on July 23, 2010 by Anthony Watts
    Guest post By Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.
    “[...]decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.”

    Wait. If a cooling rate decreases, but, as you say, the overall radiation emitted by the planet stays the same, this means that the heat transport becomes slower. This is in line with my CO2 fog argument.

    BUT, if the TRANSPORT RATE decreases, this will lead to an increase in “trapped heat” only as long as the transport rate keeps decreasing. IOW, the temperature anomaly must be the first derivative of the CO2 increase as recognized by Beenstock and Reingewertz
    (in

    http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/beenstock/Nature_Paper091209.pdf

    )
    and as predicted by Miskolczi’s theory.

    So i guess we have a new consensus here even though we approach the argument from different angles.

  53. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:40 am
    “IOW, the temperature anomaly must be the first derivative of the CO2 increase ”

    Correction : “the temperature anomaly must be the first derivative of the CO2 concentration”

    We must be nit-picky here.

  54. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.

    Some comments:
    1. The weight of the atmosphere adds heats. PV=nRT. STP indicates without “GHE” temperature is 273 K. So “GHE” can account for 15 K at most.
    2. The second law is about the increase of entropy. dS = dQ/T. You seem to be saying entropy can decrease. Please be clearer. Every exchange of a IR photon must increase entropy and thereby not allowing an increase in temperature.
    3. If you are going to use blackbody radiation then include Wein’s Law. T = 3000/micro. The absorbtion line for CO2 is 15 micro. That is a temperature of 200 K. We live is a 300 K world. Any IR absorbed by a molecule of CO2 would be at the temperature energy level of 200 K. How does this heat anything? Further, let’s be clear black body is for a two dimensional cavity. The soil, rocks, etc absorb energy down to depth which is a violation of the use of black body theory.
    4. All atmospheric gases dissipate heat. None add heat on there own. Adding CO2 in my living room will not increase the temperture as long as my heater puts out the same heat. CO2 in not an insulator.
    5. O2 or N2 that absorbed conducted heat or convected heat from the ground will not be effected by anything a CO2 molecule does having absorbed an IR photon.

    Thank you for the post.

  55. Omitted is the fact that the overwhelming greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor and not CO2.

    I do not know of any serious student of climate study refuting the fact that water vapor literally blankets the planet and keeps it warm during nighttime.

    This fact is evident whenever cloud cover at night blankets us even in colder weather.
    Everyone who is alive recognizes that fact and it has never been in any serious dispute.

    A crystal clear night cools more rapidly than a cloudy one. What is always lost on the warmest, and apparently the authors of this piece, is that CO2 remains relatively constant whether or not the night sky is cloudy or clear.

    If CO2 were a dominate greenhouse gas, then every night would remain warm regardless of cloud cover.

    Thus endeth the obvious. Why not point it out?

  56. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr: NODC Ocean heat content (OHC) data shows no sign of the effects from a rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Tropical and southern hemisphere OHC show flat to declining trends that are occassionally shifted up by multiyear La Nina events. See:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

    North Pacific OHC declined until the late 1980s, then shifted upwards with a change in the NPI. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html

    And North Atlantic OHC is impacted by AMO/AMOC, sea level pressure and ENSO. See:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

  57. Vince Causey says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:15 am
    “Good article Dr. Pielke. It is unfortunate that this needs saying at all, but I fear the infamous G&T paper has done a bit of damage to the credibility of sceptical science.”

    Not at all! It is the same argument as formulated by Prof. Claes Johnson and classical thermodynamics! It is just that we mere mortals often have a hard time following the physicists because they tend to make rather large steps in their arguments. It’s not a contradiction at all.

  58. Trouble with carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is that it requires carbon dioxide to absorb infrared radiation and thereby get warm. This simply does not happen because the infrared band of the atmosphere is saturated and no further additions of carbon dioxide to air can change the already-existing greenhouse effect. This follows from the empirical observation based on NOAA’s weather balloon database that the global average annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere has been unchanged for 61 years, with a value of 1.87. This means that constant addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for the last 61 years has not had any influence on the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared or the optical thickness would have increased. And it didn’t. See Ferenc Miskolczi E&E 21(4):243-262 (2010). His is the first determination of the actual optical thickness of the atmosphere in the IR despite the billions spent on “climate research” by “climatologists” who spew out thousands of “peer reviewed” papers every year.

  59. 1. It’s kind of sad that Pielke needs to put this kind of thing forward and that hoi polloi are/were/continue to be so wishful thinking as to believe the greenhouse effect can not exist or the like.

    2. There are a lot of good insights from nuclear reactor design that are useful in giving insights into why greenhouse effect occurs. Things like understanding heat transfer accross plates of multiple cladding content. Things like how a material may be non-absorbing of fast neutrons, but absorbing of thermal neutrons. how water can act as a “reflector” despite isotropic nature of the liquid itself, how power can remain the same, but centerline temp change as a result of gradient across the plate. Etc. etc.

  60. “The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. ”

    Whoa! Big logical leap right there. The atmosphere may on average warm up. That does NOT mean that the ground warms up.
    The absorbtion could be in the upper layers of the atmosphere leaving less energy to reach the ground. This will be particularly true if the angle of incidence of incoming radiation is such that the energy reaching the ground has had to travel through a great deal of atmosphere to reach the ground – since much of the warming of the (upper) atmosphere will in such cases occur further south.

    Imagine a duvet touching your body – the inner layers of the duvet tend to get as warm as your skin temperature but the outer layers do not, and neither do the parts of the duvet not in contact with your skin.

    And all this is before we get into the complexities of energy being absorbed by evaporation creating cloud cover and therefore less incident radiation reaching the ground, in the manner of a giant air-conditioning system.

  61. Thank Dr. Pielke,

    One of the difficulties the sceptical community has in making any headway is the large collection of nonsense that certain people insist upon. Luckily, Christy, Spenser, Lindzen, Pielke, Monkton all rightly understand that the key scientific questions is

    How much warming.

    GHGs will not cool the planet.

  62. “When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere”

    Can I just point out the CO2 is not just an absorbing gas, it is also an emitting gas.

    A gas which absorbs at a particularly frequency is also a gas which emits at that frequency (at least when that frequency is near black body temperature).

    Adding CO2 to the atmosphere therefore can also tend to make it cool down by creating a pathway for heat to be emitted by the CO2 if the CO2. This is basic physics and it is about time the cooling effects of CO2 were more widely known.

  63. Wow, this is a popular thread!

    As few are likely to connect my first post back to Juraj V insightful comment,
    I herewith try to make a self-contained post.

    What about the application of ‘greenhouse gas’ theory to Mars?

    The (thin) Martian atmosphere is >95% CO2.

    Unless I’ve blown the math, Mars atmosphere has much more (total) CO2 enveloping Mars than our Earth enjoys.

    Yet the atmospheric temperature of Mars is the same as the BlackBody temperature, at 210K.

    So, it seems that ‘greenhouse gas’ theory should apply with equal vigor to warm Mars as to more complex planets like Earth.

    Is it wrong to expect that a planet with more total CO2 than Earth would have such a negligible ‘warming’ by all of that CO2?

    Perhaps Dr. P will run the GG math on this nice clean example planet, which lacks the complexity of oceans, clouds and highly variable albedo feedbacks.
    TIA
    RR

  64. Very nice and straightforward article. Easy to understand. I’m certain that despite the clarity and scientific rigor of this and countless other articles, a certain class of skeptics will continue to spew forth their own unfounded nonsense.

  65. Steven Mosher says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:57 am
    “[...]GHGs will not cool the planet.”

    CO2 in upper atmospheric layers does cool the planet.
    “The planet’s temperature is regulated by the thin upper layers where radiation does escape easily into space. Adding more greenhouse gas there will change the balance.”
    from:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    See also:
    “Earth’s upper atmosphere cooling dramatically ”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34479085/

  66. Enneagram says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

    “Tallbloke is right. Do you prepare your breakfast with a hair dryer?”

    No, but I do put water in the freezer and after a while I get ice cubes.

  67. “By virtue of the second law of Thermodynamics, heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body”

    A minor quibble with that statement. Heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body via conduction, but it can via radiation. IR from a colder body can be absorbed by a warmer body. I don’t think that invalidates anything else in the post though.

  68. Perhaps we need to rename the “greenhouse effect” to something that is more descriptive? After all, that’s not how greenhouses work.

  69. I want to thank Richard Garnache for his very illuminating post. Do you have a website, Richard?

  70. After all these decades, how in this world can anyone talk about greenhouse anything and not be talking about water?

    We’re still trying to come up with some plausible explanation of CO2.

    A person would think, after all this time, and all the horrible things that are going to happen to us all, we might have some sort of clue.

  71. I just had to share this from another blog with you.

    DirkH Says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm
    “To see what will happen, here are some pictures of the snow catastrophy of 1978/79 in Northern Germany.
    This is what awaits many people when the winters get harder.”

    DirkH Says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    “One more word: 12 people died in Western Germany. Intense rescue efforts by the army freed most of the people lost in villages from their peril.

    In Eastern Germany, Communist at that time, the entire energy production shut down. Shortly before they had decided to use only home-grown brown coal power plants to become independent. The cold meant they were no more able to dig the humid brown coal so they had to shut off all power plants.

    How many people died in Eastern Germany was never communicated. It must have been far more than the 12 in the west – it was a country with 14 Million inhabitants under a total blackout in winter!

    So the technology of the West saved our asses. The run-down technology of the East failed spectacularly.

    The West immediately offered help. The West asked the communists what they needed; rotary hammers they said, and within 3 hours some trucks with a few hundred rotary hammers were at the border so they could hammer some brown coal out of their pits to restart energy production.

    Technology saves your ass. And only technology.”

    http://pgosselin.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/noaa-models-predict-big-arctic-deep-freeze/

  72. All climate forecasts need to take a lesson from economics. There is a Latin phrase which is used (not over used) in economics. That phrase is: Cēterīs paribus.

    Unfortunately in climatology, as in economics, one cannot hold all other things equal (constant). This is where the “rub” is. The AGW concept may be right in theory, but it will never be useful in forecasting the earth’s climate because there are so many many other factors in play. I doubt that no one really knows what all those factors are; nevermind being able to model their effects and the interplay amongst all of those factors.

    This is amongst my biggest complaints about the AGW concept (that controlling ONLY the relative amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will greatly impact Global Warming). What is also so remarkable about the AGW concept is that such an infintesimally small change in the relative amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere can have such an enormous impact on the Earth’s average temperature (assuming that anyone can accurately calculate what it is).

  73. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:22 am
    Thanks Stephen; that’s it.
    My great grandmother used a hot water bottle, now she would use instead a hot water bag. One more curious thing: She used, also, water bottles made of glass of different colors, which she put under the sun light to drink that for different ailments.

  74. The surface warming part of the ‘greenhouse effect’ is just the downard IR radiation from the atmosphere to the surface. Most of this originates in first kilometer layer above the surface. However, there is no equilibrium. The temperature of this layer is mainly set by convection from the surface. The idea that CO2 can cause any kind of climate change is incorrect.
    The surface heating is dynamic. The daily heat load hitting the surface can be up to 30 MJ/day – varying continuously during the day. At night the cooling is between about zero and 360 kJ per hour depending on humidity and cloud cover. Over the last 200 years the 100 ppm increase in CO2 has produced an increase in downard ‘clear sky’ LWIR flux of 1.7 W.m-2. That is 6 kJ/hour or 0.15 MJ perday. Add this to the rest of the surface surface flux and it is buried in the noise. The surface flux is also coupled into the surface and heats the ground down to about 1 meter.

    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A 100 PPM INCREASE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATION TO CAUSE ANY KIND OF CLIMATE CHANGE

    There is no CO2 ‘signature’ in the meteorological surface air temperature (MSAT) record. This has been created from the ocean surface temperature changes along the path of the weather systems that show up in the MSAT. In the US it is just the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The hockey stick itself is not the major fraud. It is the use of the hockey stick to ‘calibrate’ the climate simulations that is the real fraud. The climate results are then used to perpetuate the rest of the ‘environmental disaster’ fraud. The increases in ocean surface temperatures from about 1960 onwards have been reprocessed into a ‘CO2 signature’ in the meteorlogical surface temperature record. The ocean surface temerpatures are now cooling so the fraud is finally being revealed. The oceans won’t ‘hide the decline’.

    For more info go to Energy and Environment 21(4) 171-200 (2010) ‘A Null Hypotheisis for CO2′

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/9p72043270187318/?p=186148f7bd6a4c1681163d19daa8aea0&pi=2

    [Paywall, unfortunately - if WUWT sends me an e-mail address I can send a copy of the paper]

  75. The altitude of a CO2 molecule makes a difference. The higher up it is, the larger percentage of re-radiated LW goes out into space due to the curvature of the Earth.

    This shows what happens.

  76. Green house effect is not a source of energy; if it warms the surface, something else must cool; the cooling of the stratosphere can give an idea of how much the surface must warm, or how much heat is in the pipe (oceans)

  77. With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere.

    I have problems with this. You cannot absorbed more energy than is available to the receptive molecule. Perhaps Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr would like to quantify the amount of surface
    emitted LWR that CO2 is receptive to that escapes directly into open space.

  78. A greenhouse effect and a green house gas are different things. Greenhouse effect is caused by the fact that glass is semi-transparent to IR in both directions which causes IR to be trapped on the side away from the primary IR source. Thus the inside of a greenhouse (glass house) then becomes warmer.

    A greenhouse gas which is often pumped into a greenhouse is CO2. This is done by commercial growers to increase plant growth (yields), not because it warms but because it feeds the plants by making the scarce CO2 more readily available for photosynthesis.

    CO2 increases in temperature when exposed to sunlight. It does this by absorbing IR. This is neither due to a greenhouse effect nor is it a greenhouse gas when it is not in a greenhouse.

    Can we drop the ‘greenhouse’ as either an adjective or adverb and find word(s) which correctly describe the phenomenon of its IR absorption properties and its effect on the atmosphere then planet in that order. The search for the correct descriptives may assist in critical thinking about the subject which is demonstrably sadly lacking in some quarters.

  79. Monckton says:

    “whether attempting to mitigate future “global warming” will make any real difference to the climate (it won’t: remember Canute), whether the cost of forestalling each degree of “global warming” will be disproportionate to the climatic benefit (it will), and whether focused adaptation to any change in the climate, where and if necessary, will be orders of magnitude cheaper than trying to prevent that change from occurring in the first place (yes).”

    If some of the ice core data is correct, co2 and methane started increasing about 6 or 8 thousand years ago, about when men, due to a more beneficial climate, crawled out of their caves and began to farm and icrease their population. Can’t quote the study, but it was in “Scientific American” years ago when I still subscribed to that rag. The chart actually picked up the drop in c02 and methane that occured about the time of the two great plagues which substantially reduced populations around 450? and 1450? AD. Makes sense given what we do to warm ourselves (build fires), irrigate crops (rotting vegetation), raise livestock which defecate, as do we, etc. It would appear from that analysis that the only real reductions in these gasses which we could cause would require drastic depopulation of our planet. Of course I am doing what I hate here by implying cause and effect from a simple Algore type of chart.

    As far as the cost of any potential change in our production of greenhouse gasses, I totally agree with your comments. Not going to the extreme of drastic population reduction, there will be little effect by other actions and significant socio-economic negative impacts as a result. We must, after all, continue to heat and eat. One can see it coming here with the various carbon tax schemes being planned by the US federal government which all will be detrimental to our economy and way of life while giving more control to the government. But that is the real goal in our particular situation.

  80. Enneagram says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

    There is no such a thing as the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 like the window panes in a greenhouse, but …the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.

    ———————
    This is, of course absolutely, correct if you are considering a planet with an atmosphere a single molecule thick. In an atmosphere two molecules thick, the number of holes would be 10000*0.9962^2 = 9924. Now consider how many holes there would be in an atmosphere only a million molecules thick (<<1mm). (10000*0.99962^1000000

  81. PTCO.

    It’s more than sad that people continue to fight against the basic physics. Physics that working engineers understand and use on a daily basis. The problem is this: The warmists have been very successful in lumping those of us who understand how GHGs work to warm the lower portion of the atmosphere, with those who deny this fundamental physics. They lump those who deny the science of GHGs with those who question the accuracy and completeness of our understanding of sensitivity.

    GHGs will not cool the planet. There no science to suggest they will. C02 will warm the planet, up to limit. That limit has not been reached and the questions are:
    1. how fast will we reach that limit
    2. will it be damaging
    3. Can and should we do anything about it.

  82. Anthony,
    you should read this article:
    “[b] Falsi fication Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse E ffects Within The Frame Of Physics[/b]”

    [b]Abstract[/b]:
    The atmospheric greenhouse e ffect, an idea that many authors trace back to the
    traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which
    is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in
    which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is
    radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. Ac-
    cording to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist.
    Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary
    literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a rm sci-
    enti c foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying
    physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws
    between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric green-
    house eff ects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature
    of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 C is a meaningless number
    calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the
    assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction
    must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.
    Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Modern Physics
    B, Vol. 23, No. 3

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0707/0707.1161v4.pdf

  83. Good article. Second time I read it today. I’ve always accepted the greenhouse effect because it just seems intuitive. However I have recently been reading some of the work by some of those who are skeptical of the greenhouse effect theory and they make compelling arguments.

    So let’s just assume the greenhouse effect is real and it is responsible for the planet being about 33 degrees K warmer than it would be without it. If water is responsible for 95% of the effect, does that suggest that all the remaining GHGs are responsible for only about 1.6 degrees K of the total effect? I suppose this is the central question. Just how much warming (or reduced cooling) is likely to result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration? As I understand it, a doubling would theoretically result in about 1.2 degrees K of apparent warming. Is this even significant?

  84. An excellent article. It is not an easy thing to make the complicated understandable.

    The absorption of radiant heat in the atmosphere was studied in detail long before climate scientists began getting involved. As an example, those who question Dr. Pielke’s explanation must explain why it is that blast furnace calculations work. These too account for the amount of heat absorbed by the atmosphere and the subsequent increase in temperature of the atmosphere.

    The blast furnace calculations for radiant heat transfer are identical in form to those used to estimate the absorbance of radiant heat in climate research. Climate science is not the only area where these calculations are performed. In other areas, there is little disagreement with Hansen / Ramanathan.

    My only issue is that in other areas, the impact of CO2 is asymptotic, parallel to the x axis to a line at about 500 bar.cm with nearly 0 increase after 100 bar.cm. (See “Heat Transfer Handbook, Bejan And Kraus, Pg 618). Using the methods taught me, I come up with a curve nearly identical to F=5.35ln[CO2], diverging at about 100 ppm CO2 and basically F=0 after 200 ppm CO2.

  85. The graphic accompanying the article is not helpful to those of us who need education because it does not show the relevant mechanisms. Could someone please post a graphic that covers the molecular level, sort of a “Radiation’s Quest for Space” graphic that shows radiation leaving the cooling black asphalt and all the adventures it might have, especially encounters with CO2 molecules, as it heads for space?

  86. There’s a basic physics’ problem. To state “The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up.” is only correct if the extra CO2/CH4 etc. does not trigger a reduction of water vapour concentration. The evidence here [ http://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B74u5vgGLaWoNDFjODAwMWMtNmNmYS00NDhmLWI3NjItMTE0NGMwNWMxYjQ2&sort=name&layout=list&num=50 {sorry, needs Google Mail account to read}] indicates that over the past c. 60 years, as CO2 has increased, the water average vapour concentration in the atmosphere has decreased. So, whilst the land/water/lower atmosphere have warmed, there has been no apparent change of the integrated atmospheric IR absorption properties. If true, this indicates that the extra CO2 has not caused the warming so the latter may have been due to a natural process(es).

    The above paper by ex-NASA scientist Miskolczi should be read in conjunction with his 2006 paper which suggests a thermodynamic equilibrium argument for this control mechanism. If true, it indicates a Gaia-type mechanism with an interaction between the IR adsorption column properties, the transport of latent heat upwards, liquid/solid water downwards.

    So, no argument about higher temperatures, just be careful about the claim that this is firm evidence of global warming!

  87. “”” Jeff says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:20 am
    slowing down the cooling of an object cannot cause it temperature to rise … THAT would violate the 2nd law … “””

    Jeff, if only you knew just how much, a statement such as you just made lowers YOUR credibility (as to knowledge of thermo-dynamics.)

    Let us take as the (your) “object” a small spherical “Blackbody”; might as well make it the size of a tennis ball, say about 5 cm diameter. I choose a “blackbody”, simply because you did not exclude it from your “object” category; and other than that it is a simple thing to understand. In the end though, it matters not that I choose a blackbody. And since we are doing this; stick in the sand wise, I will also make the body to have infinite thermal conductivity; well very high anyway; and it is a thin shell like a ping pong ball so that it is of very low mass and heat capacity.

    So we put our ball out in space in earth’s orbital position (from the sun) to soak up solar radiation at 1366 W/m^2 of intercept are exposed to the sun. All that incident energy gets absorbed; and since the ball is highly thermally conductive; it spreads uniformly throughout the ball, so the Temperature of the ball is the same all over the surface. BB radiation theory tells us that the ball will radiate uniformly (W/m^2) from all over the surface, as soon as its Temperature moves above zero Kelvins (absolute zero). With this loss of energy through radiation, the rate of increase of temperature with the incoming solar radiation, will slow down, since the energy arrives from the sun at a constant 1366 W/m^2, but leaves at a sigma.T^4 W/m^2 rate based on the Temperature. Since the total surface area of our uniform Temperature ball is four times the intercept area collecting solar energy, the uniform rate of energy loss from the ball, cannot exceed 1366/4 or 341.5 W/m^2 (Trenberth uses 342).
    We know from our compendium of useless facts that must be remebered; that at 288 K; the mean earth Temperature; the rate of black body radiation is 390 W/m^2. So we are less than that. 0.875641 of that to be more specific; and we know from BB theory that that number varies as T^4.
    So 4th root of 0.875641 is 0.967345, and we multiply that by the 288 Kelvins of earth Temperature and we get 278. 6 Kelvins, or about 5.45 deg C.
    Well our authors above said 255 Kelvins; but they don’t have a black body; theirs has an albedo equal to Earth’s, and that is what lowers us to 255 K.

    Ok so far so good. I deliberaterly chose a low thermal mass ping pong like ball so that it heats and cools very rapidly; if I make it thin enough it would change temperature in milliseconds or less, adjusting its Temperature so that incoming energy RATE always equals outgoing energy RATE (Watts).

    Now you have declared that the cooling rate does not change the Temperature. Well specifically you said “”” slowing down the cooling of an object cannot cause it temperature to rise “””

    So now I want to modify our ball to “slow down its cooling rate.” Well just to see if you are correct.

    I’m not going to add an atmosphere to our ball; that just complicates things with hurricanes; and tornadoes and things.

    So now I am going to fill our nearly massless ping pong ball with lead to increase its mass by a huge amount, and with a material that isn’t too great a thermal conductor either (for a metal).

    Now a Maxwell’s Demon sitting on the surface of the sun looking at our new ball, is not going to “see” ANY difference in the appearance of the ball; but its gravimeter is going to detect that the gravitation pull of our modified ball on the sun has increased by a huge factor so it does know the ball is different; but not in external visual appearance.

    Now the radiation impinging on our heavy ball is still totally absorbed; but now the ball is not infinitely thermally conductive, so the rate at which heat travels through the ball to the unradiated isde slows down as most of the heat has to propagate through the lead core, which isn’t such a great conductor.

    Now notice that the thermal black body radiation being emitted from the surface of the ball, encounters NO impediment of any kind; it simply leaves as before, but the presence of the lead core slows down the rate that heat is moved from the sun side to the night side, which slows the rate at which the sun side can cool.

    Since the night side can only radiate energy that comes to it from the sun side, by conduction through the ball, that heat can only flow, if there is a Temperature gradient through the ball to drive the heat. It is quite like Voltage across a Resistor driving a current through the resistor. No Voltage difference; no current flow.

    So our ball can no longer be isothermal like it used to be. The sun side must get hotter since heat is arriving faster than it is being radiated (1366 W/m^2 in and 341.5 out) to that extra 1022.5 W/m^2 has to travel through the ball to get radiated from the rest of the surface.

    The sun side Temperature increases above 278 K setting up a temperature gradient which starts to drive heat through the ball; but the night side must cool down since it waqs also radiating at 341.5 W/m^2; but we have slowed down the rate of supplu of that energy from the sun side, so the night side temeprature must fall, as well as the sun side heating up; and all this happened simply because we slowed down the rate of heat flow.
    Eventually the situation will stabilize; with the sun side somewhat hotter than 278 K, and the night side somewhat cooler than 278 K and the Temperature difference is driving 1022.5 W/m^2 through the ball to other parts (on average).

    Since the rate of loss of energy goes as T^4; so it is non-linear with temperature, the colder parts of the ball, are not doing their fair share of cooling, and the hotter parts are being overworked, and if we average the Temperature all over the ball surface that average will ALWAYS be hgher than the original case of an isothermal ball at 278 K all over.

    Now I didn’t put any atmospheric impediment in the way of energy loss from the surface; I simply slowed down the rate at which that energy can be lossed; in this case by raising the thermal mass and hence thermal time constant of the ball.

    We have such a ball in the solar system. The Planet Mercury keeps one face facing the sun almost all the time; and it isn’t highly thermally conductive, and has no impeding atmosphere and the sun side is much hotter than the night side.

    You get into real trouble trying to apply Second Law concepts to Electromagnetic Radiation. EM radiation IS energy; but it is NOT HEAT; and the second law applies to HEAT transport; NOT energy transport.

    A photon emitted from some interstellar molecule at a Temperature of say 3 Kelvins; the background Temperature, can easily impinge on the surface of the sun and be absorbed; or for that matter on the surface of some Neutron star at some totally enormous Temperature. Photons don’t know ANYTHING about Temperature; they can come from anywhere and go anywhere without impediment.

  88. Well, hold on. A planet without an atmosphere would be at a certain surface temperature defined by surface albedo and stephan-botlzmann’s law. Would the surface temperature of that planet be the same with a massive atmosphere that was completely transparent to all radiation? No, because the atmosphere would still affect the temperature of the planet through conduction and convection, to the point thatthe same radiative balance would exist at the top of the atmosphere, the surface being at a higher temperature than without an atmosphere, due to the physics of the lapse rate.

    Remember, this test assumes an atmosphere completely radiativeely transparent to all wavelengths, but allows for convection and conduction.

    My point is, radiative processes are not the only ones governing the temperature of the plane. Conduction and, especially, convection and evaporation, are not understood, complex and ignored.

  89. I’m not a fan of (too) simple models of the type presented here.

    It is no easier for lay persons to understand this type of model than it is for them to understand ones that are considerably closer to the reality (Mother Gaia’s model).

    The idea that somewhere in the earth’s atmosphere there is a layer that has some “effective Temeprature” and from that layer ALL of the radiation of the planet is emitted to space in some black body like radiation spectrum at that characteristic Temperature; is quite incorrect; and quite misleading to the lay reader.

    YES the earth’s atmosphere at ALL levels is emitting a thermal radiation spectrum IN ALL DIRECTIONS; and some of that returns to earth which DELAYS its loss to space (but DOESN’T prevent it); and some of it is directly lost to space. Some of it also is RE-ABSORBED by other atmospheric layers (and their GHG molecules).

    The earth’s surface itself (solid and liquid) is a majort source of thermal EM radiation with a spectrum that is characteristic of the surface temeprature (principally); and a good deal of that radiation goes right through the atmosphere unimpeded to be lost to space with a spectrum characteristic of the surface temeprature of that particular surface element.

    As a result; the earth’s external emission spectrum is not a simple Black Body spectrum of an isothermal body at 288 K or any other single Temperature.

    But other than that, I’m supportive of the authors. The Second Law of Thermodynamis is a dog that won’t hunt in this field; and the “Greenhouse” effect; as well understood in climate science as opposed to agriculture IS A VERY REAL EFFECT.

    The important point is that although the greenhouse effect is real, and does raise earth’s temperature above some BB theoretical equilibrium Temperature; THAT IS NOT WHAT IS CONTROLLING THE EARTH’S TEMPERATURE RANGE !!!

    HEY ! IT’S THE WATER !!! (ever heard of clouds ?)

  90. PS I have also been working on the validity of the claim in many of the IPCC models that high AGW/high feedback has so far been partially masked by man-made cooling via aerosols decreasing cloud droplet size thereby increasing albedo. This greatly worries the modellers because of the uncertainties of cloud physics although the direct aerosol effect has been verified by Mt. Pinatubo.

    The problem is the cloud theory [Twomey 1974] uses a very simplistic approximation to the physics. Whilst it does successfully predict increased albedo for thin clouds with smaller droplets [e.g. ship's track clouds], it cannot apply to thick clouds. Also, if you think about it, once the light entering a cloud becomes fully diffuse, the maximum albedo is 0.5; 0.7 is common, I’ve seen 0.9 quoted, there’s an unpredicted angular dependence and no apparent difference of albedo between thick polluted and thick unpolluted clouds.

    So, there’s probably another optical process giving enhanced back-scattering at the tops of clouds: I think I’ve worked out why but the maths is horrific. No man-made cooling from polluted clouds means either the assumptions about AGW in the models are wrong, they’ve been wrongly calibrated, or both. I prefer the combination.

  91. Steven Mosher says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:50 am
    (…)
    GHGs will not cool the planet. There no science to suggest they will. C02 will warm the planet, up to limit. That limit has not been reached and the questions are:
    1. how fast will we reach that limit
    2. will it be damaging
    3. Can and should we do anything about it.
    ———————Reply:
    It gets far more complicated than that. First you must defend your term “damaging”. Many (like myself) see far more benefits to an increase in CO2 than the problems, hence one might argue that “damaging” is an unfortunate choice of words; perhaps switch #2 with the statement “What will be the impacts, if any”. Then it gets even worse (if that’s possible), since your #3 gets to the truly messy part of balancing interests regarding a subject for which there is precious little concensus.

    What may be of great interest (and a source of substantial grant funding) to a scientist may be conveyed as horribly unsettling by someone ideologically driven for political purposes yet, if left alone, could be beneficial with an overall improvement in society as a whole. Everybody with an opinion needs to be asked simply: “What is your vested interest?”

  92. “Patrik says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:06 am
    How much of the 33 k is due to clouds?”

    A good question but even more to the point how much of that 33K is due to liquid water oceans.

    The air even in it’s entirety could well be a total irrelevance in comparison.

  93. Dr David says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:29 am

    How much of the 33 degrees is due to heat escaping from the Earth’s core and tidal forces?

    It’s not necessary to calculate this as we are talking about climate variables and not energy constance.

  94. Dr Pielke,

    Has anyone looked at the spectra of C02, and the spectrum of IR radiated toward space from earth’s surface, and quantified how much IR is even available to CO2? If CO2 is in trace concentrations, what becomes the probability that this IR from earth’s surface will find a CO2 molecule to energize, and then, even if ALL of it were captured by CO2, what percentage of total re-radiated IR could this even contribute, given those bands of absorption peculiar to CO2? Would not any single humid day be orders of magnitude greater? And after C02 kinetically hands off that energy to water vapor, what mechanism is to prohibit higher energy water vapor from rising and COOLING further?

  95. Steven Mosher said:

    “C02 will warm the planet, up to limit. That limit has not been reached and the questions are:
    1. how fast will we reach that limit
    2. will it be damaging
    3. Can and should we do anything about it.

    ______________

    Best repsonse to this thread that I’ve seen.

  96. Robert of Ottawa:

    Would the surface temperature of that planet be the same with a massive atmosphere that was completely transparent to all radiation? No, because the atmosphere would still affect the temperature of the planet through conduction and convection, to the point thatthe same radiative balance would exist at the top of the atmosphere, the surface being at a higher temperature than without an atmosphere, due to the physics of the lapse rate.

    Not quite. If the atmosphere was completely transparent to all radiation then the surface would be the (main) effective radiating surface, not the TOA. The surface temperature would actually be a bit lower than it would be if there were no atmosphere, as some of the energy from the surface would go into warming the atmosphere through conduction and convection, but the total energy radiated by the surface plus the whole of the atmosphere (not just the TOA) would equal the incoming energy at equilibrium.
    The atmosphere would still be warmer at the bottom than at the top, due to the lapse rate, but it would still be a lot colder than would be the case if greenhouse gases were present.

  97. Surely to goodness this can be measured? On a clear night, let’s see the radiation profiles. Lets cover some of the ground and see how different the radiation is. If there is scattered longwave IR running around in the atmosphere, it can be measured, can’t it? How hard could it be to prove this once and for all? By experiment. Not only the right way, but the only right way. What does the theory predict? Can we observe it?

  98. the two dominant climatic forces and the effect they have on climate, despite there being a large amount of research on them are: oceans and clouds/water vapour, which comprise 98% of the climate, (Oceans have over 1000 times more ability to retain shortwave heat than air does longwave, and a much greater heat capacity, and 70% of the earth surface is ocean) and then go onto make pronouncements about what it will be like in years to come. However, vapour overlaps c02 by a magnitude of 100 times, in quantity, and over three times in its spectral bandwidth, (300 times the ghg as c02) so a change in cloud or vapour of 1%, which is very common, is the equivalent of a change in c02 of several hundred ppm. IE. It swamps the entire “effect” of c02, and can be a negative “feedback”. Re-radiated longwave radiation doesn’t penetrate oceans, as it takes a great amount of energy to heat them by 1C. Far more so than solid mass and air. Water is penetrated to depths of 100 metres or more by incoming solar energy in the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths but is not penetrated by infrared (longwave) wavelengths.

    One notices at the beach that when the sand and paving is hot, water waves are still cool. That means no amount of greenhouse effect can cause either thermal expansion of water, or water vapour “feedback”. Certainly, since c02 intercepts heat at 15 microns, then re=emits it in less than a billionth of a second, to oxygen and nitrogen, when its saturation window closes. This wavelength on the spectroscopic band is already in the subzero region. In other words, the energy absorbed by c02 is dependent on freezing regions, such as Antarctica. Normal IR radiation leaving the earth is around 10 microns, 0r 7-14, incidentaly at the bandwidths where water vapour intervenes which co-incides with an average 288k (15C), and which is invisible to c02. That leaves very little energy for c02 to delay – around 3-4% of subzero energy. It is so miniscule that the effect cannot, and has not been measured. In tropical deserts where temps are 45C plus, radiation leaves at 8.5 microns, which puts it even further out of the c02 micron band.

    So c02 absorbtion is a rare event in the atmosphere. Its also forgotten that most heat leaves by convection and evaporation, and not from re-radiation.

    the only way that global warming via ghg’s (lets take only c02)could be justified would be by Boyle’s law, or the ideal gas law. However, temperature change through air pressure depends on a closed system – if the atmosphere gains more density it expands, than increasing partial pressure – the so called Iris effect. Given the limited spectroscopic bands of c02 on the other hand, an argument can’t be developed for c02 increasing the temperature or retaining heat. In the mid to upper troposphere where it goes to from -20-45C, or 228K, that does coincide with heat absorbtion from c02. However, there is no physical mechanism by which such mid tropospheric subzero temperatures can send heat back to earth, as temperature falls with altitude. (The notion indeed violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics)

  99. the fritz says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:30 am
    Green house effect is not a source of energy; if it warms the surface, something else must cool
    __________

    This is the worst response I’ve seen to this thread.

    No one is talking about the the GH properties of CO2 and other GH gases as being “sources” of energy. The primary (but not only) source of energy on earth is the sun. It is the sun that loses energy that is received by earth, but the net energy of the system (sun-earth) of course stays the same, however, the total entropy of the solar system increases as useful energy is lost.

    Ultimately of course, the source of all energy in our region of the universe is gravity, for without it, we’d be just another cold region like the majority of the universe where not much (in fact nothing at all) exciting happens.

  100. Robert,

    the atmosphere would still affect the temperature of the planet through conduction and convection, to the point that the same radiative balance would exist at the top of the atmosphere, the surface being at a higher temperature than without an atmosphere, due to the physics of the lapse rate.

    I think you’re incorrectly assuming that this atmosphere which is transparent to all radiation could still emit radiation. This is a contradiction. If it can emit LWIR then it must also absorb LWIR. Which brings up something I’ve asked about a few times without getting an answer. I assume that if molecules like O2 and N2 were to interact in a collision, there’s a small possibility they could emit IR (or absorb it). The reason that O2 and N2 don’t normally absorb or emit IR is that they’re symmetric molecules and thus can’t interact with an electromagnetic field. But while they’re in the process of collision, there will be some asymmetry set up which could lead to emission. The question is just how likely this is? My guess is that it’d be quite rare since the interaction time would be much quicker than the average time it takes for a quantum of IR to be emitted from a GHG (for instance). But the math to do the calculation is likely to be quite hairy and beyond my abilities. But surely there’s someone here who’s a wizz at QM who could solve the problem?

  101. The Moon is without an atmosphere. It’s daytime temperature is around 400K (+/-) and it’s night time temperature is about 120K (+/-). So how does one arrive at a temperatiwhere does the 255K temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere. Actually this would be really cool sine the oceans would freeze during the night and boil during the day. Nice model.

  102. I want to thank Anthony, Ben Herman, and Dr. Pielke for this post. It has increased my knowledge of the popularly named “greenhouse effect”.

    I believe, however, that lacking from this discussion are formal definitions of “a greenhouse gas” and “the greenhouse effect” Without such formal definitions, there is little common ground for discussion. For you electrical engineers, it’s kind of like discussing Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) without a formal definition of “Signal Power” and/or the bandwidth in which the “Noise Power” is defined.

    Therefore, I request that Ben Herman and Dr. Pielke provide formal definitions of these entities. Something like:

    A greenhouse gas is a gas whose molecular electron structure is such that (a) it possesses electron energy states whose energy difference is in the IR band, and (b) when excited from a lower energy state to a higher energy state by an IR photon, a portion of the stored energy when released will be transformed into thermal energy of the molecule and/or the surrounding gas molecules.

    For a body whose rate of thermal energy input is fixed, the greenhouse effect is the phenomenon by which a greenhouse gas solely by virtue of its ability to transduce IR photon energy into molecular thermal energy will induce a rise in the temperature of the gas surrounding the body.

    I make no claim that the above are valid definitions. They are meant only to be examples. But before I can decide if the “greenhouse effect” is real or figment of the imagination, I need explicit definitions of these two entities.

  103. The statement that taking away the atmosphere and calculating the expected temperature keeping the albedo the same is nonsense. Most of the albedo effect is the result of the oceans and the atmosphere. Without the atmosphere there can be no ocean and without them the earth would look like the moon with an albedo in the range of 10-12 percent. If you then calculate the expected equilibrium temperature you will get something about 273-278 degrees Kelvin. Thus the “greenhouse effect of 33 degrees” is utterly false. The best that can be said is that the ocean-atmosphere system causes the earth to be 5-10 degrees warmer that it would otherwise be. The term greenhouse is also a nonsense as no greenhouse works in the way suggested by the proponents of the term.

  104. If those who oppose the greenhouse theory are right, then we not only must reinvent climate theory, but meteorology itself. On a clear calm night, temperatures drop rapidly at the surface boundary layer as IR heat radiates into space. On a calm cloudy night, the temperatures drop more slowly because that IR heat is re-radiated downward by water droplets in the clouds.

    Now apply this concept to daytime heating: Greenhouse gases don’t add heat, but retard its loss by reradiating. During the day the ground temperature may easily exceed 100F in the summer while the air temperature may only 75F. We rely on radiation and convection to transport this heat away from the surface. Additional greenhouse gases will retard surface cooling (though ever so slightly in my view) causing the air temperature to be closer to the ground temperature. So the surface air temperature increases without adding any heat to the system. All the heat needed to do the job is already present.

  105. “The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. ”

    crazy. backwards.

    improve the heat capacity of a convective heat exchange system and you increase efficiency.

    2 words:
    phase change

  106. I’ve got problems with all of this.
    What follows is a question and not a statement;

    CO² 0.04%

    H²O 5%

    They both absorp at the same hµ (approx). H²o dominates and as a probability must absorp 100 times more IR ?
    When a mole absorps it raises its’ instability and wants to reradiate the energy and return to the ground state a.s.a.p. This reradiation is never uni-directional? Why would it radiate in a downward direction ?

    The reradiated energy is at the same hµ (nu) as the absorped unless some form energy conversion has occured (conservation of energy law)? so will be absorped by another mole at ground state.? If the other moles are already at the higher quantum level, it will radiate to space?

  107. Bill DiPuccio says:

    You are of course correct. The problem with the greenhouse theory is that the planet is not a greenhouse. The greenhouse theory just is no applicable. The big question is what happens to the energy absorped by a CO² molecule in a system as complex as this planet (not just the atmos).

  108. RockyRoad:

    First you must defend your term “damaging”

    I guess you must have missed the preceding bit which said:

    …and the questions are:

    (my bold)

  109. Reed Coray says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

    An intelligent question. The more you try to make a precise mechanistic definition of a “greenhouse gas”, the clearer one will see the holes in the hypothesis, what seemed intuitively simple proves more complex and elusive.

  110. Dear Ben and Roger,

    In principle, your article is correct.

    However.

    1. It is unclear why you should compare the <> temperature of the Earth with and without atmosphere and claim this should be the “greenhouse effect”. Most of the Earth albedo results from clouds. So, you <> compare the temperature somewhere around clouds. And it is around 233 K, as it should be according to the albedo!

    2. The temperature below the clouds (actually in the whole troposphere) is simply the adiabate. The higher pressure = higher temperature. Nothing with “greenhouse”.

    3. If you descent down into a deep shaft, you know the temperature increases. Do you think this is “greenhouse effect”, or may be, rather the adiabatic temperature lapse?

    One must be very careful with the so called “greenhouse”.
    Your tried explanation is too naive!

  111. R. Gates says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:44 am
    the fritz says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:30 am
    Green house effect is not a source of energy; if it warms the surface, something else must cool
    __________

    This is the worst response I’ve seen to this thread.

    Climate is a zero sum game – didn’t you read the memo?

  112. Bill DiPuccio>> You use clouds as observational evidence for the validity of the GHG theory, but your example actually reinforces the notion that GHG:s are poor isolators compared to for example clouds.
    The air humidity can be identical on the two nights you mention, but the one with clouds will always be the warmest – by far…

  113. R. Gates says:

    Another of your cracked replies courtesy of the Gavin Schidt school of answers.

    Gravity does not generate energy. Energy cannot be made or destroyed einstein.
    Sure, gravity is a force which creates the conditions for the creation of stars and the nuclear energy in those stars is started by the force of gravity compressing the gases.

  114. RuhRoh says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:35 am
    Mr. Juraj V;

    Are you saying there is more CO2 on Mars than on Earth, yet there is no discernible ‘greenhouse warming’ on Mars? Yikes!

    From those very handy links,

    Mars atmosphere is ~2.5 x 10**16 kg, @950,000 ppm CO2, yes?
    Earth atmosphere is ~5 x 10**18kg, @ 400ppm CO2.

    This seems to be a very potent issue for the greenhouse advocates.
    Maybe RC can answer this one.

    No need to go there, the absorption of CO2 (or any absorber) depends on it’s temperature, concentration and pressure. On Mars the absorption lines of CO2 are very narrow ( a bit like a picket fence with relatively large gaps) whereas the conditions on Earth broaden the lines (so the gaps in the fence narrow). This means that the same mass of CO2 is more effective absorber on Earth. I have compared the partial spectra below at the respective surface conditions.

  115. P Wilson says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:43 am
    the two dominant climatic forces and the effect they have on climate, despite there being a large amount of research on them are: oceans and clouds/water vapour, which comprise 98% of the climate

    Which aspect of climate ??

  116. In reply to Cedarhill, the effective radiating temperature of the Earth is the temperature that prevails at what is called the characteristic-emission altitude, defined as the altitude (varying with latitude) at which the ingoing and outgoing fluxes are equal. If we remove the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere, and retain only the lithosphere, also artificially retaining today’s Earth albedo, then the mean characteristic-emission temperature will be as follows:

    [(S/4)(1-a)/s]^(1/4) = 255 K,

    where S = 1368 W/m2 is the total incoming solar radiation, which is divided by 4 to allow for the ratio of the surface area of the disk presented to the Sun’s rays by the Earth and the surface area of the rotating sphere; a = 0.3 is the albedo, artificially held at today’s value; and s = 5.67 x 10^(-8) is the Stefan-Boltzmann scaling constant.

    The effective radiating temperature of the Earth today is of course exactly the same, but the characteristic-emission altitude is no longer at the surface but several miles up, and the surface is some 33 K warmer than the characteristic-emission altitude.

    To calculate the mean surface temperature of the lithosphere without artificially pretending that clouds and ice are still present, halve the albedo to 0.15, about the same as that of Mars today. Then the true surface temperature of the naked lithosphere today would be 268 K, or around 20 K cooler than today’s measured mean surface temperature. Hope this helps.

  117. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.

    This implies that the presence of the atmosphere causes 33 degrees of warming, but it doesn’t imply that IR absorbing gases are responsible for all (or any) of the 33 degrees.

    The atmosphere of Mars contains about 12 times as much CO2 compared to Earth’s atmosphere and there is very little atmospheric warming on Mars. The amount of warming seems more related to the total amount of atmospheric gas and hence pressure.

    Mars=low pressure, low warming
    Earth=moderate pressure, moderate warming
    Venus=very high pressure, very high warming

  118. P Wilson,

    “In tropical deserts where temps are 45C plus, radiation leaves at 8.5 microns, which puts it even further out of the c02 micron band.”

    This is incorrect, the peak may be at 8.5 microns, but the radiation is emmitted in a wide band which does indeed incompass the absorption bands of CO2.

  119. “When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface…

    Poorly put. This seems to repeat the original canard of heat flowing from cold to hot, as opposed to a reduction in heat loss rate from hot to cold.

  120. stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm
    R. Gates says:

    Another of your cracked replies courtesy of the Gavin Schmidt school of answers.

    Gravity does not generate energy. Energy cannot be made or destroyed einstein.
    Sure, gravity is a force which creates the conditions for the creation of stars and the nuclear energy in those stars is started by the force of gravity compressing the gases.

    E=mc² not F.r²/m1.m2

  121. @ Read Coray 11:56am
    Please see my post at 10:34. The terms Greenhouse Effect & Greenhouse Gas have meanings and definitions other than those now generally used. The terms have been hijacked because of their ability to convey a message and at the same time, convey it in a perjorative way. We need terms for the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere that convey the true meaning of those effects & ‘Greenhouse Anything’ just does not do that.

  122. I think physics major is on to something!

    “The atmosphere of Mars contains about 12 times as much CO2 compared to Earth’s atmosphere and there is very little atmospheric warming on Mars. The amount of warming seems more related to the total amount of atmospheric gas and hence pressure.

    Mars=low pressure, low warming
    Earth=moderate pressure, moderate warming
    Venus=very high pressure, very high warming”

    Maybe it is pressure broadening of the CO2 absorption bands?

  123. Reed Coray says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:56 am
    I want to thank Anthony, Ben Herman, and Dr. Pielke for this post. It has increased my knowledge of the popularly named “greenhouse effect”.

    I believe, however, that lacking from this discussion are formal definitions of “a greenhouse gas” and “the greenhouse effect” Without such formal definitions, there is little common ground for discussion.

    Such molecules need to have bonds which can be made to vibrate or rotate by absorbing light. To do that they need a permanent dipole, i.e. a different atom at each end of the bond. (this is a simplification but as reasonable one)
    This means O2 and N2, the vast majority of the atmosphere can not do this. (This is where the trace gas argument breaks down, in a dry atmosphere CO2 and O3 contribute all of the absorption, thus a spacecraft approaching a desert Earth looking at the emission spectrum would to a first approximation see an atmosphere entirely composed of CO2 and O3). At first glance you’d think that O3 couldn’t absorb, but it’s a bent molecule and does possess a dipole. Most of the ‘greenhouse gases’ in the Earth’s atmosphere are triatomic or larger i.e. CH4.

  124. I can’t see any text by way of explanation on my computer, only the graphic on this site and the link to thye other blog page. That page just links back to this with no text. What gives?? Where is the article?? It seems to have gone missing on my computer.

  125. Alas, very superficial and not well done.

    I recommend:

    Heat Transfer by Infrared Radiation In the Atmosphere: Walter Elsasser, Harvard Meteorology Studies, 5-8, 1948 Pages 1-107.

    Pay particular attention to page 23, discussing his general radiation chart for the Troposphere Dr. Elsasser says:

    “It may be noted that since the flux in the carbon dioxide band is EQUAL, at any level, to a definite fraction of the black body radiation corresponding to the temperature of that level in BOTH the upward and downward directions, the RESULTANT flux of the CO2 vanishes in the approximation of the chart. This is a fair approximation to the truth in the lower atmosphere (for the upper atmosphere, see Section 12).”

    Section 12, as with Plass, et.al, in 1955, notes the CO2 to be a net “upflux” agent in the stratosphere.

    I would like to know how the basic physics changed since 1942.

    Yours, stubbornly insistent on resolution…

    Max Hugoson

  126. R. Gates wrote: “Ultimately of course, the source of all energy in our region of the universe is gravity,”

    You must have missed being taught that “It’s better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond all doubt.”

  127. jorgekafkazar says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm
    “When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface…”

    Poorly put. This seems to repeat the original canard of heat flowing from cold to hot, as opposed to a reduction in heat loss rate from hot to cold.

    This is a common fallacy, radiation from cold to hot takes place all the time and is not a violation of the 2nd Law. Your interpretation would have the night side of the earth radiating into outer space but when it’s at noon it would stop radiating back towards the Sun! No net heat can be transferred from the cold body to a hot via radiation but the radiation is always going both ways.
    Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).

  128. P Wilson says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Re-radiated longwave radiation doesn’t penetrate oceans, …

    Re-rediated IR does not penetrate leaves, people, snow, corn, etc. It “disappears”. So all the warming that is supposed to be caused by IR is happening on less than 30% of the earths surface.

    Let’s see if I have the numbers correct.
    CO2 input from humans roughly 3%. (slightly less)
    IR band 5 micro to 75 mirco. (pick a low to high as you see fit)
    CO2 band at 14-16 micro. Allowing for bandwidth broading due to statuation.
    75-5 = 70
    14,15,16 are 3 numbers
    3/70 = .0428
    So CO2 occupies 4.28% of IR.
    3% of 4.28% = .00128
    Humans can only be responsible for this part of any warming etc caused by CO2.

    Good post PWilson.

  129. Herman and Pielke, Sr. write:

    “With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.”

    Though scientists might be quite familiar with these claims and have no trouble understanding them, the actual statements in English, above, contain ambiguities. Consider the following:

    “This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased.”

    Increased downward radiation toward the surface is one thing but the fact that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased is another thing. I take it that there are two things going on here. One is that radiation has been intercepted by a CO2 molecule and, for that reason, the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased. Got it. That is clear. The other thing is that there is radiation that has its source in the capturing CO2 molecule and this radiation warms the Earth. Given this radiation warming the surface of the Earth, why do the good doctors describe it all as a slowing of the cooling process. Part of the process heats the surface of the Earth. I believe that the surface of the Earth does not know or care whether the radiation comes from the Sun or elsewhere. So, why is this radiation from the CO2 molecules not treated as radiation from the sun, for the purpose of calculating Earth’s heat budget?

    With all due respect, professors, if you are setting about to educate us in these matters, would you please undertake it seriously? What you have given us raises far more questions than it answers.

    By the way, Trenberth (yes, that one) created a book for NASA that attempted to explain all these matters to high schoolers and he attempted to calculate all the heat added by radiation bouncing up and down between CO2 molecules and Earth. He came up with a multiplier effect of three, I believe. After some rather heavy criticism, that section of the book was removed by NASA. Check here:

    http://www.climatechangefraud.com/climate-reports/7055-nasa-charged-in-new-climate-fakery-greenhouse-gas-data-bogus

  130. Back to the basic comparison. What do you do when your greenhouse gets to hot?
    And what whould mother nature do? You open the vents!

  131. Herman and Pielke, Sr. write:

    “With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.”

    Though scientists might be quite familiar with these claims and have no trouble understanding them, the actual statements in English, above, contain ambiguities. Consider the following:

    “This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased.”

    Increased downward radiation toward the surface is one thing but the fact that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased is another thing. I take it that there are two things going on here. One is that radiation has been intercepted by a CO2 molecule and, for that reason, the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased. Got it. That is clear. The other thing is that there is radiation that has its source in the capturing CO2 molecule and this radiation warms the Earth. Given this radiation warming the surface of the Earth, why do the good doctors describe it all as a slowing of the cooling process. Part of the process heats the surface of the Earth. I believe that the surface of the Earth does not know or care whether the radiation comes from the Sun or elsewhere. So, why is this radiation from the CO2 molecules not treated as radiation from the sun, for the purpose of calculating Earth’s heat budget?

    With all due respect, professors, if you are setting about to educate us in these matters, would you please undertake it seriously? What you have given us raises far more questions than it answers.

    By the way, Trenberth (yes, that one) created a book for NASA that attempted to explain all these matters to high schoolers and he attempted to calculate all the heat added by radiation bouncing up and down between CO2 molecules and Earth. He came up with a multiplier effect of three, I believe. After some rather heavy criticism, that section of the book was removed by NASA. Check here:

    http://www.climatechangefraud.com/climate-reports/7055-nasa-charged-in-new-climate-fakery-greenhouse-gas-data-bogus

  132. stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    I’ve got problems with all of this.
    What follows is a question and not a statement;

    CO² 0.04%

    H²O 5%

    They both absorp at the same hµ (approx). H²o dominates and as a probability must absorp 100 times more IR ?

    In general they don’t actually, here’s the spectrum of water and CO2 in the 15 μm band.

    When a mole absorps it raises its’ instability and wants to reradiate the energy and return to the ground state a.s.a.p. This reradiation is never uni-directional? Why would it radiate in a downward direction ?

    The reradiated energy is at the same hµ (nu) as the absorped unless some form energy conversion has occured (conservation of energy law)?

    On absorption it will cause a change from one rotational/vibrational state to another, there is no requirement that an emitted photon would fall back to the same state so the emitted photon will usually be a different energy (hν). In fact for CO2 the time it takes to emit a photon from the excited state is much shorter longer than the mean time between collisions in the lower atmosphere so the most likely fate of the excited state is to transfer kinetic energy to the surrounding gases via collisions. Higher up in the atmosphere collisions become less likely and therefore emission of radiation more likely.

    so will be absorped by another mole at ground state.? If the other moles are already at the higher quantum level, it will radiate to space?

  133. I think that one area of misunderstanding is that, although the presence of greenhouse gases permits the surface to be warmer than otherwise, it does not necessarily cause the surface to be warmer.

  134. Well the Herman Pielke note, as clearly stated, does not invite controversy and simply and clearly gives the basis for (informed) AGW statements about “greenhouse gas” warming. Some of the ensuing comments demonstrate that this is needed and that this very basic assertion is misunderstood. In particular they note that this is not the full story of very complex processes.

    However, I note that the Stefan-Boltzmann formula for thermal radiation is somehow misquoted lacking R^2 and the very-important (near-inscrutable) emissivity factor..??

  135. Herman and Pielke end their dissertation with the following pragraph:
    “For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else, i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”
    ______________________________________________
    Now, apart from the fact that without CO2, life as we know it would be non existent on this planet, can Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. please tell us what the temperature would be like if we remove only the CO2 component from the atmospheric mix and keep all else unchanged? How much less the temperature of our planet would be? Wouldn’t this hypothetical removal of all CO2 be the reverse of doubling CO2, or would the logarithmic ‘diminishing returns’ characteristic come into play? If the latter is true (logarithmic diminishing return), then why the GE increase due to increase in CO2? Is it tru that the effect of increased CO2 is practically capped at 50ppm?
    I m waiting with baited breath.

  136. ‘If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K.’

    All the above sounds great and convincing, a fundamental question should be how did you come up with the value of 255 K for the earth without an atmosphere ? Is this fundamental equation correct – how do we know, shouldn’t this be the first point that is debated and resolved ?

    I doubt anyone realistically doubts the IR absorbing effect – but there must get a point when at some point all IR leaving the surface at the absorbing wavelengths of CO2 is absorbed – at what concentration of CO2 does this happen, and are we at that point already ? If not, when ?

  137. P Wilson says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    One notices at the beach that when the sand and paving is hot, water waves are still cool. That means no amount of greenhouse effect can cause either thermal expansion of water, or water vapour “feedback”. Certainly, since c02 intercepts heat at 15 microns, then re=emits it in less than a billionth of a second, to oxygen and nitrogen, when its saturation window closes. This wavelength on the spectroscopic band is already in the subzero region. In other words, the energy absorbed by c02 is dependent on freezing regions, such as Antarctica. Normal IR radiation leaving the earth is around 10 microns, 0r 7-14, incidentaly at the bandwidths where water vapour intervenes which co-incides with an average 288k (15C), and which is invisible to c02. That leaves very little energy for c02 to delay – around 3-4% of subzero energy. It is so miniscule that the effect cannot, and has not been measured. In tropical deserts where temps are 45C plus, radiation leaves at 8.5 microns, which puts it even further out of the c02 micron band.

    So c02 absorbtion is a rare event in the atmosphere. Its also forgotten that most heat leaves by convection and evaporation, and not from re-radiation.

    Sorry but this is complete nonsense. Here’s a set of spectra showing the relative absorption of various GHGs.
    The first panel shows the total effect and progressively each gas is removed.

  138. Juraj V:

    OK gentlemen. Whats wrong with this scheme?

    I think you know the answer to that already, but, for the benefit of those who might not:

    This is not about heat flow (which would violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics) but rather nett energy flux A warmer body can absorb radiation from a cooler body because, being warmer, it must still be emitting more energy than it’s receiving from the cooler body. In other words, the nett energy flux is still away from the warmer body and towards the cooler body – it’s just that the nett energy flux from the warmer body is less than it would be in the absence of the cooler body. This does not warm the body, but rather slows down the rate of its cooling (if it’s cooling) or increases the rate of its warming (if it’s warming)

  139. “Bill DiPuccio says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

    …On a clear calm night, temperatures drop rapidly at the surface boundary layer as IR heat radiates into space. On a calm cloudy night, the temperatures drop more slowly because that IR heat is re-radiated downward by water droplets in the clouds.”

    Another explanation is, that clouds partially block the natural convection of warm air upwards, thus slowing down the night time cooling.

    Here is a real measurement of solar, and upwelling+downwelling IR radiation, made probably by pyrgeometer.
    Clear sky: the downwelling IR does not react on fact, that the surface warms and emits more IR upwards during the day.

    http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/surf_check?ptype=gif&site=desr&date=17-jun-2008&p1=dpsp&p5=dpir&p6=upir

    My take is, that downwelling IR is a sign, that the atmosphere above has certain temperature and radiates accordingly.

    Cloudy sky:

    http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/surf_check?ptype=gif&site=desr&date=17-sep-2008&p1=dpsp&p5=dpir&p6=upir

    When solar radiation is limited by cloud, upwelling IR goes down (as the surface cools in shade) and now the downwelling IR increases at this very time. Hard to say whether the night was cloudy as well, but the downwelling IR radiation is fairly constant, like during the clear night above.

  140. Dave Dardinger says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Robert,

    the atmosphere would still affect the temperature of the planet through conduction and convection, to the point that the same radiative balance would exist at the top of the atmosphere, the surface being at a higher temperature than without an atmosphere, due to the physics of the lapse rate.

    I think you’re incorrectly assuming that this atmosphere which is transparent to all radiation could still emit radiation. This is a contradiction. If it can emit LWIR then it must also absorb LWIR. Which brings up something I’ve asked about a few times without getting an answer. I assume that if molecules like O2 and N2 were to interact in a collision, there’s a small possibility they could emit IR (or absorb it). The reason that O2 and N2 don’t normally absorb or emit IR is that they’re symmetric molecules and thus can’t interact with an electromagnetic field. But while they’re in the process of collision, there will be some asymmetry set up which could lead to emission. The question is just how likely this is? My guess is that it’d be quite rare since the interaction time would be much quicker than the average time it takes for a quantum of IR to be emitted from a GHG (for instance). But the math to do the calculation is likely to be quite hairy and beyond my abilities. But surely there’s someone here who’s a wizz at QM who could solve the problem?

    Such temporary dimers do exist and to do a very accurate accounting you should account for them, observed in Titan’s atmosphere if I recall correctly.

  141. So,
    Why do not Dewar (‘Thermos’) bottles contain CO2 for the excellent properties of impeding radiative heat transfer?

    I’ve just filed a provisional patent on this as we speak.

    I’ll remember all of you small people when I am rich beyond measure…

    RR

  142. Alex the skeptic says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm
    Herman and Pielke end their dissertation with the following pragraph:
    “For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else, i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”
    ______________________________________________
    Now, apart from the fact that without CO2, life as we know it would be non existent on this planet, can Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. please tell us what the temperature would be like if we remove only the CO2 component from the atmospheric mix and keep all else unchanged? How much less the temperature of our planet would be? Wouldn’t this hypothetical removal of all CO2 be the reverse of doubling CO2, or would the logarithmic ‘diminishing returns’ characteristic come into play? If the latter is true (logarithmic diminishing return), then why the GE increase due to increase in CO2? Is it tru that the effect of increased CO2 is practically capped at 50ppm?
    I m waiting with baited breath.

    Assuming that the frozen oceans give the same albedo as clouds, about 260K, basically were talking about a ‘snowball’ earth. The albedo effect could lead to it being even colder than that.

  143. George E. Smith wrote:
    “Since the rate of loss of energy goes as T^4; so it is non-linear with temperature, the colder parts of the ball, are not doing their fair share of cooling, and the hotter parts are being overworked, and if we average the Temperature all over the ball surface that average will ALWAYS be hgher than the original case of an isothermal ball at 278 K all over”.

    I followed your argumentation quite well until this point, but here I think you got it backwards. The average temperature will always be colder, the bigger the temperature differences in the surface, for the same total emissions. It is because of the emisivity depending on T^4. The emission gain that you get by increasing 1K the temperature is quite bigger than the emissions you lose by decreasing the temperature 1K. So in equilibrium, for the same total emissions, the bigger the temperature differences between different parts of your blackbody, the lower the average temperature will be.

    Take it to the absurd. A black body with one half at 0K and another half at 100K emits the same energy as an isotermal blackbody at 84K, yet its average temperature is only 50K, considerably colder.

  144. R Gates says
    This is the worst response I’ve seen to this thread.
    ——————
    I thank you for your comment; we can do a little more calculations; the average temperature of the atmosphere is -17°C approximately what is given by applying the Stefan law; the thermal capacity of the stratosphere is approximately 1/5 of that of the troposphere; that means that if the troposphere warms by about .7°C due to GHG effect, the stratosphere has to cool by about 3.5°C, approximately what is observed by satellites

  145. w.r.t. to feedback, the increase of convection surely can be quantified within orders of magnitude vs. radiation. From my “Spacecraft Design” course the huge pain in heat rejection in space is the lack of convective mechanisms (even within cooling systems themselves). This leads to (plural) orders of magnitude large cooling system in space.

    This would seem to indicate that pretty clearly any increase in surface temperature will alter the convective heat flow at a far higher rate than the introduced radiative forcing.

    What’s the back of the envelope numbers for these?

  146. Several commentators have expressed it more eloquently than I would have so I will not retread that ground. I would, however, say that the things that you dismiss and assume away have more effect than the CO2 and its radiation. Note that radiation is not the only mode of heat transfer. Radiation only becomes important when you are dealing with heat energy leaving the earth-atmosphere system. Remember, you are dealing with trace amounts of the substance. I would recommend some detailed study on the subject of heat and mass transfer. You might find it enlightening.

  147. Many years ago Sapir and Whorf posited a theory, a much oversimplified statement of which would be, that language dominates thought. It never got a lot of traction in the linguistics community, though occasional efforts are still made to support versions of it. The way the climate debate has developed and proceeded suggests that maybe their work should be given more consideration.
    The rather simple error of selecting a seriously flawed analogy, the greenhouse, has lead to decades of people talking past each other on this topic, mostly it would seem, because they are trying to rectify their arguments to an analogy that has no common definition and fundamentally misstates what is actually occurring. The plants inside a greenhouse enjoy a “climate” that is different from the external ambient atmosphere in which it stands. The planet with its atmosphere enjoys a climate which is different from what it would if it had no atmosphere. Other than that, none of the other efforts to extend the analogy are without serious logical flaws.
    The human mind likes, perhaps even requires, analogies to attempt to process the flood of information about its external environment that it must deal with continuously. The problem this creates in discussing the planet’s climate is that for something as multifariously complex as our little blue marble the only thing that is properly analogous is the entire thing itself. As a result we end up in forums like this mostly questioning each others intelligence based on arguments that are often apples and oranges,and occasionally it seems, kumquats and water buffalo.
    There is certainly a broad range of apparent intelligence among the visitors here, but as far as I can see, when it comes to the climate of the planet, what we all share along with all of humanity is incredible ignorance. From my view the only ones in this debate that can rightfully be described as “deniers” are those that will not accept that basic fact. For every press release, statement, presentation, paper, study, presentation, or off the cuff remark put forth on this topic in the last several decades there is only one response that would be almost universally applicable and that is “WE DON’T KNOW THAT”.

  148. Forget about GHG and atmospheric processes. The mere presence of our oceans, with their large heat storage capacity, cause the earth temperature differences between night and day to be much smaller than they would be without the oceans. The mere fact of keeping temperatures stable, increases the average temperature of the planet for the same total IR emissions. And yet, I never see it mentioned when people talk about what the planet temperature should be with or without GHGs. I really wonder even if anyone has tried to calculate it. If our planet were to suffer the same temperature swings between night and day that, say, Mars suffers, its average temperature would be much colder. It is oceans that save us from that, not GHGs.

  149. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.,

    Great post, thanks.

    In your post shouldn’t the equation be as follows:

    4 x pi x Re2 x sigma x T4 = pi x Re2 x Fso

    You show the equation:

    4 x pi x sigma T4= pi x Re2 x Fso

    Where T4 is T to the fourth power and Re2 is Re to the fourth power.

    I am wondering you left out an “Re squared” in the first half of your equation?

    John

  150. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.,

    CORRECTION : Re2 means Re squared, not “Re2 means Re to the fourth power”. I corrected in the post below. Sorry about that.

    —————————
    In your post shouldn’t the equation be as follows:

    4 x pi x Re2 x sigma x T4 = pi x Re2 x Fso

    You show the equation:

    4 x pi x sigma T4= pi x Re2 x Fso

    Where T4 is T to the fourth power and Re2 is Re squared.

    I am wondering you left out an “Re squared” in the first half of your equation?

    John

  151. It’s not quite as simple as described in the OP.

    Consider the atmosphere like insulation in your attic. It works two ways. It keeps the house warmer in the winter but it also keeps it cooler in the summer. Now consider day and night like winter and summer. The GHG insulation keeps the earth warmer at night but it also keeps it cooler during the day.

    There’s an explanation why the effects don’t cancel out. To understand that one has to consider the spectrum of sunlight and the absorption bands of the GHGs.

    The GHGs are largely transparent to the visible part of the spectrum. So during the day the GHGs are keeping the earth cooler that it would be otherwise as they acting as insulation against the incoming infrared radiation. But they are passing the visible spectrum straight through (discounting clouds) where some portion is absorbed by the ground and some is reflected right back out into space.

    At night the visible spectrum absorbed by the ground is emitted but it is emitted as infrared radiation. Now, because the GHGs are insulators in the infrared, they are keeping surface warmer.

    The GHG effect wouldn’t raise the surface temperature if the ground weren’t absorbing visible light during the day and reemitting it at night as infrared.

    It’s important that be understood.

    The actual mechanism of insulation is that photons in the GHG absorption bands are absorbed from a directional source (from the sun during the day and from the ground during the night) and quickly reemitted in a random direction. The net effect is that the transport of heat via infrared radiation is slowed down across the GHG insulation because, since the direction of reemission is random, some of the photons go right back in the direction they came from. One might also think of it like running through a mile of forest vs. running a mile across an open field. It takes longer to go through the forest because you have to zig zag through the trees effectively increasing the distance travelled getting from point A to point B.

  152. stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm
    R. Gates says:

    “Another of your cracked replies courtesy of the Gavin Schidt school of answers.”

    “Gravity does not generate energy. Energy cannot be made or destroyed einstein.
    Sure, gravity is a force which creates the conditions for the creation of stars and the nuclear energy in those stars is started by the force of gravity compressing the gases.”

    As several of us discussed in a previous post, gravity is not even really a force but a condition, curvature, of space-time which occurs in the presence of mass causing everthing in its reach to move in a straight line though curved space. The source of energy represented by radioactive material in otherwise empty space would not be due to present gravity though it was originally created by gravity, previously, in the formation a large enough star to forge its properties when it exploded at the end of its life. I believe iron is the heaviest material that can be created in a “living” star that has not gone super nova. Fun stuff.

  153. Nylo says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:01 am (Edit)

    tallbloke, the GHE will by itself (i.e. without feedbacks) cause warming. However as it happens, other collateral effects may cause the warming to be increased, decreased or perhaps even reverted into cooling. Roger is only talking about the GHE, alone, without considering feedbacks.

    I stand corrected – as you were Dr Pielke. I thought we’d got past that stage a few decades ago, even if we haven’t got much further since. ;-)

  154. ScienceofDoom has a great article series which is quite detailed on the subject, the first of which is called “CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part One”

    This is a great website which deals only with the science. The administrator is a true scientist and excellent teacher. In the storm of political discussion, this is a great science website to get the basics.

    [url]http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/28/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-one/[/url]

  155. Would someone please explain the different mechanisms of CO2 and water vapor? We know that CO2 captures and radiation and releases it randomly, so somewhat less than half of all captured radiation is sent toward Earth. What about water vapor? Does it capture radiation and than radiate it? What is the mechanism of warming?

  156. I’m going to put this another way for you. Lets say we were talking about visible light energy rather than infra-red energy (they are, in any case, only distinct in terms of our physical perception of them rather than physical properties in any case) . What AGW proponents are saying is that we have, in CO2, a translucent panel above our heads (i.e. it absorbs light). According to AGW proponents, if we put more and more translucent panels above our heads the area beneath the translucent panels will get brighter and brighter.

    Something sounds wrong with that idea doesn’t it?

    What’s more, what happened to the idea that when a gas receives heat energy it causes the gas to do work which in turn results in its expansion. According to AGW theory this would happen with O2 but not with CO2 because CO2 is busily doing something else with all that heat.

  157. Well expressed although a discussion of the lapse rate should have been included. The misunderstanding arises from many who suggest that the cooler atmosphere radiates to a warmer earth, ignoring the greater radiation from the warm earth to the cooler atmosphere.

  158. Would someone please address the assumption that CO2 is distributed randomly throughout the atmosphere? If the assumption is correct then CO2 is the only thing in the atmosphere that is randomly distributed. Oxygen, for a handy example, is not randomly distributed. Yet this assumption underlies all so-called science by the warmist crowd. To me, the fact that this assumption is used just show that climate science has not advanced to the stage of experiment.

  159. Thank you Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr for the tidy post, it’s resulted in the funniest thread I’ve read in ages, that kill-joy from Brenchley tried to derail it all but to no avail.

    The thread is a testament to humans being rationalising rather than rational creatures.

  160. RuhRoh says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    So,
    Why do not Dewar (‘Thermos’) bottles contain CO2 for the excellent properties of impeding radiative heat transfer?

    I’ve just filed a provisional patent on this as we speak.

    I’ll remember all of you small people when I am rich beyond measure…

    RR

    Just call it “CarboJug – a carbon-capture device which keeps your coffee warm!” Pre-loaded with CO2 generated from coal-fired power plants!

    Put a bunch of “endorsed by the WWF, Greenpeace, and NASA/GISS” stickers on the box, get Al Gore to do the infomercials (“improve your Chakra with CarboJug”), and voila – a blockbuster product that will make you millions!

  161. From scienceofdoom.com:

    “The Stefan-Bloltmann Law states:
    j = εσ(T^4)
    Where

    j = total energy radiated per unit area per unit time
    ε = emissivity, ranging from 0 to 1, where 1 is a perfect black body
    σ = the Stefan Boltzmann constant, 5.67 x 10-8
    σ = temperature in K

    The effective temperature of the sun is 5780K, it is pretty close to a blackbody, and its radius, r = 696 x 10^6m

    The area of the surface of a sphere = 4πr^2

    So Total Energy, E = 5.67-8 x 57804 x π x (696 x 10^6)2 = 3.85 x 10^26 W – That’s a lot of Watts!

    How much hits the earth?

    Radius of the earth, re = 6.37 x 10^6 m (6,370 km)
    Distance from sun to earth, ao = 1.5×10^11 m (150 million km)

    Imagine a giant sphere with a radius the distance from the sun to the earth, and the earth as one tiny circle pasted onto it – that’s the proportion of the Sun’s energy that hits the earth.

    The giant sphere has an area of 4πa^2 = 4π x (1.5×10^11)^2

    The earth’s “circle” pasted on this giant sphere has an area = πre2 (not the whole area of the earth’s surface which would be 4πre2, just the effective 2D disc that the sun’s energy hits).

    So the proportion incident on the earth’s surface = (πr^2)/ (4πa^2)

    = (6.37×10^6)^2 / (4 x (1.5×10^11)^2) = 4.5 x 10^-10 -or around 1/2 billionth of the total energy

    The total energy hitting the earth’s “disc” = 1.73 x 10^17 Watts

    And per unit area (area = πre2) = 1,360 W/m2

    First major result!

    Applying the same maths to the earth – the earth’s surface also emits radiation according to the same law. This is where is starts to get tricky, but let’s consider the simple case.

    Energy received from the sun = Energy emitted by the earth (if the temperature of the earth’s surface stays the same).

    So we have to solve the total energy radiated out from the earth, where Te is the surface temperature of the earth:

    Energy flux x total area of the earth = 1.73 x 10^17

    5.67 x 10^-8 x Te^4 x (4πr^2) = 1.73 x 10^17

    The result, Te = 278K = 5°C ?

    Actually, not quite right. The problem is, and can easily be demonstrated by satellites measuring the energy reflected back – not all of the energy gets absorbed by the earth’s surface. Some gets reflected by clouds, the atmosphere, and some by the earths surface. On average about 30% gets reflected.

    Redoing the same equation with only 70% of the energy incoming:

    Adjusted Te = 254K = -19°C ?

    Wow, it doesn’t feel that cold, what went wrong? Nothing went wrong, and you’re right, across the globe the “average temperature” is higher – about +16°C.

    The explanation is in the (inappropriately labelled) “greenhouse gases”, which include water vapor, CO2 and methane (CH4). These gases absorb energy from wavelengths in the earth’s range, and hardly any in the sun’s range.

    So the sun’s energy just passes through like they don’t exist, but when the earth emits its radiation, these gases absorb energy and then re-emit, so that the earth’s energy doesn’t just fly off into space but instead it’s absorbed and re-transmitted, some of it back down to earth.

    The “greenhouse gases” heat the earth’s surface up approximately 35°C higher than it would be otherwise.”

    The same website dismisses other silly myths as well. Lord Monckton’s post elegantly summarizes this.

    My concern with the field in general is the magnitude of feedback / response in the natural system, continued careless use of statistical methods, missing error bars, the relative impact of CO2 vs land use, and obvious hockey team cronyism in publication including the publication of a blacklist which undermines and cheapens the entire field of study.

  162. One of the staple arguments for a general greenhouse effect on earth is the assertion that this planet would be an overall 30-35K cooler were it not for greenhouse gases. This is based on a theoretical calculation based on the Stefan-Boltzmann law of black body radiation. Now the earth is not a black body, but the theoreticians claim they have made the necessary adjustments for this in their calculations. Of course no one can test this by removing supposed greenhouse gases from our atmosphere.

    However the moon has no atmosphere. The later Apollo missions left an array of temperature sensors on the moon and recently NASA released an analysis of the results. Amazingly this shows that the moon also has an elevation of temperature (~40K) above that calculated by the theory. Does the moon then have a greenhouse‘ effect? Clearly not – it has no atmosphere. So it looks as if the calculated starting point is wrong and neither the earth nor the moon are kept warmer by any ‘greenhouse effect’.

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/RadiativeNonEquilbrium_BHermalyn_Final.pdf

    Absorbed radiant heat incident on the surface of both is conducted downwards and is released like heat is released from any storage heater, at night.

  163. @R.Pielke, Ben Herman, Lord Monckton,

    “the cooling is slowed down.”

    That’s plausible. But if it is that simple, why not laying down the equations and publish a much needed paper ?
    How does this translate in terms of heat capacity, heat conductivity, thermal diffusivity, heat transfer and so on ?
    What precisely means ” the cooling is slowed down” ?

    Greenhouse effect is physics. Physics requires specific and precise statements, equations and numbers.

    In the present state, this is just one more climatologist’s assertion.

  164. Misconception is a failed conception, a natural or an induced abortion. Is your theory the equivalent of the “Day After pill”? :-)

  165. Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).”

    Are you sure about this, Phil? That the hottest will be hotter? I allways believed that this is exactly what was impossible, according to the 2’nd law….because if it got hotter…then heat has gone from colder to hotter….. or is this Trenberts hidden heat?

  166. Monckton: how much warming a given increase in CO2 concentration will be expected to cause (around a third of what the IPCC projects
    .
    Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

    .
    Real Climate: Once more unto the bray

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/once-more-unto-the-bray/

    .
    The APS and global warming: What were they thinking?

    http://duoquartuncia.blogspot.com/2008/07/aps-and-global-warming-what-were-they.html

  167. BTW:
    Why forests are so fresh:
    Examples of Endothermic and Exothermic Processes

    Photosynthesis is an example of an endothermic chemical reaction. In this process, plants use the energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. This reaction requires 15MJ of energy (sunlight) for every kilogram of glucose that is produced:

    sunlight + 6CO2(g) + H2O(l) = C6H12O6(aq) + 6O2(g)

  168. Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi says in his paper (Miskolczi, Ferenc M. 2007. “Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres.” Időjárás 111, 1-40) that water vapor and CO2 are in permanent equilibrium, and that for the past 61 years there has been no global warming, whatsoever, as a result of CO2 increases. For the last 3 years, as far as I know, no one has been able to prove him wrong.

  169. Talking of greenhouse gases ( GHG ) assumes that it is the chemistry of the gases that matters. O2 is OK, CO2 is a GHG, and therefore bad.

    The temperature of the earth’s atmosphere depends on the kinetic, translational energy of all the gas molecules in it, mainly oxygen and nitrogen.

    1. THE “GREENHOUSE EFFECT”
    AS A FUNCTION OF ATMOSPHERIC MASS

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf

    planet pressure Atmosphere effect Atmosphere gas
    mars low low CO2
    earth medium medium O2and N2
    venus high high CO2

    The surface temperature of planet atmospheres depends on the pressure not the type of gas.
    There is similar effect on Jupiter and other planets made of hydrogen and helium

    The atmosphere is physics not chemistry

  170. Scott Basinger says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm (Edit)
    The “greenhouse gases” heat the earth’s surface up approximately 35°C higher than it would be otherwise.”

    No they don’t. They slow the rate of cooling.

    Please don’t try to say that ‘this is the same thing’.

  171. Ryan writes:

    “What AGW proponents are saying is that we have, in CO2, a translucent panel above our heads (i.e. it absorbs light). According to AGW proponents, if we put more and more translucent panels above our heads the area beneath the translucent panels will get brighter and brighter.”

    Let me put that a bit differently. From the posts we have seen today, especially including Pielke, Sr’s article, CO2 in the atmosphere can be treated as a magnifyer of the Sun’s energy, in appropriate bandwidths, of course. From that, it follows that the effects of CO2 would necessarily parallel changes in the sun’s energy output.

    Aside from the point above, would someone who knows the math undertake the exercise of treating CO2 as a magnifyer of the sun’s output? I think it would be greatly illuminating.

  172. Joss writes:

    “That’s plausible. But if it is that simple, why not laying down the equations and publish a much needed paper?”

    This is what is so frustrating about attempting to discuss matters with climate scientists, both warmists and deniers. No one introduces actual hypotheses about phenomena in the environment that can be shown to be true or false at some future time. All discussions are about unchallenged principles or the sort of thing that happens in the laboratory. Does no one have a genuine hypothesis about behavior of the atmosphere under the influence of CO2?

  173. Steven Mosher says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    GHGs will not cool the planet. There no science to suggest they will. C02 will warm the planet, up to limit. That limit has not been reached and the questions are:
    1. how fast will we reach that limit
    2. will it be damaging
    3. Can and should we do anything about it.

    You forgot point 4 i.e. will increased co2 lead to a runaway warming of the planet? That is the most important question for me and so far all I get are caveats. (Point 2 kind of hited at it though)

  174. The basic points made by Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. are quite valid as far as they go. Also the comments by Monckton of Brenchley put the whole issue in correct perspective. The Earth is a particularly complex case with oceans, clouds, water vapor and the main gases of the atmosphere. However it should be remembered that water vapor and clouds constitute the main part of the greenhouse effect on Earth.

    Mars, mainly consisting of CO2 at a much lower pressure is a totally different case. The first point to make about Mars is that the adiabatic lapse rate (=g/Cp) is less than 1/2 that of Earth due to lower gravity dominating the slightly lower Cp. In addition, lack of water vapor and clouds decrease the absorption of long wave radiation compared to Earth. It has also been observed on Earth and Venus that there is a minimum pressure where lapse rate assumptions break down (about 1/10 bar), and the lapse rate becomes smaller than at the higher pressures. This may be due to the solar wind and other external forcing being more significant. The result is that a lower lapse rate would be expected for Mars, and is in fact seen.

    Venus is different from both Earth and Mars. There is a mostly CO2 atmosphere that is both very massive and high, and a solid cloud layer very near the location of outgoing radiation. It is likely that the cloud layer both absorbs most of the incoming solar radiation that is not reflected, and emits most of the long wave outgoing radiation. Only a very small fraction of the sunlight reaches and is absorbed at the surface. The atmosphere is also extremely dense (about 91 bar). The absorption by the CO2 near the surface is so high that back radiation to the surface is also very large and net radiation heat transfer is very small. The net result is that the hot surface and hot lower layer of the Venus atmosphere are mainly maintained by the flowing atmosphere (convection and turbulent mixing), not solar heating of the surface or radiation heat transfer. The flow that maintains the high temperature is that portion of the atmosphere that absorbs most of the sunlight, and is adiabatically compressed as it is convected down and mixed through the atmosphere. The lapse rate, which is in this case the adiabatic lapse rate, is the result of the increased temperature from conversion of gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy as the gas goes down. It is almost exactly the value expected from g/Cp for CO2 at the high temperatures. One could say it is the combination of high pressure, tall atmosphere, and greenhouse gases that result in the very high ground temperature on Venus.

    Getting back to Earth, as the greenhouse gas concentration increases over the present level, due mainly to CO2, the only way the temperature would increase (assuming water vapor feedback is not a large factor, and it does not seem to be) would be for the altitude of the effective outgoing radiation to increase (the lapse rate would not increase). Since the high altitude pressure drops very rapidly with increasing altitude, the increase is limited to a few degrees. However, that is assuming the water vapor does not become a significant fraction of the total mass of the atmosphere. The possible water vapor fraction is limited for any reasonable temperature, so this should not be an issue.

    A final parting point. The wet lapse rate is smaller than the dry lapse rate. The greater the water vapor content, the smaller this wet lapse rate becomes. As the water vapor content became more significant, the lapse rate would actually DROP. The result would be a cooling at lower levels even with a modest raising of the level of radiation out. The problem is very complicated, and there is no realistic chance of greenhouse runaway or heating more that a few degrees.

  175. From what I remember any atom or molecule when it’s electron have a change in velocity (acceleration/deceleration) will always radiate no matter what type of particle it is of where the change in velocity came from (collisions, vibrations, etc.). Is this when two O2 and/or N2 also radiate when they collide? I think it in the microwave so weaker photons but there are many magnitudes more of those molecules within the atmosphere than CO2 which should compensate. WUWT? Never have seen it mentioned.

    Boy, did Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. ever leave gapping holes in their explanation !! Just read the comments above. Where are all of the inconvenient and lacking-complete-understanding factors which should have at least been mentioned? Come on climatologist, you can do better than that. Give us some real info, don’t worry, you won’t go over most heads here.

  176. I’ve always wondered if the equation that comes up with 33 degrees of greenhouse effect took into account that space really isn’t absolute zero – if I recall correctly it’s 3 or so K. Not that it really matters, just curious if anyone knew

  177. Maybe instead of “greenhouse” gasses we could call them “blanket” gasses, for that is what they do.

  178. ‘From what I remember any atom or molecule when it’s electron have a change in velocity (acceleration/deceleration) will always radiate no matter what type of particle it is of where the change in velocity came from (collisions, vibrations, etc.). Is this when two O2 and/or N2 also radiate when they collide? I think it in the microwave so weaker photons but there are many magnitudes more of those molecules within the atmosphere than CO2 which should compensate. WUWT? Never have seen it mentioned.

    Boy, did Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. ever leave gapping holes in their explanation !! Just read the comments above. Where are all of the inconvenient and lacking-complete-understanding factors which should have at least been mentioned? Come on climatologist, you can do better than that. Give us some real info, don’t worry, you won’t go over most heads here.’

    Too true wayne, too true.

    It is almost like a propaganda post.

    we want real answers to the unaswered questions, not to be patronised in a – don’t be a denier – kind of way.

    We know it warms

    HOW MUCH ???????

  179. Maybe I’m missing something, but of course I do miss a lot, but why does everyone use the sun as a constant when its output is highly variable on a day to day basis, month to month, year to year, cycle to cycle? Is it like gravitational pull and push which is used as a constant, in junior high lol, for being conveniently abstract rather than accuracy and detailed?

    And using CO2 as some form of a starting point in the whole so called green house effect is moot since nobody frakking knows which gas molecule exhibit the main secondary forcing or what ever. What does CO2 mean if water vapor is first, or heh argon? What would happen to the temperature, in reality, if we could switch co2 for argon, or oxygen, or nitrogen? After all if we remove the “overhead” of co2 something will take its place, especially if you believe that the atmosphere only can consist of 100% of stuff at 1 bar and 1 bar at sea level is an absolute constant.

    If the earth’s atmosphere really worked like a green house effect you’d be able to remove the sun and exchange it for an artificial non-heating light source, what with it gets its supposed heating from the ground up rather then from the sun. lol try convincing people of a real green house effect when it is 40 below. The so called green house effect is naught but a self made statistical phenomenon.

  180. If the black body radiation is the primary way by which energy is emitted and we know it is proportional to the FOURTH power of temperature. It seems clear the energy budget must depend on the distribution of heat on the planet. So any change in the movement of air or seawater can change the radiation budget. So some of the recent warming could have been caused by a transfer of heat from the tropics to the arctic.

  181. Steven Mosher says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    PTCO.

    It’s more than sad that people continue to fight against the basic physics. Physics that working engineers understand and use on a daily basis. The problem is this: The warmists have been very successful in lumping those of us who understand how GHGs work to warm the lower portion of the atmosphere, with those who deny this fundamental physics. They lump those who deny the science of GHGs with those who question the accuracy and completeness of our understanding of sensitivity.

    GHGs will not cool the planet. There no science to suggest they will. C02 will warm the planet, up to limit. That limit has not been reached and the questions are:
    1. how fast will we reach that limit
    2. will it be damaging
    3. Can and should we do anything about it.

    ————————-
    Steve,

    Hi, I loved your book : )

    Overall, your comment rings true to me with two exceptions:

    Exception #1 – in your leading paragraph you show a significant concern about the negative things the “warmists” (your word not mine) might think about some of the GHG effect (or lack of effect) comments by individuals on this active and long thread. In an open society like this wonderful venue Anthony has created, people will do naturally what the commenters are doing on this thread. Limiting comments here because of concern about what the “warmists” think will tend to make for a much more limited participation and there would eventually be less learning going on about very important things. The key is learning.

    Exception #2 – you also say “C02 will warm the planet, up to limit”. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr give us an introductory tutorial on “the greenhouse effect”, but it is simplistic by their own intention to illustrate fundamental points to try to teach people who they think are missing the physics fundamentals about “the greenhouse effect”. They are to be commended for that and I admire them for that. In their simplistic example they show “GHGs, all other things being constant, will warm the planet”. But when adding in all the very high level complexity of our earth’s systems (which cannot be any farther from constant), however, there is no automatic assurance that about the statement that “C02 will warm the planet, up to limit”. It may try to, but does it when combined with everything else? I think so, but think also that we have hardly started the climate science homework to be convincing about it.

    Bless Anthony and the WUWT team.

    John

  182. “”” NickB. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    I’ve always wondered if the equation that comes up with 33 degrees of greenhouse effect took into account that space really isn’t absolute zero – if I recall correctly it’s 3 or so K. Not that it really matters, just curious if anyone knew. “””

    Has no effect. Remember that objects are limited to radiating sigma.T^4 W/m^2 max (thermally); so just how much radiation do you think you are going to receive from a 3 Kelvin Black Body radiator ?

    It is weak enough that it takes a major radio telescope antenna to even detect it in the noise. But a good question.

  183. George E Smith’s response (10:58) to Jeff’ comment is, I believe, an example of what I perceive as the need when discussing energy flow and temperature to carefully define terms. I ask the readers of this post: (a) are the following two statements equivalent; and (b) if not, which statement, if either, is the commonly accepted definition of “cooling”.

    (1) An object is “cooling” if the net energy flow is away from the object.

    (2) An object is “cooling” if its temperature is decreasing.

  184. Steven Mosher says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    PTCO.

    It’s more than sad that people continue to fight against the basic physics. Physics that working engineers understand and use on a daily basis. The problem is this: The warmists have been very successful in lumping those of us who understand how GHGs work to warm the lower portion of the atmosphere, with those who deny this fundamental physics.

    I’m sorry to see the warmists have successfully brainwashed Mosher into believing co2 warms the planet.

    The Sun warms the planet. Co2 does not and cannot warm the planet. As Pielke senior correctly points out, GHG’s (mostly water vapour) can slow down the rate of cooling of the planet. Slowing down the rate of cooling is not the same thing as being able to warm something up.

    Can my blanket warm my bed up before I get in it Mosh?

  185. Reed Coray says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    George E Smith’s response (10:58) to Jeff’ comment is, I believe, an example of what I perceive as the need when discussing energy flow and temperature to carefully define terms. I ask the readers of this post: (a) are the following two statements equivalent; and (b) if not, which statement, if either, is the commonly accepted definition of “cooling”.

    (1) An object is “cooling” if the net energy flow is away from the object.

    (2) An object is “cooling” if its temperature is decreasing.

    —————-

    Reed Coray ,

    My wife tells me it is better to grab the tail of the dragon (lung in chinese), than to look in its mouth.

    John

  186. tallbloke says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    The Sun warms the planet. Co2 does not and cannot warm the planet. As Pielke senior correctly points out, GHG’s (mostly water vapour) can slow down the rate of cooling of the planet. Slowing down the rate of cooling is not the same thing as being able to warm something up.

    Can my blanket warm my bed up before I get in it Mosh?

    ——————–

    tallbloke,

    Ahhh heck, I wish I could have said that blanket thing. : )

    John

  187. Pardon an ignorant question.

    I assume that a perfect thermal insulator covering the whole earth high up in the atmosphere would result in the world freezing as no radiative transfer of solar energy would reach the earth’s surface.

    Then, the reason for the glass of greenhouses to have an effect is because it minimises conductive and convective heat losses.

    In what way does CO2 reduce such conductive and convective losses to produce a greenhouse effect?

  188. It is very easy to prove that backradiation has no effect on temperatures. The direct solar energy at noon on a clear summer day in an arid area is about 1000 wm-2. That’s enough to raise the temperature of a black surface to about 91 C (196 F). And that is about what happens on an asphalt roadway. If backradiation had any effect, the surface would be much hotter.

  189. RockyRoad says:
    July 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    “Maybe instead of “greenhouse” gasses we could call them “blanket” gasses, for that is what they do.”

    Why not call them “heat transporting gasses”. For they absorb and re-emit LWIR.

  190. Tallbloke,
    I am sure Mosher is saying that greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere and surface compared to no greenhouse gases and do it by trapping some of the solar energy (similar to a blanket trapping heat). I don’t think he is implying the energy comes from the gas. I fear that poking at details such as this make us seem nitpicking and not interested in coming to agreement.

  191. George E. Smith says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm
    “[...]You may be right on that debunk being difficult; I would say it is just about pure bunk.[...]”

    Maybe this one is easier to digest; it is also about the lapse rate (the part by William Gilbert):

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:A81VTnHUPkEJ:www.tech-know.eu/NISubmission/pdf/Politics_and_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf+adiabatic+lapse+rate+greenhouse+effect&hl=en&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiwZvv2w8O-I2jVLvl_jNAyMMK0oFFvnwWm3qZAom59wDIjAF9Q5k-_voIQCmn1hoWtEBgjtFGGZ22LU9giDVTnMmCmdQ7GIUpCrHNeNm6G4nKLg14djiR6c7SgRbj7b3uck3hb&sig=AHIEtbTG1haSI1yNANL1FwkTLacvcOBU0w

  192. Rob says:
    July 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Too true wayne, too true.
    It is almost like a propaganda post.
    we want real answers to the unaswered questions, not to be patronised in a – don’t be a denier – kind of way.
    We know it warms
    HOW MUCH ???????
    ~~~~~
    Exactly. That’s the big question. Though of all the question marks still in my head but most are asked by others above in one form or another. Also one great question above was how much of the 33C is from water vapor? Never have got a handle on that factor. If water vapor performs basically parallel to Co2 plus it’s additional capabilities, and doubling is close to the same at 3.7C per doubling, then the difference from a 95% humidity day and a dry desert should be huge. Right? See, put water vapor in every statement where you read CO2 and it doesn’t seem to jive by physics.

    Of take Co2 and half it (-3.7C) and half it (-3.7) and… yes it is logarithmic but you very quickly place a huge drop in temperature on Co2 but all of the water vapor is still there. That definitely doesn’t jive.

  193. Please bear with me with another novice question:

    Since the atmosphere has a smoothing effect on the earth’s temperature, compared with if we did not have an atmosphere at all;

    1) Of all the gases in the atmosphere, does CO2 contribute more of this effect than the other gases?

    2) If CO2 contributes on average less of this effect than the other gases combined, then if CO2 concentrations increase as a proportion of all gases – how can this increase the greenhouse effect in total?

  194. Leonard Weinstein says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm (Edit)

    Tallbloke,
    I am sure Mosher is saying that greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere and surface compared to no greenhouse gases and do it by trapping some of the solar energy (similar to a blanket trapping heat). I don’t think he is implying the energy comes from the gas. I fear that poking at details such as this make us seem nitpicking and not interested in coming to agreement.

    Mosher and the warmists say co2 warms the atmosphere. Pielke and I say it slows the rate of cooling of the atmosphere. You say “it doesn’t matter”.

    IT FUNDAMENTALLY MATTERS.

  195. Am I right to think about G&T that:
    A possible way for atmospheric “greenhouse gases” to warm a planet could be by temporarily delaying some escape of heat?
    Infrared absorbing gases in the atmosphere could slow the cooling of the Earth?

  196. Being just an old construction worker. All I know is that no one is trying to sell me a home climate control system based on CO2.
    We stopped using “dead air space” as an insulator between inside and outside wall a long time ago. I think everyone knows why.

  197. “”” Nylo says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm
    George E. Smith wrote:
    “Since the rate of loss of energy goes as T^4; so it is non-linear with temperature, the colder parts of the ball, are not doing their fair share of cooling, and the hotter parts are being overworked, and if we average the Temperature all over the ball surface that average will ALWAYS be hgher than the original case of an isothermal ball at 278 K all over”.

    I followed your argumentation quite well until this point, but here I think you got it backwards. The average temperature will always be colder, the bigger the temperature differences in the surface, for the same total emissions. It is because of the emisivity depending on T^4. The emission gain that you get by increasing 1K the temperature is quite bigger than the emissions you lose by decreasing the temperature 1K. So in equilibrium, for the same total emissions, the bigger the temperature differences between different parts of your blackbody, the lower the average temperature will be.

    Take it to the absurd. A black body with one half at 0K and another half at 100K emits the same energy as an isotermal blackbody at 84K, yet its average temperature is only 50K, considerably colder. “””

    Well Nylo; I think that you have caught me in a fox pass; fancy that; must be the third time this century that I have goofed.

    yes I solved the wrong problem !!

    So suppose the Temperature at some location goes through a sinusoidal cycle between T0 + a at the maximum and t0 – a at the minimum; but the average temeprature over the cycle is T0.

    So I can calculate the energy radiated at a Temperature of T0.

    Let’s say our Temperature follows T = T0 +a sin (2pi.t/tau) where tau is the period of the Temperature cycle (could be a spatial period).
    So actually the instantaneous emittance is sigma.(T0 + a.sin (2pi.t/tau))^4
    and that equals sigma.(T0^4 + 4T0^3.asin(2pit/tau) +6T0^2.a^2sin^2(2pit/tau) + 4a^3 T0.Sin^3(2pit/tau) + a^4 sin^4(2pit/tau)).
    It is left to the reader to show that the sin and sin^3 terms integrate to zero when we integrate the above over a complete cycle; and only the first, third, and fifth terms integrate to a non zero value over a complete cycle and they are ALL positive; so the result is ALWAYS higher that sigma.T0^4.

    And I already knew that ; so that is clearly the wrong problem.

    The simplest way to see that delaying the cooling process results in a higher temperature, is that during the delay time between energy coming in, and an equivalent energy exiting, the sun is still pouring in energy at a constant rate; so an increment of energy is added to the earth system that grows linearly with the propagation delay of the cooling process, and that must result in the Temperature going up.
    Good to have you watching my back there Nylo; I almost slipped that one by.

  198. Anders Boman says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm
    “[....]1) Of all the gases in the atmosphere, does CO2 contribute more of this effect than the other gases?”

    Absorption bands of CO2 and H2O:

    Notice that H2O vastly outperforms CO2.

    “2) If CO2 contributes on average less of this effect than the other gases combined, then if CO2 concentrations increase as a proportion of all gases – how can this increase the greenhouse effect in total?”

    Not very much, is the answer. Even the warmists know this; that’s why they phantasize about a small warming caused by CO2 which makes H20 evaporate, which will with its wide absorption band lead to a feedback which will make the Earth melt and the Oceans boil and we will all be down on our knees and pray for bloody mercy or somesuch.

    Which is of course comple lunacy as hot places on the Earth, say in the tropics during noon, are not known for melting down due to a sudden outbreak of water vapor feedback. But sanity does not enter the skulls of the AGW boneheads.

  199. A premise of Herman and Pielke’s description of “the greenhouse theory” is that in the infrared band and outside the window of transparency the magnitude of the downwelling radiative flux increases with concentrations of greenhouse gases while the magnitude of the upwelling flux stays stationary. Would the two authors care to comment on Miskolski’s finding that the two fluxes are equal?

  200. “”” Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm
    stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    I’ve got problems with all of this.
    What follows is a question and not a statement;

    CO² 0.04% “””

    Note to Phil.

    I think you made a typo in your response Phil. You said that the spoantaneous decay time of the CO2 excited state was much shorter than the collision time in the lower atmosphere.

    I’m sure you meant to say much longer; so that collisional thermalisation is far more likely than re-emission from the CO2 excited State. I’m having the same sort of problem today.

  201. Andres Valencia says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    “Am I right to think about G&T that:
    A possible way for atmospheric “greenhouse gases” to warm a planet could be by temporarily delaying some escape of heat?
    Infrared absorbing gases in the atmosphere could slow the cooling of the Earth?”

    Yes i think so. G&T don’t talk much about any “slowing down”; as physicists, they just compute some balance or equilibrium and are done with it; they don’t care much for some temporary upswings or downswings. See my comment above at
    July 23, 2010 at 9:40 am

  202. I’m very surprised that any meteorologist of stature would offer a radiation-only explanation of the “greenhouse effect,” dismissing all other modes of thermal energy transfer as “too complicated to discuss here and not completely understood anyway,” but nevertheless maintaining that “adding more CO2 warms the atmosphere.” In effect, they conflate a) thermodynamics (flow of thermal energy) with IR radiative transfer, b) forcing with release of stored energy, and c) energy content with thermal capacitance. And then there’s the usual reference to phantom “feedbacks” in a passive feed-through system that is entirely dependent upon insolation for its energy supply.

    Somehow it has not occurred to them, that LATENT heat transfer is the principal mode of cooling the surface over oceans. And is the PRESENCE of an atmosphere, rather than trace chemical concentration, that is the key to the “greenhouse effect,” because that’s what makes backradiation possible. That radiation comes largely NOT from CO2, or even water vapor, but from the far-more massive constituents of the atmosphere radiating collisionally transferred energy in the seldom-shown regions of the thermal spectrum.

  203. tallbloke: In running through the above comments, only a dozen or so even think to mention the oceans. Kind of odd, don’t ya think? But a few noted that the temperature of the earth would be much cooler if not for the oceans.

    The oceans, of course, have their own “greenhouse effect”; that is, downward shortwave radiation can warm the oceans as deep as 100 meters but the oceans can only release heat at the surface. So all in all, most of the arguments miss the obvious.

  204. I want the theory and this whole discussion to move to the level where all of this happens – at the quantum level. It operates with photons and molecules and the speed of light (300,000 km/sec) and the EM spectrum (from infrared to ultraviolet) and the molecular collision rate (6.9 billion per second).

    There is too much Macro and note enough Micro.

  205. from Ben and Roger’s guest-post:
    “we use quotation marks around the words “greenhouse theory” to indicate that while this terminology has been generally adopted to explain the predicted warming with the addition of absorbing gases into the atmosphere, the actual process is quite a bit different from how a greenhouse heats.”

    This is a very important point, and I don’t mind reiterating it in my own words. Real greenhouses keep the flowers, fruits, and veggies inside of them warm by goofing up convection cells. Atmospheric IR-absorbing gases, like gas-phase H2O, and to a much lesser extent CO2, cause warming by an entirely different mechanism.

    It’s a mistake for skeptics to jump on the buzzword, “greenhouse”. It’s not a conversation-stopper. On the other hand, AGW buffs are mistaken in their belief that recent increases in atmospheric levels of CO2 are causes for concern. The experience of the last 30 years demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt, that the actual warming effect of moderately increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2–together with all of the intertwined positive and negative feedback mechanisms–is *immeasurably* small. CO2 is *not* the 800-pound gorilla of climate change.

    In principle, the AGW buffs may be *qualitatively* correct about the warming effects stemming from IR-absorbing gases. However on a *quantitative* level, it’s a different story.

    We should courageously face the facts about those with whom we strongly disagree. They are simply not smart enough to be wrong about everything. And knee-jerk reactions to each and every AGW expression is counterproductive; it makes all of Skepticdom look foolish.

    In order to minimize confusion, I propose that the atmospheric-warming mechanism of interest to us be rechristened as the Larry Effect. One of these days, I really should catalog and number all of the Larry Effects. :-)

  206. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm
    “Not very much, is the answer. Even the warmists know this; that’s why they phantasize about a small warming caused by CO2 which makes H20 evaporate, which will with its wide absorption band lead to a feedback which will make the Earth melt and the Oceans boil and we will all be down on our knees and pray for bloody mercy or somesuch.”

    Thanks for the answers, much appreciated.

    Is it really correct that the AGW alarmists think that CO2 will indirectly cause an increase in water vapour which will create an even greater greenhouse effect? That does not make much sense.

    I just find that cloudy days are cooler than clear days. So there must be a large difference in the greenhouse effect of water vapour depending on whether atmospheric H2O is in gaseous form or in aerosol form as clouds? Surely more water vapour in the atmosphere would result in increased cloud formation also?

    It just seems likely that the earth is a stable system with biodiversity having survived this long. If the system was inherently unstable (that is, having dangerous positive feedback loops), then it seems statistically unlikely for a world as old as ours to have thrived so much.

    I read somewhere that the earth has already experienced periods with significantly higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere in the past. What was the climate and biodiversity like during those periods?

  207. NickB. says: “I’ve always wondered if the equation that comes up with 33 degrees of greenhouse effect took into account that space really isn’t absolute zero – if I recall correctly it’s 3 or so K. Not that it really matters, just curious if anyone knew”

    Yeah, I heard (a few decades ago) that it was an average of 4°K. (Or 4 K, if you wish, and don’t mind people thinking you mean 4,000). I’m not so sure, given the recent order-of-magnitude changes in the thermosphere, that it’s a constant. But as you suggest, it doesn’t matter much for most purposes, since there’s not a lot of difference between, say:

    q = AFσ(298^4) and q = AFσ(298^4 – 4^4)

    Note that the thermosphere’s temperature can be range from 200°K (at lower altitudes) to as high as 2800°K during the day (high altitudes). The thermosphere is extremely tenuous, so it’s not considered to have a measurable effect on the Earth’s heat balance. This may be in error.

  208. I was amazed when I read the succession of recent papers saying that the ‘greenhouse effect’ violated established laws of physics, as I understood this to be the bedrock of global warming theory.

    I am even more amazed after reading this thread; after 30 years and tens of billions of dollars in ‘climate research’, we still don’t have agreement on even this basic point?

    What have the scientists been doing all these years?

  209. Andres Valencia says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “Am I right to think about G&T that:
    A possible way for atmospheric “greenhouse gases” to warm a planet could be by temporarily delaying some escape of heat?
    Infrared absorbing gases in the atmosphere could slow the cooling of the Earth?”

    Almost exactly. The gases (including the IR absorbing ones) have a thermal capacity and they are poor conductors. That’s why they slow the cooling. The radiation freaks are ignoring this part of the equation!

  210. BTW, Herman and Pielke Sr. don’t have any qualifications that exceed G&T or some of the others I linked to. So the Jury is still out, I think. We have a hypothesis not a theory; no empirical evidence; DEFINITELY not proven!

  211. Guest post By Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.
    With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.

    The more you people write, the more you reveal yourselves to be the pseudoscientists you are. Who’s paying you to push that line of crap? Whomever it is must be paying you well! Are you hierodules in the temple of CACC or CAGW?

    [1] The natural state of all matter is: REST. Ergo, gasses DO NOT ABSORB –AND RETAIN– ANYTHING.

    Hell, it doesn’t ABSORB anything!
    Certainly CO2 molecules may be excited to a higher energy level, but as soon as the energy source either diminishes or ceases, the resonance decreases/ceases.

    You two make it sound as if the gas acts as a battery of some sort which absorbs —and saves— energy, only to release it at an inconvenient time.

    Hell, you even make it sound as if the CO2 “amplifies” the Sunlight!!!

    CO2 —just as with other atmospheric gases— acts as an insulator. And while it is true that it resonates with energy of a certain spectra, that in NO WAY implies that it will behave differently otherwise.

    Any energy received by CO2 molecules, is released by that molecule consonant with the energy received, and the ability of the atmosphere to accept the energy released.

    The Sun is a PRIMARY radiator, and the Earth a secondary radiator. That being the case, when ‘Sun don’t shine,’ then the Earth is THE ONLY source of radiated energy, and NOT the gas.

    [2] Now then, since the gas acts merely as a ‘transmission’ medium for a certain spectra, then it may well be said that it DOES NOT retain energy of that spectra, but instead helps to disperse it MORE RAPIDLY than if it were it not in existence — FOR THAT SPECTRA.

    Ergo, with MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, the amount of energy reradiated by the Earth is actually facilitated by the CO2 which actually leads to better cooling.

    This reciprocity then is beneficial: Even when the Sun radiates at a stronger level, the radiation from the Earth sends even more energy back into space by dint of the fact that the energy from the Sun coupled with the re-radiated energy from the Earth, EXCEEDS the energy received from the Sun, contributing to the space-bound energy.

    AND, with no Sunlight —hours of darkness— the CO2 thence facilitates the release of energy into space.

    [3] NOW AGAIN: why with all that CO2 locked in the matrices of the polar and glacial ice, isn’t said ice turning to water every time the Sunlight hits the ice?

    And WHY aren’t the seas —with all of that entrained CO2— roiling whenever the Sunlight hits them?

    And WHY aren’t the lot of us roasting like pigs on a spit whenever the Sunlight hits us, if only that the atmosphere is virtually flooded with that dreadful CO2 gas?

  212. anna v

    I putter with the toy Earth a bit in 1-d with some fairly sophisticated in my spare time. I use a combination of stefan’s law and a full bore hitran IR database radiative power transfer application along with a model atmosphere from 1976. It doesn’t deal with particulates but it seems to do a good job on spectral analysis when compared with actual high resolution spectrums.

    It provides some interesting things IMHO when combined with some concepts from Keihl and Trenberth 97.

    In essence we get an averaged surface T and emission of 288.2K and 391w/m^2. We have an averaged incoming solar of 341w/m^2 with about 0.305 of that reflected away due to albedo, leaving 239w/m^2 solar power being absorbed by Earth’s surface & atmosphere. Simple energy balance demands that there must be an averaged value of 239w/m^2 emitted. Simply put, there must be an average of 391-239 = ~150 w/m^2 of outgoing power which must be absorbed without being reemitted. Note that about 107 w/m^2 is all that ghgs absorb so the balance due to clouds must be the difference, about 43 w/m^2.

    In answer to your question about n2 and o2, I’ve modeled no co2 and no2 h2o and that removes about 99 of the 107 w/m^2, leaving about 8 w/m^2 absorption due to all other small ghg contributors.

    One can establish a sensitivity – although not quite the same as (mis)defined by the ipcc by taking the 33deg C rise and dividing by the 150 w/m^2 ‘forcing’ power. That gives us 0.22 deg C rise per W/m^2 power absorption increase and is the actual Earth’s sensitivity factor.

    Note that a straight radiative ‘sensitivity’ can be done by taking the emission of 239 divided by 391 – the emission from the surface to get the fractional estimate of power leaving the surface and escaping. That’s about 0.61 so divide that into 1 W/m^2 gives a needed increase of 1.6w/m^2 emitted from the surface in order for 1 w/m^2 to escape and at 288.2k, that corresponds to a T increase of around 0.29 deg C rise per W/m^2 absorption increase. This suggests that a net negative feedback is present as the needed change is less than a straight radiative change.

    A doubling of co2 comes out with a 3.7 W/m^2 increase in absorption at the tropopause (11km and over the spectrum range of 0 to 75 um). This gives a (n ipcc) sensitivity of 3.7 x 0.22 = ~0.8 deg C rise per co2 doubling. If one resorts to look at absolute humidity and goes with the climatology assumption that relative humidity stays constant with the change in averaged T, one can assume a 2 deg C rise and come up with only a 13% increase in averaged h2o vapor. That is much less than an h2o doubling so it amounts to around 5.1 w/m^2 when combined with the co2 doubling. This gives a sensitivity for co2 doubling of 5.1 x 0.22 = 1.1 deg C rise- which means that unless there are additional significant effects causing another 0.9 deg rise, that we’ve actually overestimated the additional h2o consequence.

    At present we are now below the claimed sensitivity measurement ranges, but only slightly and only if there are no other effects. We are also a long way from the potentially serious high sensitivities claimed by the warmistas. Note that the nice long list of these claimed papers gets quite short when each is held to any scrutiny as each has a rather wide error range and lots of potential problems with methodology or assumptions.

    Another factor is the nature of the albedo. With 70% ocean and liquid water, the surface averaged albedo is about 0.08. With 62% cloud cover, that puts the cloud albedo at around 0.22 and clouds themselves with an albedo of around 0.37, significantly less than the sulfur based clouds of Venus. The clouds provide a most interest averaged situation. They’re blocking most of the surface radiation and are emitting essentially a full blackbody spectrum since we’re dealing with droplets of h2o water or ice. I’ve not looked into the emission characteristics of water droplets but they’re not going to be molecular spectrums like that emitted from a gas and I think they’re going to be full bore (or close to it) bb continuum curves (at the characteristic T of the droplets). That means there’s broad band emissions above the altitudes where much of the ghgs reside.

  213. George E. Smith says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    The simplest way to see that delaying the cooling process results in a higher temperature, is that during the delay time between energy coming in, and an equivalent energy exiting, the sun is still pouring in energy at a constant rate; so an increment of energy is added to the earth system that grows linearly with the propagation delay of the cooling process, and that must result in the Temperature going up.

    If you have a well-mixed mixture of distilled water and ice, the temperature of the mixture will be 0 degrees Centigrade. As you add heat to the mixture, the temperature will stay at 0 degrees Centigrade until the ice has melted. If you add enough heat the ice will melt and the temperature of the water will rise. But during the interval the ice is melting, the added heat does NOT raise the temperature. So I don’t believe that the claim “an increment of energy” must result in “the Temperature going up” is correct.

  214. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.

    I find your post confusing. Surely you can present a post more logical and explanatory than your current offering? I’ve given up reading the responses here after reading about 30% of them.

    IMHO I believe you would do better service by concentrating your effort into describing the effect that pressure invokes on the speed and type of energy transfer between molecules in a mixed gas. This would lead to a discussion on internal molecular energy (twisting, stretching and bending of bonds, their resonant frequencies and the time-scale that may, or may not, lead to a photon emission).

    If you took this approach, it would be easier to explain that GHE (greenhouse effect) is dependant on the time permitted for a given ‘radiatively active’ molecule to either, receive internal energy by irradiation absorption from the EM field and emit a photon to the EM field (re-radiation), or receive internal energy by irradiation absorption from the EM field and passes this energy on to another molecule by ‘collisional transfer of energy’ (thermalisation of EM radiation). At least WRT to OLR (outgoing long-wave radiation), for example, is it ‘outgoing’, or ‘not’!

    IOW! If a molecule’s internal energy reduces and it produced a photon it’s not within the ‘greenhouse’, but if a molecule’s internal energy reduces without the manifestation of a photon the energy has added to the general gas kinetic and is within the ‘greenhouse’.

    This ‘microscopic’ view may seem to give more ‘focus’ to the definition of GHE, but it also adds complexity. However, I believe that the readership here is up to this and those who aren’t will be helped by those who are.

    That received, I think you’ll realise that GHE is dependant on the gas selected and the local atmospheric pressure. Why not post on this?

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  215. This is slightly O/T but I can’t help myself. I had this afternoon off, I was home alone in peaceful quiet and thoroughly enjoying this comment thread. There’s some mighty meaty stuff here! Great reading! I was thoroughly engrossed.

    Then my doorbell sounds and my dogs start barking like idiots. I go to my door in disgust and tell my “man killer” Golden Retrievers to sit down and shut up (and quit wagging your tails…that’s embarrassing). I find a kid of about 19, standing all of about 5’8″ with greasy hair with a Sierra Club badge on a lanyard holding a clipboard. He had holes in his earlobes expanded by what looked like huge metal Cheerios. He explained that he was from the Sierra Club and he was here because of the oil spill in the Gulf. Of course I asked if that was the case why he was here in Santa Fe and not down on the Gulf Coast. He said, “Well sir, we’re here looking to recruit new members”. I couldn’t help myself. I’m 6’2″ and I’m already standing on a stoop a good 5″ above him. I leaned in and slightly over him and in my deepest, most menacing voice I said, “I would rather DIE than join the Sierra Club.

    His smile vanished and he beat a hasty retreat to the street as fast as he could go without breaking into a run. Childish, perhaps…but hey…you find your fun where you make it!

  216. Tallbloke:
    “Mosher and the warmists say co2 warms the atmosphere. Pielke and I say it slows the rate of cooling of the atmosphere. You say “it doesn’t matter”.”

    I’m pretty sure there’s no disagreement between Pielke and “warmist” scientists on the basics of how the GH effect works, so I guess that claim of yours is just a strawman.

    I think you’re being a bit unfair on Mosher, the analogy I’d use is if you’ve got and electric blanket but then put more blankets over the top, do the additional blankets work to help increase how warm the bed is? no one would be claiming that the extra insulation (blankets or CO2) is a heat source, but a warmer bed (or Earth surface) is the result.

  217. Tallbloke responds to Basinger as follows:

    Scott Basinger says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm (Edit)
    The “greenhouse gases” heat the earth’s surface up approximately 35°C higher than it would be otherwise.”

    No they don’t. They slow the rate of cooling. Please don’t try to say that ‘this is the same thing’.

    So, Tallbloke, is it wrong to say that CO2 molecules capture radiation from Earth’s surface and then emit radiation randomly so that near half what they admit goes to Earth’s surface? If this description is correct then how can it be that the emitted radiation does not heat the Earth’s surface?

  218. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm
    Would someone please explain the different mechanisms of CO2 and water vapor? We know that CO2 captures and radiation and releases it randomly, so somewhat less than half of all captured radiation is sent toward Earth. What about water vapor? Does it capture radiation and than radiate it? What is the mechanism of warming?

    This chart is illustrative.

    Note how much more power in the infrared spectrum is absorbed by H2O compared to CO2.

    Water vapor accounts for some 95% of GHG warming. The mechanism is the same. There are interesting differences however.

    Water vapor can vary a lot from region to region and in the same region it can vary a lot and do it quickly. CO2 doesn’t vary nearly as quickly or as much.

    Water vapor also also forms clouds and ice. CO2 doesn’t. Cloud formation causes cooling in at least two different ways. CO2 of course doesn’t form clouds. When water vapor condenses into a cloud it releases a lot of latent heat of vaporization. That heat was picked up at the surface where the water evaporated. The water cycle works like a heat pump with the cold side on the ground and the warm side in the clouds. And then of course a cloud is has a much higher albedo so it bounces a lot of the visible spectrum back out into space before it reaches the surface. Ice of course also has high albedo.

    Albedo is a big flaw in global circulation models (GCM). The earth’s average albedo is difficult to measure even today and various different attempts to measure it are not in satisfactory agreement. We do know it varies however and but the GCMs model albedo as a constant. Moreover, the value assigned to the constant in different models (the guesstimates) differ greatly. It’s bascially a fudge factor that the model maker gets to adjust but so long as it’s a constant in the model where it’s a significant variable in reality it mucks up the model in one way or another no matter what constant value they assign. Neat huh? Hide the albedo.

    These aspects of cloud formation are very poorly modeled in the so-called Global Circulation Models and they have huge potential for variable effect.

  219. Your rebuttal of the two misconceptions is spot on, as far as I can see.

    However, your conclusion doesn’t follow, except in the trivial sense that more GHCs imply more warming covers warming of any amount, including infinitesimal amounts.

    You are also correct that the Earth’s temperature in excess of 255K is due to GHCs. However, if “more warming” at the current temperature and concentration of GHCs means a significant amount if warming, then you have not made that case and I believe the evidence is completely against it.

    Steve Goddard’s adiabatic lapse rate argument makes much more sense. Personal observations that anyone can do, such as watching an eagle rise on a thermal, should be enough to convince you that convection completely dominates heat dissipation from the Earth’s surface and does so on a scale far too small to be accounted in the expensive supercomputer climate models. If this is so, and it certainly seems as if there is overwhelming evidence that it is, then all fear of greenhouse disasters is entirely misplaced.

  220. Why oh why does nobody address simple heat storage effects? The Earth is NOT a simple blackbody that emits exactly what it absorbs. It absorbs and stores heat. The SB equations don’t accomodate this fact, so they cannot be used to predict the temperature of the planet without GHGs. This very obvious fact is not being addressed by those who think they are “in the know.”

  221. Most serious sceptics recognise that the greenhouse effect is a physical reality, however they also recognise that totally unrealistic and unphysical to consider this effect in total isolation.

    Basic physical principles tell us that any increase in the downward IR radiation in the atmosphere (e.g. caused by increasing levels of CO2) must originate in the levels of the atmosphere where the absorportions by that particular green-house gas are not saturated. This corresponds to the upper troposphere for CO2 (and water vapor).
    In its simplest terms, it means that it requires increasing levels of either CO2 and/or water vapour in the upper (tropical) troposphere, in order for their to a significant warming of the atmosphere due to green-house gases.

    The truth is that increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere result in greater amounts of IR radiation being reflected back upon the Earth’s ocean surfaces. This additional energy leads to a greater level of evaporation from the Earth’s tropical oceans.
    This additional evapouration at the oceans surfaces leads to an additional deposition of energy in the mid level (tropical) troposphere through the dual processes of the latent heat of evaporation (at the ocean surface) and condensation (in the tropical thunderclouds). This deposition of energy warms all levels of the (tropical) troposphere, with the level of warming with altitude being set by the relative contributions of the dry and wet adiabatic lapse rates.

    Many people seem to missing the crucial point that the increase in convective overturning in the (tropical) troposphere (caused by increasing evaporation
    from the oceans surface and condensation as rainclouds) results in the pumping of massive amounts of de-humdified air into the upper (tropical) troposphere.
    This lowers the specific humidity (mass of water vapour per 1 kg of air) in the upper reaches of the tropical tropsphere.

    It doesn’t take a genious to see that the resultant decrease in water vapor ( a dominant green-house gas) in the same level of the atmosphere where increasing amounts of
    of CO2 is having its greatest impact on warming the atmosphere produces a MASSIVE NATURAL NEGATIVE FEEDBACK MECHANISM, that effectively nulifies CO2 ability to warm the atmosphere.

    This simple physical model is backed up by direct radiosone observations which show that:

    a) the overall (i.e global) IR optical depth of the atmosphere has not changed in the
    last 61 years
    b) that the IR optical depth of the atmosphere appears to be controlled by the column
    density of water vapour (NOT CO2).
    c) the specific humidity of the upper troposphere has been systematically dropping
    over the last 30 – 40 years.

    When will people start waking up to these simple realities?

  222. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    So, Tallbloke, is it wrong to say that CO2 molecules capture radiation from Earth’s surface and then emit radiation randomly so that near half what they admit goes to Earth’s surface? If this description is correct then how can it be that the emitted radiation does not heat the Earth’s surface?

    Say you have one of those insulated coffee cups. When you put hot coffee in it do you say the cup heats the water? Of course not. The keeps it warm long.

    CO2 does the same thing as the cup.

  223. It is interesting to see this as proof of the “obvious”:
    “If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”

    My understanding is that the atmosphere has density, this density causes compression, compression causes an increase in temperature. How much of the 33 degrees warmer is the compression? For an idea, just 30,000 feet up in the air the temperature outside the cockpit of an aircraft is frequently -30f to -50f. If the surface air temperature is 70f this is a difference of 100 to 120 f. Sorry, but I am not going to be duped into the greenhouse effect, the amount of radiation escaping from the surface of the earth at the wavelengths for which it can be absorbed by the “greenhouse gasses” are fully 100% saturated by 10 feet elevation, moving that 10 feet of elevation down to 5 feet or even 2 feet is not going to significantly increase the temperature of the atmosphere, which is more than 100,000 feet deep.

  224. “CO2 does the same thing as the cup.”

    And if you put a vacuum between the coffee and the cup, it stays warmer much longer. So just what is your point?

  225. The core issue here apparently is: more CO2 slows down the IR escape to space. Then, TIME is the variable I see absent from the equations regarding irradiation, either downwell radiation or to outer space.

    Photons travel at the speed of light, so a photon irradiationg from the surface will be about 300.000 km from Earth’s surface in the first second. And it is not coming back.

    How much time it takes for a molecule to reirradiate a photon after receiving it? How much does it take to go down a Fermi level and radiate a new photon? Picoseconds, Nanoseconds, femtoseconds? Has anyone measured that? And how?

    Can there be calculated the number of molecules a photon will impact before going out to space? The atmosphere is not a solid block of gas molecules, so quadrillions of photons will be escaping to outer space without hitting any molecule. On the other hand, millions of photona can impact several quadrillion molecules before finally escaping without a possibility of return.

    If someone could calculate that, making an overall average and adding the delay in reirradiation could give an idea of how much -(if it ever happens)- GH gases retard radiation going to outer space. And those gases non GH as oxygen and nitrogen, will absorb the photon but will only get rid of it by conduction! And the sheer difference between GHG and O2 and N2 is humongous, so the chance of giving away the energy by trasnferring the heat to a CO2 molecule is negligible. This complicates things further.

    Uncertainties are too broad here. I wish someone had an answer. I hope it is not I the only one who jumps in a huge mattres of ignorance.

  226. Mods

    As pointed out by George (above) I made a typo in the following:
    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm
    …….”In fact for CO2 the time it takes to emit a photon from the excited state is much shorter than the mean time between collisions in the lower atmosphere so the most likely fate of the excited state is to transfer kinetic energy to the surrounding gases via collisions. Higher up in the atmosphere collisions become less likely and therefore emission of radiation more likely.”

    It should be ‘longer’ not ‘shorter’. Can you fix it since it doesn’t make sense otherwise.

    REPLY: I have fixed it for you. – Anthony

  227. Dr. Dave says:
    July 23, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    “I would rather DIE than join the Sierra Club”.

    Send the Sierra club recruiter to Los Osos, CA. I’d like to confirm your feelings.

  228. “The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway.”

    Scratches head……

    But they do know that co2 will warm the earth?????

  229. Increasing co2 will likely cause cooling because of negative feedback.

    Reginald Newell, worked at MIT, NASA, IAMAP

  230. Juraj V. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    OK gentlemen. Whats wrong with this scheme?

    :D

    I call it a thermos. Maybe that’s why I don’t get grant money. ;)

  231. It appears that the general assumption here is that there is an unlimited amount of radiation within the region of the resonant frequencies of CO2. This is not true according to Dr. John Nicol’s paper at the current level of CO2 virtually all of the radiation at the resonant frequencies is absorbed in the first 50 meters of atmosphere the close neigbours to those frequencies are absorbed progressivly higher but all are absorbed in the lower 2000 meters thus the so called “greenhouse gas” effect of CO2 is saturated and adding CO2 only lowers the height of the absorbtion but does not change the amount of energy absorbed once the mini Stefan Boltzman curves around each resonant frequency have overlapped which occurs far below the current levels of CO2. Thus the line broadening effect of increasing CO2 concentration which is the basis for the IPCC formula has flattened out.
    It should also be understood that the CO2 molecules will only reradiate energy at its specific resonant frequencies and their mean path length according to Beer’s Law is about 2 meters which explains why there is effectively no radiation at the specific resonant frequencies remaing after 50 meters. So the CO2 molecule will absorb close neigbours to its resonant frequencies higher in the atmosphere but the reradiated energy has a very short path and can not return to the earths surface.
    It should also be noted that much of the energy absorbed by the CO2 molecules is transferred to the other molecules in the atmosphere by kinetic energy transfer through collision thus there is very little reradiation anyway.

  232. kwik says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “‘Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).’

    Are you sure about this, Phil? That the hottest will be hotter? I allways believed that this is exactly what was impossible, according to the 2′nd law….because if it got hotter…then heat has gone from colder to hotter….. or is this Trenberts hidden heat?”

    The statement bugged me at first too, but then I realized it was just poorly worded. The two balls he’s using have their own internal heat sources. If they didn’t, then both would just reach the local background temperature. Take an object in the steady state at 500k radiating into a 0K background (makes it simple). Now add another object at 250k under the same conditions. Both objects would get hotter because they would radiate some of their energy to each other instead of losing it to the 0k background. Since we want the system to be in equilibrium, each ball must raise its temperature to net out the increased energy it receives from the other. The exact amount depends on the geometry of the problem.

  233. Dr Pielke –

    I could be wrong but they say this:

    1. By virtue of the second law of Thermodynamics, heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body

    and you say this:

    When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere.

    Tell me if I am wrong, but aren’t you saying exactly the same thing they are saying?

    Their point seems to be that the warmer atmospheric layer can’t absorb, and you are saying if the CO2 is there it will absorb it. Your point – that more being there means more is absorbed – doesn’t address their concern about warmer vs cooler. Without saying why it is so, you only state that it does. But that is their contention in the first place. You seem to be merely rephrasing what they are objecting to. I don’t think that is adequate as an explanation.

    Myself, I would have suggested that when a molecule in the atmosphere is impinged by energy, it doesn’t give a damn where the energy came from. To the molecule, energy is energy – if the energy is there, it will absorb it if the frequency is an absorbable one.

    In addition, there is much comment about what water vapor is doing, and people’s thoughts are all contending. This seems to mirror what we hear about the climate models being wrong because they don’t have a clue how to model water vapor – because they haven’t figured out what water vapor really does in toto. People are getting all energized in telling what they think is going on. And I doubt Dr Pielke can definitively disagree with most of their input here; it is probable that just about all of it is correct, but what water vapor effects are operating under what conditions, in what combinations, and in what proportions – it all seems to be anybody’s guess.

    I come away from this believing that Dr Pielke’s understanding is far less than complete. That is not a slam at him. It just seems to put him in the middle of the pack in trying to understand a complex system.

  234. Co2 has been at much higher levels in the past. It didn’t cause the warming that is proposed it should have in those times. Some of the people that say co2 causes warming are smart people. Why is there a disconnect between what the data shows about co2 in the past and what these smart people are saying about what co2 can do now?

  235. Barry Moore says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I agree.

    The main energy transfer of an excited CO2, or H2O will be through cascading to lower levels, and thus not reproducing the input frequency anyway, and also rotational and vibrational levels, all these being the process of thermalization of the atmosphere which is composed mainly N2 and O2.

    The whole concept leading to the energy oven of Peden as shown by TskTsk above is based on what happens when one mixes ones physics systems. In this case thermodynamic theory and quantum statistical theory. Temperatures, the way they are used in climate with black body radiation etc are thermodynamic quantities. When one starts to go into the quantum statistical picture, one has to remain in that. One cannot hand wave back radiation and stuff like that. One has to describe quantum statistical ensembles and treat them appropriately to get the average energy from the exponential expressions where it is hiding. One cannot treat radiation in quantized systems as if it is billiard balls bouncing around and expect consistent results.Mixing two systems of physics/reference results in paradoxes, like the oven above.

  236. As one of the earlier commentators remarked, the responses to this post are almost enough to drive me to the other side of the argument. The authors put “greenhouse gases” in quotes and are criticized for misunderstanding greenhouses. They state that greenhouse gases raise temperatures leaving all other factors aside and are criticized for not considering other factors. They say that the Second Law is not violated and, good Lord, I don’t even follow what happens next!

    Several people have suggested that the scientists should rephrase their explanations in terms that they can understand. Sorry, but this is clearly not going to be possible.

  237. kwik says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).”

    Are you sure about this, Phil? That the hottest will be hotter? I allways believed that this is exactly what was impossible, according to the 2′nd law….because if it got hotter…then heat has gone from colder to hotter…..

    That’s exactly right, the version of the 2nd Law you quote is not applicable to radiation as George, I and others have pointed out above. Consider this thought experiment, for the cooler ball not to radiate to the hotter would require the surface of that ball ‘know’ that the photon it is about to emit will hit a hotter ball and so not emit! As far as radiation is concerned it is the net transfer that is governed by the 2nd law, but energy is transferred in both directions continuously (just at a higher rate from the hotter one).
    This is not something that’s limited to climate science, it’s used every day in radiation heat transfer in engineering.

  238. I believe that if someone made a balloon ascent wearing a set of IR goggles that could *only* see CO2 radiation, they would soon lose sight of the ground and be lost in a uniform fog of dimming CO2 ‘light’ as the temperature cooled at the adiabatic lapse rate until they reached the tropopause where they would finally see the darkness of outer space opening out from above. The sun, as it became visible, would not appear to be much brighter than the pale CO2 ‘cloud’ below illuminated by Earthshine.

    REPLY: Actually, that’s an easily reproducible experiment with a hi altitude balloon and a video camera – Anthony

  239. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm
    Anders Boman says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm
    “[....]1) Of all the gases in the atmosphere, does CO2 contribute more of this effect than the other gases?”

    Absorption bands of CO2 and H2O:

    Notice that H2O vastly outperforms CO2.

    Only if we lived on a planet where Planck’s radiation law does not apply, i.e. on this planet the radiation from the surface is not uniform from the UV to the microwave, if you want to look at what the absorption curve actually looks like see here:

  240. An explanation that includes convection.
    Start with an atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen (negligible GH effect). The surface will be 255 K, and the atmosphere above it would be cooler with height (negative lapse rate) due to convective equilibrium and pressure variation. Add transparent GHG slowly which now leads to the atmosphere starting to produce its own longwave flux up and down. Now, from no downward longwave before, the surface has both solar and longwave downward fluxes, and it has to warm because its net radiation input has increased. This leads to more convection, spreading the warming through the troposphere, but maintaining the convective lapse rate. Eventually a new warmer equilibrium is reached determined by the incoming/outgoing radiation balance at the top of the atmosphere. This is why the surface is now 288 K instead of 255 K. [For simplicity, I have assumed albedo stays the same here, but of course with no water vapor, it would be warmer than 255 K due to no clouds, and water vapor also modifies the way the lapse rate develops due to clouds].

  241. Re: The Saturation Argument.

    The accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere means that the average height at which IR is emitted to space is higher.

    Higher -> Colder
    Colder -> reduced emitted energy (by S-B law)

    There will be a imbalance between incoming (solar) and outgoing (IR) which will cause the surface and the lower atmosphere to warm – until it he incoming=outgoing balance is restored. How much will it warm?

    Equations (based on Beer-Lambert and Planck) which model EM transmission through the atmosphere suggest that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will reduce the outflow of energy at TOA (top of the atmosphere) by ~4 watts/m2. These equations form the basis of programs such as Modtran which have been validated against numerous different atmospheric profiles.

    What does 4 watts/m2 mean for surface temperature? A ‘quick and dirty’ method of calculation follows:

    Surface Temp @ ~15 deg C (288K) emits ~390 watts/m2
    TOA emits ~240 watts/m2

    IR Transmission = 240/390 = 0.615

    Reduce outgoing IR at TOA by 4 watts/m2 then

    IR Transmission = 236/390 = 0.605

    But to maintain/restore incoming=outgoing balance we still need to emit 240 w/m2, so rearrange Transmission equation to give

    Emission from Surface = 240/0.605 = 396.6 watts/m2

    which equates to a surface temperature of ~289.2K or an increase of 1.2 deg. Usual caveat applies, i.e. does not include feedbacks.

  242. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm
    [--snip for brevity--]
    So, Tallbloke, is it wrong to say that CO2 molecules capture radiation from Earth’s surface and then emit radiation randomly so that near half what they admit goes to Earth’s surface? If this description is correct then how can it be that the emitted radiation does not heat the Earth’s surface?

    THIMK: If the Earth is first heated by energy released from a gas molecule, and then the Earth releases that energy to a gas molecule, then how does the gas molecule ‘reheat’ the Earth?

  243. Monckton of Brenchley says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:13 am
    [--snip--] The true debate in the scientific community is not about whether there is a greenhouse effect (there is), nor about whether additional atmospheric CO2 causes warming (it does),[--snip rest--]

    No, CO2 does no such thing, and I challenge YOU to produce incontrovertible proof of any such contention.

    You’ll be doing that, won’t you? Real soon now?

    In the interim, there are those bits of ‘inconvenient truth’ referred to as the Vostok Ice Cores which COMPLETELY refute your statements: In every case of a temperature rise, CO2 lagged, i.e., followed AFTER an interval of time.

    Consonantly, in every case where the temperature fell, the CO2 lagged the temperature fall.

  244. A poster on Treehugger forums totally destroyed AGW with a simple experiment. Take Two Kilner Jars. Fill one with pure C02 and the other with reasonably humid but otherwise standard atmosphere. Heat both from the same heat source and then turn off the heat source after a while. Then measure the rate of heat loss within the Jars. The C02 loses it’s heat much faster than the humid standard atmosphere.

    REPLY: We don’t live in a pure CO2 atmosphere, so the comparison isn’t valid – Anthony

  245. I never see mention as to what becomes of the more than 45% of solar radiation which is IR. Is most of it absorbed by greenhouse gasses before reaching the surface? What affect would that have on the amount of surface radiation that can be absorbed?

  246. Monckton of Brenchley says:
    [--snip--] The true debate in the scientific community is not about whether there is a greenhouse effect (there is), nor about whether additional atmospheric CO2 causes warming (it does),[--snip rest--]
    Sounds a little bit like the argument put forward by the alarmist, i.e. I think your argument holds no merit so I’m not going to discuss it any further. I’m no scientist but now that somebody has deconstructed the greenhouse theory, I’m almost embarrassed that I never properly questioned it myself. Frankly, GH theory clearly has problems faced with empirical evidence and fudges such as talk of sensitivity and forcings merely explain the oberservation rather than the science. I don’t think we can so easily laugh or dismiss the alternative and challenging ideas – at least not in their entirety and certainly not yet.

  247. Anthony, the experiment referred to by Darren Parker is COMPLETELY valid and more so. The experiment demonstrates the properities of Co2. You can check for yourself, the specific heat of Co2 is slightly less than aluminum. Aluminum dissipates heat rapidly. Co2 shares this same property and that is what is observed in the experiment. Poor at absorption, fast at reemission when compared to air. It also illustrates the high specific heat of water. In fact this experiment pits a 100% concentration of Co2 up against water vapor and Co2 falls flat on its face.

  248. Instead of the focus on co2 there should be a focus on producing food for poor countries against the cooling that has already started in the earth. It is sad what could happen, and what has already begun to happen.

  249. Tallbloke:

    First, the statements in italics were not my words (scienceofdoom.com’s), but I will stand by them. GHG’s absorb and re-emit longwave radition back to earth.

    What you’re stating in terms of ‘cooling slower’ is less clear statement than the specific role of GHG’s in reflecting back energy. If this didn’t happen we’d be much colder (-18C, see the previous post) Pretty nitpicky statement on your part for you ending up being less clear.

    So the sun’s energy just passes through like they don’t exist, but when the earth emits its radiation, these gases absorb energy and then re-emit, so that the earth’s energy doesn’t just fly off into space but instead it’s absorbed and re-transmitted, some of it back down to earth.

  250. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:50 am
    [--snip--] It is just that we mere mortals often have a hard time following the physicists because they tend to make rather large steps in their arguments. It’s not a contradiction at all.
    Yeah, large steps over the precipice …

    Lemming much?

  251. Darren Parker says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    “The C02 loses it’s heat much faster than the humid standard atmosphere.”

    What point is this supposed to make?

  252. Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm
    [--snip--]This is a common fallacy, radiation from cold to hot takes place all the time and is not a violation of the 2nd Law. Your interpretation would have the night side of the earth radiating into outer space but when it’s at noon it would stop radiating back towards the Sun! No net heat can be transferred from the cold body to a hot via radiation but the radiation is always going both ways.
    Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).

    Phil,

    You’re either a comedian paid to post inanity, or you’re just plain inane.

    If the Sun radiates to the Earth, and the Earth begins to heat, the heat energy will re-radiate from the Earth and into space.

    This is so because space is cooler than either the Sun or the Earth.

    If the only two objects in the universe were the Sun and the Earth, and space didn’t exist, then please DO TELL how the cooler Earth is going to transfer heat back to a very much hotter Sun.

    You’ll get back on that, won’t you?

  253. tallbloke says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    Scott Basinger says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm (Edit)
    The “greenhouse gases” heat the earth’s surface up approximately 35°C higher than it would be otherwise.”

    No they don’t. They slow the rate of cooling.

    Please don’t try to say that ‘this is the same thing’.
    Reciprocity finds you incorrect in your assertion.

    Are you willing to say that CO2 retains heat, and if so, how?

    If a gas transmits energy, then it must do so always, regardless from whence the energy arrives.

    Ergo, gasses cannot be said to favor either retention or shedding of energy, as the principle of reciprocity forbids it.

  254. John Phillips:

    A minor quibble with that statement. Heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body via conduction, but it can via radiation. IR from a colder body can be absorbed by a warmer body.

    Nope. The Second Law disallows it in every possible way for closed systems.

  255. Darren Parker says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    A poster on Treehugger forums totally destroyed AGW with a simple experiment. Take Two Kilner Jars. Fill one with pure C02 and the other with reasonably humid but otherwise standard atmosphere. Heat both from the same heat source and then turn off the heat source after a while. Then measure the rate of heat loss within the Jars. The C02 loses it’s heat much faster than the humid standard atmosphere.

    REPLY: We don’t live in a pure CO2 atmosphere, so the comparison isn’t valid – Anthony
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    Well, Anthony, we don’t live in a pure whatever atmosphere.

    But the point was well made: CO2 doesn’t contribute to atmospheric heat.

    So why so dismissive?

  256. 899, if you place a cup of hot coffee in a warm oven (say at 80C), and another identical cup on the kitchen bench, both will cool, but unless you have a very hot kitchen the cup on the bench will cool more quickly than the cup in the oven, this is because while both cups are emitting the same amount of IR radiation to their surrounds, the cup in the oven is receiving more radiation back from its surrounds.

  257. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Ryan writes:

    “What AGW proponents are saying is that we have, in CO2, a translucent panel above our heads (i.e. it absorbs light). According to AGW proponents, if we put more and more translucent panels above our heads the area beneath the translucent panels will get brighter and brighter.”

    Will a a translucent panel above our heads make it brighter?

    What distinguish a Professor from the student, is that the Professor should be better at knowing when different laws of Physics can/should be applied. The student will often fail at this, but via training learn “how to think”.

    It is easy to be fooled.

    In this case I think Ryan is the one with the clear head? Why ?

    Because it occurs to me that “a translucent panel” would act as a perpeteum mobile if it became brighter. But this is just my “instinct” saying so, there could be some tiny thing I am forgetting.

    I still have great problems with that “Back-radiation”, as you all understand.
    But I am no Professor. I am only one of the students. Well, ex student by now.

  258. Bob Tisdale says:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm
    tallbloke: In running through the above comments, only a dozen or so even think to mention the oceans. Kind of odd, don’t ya think? But a few noted that the temperature of the earth would be much cooler if not for the oceans.
    The oceans, of course, have their own “greenhouse effect”; that is, downward shortwave radiation can warm the oceans as deep as 100 meters but the oceans can only release heat at the surface. So all in all, most of the arguments miss the obvious.

    In trying to fight alarmism and debate with warmism over the years I notice they always want to talk about the atmosphere, never about the oceans.

    Back radiation can’t heat the oceans.
    Therefore, the increase in ocean heat-energy content since the fifties is solar in origin.
    The amount of energy increase in the oceans since at least the fifties (since the mid thirties according to my model) is greater than restriction of cooling by additional GHG’s can account for.
    Therefore, solar energy is accumulated in the oceans on multi-decadal timescales when the amount of insolation at the surface is in excess of the long term average, which coincides with the level at which the oceans neither gain nor lose heat (equivalent to ~40SSN).
    Therefore we need to consider the cumulative total of solar energy input not just it’s instantanous level.
    Since the increase in ocean heat-energy content necessarily inceases the sea surface temperature, which increases the atmospheric temperature ~2-3 months later. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2007/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2007/scale:1.7/offset:-0.3

    There’s your global warming.

    I have integrated sunspot area as a running cumulative total of departures from the ocean equilibrium value as a proxy for retained heat of insolation (ocean heat content anomaly) and graphed it against SST back to 1880. I also mention on the graph where the epochs of positive and negative PDO are (noted as periods of El Nino and La Nina dominance). The fit is good all the way allowing for PDO oscillations. The co2 warmista never show you a graph going back prior to 1900 because their rough correlation breaks down beyond that.

    Over 2000 visitors have looked at this graph in the last few days, and most have left positive comments. There has been one unsubstantiated rejection, and two whinges about Y axis issues. It’s true that it’s difficult to quantify at historical distance, and with uncertainty about cloud level amplification of the solar input, but a good fit is a good fit.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

    By the way:

    Ninderthana says:
    July 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Brilliant post.

  259. So even contrarian scientists agree: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Greenhouse Effect”!

    Dr. Roy Spencer also has a go at this on this blog:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/

    The differences in the science seem to boil down to climate sensitivity to CO2 increase.

    Could Herman and Pielke propose a joint study to determine this once and for all – the experiment or experiment(s) to be funded by the energy industry and/ or a collection of governments.

  260. Barry Moore says

    July 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Outgoing radiation is largely invisible to greenhiouse gases as it radiates at too low a wavelength to be captured. C02 only captures heat at -30C, such that is found at the poles – and again, its onl the 1st 100ppm that does this, after which its saturation window closes, something like a tissue dropped in a bath will lose its ability to absorb more water when its saturation window closes. Doubling the tissues to 0.05% (or 500ppm) won’t absorb and more water in a full bath than 0.04% will. Secondly. Assuming the earth heats to an average 15C, from the sun – this average includes everything from deserts at 45C to the poles at -50C. There is no physical mechanism by which outgoing radiation an increase it to 16C. It is the same radiative principle by which heating a liquid to a constant 60C (1st power radiation from a heat source) will not go beyond 60C by the radiation the exits from the liquid (2nd power) *bouncing* back to the liquid (4th power). In fact, optimum temperatures are achieved through solar effects, so reduced energy (radiation)leaving earth on the basis of that 1st power will increase the temperature. If theere were an ideal greenhouse, it would keep it at 15C day and night. Thats not the same as an increase

    However, what concerns radiative physics is the heat absorbtion of c02 in the atmosphere. It absorbs radiation at 13.7-16.3 microns with a peak of 15 microns – yet radiation on average leaves earth at 10 microns, which equates with 15C, or 288K. 15 microns equates with subzero temperatures that can be found at the poles – so heat capture of c02 in the atmosphere is a rather rare event, and is fixed at around 4-6% of atmospheric thermal energy, achieved by the 1st 100ppm where its absorbtion window closes – well outside of normal temperatures. Its true that a c02 molecule’s stretching mode would allow it to transfer energy to other atmospheric molecules, such as the ghg water vapour, but this requires so much energy that it doesn’t occur even at 300K, with the c02 absorbtion bands, and there’s some 3,000 other molecules apart from c02 in a given volume of air, making collisions between thermally excited c02 molecules very unlikely. Molecules of like kind are more efficient at transferring energy to one another. In the absence of such, thermal degradation takes place very quickly. (a billionth of a second), so vibrationally excited c02 thermalises very quickly with oxygen and nitrogen

  261. Dave Wendt says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm
    Many years ago Sapir and Whorf posited a theory, a much oversimplified statement of which would be, that language dominates thought. It never got a lot of traction in the linguistics community, though occasional efforts are still made to support versions of it. The way the climate debate has developed and proceeded suggests that maybe their work should be given more consideration. The rather simple error of selecting a seriously flawed analogy, the greenhouse, has lead to decades of people talking past each other on this topic, mostly it would seem, because they are trying to rectify their arguments to an analogy that has no common definition and fundamentally misstates what is actually occurring.

    If a person is interested enough to argue about the greenhouse effect, he ought to be interested enough to have learned that the analogy is flawed. The trouble is not language. The trouble is that some people are egoistical fools.

    Andrew W says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    Thank you Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr for the tidy post, it’s resulted in the funniest thread I’ve read in ages, that kill-joy from Brenchley tried to derail it all but to no avail. The thread is a testament to humans being rationalising rather than rational creatures.

    I don’t think the problem is rationalization. I think it’s egoism, and I would almost say, solipsism.

  262. My understanding is the effect of additional CO2 on outgoing radiant energy is logarithmic. This has not been included in the excellent description in the article which suggests more CO2 causes directly proportionately more warming.

  263. Bob Kutz July 23, 2010 at 8:35 am says:

    “Can you tell me, does atmospheric CO2 currently absorb 100% of the longwave IR in the bandwidths which apply? If so, at what altitude is the saturation achieved?”

    Well it should be simple enough to measure the altitude where saturation is achieved.
    Why don’t scientists do that instead of what they are wasting time and our money on?
    I see that NIWA in NZ have just wasted $12 million on a new computer for climate modelling.

    “Assuming that additional CO2 would lower that altitude”
    Surely additional CO2 would raise the altitude where saturation is achieved.

  264. Jeff says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:20 am

    “slowing down the cooling of an object cannot cause it temperature to rise … THAT would violate the 2nd law …

    if a black box is warmed to x degrees by the sun then its temperature cannot rise above x no matter how much greenhouse gas it is surrounded by …”

    Nonsense, to lift its temperature all you have to do is put the black box in a container that still allows it to continue to absorb full sunlight but that restricts the escape of heat, or surround it with GH gases which would do the same thing.

  265. To those who think that CO2 has no effect on eath’s energy budget, this emission spectrum graph is from a post by Steve McIntyre on ClimateAudit (See http://climateaudit.org/2008/01/08/sir-john-houghton-on-the-enhanced-greenhouse-effect/ ).

    Steve writes “The large notch or “funnel” in the spectrum is due to “high cold” emissions from tropopause CO2 in the main CO2 band. CO2 emissions (from the perspective of someone in space) are the coldest. (Sometimes you hear people say that there’s just a “little bit” of CO2 and therefore it can’t make any difference: but, obviously, there’s enough CO2 for it to be very prominent in these highly relevant spectra, so this particular argument is a total non-starter as far as I’m concerned. )”

    Note that the ‘effective emitting altitude’ is around 6000m which is the average height that the incoming solar energy is balanced by the outgoing IR energy. Increasing CO2 will increase the height of the ‘effective emitting altitude’ which, because of the lapse rate, means that the lower atmosphere and surface will warm.

    The main concern (for me) is that I’m becoming increasingly persuaded by the positive feedback argument. It seems logical that if you remove CO2 from the atmosphere the amount of water vapour will reduce. I can’t think of any reason why the dsme process shouldn’t happen in reverse. The onus, therefore, is on leading sceptics such as Lindzen and Spencer to settle the feedback part of the issue.

  266. The moon has no atmosphere, an albedo of 0.12, and an average temperature of -23c as measured by experiments left on the moon by two of the Apollo missions.

    The earth has an average albedo of .30 so, without greenhouse warming, should have an average temperature colder than the moon.

    Greenhouse warming is real but it’s water, in all its phases, that runs the show, not C02.

  267. John Finn:

    which equates to a surface temperature of ~289.2K or an increase of 1.2 deg. Usual caveat applies, i.e. does not include feedbacks.

    But the feedbacks are crucial, right from the outset.

    If the surface is 1.2 deg warmer then it must be emitting 4W/m2 more (I have it at 3.6W/m2, but we won’t quibble)

    But a warmer surface will also mean more convection and evaporation.

    So, if the surface is receiving 4W/m2 more, and it’s emitting 4W/m2 more, then where does the extra energy come from for the increased convection and evaporation?

    The answer is, the surface cannot warm by 1.2 deg, otherwise it would be losing more energy than it’s getting.

    That’s a negative feedback which has to be taken into account right from the outset.

  268. I still have a question (which I have asked before, but don’t think was clearly answered).

    While CO2 blocks radiation from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby producing a positive feedback, to what degree does CO2 block radiation from entering the atmosphere, thereby producing a negative feedback? Has that negative impact (if it exists) been included in the calculations?

    Clouds can have a positive feedback effect by keeping heat near the ground from escaping more quickly into the upper atmosphere, but the clouds also can create a negative feedback by keeping heat from reaching the ground in the first place by reflecting the radiation back into space. My understanding is that under some circumstances the net effect of the clouds can be negative. To what degree is CO2 like that?

  269. “Can you tell me, does atmospheric CO2 currently absorb 100% of the longwave IR in the bandwidths which apply?

    If so, at what altitude is the saturation achieved?”

    Logic would dictate that *if* 100% of the longwave IR is already being absorbed in the bandwidths CO2 does its absorbing, than increasing concentration can not absorb anymore because there is no more IR left in that bandwidth to absorb!

    Unless there is an increase in radiation from either reduced cloud cover or increased TSI….

  270. Arno Arrak says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:51 am
    Trouble with carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is that it requires carbon dioxide to absorb infrared radiation and thereby get warm. This simply does not happen because the infrared band of the atmosphere is saturated and no further additions of carbon dioxide to air can change the already-existing greenhouse effect. This follows from the empirical observation based on NOAA’s weather balloon database that the global average annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere has been unchanged for 61 years, with a value of 1.87. This means that constant addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for the last 61 years has not had any influence on the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared or the optical thickness would have increased. And it didn’t. See Ferenc Miskolczi E&E 21(4):243-262 (2010). His is the first determination of the actual optical thickness of the atmosphere in the IR despite the billions spent on “climate research” by “climatologists” who spew out thousands of “peer reviewed” papers every year.
    ___________________________________
    If what Arno Arrak says is true, then there is no point discussing all this. No need to spend billions in research to save the planet while the IPCC can disband or else diversify into designing raiways (they already have an expert railway engineer) or the production of soft porn (same engineer doubles up as porn writer when he is not watching melting glaciers or navel-gazing).
    In fact, there are a hundred scientific reasons why CO2 gas should be considered as an irrelevant parameter in the climate forcing budget, while the only parameter that causes climate change is ‘chaos’ as we have now learnt after so many years of climate research, failed predictions and goal-post moving by the warmists. When are our politicians and their scientific cabal going to accept reality?

  271. What a fantastic thread, so learned and civil unlike the shrill hysteria, interspersed with ‘comment removed’, you get at some sites.

    Please keep posting, all you learned people.

  272. Peter says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    RockyRoad:

    First you must defend your term “damaging”

    I guess you must have missed the preceding bit which said:

    …and the questions are:

    (my bold)
    ————–Reply:
    Yes, they are questions, indeed. But how a question is framed often determines the acceptable answers. Context matters.

  273. Rick Bradford says:

    Rick Bradford says:

    I am even more amazed after reading this thread; after 30 years and tens of billions of dollars in ‘climate research’, we still don’t have agreement on even this basic point?

    You can’t judge whether agreement exists in the scientific community by reading a blog, particularly one such as this. If this was your way of establishing whether agreement exists, you would also have to conclude, for example, that no agreement exists on the basic point of whether the Earth is less than 10,000 or 13 million years old.

    Yes, agreement exists in the scientific community on this basic point and those who continue to argue it would be taken seriously in very few places outside of this little microcosm.

  274. Ron House says:

    Personal observations that anyone can do, such as watching an eagle rise on a thermal, should be enough to convince you that convection completely dominates heat dissipation from the Earth’s surface and does so on a scale far too small to be accounted in the expensive supercomputer climate models. If this is so, and it certainly seems as if there is overwhelming evidence that it is, then all fear of greenhouse disasters is entirely misplaced.

    I assume you mean to be saying that convection dominates radiative transfer from the earth’s surface. If you are talking NET radiative transfer from the surface and you include latent heat as well as convection in the “convection” part then you are indeed correct that this is larger than the net radiative transfer (see the Trenberth and Kiehl diagram or read the discussion here: ). However, you are wrong that the models are somehow missing this…or that this matters much for determining the greenhouse effect.

    That is because the dominant part of determining the greenhouse effect is determining the energy balance between the earth, sun, and space…and the only way the earth can communicate any significant amount of energy with the sun and space is via radiation. The radiative balance at the earth’s surface turns out not to matter very much in determining the temperature rise because, like you say, convection (and latent heat) play the larger role in determining the temperature structure of the atmosphere. For example, in the tropics, the temperature structure is expected to be dominated by the moist adiabatic lapse rate.

  275. cba says:

    One can establish a sensitivity – although not quite the same as (mis)defined by the ipcc by taking the 33deg C rise and dividing by the 150 w/m^2 ‘forcing’ power. That gives us 0.22 deg C rise per W/m^2 power absorption increase and is the actual Earth’s sensitivity factor.

    This is essentially the same sort of argument that Willis made in this thread http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/another-look-at-climate-sensitivity/ and it is wrong for the same reason that his argument was wrong: If you consider all radiative effects to be forcings and none to be feedbacks then you will necessarily derive the sensitivity in the absence of feedbacks. (The reason that your value differs somewhat from the sensitivity of 0.29 deg C rise per W/m^2 I think has to do with the fact that you are computing it over such a larger range of forcing…but there may be other reasons too.)

  276. It seems to me that those who have accepted the money for research and have resorted to fraud, to promote global warming, do not believe it themselves. If they did believe why rig the system.

  277. Peter says:

    So, if the surface is receiving 4W/m2 more, and it’s emitting 4W/m2 more, then where does the extra energy come from for the increased convection and evaporation?

    The surface is not receiving 4 W/m^2 more. The 4 W/m^2 is the radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere. There is a reason why scientists prefer to look at the forcing at the top of the atmosphere and you have just identified it: Within the troposphere itself, radiation is not the controlling heat transfer mechanism. However, it is the only significant mechanism controlling heat transfer between the earth system, sun, and space. I suggest reading an introductory textbook on the subject, such as “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey, which has an interesting calculation that demonstrates this whole idea very clearly.

  278. I am very keen to see a resolution of the issues raised by Professor Miskolczi.

    My own climate descriptions fits his findings perfectly in that I aver that the change in the speed of the hydrological cycle provides a mechanism whereby optical depth (and therefore temperature) is maintained despite changes in the quantity of greenhouse gases other than water vapour.

    If the IR optical thickness of the atmosphere really has been constant at 1.87 for at least 61 years then that is game set and match to the sceptical viewpoint.

    Even if the optical depth has varied somewhat the alarmist proponents still have a lot of explaining to do as regards the scale of any CO2 effect as compared to natural variability.

    Is anyone in authority actively investigating the optical depth aspect ?

  279. I get the impression that it is not the “SCIENCE” that is in question. Not really!

    It is the interpretation of the science and the identification of problems which follow from these interpretations and the various proposed solutions to the various problems from these interpretations that are at issue.

    Now, when “reasonable”, “mature”, “intelligent”, people assess the matter of AGW, they get the impression that there are a lot of unreasonable, immature, idiots proposing a lot of unreasonable, simple minded, bird brain solutions to what these wierdos think are the best solutions to the various problems they believe exist based on their interpretation of the science.

    Hummmmm… maybe, instead of scientists we need to here from a few psyrinks and psychologists who have expertise in delusional mass hysteria.

  280. Note to NYLO.

    I just blew away a long explanation of the error in my original post.

    In short; we aren’t interested in the average Temperature of the ball; that’s a distraction. The point is that the local point (under the sun) must rise in Temperature if we delay the conductive (or other type of) cooling; which increases its radiation rate, and sets up a temperature gradient so conduction can occur to remove more heat. Yes the other parts of the ball must l;ower in temp (on the night side), and the average would go down; but that is not what we wanted to know; the sun heated point MUST get hotter.

    Now on the actual earth; the earth rotates in 24 hours so each point gets cooked in turn and if normal cooling paths get delayed; all points must rise; and because the earth has a much longer thermal time constant that 24 hours, the increased Temperature is not fully dissipated before the sun gets up again tomorrow.

    I was working out the wrong problem in studying the average temperature of a non-rotating thermal lagging body.

    Bur if you hadn’t caught me; the mistake would have been enshrined forever.

    Thats the problem with doing “stick on a sandy beach” physics live on line; it is easy to wander off to a different problem.

  281. tallbloke says:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Back radiation can’t heat the oceans.


    Yes it can. There are hundreds of W/m2 of back radiation at the surface. Where does it go? Any respectable ocean energy budget has to include this, otherwise the temperature would drop towards the now famous 255 K.

  282. “”” Chad Woodburn says:
    July 24, 2010 at 5:05 am
    I still have a question (which I have asked before, but don’t think was clearly answered).

    While CO2 blocks radiation from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby producing a positive feedback, to what degree does CO2 block radiation from entering the atmosphere, thereby producing a negative feedback? Has that negative impact (if it exists) been included in the calculations?

    Clouds can have a positive feedback effect by keeping heat near the ground from escaping more quickly into the upper atmosphere, but the clouds also can create a negative feedback by keeping heat from reaching the ground in the first place by reflecting the radiation back into space. My understanding is that under some circumstances the net effect of the clouds can be negative. To what degree is CO2 like that? “””

    So Chad, when was the last time that you were in the shadow zone of a cloud that passed between you and the sun; and it got hotter; meaning that the clouds were retaining heat near the ground.

    Clouds (on a climate time scale) ALWAYS produce cooling; NEVER heating.

    The blockage of incoming sunlight from reaching the ground during daylight hours always outweighs the slowing down of cooling during the night; so on a climatically significant time scale (30 years) any INCREASE in the average amount of global cloud cover ALWAYS results in COOLING. it NEVER EVER results in WARMING.

  283. “John A says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Dear Dr Pielke:

    …….Water vapour clouds glow in IR because of this effect, which is why they can be pictured at night from satellites.”

    You have this backwards. Clouds do not glow in IR, on the contrary, they show up on the sensor as shades of black – lack of IR. The images are reversed for display ( a negative image in film terms) to follow the same conventions as that of B&W Visible imagery, which are a positive.

  284. “Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:22 am
    tallbloke says:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Back radiation can’t heat the oceans.


    Yes it can. There are hundreds of W/m2 of back radiation at the surface. Where does it go? Any respectable ocean energy budget has to include this, otherwise the temperature would drop towards the now famous 255 K.”

    Quite simply: Latent Heat of Evaporation.

    The curious thing being that evaporation has a net cooling effect because it always draws more energy from the surroundings than is required to provoke it so in theory more IR back radiation should cool the oceans rather than warm them.

    Go figure.

  285. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:22 am (Edit)

    tallbloke says:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Back radiation can’t heat the oceans.


    Yes it can. There are hundreds of W/m2 of back radiation at the surface. Where does it go? Any respectable ocean energy budget has to include this, otherwise the temperature would drop towards the now famous 255 K.

    As Roger Pielke Sr correctly stated, the greenhouse effect works by slowing the rate of cooling, not by heating anything up. Co2 emitted radiation is long wave, and can’t penetrate the ocean much beyond its own wavelength. This is known physics. There is all sorts of worthless speculation about conduction from the ‘skin’ of the ocean, but take it from me, the sun heats the ocean because its radiation is mostly shortwave, which penetrates to several tens of metres into the briny. Longwave radiation just causes more evaporation at the surface. Any conduction effects are second order.

    It was put to the test by the realclimate alarmists, who were *desperate* to show some effect from back radiation. They got something like a 0.0002C change from cloudy to clear sky, and said that it ‘proved the principle’. What a joke. I laughed my a*se off.

    Now you might think that more evaporation at the surface might cause the secondary effect on water vapour and humidity levels the alarmists are needing to bump up the sensitivity, but you’d be wrong. See the post by ninderthana on this thread.

    I can’t emphasize this FUNDAMENTALLY IMPORTANT point enough. Co2 doesn’t warm the Earth, it just slows down the cooling rate. However, if Miscolczi is correct, and no-one has yet refuted his paper, then the hydrological cycle will speed up to compensate for any increase in co2, and the ‘greenhouse’ will remain in dynamic equilibrium.

    Therefore, as I outlned in my previous post, it’s changes in insolation at the surface which change the global temperature through raising/lowering ocean heat content. The claim that the sun can’t be responsible for late C20th warming is refuted by analysis of the total solar originated energy retained in the oceans over the period of record of ocean heat content, and the calculation of the steric component of sea level rise.

    To sea the truth of this, simply consider the relative heat capacities of the players involved, the sun, the ocean and the atmosphere. The top two meters of ocean have as much heat capacity as the entire atmosphere above. The tail does not wag the dog, as the simple time series plot of SST vs LT proves:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2007/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2007/scale:1.7/offset:-0.3 Ocean surface warms first, atmosphere responds 2-3 months later. Cause cannot be preceded by effect.

    Nutshell: The sun heats the ocean, the ocean heats the atmosphere, the extra co2 slows down the escape of the heat to space by a tiny bit, but nowhare near enough to account for global warming.

    Nir Shaviv shows us that though the solar cycle might only change TSI by 1.3W/m^2 over the cycle, and on Leif Svalgaards ultra conservative estimates, the total TSI had a smaller change over the C20th, reaching peaks in the late 50’s and 80’s, that change is amplified by cloud albedo changes which make a bigger difference to insolation at the surface. This accounts for far more of the C20th warming than just changes in TSI. By the time we knock of the spurious UHI signal, there isn’t much left for co2, which is mostly along for the ride.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  286. I have said this many times, but once more will not be too much.

    This explanation of why the world is not an ice ball, named “greenhouse effect” suffers from the same misuse of physics of all other climate explanations and does lead to paradoxes like Peden’s oven .

    Thermodynamics has a self consistent set of axiomatic proposals that lead to classical thermodynamic equations which are being used extensively and successfully to predict and design all sorts of heat related engines etc. There is no doubt that it works
    At the same time, when one reaches the small distances, one needs statistical mechanics that treats the particle nature of matter and has a completely different axiomatic formulation and different equations of state . Because they describe the same data, one set macroscopically, the other microscopically, at the limits of large distances the systems coincide.

    Thus we have the axiomatic statement: entropy stays the same or always increases an axiomatic theorem in classical thermodynamics, morphs to the highly improbable statistical ensembles that would have to evolve at the microscopic levels
    for this axiom of classical thermodynamics to be falsified. As, for example, there exists a tiny probability that statistically an ensemble exists where all the molecules in the room you are in will collect themselves in one corner, or arrange themselves into a checkerboard pattern. These probabilities are so miniscule that the classical thermodynamic statement on entropy stands.

    When one reaches dimensions of hbar, and those are the dimensions where one sees the spectral lines of radiation and absorption, a new system is needed, and that is quantum statistical mechanics which also treats the aggregate particles as statistical ensembles but now with quantized properties. This formulation also at the limit, falls back to simple statistical mechanics, which fall back to classical thermodynamics macroscopically.

    Now radiation consists of photons, and photons are quantum mechanical entities. Classical thermodynamics has radiation, and has the black body formula, treating radiation as heat loss with classical Maxwell equation pointing vectors that carry the energy. One of the reasons quantum mechanics was invented was that the black body formula was not describing the data and showed the necessity of another system in the microscopic domain that impinged on the macroscopic description, but that is another story.

    About paradoxes. Paradoxes arise when axiomatic systems are mixed up inconsistently. There is the famous Cretan paradox from ancient greek philosophy:
    All Cretans are liars, said a Cretan. Since he is a Cretan he is lying, so all Cretans are not liars, but if he is telling the truth? Then he is lying.
    These paradoxes are solved in modern times by the concept of meta-levels: The Cretan is in one level , the statement is a meta-level.
    In a similar way, classical thermodynamics is one level, quantum statistical mechanics is another level, and if a paradox, as Peden’s oven, appears, it means the two system have been mixed up inconsistently.

    Hotter body and cooler body are statements from classical thermodynamics. If one sticks to that then one cannot be talking of radiation levels and absorption lines. In classical thermodynamics there is just heat capacity and heat retention. CO2 and H2O change the heat capacity of the atmosphere ( among a number of other things the H2O does). There is no need to play ball with photons absorbed and reradiated in a hand waving manner because that does lead to Peden’s oven and the accusation of violating the second law. Of course in the quantum statistical picture there are ensembles with a probability where the second law is violated, similar as with the entropy I described above. But the fact that quantum statistical mechanics smoothes over to statistical mechanics which smoothes over to thermodynamics means that when talking about average behavior, and temperature, heat etc are average descriptions of statistical ensembles, a colder body cannot heat a warmer body. Period. It is really introducing paradoxes in the soup and should be avoided.

    And I am not repeating what a number of people have pointed out here, that ,that one lonesome CO2 molecule surrounded by 150 N2 and O2 ones will transfer any excited energy into thermal energy before it manages to cascade to ground level and reradiate anything in the funny world view of climate plots.

  287. I’m still puzzled:
    (1) The heat of an object is a function of the total amount of thermal radiation directed upon it.
    (2) During the day, when the sun is shining, the surface of, say, a piece of asphalt is heated by the sun to a temperature that is higher than the air temperature.
    (3) The standard GHG theory says that there is backradiation, which affects the temperature of the atmosphere (preventing it from cooling off as fast as it would without GHGs). This backradiation would have to be ADDED to the solar radiation during daytime to determine the total energy being received by the asphalt. That would HAVE to lead to an even higher temperature than produced by the sun alone (see (1) above).
    (4) But that cannot happen because of the Second Law; the cooler atmosphere cannot contribute heat to the warmer surface.
    (5) Therefore, something’s wrong with the “GHG hypothesis” as explained in this post.

    Can someone explain where I am wrong?

  288. “””

    Reed Coray says:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    The simplest way to see that delaying the cooling process results in a higher temperature, is that during the delay time between energy coming in, and an equivalent energy exiting, the sun is still pouring in energy at a constant rate; so an increment of energy is added to the earth system that grows linearly with the propagation delay of the cooling process, and that must result in the Temperature going up.

    If you have a well-mixed mixture of distilled water and ice, the temperature of the mixture will be 0 degrees Centigrade. As you add heat to the mixture, the temperature will stay at 0 degrees Centigrade until the ice has melted. If you add enough heat the ice will melt and the temperature of the water will rise. But during the interval the ice is melting, the added heat does NOT raise the temperature. So I don’t believe that the claim “an increment of energy” must result in “the Temperature going up” is correct. “””

    Reed, You are welcome to live in a well mixed mixture of distilled water and ice.

    The rest of us don’t; so your observation has no relation to the greenhouse effect on earth; that stops us from being at 255K.

    So believe whatever you want. I’m too busy trying to help people who want to learn to bother with straw man arguments.

  289. George E. Smith said:
    “The simplest way to see that delaying the cooling process results in a higher temperature, is that during the delay time between energy coming in, and an equivalent energy exiting, the sun is still pouring in energy at a constant rate; so an increment of energy is added to the earth system that grows linearly with the propagation delay of the cooling process, and that must result in the Temperature going up.”

    I’m not sure we understand the same thing regarding “delaying the cooling process”. And I am also not sure that you agree with me that the average temperature of your lead-filled bb ball, after reaching the new equilibrium temperature, would be lower. Perhaps it could raise the temperature a little bit while reaching the new equibirium, I don’t know, I didn’t do the maths. But in the new equilibrium, the average temperature will be lower. In the new equilibrium, the hot part of the ball will have increased its temperature by a lesser ammount than the cold part will have reduced it. Putting it in formulae, and using k for the 4*pi*sigma constant, divided by 2 for convenience of considering the 2 halves of the ball separately,

    (k*(t0+t1)^4 + k*(t0-t1)^4) > 2k*(t0^4), for any k, t0, t1. Therefore, if
    E=2k*(t0^4) = the original incoming energy, which doesn’t change, and
    E = (k*(t0+t2)^4 + k*(t0-t3)^4) after the new equilibrium, then it follows that
    t2<t3 and, therefore the avg temperature drops: ((t0+t2) + (t0-t3))/2 < t0.

    The delay in the cooling process causes the temperature to rise LOCALLY, in the side which receives the incoming energy, but causes the global temperature, the average, to drop.

    Your example with the sinusoidal change of temperature around T0 causing the radiated energy to be higher than it would correspond to an isotermal T0 only proves my point. An isotermal condition is the least effective way of radiating your accumulated energy. Therefore, if you have little or no changes in your bb temperature, the average temperature will have to be higher in order to be able to radiate the same energy. Remember the example, 0k and 100k vs 84k.

    That's why I say that the mere presence of the oceans increases the Earth's average temperature. Because oceans make the Earth more isotermal than it would be without them. They reduce the temperature variability of the planet. So they make the planet need to be hotter on average, in order to radiate back all the energy being received from the sun. And the effect is probably bigger than any warming we may be getting from GHGs because of their radiative properties.

  290. Joel Shore said:

    “Within the troposphere itself, radiation is not the controlling heat transfer mechanism.”

    Well precisely. There you have it.

    If. within the troposphere itself, the other mechanisms of convection conduction and the speed of the hydrological cycle vary (and indeed dominate) then that must affect the energy being supplied to the higher levels for radiation to space.

    So if one varies, for example, the speed of the hydrological cycle then the energy made available for radiation to space will also vary and the temperature of the troposphere will vary and the temperature of the stratosphere will likewise vary but in the opposite direction as the energy available to it from the troposphere varies.

    Now the speed of the hydrological cycle (in the troposphere) is set primarily by the rate of energy release from the oceans.

    But the rate of energy release from tropopause to space seems to be set to some degree by the levels of solar activity.

    To maintain the balance between the two influences the air circulation systems move latitudinally and the shift of the cloud bands affects global albedo.

    The outcome is global climate variability in regional terms but the global temperature as a whole (including the ocean heat content) remains pretty much stable.

    Get away from tropospheric temperatures as the definitive measure of global warmth.

    As the oceans release energy the troposphere may warm but total energy content for the system remains the same because the ocean heat content declines.

    As the oceans withold energy the troposphere may cool but total energy content for the system remains the same because the ocean heat content increases.

    As the sun gets more active the troposphere may warm but total energy content for the system remains the same because the stratosphere cools.

    As the sun gets less active the troposphere may cool but total energy content for the system remains the same because the stratosphere warms.

    The mechanism in the middle regulating the independent solar and oceanic influences is the speed of the hydrological cycle represented by latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and consequent effects on global albedo.

    It all works. Just engage brains and check it out.

  291. tallbloke
    July 24th 2010 at 7.50 am

    Nice to see so much basic agreement. Just add my stuff about those latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and the consequent albedo effects and I think we’ve nailed it.

    Whatever the oceans do and whatever the sun does and whatever CO2 does the air circulation systems just shift a bit to maintain the optical depth (and therefore temperature) set by the combination of:

    i) Solar energy output

    ii) Total atmospheric density (and thus pressure at the surface)

    iii) The properties of the phase changes of water

    That’s it in a nutshell and it would have been sorted twenty years ago but for the CO2 distraction.

  292. Tallbloke explains:

    “Back radiation can’t heat the oceans.”

    And a mighty interesting explanation it is too. However, consider the plight of the non-climate scientist who is trying to understand the AGW theory. Schmidt and Trenberth swear that back radiation is the source of global warming. Yet the essay by Pielke, Sr, did not advance to the level of addressing this question. Answers are dribbling out in the discussion but dribbles are very unsatisfying. What is needed is a simple graph or graphs of Earth’s energy budget, as theorized by different parties, that addresses the issues of global warming at the level of CO2 molecules; that is, a graph of “Radiation’s Quest for Space and How CO2 Interferes with It.” Schmidt and Trenberth says that radiation emitted from CO2 goes to the surface of the Earth. How does it not cause warming? If it does not cause warming, how does radiation from black asphalt contribute to the cooling of the black asphalt? We do not need some textbook chapters on all the equations and the various spectra. We need a model along the lines of that ancient fossil known as “Rutherford’s Model of the Atom.”

    Short of the kind of information that I have suggested, maybe we should direct everyone to the intense debate that Schmidt held on “Real Climate” some time back. In that debate, he did not satisfy his critics. We could take that as our starting point.

  293. Joel Shore:

    The surface is not receiving 4 W/m^2 more.

    So then what does warm the surface? The nett energy flow to the surface must increase for the surface to warm, so where does it come from? It cannot receive energy from convection or evaporation, so it must be from radiation. (Admittedly, it can receive extra nett energy from the inhibition of convection etc, but you can’t blame CO2 for that) If it is from back-radiation then the surface must be receiving at least 4W/m2 in radiation in order to warm by 1.2 deg. Just because there’s a radiative imbalance at the TOA does not provide a mechanism for the surface to warm.

  294. Posted this on the wrong thread earlier:
    —————–
    I need to clarify a point. It is true that the adiabatic temperature gradient dominates the temperature profile – but this would not occur without the greenhouse effect.

    If greenhouse gases did not exist, the atmosphere would remain nearly uniformly cold and would not convect. Without convection, the adiabatic lapse rate would be zero.

  295. RE: MattN: (July 24, 2010 at 5:32 am) “Logic would dictate that *if* 100% of the longwave IR is already being absorbed in the bandwidths CO2 does its absorbing, than increasing concentration can not absorb anymore because there is no more IR left in that bandwidth to absorb!”

    That would be true if these absorption bands had sharp edges. As it is, there are fringe effects. That is why each doubling of the CO2 concentration, such as 280 to 560 ppm or 560 to 1120 ppm, is expected to cause a nominal one degree C increase in temperature.

    So far, with all our modern industrial activity, the CO2 concentration has only increased from about 280 ppm to about 390 ppm.

    The results from one online absorption effect calculation tool based on MODTRAN data suggests that there may be an additional temperature effect proportional to the seventh power of the log of the CO2 concentration that would kick in around 7200 ppm, but I have not seen any explanation of why this might be the case.

  296. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:25 am (Edit)

    tallbloke
    July 24th 2010 at 7.50 am

    Nice to see so much basic agreement. Just add my stuff about those latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and the consequent albedo effects and I think we’ve nailed it.

    Yes. With my engineers hat on (stuff you sphaerica) I can see that those shifts and the consequential changes to the hydrological cycle will have far bigger effects than anythng co2 gets up to. If you consider the Earth as a good old fashioned heat engine, these forces make a 0.011% change in the chemical compostion of the atmosphere utterly inconsequential.

    But since the folks we are trying to get to see the sunlight only comprehend W/m^2 we’ll have to get some numbers nailed down in order to win the day.

    We’ve been having ths conversation for over a year now, so let’s get cracking. :-)

  297. Jim G says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm
    stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm
    R. Gates says:

    “Another of your cracked replies courtesy of the Gavin Schidt school of answers.”

    “Gravity does not generate energy. Energy cannot be made or destroyed einstein.
    Sure, gravity is a force which creates the conditions for the creation of stars and the nuclear energy in those stars is started by the force of gravity compressing the gases.”
    __________________

    So, you said I was wrong and then said I was right. My point was in reply to someone who was confused about CO2 “generating” energy. Gravity is the reason we have stars and galaxies, along with of course, this mysterious thing called dark matter and dark energy. Gravity is the reason that entropy can be overcome on a local (i.e. galaxy and star level). Gravity allows stars to gather enough mass to ignite and then they emit energy that allows entropy to be overcome on a very local level. So, gravity is the ultimate source of energy for we humans and other creatures to overcome entropy on a very local level, for we know that on a universal level, 99.9% or more of the universe is already in a state of heat death, having reached maximum entropy. So thank gravity everytime you feel the sun on your face and are able to overcome entropy, if only for a while…

  298. tallbloke, Stephen Wilde,
    As far as the ocean is concerned it absorbs 92% of the solar flux and 99% of the longwave (back radiation) flux. It doesn’t care if it is solar or longwave (IR) – a Watt per square meter is a Watt per square meter. You can’t choose one input and ignore the other. On the outgoing side are surface-emitted longwave flux, heat flux, and latent heat flux. You can’t say evaporation is just responding to longwave flux – these are just two of the five budget terms listed above.
    Once you admit longwave flux is important, you need to consider GHGs including CO2 which provide it (in addition to clouds).

  299. tallbloke:

    I’m best on concepts and logic. Can’t do the numbers unfortunately.

    Actually no one has got the right numbers yet as I’ve repeatedly told Leif and Bob.

    Go to it :)

  300. My take from the above post by Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr is as the follows:

    My Take=>All other things remaining constant, the increase in CO2 concentration (CO2 concentration/time) in the earth atmosphere (gaseous part of the earth system) will delay the cooling of the total earth system (solid + liquid + gas) which (again all other things being constant) will result in the total earth system temperature increase.

    Based on this understanding of their post, if “delay the cooling of the total earth system” is the operative GHG effect (GHGE) due to change in CO2 concentration, then the time factor is dominant since the “delay of cooling” is a quantity with units of delta T/time/time and the increase in CO2 concentration is a quantity with the units of delta concentration/time. It appears to me that therefore, it is the rate of change of the rate of change of T that is caused by the rate of change of CO2 concentration.

    ?Can this be, or do I have it backwards?

    Comments please!

    John

  301. 899 writes:

    “THIMK: If the Earth is first heated by energy released from a gas molecule, and then the Earth releases that energy to a gas molecule, then how does the gas molecule ‘reheat’ the Earth?”

    I am thimking. I am looking at the radiation as a cause. So, if absorption of radiation increases temperature in the body that absorbs it, radiation from a CO2 molecule will increase temperature. What is wrong with that claim? Earth does not care where the radiation came from, so to speak, it just gets warmer.

    On your view, I should thimk that because Earth lost radiation that is now returning because of CO2 molecule banditry, then the addition of the two equals zero. I have no problem with that, but to say that the returning radiation does not warm the Earth is to deny causality to that one emission of radiation.

    As a separate point, radiation coming from CO2 could be treated mathematically as if it came from the sun. Under that mathematical treatment, warming from CO2 would have to be responsive to changes in radiation from the sun? Why not view CO2 as a magnifying glass between Sun and Earth?

  302. wws says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    R. Gates wrote: “Ultimately of course, the source of all energy in our region of the universe is gravity,”

    You must have missed being taught that “It’s better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond all doubt.”
    _______________

    Have you really thought about this? I’m doubting it, or perhaps you are the topic of your own oft quoted saying. The fact is that that gravity is the reason we have useful energy in this part of universe. I never said gravity is energy or any such thing as that, but gravity allows entropy to be overcome on a local basis. Everytime you’re able to sort your white socks from your black socks, or enjoy a tasty turkey sandwich, you can thank gravity as the ultimate reason you have that energy to overcome entropy, if only for a while.

    BTW, if you think of another ultimate reason (that doesn’t related back to gravity) that we can overcome entropy in this very localized region of the universe, please let me know.

  303. Barry Moore,

    Some opacity of co2 peaks occurs in as little as a few cm. Off peak values stretch out path length dramatically. These molecular interactions between like and dissimilar molecules are maintaining the local temperature between co2, h2o and the other molecules present and there will be absorption and emissions based upon the temperature. Excitation will be a combination of photon captures and thermal collisions and de-excitation results from thermal collisions and photon emissions. As one goes up in the atmosphere, pressure drops and the pressure broadening decreases, making capture less likely in the wings.

    net result is that co2 does have some effect. see my first post in this thread for more details.

  304. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:42 am (Edit)

    tallbloke, Stephen Wilde,
    As far as the ocean is concerned it absorbs 92% of the solar flux and 99% of the longwave (back radiation) flux. It doesn’t care if it is solar or longwave (IR) – a Watt per square meter is a Watt per square meter.

    I’m not sure which part of ‘solar shortwave penetrates the ocean tens of meters’ and ‘longwave radiation from the greenhouse can’t penetrate the ocean much beyond it’s own wavelength’ you don’t understand. How can I make it plainer for you?

    The Sun’s energy goes right into the ocean, where it can stay for years. The downwelling GHG flux can only concentrate right on the surface, where all those watts/m^2 cause a rapid and radical temperature increase, which is absorbed in the latent heat of evaporation.

    The warmists will bluster about this, saying the heat gets in there this or that way. Ask them to show you the data. In fact, I’ll ask you.

    Show me the data.

  305. Jim D

    I think you will find that the response of water to longwave as opposed to shortwave is very different.

    The thing is that longwave IR never gets past the region involved in the evaporative process whereas shorter wavelengths do.

    In order to affect ocean heat content a wavelength must get past the evaporative barrier.

    Back radiated IR from CO2 just doesn’t.

  306. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:51 am (Edit)
    I am looking at the radiation as a cause. So, if absorption of radiation increases temperature in the body that absorbs it, radiation from a CO2 molecule will increase temperature. What is wrong with that claim? Earth does not care where the radiation came from, so to speak, it just gets warmer.

    Yes, but Earth got cooler by radiating into the atmosphere in the first place. That the point 899 is trying to make I think. So the fact that moastly water vapour and a little bit of co2 send half back again before finally failing to catch the ball and letting it out into space is neither here nor there, except indsofar as the number of times they do catch it and bounce it back to Earth slows down the cooling rate.

  307. jae says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

    “(4) But that cannot happen because of the Second Law; the cooler atmosphere cannot contribute heat to the warmer surface.”

    Why do your clothes keep you warm on a winter day? Are they not at a lower temperature than you are?

  308. Jim G says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    “As several of us discussed in a previous post, gravity is not even really a force but a condition, curvature, of space-time which occurs in the presence of mass causing everthing in its reach to move in a straight line though curved space. The source of energy represented by radioactive material in otherwise empty space would not be due to present gravity though it was originally created by gravity…”

    ______________
    I think you are confused about things a bit. Exactly what gravity is, no one really knows. Is it merely a curvature of spacetime, or is an actual force that is transmitted by a particle called the “graviton”? No one knows…

    http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/Graviton.html

    The point isn’t really that we have to know what it is, but simply what it does. What is does is allows entropy to be overcome on a (universally speaking) local level. We have sunshine because of gravity. That sunshine travels to the earth and warms it. GHG’s trap enough of that sunshine to maintain the earth at an nice range where surface life can thrive. Life trives by using energy to overcome entropy during the lifetime of the organism.

  309. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:44 am (Edit)

    tallbloke:

    I’m best on concepts and logic. Can’t do the numbers unfortunately.

    Actually no one has got the right numbers yet as I’ve repeatedly told Leif and Bob.

    Go to it :)

    Sure, I’ll just whip out my pocket radiometer and nip out into the garden. Back in ten. :-)

  310. In answer to John Whitman
    July 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    The original post did not say anything about delaying the cooling, as it talks about equilibrium states. There is a fixed heating rate and a cooling rate that adjusts to that in such a way as to balance it, leading to equilibrium. The adjustment is through temperature which rises till the cooling rate equals the heating rate. CO2 puts a spanner in the cooling-rate works that means the surface has to go to a higher temperature to balance the same heating rate. Think of it as a resistance to the cooling efficiency.

  311. jae says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:00 am
    I’m still puzzled:
    (1) The heat of an object is a function of the total amount of thermal radiation directed upon it.
    (2) During the day, when the sun is shining, the surface of, say, a piece of asphalt is heated by the sun to a temperature that is higher than the air temperature.
    (3) The standard GHG theory says that there is backradiation, which affects the temperature of the atmosphere (preventing it from cooling off as fast as it would without GHGs). This backradiation would have to be ADDED to the solar radiation during daytime to determine the total energy being received by the asphalt. That would HAVE to lead to an even higher temperature than produced by the sun alone (see (1) above).
    (4) But that cannot happen because of the Second Law; the cooler atmosphere cannot contribute heat to the warmer surface.
    (5) Therefore, something’s wrong with the “GHG hypothesis” as explained in this post.

    Can someone explain where I am wrong?

    Yes you are mistaken about the 2nd, as you’ve stated it it doesn’t apply to radiation, for which net heat flow is the key.
    Consider your black asphalt surface receiving 1000W/m^2 from the sun and about 350W/m^2 of downwelling IR therefore it will heat up to a temperature that will radiate 1350W/m^2. Net heat flow is 650W/m^2 from the surface to the cooler atmosphere but there is always flow in both directions.

  312. tallbloke: You wrote, “Therefore we need to consider the cumulative total of solar energy input not just it’s instantanous level.”

    The impacts of ENSO events on tropical and extratropical cloud amount need to be considered, also, as these can cause signifcant changes in DSR.

  313. Jim G said:
    “GHG’s trap enough of that sunshine to maintain the earth at an nice range where surface life can thrive.”

    Just a thought, Jim. How much is ‘trapped’ by those pesky GHGs and how much is ‘trapped’ by our oceans.

    You may conclude that not only is the anthropogenic portion of CO2 in the air insignificant in relation to the natural CO2 in the air but that the CO2 in the air is insignificant in relation to what the H2O in the air is doing or even that the air in it’s entirety is utterly insignificant in relation to what the oceans are doing.

    Isn’t the issue of anthropogenic CO2 just plain silly ?

    Are you a member of the ‘tail wags dog’ community ?

  314. tallbloke, Stephen Wilde,

    I see where we differ. You think that downward longwave flux has no influence at all on ocean temperature in the long term. I don’t agree at all with that view. By keeping the top of the ocean from cooling towards 255 K (as it would with just mean solar radiation), it maintains the thermal profile in the ocean, preventing convective mixing that would otherwise bring the colder water down and reduce the ocean heat content.

  315. Spector says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:34 am
    The results from one online absorption effect calculation tool based on MODTRAN data suggests that there may be an additional temperature effect proportional to the seventh power of the log of the CO2 concentration that would kick in around 7200 ppm, but I have not seen any explanation of why this might be the case.

    Based on the theory you’d expect a transition from log(CO2) to sqrt(CO2) at higher concentration.

  316. Having recently been made aware of my ignorance re: certain components of this complex topic(namely the Weinstein Displacement Law- as yet an unresolved condition) I find the current submission an embarrassment, intended, as it presumes, to inform to the above, often learned, commentary.

  317. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:24 am
    In answer to John Whitman
    July 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    The original post did not say anything about delaying the cooling, as it talks about equilibrium states. There is a fixed heating rate and a cooling rate that adjusts to that in such a way as to balance it, leading to equilibrium. The adjustment is through temperature which rises till the cooling rate equals the heating rate. CO2 puts a spanner in the cooling-rate works that means the surface has to go to a higher temperature to balance the same heating rate. Think of it as a resistance to the cooling efficiency.
    ——————————

    Jim D,

    Here is a whole paragraph from “Explaining misconceptions on ‘The Greenhouse Effect'” by Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. I took the whole paragraph to minimize the possibility that I am quoting them out of context.

    The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway. But the radiational forcing due to the addition of greenhouse gases must result in a warming contribution to the atmosphere. By itself, this will not result in a change of the effective radiation temperature of the atmosphere, but it will result in changes in the vertical profile of temperature.

    So, it appears to me they are saying “loss of energy” which I translated to cooling.

    Another paragraph from the post here:

    With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.

    This time they say decreased cooling rates.

    Jim D, in light of what they said, can you restate you comment so I can understand more clearly? Thanks.

    John

  318. Bob Tisdale says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:37 am (Edit)

    The impacts of ENSO events on tropical and extratropical cloud amount need to be considered, also, as these can cause signifcant changes in DSR.

    Yes, I agree. This is why the SST can run counter to the sunspot area cumulative total on my chart, for periods as long as the phase of the PDO. It does seem to even out to the solar values over ~60 years though.

  319. Jim D said:

    “There is a fixed heating rate and a cooling rate that adjusts to that in such a way as to balance it, leading to equilibrium.”

    Now Jim, nothing in nature is fixed.

    The rate of energy release from the oceans to the air varies depending on internal ocean cycles.

    The rate of energy release from atmosphere to space varies with the level of solar surface activity.

    The composition of the Earth’s atmosphere varies over time.

    The net energy output of the sun varies over time.

    The speed of the hydrological cycle varies to offset any variable other than:

    i) Total atmospheric density (and thus pressure at the surface)

    ii)The properties of the phase changes of water

    Thus is equilibrium maintained over billions of years.

    The issue has been resolved :)

  320. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:37 am (Edit)

    tallbloke, Stephen Wilde,

    I see where we differ. You think that downward longwave flux has no influence at all on ocean temperature in the long term. I don’t agree at all with that view. By keeping the top of the ocean from cooling towards 255 K (as it would with just mean solar radiation), it maintains the thermal profile in the ocean, preventing convective mixing that would otherwise bring the colder water down and reduce the ocean heat content.

    So you now agree radiation from GHG’s affect the rate of cooling, rather than actively heating the ocean by penetrating it and emitting photons into water molecules then?

  321. Jim D,

    Sorry, I screwed up those pesky blockquote html editing commant in the last two sentences in my previous comment to you.

    John

    [reply] try using italics tags instead. RT-mod

  322. “Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:37 am
    tallbloke, Stephen Wilde,

    I see where we differ. You think that downward longwave flux has no influence at all on ocean temperature in the long term. I don’t agree at all with that view. By keeping the top of the ocean from cooling towards 255 K (as it would with just mean solar radiation), it maintains the thermal profile in the ocean, preventing convective mixing that would otherwise bring the colder water down and reduce the ocean heat content.”

    If the energy from extra downward longwave flux is removed to latent heat of evaporation in the air via increased evaporation (possibly even a net cooling effect)
    how could it affect maintenance of the thermal profile ?

    I’ve been into this in exhaustive detail here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4245

    because I regard it as an important issue.

  323. tallbloke,
    Now we are splitting hairs. I never said the IR penetrates the ocean, but I think we agree it has an impact on the deeper layers through preventing convection that would happen without it. The longwave energy into the skin layer is very important to the overall budget of the deeper layer.

  324. You could be right that the atmosphere is 33 degrees warmer than that determined by the Stephen Boltzmann equations, which you than describe as the atmospheric greenhouse effect. You than seem to imply that the greenhouse gasses (on earth these are actually only trace gasses) are solely, or at least substantially, responsible for this.
    On which assertion or facts you base this on is not clear.

    Apollo 14 and 17 measurements on the moon, show an even higher 40 degrees warmer temperature, than these formulas suggest, without an atmosphere.
    It is actually 60 degrees warmer on the night side and 20 degrees cooler on the day side, ie. the temperature is not really warmer, but is actually only dampened.
    By only looking at the average temperature we actually came to the wrong conclusion.
    Which is probably the same with earth 33 degree difference. This difference is determined by averaging the temperature of the earth (day, night, summer, winter),
    by averaging the solar radiation at the surface, which itself is averaged out as a non rotating disc (instead of a sphere). This surface is than given the average albedo
    of earth to determine the average black body radiation (based on the average solar radiation received at the surface), which then is converted to temperature and compared to the average temperature at the surface. No consideration is given to the fact that radiation budget on the day side is vastly different to that on the night side.
    From the lunar results above we can see that this is actually highly non linear and averaging would give a completely wrong result.

    The lunar temperatures suggest that the Stephen Boltzmann formulas do not give the correct results. They ignore the fact that in reality bodies have mass, which absorb some of the solar radiation and conduct them inwards, instead of emitting this radiation immediately, resulting in a lower day side temperature. One could thus say they store the energy and emit this again, once there is no solar radiation on the night side. This is gives than the higher night temperatures.
    The capacity of a material to store some heat, depends on its specific heat.

    Materials on the land surface and the water in the ocean play a similar role on earth. They together with processes in the atmosphere (including absorbtion and emitting
    capacities of greenhouse gasses) play a dampening effect on the real temperature, which can potentially be achieved by earth. However the specific heat (the energy needed to raise the temperature by a unit amount) of water is far higher then that of dry air (mostly oxygen and nitrogen – pure C02 is even lower), resulting in a far higher heat capacity of the oceans than the atmosphere. (The land surface is also very much higher, here the capacity varies with the type of soil and vegetation coverage – also the heat capacity of moist air is slightly higher then dry air, this however is difficult to measure, since the capacity of air to hold the moist depends on the
    temperature)
    Because of the higher heat capacity, the flow of heat energy will always be dominated by the flow from the oceans and land surface to the atmosphere and not the otherway round.
    Now which part of the earth is more likely be able to change the surface temperature? A change in the insulation of the atmosphere due to slight overall changes in the
    composition of the atmosphere (CO2 is usually sighted, since humans have been responsible in some of its increase) thereby retaining some extra radiation or a change in say the processes which determine ocean temperature? The capacity of greenhouse gasses to contribute to the overall warming of earth is probably vastly overstated.
    Extra greenhouse increases may actually only delay the time the radiation takes to be emitted to space. What we actually really only know about greenhouse gasses
    is, that they intercept some radiation (depending on the frequency and the type of gas) and emit it in any direction, i.e. they disperse it, instead of concentrating it,
    which might be a more likely scenario to cause more warming.

    There is also another concept which is usually also mentioned in conncetion with the greenhouse effect: downwelling radiation (or back radiation – not adressed in this article, but in some comments). They do exits otherwise they would not have been measured.
    There are however two assumption related to this, which I want to address:
    1. The assertion that because they exist the greenhouse effect is real: Here we have the assumption that only greenhouse gasses can emit this radiation, since they are the
    once who absorb them in the first place and the rest of the atmosphere is actually transparent.
    This is actually wrong, since every molecule solid, liquid or gaseous emits radiation, as long as it is heated above the absolute zero temperature (-273 degrees celsius).
    The type and intensity of the emitted radition depends on the actual temperature. The heat gets into the atmosphere through other processes than radiation, like
    conduction, convection and evaporation.
    2. The claim that the downwelling radiation actually warms the surface, from which it was emitted from, in the first place.
    This would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics, which basically says that you cannot raise the temperature of a system, without applying extra energy (some work)
    to that system. If for example a black body surface receives 1 unit of solar radiation it will need to emit 1 unit of infrared radiation. If however some of that emitted
    radiation (say 0.1) is intercepted (by say a greenhouse gas) and emitted back to the surface, than if the claim above is true, the surface will be made warmer by that 0.1
    unit, which the surface also needs to emit. Thus it is emitting 1.1 units from the 1 unit of solar radiation, which is clearly wrong.

    Many claims about the greenhouse hypothesis have become fact by repetition. They never really have been proven and some are the result of misleading observations. For the greenhouse hypothesis to become a theory it needs many more solid observation, which can be proven not to be the result of other processes.
    The lunar measurements alone contradict this hypothesis at least in earth environment. As long as these measurements cannot be explained, in the context of this hypothesis, it cannot stand if we really want to follow the scientific method.

  325. 899 says:
    July 24, 2010 at 12:30 am

    You’re either a comedian paid to post inanity, or you’re just plain inane.

    If the Sun radiates to the Earth, and the Earth begins to heat, the heat energy will re-radiate from the Earth and into space.

    And back towards the sun.

    This is so because space is cooler than either the Sun or the Earth.

    If the only two objects in the universe were the Sun and the Earth, and space didn’t exist, then please DO TELL how the cooler Earth is going to transfer heat back to a very much hotter Sun.

    By radiation of course which does not require a temperature gradient.

    You’ll get back on that, won’t you?

    Done, I suggest you read up on radiation heat transfer, your knowledge is sadly lacking.

  326. Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    REPLY: I have fixed it for you. – Anthony

    Thanks, that’s what comes from posting in a noisy Starbucks instead of home. ;-)

  327. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Jim G said:
    “GHG’s trap enough of that sunshine to maintain the earth at an nice range where surface life can thrive.”

    Just a thought, Jim. How much is ‘trapped’ by those pesky GHGs and how much is ‘trapped’ by our oceans.

    ________
    The oceans act as a heat sink, not as a trap in the sense of GHG’s. GHG’s quickly absorb and retransmit LW radiation, altering the direction of some of that back towards the ground, out into space, or toward other GHG molecules in the atmosphere, where it is once more absorbed and retransmitted. The oceans can store heat over long periods at multiple depths, releasing it through multiple daily and natural oscillating cycles, from simple daily evaporation, to hurricanes, ENSO, etc.

  328. Peter says:

    Joel Shore:

    The surface is not receiving 4 W/m^2 more.

    So then what does warm the surface? …If it is from back-radiation then the surface must be receiving at least 4W/m2 in radiation in order to warm by 1.2 deg.

    Sorry if I was unclear. What I was saying is that the 4 W/m^2 does not refer to the surface radiation budget. Indeed I think that you are correct that the actual increase of radiation at the surface is larger. I am not sure what it is. People talk about the surface radiation budget a lot less because it is a lot less useful to think about. It is easier to think in terms of the radiative budget at the top of the atmosphere and then the constraints on the temperature structure of the atmosphere in order to derive the surface warming.

  329. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:03 am
    Now we are splitting hairs. I never said the IR penetrates the ocean,

    Hang on a minute. Upthread you said:

    Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:42 am (Edit)
    As far as the ocean is concerned it absorbs 92% of the solar flux and 99% of the longwave (back radiation) flux. It doesn’t care if it is solar or longwave (IR) – a Watt per square meter is a Watt per square meter. You can’t choose one input and ignore the other.

    So, yes you did say that longwave penetrates the ocean and a longwave co2 emitted watt is as effective t transferring heat to the ocean as a shortwave solar watt. And you were incorrect about that, as you now agree.

    OK, so now to the rest of your post:

    but I think we agree it has an impact on the deeper layers through preventing convection that would happen without it. The longwave energy into the skin layer is very important to the overall budget of the deeper layer.

    This is armwaving. What longwave energy into the ‘skin layer’? Where are the experimental results to back up your claims?

    Show me the data.

  330. John Whitman,
    I would stand by what I said. When they refer to things slowing down, they are talking about reducing rates. The equilibrium is an equilibrium of rates of heating and cooling. Slowing down the loss of energy is slowing down the cooling rate. I said CO2 reduces surface cooling rates, as they did. I could go into the whole faucet, sink, plug-hole, water level, analogy here, but I won’t, and I’ll just point to it as a good one for understanding rates and equilibria.

    Stephen Wilde,
    Yes the heating rate is not entirely constant, and there are lots other factors, but for the purposes of this thread, we are looking at the effect of CO2 and keeping other things constant. Certainly willing to debate other issues on relevant threads.

  331. R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:12 am (Edit)
    The oceans act as a heat sink, not as a trap in the sense of GHG’s.

    Correct, but it’s solar energy the ocean traps, not longwave from the atmosphere, as I’m discussing with Jim D. Take a read and report back.

  332. ‘So, yes you did say that longwave penetrates the ocean and a longwave co2 emitted watt is as effective t transferring heat to the ocean as a shortwave solar watt. And you were incorrect about that, as you now agree.’

    That could then be offset by the cooling effect the ensuing evaporation ?

  333. I think this is an interesting point actually – everone talks about the warming of back radiation to the earths surface, but what about the effect it may have as it hits the oceans (71 % of the planets surface) and causes evaporation – that may have a net cooling effect. Has this ever been studied ?

  334. George E. Smith says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Reed, You are welcome to live in a well mixed mixture of distilled water and ice.

    The rest of us don’t; so your observation has no relation to the greenhouse effect on earth; that stops us from being at 255K.

    So believe whatever you want. I’m too busy trying to help people who want to learn to bother with straw man arguments.

    Fair enough. We don’t live in a mixture of distilled water and ice. We also don’t live on a ping-pong ball either empty of filled with lead. (see your post : July 23, 2010 at 10:58 am). And for what it’s worth, you changed the “rules of ping-pong ball conduction” in mid-argument. Before you filled the ball with lead, you assumed the energy from the sun would very quickly be distributed over the surface of the ping-pong ball so that the “empty” ping-pong ball would quickly be isothermal (a single temperature). I believe you said:

    I will also make the body to have infinite thermal conductivity; well very high anyway; and it is a thin shell like a ping pong ball so that it is of very low mass and heat capacity.

    Then when you filled the ball with lead, you argued that the side of the ball removed from the sun had to be heated via thermal conduction through the lead. I believe you said:

    Now the radiation impinging on our heavy ball is still totally absorbed; but now the ball is not infinitely thermally conductive, so the rate at which heat travels through the ball to the unradiated isde slows down as most of the heat has to propagate through the lead core, which isn’t such a great conductor.”

    In your discussion of the ping-pong ball and the sun, you made a point that from the thermal perspective as viewed from the sun, the fact that the ball is full of lead has no thermal effect. In that vein, if the ping-pong ball shell possessed “infinite thermal conductivity” before the lead was added, it does after the lead is added. As such, the heat being absorbed by the ping-pong ball shell will rapidly be distributed over the ping-pong ball’s surface and the lead will be heated by all surfaces of the ping-pong ball not just from the side facing the sun.

    I guess the point of this post is to note that most of us are trying to understand a very complex subject. We come with various backgrounds, prejudices, and amounts of knowledge. When I mentioned a mixture of distilled water and ice, I wasn’t trying to present a strawman that refuted what you had to say. For the most part I agree with your conclusions. I used the example of water and ice to represent the fact that not all solar energy when absorbed by the Earth immediately becomes heat. Some of it is converted into phase state changes, as well as other forms such as chemical (photosynthesis), potential (water being raised to higher elevations), etc. My example of distilled water and ice may have been a poor choice, but I don’t believe it is irrelevant to a discussion of the greenhouse effect–after all the world has a whole lot of ice (albeit not distilled water).

    If I offended you by my previous comment (and I guess this one), I apologize. I, too, am trying to understand.

  335. tallbloke,
    So the skin layer where the longwave is absorbed is not part of your definition of the ocean, but it is part of mine. Again hair-splitting.
    Data? Do a mental experiment. Imagine what would happen to the ocean if the IR flux into it stopped, given that the solar flux alone can only maintain 255 K. Something approximating that effect happens on clear nights. What goes on in the ocean then? There must be data for that. I suspect it cools at the top and convects down, but you must be saying the skin layer remains detached somehow.

  336. Rob says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:35 am (Edit)

    ‘So, yes you did say that longwave penetrates the ocean and a longwave co2 emitted watt is as effective t transferring heat to the ocean as a shortwave solar watt. And you were incorrect about that, as you now agree.’

    That could then be offset by the cooling effect the ensuing evaporation ?

    Maybe. This is where we get into the realm of things Roger Pielke Sr lists on his ‘stuff we don’t know about’ section.

  337. stevengoddard says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Posted this on the wrong thread earlier:
    —————–
    I need to clarify a point. It is true that the adiabatic temperature gradient dominates the temperature profile – but this would not occur without the greenhouse effect.

    If greenhouse gases did not exist, the atmosphere would remain nearly uniformly cold and would not convect. Without convection, the adiabatic lapse rate would be zero.

    I will refute this experimentally. Over deserts, the Sahara for example, there are very few ppm of greenhouse gases. The temperature is around 0C at night and over 50C during the day, not uniformly cold. In addition of course there are winds, hot air rises, cold air comes down.

    N2 and O2 without green house gases would settle to a different temperature but convection would surely exist if we are talking of an earth type planet.

  338. “R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:12 am (Edit)
    The oceans act as a heat sink, not as a trap in the sense of GHG’s.”

    And the proportionate scales are ?

    If the oceans act as a sink they also act as an output.

    Where does the effect of the air fit in as a comparison ?

    Where does the effect of CO2 as a minor portion of the total greenhouse effect fit in as a comparison ?

    Where does the effect of anthropogenic CO2 as a minor part of natural CO2 (no one suggests that ALL the recent rise is anthropogenic) fit in as a comparison.

    I submit total insignificance and any such effect as there may be is negated by an unmeasurable change in the speed of the hydrological cycle as per the findings of Professor Miscolczi

  339. Sorry about the use of italics in my immediately preceding post. I can’t seem to use html properly. The last three paragraphs should NOT be in italics.

    Sorted. RT-mod

  340. Tallbloke writes:

    “Yes, but Earth got cooler by radiating into the atmosphere in the first place. That the point 899 is trying to make I think. So the fact that moastly water vapour and a little bit of co2 send half back again before finally failing to catch the ball and letting it out into space is neither here nor there, except indsofar as the number of times they do catch it and bounce it back to Earth slows down the cooling rate.”

    You are calculating net radiation absorption for the object. I have no quarrel with that calculation. However, you then apply your reasoning to a individual emission of radiation and, in doing so, you deny it causality. Consider an analogy. In my fireplace are five logs of uniform size and all are blazing brightly. One log rolls out of the fireplace. I scoop it and put it back in. Net change to the fire in the fireplace is zero. There is your calculation. But then you apply it to the individual log that had rolled out and you say that it does not add energy to the fire – but that is clearly false, right? The log that I scooped back into the fireplace is a cause and has effects. You are denying causality to the emissions of radiation coming from CO2 molecules.

    Everyone reading this forum owes you a great debt of gratitude for your first-rate contributions. Thanks so very much.

  341. Jim D asked:

    “Do a mental experiment. Imagine what would happen to the ocean if the IR flux into it stopped, given that the solar flux alone can only maintain 255 K. Something approximating that effect happens on clear nights. What goes on in the ocean then? There must be data for that. I suspect it cools at the top and convects down, but you must be saying the skin layer remains detached somehow.”

    If the downward IR flux were to cease then the oceans would cool more slowly due to reduced rate of evaporation.

    And your point is ?

    It is some time since I published my article suggesting that logically more downward IR flux should increase ocean cooling and not decrease it. It has not yet been rebutted.

  342. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

    John Whitman,
    I would stand by what I said. When they refer to things slowing down, they are talking about reducing rates. The equilibrium is an equilibrium of rates of heating and cooling. Slowing down the loss of energy is slowing down the cooling rate. I said CO2 reduces surface cooling rates, as they did. I could go into the whole faucet, sink, plug-hole, water level, analogy here, but I won’t, and I’ll just point to it as a good one for understanding rates and equilibria.

    —————————–

    Jim D,

    I appreciate you spending time to comment. Of all aspects of life time is the most precious.

    I respect Pielke Sr. I think he and Ben Herman are right. It is getting at more understanding of the time aspect of what they say that is the purpose of my thought. Again my thought is =>”It appears to me that therefore, it is the rate of change of the rate of change of T (temp of earth system) that is caused by the rate of change of CO2 concentration (earth atmosphere)”.

    ?Or do I have that backwards?

    John

  343. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:40 am

    tallbloke,
    So the skin layer where the longwave is absorbed is not part of your definition of the ocean, but it is part of mine. Again hair-splitting.

    Liquid water is in the ocean, water molecules busy evaporating are leaving the ocean for the air. What is and where is this “skin layer” of which you speak? How thick is it? What differentiates it from the rest of the ocean? Why are you flip flopping between agreeing longwave radiation doesn’t penetrate the ocean, and still trying to say it does?

    Data? Do a mental experiment. Imagine what would happen to the ocean if the IR flux into it stopped, given that the solar flux alone can only maintain 255 K. Something approximating that effect happens on clear nights. What goes on in the ocean then? There must be data for that. I suspect it cools at the top and convects down, but you must be saying the skin layer remains detached somehow.

    My bold.

    There is no IR flux into the ocean, because it can’t penetrate beyond it’s own wavelength. You are still trying to say it does, but saying so don’t make it so.

    The rnext bit is red herring. We’ve previously agreed the greenhouse effect works by slowing down the rate of cooling, so why are you now trying to say the greenhouse effect doesn’t operate if downwelling longwave doesn’t penetrate the ocean, which it can’t?

    The ocean surface will cool at night as it gives up heat-energy by conduction to cooler night air, by evaporation caused by longwave radiation being stopped at its surface, by radiation as it emits longwave into the air, and by convection as cool air sinks from the top of the troposphere and wafts across the surface to replace the warm rising air carrying the evaporated water aloft.

    When Roger Pielke Sr has sorted out his list of unknowns and we’ve got the data to untangle that lot, we can talk again. :-)

  344. tallbloke says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:24 am
    R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:12 am (Edit)
    The oceans act as a heat sink, not as a trap in the sense of GHG’s.

    Correct, but it’s solar energy the ocean traps, not longwave from the atmosphere, as I’m discussing with Jim D. Take a read and report back.

    _______
    This concept, often repeated here on WUWT, that LW back radiation from GHG’s in the atmosphere cannot possibly effect the ocean heat flux is too simplistic. It is absolutely true that LW radiation cannot penetrate beyond the skin layer of the ocean, however, the skin layer is absolutely critical in determining heat flux rising from deeper sunlight heated layers. LW heating of the skin layer of the ocean reduces the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer and reduces the flux. Thus, if the absorption of the LW emission from atmospheric GH gases reduces the gradient through the narrow suface layer, the heat flux from the deeper layers will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced in the top 300 meters or so to remain there to increase water temperatures.

    I know several experiements in the field have been carried out to prove this is exactly the case, and I’ll look for those links…

  345. Tallbloke and 899,

    Here’s my point in a practical way. The CO2 concentration is approximately 387 ppm. So, let’s say that 1/10 will send an emission of radiation to Earth daily, and round the figure to 39. I want to say that Earth receives whatever comes from the sun plus the 39 from CO2 per unit. I want to say that CO2 warms the Earth. You say that Earth receives whatever comes from the sun and nothing more but CO2 slows Earth’s cooling. The advantage of my approach is that it quantifies the effects of CO2 and it describes the force of emitted radiation from CO2.

  346. jae says:

    I’m still puzzled:

    (4) But that cannot happen because of the Second Law; the cooler atmosphere cannot contribute heat to the warmer surface.

    Can someone explain where I am wrong?

    Phil explained this…but I just wanted to add one more thing, which is to demystify the 2nd Law a little bit: The Second Law is not some magical statement; it is simply a statement of what happens on a macroscopic level because of the statistics of a large number of particles or processes. So, when you put an object at some temperature T near a hotter object, it doesn’t detect the hotter object is there and magically stop radiating energy to it; it is simply that the amount of radiation that it emits and is absorbed by the hotter object is less than the amount of radiation that the hotter object emits and it absorbs.

    The Second Law is really quite intuitive in most cases. For example, take the case of a box divided by an impermeable membrane with one side of the box containing a gas maintained at a certain pressure and the other side with the gas maintained at half that pressure. Now poke a hole in the membrane. The 2nd Law would say that the pressure in the first side will drop and that in the 2nd side will rise and not the other way around. However, this is intuitively obvious at the level of the atoms in the gas: there will be many more atoms of the gas impinging on the hole from the high pressure side than from the low pressure side and hence the net flow will be from high pressure to low pressure. If you made the pressures so small that one side contained only 10 atoms and the other half 5, there would in fact be some possibility of seeing a violation of the 2nd Law. E.g., you could look later and see 11 atoms in the 1st side and only 4 in the second. However, once you have something reasonably large amount of atoms (and numbers on the order of something like 10^20 are typically what are involved) then such violations become so astronomically unlikely as to be essentially impossible.

  347. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:42 am
    “R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:12 am (Edit)
    The oceans act as a heat sink, not as a trap in the sense of GHG’s.”

    And the proportionate scales are ?

    If the oceans act as a sink they also act as an output.

    Where does the effect of the air fit in as a comparison ?

    Where does the effect of CO2 as a minor portion of the total greenhouse effect fit in as a comparison ?

    Where does the effect of anthropogenic CO2 as a minor part of natural CO2 (no one suggests that ALL the recent rise is anthropogenic) fit in as a comparison.

    I submit total insignificance and any such effect as there may be is negated by an unmeasurable change in the speed of the hydrological cycle as per the findings of Professor Miscolczi
    ________________

    My point being that the oceans store heat in various longer time scales than CO2. The oceans act as a buffer to moderate to some extent the extremes in climate change. The question being: Is the 40% rise in CO2 since the 1700’s (regardless of the source, though most of the increase is certainly anthropogenic) enough to overwhelm any of the natural buffering (feedback) processes, and so bring about AGW, to whatever degree, minor or “catastrophic”?

  348. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:46 am (Edit)

    You are calculating net radiation absorption for the object. I have no quarrel with that calculation. However, you then apply your reasoning to a individual emission of radiation and, in doing so, you deny it causality. Consider an analogy. In my fireplace are five logs of uniform size and all are blazing brightly. One log rolls out of the fireplace. I scoop it and put it back in. Net change to the fire in the fireplace is zero. There is your calculation. But then you apply it to the individual log that had rolled out and you say that it does not add energy to the fire – but that is clearly false, right? The log that I scooped back into the fireplace is a cause and has effects. You are denying causality to the emissions of radiation coming from CO2 molecules.

    I don’t think I’m saying that, and apologies for failing to make it clear. To use your analogy, when the log rolls out of the fire (earth emits a longwave radiation photon into the air) the fire is then 20% cooler. You scoop it up and put it back in (greenhouse bounces photon earthwards, a bit less than 50/50 chance) and now the fire is back to where it started. No addition, no net loss. When you go out for the evening and the log rolls out again (photon escapes to space), Earth cools.

    Moral, get a fire guard. :)

    Everyone reading this forum owes you a great debt of gratitude for your first-rate contributions. Thanks so very much.

    Thank you for the compliment, and thank you also for the courteous way you have debated. That goes for Jim D and everyone else on this thread too.

  349. Peter says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:27 am


    Joel Shore:

    The surface is not receiving 4 W/m^2 more.

    So then what does warm the surface? The nett energy flow to the surface must increase for the surface to warm, so where does it come from? It cannot receive energy from convection or evaporation, so it must be from radiation. (Admittedly, it can receive extra nett energy from the inhibition of convection etc, but you can’t blame CO2 for that) If it is from back-radiation then the surface must be receiving at least 4W/m2 in radiation in order to warm by 1.2 deg. Just because there’s a radiative imbalance at the TOA does not provide a mechanism for the surface to warm.

    Peter

    Joel’s right. In my “quick and dirty calculation” I got an increase of ~6.6 w/m2 at the surface – not 4w/m2. That’s becuse only ~60% of what’s emitted at the surface is emitted at the TOA. To increase TOA emittance by 4 w/m2 the surface would have to emit an extra 6.6 w/m2.

    This increases surface emission from 390 watts/m2 (~288K) to 396.6 watts/m2 (~289.2K). An increase of 1.2 deg.

  350. R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:03 am (Edit)

    This concept, often repeated here on WUWT, that LW back radiation from GHG’s in the atmosphere cannot possibly effect the ocean heat flux is too simplistic.

    Whoaaah! I didn’t say that. I said downwelling longwave can’t penetrate the ocean and heat it directly.

    if the absorption of the LW emission from atmospheric GH gases reduces the gradient through the narrow suface layer, the heat flux from the deeper layers will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced in the top 300 meters or so to remain there to increase water temperatures.

    I know several experiements in the field have been carried out to prove this is exactly the case, and I’ll look for those links…

    I’ll be interested to see them, thanks for taking the trouble. So far I know of several experiments which have been carried out to attempt to prove it. I’m not aware of any which convincingly do so. I’m always happy to be educated though.

  351. anna v

    There is a big difference between “very few” greenhouse gases and “no” greenhouse gases. The first few ppm cause most of the greenhouse effect.

  352. tallbloke,
    I think you agreed that there are water molecules that absorb the IR. Are these part of the ocean? I think so. Therefore, does the ocean absorb IR? Yes.
    The point of the other part is that the ocean would be cooler if there were zero downward IR flux at its surface as opposed to if there were a few hundred W/m2 (as is the case). I don’t see how that could be controversial.

  353. John Whitman says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:47 am
    “[...]of delta concentration/time. It appears to me that therefore, it is the rate of change of the rate of change of T that is caused by the rate of change of CO2 concentration.

    ?Can this be, or do I have it backwards?”

    Get rid of one derivative on each side and what do we get?
    “The rate of change of T is caused by the CO2 concentration.” Can’t be – that would imply that in pre-industrial times with a largely constant CO2 con temps would have to change.

    So i think you have it backwards; in my opinion
    The rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to the temperature anomaly.
    Or, if you absolutely want to use the double derivative:
    The rate of change of the rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to the rate of change of the temperature anomaly.

  354. Rob says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:38 am
    I think this is an interesting point actually – everone talks about the warming of back radiation to the earths surface, but what about the effect it may have as it hits the oceans (71 % of the planets surface) and causes evaporation – that may have a net cooling effect. Has this ever been studied ?

    Think about it, it can’t possibly be a net cooling effect!

  355. R Gates said:

    “This concept, often repeated here on WUWT, that LW back radiation from GHG’s in the atmosphere cannot possibly effect the ocean heat flux is too simplistic. It is absolutely true that LW radiation cannot penetrate beyond the skin layer of the ocean, however, the skin layer is absolutely critical in determining heat flux rising from deeper sunlight heated layers. LW heating of the skin layer of the ocean reduces the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer and reduces the flux. Thus, if the absorption of the LW emission from atmospheric GH gases reduces the gradient through the narrow suface layer, the heat flux from the deeper layers will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced in the top 300 meters or so to remain there to increase water temperatures.”

    Absolutely. There we have it .

    One has to reduce the energy flow from ocean to air to increase overall global temperature because the heat capacity of water is so hugely greater than that of air and the sea surface temperaures (netted out globally) are what determine the air temperature with the greenhouse effect of the molecules in the air being an insignificant contribution in comparison to the oceanic effect.

    Yet evaporation always has a NET cooling effect because the latent heat of evaporation ALWAYS exceeds the amount of energy required to change the water molecules from water to vapour. That is an inevitable consequence on Earth of the pressure differentials between ocean, air and space and the phase changing properties of water from ice to liquid to vapour.

    SO

    LW heating of the skin layer of the ocean INCREASES the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer and INCREASES the flux.

    because more evaporation ALWAYS has a NET COOLING effect.

    Falsify that and I’ll reconsider.

  356. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:27 am (Edit)

    tallbloke,
    I think you agreed that there are water molecules that absorb the IR. Are these part of the ocean? I think so. Therefore, does the ocean absorb IR? Yes.

    Not for long though, because the concentration of all that mighty downwelling IR promptly evaporates the surface molecules and off they go, taking the latent heat of evaporation with them.

    The point of the other part is that the ocean would be cooler if there were zero downward IR flux at its surface as opposed to if there were a few hundred W/m2 (as is the case). I don’t see how that could be controversial.

    See Stephen’s reply to you a short time ago. I submit that we are in the territory of Roger Pielke’s ‘don’t knows’. The evaporation will cause surface cooling. The greenhouse effect in the atmosphere will slow down cooling. Which one wins by how much for how much of the time in which part of the world? We don’t know.

    I’m hungry, can we leave it there for now?

  357. John Whitman,
    “Again my thought is =>”It appears to me that therefore, it is the rate of change of the rate of change of T (temp of earth system) that is caused by the rate of change of CO2 concentration (earth atmosphere)”.

    ?Or do I have that backwards?”

    I would only say: The equilibrium temperature is determined by the amount of GHGs. [Note that some people here dispute that, but I don't, and it follows from the arguments in the main posting]. When GHGs change fast, it is difficult to say what happens in detail to the way temperature follows it because you have to take into account various time scales, including slow ocean responses. What you can say, is that if CO2 doubles and stays there, the temperature will be higher when equilibrium is reached again which may take decades [How much is also debated]. This thread is about a steady-state situation, not the details of how it goes from one steady state to another.

  358. Anders Boman says:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm
    “[...]Is it really correct that the AGW alarmists think that CO2 will indirectly cause an increase in water vapour which will create an even greater greenhouse effect? That does not make much sense.[...]”

    Depends. Dr. James Hansen seems to think so:
    “Chp. 10: Venus. “If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.” ”
    from

    I did not read or buy the book, though. So i’m not entirely certain if he bases the Venus Syndrome idea on water vapor feedback.

    Other ideas brought forward by warmists:
    -Methane-induced warming, leading to runaway breakdown of clathrates; leading to huge firestorms due to a combustible CH4-O2-mix.
    -H2S rising from oceans due to dying sealife; poisoning terrestrial life; leading to a mass extinction.

    I often poke fun at these ideas; hoping i trigger reactions from visiting AGW folks; sorry, a nasty habit of mine.

  359. tallbloke,
    “I’m hungry, can we leave it there for now?”
    Agreed. That’s my morning shot too. Truce.

  360. Anders Boman says:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm
    “[...]Is it really correct that the AGW alarmists think that CO2 will indirectly cause an increase in water vapour which will create an even greater greenhouse effect? That does not make much sense.[...]”

    Re-reading your question… in a general sense, ALL the climate models use this assumption! Otherwise they are not able to produce the scary projections! The climate models are not programmed to simulate a runaway meltdown, though; at a certain point the modeled greenhouse effects of CO2 and H2O reach diminishing returns so the projected temperature rise reaches an asymptotic line.

    But none of these models can explain the past temperature rise without assuming water vapor feedback! They use water vapor feedback to triple or quadruple the warming they would get from their modeled CO2 behaviour.

    So, yes, not all warmists are also catastrophists, but ALL of them rely on this water vapor feedback hypothesis.

  361. Jim D says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:53 am (Edit)
    When GHGs change fast, it is difficult to say what happens in detail to the way temperature follows it

    It doesn’t follow it. Temperature changes precede changes in co2 levels at all timescales.

    Right, dinner…

  362. DirkH says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

    John Whitman says:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:47 am
    “[...]of delta concentration/time. It appears to me that therefore, it is the rate of change of the rate of change of T that is caused by the rate of change of CO2 concentration.

    ?Can this be, or do I have it backwards?”

    Get rid of one derivative on each side and what do we get?
    “The rate of change of T is caused by the CO2 concentration.” Can’t be – that would imply that in pre-industrial times with a largely constant CO2 con temps would have to change.

    So i think you have it backwards; in my opinion
    The rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to the temperature anomaly.
    Or, if you absolutely want to use the double derivative:
    The rate of change of the rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to the rate of change of the temperature anomaly.

    ———————

    DirkH,

    Somehow I knew you would pick up on my comment based on your way up the stream comment:

    DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Wait. If a cooling rate decreases, but, as you say, the overall radiation emitted by the planet stays the same, this means that the heat transport becomes slower. This is in line with my CO2 fog argument.

    BUT, if the TRANSPORT RATE decreases, this will lead to an increase in “trapped heat” only as long as the transport rate keeps decreasing. IOW, the temperature anomaly must be the first derivative of the CO2 increase as recognized by Beenstock and Reingewertz
    (in

    http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/beenstock/Nature_Paper091209.pdf

    )
    and as predicted by Miskolczi’s theory.

    So i guess we have a new consensus here even though we approach the argument from different angles.

    DirkH, I am trying to extract from the post by Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr how the change in rate of cooling of T (temp of earth system) is related in the time change domain to their suggestions that it is caused by the change in CO2 concentration. They say if you change CO2 conc then there will be (all other things constant) a change in the rate of cooling of the earth system. The quantitative units of that would be delta CO2 conc/time causes delta T/time/time .

    If it is the other way around as you suggest, namely that the rate of change of the rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to the rate of change of the temperature anomaly, then it does not follow from their post.

    I am just probing the time change domain.

    John

  363. tallbloke says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:23 am
    R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:03 am (Edit)

    This concept, often repeated here on WUWT, that LW back radiation from GHG’s in the atmosphere cannot possibly effect the ocean heat flux is too simplistic.

    Whoaaah! I didn’t say that. I said downwelling longwave can’t penetrate the ocean and heat it directly.

    if the absorption of the LW emission from atmospheric GH gases reduces the gradient through the narrow suface layer, the heat flux from the deeper layers will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced in the top 300 meters or so to remain there to increase water temperatures.

    I know several experiements in the field have been carried out to prove this is exactly the case, and I’ll look for those links…

    I’ll be interested to see them, thanks for taking the trouble. So far I know of several experiments which have been carried out to attempt to prove it. I’m not aware of any which convincingly do so. I’m always happy to be educated though

    _____________

    Here’s a bit of background:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JTECH1756.1

    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2006/2004JC002689.shtml

    http://earth.esa.int/workshops/ers97/papers/ridley/

    But here’s some research:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006AGUSM.A44A..02M

    My real point is that the effects of what happens at skin layer of the ocean from increases in downward LW radiation from GHG’s is far more complex than ‘the oceans don’t absorb LW” beyond the skin layer. The warming of that skin layer from increased LW from GHG’s does indeed play a role in heat flux from the deeper ocean layers to the atmosphere.

  364. Roy Clark says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

    The surface warming part of the ‘greenhouse effect’ is just the downard IR radiation from the atmosphere to the surface. Most of this originates in first kilometer layer above the surface. However, there is no equilibrium. The temperature of this layer is mainly set by convection from the surface. The idea that CO2 can cause any kind of climate change is incorrect.
    The surface heating is dynamic….

    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A 100 PPM INCREASE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATION TO CAUSE ANY KIND OF CLIMATE CHANGE…
    _____________________________________________________

    Perhaps you or someone else could clear up something for me and other laymen.

    I keep on hearing that the CO2 global warming theory is an untestable hypothesis, and thus incapable of being proven right or wrong. It seems that is because there are three assumptions made with regard to CO2.

    The first is that CO2 absorbs and re-emits IR radiation causing a net warming effect. That is covered in this article.

    The second is that CO2 is “well mixed” in the atmosphere, with the result that it impossible to test, on a local level, for the validity of the first assumption. It’s a difficult assumption for skeptics to validate with direct data, because equipment as simple as wet-bulb/dry-bulb thermometers is unavailable for making CO2 measurements at the ppm level.

    The third assumption seems to be that the effect of CO2 on temperature is longer term, and is not seen in a matter of minutes or hours.

    The uniformity of mixing suggests that CO2 is in equilibrium over the whole planet, and thus lacks local effects. This is unlike water, which has local effects that are decidedly proven. The land of west Texas, for example, is substantially drier than the area around Galveston and therefore has a different diurnal heat profile.

    Just how well mixed is CO2, anyway? Over a short time period, such as a single day, or even a season, there are substantial variations in local CO2 concentration. Therefore just as there are local effects associated with atmospheric water, there should be local effects associated with local changes in the level of CO2.

    If these local variations do exist, they lead to the possibility of using local micro-climate data to tease out the effects of the different ppm readings of CO2 in the atmosphere on the daily variation in temperatures.

    So, has anyone bothered to look for effects of day-vs-night CO2 levels, and measured them?

    It’s also possible to investigate the results of forcing the local CO2 level. Orchard people using water sprinklers overnight to protect their trees see a temperature of 4 to 5 degrees F at six feet above the ground while the surrounding area is at or below freezing. The local rise in temperature could be statistically linked to the increase in the partial pressure of water vapor. Similarly, one might measure the effects of injection of CO2 into the local atmosphere, and the results could provide proxy data that might help establish or disprove the uniformity of CO2 without having to undertake a wide-ranging series of difficult and expensive station measurements of CO2.

    Experiments on open air “fertilization” with CO2 have been run. There were large amounts of CO2 released at lake Nyos and lake Monoun in Cameroon, West Africa. Scientists are now degassing African lakes.

    Deserts are not only colder at night due to a lack of water they are much hotter during the day compared to the same latitudes where there is an abundance of moisture. Has anyone bothered to look at the data and tease out the effects of the different % of water in the atmosphere on the daily temperatures? Have they separated the effects of phase change and clouds from the IR absorption transmission energy?

    REFERENCES:

    The use of sprinklers to prevent heat loss is used by orchards and nurseries to prevent damage to plants during the night when temperatures are expected to go below freezing is more evidence. (However water’s effect on temperature is due to phase change energy, the effects of clouds as well as the IR absorption transmission energy.)

    CO2 is Well Mixed — or is it an artifact of data gathering technique?

    4.In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

    NOAA CO2 measurement method

    WHEAT
    ”The CO2 concentration at 2 m above the crop was found to be fairly constant during the daylight hours on single days or from day-to-day throughout the growing season ranging from about 310 to 320 p.p.m. Nocturnal values were more variable and were between 10 and 200 p.p.m. higher than the daytime values.”

    CO2 depletion
    ”Plant photosynthetic activity can reduce the Co2 within the plant canopy to between 200 and 250 ppm… I observed a 50 ppm drop within a tomato plant canopy just a few minutes after direct sunlight at dawn entered a green house (Harper et al 1979) … photosynthesis can be halted when CO2 concentration approaches 200 ppm… (Morgan 2003) Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and does not easily mix into the greenhouse atmosphere by diffusion…”

    CO2 measured up to 640PPM in 1939/1940 http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/literatur/kreutz/kreutzwspapprox.gif

  365. In an earlier post I quoted.

    Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.

    When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere.

    I replied.

    I have problems with this. You cannot absorbed more energy than is available to the receptive molecule. Perhaps Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr would like to quantify the amount of surface
    emitted LWR that CO2 is receptive to that escapes directly into open space.

    I believe my statement is correct but I need to point something out.

    Whilst more radiation cannot not be absorbed than is available from the emitting body, more energy can be stored. Since radiation is expressed as a unit of energy input over time then by adding more receptive molecules we increase the energy capacity or if you like energy density per volume.

  366. Stephen Wilde wrote, “The rate of energy release from the oceans to the air varies depending on internal ocean cycles.”

    Don’t forget wind speed, direction, etc., which vary with the coupled ocean-atmospheric processes.

  367. Bob Tisdale says:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    In terms of experiments, it seems to lack–what’s the term?–control.

    Hoooyuss. Not half mate.

    You have more discussion at your blog than I do. Is it worth a post?

    I’ll gladly host it, but I’d have thought E.M. Smith would be better qualified to deconstruct the ‘experiment’ than me. Should I ask him, or do you want to?

  368. John Whitman says:
    July 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm
    “[...]concentration. They say if you change CO2 conc then there will be (all other things constant) a change in the rate of cooling of the earth system. The quantitative units of that would be delta CO2 conc/time causes delta T/time/time .”

    You define “the rate of cooling” as delta Calories/time , it seems. Quite reasonably. Pielke&Herman say: “This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates.

    So the lower parts of the atmosphere warm according to that. That means the upper part must cool; because of conservation of energy. This means the temperature gradient gets steeper. That means the conveyor belt of convection and conduction becomes more effective when the temperature anomaly gets higher on the ground and lower in upper layers. Pielke&Herman left that one out.

    I think it was so clear to me that i made a mental leap. But you see that without this mechanism Pielke&Herman’s description does not describe reality well. Imagine you have CO2 conc’s = N and temperature stays constant. (Idyllic pre-industrial times; man and nature in harmony.) Now the first human lights a campfire; CO2 conc’s rise to N+1. Pielke&Herman’s world would now have ever increasing temperatures if you say that delta CO2/time causes a delta T/(time^2).

    A cooling mechanism becomes more efficient when the temperature gradient rises. Pielke&Herman didn’t state it explicitly but i think they don’t have to – every cooling mechanism behaves this way. Did i assume too much? I don’t think so; we’re trying to model a physical reality.

  369. tallbloke says: July 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm
    ———————–
    A brief look at the flow chart http://www.realclimate.org/images/Minnett_1.gif
    if I understood it correctly it lacks ‘ocean currents’ variability factor (in the certain critical areas by factor of 2). Efficiency of ocean currents heat transfer is crucial to the temperature oscillations in the polar regions, consequently to the ice coverage and albedo; resulting in a feedback.
    Faster currents more heath to the poles, less ice, less reflection, more energy absorption, even warmer poles.
    Of course, the reverse also holds true: slow current, less heath to the poles, more ice, more reflection, even colder poles.
    What regulates ocean currents? I am sure you are (and many regulars) well aware of my ideas on that subject.

  370. R. Gates says:
    July 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    But here’s some research:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006AGUSM.A44A..02M

    My real point is that the effects of what happens at skin layer of the ocean from increases in downward LW radiation from GHG’s is far more complex than ‘the oceans don’t absorb LW” beyond the skin layer. The warming of that skin layer from increased LW from GHG’s does indeed play a role in heat flux from the deeper ocean layers to the atmosphere.

    Ah yes, the Minnet presentation at the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2007.

    This never did get published as a paper in a journal did it?

    The methodology sounds very reminiscent of …. oh yes, the realclimate ‘experiment’ linked by Bob Tisdale above.

    Lol.

    ‘Scuse me laughing, but, really, is this the best that millions of dollars poured down the atmospheric science climate hole can do? Are you really convinced by this? Is it not the case that Stephen Wilde has achieved more by the simple application of logic than Minnet and RealClimate did with their ship and superduper thermometers?

    Mind you, what they did achieve was to show the proposed effect was so miniscule that no-one else has bothered wasting money on it since, so maybe they did a good job.

    Take it from me R Gates, heating the ocean is what the Sun does. The ocean then heats the atmosphere, and the atmosphere then heats space. And the solid ground, a tiny bit. From an engineers perspective, the lack of comprehension of the relative strength of effects in the ocean-atmosphere interactions shown by climate ‘scientists’ is truly boggling.

  371. Rob says:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I think this is an interesting point actually – everone talks about the warming of back radiation to the earths surface, but what about the effect it may have as it hits the oceans (71 % of the planets surface) and causes evaporation – that may have a net cooling effect. Has this ever been studied ?
    ———————–
    I don’t think the people who should be studying it – the climatologists – are do so. That’s probably because either they haven’t the expertise or that it might negatively affect their funding. LWIR isnt’ going to penetrate the ocean to any depth compared to visible. What I’ve seen is some hocum about a skin layer that supposedly blocks thermal flow because it’s cooler and hence there’s less power transferring. What is actually happening is that this cooler skin layer is disposing of more power or energy per unit time than can be supplied to it if it were at a higher temperature. The other facet they ‘study’ is that more evaporation means more h2o vapor – but not more cloud cover which will reduce the amount of deep penetrating visible light energy as well as the total power reaching the surface.

  372. What many climate scientists do not understand that 1 qcm of water has more than 3000 times heath capacity of a 1 qcm of air, maybe some of them have never experienced a full solar eclipse (personally 2), you can feel a nearly instant large temperature drop. Perhaps a night in a cloudless Sahara desert would be money well spent.

  373. I don’t see where a figure of 288K for the equilibrium temperature of the earth comes from. That has to be if you ignore the huge pool of deep ocean water at around 278K or 5C. I would like to hear of a quantification of the process by which the deep ocean is cooled.

  374. As I said earlier (July 24, 2010 at 7:08 am) I get the impression that it is not the “SCIENCE” that is in question. Not really! (Despite the difference of opinion expressed by some in the past 410 comments). It is the ‘interpretation’ of the science and the ‘identification’ of the problems which follow from these interpretations and the various ‘proposed solutions’ to the various problems from these same interpretations that are at issue.

    Now, when “reasonable”, “mature”, “intelligent”, people assess the matter of AGW and attempt to Quantify the Greenhouse Effect they……….

    Hummmmmmmmmmm…

    Well, maybe —upon careful reflection— we ought to forget the science AND all the rest of the other stuff too.

    Quantifying the Greenhouse Effect and coming to a consensus is still a little over our heads.

  375. HankHenry says:
    July 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t see where a figure of 288K for the equilibrium temperature of the earth comes from. That has to be if you ignore the huge pool of deep ocean water at around 278K or 5C. I would like to hear of a quantification of the process by which the deep ocean is cooled.

    the figure comes from the averaged surface temperature. forget about the deep ocean pool being part of the average surface temperature. The entire core of the Earth is vastly hotter than the surface with temperatures at its core in the vicinity of the surface of the sun, around 6000k. If you include this in some sort of average, you’ll have a temperature close to 6000k.

  376. tallbloke wrote, “I’ll gladly host it, but I’d have thought E.M. Smith would be better qualified to deconstruct the ‘experiment’ than me. Should I ask him, or do you want to?”

    Please do so. I haven’t had much interaction with E.M.Smith.

  377. I don’t understand the logic that people are using to suggest the oceanic absorption of back IR radiation can be ignored or minimised, back radiation hits the ocean rather than land, what happens to it? It is absorbed, then what? It either goes into warming the water or it causes evaporation. If the latter the, energy doesn’t disappear, it’s still trapped in the troposphere.

  378. Thanks to all who are trying to “demistefy” the GHG hypothesis and the warming that we all receive due to GHGs. Now, would someone please present some actual empirical data that demonstrates these “backradiation concepts.” It should be quite easy to do, if it is so simple, eh?

  379. jae says:
    July 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm
    “Thanks to all who are trying to “demistefy” the GHG hypothesis and the warming that we all receive due to GHGs. Now, would someone please present some actual empirical data that demonstrates these “backradiation concepts.” It should be quite easy to do, if it is so simple, eh?”

    Miskolczi has some:

    http://met.hu/idojaras/IDOJARAS_vol108_No4_01.pdf

    The backradiation (ED in his naming scheme) varies a lot depending on water vapor content.

  380. Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    kwik says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).”

    Are you sure about this, Phil? That the hottest will be hotter? I allways believed that this is exactly what was impossible, according to the 2′nd law….because if it got hotter…then heat has gone from colder to hotter…..

    That’s exactly right, the version of the 2nd Law you quote is not applicable to radiation as George, I and others have pointed out above.

    Interestingly Spencer has an entry on his blog today with exactly the same model experiment as I used (heaters instead of balls) and graphics etc. not just text.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/

  381. it goes into evaporation absorbing the latent heat of evaporation
    h2o rich air is lighter, it rises
    it goes up
    eventually, it forms clouds or reaches the point where it gives up the latent heat – high above much of the ghgs and away from the surface.

  382. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    “What’s going on with climate scientists? Why is everyone defending back radiation all of a sudden?”

    Backradiation does exist and can be measured with IR cameras, for instance, but as a warmer object has higher frequency blackbody radiation plus all the lower frequencies, and the cooler object has only the lower frequencies, the net energy transfer goes from the warmer to the cooler object.

    That’s why physicists like G&T usually insist on doing a vector subtraction first and can omit the backradiation from all further considerations. At least that’s how i understand it.

  383. Andrew W says:

    I don’t understand the logic that people are using to suggest the oceanic absorption of back IR radiation can be ignored or minimised, back radiation hits the ocean rather than land, what happens to it? It is absorbed, then what? It either goes into warming the water or it causes evaporation. If the latter the, energy doesn’t disappear, it’s still trapped in the troposphere.

    Bingo!!! I think the logic is just desperation for people who very badly went the greenhouse effect heating to magically disappear…or not exist in the first place.

  384. stevengoddard says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

    anna v

    There is a big difference between “very few” greenhouse gases and “no” greenhouse gases. The first few ppm cause most of the greenhouse effect.

    I think your statement violates physics laws. When there are gases and gravity and a heat source radiating on a planet there will be convection: gases get hot from ground conductivity to air if nothing else, and there exist plenty of else, since finally everything thermalizes to very low frequency modes. Hot gases rise, cool gases from the night side move to replace the vacuum they leave, there is the rotation of the planet and the coriollis effect so I see no way that your statement can be correct even on a planet without water.

  385. George E. Smith mocked me saying, “So Chad, when was the last time that you were in the shadow zone of a cloud that passed between you and the sun; and it got hotter; meaning that the clouds were retaining heat near the ground. Clouds (on a climate time scale) ALWAYS produce cooling; NEVER heating.”

    I never said or suggested or implied that clouds produce heating. I said that they can keep heat near the ground from escaping more quickly into the upper atmosphere. And that is something that takes place especially at NIGHT. A world of difference! The next time you choose to mock someone, do yourself a favor and actually pay attention to what the person says.

  386. anna v

    It is difficult to believe that direct conduction from ground to air contributes much heat to the atmosphere. The vast majority of the heat is transmitted radiatively.

  387. NASA has flown some interesting instruments that may help with understanding the radiation. These pictures were taken in the central US in 1996.

    http://mas.arc.nasa.gov/gallery/comparison.html

    The photos are from the visible (0.55 um) to far infrared (14.21 um). They appear to be calibrated but the details are not given. One easily notes the slight increase in land brightness as you go into the near infrared (0.7 to 1.75 um) as should be expected by anyone who has used IR photo film. Plants get very bright in this range. The clouds are white and reflecting in the range from 0.55 to 2.40 um. The land gets dark around 1.8 to 1.95 um and then brightens up again (perhaps ground vapor in the H2O band near 1.8). At 2.89 um the band goes gray, perhaps a large absorption band. And surprise above 3.21 um, the clouds start to absorb and the land starts to become very bright. I would say we are starting to see the “blackbody” radiation from the land here.

    Interesting how the clouds reflect the visible and near IR but start to absorb in the far IR. They would tend to reflect most the incoming solar radiation but would absorb and re-emit the ground radiation.

    The question I have is: why don’t we clearly see the CO2 absorption if it is such a problem? Perhaps the gray-out is CO2 at 2.89 um. We sure don’t see it obstructing the bands further out in the IR where the land is very bright but the clouds sure do. In fact, they appear to be absorbing both the incoming solar and outgoing blackbody IR, although it is possible that the solar radiation is much smaller here and we are mostly seeing the outgoing land radiation and the clouds are simply dark because the sun doesn’t reflect much far IR off them.

  388. Phil. says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm
    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    kwik says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    Phil. says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, introduce another ball nearby at a lower temperature, the hotter one will get hotter (as will the cooler).”

    Are you sure about this, Phil? That the hottest will be hotter? I allways believed that this is exactly what was impossible, according to the 2′nd law….because if it got hotter…then heat has gone from colder to hotter…..

    That’s exactly right, the version of the 2nd Law you quote is not applicable to radiation as George, I and others have pointed out above.

    Interestingly Spencer has an entry on his blog today with exactly the same model experiment as I used (heaters instead of balls) and graphics etc. not just text.

    I infer from the statement “Suppose you have an isolated black ball which you heat so that it eventually equilibrates at a certain temperature, …” that energy in the form of heat is being supplied to the black ball at a constant rate. The black ball will then reach a temperature at which the energy per unit time radiated to space will equal the energy per unit time being supplied to the ball, and the temperature will remain constant. If a cooler black body is added to the mix and the same time rate of heat is supplied to the original black ball, I too believe the temperature of the original black ball will increase, but the temperature of the “added black ball” may or may not increase. For example, if a planet at 5,000 Kelvin degrees is placed in an Earth-like orbit about the sun, the temperature of that Earth-like object won’t increase, but rather will decrease to the approximate temperature of the Earth.

    However, the reason the original black ball’s temperature increases is because we are continuing to supply it with energy at a constant rate. This doesn’t violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which in the Clausius formulation is:

    “It is impossible to construct a perfect refrigerator”–i.e., it is impossible to move energy from a reservoir at lower temperature to a reservoir at higher temperature without affecting the environment in any other way.

    In Phil’s example, I believe the envronment “is beng affected in some other way” in that a source of energy other than the “added black ball” is adding energy to the original black ball at a constant rate. If at the time the “second black ball is added to the system” the source of input energy to the original black ball is terminated, then the temperature of the original black ball will not increase. At least that’s the way I see it.

  389. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 24, 2010 at 11:11 am
    Tallbloke and 899,

    Here’s my point in a practical way. The CO2 concentration is approximately 387 ppm. So, let’s say that 1/10 will send an emission of radiation to Earth daily, and round the figure to 39. I want to say that Earth receives whatever comes from the sun plus the 39 from CO2 per unit. I want to say that CO2 warms the Earth. You say that Earth receives whatever comes from the sun and nothing more but CO2 slows Earth’s cooling. The advantage of my approach is that it quantifies the effects of CO2 and it describes the force of emitted radiation from CO2.

    Theo,

    You talk about numbers of molecules of CO2, but you entirely neglect to consider what those do in the way of passing energy from one place to another.

    CO2 behaves in an entirely reciprocal fashion, regardless from whence any impinging energy arrives.

    CO2 resonates to a certain spectra (IR), and largely acts as an insulator otherwise, just as with most other atmospheric gasses.

    The more gas in an atmosphere, the more insulation. If the Earth had twice the atmospheric pressure —with the same ratio of constituent gasses— it would retain far more heat, because of the insulative character of the gasses.

    The Sun’s energy passes through the atmosphere, heats the surface, and the gasses keep the surface from losing the heat energy too quickly.

    CO2 is beneficial for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it helps ‘conduct’ surface IR back into space by dint of its reciprocal character.

    Ergo, if we have MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, we’d lose heat faster than we do at present.

    Now, some might be inclined to say that with MORE CO2, the Earth will be warmer, but that’s simply not true for the reason of reciprocity: The heat will leave just as fast as it is generated, and the more CO2, the faster the heat will be conducted away from the surface.

    In the present sense, the level of CO2 needed to make a ‘snowball Earth’ would have be far, far greater than now, and even the Vostok Ice Cores show that that level was never reached.

    I dare say, that it was the CO2 which continued to conduct heat away from the Earth as the Sun’s energy decreased in those instances revealed in the aforementioned ice cores, and as a result that caused the cooling which took place as the Sun diminished its output.

    However, the CO2 was absorbed by the oceans in large quantities when the temperatures dropped, and as a result the cooling was greatly moderated.

    In finality then, CO2 is both a moderator and an indicator gas for the amount of the Sun’s energy impinging upon the Earth.

    We find ourself to be in a very luck happenstance: The plants and other things which employ CO2 as a function of life benefit from the CO2, and we who generate it are able to sustain our existence by that production.

  390. The authors in the 4th paragraph state:- “This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface…”

    This downward radiation is often called back-radiation and is essentially radiation from a cold body to a warmer body. The case for the existence of this ‘back radiation’ is weak. There is no evidence that ‘back-radiation’ has ever been detected or measured. OK, some claim they have measured back radiation and claim values of around 300 W/m2. The instrument used to obtain this figure is called a Pyrgeometer.
    To calculate the incoming LW irradiance or back radiation at the detector, the temperature of the pyrgeometer body must be known. The downward longwave radiation EL is then calculated using the following formula :-

    EL = Uemf/S + ( 5.67*10-8 * Tb^4 )

    where
    Uemf is the output voltage from the thermopile,
    S is the calibration constant of the instrument, and
    Tb is the pyrgeometer body temperature in Kelvin.

    Note that for an upward facing pyrgeometer, the thermopile output voltage will be negative. This is because the upward radiation from the pyrgeometer is greater then the incoming irradiance from the sky.

    Measurement of back-radiation has not been achieved, or more accurately, radiation from a cold surface to a warm surface has never been observed or measured. The pyrgeometer measures upward radiation and subtract this value from a hypothetical value relative to absolute zero. The difference is the so-called back-radiation. Surely the values quoted, typically around 300W/m2, would seem implausible as they are comparable in magnitude to the radiance from the Sun!

    I think the belief in the existence of back-radiation comes from a misunderstanding of the Stefan-Boltzmann model which is often quoted as E = s*T^4 for a “black body where:-
    E is the emissive power or irradiance,
    s (sigma) is the Stefan–Boltzmann constant
    T is the absolute temperature of the emitting surface

    This model describes the emissive power of a surface relative to a surface at absolute zero. The model is a relative construct. The Emissive power of a hot body relative to a cold body is a positive value and that of a cold body relative to a hot body is a negative value, meaning that there is no net emission from the cold body. It absorbs radiation from the hotter body.

    The emissive power of Body 1 relative to Body 2 should be written as :-

    E = s (T1 – T2)^4.

    Take a simpler example where T1 = T2. Between the surfaces there is no emission or absorption. I anticipate that some will say that one body will emit sT1^4 toward the other body and absorb sT2^4 from the other body… but what does that mean? Will a body absorb a photon and emit one of the same energy simultaneously? Well, maybe, but you could never observe this. A photon may be reflected but how would you know the difference? Both the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and the Second Law of Thermodynamics are statistical models. They do not predict the path of a single photon.

    It appears that a small misconception in the application of the Stefan-Boltzmann law has led to the invention of so-called back-radiation

    To clarify consider two tanks of water both with water level H relative to the ground. The simplified flow rate from a pipe at the base of the tanks is given by:-

    F = k.H

    Where:
    k is a constant which allows for radius and length of the pipe, viscosity etc.
    H is the Head or water level above our reference point (the ground).

    What would happen if we joined these tanks together by attaching the pipes to the other tank? According to the concept of back-radiation , F would flow from Tank1 into Tank2 and F would flow in the reverse direction from Tank2 into Tank1 simultaneously.

    If we put a flow meter in a pipe we could measure the flow between the tanks. The flow would be zero. The value F could not be observed in any direction. F is a measure of ‘backflow’, analogous to back radiation. But does this backflow really exist?

    Back radiation has not been detected, why continue with this mis-construed concept?

  391. The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway. But the radiational forcing due to the addition of greenhouse gases must result in a warming contribution to the atmosphere.”

    The top line is that the solar radiation has not only a visible spectra, but also an infrared spectra. It is a poor mathematical sand box game to take the solar radiation energy at soil level as a constant and only do sophisticated calculations about the outgoing radiation. CO_2 also reduces the incoming radiation as well, and therefore the difference of in- and outgoing radiation has to be shown in a energy balance at soil level.

    Another point is the averaging of radiation:
    In the model the earth is irradiated as disc, cooling as a sphere. Albeit Stefan-Boltzman includes temperatures in T^4, daytime heating at different latitudes and nighttime cooling is neglected. In the measurement temperatures were averaged, not energy.

    The presented temperature of 288K is a measured result depending on a lot of parameters, canceling each other to a small residue.
    Especially water vapor and cloud cover is included in this number of 33K .
    This difference is a total of all effects, not only shielding of radiation by CO_2 and the proof of a “CO_2 Greenhouse”.

    Anything may be calculated, but nature does not care about it. This modeling is no contribution to a better understanding of weather and resulting climate.

  392. “Joel Shore says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm
    Andrew W says:

    I don’t understand the logic that people are using to suggest the oceanic absorption of back IR radiation can be ignored or minimised, back radiation hits the ocean rather than land, what happens to it? It is absorbed, then what? It either goes into warming the water or it causes evaporation. If the latter the, energy doesn’t disappear, it’s still trapped in the troposphere.

    Bingo!!! I think the logic is just desperation for people who very badly went the greenhouse effect heating to magically disappear…or not exist in the first place.”

    Not so.

    To all intents and purposes latent heat does disappear because it does not register on sensors so as to affect temperatures. Hence the term ‘latent’.

    Thus net cooling of the surrounding environment wherever evaporation occurs and the more evaporation the greater the cooling.

    The energy does however remain in the troposphere but does not warm it. Instead the energy in the water vapour makes the vapour lighter than the surrounding Oxygen and Nitrogen so it rises towards the tropopause and at some higher level is released again when condensation occurs. However at that point the energy is much higher and is simply accelerated away to space by radiative processes.

    So it’s not trapped, it has no warming effect on the lower troposphere and the energy hungry process of evaporation cools the sea surface and/or surface air rather than allowing either to warm.

    So where is the calculation that there is a residue of surplus sensible (not latent) energy left over to effect warming once an IR photon has caused a molecule of water to evaporate ?

    There can be no such calculation because it is established fact that evaporation is a net cooling process.

    The so called ocean skin theory promulgated by RealClimate and others is a desperate ploy to avoid that problem and I think I have adequately deconstructed it already in another place as per the link I supplied previously.

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4245

    “Greenhouse Gases Can Cause Cooling !”

    I have been waiting for a serious attempt at rebuttal for some time.

  393. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 25, 2010 at 2:57 am
    “Instead the energy in the water vapour makes the vapour lighter than the surrounding Oxygen and Nitrogen so it rises towards the tropopause and at some higher level is released again when condensation occurs. However at that point the energy is much higher and is simply accelerated away to space by radiative processes.”

    The main rain bearing clouds form below 3000m, this is way below the tropopause, at this altitude most of the energy released from cloud formation remains in the troposphere.

    An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.

  394. Dear Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr. :

    You are making simple statements, that are fundamentally wrong:

    …”When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere.”….

    or

    …”Now, when we add more CO2, the absorption per unit distance increases, and this warms the atmosphere. “….

    Here you implicitly ASSUMED that adding CO2 will increase the absorbing power of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a complex system and its absorbing power is a function of many other things. However, this absorbing power can be computed without climate models and greenhouse theories, solely using observations and computations applying first principles.

    Observations show that in the last 61 years the CO2 content of the atmosphere increased by 30 per cent and during this time the absorbing power of the atmosphere remained constant. In view of the above, your comments on the surface warming as a result of “ slowing down cooling” is obsolete. AGW is simple non existent.

    Please see the details in my recent E&E article:
    THE STABLE STATIONARY VALUE OF THE EARTH’S
    GLOBAL AVERAGE ATMOSPHERIC PLANCK-WEIGHTED
    GREENHOUSE-GAS OPTICAL THICKNESS

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/c171tn430x43168v/?p=ad1e44ae55754e548ae474618bfb4102&pi=8

  395. Andrew W said

    “An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.”

    If evaporation has a net cooling effect then the surface warming must be more than negated by the conversion of sensible to latent heat. Either the sea surface or the surface air temperature will drop or a combination of both in proportion to the pre existing temperature differential between them because the evaporative process takes energy from where it is most readily available. Either way you get a net surface cooling from more IR. Only more energetic shorter wavelengths can get past the evaporative barrier to warm the oceans.

    “The main rain bearing clouds form below 3000m, this is way below the tropopause, at this altitude most of the energy released from cloud formation remains in the troposphere.”

    That’s high enough. How many thermometers do we have at 3000m ?
    The energy gets shifted away from the surface fast enough to prevent surface warming. Otherwise evaporation could not have a net cooling effect.

  396. Morris Minor says:
    July 25, 2010 at 2:10 am
    [--snip for brevity--]
    Back radiation has not been detected, why continue with this mis-construed concept?

    Why? because it makes for a good fiction …

  397. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 am
    [--snip for brevity--]
    An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.

    Andrew, I think you just said the same thing twice, but disagreed with yourself …

    ;-)

  398. stevengoddard says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    anna v

    It is difficult to believe that direct conduction from ground to air contributes much heat to the atmosphere. The vast majority of the heat is transmitted radiatively.

    It is not a matter of belief, it is a matter of the laws of physics as applied to gases. O2 and N2 have kinetic energies that can be increased by direct collisions, conduction, and by Compton scatterings by the infrared photons.
    You made a statement that the planet would be cold and with no convection if there are no greenhouse gases, and this is what I am objecting to. Just the Coriolis force and the day night surface temperature differences will create seasonal winds . Convection will increase transfer of energy by conduction. N2 and O2 though not as efficient as CO2 and H2O are still there and have to behave as gases have to behave given the initial conditions.

  399. ‘An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.’

    But the process itself still removes energy from a surface.

    If you were to go outside after a shower, the wind would give the energy required for water to evaporate. You would still feel the cold though, as more energy is taken from the surface. If the energy from an outside source is enough, then you wouldn’t feel the any cold from more energy been taken from the skin

  400. cba, I can appreciate ignoring internal temps but in the deep ocean you have a very cold region bounded above and below by warmer temps. Yes we want to disregard the earth’s internal heat but I’m not sure you have a very well defined notion of surface temperature if you disregard extensive cool areas. The earths temp on the continents at deep ocean depths is quite hot (see accounts of south African mines or deep boreholes). There has to be some process removing heat from the ocean and it has to be a large effect considering the extent of deep ocean cold.

  401. vukcevic says:
    July 24, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    What many climate scientists do not understand that 1 qcm of water has more than 3000 times heath capacity of a 1 qcm of air, maybe some of them have never experienced a full solar eclipse (personally 2), you can feel a nearly instant large temperature drop. Perhaps a night in a cloudless Sahara desert would be money well spent.
    _________________________________________________________-

    I think day and night studies spent in the Sahara Desert measuring the solar insolation, atmospheric H2O and CO2 and the resulting temperatures at various locations along the latitude line that includes desert and savanna plus areas on either side such as the the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and the Red Sea and Egypt’s Nile river on the east would yield some very interesting data. Heck you could even take an area and flood it with CO2 and study the results. Studies of plant response in FACE (free air CO2 enrichment) systems have been done as well as studies of tree response in OTC (open top chamber) systems.

    Similar studies in arid desert conditions where humidity would be minimized should yield the temperature response to increased CO2…. if there is any that can be measured. The region’s low relative humidity rarely exceeds 30% and is often in the 4% to 5% range.

  402. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 am

    ……An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.
    ____________________________________________

    Steve and Willis are talking about tropical rain clouds such as this click They form when the temperatures are high.

    Steve and Willis are talking of the heat transport mechanism cloud formations (cumulonimbus) in the tropics and sub tropics and hot summers in the temperate zones. Cumulonimbus do not form when the temperatures are moderate or cold so you are correct when you state that most clouds are not cumulonimbus or thunderheads. However the cumulonimbus that Steve and Willis are talking about are the mechanism used by the earth to get rid of excess heat fast.

    “Thunder storms develop on hot, humid days. When an air mass near the Earth’s surface contains excessive water vapor (humidity) and rises on updrafts (currents of air), it expands and then cools as it rises. Eventually the air mass cools so much, the vapor inside converts to liquid form. This process emits heat into the air in the immediate vicinity which causes the air to rise faster. At a rate of fifty miles per hour, thunderheads form relatively quickly and can reach altitudes of nearly 75,000 feet in about 17 minutes. click

    So thunderheads are a heat transport system from the earth to the upper atmosphere.

    I did a quicky look at the the formation of afternoon thunderstorms on the US east coast. The number of storms formed per month decreases with an increase in latitude going from about 25/month in Florida to 20/month in South Carolina. The number suddenly drops to 10/month in the middle of North Carolina where the temperatures become more moderate.

    When you start talking oceans then you start talking cyclones, another mechanism for the earth uses to dump heat.

    Observational evidence for an ocean heat pump induced by tropical cyclones
    ABSTRACT
    “Ocean mixing affects global climate and the marine biosphere because it is linked to the ocean’s ability to store and transport heat1 and nutrients2. Observations have constrained the magnitude of upper ocean mixing associated with certain processes3, 4, but mixing rates measured directly3, 5 are significantly lower than those inferred from budget analyses6, suggesting that other processes may play an important role. The winds associated with tropical cyclones are known to lead to localized mixing of the upper ocean7, 8, 9, but the hypothesis that tropical cyclones are important mixing agents at the global scale10 has not been tested. Here we calculate the effect of tropical cyclones on surface ocean temperatures by comparing surface temperatures before and after storm passage, and use these results to calculate the vertical mixing induced by tropical cyclone activity. Our results indicate that tropical cyclones are responsible for significant cooling and vertical mixing of the surface ocean in tropical regions. Assuming that all the heat that is mixed downwards is balanced by heat transport towards the poles, we calculate that approximately 15 per cent of peak ocean heat transport may be associated with the vertical mixing induced by tropical cyclones. Furthermore, our analyses show that the magnitude of this mixing is strongly related to sea surface temperature, indicating that future changes in tropical sea surface temperatures may have significant effects on ocean circulation and ocean heat transport that are not currently accounted for in climate models.”

  403. Stephen Wilde says:

    To all intents and purposes latent heat does disappear because it does not register on sensors so as to affect temperatures. Hence the term ‘latent’.

    Thus net cooling of the surrounding environment wherever evaporation occurs and the more evaporation the greater the cooling.

    The energy does however remain in the troposphere but does not warm it. Instead the energy in the water vapour makes the vapour lighter than the surrounding Oxygen and Nitrogen so it rises towards the tropopause and at some higher level is released again when condensation occurs. However at that point the energy is much higher and is simply accelerated away to space by radiative processes.

    That makes no sense at all. Things radiate in proportion to the 4th power of the temperature. In order to get more radiation from the mid- or upper-troposphere into space, you have to warm it up. So, what your proposal amounts to is a claim that the mid- and upper-troposphere warm without warming (or even with cooling) the surface & lower troposphere. Where is the evidence for this?

    In fact, it is recognized that on a global scale the mid- and upper-troposphere will on average warm more than near the surface, with the largest differential occurring in the tropical atmosphere. This is what is called the “lapse rate feedback”, a negative feedback included in all of the climate models that accounts for the fact that you don’t have to warm the surface as much as the upper troposphere will warm in order to re-establish radiative balance after an increase in greenhouse gases. So, your proposal is that this negative feedback is being underestimated, which is an interesting contradiction with those skeptics who claim (on the basis of some data that is known to have contaminating artifacts) that the “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere isn’t even there…i.e., that the upper troposphere is not warming significantly faster than the surface. You would need to propose that it is actually warming (relative to the surface) much faster than the models predict.

  404. stevengoddard says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    anna v

    It is difficult to believe that direct conduction from ground to air contributes much heat to the atmosphere. The vast majority of the heat is transmitted radiatively.
    ===========

    Steve,

    a more generic stefan’s law is P = epsilon * sigma *(Tb ^4 – Ts^4) where epsilon is emissivity, sigma stefan’s constant, Tb the temperature of the object and Ts is the temperature of the surroundings which in this example are assumed to be the same emissivity as the body of interest. you’ll note when the surroundings is assumed to be he same temperature, there is no radiative transfer net power going on and only when the temperature is absolute 0 will there be the full simple stefan’s law transfer out.

    at the surface of the Earth, the atmosphere is about the same temperature although its emissivity will be much less on average – that is except for strong absorption lines. However, the radiation from the surface is (at 288.2k) about 391 w/m^2 and in clear skies, ghgs permits about 274 w/m^2 to pass through to the tropopause. The average convection appears to be around 100 w/m^2 at the surface and it drops to practically 0 by the tropopause. Conduction is very low compared to convection but convection is actually quite significant down low as it’s part of the h2o cycle.

    While radiative may be the majority of power transfer, it is not a vast majority lower down where convection is important also.

  405. Yipee! My thermos flask does work after all!

    And I suppose that this means that radiation emitted by colder regions of the atmosphere above the troposphere can be absorbed by CO2 in the warmer regions of the troposphere and re-radiated back into space! Wow so CO2 can cause global cooling as well as warming. But which is the greater of these two miniscule effects? Does it matter?

    JM

  406. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 am
    The main rain bearing clouds form below 3000m, this is way below the tropopause, at this altitude most of the energy released from cloud formation remains in the troposphere.

    No. First of all at 3000m AGL the densest layer of greenhouse gases lies between the cloud and the ground. In that case the GHGs act as a layer of insulation between the cloud and the ground. Second of all, due to atmospheric lapse rate, it’s going to be colder above the clouds than below them. Second law of thermodynamics – heat flows from warmer to colder. The heat will travel upwards not downwards.

    Net effect, once heat gets dumped by condensation in a cloud at some significant height AGL (say 500m or more) that heat is headed upward, not downward, from there.

    This doesn’t even consider what happens due to the high albedo of the cloud during the daytime where there is a much lower albedo below it (i.e. not snow or ice underneath). In that case a huge portion of insolation in the visible spectrum gets bounced right back out into space.

  407. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Stephen Wilde says:
    July 25, 2010 at 2:57 am
    “Instead the energy in the water vapour makes the vapour lighter than the surrounding Oxygen and Nitrogen so it rises towards the tropopause and at some higher level is released again when condensation occurs. However at that point the energy is much higher and is simply accelerated away to space by radiative processes.”

    The main rain bearing clouds form below 3000m, this is way below the tropopause, at this altitude most of the energy released from cloud formation remains in the troposphere.

    An increased rate of evaporation that has resulted from an increase in energy input is not going to cause surface cooling, in fact an increased evaporation rate is the result of surface warming.
    =================================
    so you’re claiming that 3km is below most of the ghgs? Since h2o vapor is 2/3 of the ghg effect, just how much h2o vapor is there above the cloud top?

    and, you also seem to be claiming that those clouds with 30-40% reflectivity don’t increase the albedo and lower the incoming solar radiation.

    note too that your cloud tops are not only above most of the h2o ghg contribution, they also radiate in a continuum, not just spectral lines. You don’t think that radiating a continuum is going to permit more power to escape than radiating in a spectrum?

    oh, let me guess! incoming solar actually only occurs during a fraction of the day while our evaporation is occurring all the time and therefore clouds mostly form at night, retaining IR but raining out by morning.

  408. Chad Woodburn says:
    July 24, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I never said or suggested or implied that clouds produce heating. I said that they can keep heat near the ground from escaping more quickly into the upper atmosphere.
    And that is something that takes place especially at NIGHT.

    Clouds typically aren’t near the 4 feet height of a Stevenson shelter.

    I think the effect is mostly that when there are clouds in the sky they are typically accompanied by higher humidity level near the ground. It’s the higher water vapor content that slows the rate of night time cooling at ground level.

  409. “Back radiation” appears to be nonsense. When two bodies out of thermal equilbrium have a transfer path between them heat flows from the warmer to the colder (2nd law of thermodynamics). The farther out of equilibrium the faster the transfer. I suppose one could envisage back radiation as what causes the slowdown in heat flow the nearer to thermal equilibrium the bodies become but that doesn’t change the end result of the net heat flow going from warmer to colder.

  410. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    Roy Spencer has chimed in with an explanation of cooler objects heating warmer, via radiation, and he has some cool diagrams, though the AGW one is poorly articulated.

    http://www.climatechangefraud.com/behind-the-science/7393-yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still

    Well, Virginia, if you can leverage that cooler objects making warmer objects hot into the design of a Stirling Engine it will solve all the world’s energy problems in one fell swoop.

    I can’t wait to see it working, Dr. Spencer. I’d wish you good luck but you’re going to need far more than luck.

  411. I see Dr. Spencer thinks cooler objects can somehow heat warmer objects.

    If he can incorporate that into a Stirling engine it would solve all the world’s energy problems. Color me skeptical until I see it working.

  412. Here is a high resolution false color image of the IR images I previously posted (an area north of Denver):

    We can now see that there are shadows to the lower left of clouds, jet contrails and some small water features (lakes or reservoirs). This helps in the analysis of the original spectral bands at lower resolution:

    http://mas.arc.nasa.gov/gallery/comparison.html

    I believe that the following analysis is correct, but as I am not an expert (only a BS in physics), some of the details may be wrong. Take it as an opinion.

    It is noted that the spectral band images are calibrated for radiance and I will assume that equal brightness will mean similar radiation power flux (although radiance is not exactly equal to flux due to vector angle differences). These were shot by an E2 (modified U2) and could be from about 70,000 feet, but this is not mentioned in the data description. The fact that large jet contrails are in the images suggests it was much higher than the 40,000 feet that jets fly below. There is also very little atmosphere above this altitude so most of what we see will be similar to a view from space. I also assume that the grayed-out images at 2.89 and 14.21 um are caused by CO2.

    In the incoming Sun shortwave flux the dark areas will indicate absorption while light areas indicate reflection back to space. For the outgoing “blackbody” longwave flux (above about 4 um where the cloud shadows disappear because the land is so bright) the bright areas indicate emission while dark areas indicate lower emission. The Sun has very low output in this region so the clouds will appear dark (reflecting very little IR from the Sun compared to the emissions from the land below).

    While bands above 14.21 um were not captured by the sensor, they should look similar to 14.21 um. This is because CO2 has strong absorption in this region. There is still about 25% of the total longwave emission in this area so this is where CO2 has the most effect on warming.

    Concerning the different features in the images:

    Land: strongly absorbs in the visible and near IR, strongly emits in the far IR. Bare land heats the most and also emits the most. Urban features would be worse (pavement, etc.).

    Vegetation: strongly absorbs in visible bands, some reflection in near IR, strongly emits in the far IR but would be cooler than bare land.

    Surface Water: strongly absorbs in visible and near IR (more so than land), doesn’t emit much in far IR until you get above 5 um. Appears to reflect or emit around 3.21 to 3.52 um and absorb around 4 um.

    Water Vapor: there appears to be strong absorption near 1.9 um which may be surface water vapor.

    CO2: Appears to absorb at 2.89 and 14.21 um. The fact that it is a gray fog seems to suggest that it is re-emitting some radiation downward or transferring it to the surrounding air as thermal heat. It it were saturated (no longer able to absorb and emit) it would be as bright as the land and more transparent.

    Clouds: Highly reflective for most incoming Sun near IR. Appears dark in longwave IR but may still be reflective. The Sun’s output in longwave IR may actually be reflecting off the top of the clouds but is much lower than the flux from the land below. Provided the clouds reflect longwave IR (and there are suggestions that cloud cover causes heat retention) this should cause warming due to partial downward (diffuse) reflecting of the outgoing earth flux.

    The real question concerning AGW: is the CO2 really that important? It appears to be above 14 um and surface water appears to have some output above 5 um (it is a cooler blackbody than the hot land and should have more output at longer wavelengths). Clouds could be a negative feedback because they reflect so much of the incoming flux, but they also may reflect some of the outgoing flux back to the surface.

    The spectral images have been contrast extended so no real conclusions can be drawn without access to the raw data and knowing the calibration factors. However, they do provide a layman’s view of what is actually happening by showing the CO2 fog bands, incoming flux absorption, cloud reflection and blackbody flux out.

  413. “Ferenc M. Miskolczi says:
    July 25, 2010 at 3:57 am”

    Hello Professor and thanks for contributing.

    Your findings suit me very well so I would be happy to see them confirmed and widely accepted.

    Is anyone in authority taking your work seriously with a view to publicising the clear implication that changes in the composition of the air short of a change in total density are wholly ineffective in energy budget terms ?

  414. re; downwelling radiation heating water

    Seems simple enough to test by experiment. Put a heat lamp over a pan of water and see if the water temperature rises. I suspect it will but I also suspect that the rate of heating will be vastly effected by the relative humidity of the air above the water and also the rate of movement of the air over the water, i.e. place a fan blowing air across the water and see if that doesn’t go so far as to not just cancel the radiative heating but actually overpower it depending on the ambient humidity level.

    I see a book title here:

    Swamp Cooling for Dummies – How Evaporation Works to Limit Global Warming

  415. Dave Springer said:

    “Put a heat lamp over a pan of water and see if the water temperature rises. I suspect it will but I also suspect that the rate of heating will be vastly effected by the relative humidity of the air above the water and also the rate of movement of the air over the water, i.e. place a fan blowing air across the water and see if that doesn’t go so far as to not just cancel the radiative heating but actually overpower it depending on the ambient humidity level.”

    Quite right, Dave.

    In the open air above Earth’s oceans and on average globally the humidity is always low enough and the wind strong enough to always (on average globally) ensure that the radiative heating from downward IR is always overpowered or at least matched by the thermal net cooling effect of the increase in evaporation that it causes.

    The reason for that is the relative densities and pressures of the oceans and the air and the properties of water with it’s attendant phase changes.

    It also provides the mechanism whereby optimum optical depth is maintained (as per Professor Miscolczi) because the speed of the hydrological cycle just changes to meet the requirements imposed by those relative densities and pressures.

  416. Morris Minor says:
    July 25, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Morris, the way you explain it, is the way I remember it explained in my school-days.

    You “talk” the way an “old classic style scientist” would talk. I can understand it.
    It is easy to agree.

  417. Dave Springer:

    I suppose one could envisage back radiation as what causes the slowdown in heat flow the nearer to thermal equilibrium the bodies become but that doesn’t change the end result of the net heat flow going from warmer to colder.

    And, this all relates to the greenhouse effect how? Could you give me an example of a greenhouse effect model (either a simple one or a complex one) that claims that the net flow of heat is going from colder to warmer? All the examples that I have seen have the net flow being from warmer to colder as the Second Law says must be the case.

    Well, Virginia, if you can leverage that cooler objects making warmer objects hot into the design of a Stirling Engine it will solve all the world’s energy problems in one fell swoop.

    I can’t wait to see it working, Dr. Spencer. I’d wish you good luck but you’re going to need far more than luck.

    I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    The scientific community, by contrast, believes in the Second Law as a statement of statistical physics, whereby the colder object will always absorb more heat from the warmer object than the warmer object absorbs from the colder object. From this point of view, a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object.

    Think of it this way: An earth with no greenhouse gases has all of the radiation that it emits going directly out into space. An earth with greenhouse gases has some of that radiation absorbed by the atmosphere….and because the atmosphere then has a nonzero temperature, it will emit radiation, some of which will go back down to the earth’s surface. (Whether you want to call this “back radiation” is a legitimate pedagogical question. Some people, like this retired meteorology professor http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadGreenhouse.html , are quite militant about this being a poor use of terminology, but he doesn’t disagree on the physics, just how it is most accurately described.)

  418. Morris Minor says:

    Measurement of back-radiation has not been achieved, or more accurately, radiation from a cold surface to a warm surface has never been observed or measured. The pyrgeometer measures upward radiation and subtract this value from a hypothetical value relative to absolute zero. The difference is the so-called back-radiation. Surely the values quoted, typically around 300W/m2, would seem implausible as they are comparable in magnitude to the radiance from the Sun!

    Nonsense from start to finish. When you “look” at an object with a device that detects radiation, it has no way of detecting the radiation that said object is absorbing. It just detects the radiation that the object is emitting (or reflecting).

    The emissive power of Body 1 relative to Body 2 should be written as :-

    E = s (T1 – T2)^4.

    It is true that the net heat flow between the two bodies (where some would say the word “net” is redundant depending on how you define “heat”) has to take into account both the emission and the absorption. However, that does not mean that the Steffan-Boltzmann is some sort of convenient fiction. It is fact that the emission is occurring as described by that equation, and independent of that, absorption of radiation from other objects is also occurring.

    kwik says:

    Morris, the way you explain it, is the way I remember it explained in my school-days.

    Well, then either you had a teacher who was teaching you incorrect things or (more likely) you misunderstood or misremember what they told you.

  419. Back radiation.
    I think I see the confusion here among those that say back radiation doesn’t exist. I think they are actually saying net radiation has to be from warmer to colder, so they confuse back radiation with net radiation. Taking the IR radiation measurements near the surface as an example, you have upward and downward components, the downward one being what we mean by back radiation. Net radiation is the difference between these, and would most often be upwards. Upward radiation has a well defined spectrum, close to the black-body ground temperature spectrum. Downward IR radiation has a spectrum mostly determined by the GHGs in clear sky, or cloud temperatures below clouds. In the absence of GHGs (or clouds for that matter), you would basically see not much more than the cosmic background radiation, or perhaps small effects of dust in the air, but essentially a zero back radiation. In the current atmosphere, even clear skies have a few hundred W/m2 downward, canceling a large amount of the upwards black-body radiation from the surface. This is why the surface is 288 K, not 255 K.

  420. Joel Shore says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:53 am
    [--snip for brevity--] I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    The scientific community, by contrast, believes in the Second Law as a statement of statistical physics, whereby the colder object will always absorb more heat from the warmer object than the warmer object absorbs from the colder object. From this point of view, a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object. [--snip rest--]

    Your remark is an non sequitur.

    I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.

    You’ll be doing that, won’t you?

  421. HankHenry says:
    July 25, 2010 at 6:02 am

    cba, I can appreciate ignoring internal temps but in the deep ocean you have a very cold region bounded above and below by warmer temps. Yes we want to disregard the earth’s internal heat but I’m not sure you have a very well defined notion of surface temperature if you disregard extensive cool areas. The earths temp on the continents at deep ocean depths is quite hot (see accounts of south African mines or deep boreholes). There has to be some process removing heat from the ocean and it has to be a large effect considering the extent of deep ocean cold.
    =============
    Hank,
    if it’s not on the surface, it’s not part of the surface. We know less of the deep ocean than of the surface of Mars or the far side of the moon. It’s thought that the number of active subsea volcanos could number in the thousands or tens of thousands. One also must be careful in that the basic crust subsea is denser than continental crust as I recall. Water is a poor conductor of heat but being a liquid, convection and motion also take place.

    I disagree that there’s necessarily a large heat removal from the ocean – at least compared to what is involved on the surface. There is a complex circulation going on that is not amenable to simplification for conceptual understanding. There is not a massive amount of heat transferring into the deep ocean. Nothing from the surface radiation goes anywhere close to the deep areas. Salt water is denser than than fresh and even though liquid h2o has a maximum density at a temperature above freezing, one is going to have very little heat transferring from the surface downwards. It’s actually the below average T h2o that does go down into the depths.

    One of the big myths going on is the importance of the ocean contribution – “that hasn’t happened yet”. The problem with it is that because the heat transfer rate is low, it has practically no impact. The electrical analogy would be trying to supplant a 12 v, 12W flashlight (8 d-cells) using a 100 Amp-hour car battery through a 1 megohm resistor. While it’s easily measureable, there’s never going to be any practical contribution from the circuit going through that 1 megohm resistor. It will take a very long time (from a practical situation, the battery would probably self discharge at a faster rate). Same thing goes for that 6000K interior of the Earth. It’s as hot as the sun’s photosphere and it’s just a few miles away instead of almost 100 million miles away but it’s contribution is negligible.

  422. Ferenc,

    Do you have a reference to your new paper that isn’t behind a paywall? arXiv perhaps?

    I’d like to read it but I can’t afford $30.

  423. Dave Springer says:
    July 25, 2010 at 8:33 am
    “Back radiation” appears to be nonsense. When two bodies out of thermal equilbrium have a transfer path between them heat flows from the warmer to the colder (2nd law of thermodynamics). The farther out of equilibrium the faster the transfer. I suppose one could envisage back radiation as what causes the slowdown in heat flow the nearer to thermal equilibrium the bodies become but that doesn’t change the end result of the net heat flow going from warmer to colder.

    Exactly it’s net heat and ‘back radiation’ is always present! Energy passes in both directions at all times.

  424. 899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am
    Joel Shore says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:53 am
    [--snip for brevity--] I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    The scientific community, by contrast, believes in the Second Law as a statement of statistical physics, whereby the colder object will always absorb more heat from the warmer object than the warmer object absorbs from the colder object. From this point of view, a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object. [--snip rest--]

    Your remark is an non sequitur.

    I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.

    You’ll be doing that, won’t you?

    Look up radiative shielding on thermocouples on Google you’ll find plenty of examples.
    I would suggest you read a basic textbook on radiational heat transfer since your knowledge is sadly lacking.

  425. Dave Springer said:

    “Put a heat lamp over a pan of water and see if the water temperature rises. I suspect it will”

    Yep, If you introduce a heat source the water warms, evaporation increases.

    ” but I also suspect that the rate of heating will be vastly effected by the relative humidity of the air above the water”

    Right again, as the humidity increases more energy will be returned to the water by molecules of H2O vapor returning to the surface, so this increased humidity will also slow evaporation.

    “and also the rate of movement of the air over the water, i.e. place a fan blowing air across the water and see if that doesn’t go so far as to not just cancel the radiative heating but actually overpower it depending on the ambient humidity level.”

    Yes, but if the fan was operating from the start the water surface would initially be cooler, the additional energy from the lamp when it’s introduced will still warm the water relative to this initial cooler state.

  426. Andrew W says:

    “Yes, but if the fan was operating from the start the water surface would initially be cooler, the additional energy from the lamp when it’s introduced will still warm the water relative to this initial cooler state.”

    From the start of what ?

    No fan heater however hot will warm a body of water. It warms only the topmost molecules that promptly evaporate drawing the latent heat of evaporation from water or air. The hotter the air the more of that energy will come from the air rather than the water but the main body of water will get no warmer.

    Have you ever wondered why the heating element in a kettle is placed under the water ?

  427. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm
    Stephen, what’s with the fan heater? No one has mentioned it before.

    It’s called cheating, cooling the surface of the water by constantly displacing the equilibrium at the surface by removing the water vapor thereby promoting more
    evaporative cooling which has nothing to do with the radiant heat at all, something of a deus ex machina.
    Let’s do it properly Stephen, still conditions with an equilibrated atmosphere above the surface, then what would happen?

  428. Herman and Pielke claim “the greenhouse theory” does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. Gerlich and Tscheuschner claim this theory does violate the second law.

    The question of which of the two claims is correct has a interesting answer. The answer is that both claims are correct! That contradictory claims are both correct violates the principle of logic called “non-contradiction.”

    The violation of non-contradiction exposes the existence of a so-called “foundational error” in climatology. When such an error is found in a science, this finding is sufficient to invalidate the associated field of inquiry as a science. This field must be rebuilt on a foundation that lacks the error in order for the field to be re-established as a science.

    Violation of non-contradiction invalidates a field of inquiry as a science because theories of this field lack the property called “falsifiability.” The falsifiability of its theories is the mark of a science.

    That contradictory claims are correct in reference to the truth or falsity of “the greenhouse theory” results from ambiguity of reference by the word “heat” in climatology. In thermodynamics, the word “heat” references the energy that crosses a boundary; let this definition be labelled by the symbol “heat-t; “heat-t” is a mnemonic for “heat-thermodynamics.” Under the second law of thermodynamics, heat-t does not flow up a temperature gradient unless pumped.

    Many climatologists use the word “heat” in reference to different concepts. This “heat” flows up a temperature gradient without being pumped. For these climatologists, it is the “net heat” that does not flow up a temperature gradient without being pumped.

    The concept that is referenced by the latter use of the word “heat” can be identified with a bit of detective work. At an (x, y, z) space point in a radiation field, a number of different Poynting vectors reside. The radiative heat-t flow at this space point is the vector sum of these Poynting vectors.

    The Poynting vectors can be divided into two groups. Let one group contain those Poynting vectors that are incident on a surface that contains the space point. In technical English the vector sum of the Poynting vectors in this group is called the “vector irradiance”; the magnitude of this vector is called the “irradiance.”

    The Poynting vectors in the other group are reflected through the surface or they are transmitted or emitted through this surface. In technical English the vector sum of the Poynting vectors in this group is called the “vector radiosity”; the magnitude of this vector is called the “radiosity.”

    By convention, the vector radiosity at a space point points away from this space point. The vector irradiance at a space point points toward this space point. It follows that the radiative heat flow at a space point is the vector difference of the vector radiosity and the vector irradiance.

    For the many climatologists for which the word “heat” is not synonymous with the word “heat-t,” the phrase “heat flow” references either a vector radiosity or vector irradiance. If they wished, climatologists could eliminate this foundational error by agreement to make the word “heat” synonymous with “heat-t” and to use the phrase “vector irradiance” or “vector radiosity” in reference to the associated concepts rather than the phrase “heat flow.”

    After a year’s worth of research, I’ve discovered three foundational errors in climatology. None have been corrected by climatologists. In each case, the presence of the error makes climatological theories non-falsifiable. Among the non-falsifiable theories are the “the greenhouse theory” and the IPCC climate models.

  429. 899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    “I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.”

    Yes, with all the hundreds upon hundreds of millons of dollars the CAGW industry has received the last 20 years, thats the least we taxpayers can expect.

    I too challenge you; Put a video on youtube.

    -Two heating elements.
    -Run currents through them so that each has stabilised on a certain temperature.
    -One is stable at 400 deg celcius.
    -One is stable at 300 deg celcius.
    -Measure with a “Temp.Gun”.

    -Put the 300 deg close to the 400 deg.
    -Measure.

    -Does the temperature increase?

    Will be interesting to see the result.

  430. Stephen Wilde says:

    I have been waiting for a serious attempt at rebuttal for some time.

    The problem is that when you set yourself up as judge and jury on the rebuttal, that sort of biases the rest of whether you consider a reasonable rebuttal to have been given. In fact, in my view, I have rebutted your argument many times, most recently here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/23/quantifying-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-439141

    Terry Oldberg: Just when I thought that the claims being made by the posters in this thread could not get any more bizarrre, you prove me wrong! My hat is off to you!

  431. The IDEA, The NOTION, The BELIEF, The MECHANISM…. the fools today speak our future — or our we fools?

  432. kwik quotes 899 as follows:

    “I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.”

    Roy Spencer argues that this works in a vacuum; that is, it works if convection and conduction are not operative. (Why he is willing to apply this reasoning to the atmosphere beats me.) The article is at the Climatechangefraud dot com website.

  433. In the discussion:


    899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Joel Shore says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:53 am
    “[--snip for brevity--] I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    “The scientific community, by contrast, believes in the Second Law as a statement of statistical physics, whereby the colder object will always absorb more heat from the warmer object than the warmer object absorbs from the colder object. From this point of view, a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object. [--snip rest--]”

    899’s response was: “Your remark is an non sequitur.

    “I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.

    You’ll be doing that, won’t you?”

    On balance, I agree with 899; but I believe Joel and 899 are saying slightly different things.

    Joel claims: “…a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object.”

    899 wants Joel to prove “that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.“.

    899’s statement addresses an increase in the temperature of the warmer object relative to its initial temperature–a clear and unambiguous statement. Joel’s statement, I believe, addresses a comparison as a function of time of the warmer object’s temperature with and without the insertion of an adjacent cooler object.

    Can’t both statements be true? For example, suppose (a) in both the presence and absence of the cooler object, the warmer object’s temperature decreases, but (b) the rate of temperature decrease, which is positive, is smaller in the presence of the cooler object than in the absence of the cooler object. 899 would be correct because the temperature of the warmer object never exceeds its original temperature. Joel would be correct in the sense that at any given time after the introduction of the cooler object, the temperature of the warmer object is higher than it would have been if the cooler object had never been introduced–not higher than its original temperature, just higher as a function of time than it would be if the cooler object was never introduced.

    Provided there are no energy sources internal or external to any body (e.g., no chemical energy is converted to heat, no nuclear energy is converted to heat, no potential energy is converted to heat, no kinetic energy is converted to heat, no work is done, etc.), I believe 899’s statement is more robust than Joel’s statement. By robust I mean when no thermal energy is being generated by conversion of other types of energy, 899’s statement is true under all conditions; whereas Joel’s statement is not.

    For example, consider two concentric, unequal-radius, spherical, “infinitely-thin”, black-body-surface, spherical shells in a vacuum where the inner shell is everywhere at temperature TI (Kelvins), the outer shell is everywhere at temperature TO (TI^4)*RI^2/(RI^2 + RO^2), the rate of energy radiated by the outer shell to space (i.e., external to the outer shell) will exceed the rate of energy transfered from the inner shell to the outer shell and the temperature of the outer shell will decrease. However, when TO^4 < (TI^4)*RI^2/(RI^2 + RO^2), the rate of energy radiated by the outer shell to space (i.e., external to the outer shell) will be smaller than the rate of energy transfered from the inner shell to the outer shell and the temperature of the outer shell will increase. Eventually the temperature of the inner shell will drop so that the rate of energy radiated to space by the outer shell will exceed the rate of energy received from the inner shell and the temperature of both shells will drop. However, under no circumstances will the temperature of the inner shell increase.

    Now let's insert an object at temperature T2TO, the initial net rate at which energy leaves the inner shell will be decreased relative to the no object case. This is because a part of the background “seen” by the inner shell is now at a higher temperature than TO, which results in a relative decrease in the rate of inner (warmer) shell energy loss. However, if T2<TO, the initial rate at which energy leaves the inner shell will be increased relative to the no object case. This is because a part of the background seen by the inner shell is now at a lower temperature than TO, which results in a relative increase in the rate of inner (warmer) shell energy loss. Thus in one case [the inserted cooler object is warmer than the "background" as seen by the inner (warmer) shell], the rate of inner shell energy loss is decreased. However in the other case [the inserted object is colder than the "background" seen by the inner shell], the rate of inner shell energy loss is increased. Thus Joel's statement about the relative temperature as a function of time of the inner shell (warmer object) is correct only when the temperature of the inserted "cooler object" is less than the "inner shell background temperature" it replaces; while 899's statement is universally true.

  434. I still have a question which I have asked before, but people decided to nitpick over the illustration I gave instead.

    MY QUESTION IS: While CO2 blocks radiation from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby producing a greenhouse forcing, to what degree does CO2 block radiation from entering the atmosphere, thereby producing a negative feedback? Has that negative impact (if it exists) been included in the calculations?

  435. Reference my immediately previous post, the use of the “less than” symbol seems to bolix up the text. I am going to replace all “less than” and “greater than” symbols with, respectively, .LT. and .GT. and repost my comment.

    In the discussion:


    899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Joel Shore says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:53 am
    “[--snip for brevity--] I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    “The scientific community, by contrast, believes in the Second Law as a statement of statistical physics, whereby the colder object will always absorb more heat from the warmer object than the warmer object absorbs from the colder object. From this point of view, a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object. [--snip rest--]”

    899’s response was: “Your remark is an non sequitur.

    “I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.

    You’ll be doing that, won’t you?”

    On balance, I agree with 899; but I believe Joel and 899 are saying slightly different things.

    Joel claims: “…a colder object can indeed make a warmer object warmer than it would be in the absence of the colder object.”

    899 wants Joel to prove “that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.“.

    899’s statement addresses an increase in the temperature of the warmer object relative to its initial temperature–a clear and unambiguous statement. Joel’s statement, I believe, addresses a comparison as a function of time of the warmer object’s temperature with and without the insertion of an adjacent cooler object.

    Can’t both statements be true? For example, suppose (a) in both the presence and absence of the cooler object, the warmer object’s temperature decreases, but (b) the rate of temperature decrease, which is positive, is smaller in the presence of the cooler object than in the absence of the cooler object. 899 would be correct because the temperature of the warmer object never exceeds its original temperature. Joel would be correct in the sense that at any given time after the introduction of the cooler object, the temperature of the warmer object is higher than it would have been if the cooler object had never been introduced–not higher than its original temperature, just higher as a function of time than it would be if the cooler object was never introduced.

    Provided there are no energy sources internal or external to any body (e.g., no chemical energy is converted to heat, no nuclear energy is converted to heat, no potential energy is converted to heat, no kinetic energy is converted to heat, no work is done, etc.), I believe 899’s statement is more robust than Joel’s statement. By robust I mean when no thermal energy is being generated by conversion of other types of energy, 899’s statement is true under all conditions; whereas Joel’s statement is not.

    For example, consider two concentric, unequal-radius, spherical, “infinitely-thin”, black-body-surface, spherical shells in a vacuum where the inner shell is everywhere at temperature TI (Kelvins), the outer shell is everywhere at temperature TO .LT. TI (Kelvins), and the temperature of the space external to the outer shell is 0 Kelvins. The rate of energy transfer between the shells (energy flow from the inner to outer shell) is 4*pi*sigma*(RI^2)*(TI^4 – TO^4), where RI is the radius of the inner shell, and sigma is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. Since we have no internal energy sources, as energy leaves the inner shell, the temperature of the inner shell will decrease. The rate of temperature decrease will depend in part on the specific heat of the inner shell. Because external to the outer shell we have assumed a temperature of 0, the outer shell will radiate energy external to itself at the rate 4*pi*sigma*(RO^2)*(TO^4),

    As long as TO^4 .GT. (TI^4)*RI^2/(RI^2 + RO^2), the rate of energy radiated by the outer shell to space (i.e., external to the outer shell) will exceed the rate of energy transfered from the inner shell to the outer shell and the temperature of the outer shell will decrease. However, when TO^4 .LT. (TI^4)*RI^2/(RI^2 + RO^2), the rate of energy radiated by the outer shell to space (i.e., external to the outer shell) will be smaller than the rate of energy transfered from the inner shell to the outer shell and the temperature of the outer shell will increase. Eventually the temperature of the inner shell will drop so that the rate of energy radiated to space by the outer shell will exceed the rate of energy received from the inner shell and the temperature of both shells will drop. However, under no circumstances will the temperature of the inner shell increase.

    Now let’s insert an object at temperature T2 .LT. T1 between the two shells. If T2 .GT. TO, the initial net rate at which energy leaves the inner shell will be decreased relative to the no object case. This is because a part of the background “seen” by the inner shell is now at a higher temperature than TO, which results in a relative decrease in the rate of inner (warmer) shell energy loss. However, if T2 .LT. TO, the initial rate at which energy leaves the inner shell will be increased relative to the no object case. This is because a part of the background seen by the inner shell is now at a lower temperature than TO, which results in a relative increase in the rate of inner (warmer) shell energy loss. Thus in one case [the inserted cooler object is warmer than the "background" as seen by the inner (warmer) shell], the rate of inner shell energy loss is decreased. However in the other case [the inserted object is colder than the "background" seen by the inner shell], the rate of inner shell energy loss is increased. Thus Joel’s statement about the relative temperature as a function of time of the inner shell (warmer object) is correct only when the temperature of the inserted “cooler object” is less than the “inner shell background temperature” it replaces; while 899’s statement is universally true.

  436. kwik says:
    July 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm
    899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    “I challenge you to prove —with instrumented evidence— that a cold object having been placed adjacent to a warmer object, will in fact cause the warmer object to become warmer than what it was prior to the placement of the cooler object.”

    Yes, with all the hundreds upon hundreds of millons of dollars the CAGW industry has received the last 20 years, thats the least we taxpayers can expect.

    I too challenge you; Put a video on youtube.

    -Two heating elements.
    -Run currents through them so that each has stabilised on a certain temperature.
    -One is stable at 400 deg celcius.
    -One is stable at 300 deg celcius.
    -Measure with a “Temp.Gun”.

    -Put the 300 deg close to the 400 deg.
    -Measure.

    -Does the temperature increase?

    Will be interesting to see the result.

    Smoke dope much?

    [1] Placing 300º hot plate next to a 400º hot plate does NOT cause the 400º to get warmer; the instrument reading is summing the values.

    [2] Constraining the area around either hot plate will cause an APPARENT rise in temperature, but NOT an actual rise. What’s being measured is the cumulative.

    So, before you start blowing snot in my direction, you ought get your own crap in one sack!!

  437. what we have is a warmer object being made warmer (only in the sense of reduced power transfer) by a cooler object which has replaced a really cold object. Space is radiating back at 3K if one puts in an atmosphere with ghgs, it’s going to radiate back at perhaps 220k. What has happened is the net radiation from our surface at 288k is no longer radiaating a full 391 w/m^2 away (assuming 3k radiates 0 w/m^2) but now, crudely put, the atmosphere is radiating back at 133w/m^2 (assuming for this example that it is a bb with emissivity of 1 rather than a value much lower than 1). Now the surface only sluffing off 391-133 = 258 w/m^2. If our example were in radiative equilibrium sluffing off 391 w/m^2 – that means we were receiving 391 w/m^2 and now adding this atmosphere has reduced that to 258 w/m^2 so it’s going to be out of radiative equilibrium until once again, we sluff off the amount of power received. The temperature must rise, not because we are being heated by a colder body but because we are no longer shedding as much power as we were when we were shedding to the 3K microwave background of space.

  438. Andrew W

    “Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Stephen, what’s with the fan heater? No one has mentioned it before.”

    You mentioned a lamp plus a fan. That is a fan heater.

    Phil said:

    “Let’s do it properly Stephen, still conditions with an equilibrated atmosphere above the surface, then what would happen?”

    Even without a fan the latent heat of evaporation would be taken equally from air and water if the temperatures were equilibrated. There would be no warming of the main body of the water because all the IR is used to generate increased evaporation due to it failing to get past the evaporative layer.

    In the real world under an open sky. there is always enough air movement plus low enough humidity on average globally for the oceans never to gain energy from an IR source. In fact globally more IR causes more net cooling for that very reason.

    Joel says:

    “The problem is that when you set yourself up as judge and jury on the rebuttal, that sort of biases the rest of whether you consider a reasonable rebuttal to have been given.”

    Since I am seeking truth I am not biased against a reasonable rebuttal. Yours is not such because it misses the point.

  439. This is relevant from Roy Spencer’s blog:

    “Stephen Wilde says:
    July 25, 2010 at 11:47 AM
    I think I can make this very simple.

    A cooler object near a warmer object will slow the rate of cooling of the warmer object because of the exchange of energy to and fro between the two objects before that energy departs the combined system.

    If there is a constant energy input throughout then the slowing down of the rate of cooling will cause the warmer object to settle at a higher equilibrium temperature than would otherwise have been the case.

    Thus the presence of the cooler object does indeed result in the warmer object becoming warmer than it otherwise would have done.

    That is the essence of the greenhouse effect which is a concept I have always accepted despite the misleading nomenclature.

    Any sceptical viewpoints that rely on denying those simple facts must be rejected because they weaken the sceptical cause.”

    To which there was this comment:
    “Colin Henderson says:
    July 25, 2010 at 1:54 PM
    I see your point, the cold body acts as a secondary heat source increasing the amount of energy going into the warm bodys and increasing the warm body temperature equilibrium. The warm body, now being at a higher temperature increases the radiation falling on the cold body, which in turn radiates more energy to the warm body, further warming it. I just can’t seem to get my head around where this loop ends, it seems like a perpetual motion machine and/or an M.C. Escher drawing.”

    My reply being:

    “Colin,

    There is no ‘loop’.

    There is only a slowing of the rate of cooling. No energy is being added to either of the two bodies.

    With a constant source of energy from an outside source one only needs to slow the rate of cooling to achieve a higher equilibrium temperature.”

  440. Chad Woodburn, I think Science Of Doom answers your question in a couple of recent posts, basically the amount of longer wave IR received from the sun at the top of the atmosphere is insignificant compared to that emitted by atmospheric GH gases.

    Reed Coray, Joel Shore was I think talking about two objects held at a constant temperature by internal heat sources, by bringing the two objects close together each receives additional energy from the other, so the temperature of both objects rises.

  441. Joel, to expand on my comment:

    The point you are missing is that all that occurs is that the extra IR fails to warm the oceans because evaporation via latent heats of evaporation and condensation transports it quickly upwards and away.

    Since that has always happened and is a constant process there is no disturbance of the normal temperature profile of the atmosphere so your comment is an irrelevance.

    That feature of the natural world is already reflected in the observations.

    A little more CO2 in the air just results in a miniscule unmeasurable change in the speed of upward energy transport and a miniscule unmeasurable adjustment in the air circulation systems.

    That also complies with Miscolski’s finding of a constant optical depth for the atmosphere despite the increase in CO2 over the past 61 years.

  442. Joel Shore:

    You say “Terry Oldberg: Just when I thought that the claims being made by the posters in this thread could not get any more bizarrre, you prove me wrong! My hat is off to you!” This is an example of an “ad hominem argument.” An ad hominem argument is one that makes one’s opponent the issue rather than the issue that is under discussion. An ad hominem argument is logically illegitimate because it is irrelevant.

    The issue under discussion is whether climatology contains the foundational error that I have described. It seems to me that it is beyond dispute that climatology contains this error. If it contains this error then climatology is not a science. Do you have anything to say that relates to this issue?

    Terry Oldberg

  443. Andrew W says:
    July 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Reed Coray, Joel Shore was I think talking about two objects held at a constant temperature by internal heat sources, by bringing the two objects close together each receives additional energy from the other, so the temperature of both objects rises.

    Andrew–that’s a good point. However, in the case that each object in isolation is maintained at a constant temperature by an internal heat source, when brought into proximity the question becomes “what is the energy source that is making the temperature of the warmer of the two objects increase?” Some could argue it is the heat being generated internal to the warmer object that is causing the temperature of the warmer object to rise. Without this heat source, won’t the temperature of the warmer object decrease even in the presence of the cooler object. Said another way, suppose that at the instant the two objects are brought into proximity, the warmer object heat source is turned off. Do you still believe the temperature of the warmer object will rise? I don’t see how it can.

    On the other hand, if at the instant the two objects are brought into proximity the cooler object heat source is turned off, then provided the temperature of the cooler object is higher than the “background temperature”, the instantenous rate of cooling of the warmer object will decrease because the background temperature the warmer object “sees” in part has increased. This decreased rate of cooling will result in a rise in an temperature of the warmer object (only if its internal rate of energy supply is kept constant). Thus in the case of termination of the warmer object internal energy input, the warmer object does NOT increase in temperature when the cooler object is brought in proximity; and in the case of termination of the cooler object internal energy source, the warmer object increases temperature only as long as its internal energy source continues. Thus it seems to me the source of the warmer object temperature rise is the warmer object’s internal energy source.

    BTW. I believe the presence of an internal energy source nullifies application of the Clausius formulation of the sencond law of thermodynamics: “It is impossible to construct a perfect refrigerator”–i.e., it is impossible to move energy from a reservoir at lower temperature to a reservoir at higher temperature without affecting the environment in any other way because I believe the environemnt is being “affected” in some other way–namely a source of energy is being supplied to the system.

  444. Terry Oldberg says:
    July 25, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I agree with your analysis, though I presented it differently in a post in this thread http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/23/quantifying-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-438432

    The basic problem is that in climatology different physics frameworks are being used indiscriminately, viz thermodynamics, classical statistical mechanics, and quantum statistical mechanics, leading to paradoxes. This is probably due to the fact that people have not studied physics in enough depth to be able to discriminate, and use the terminologies ad hoc and at taste.

  445. Two additional comments: First, I know it’s boorish for the recipient of largess to ask the doner of that largess for even more; but Anthony is there any reasonable way for WUWT to prvoide a “comment preview capability?” And lacking that, is there any way to increase the size of the “comment section?”

    Second, as an avid reader of and occaisional commenter to this blog, I’d like to welcome Ferenc Miskolczi. I have printed out your 2007 paper “Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary atmospheres” and plan to study it. One question I have regarding the virial theorem. As I understand it, when applied to the potential/kinetic energy of physical systems, the model employed is the classic Netwonian model of potential and kinetic energy. Is the theorem still valid in the special relativistic sense when relative to an inertial reference frame the “apparent mass” of an object is a function of its velocity so that there is a coupling between kinetic energy, 0.5*m*v^2, and gravitational potential energy which is proportional to the product of the masses of two objects divided by the square of the distance between them?

  446. Phil. says:
    July 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm
    Look up radiative shielding on thermocouples on Google you’ll find plenty of examples.
    I would suggest you read a basic textbook on radiational heat transfer since your knowledge is sadly lacking.

    I went there, Phil, and the few places which describe the matter, show you to be —once again— both a charlatan and snake oil salesman.

    The facts are just these: The shields were used to prevent undue influence of the surrounding atmosphere. That’s it, and no thing else.

    Since the thermocouple itself is a temperature sensing device, the discussion regarding a colder body causing a warmer body to increase in temperature and the discussion of shielding of thermocouples to prevent undue influence are entire unconnected.

  447. Why does everyone keep banging on about thin shells and plates.

    Imagine a planet with little or no atmosphere which is heated by it’s own sun. It receives 250 watts/m2. The planet will warm until it has an average temperature of ~258K when it will radiate 250 w/m2 back to space. So we have

    Incoming solar radiation = Outgoing IR radiation, i.e. thermal equilibrium.

    Now give the planet a layer of atmosphere which includes IR absorbing gases (ghgs). The gases absorb 50 w/m2 of the planets outgoing IR so now we have the situation where 200 watts/m2 are emitted directly through the ‘IR window’ but 50 w/m2 is absorbed and emitted by the ghgs.

    The planet-atmosphere is still in equilibrium, i.e. it receives 250 w/m2 and gets rid of 250 w/m2. But……

    …. the atmosphere radiates in both (every) directions – up and down – so while 50 w/m2 is radiated out to space 50 w/m2 is radiated back to the surface. The surface of the planet now receives 300 watts/m2 (250 from it’s sun + 50 from the atmosphere) which means it will warm up to ~270K.

    However you want to word it, the ghgs make the planet warmer than it would otherwise be without them. Whether you choose to think of it as reduced cooling (or reduced radiation loss) or heating – it’s your choice.

    Ok – this example is massively oversimplified but the general concept is correct.

    Our earth receives ~235 w/m2 from the sun but the earth’s surface temperature is ~288K (or 15 deg C). This equates to an energy emission level of ~390 w/m2. We must be getting the extra energy from somewhere and, since other heat transport processes such as convection and latent heat tend to remove heat from the surface, it must be coming from atmospheric radiation.

    A lot of posters seem to think that the extra heat is somehow magically appearing from thin air. It’s not – we have a constant enrgy source (the sun). I note Roy Spencer had to make this point at least half a dozen times. If the energy gained from the sun is greater than the (net) energy being lost by radiation we will warm up. I’ve just boiled a kettle of water to make a cup of tea (we’re terribly civilised here in the UK). After 1 minute the rate of energy input was the same as it was after 10 seconds but, because the energy gain was far greater than any energy loss, the water heated up quickly.

  448. Hi John, a couple of obs.

    1) If the atmosphere absorbed 50W, it would re-emit a bit more than 25 up and a bit less than 25 down, due to curvature of the planet. How do you get your 50 down 50 up?

    2) The GHG’s wouldn’t only absorb IR emitted by the planet, but some of the incoming IR from the sun too. That would reduce the amount of solar radiation arriving at the surface wouldn’t it?

  449. Re: My comment

    John Finn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

    I’ve noticed a slight error in my reasoning/numbers in the above post. I’ll leave it as an exercise for anyone who is till reading this thread.

    However the general result remains correct.

  450. tallbloke says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:36 am
    Hi John, a couple of obs.

    1) If the atmosphere absorbed 50W, it would re-emit a bit more than 25 up and a bit less than 25 down, due to curvature of the planet. How do you get your 50 down 50 up?

    You were quick off the mark. I noticed the error pretty much as soon as I clicked the “post comment” button. That’s what comes of trying to use easy numbers. There is also a more subtle problem in that the amount of atmospheric absorption is a function of surface emission which means that using a constant absorption figure of 50 or 100 watts/m2 is a bit silly. Basically I over-simplified the process. All in all not my best effort. I think I’ll go back to bed.

    2) The GHG’s wouldn’t only absorb IR emitted by the planet, but some of the incoming IR from the sun too. That would reduce the amount of solar radiation arriving at the surface wouldn’t it?

    Although this is a factor I think it’s reasonable to ignore it in this illustration.

  451. tallbloke says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:15 am
    Heh, beat you to it.

    Well done. You’ve won 10000 quatloos which you are free to spend at Lucia’s blackboard blog. Be warned, though, the currency may now be out of circulation now that betting on the monthly UAH temperature anomaly seems to have stopped.

  452. 899 says:
    July 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    “So, before you start blowing snot in my direction, you ought get your own crap in one sack!!”

    My post was meant as a support to you, 899. So the “snot” was meant to go in the CAGW direction. Sorry if some of it ended up in your lap!

    hehe.

    As others have mentioned; Those two elements; If both has current running throught them, and is in effect two separate active heating elements, and you bring them toghether, all you get is a bigger oven. All you have proven, is that if you turn on more and more heating elements in an oven, it gets hotter.

    This setup is in my opinion irrelevant to the real “problem”. It would be much more interesting if element number two had no heating element.

    It occurs to me that perhaps there is a better analogy.

    A bucket of water. With a in-pipe and a out-pipe.

    The in-pipe is sunlight. The out-pipe is radiation to space. The water-level is the temperature. Certainly we are now back to that, yes, the equilibrium can be adjusted. And is adjusted. There are valves at both the in and the out-pipe.

    But not much new is explained.

    We are back to the fact that there is nothing magical about CO2. That the effect is very small. Water vapour is much much more interesting, and is created all the time.

    There is no tipping point. On the contrary, the system is very stable.

  453. John Finn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

    You have once more described Peden’s oven, the paradoxical chicken that cooks by itself because of the reflected radiation:

    I am appalled at the way people wade in, hand wave and mix classical concepts with quantum concepts and feel so satisfied they congratulate themselves. They should apply to the Delphi oracle.

    The whole back scattering picture is a mish mash, that is why it leads to Peden’s paradoxical oven.

    I am curious, has somebody an explanation why Peden’s oven is a paradox and not a reality? Hand waving says one has free energy .

    Hint. Look at cbs’s post

    chicken and reflective surface get fast in equilibrium at low temperature, long before the feedback starts :) assuming there is infrared reflection.

    That is why one needs shells in real calculations of physics problems, and integration tools.

  454. Wow, what a discussion.
    One group say that the radiant heat, lets say, from the moon is adding heat to the sun. While the other group say it doesn’t mount to a hill of beans. If it radiant heat from the moon is adding heat to the sun then we have a runway sun situation.

  455. kwik,

    the most interesting thing about h2o is that it has an effect on albedo when in the form of clouds that affects the amount of incoming solar power that is often assumed as a constant.

  456. The reason that O2 and N2 don’t normally absorb or emit IR is that they’re symmetric molecules and thus can’t interact with an electromagnetic field. But while they’re in the process of collision, there will be some asymmetry set up which could lead to emission. The question is just how likely this is?
    .
    It is likely with a probability of 100% .
    Actually it happens during each collision and there are billions of them in every cubic mm of air .
    This phenomenon which makes N2 and O2 absorb and radiate is called “collisionaly induced dipolar momentum” and plays a role which increases with density and temperature .
    This is a quantum mechanical effect which is extremely difficult to compute but experimentally proven .
    However at usual densities and temperatures the induced dipolar momentum is small so that the emission of N2 &O2 is relatively small too .
    See f.ex http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~abrown/research/resother.html
    .
    AnnaV
    .
    You are hundred times right but you are shouting in the desert .
    Clearly most people here and elsewhere keep mixing microscopical quantum mechanical conceptual frames with macroscopical thermodynamical frames what leads to all kinds of paradoxes .
    .
    Btw don’t fall for this “thermalization” garbage either .
    If it is true that excited CO2 gives energy away to N2 by collisions , it is also true that N2 excites unexcited CO2 by collisions .
    And the two rates are exactly equal in LTE !
    So it is trivial QM textbook knowledge that CO2 absorbing IR does not “heat” the atmosphere in any usual sense of the word “heat”
    And even if like Phil is saying the emission time is much longer than than the mean time between collisions , it is absurd to say like he does that there is a net energy transfer from CO2 to N2 by collisions .
    Think 10 seconds and you will find easily why saying that there is a net energy transfer between 2 molecular species in LTE is ridiculous :)

  457. tallbloke says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:36 am
    Hi John, a couple of obs.

    1) If the atmosphere absorbed 50W, it would re-emit a bit more than 25 up and a bit less than 25 down, due to curvature of the planet. How do you get your 50 down 50 up?

    The atmosphere for these purposes is approx 10 km thick compared to the Earth’s radius of approx 6,400 km, to a very good approximation there is no curvature.

    [reply] So to a very good approximation there will be slightly more lost to space than re-readiated to Earth. RT-mod

  458. Chad Woodburn says:

    MY QUESTION IS: While CO2 blocks radiation from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby producing a greenhouse forcing, to what degree does CO2 block radiation from entering the atmosphere, thereby producing a negative feedback? Has that negative impact (if it exists) been included in the calculations?

    Because of the very different temperatures of earth and the sun, the terrestrial and solar radiation occur at very different wavelengths (see http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/01/the-sun-and-max-planck-agree/ ). CO2 does not absorb very much in the visible, UV, and near-IR wavelength of the solar radiation (see http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission_png ).

  459. Stephen Wilde says:

    A little more CO2 in the air just results in a miniscule unmeasurable change in the speed of upward energy transport and a miniscule unmeasurable adjustment in the air circulation systems.

    Sorry, but this is still a nonsensical statement. An increase in CO2 causes an imbalance between the amount of energy the earth is receiving and the amount that it is emitting back out into space. The only way to remedy that imbalance is to increase the amount being emitted to space (or to decrease the amount received through an increase in albedo or something like that). And, the only way to increase the amount being emitted to space is to warm up the atmospheric layers responsible for that emission because the only way that the earth can emit energy to space is via radiation and the amount emitted is specified by the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation.

    So, you can’t just wave your hands and say “Upward energy transport”. That transport won’t do a darn thing to change the emission back out into space unless it changes the temperature structure in such a way that the emitting layers warm enough to increase the emission back up to where it balances the absorption again.

  460. Can back radiation warm the oceans?

    A simple experiment shows scientific proof (if that could ever be such a word) that it can’t warm a simple container of water nether mind the oceans.

    Two identical containers of water (same volume), one in the shade and one in sun left during the day. The local temperature of the air during the day doesn’t reach higher than 21c with very light winds. The starting temperature of the initial water was 15c for both containers.

    At the end of the day when just as the sun was no longer reaching the container, the temperature from both was recorded.

    The temperature of water in the shade was 15c.
    The temperature of water in the sun was 35c.

    Therefore during a whole day exposed to the atmosphere and back radiation there was no change in temperature in the shade.

    When placed in the sun there was a 20c increase in temperature, caused by about 250w/m2 short radiation from the sun. If back radiation contributed on it’s own and was a value around 25w/m2 (just made up for simple calculation) there would have been an expected 2c rise in temperature from the shaded water.

    Thanks to evaporation and therefore latent heat there was no temperature increase in the volume of water in the shade and easily neutralised the miniscule skin effect of long wave radiation.

    This included all the atmospheric gases with no noticeable change, so what does just all CO2 contribute, never mind just the CO2 that is anthropogenic.

    Back radiation can’t heat a volume of water and latter relies only on short waves, convection and conduction.

  461. Terry:

    First of all, the reason there is a contradiction between G&T and everyone else is not due to anything except the fact that G&T are wrong and to say otherwise is just to obfuscate the issue.

    Second of all, there is no field of science that I know of where you can’t find examples of people using terminology is slightly different ways and this does not lead people to conclude that the field has foundational errors and is non-falsifiable and all that other stuff.

  462. ********
    Andrew W says:
    July 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t understand the logic that people are using to suggest the oceanic absorption of back IR radiation can be ignored or minimised, back radiation hits the ocean rather than land, what happens to it? It is absorbed, then what? It either goes into warming the water or it causes evaporation. If the latter the, energy doesn’t disappear, it’s still trapped in the troposphere.
    ********

    I’d have to agree w/this particular point (and even w/Joel Shore above). Even if one assumes the extra “back (IR) radiation” causes no temp increase but converts completely to surface evaporation, the extra “heat” from IR can’t vanish, it’s now in the form of increased water vapor in the atmosphere (more latent heat). If all of it doesn’t convert to evaporation, what’s left will increase the temp of the water surface.

  463. TomVonk says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:07 am
    “[...]Think 10 seconds and you will find easily why saying that there is a net energy transfer between 2 molecular species in LTE is ridiculous :)”

    When LWIR from outside your LTE is received by CO2, the equilibrium is disturbed. A new equilibrium is achieved through collisions.
    Look at the 14.2 mikron picture in this series posted by James Gibbons :

    http://mas.arc.nasa.gov/gallery/comparison.html

    It looks foggy but the details are not completely washed out; this indicates that partial re-emission takes place but also that part of the energy is redistributed locally and not re-emitted in this frequency band.

  464. Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:51 am
    tallbloke says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:36 am
    Hi John, a couple of obs.

    1) If the atmosphere absorbed 50W, it would re-emit a bit more than 25 up and a bit less than 25 down, due to curvature of the planet. How do you get your 50 down 50 up?

    The atmosphere for these purposes is approx 10 km thick compared to the Earth’s radius of approx 6,400 km, to a very good approximation there is no curvature.

    [reply] So to a very good approximation there will be slightly more lost to space than re-readiated to Earth. RT-mod

    Yes but not at the 2 sig fig level used in that example.

  465. If the only thing to consider was W/m2 then it should be hottest near the transmitting antenna of 50000 W (fifty thousands) radio stations. Like WLS in Chi-town. There are 2.6million sqr m within a square mile of the transmitter. So .019 W/m2 fall on this area 24 hours a day all year. Plus if you add in other stations and backradiation from CO2 those areas must be boiling.

  466. TomVonk says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:07 am
    .Btw don’t fall for this “thermalization” garbage either .
    If it is true that excited CO2 gives energy away to N2 by collisions , it is also true that N2 excites unexcited CO2 by collisions .
    And the two rates are exactly equal in LTE !
    So it is trivial QM textbook knowledge that CO2 absorbing IR does not “heat” the atmosphere in any usual sense of the word “heat”
    And even if like Phil is saying the emission time is much longer than than the mean time between collisions , it is absurd to say like he does that there is a net energy transfer from CO2 to N2 by collisions .
    Think 10 seconds and you will find easily why saying that there is a net energy transfer between 2 molecular species in LTE is ridiculous :)

    I’m glad you added the smiley otherwise people might think you were right!
    Think for 1 second and you’ll realize why Vonk’s wrong.
    CO2 in a dry atmosphere is the only chemical species capable of absorbing 15μm radiation in doing so it has acquired extra vibrational and rotational energy. Experiments show that this excess energy is very rapidly lost before the molecule has a chance to lose it by radiation. This is the process known as thermalization, if it didn’t occur then the extra energy would just radiate away and the air would not heat up, this is not what’s observed. What Vonk is misled by is that N2 and O2 also transfer heat to CO2 molecules by collisions, however this still means that the lifetime of an individual vibrationally excited CO2 molecule (whether excited collisionally or radiatively) is orders of magnitude shorter than the mean time required to emit a photon. So the net effect of the absorption of 15μm radiation by CO2 in the lower atmosphere is that the atmosphere heats up and emission of IR by CO2 is very low (the whole process is statistical so there will always be a few molecules that will emit before they can be collisionally deactivated).

    [reply] But we don’t live in a dry atmosphere. RT-mod

  467. TomVonk says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:07 am

    If it is true that excited CO2 gives energy away to N2 by collisions , it is also true that N2 excites unexcited CO2 by collisions .
    And the two rates are exactly equal in LTE !

    Well, but is the atmosphere in a thermodynamic equilibrium after all?

    I know when the nights are clear and humid the ground cools at a smaller rate and the air temperature at 2 meters is warmer than when the nights are clear and dry.
    It is evident that H2O is changing the heat retention properties of the air in a quantifiable and calculable way. I do not need the quantum framework to do that.

    But, if I am interested to see why the addition of 0.4% H2O in the total atmosphere makes such a difference, the quantum picture helps in understanding. In this picture the equilibrium is broken by the selective capability of H2O to absorb and redistribute infrared energy rather than being transparent to that particular one as N2 and O2. It changes the mean free path of the infrared photons. In the same way that fog changes the mean free path of the optical photons. Am I wrong?

  468. Joel Shore (July 23, 2010 at 8:00 am):

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    We seem to agree that the word “heat” makes ambiguous reference such that one concept referenced by the word is bound by the second law and another is not. It follows that the proposition “heat flows up a temperature gradient without being pumped” is true and is false, thus violating the law of non-contradiction. No proposition that violates this law is falsifiable, for this proposition is true and false. Thus, the proposition “heat flows up a temperature gradient without being pumped” is not falsifiable. This proposition is a premise of “the greenhouse theory” that is described by Herman and Pielke. It follows that “the greenhouse theory” states a proposition that is not falsifiable. A theory that is not falsifiable is not a scientific theory, by the definition of “scientific.”

    It seems to me that the argument made in the preceeding paragraph is logically impeccable. Whether it is G&T or Herman and Pielke that are right is unrelated to the question of whether “the greenhouse effect” is falsifiable. Further, your implicit claim that the ambiguity of reference by the word “heat” is “slight” is inaccurate in reference to the proposition “heat flows up a temperature gradient without being pumped”. In reference to this proposition, the ambiguity is total.

    Cordially, Terry Oldberg

  469. Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:42 am
    [reply] But we don’t live in a dry atmosphere. RT-mod

    Some do, but it’s immaterial to the physics, I just put it in there in an attempt to avoid irrelevant discussions about absorption by water!

    [reply] Water vapour is the main greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. That fact affects the scale of the effect you are discussing.

  470. Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

    If what you say: “So the net effect of the absorption of 15μm radiation by CO2 in the lower atmosphere is that the atmosphere heats up and emission of IR by CO2 is very low …” is correct (and I do not dispute what you say), what then exactly is this “back radiation” (i.e., IR radiation absorbed by greenhouse gases that is re-radiated in a downward direction thus heating the Earth’s surface) we hear so much about? If the Earth’s surface is warmed by the capture of IR radiation leaving the Earth’s surface and then being returned to the Earth’s surface, isn’t it more appropriate to call the process “back-conduction”, or possibly “back-convection” if the IR heating produces translational movement of air molecules?

  471. Chad Woodburn says:
    July 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I still have a question which I have asked before, but people decided to nitpick over the illustration I gave instead.

    MY QUESTION IS: While CO2 blocks radiation from escaping from the atmosphere, thereby producing a greenhouse forcing, to what degree does CO2 block radiation from entering the atmosphere, thereby producing a negative feedback? Has that negative impact (if it exists) been included in the calculations?
    __________________________________________________________
    I am a lowly chemist but I will try to answer the question.
    The sun is much hotter than the earth. The black (and gray) body radiations from a hot object are a function of the temperature of the radiating body. Because the sun is so much hot that the earth it emits energy in the extreme ultraviolet, ultraviolet, visible and near infared wave bands. The earth emits in the infrared wave bands only. There is very little overlap in the emitting wave bands.

    see these graphs:

    Total sun and earth emissions note sun is much larger than earth’s.

    Total amount of irradiation received by earth from the sun and the amount emitted from the sun. Note the amount received = amount emitted, otherwise the earth’s temp would continually increase. you can see there is very little overlap in wavelengths: click

    Solar spectrum only

    Astronomers Get the Spectrum of Earthshine

  472. Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:10 am
    Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:42 am
    [reply] But we don’t live in a dry atmosphere. RT-mod

    Some do, but it’s immaterial to the physics, I just put it in there in an attempt to avoid irrelevant discussions about absorption by water!

    [reply] Water vapour is the main greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. That fact affects the scale of the effect you are discussing.

    Not at 15μm (and not in many parts of the atmosphere either), in any case if the mean emission time of H2O is longer than a few nsec the same physics works there.
    What is it with you guys, I simplify the physics to make it as straight forward and intelligible as possible and you complain? Look at the big picture this is how it works.

  473. PDF (1.8 MB)
    Authors
    Roy Clark, Ph.D.1
    1 1336 N. Moorpark Road #224, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 USA

    Abstract
    Energy transfer at the Earth’s surface is examined from first principles. The effects on surface temperature of small changes in the solar constant caused by the sunspot cycle and small increases in downward long wave infrared (LWIR) flux due to a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration are considered in detail. The changes in the solar constant are sufficient to change ocean temperatures and alter the Earth’s climate. The surface temperature changes produced by an increase in downward LWIR flux are too small to be measured and cannot cause climate change. The assumptions underlying the use of radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid. A null hypothesis for CO2 is proposed that it is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any climate change, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.

    I didn’t have the $18 bucks to buy the article. Please note his “…the use fo radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid.”

  474. PDF (1.8 MB)
    Authors
    Roy Clark, Ph.D.1
    1 1336 N. Moorpark Road #224, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 USA

    Abstract
    Energy transfer at the Earth’s surface is examined from first principles. The effects on surface temperature of small changes in the solar constant caused by the sunspot cycle and small increases in downward long wave infrared (LWIR) flux due to a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration are considered in detail. The changes in the solar constant are sufficient to change ocean temperatures and alter the Earth’s climate. The surface temperature changes produced by an increase in downward LWIR flux are too small to be measured and cannot cause climate change. The assumptions underlying the use of radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid. A null hypothesis for CO2 is proposed that it is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any climate change, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.

    I didn’t have the $18 bucks to buy the article. Please note his “…the use of radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid.”

  475. Terry Oldberg:

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, different people tend to use the word “heat” slightly differently. (E.g., some use it only in a macroscopic sense so that heat must flow from colder to hotter [in the absence of work] whereas some use the term “net heat” to refer to this macroscopic heat concept and then talk about the various radiative transfers represented by the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation as “radiative heat flows” or something of the sort.) Like ambiguities in terminology that exist in ***ALL*** fields of science, this has the potential to create some confusion but that confusion is easily cleared up by simply stating the sense in which one is using the terms. I know of no field of science free from such confusions and people are discussing what is the best terminology and pedagogy all the time without resorting to stating that a field has foundational errors and that the theories in the field are thus unfalsifiable.

    And, I don’t even think that confusion in terminology is the main problem here. The main problem is that G&T have claimed in response to our comment on their paper that “The correct question is, whether the colder body that radiates less intensively than the warmer body warms up the warmer one. The answer is: It does not” and other people have made similar claims. These claims are demonstrably incorrect, as Herman & Pielke and Roy Spencer and Willis Eschenbach and many others have pointed out, at least if by “warms up” one means (as in the greenhouse effect) that the presence of the colder body makes the steady-state temperature of the warmer body higher than would be true in the absence of this colder body.

    There is nothing in any of the models of the greenhouse effect, whether they be “toy models” or full-blown GCMs, that violates the Laws of Thermodynamics. And, no matter how one might argue about what the best way to use various terms like “heat” in describing these models, it will not change that simple fact.

    Cheers,
    Joel

  476. mkelly: Yes, everyone agrees that there is a lot of garbage out there on the internet. You seem to have found some.

  477. Joel Shore says:
    July 25, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I guess you are another believer in the Second Law as magic, whereby a cooler object placed near a warmer object magically detects this fact and stops radiating any of the energy toward the warmer object.

    I eschew theory replacing experiment. The effect is simple enough to measure. Suspend two objects at different temperatures in a vacuum chamber and measure the rate of cooling. Remove one object and measure again.

    An error I see made all too frequently is forgetting that electromagnetic radiation exhibits wave/particle duality and which way to treat it depends on context. In general electromagnetic radiation propagating through a vacuum are treated as waves. They are treated as photons generally only during certain interactions with matter. The wave nature of EMR has some weird effects associated with it like interference, standing waves, and so forth when they meet.

    So no, I don’t believe there is any spooky action at a distance going on with 2LoT but I know that the wave nature of EMR makes your photons passing in the night theory bereft of much connection to physical reality or any real understanding of EMR. The higher amplitude wave coming from the warmer object meets the lower amplitude wave coming from the cooler object and simply decreases the amplitude of the higher power wave. This takes place in the vacuum between the two objects.

    Likewise, I don’t think it’s magic that when I have pump pushing water uphill in a pipe and I add head to the pipe that the increased pressure isn’t making more of the water molecules at the end of the pipe fall all the way back down to the pressure source.

    Like I said, this is easily settled by experiment though. I could be wrong and experiment will prove that one way or another. Electromagnetic wave theory was far from intuitive when took a course in it 30 years ago so I could be mistaken.

  478. For once I agree with Joel but only on this specific point.

    In reality we have three ‘bodies’ to consider namely Earth, it’s oceans and it’s air.

    The Hot Water Bottle Effect of the oceans is so large in relation to the Greenhouse Effect of the air that the latter should be ignored. It is the oceans that make the troposphere so much warmer than it ‘should’ be.

    CO2 being but a tiny portion of the air a change in quantity can have no measurable effect at all.

    Furthermore the temperature of the troposphere is set by the density and pressure differentials between ocean air and space and not merely by the composition of the air.

    No change in the composition of the air that fails to affect total density and pressure of the air or the ocean can have any effect on the equilibrium temperature of the troposphere.

    If the optical depth of the atmosphere has not changed for 61 years then CO2 increases have failed to affect total densities and pressures because the speed of the hydrological cycle changed to negate the CO2 effect.

    Is Miscolczi right or not ?

    Either optical depth has changed or it has not. Which is it ?

  479. anna v says:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    The basic problem is that in climatology different physics frameworks are being used indiscriminately, viz thermodynamics, classical statistical mechanics, and quantum statistical mechanics, leading to paradoxes. This is probably due to the fact that people have not studied physics in enough depth to be able to discriminate, and use the terminologies ad hoc and at taste.

    Bingo! Most everyone here is talking about EMR in quantum unit carriers (photons) when they should be talking about waves. I cut my teeth in EMR theory in the radio and microwave portions of the spectrum which cannot be properly understood without understanding wave propagation. Light is no different than radio waves except in wavelength. Waves are a lot harder to understand as they act in very non-intuitive ways where photons can be treated more or less like a ping pong ball.

  480. anna v says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:34 am
    John Finn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

    You have once more described Peden’s oven, the paradoxical chicken that cooks by itself because of the reflected radiation:

    No I haven’t. The planet-atmosphere has an external heat source – it’s sun.

  481. @Stephen Wilde

    You’re making the most sense here IMO.

    I’m not an optical guy so when you mentioned optical depth I googled optical depth co2 global warming and the second hit was a discussion of a paper

    Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres by Ferenc M. Miskolcziby

    At first blush it appears solid and made me want to clarify some things I’ve written.

    First of all I said the greenhouse effect is real and based that on no more than the average temperature of the moon measured experimentally by two different Apollo missions which placed thermocouples at the surface and at various depths up to 3 meters in regolith and recorded the results over a period of years. Below 25 centimeters the thermal gradient disappeared and the measured temperature was negative 23C. The earth and the moon are made of the same stuff and sans atmosphere would have substantially similar albedos. With an atmosphere that allows oceans and clouds and ice the earth’s albedo is about 0.30 compared to the moon’s 0.12 so absent any so-called greenhouse effect we should expect the earth to be somewhat colder than the moon.

    The average temperature of the ocean is about 4C which I believe is the true average temperature of the earth’s surface, averaged across glacial and interglacial periods. So the claim in the OP that greenhouse warming of 33c is probably close enough to correct to not be worth arguing about.

    I also said that CO2 greenhouse effect is real but I wasn’t clear that it’s real only in isolation — if everything else remains the same. The Miskolcziby discussion referenced above made want to clarify. CO2 doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Changing its concentration can’t be considered in a vacuum. So the long and the short of it is that greenhouse warming is real, Co2 greenhouse warming is real, but CO2 probably makes no net contribution to global warming in the present or near future context and in no case is anthropogenic CO2 going to have any measurable effect. Possibly it becomes an important greenhouse gas in “snowball earth” episodes.

    I think we are in agreement on the above. I just wanted to be sure we’re on the same page.

  482. Dear all…

    I’d like to contribute a little on this issue.

    First of all, AGW is based on false conceptions and incomplete information about the physics of heat transfer.

    I don’t understand why AGW proponents take the carbon dioxide as the cause of a climate change invoking its absorptive-emissive power because, through experimentation and observation of natureal phenomena, it has been demonstrated the gas is physically incompetent for causing a warming of the atmosphere.

    A brief and simple calculation of the emissive power of the carbon dioxide at its current mass fraction, taking into account the results of many experiments done by reputable scientists and engineers like Hottel, Leckner, Sarofim and many others, the total emissivity and absorptiviy of the carbon dioxide is quite insignificant.

    The following formula is for calculating the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide:

    ΔE = [[ζ / (10.7 + 101 ζ)] – 0.0089 ζ ^10.4] (log10 [(pH2O + pCO2) L] / (pabsL) 0) ^2.76

    Considering the data obtained by many researchers on this matter, the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide is low. It is 0.0017.

    This value is very important for calculating the amount of energy that the carbon dioxide absorbs and emits each second. Given the specific heat capacity of the carbon dioxide at its current density and temperature, which is of the order of ~871 J/Kg K, the carbon dioxide is not the cause of any change of the Earth’s climate.

    The formula for obtaining the amount of energy transferred by radiation between two thermodynamic systems is as follows:

    Φq/s = e σ (A) [(Ts^4 - Tg^4)]

    For example, at an atmosphere temperature of 310.4K (27 °C), the usual temperature in Summer at my location, and a surface temperature of 340.65 K (67.5 °C) the energy emitted by the carbon dioxide is 0.403 W*s.

    On the contrary, the water vapor emitts 102 W*s.

    It is clear what is the main protagonist in the warming of the Earth.

    Besides, the oceans, the land and the subsurface materials are the fundamental thermodynamic systems of the Earth that store energy for longer periods than the atmosphere, which, in any case, acts like a conveyor of thermal energy.

    On the other hand, the main thermal energy exchange at the boundary layer surface-atmosphere is not by radiation, but by conduction. The energy absorbed by the layer of air above the surface is convected away by the air. The latter happens also with the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere.

  483. Phil. says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:15 am
    What is it with you guys, I simplify the physics to make it as straight forward and intelligible as possible and you complain? Look at the big picture this is how it works.

    No Phil, this is the BIG picture of how it works:

    The sun heats the ocean, the ocean heats the atmosphere, and the atmosphere loses heat to space while the convection of evaporated ocean water regulates the speed at which the ocean cools. That’s the big picture. Any co2 in excess of around 120 parts per million is pretty much along for the ride, because the window of opportunity it has to do anything exciting is pretty small compared to what water vapour does.

    Now, within that bigger picture, what do you estimate the scale of the radiative forcing involving 0.039% of the atmosphere compared to the energy flows outlined above to be?

  484. @Gail Combs July 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

    The question was about which part of the solar specturm is blocked by greenhouse gases on the way in.

    Comparison of solar spectrum at top of atmosphere and at the surface answers that question and also illustrates the difference between water vapor and CO2. This graph overlays power spectrum at top and bottom of the atmosphere in full sun.

    H2O does all the heavy lifting in both incoming spectrum as well as in LWIR at night as it boxes in CO2 on either side and overlaps it as well. You can’ t see the overlap because the power spectrum is so small in the CO2 band.

    It’s untrue that sunlight has no LWIR component. It does and you can see it in the graph above.

  485. tallbloke says:
    July 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm (Edit)

    Now, within that bigger picture, what do you estimate the scale of the radiative forcing involving 0.039% of the atmosphere compared to the energy flows outlined above to be?

    Phil, I see Nasif Nahle July 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm has done the homework I set for you. He has done the quantitative work on co2’s effect. Qualitatively I was going to say it was somewhere between a fart in the wind and a storm in a teacup. Hi Nasif ;-)

    Case closed.

  486. Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    Can we move past this argument about CO2 being insignificant now?

  487. Dave Springer says:

    I eschew theory replacing experiment. The effect is simple enough to measure. Suspend two objects at different temperatures in a vacuum chamber and measure the rate of cooling. Remove one object and measure again.

    Theory is built from experiment. In the case of the theory of radiative transfer, we have not only tons and tons of experimental work but now a lot of technology built upon theory. And, this is true even for radiative transfer specifically in the atmosphere. How do you think the whole field of satellite remote sensing works? It seems rather strange that you doubt the theory of radiative transfer when applied to understand the greenhouse effect and yet you don’t doubt the satellite measurements of tropospheric temperatures that rely on that same theory. I think part of this whole reaction to AGW is an interesting psychological study of how people will believe what they want to believe and endlessly question and demand evidence to prove what they don’t want to believe.

    If you want to do yet another experiment to test things that are already well understood, be my guest.

  488. tallbloke and Nasif, we need you out there in [snip] land putting a stop to all this nonsense.

  489. cbs‘s post gives the Stefan formula that should apply to a body that is not in vacuum, and Nasif has it in his post .

    Any body who has followed a physics program knows about boundary value problems, having solved a number of them in various courses. It is evident that when one has more than one body the solution has to take into account the existence of this body whether it is in fluid flow or electrostatics. It has no meaning to ask questions like ” does the photon know”, in some frameworks, namely the wave electromagnetic ones, yes it does. ( and lets not enter into the quantum mechanical argument of entanglement) .

    The Stefan formula for a body Tb and its surroundings Ts shows that in a different framework, and tells us if the surrounding are of the same type and at the same temperature there is no overall radiation.

    Putting a second body in the problem of a body in vacuum ( simple Stefan law), is taking a delta(solid angle) of the surrounding and there will be the corresponding modification to radiation from the body under consideration. It has nothing to do with back scattering hand waving.

  490. John Finn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    anna v says:
    July 26, 2010 at 5:34 am
    John Finn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

    anna v:You have once more described Peden’s oven, the paradoxical chicken that cooks by itself because of the reflected radiation:

    John Finn:No I haven’t. The planet-atmosphere has an external heat source – it’s sun.

    Back radiation hand waving does not use the sun in the problem.

  491. Jim D says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    Model is not a four letter word, but it tends to be treated like one in climate discussions.

    So no, the discussion cannot stop because real life and data say otherwise.

    Note , it is all models and modeling. even clear skies are modeled!
    from your link :Clear-sky conditions are identified by
    comparing radiance ratios of observed and simulated spectra.

  492. “Jim D says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    I had the impression that the air over the South Pole is exceedingly dry !!

  493. Jim D says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm (Edit)

    Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    Can we move past this argument about CO2 being insignificant now?

    On the contrary Jim, it reinforces the point. Antarctica gets about 8mm of snow per year, the rest just blows around. The air is incredibly dry. Antarctica is classed as a desert. So if co2 can only manage 33% of the radiative forcing there, it is a good demonstration of how insignificant compared to water vapour it really is.

  494. Jim D says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm
    Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    Can we move past this argument about CO2 being insignificant now?

    Two things, Jim:

    First, it’s ‘may’ we, and not ‘can’ we, unless you’re asking about abilities …

    Next, if CO2 is a transmission medium for downward radiation, then by the fact of the gas being reciprocal in nature, would it not also be a transmission medium for upwards radiation?

    Ergo, it it conveys upwards and downwards with equal ability, then what goes in, goes out just as fast.

    Any questions?

  495. Dave Springer says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    [--snip for brevity--] CO2 doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

    Oh? Really now? There’s no CO2 in space, anywhere? Got proof?

    Dave Springer says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    [--excerpted--]So the long and the short of it is that greenhouse warming is real, Co2 greenhouse warming is real, but CO2 probably makes no net contribution to global warming in the present or near future context and in no case is anthropogenic CO2 going to have any measurable effect. Possibly it becomes an important greenhouse gas in “snowball earth” episodes.

    You do realize that you’ve contradicted yourself quite severely there, don’t you?

    If —IF— CO2 is to be any agent of ‘CAGW/CCC,’ then it can’t be said to be involved in a “snowball Earth” scenario, as how could it cause a reverse effect?

    Either it contributes to warming, or it contributes to cooling, according to one or another theory.

    My theory says just this: It’s a reciprocal gas, which contributes —in total— nothing to the thermal character of the Earth’s temperature.

  496. Jim D says:
    July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm (Edit)

    Published work shows that a third of the downward longwave flux at the South Pole surface is from CO2. This paper goes into measurements of the spectrum to prove it. It is hard to dispute that level of detail.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    from Abstract “About two-thirds of the clear-sky flux is due to water vapor, and one-third is due to CO2, both in summer and winter.”

    Can we move past this argument about CO2 being insignificant now?

    Wow. I read the entire paper. It’s littered with uncertainties, guesses, and admitted instrumentation error. The investigators were surprised by the constancy of the H2O/CO2 ratio (2:1) in downwelling LWIR across seasons when measured absolute humidity varied widely yet didn’t cause any variation in the flux ratio. The flux ratio appears to be bogus based on incorrect assumptions of first principles.

    I’m given to understand there is some controversy over what the downwelling emissive irradiance spectra should look like. Absorption spectra are clearly understood where blackbody spectrum has big holes in it where different atoms and molecules absorb narrow bites out of it in different bands characteristic for those different atoms and molecules. The controversy appears in emissivity for those same atoms and molecules where the majority opinion seems to be that while absorption occurs in narraw characteristic bands emissivity occurs as blackbody radiation dependent only on temperature. Thus you can tell apart H2O and C02 absorption spectra you can’t tell apart H2O and CO2 emission spectra.

    If the latter case is correct then the surprise in seeing no ratio change as the H20 content of the atmosphere changed is a simple one. What was presumed to be separate emissivity spectra was something else and the giveaway was that the ratio didn’t change when it should have according to the assumed first principles. The investigators labored long and hard to explain the discrepancy with all kinds of speculations rather than admit that the predictions of the hypothesis simply failed under experimental test. The scientific method demands the hypothesis be discarded when its predictions fail. In climate science the method seems to be that hypothesis is retained and the observations must be somehow incorrect. In this case the investigators placed the blame on inaccurate humidity measurements among other things. One might reasonably ask if something as simple as humidity isn’t being measured accurately how accurate are the much more difficult measurements involving radiative fluxes, ice particle content, clear sky vs. hazy sky, and other things like that, all of which were mentinoed as instrumentation uncertainties. The only thing they weren’t uncertain about was that their model had no flaws in it.

    Bad science. FAIL.

  497. I’ve observed this aberration in scientific method primaily in climate science and evolutionary biology. The aberation is where the theory is held with what can only be described as religious faith, and when observations do not agree with theoretical predictions, the observations must somehow be wrong.

    Darwin predicted the fossil record would eventually be observed to show a continuum of small evolutionary changes that over time would add up to large phenotype variations characteristic of different taxonomical classifications. One hundred fifty more years of fossil digging and the fossil record was still one of sudden emergence of new species fully characteristic in phenotype, persistence for some period of time virtually unchanged, then sudden disappearance. Stephen J. Gould rather famously stated:

    The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed.

    And thus rather than discard Darwin’s hypothesis of gradual evolution came up with a theory called punctuated equilibrium to explain the discrepancy which basically states that major evolutionary transitions occur in small isolated populations and that small numbers of individuals in isolated locations will tend to have very little relative representation in the fossil record. In other words the theory is correct so the observations must be wrong.

    At least it can be said of Gould though that it didn’t take a whistleblower to get him to write of paleontology’s “trade secret” but that was only because he believed he had an explantion for it. He kept the secret until that time.

    The frauds cited below were much worse:

    Phil Jones (regarding queries from climate sceptic S McIntyre). “I had some emails with him a few years ago when he wanted to get all the station temperature data we use here in CRU. I hid behind the fact that some of the data had been received from individuals and not directly from Met Services through the Global Telecommunications Service (GTS) or through GCOS.”

    Phil Jones to Michael Mann. “And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp [file transfer protocol] sites — you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone.”

    KEITH Briffa. “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data, but in reality, the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies) show some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming…”

    Phil Jones. “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK, it has, but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant .”

    On February 13 this year, Phil Jones told BBC that “there has been no statistically significant warming over the last 15 years.”

    Kevin Trenberth, UCAR, October 12, 2009, “We can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t .”

  498. I found the following explanation which appears to be succinct and correct regarding LWIR emission from the ground (or water), absorption and reemission from greenhouse gases:

    “The IR is emitted from the surface of the earth as black body radiation, which has a wide bandwidth. Then CO2 absorbs a fingerprint set of frequencies, which is 8% of the available black body radiation. As it is absorbed, it is instantly converted into heat (in less than a pico second). The heat is distributed over all molecules in the atmosphere, which means 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. After some time, an equivalent amount of black body radiation is emitted from everything in the atmosphere, and 8% of it is absorbed by CO2 as fingerprint radiation.”

    If this is correct then there was no way for the investigators at the south pole to discriminate between remission of LWIR from H2O and CO2. Both would be seen as identical blackbody radiation. Therefore there is no way to assign a 2:1 ratio to the two respective compounds.

    Is the reemission mechanism described above not correct?

  499. 899 says:
    July 27, 2010 at 12:59 am
    Dave Springer says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    [--snip for brevity--] CO2 doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

    Oh? Really now? There’s no CO2 in space, anywhere? Got proof?

    “doesn’t exist in a vacuum” is an expression meaning that something is not independent of its surroundings

    i.e. Your child doesn’t exist in a vacuum, he lives in your family.

    CO2 doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it resides in a mix of other gases which itself resides in a land/ocean/atmosphere system.

    Dave Springer says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    [--excerpted--]So the long and the short of it is that greenhouse warming is real, Co2 greenhouse warming is real, but CO2 probably makes no net contribution to global warming in the present or near future context and in no case is anthropogenic CO2 going to have any measurable effect. Possibly it becomes an important greenhouse gas in “snowball earth” episodes.

    You do realize that you’ve contradicted yourself quite severely there, don’t you?

    No. The concentration of CO2 absent the normal sinks of ocean and plant life over millions of years of continual emission from volcanism can rise to where it’s an appreciable percentage of the atmosphere comparable to water vapor today (up to 40,000 ppm) instead of the miniscule fraction (380ppm) it is today. A CO2 concentration that high would make its effect as a GHG 100 times more pronounced. There is virtually no possibility of CO2 reaching that level of concentration in any timeframe applicable to the CAGW brouhaha.

    If —IF— CO2 is to be any agent of ‘CAGW/CCC,’ then it can’t be said to be involved in a “snowball Earth” scenario, as how could it cause a reverse effect?

    Either it contributes to warming, or it contributes to cooling, according to one or another theory.

    My theory says just this: It’s a reciprocal gas, which contributes —in total— nothing to the thermal character of the Earth’s temperature.

  500. @899

    There is considerable evidence of the earth being completely covered by icecap in the past. The ocean basins then effectively become like a corked bottle. In the meantime underwater volcanoes at plate boundaries (the “ring of fire” that runs around the earth like the seams on a baseball) continually adds CO2 to the corked bottle. The first thing to come along, say a meteor, which breaks the cork would release the dissolved CO2 somewhat like uncorking a bottle of champagne.

    The mechanism that melts a snowball earth is not known with any degree of confidence but clearly something comes along to end the runaway freeze. That’s as good a scenerio as anything else.

  501. anna v says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    “and lets not enter into the quantum mechanical argument of entanglement”

    Spoilsport.

    I’d hardly call it an argument, though. It’s experimentally confirmed and approaching the point of practical application in quantum computers.

    Granted I can’t see any relevance in atmospheric back radiation but I was sorely tempted to just throw it out there to dispute the notion that spooky action at a distance is a magical belief.

  502. Dave Springer said:

    “The investigators were surprised by the constancy of the H2O/CO2 ratio (2:1) in downwelling LWIR across seasons when measured absolute humidity varied widely yet didn’t cause any variation in the flux ratio.”

    Hello Dave,

    Does the above observation have any significance as regards Miskolczi’s findings ?

  503. anna v says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Back radiation hand waving does not use the sun in the problem.

    You haven’t understood the problem. Back radiation is about the reduced effectiveness of the earth to radiate the cnstant source of energy it gets from the sun. A bit like how the water in my kettle boils after a certain length of time because the constant source of energy is much greater than any heat losses.

  504. This is the process known as thermalization, if it didn’t occur then the extra energy would just radiate away and the air would not heat up, this is not what’s observed. What Vonk is misled by is that N2 and O2 also transfer heat to CO2 molecules by collisions, however this still means that the lifetime of an individual vibrationally excited CO2 molecule (whether excited collisionally or radiatively) is orders of magnitude shorter than the mean time required to emit a photon.
    .
    Sorry Phil but you keep showing that you really have not a clue .
    Considering the amount of nonsense in the statement quoted , your other statements are probably all similarily nonsensical .
    It is not only 1 law of physics you violate but 4 what is rather much even for a layman .
    .
    Here they are :
    1) You violate the time symmetry of the collision processes .
    Indeed the equations of the collision processes are time symmetrical what means that if a CO2 molecules transfers energy to an N2 molecule then the N2 molecules will transfer energy to CO2 molecules . Statistically in LTE (Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium) the amount of energy transferred will be exactly the same in both directions by time symmetry .
    2) By the same token you violate the energy conservation . As per Noether theorem , the time symmetry is equivalent to energy conservation . As you violated the time symmetry , you violated the energy conservation .
    3) You also violated the energy equipartition law . This says that in LTE , the energy is partitionned equally between all degrees of freedom . As you “created” a privileged energy transfer from the vibrationnal degrees of freedom of CO2 to translational degrees of freedom of N2 you violated the energy equipartition .
    4) Last but not least you violated the LTE conditions . By transferring energy in exclusively one direction (namely from vibrationnal degrees of freedom of CO2 to translationnal degrees of freedom of N2) the temperature of N2 diverges from the temperature of CO2 . The consequence is that the local temperature is no more defined what is not a good thing when one wants to talk about temperature .
    5)Of course the statistical fact that the average time necessary to emit a photon is longer than the average time between collisions is irrelevant to the points 1-4 above . It certainly doesn’t mean like you seem to believe that CO2 emits no radiation . Quite on the contrary and especially for the resonant frequencies where CO2 is a good absorber !
    It might be a shocking news for you but CO2 emits about as much 15µ radiation as it absorbs .
    To help with your general education I would add that all this is textbook knowledge and can recommend you some good books initiating to QM .
    .
    And now ?
    I expect that to get out of the hole you dug yourself in , you will pretend next that the low atmosphere is not in LTE and that Noether’s theorem is wrong …
    Good luck :)

  505. John Finn says:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:31 am (Edit)
    You haven’t understood the problem. Back radiation is about the reduced effectiveness of the earth to radiate the cnstant source of energy it gets from the sun.

    The Earth’s surface (the bit that matters in terms of bulk energy transfer) doesn’t get a constant amount of energy from the sun. It is varying all the time due to albedo changes by much larger numbers of watts than co2 is involved with.

    You are the one who hasn’t understood the problem.

  506. Soooooooooooooo…..
    (Sarc On)

    We’re all agreed, then, the statement “The Science of AGW is settled!” is True!

    (Sarc Off)

  507. John Finn says:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:31 am
    You are out of your depth in this, do not swim any further.

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

    The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiative energy leaving a planetary surface is absorbed by some atmospheric gases, called greenhouse gases. They transfer this energy to other components of the atmosphere, and it is re-radiated in all directions, including back down towards the surface. This transfers energy to the surface and lower atmosphere, so the temperature there is higher than it would be if direct heating by solar radiation were the only warming mechanism [
    and this is Peden’s oven

  508. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 27, 2010 at 3:23 am
    Dave Springer said:

    “The investigators were surprised by the constancy of the H2O/CO2 ratio (2:1) in downwelling LWIR across seasons when measured absolute humidity varied widely yet didn’t cause any variation in the flux ratio.”

    Hello Dave,

    Does the above observation have any significance as regards Miskolczi’s findings ?

    As I read it I was thinking it might as I read it. The authors were particularly concerned about radiosonde humidity measurements not being accurate under conditions of extreme cold in the range of Antarctic interior continental surface temps in the winter.

    Miskolczi’s hypothesis uses 61 years of radiosonde humidity measurements to support it and those measurements go well up into the stratosphere where presumably it is or can be as cold as Antarctic winter surface temps.

    What I don’t know is whether Miskolczi needed high altitude humidity data. The amount of water vapor in the stratosphere is pretty slim to begin with and so doesn’t seem likely to be that’s where the action takes place. As well, Miskolczi only needed a decreasing trend in humidity to match the trend in increasing CO2 over the past 60 years. Barring significant changes in instrumentation the trend should be intact even if the readings are not accurate – they can be inaccurate so long as they’re consistently inaccurate if a trend is all you need. Even calibration procedural changes using the same hardware could cause a change but I believe those are well documented in metadata associated with the data set he was using.

    Just as an aside, I was a meteorological equipment repair technician from 1974 to 1978 which included routine calibration of all the gear prior to launch – calibrating the radiosonde itself, the tracking antenna, and strip chart recorders. There were no procedural or hardware changes during my watch that I can recall.

  509. Joel Shore says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm
    Dave Springer says:

    “I eschew theory replacing experiment. The effect is simple enough to measure. Suspend two objects at different temperatures in a vacuum chamber and measure the rate of cooling. Remove one object and measure again. ”

    Theory is built from experiment. In the case of the theory of radiative transfer, we have not only tons and tons of experimental work but now a lot of technology built upon theory. And, this is true even for radiative transfer specifically in the atmosphere. How do you think the whole field of satellite remote sensing works? It seems rather strange that you doubt the theory of radiative transfer when applied to understand the greenhouse effect and yet you don’t doubt the satellite measurements of tropospheric temperatures that rely on that same theory. I think part of this whole reaction to AGW is an interesting psychological study of how people will believe what they want to believe and endlessly question and demand evidence to prove what they don’t want to believe.

    If you want to do yet another experiment to test things that are already well understood, be my guest.

    I was rather hoping someone more expert in the history of experimental physics could point me to the experiment which surely must have been performed.

    So much for that idea. Thanks for nothing.

  510. I have read through all posts again.

    I will illustrate the situation as it looks to me by introducing another experiment, using persons instead of spheres.(and some humour and exageration)

    Person a) (Government person) says;
    ===========================
    Look, the atmosphere is almost like a nuclear reactor. Photons acts almost like neutrons. Bouncing back and forth, never getting out! The temperature is increasing and we will soon reach critical mass!!!We’re all gonna die! (Yes, I know, its a bit over the top, but, close enough)

    Person b) (Ordinary scientist working in private sector) says;
    ===========================================
    But, but, isnt the athmosphere consisting of approx. 5% water va