A Conversation with an Infrared Radiation Expert

Visible and IR photo in Anthony's neighborhood - note that my IR camera doesn't go any lower than -20°C Photos by A. Watts

A guest post by Ken Coffman and Mikael Cronholm

In clicking around on the Internet, I found an outstanding paper called Thermodynamics of Furnace Tubes – Killing Popular Myths about Furnace Tube Temperature Measurement written by Mikael Cronholm. The paper was clever and wise…and made a lot of sense. Clearly Mikael knows a lot about infrared radiation and I’m a guy with questions. A match made in heaven?

We exchanged e-mails. I want to be clear about this…Mikael corrected some of my wrong ideas about IR. I’ll repeat that for the slow-witted. Some of my ideas about infrared radiation were wrong. I am considered a hard-headed, stubborn old guy and that’s completely true. However, I want to learn and I can be taught, but not by knuckleheads spewing nonsense and not by authoritarians who sit on thrones and toss out insults and edicts.

Ken Coffman (KLC) is the publisher of Stairway Press (www.stairwaypress.com) and the author of novels that include Hartz String Theory and Endangered Species.

Mikael Cronholm (MC) is an industry expert on infrared radiation, a licensed, level III Infrared Training Center Instructor and holds two Bachelor of Science degrees (Economics and Business Administration).

The following is a summary of our conversation.

KLC: Hello Mikael. I found your paper called Thermodynamics of Furnace Tubes and I found it very informative, practical and interesting. I hope you’ll bear with me while I ask a couple of dumb questions. I am an electrical engineer, so I have some knowledge about thermodynamics of conduction and convection, but not so much about IR radiation. In return for your time, I would be happy to make a donation to the charity of your choice.

If I take an inexpensive IR thermometer outside, point it at the sky and get a temperature reading of minus 25°C, what am I actually measuring? Is there anything valid about doing this?

MC: Just as a matter of curiosity, how did you find my paper? I checked your website and I guess this has to do with the Dragon, no? If you want to make a donation I would be happy to receive that book. If you can, my postal address is at the bottom. I don’t follow the debate more than casually, but I am a bit skeptical to all the research that is done on climate change…it seems that the models are continuously adjusted to fit the inputs, so that you get the wanted output…and they argue “so many scientists agree with this and that”…well, science is not a democracy…anyway…

About radiation, then. There is more to this than meets the eye. Literally!

Looking at the sky with an infrared radiometer you would read what is termed “apparent temperature” (if the instrument is set to emissivity 1 and the distance setting is zero, provided the instrument has any compensation). Your instrument is then receiving the same radiation as a blackbody would do if it had a temperature of -25°C, if that is what you measure. It is a quasi-temperature of sorts, because you don’t really measure on a particular object in any particular place, but a combination of radiation, where that from outer space is the lowest, close to absolute zero, and the immediate atmosphere closest to you is the warmest. (I have once measured -96°C on the sky at 0°C ground temperature.) What we have to realize though, is that temperature can never be directly measured. We measure the height of a liquid in a common thermometer, a voltage in a thermocouple, etc, and then it is calibrated using the zeroth law of thermodynamics and assuming equilibrium with the device and the reference.

KLC: Global warming (greenhouse gas) theory depends on atmospheric CO2 molecules absorbing IR radiation and “back radiating” this energy back toward the earth. If you look at the notorious Ternberth/Keihl energy balance schematic (as shown in Figure 1 of this paper: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/TFK_bams09.pdf ), you see the back radiation is determined to be very significant…more than 300W/m2. From your point of view as an IR expert, does this aspect of the global warming theory make any sense?

MC: The paper you sent me mentions Stefan-Boltzman’s law, but it does not talk about Planck’s law, which is necessary to understand what is happening spectrally. I suggest you read up on Planck and Stefan-Boltzman at Wikipedia or something. Wien’s law would be beneficial as well—they are all connected.

Planck’s law describes the distribution of radiated power from a blackbody over wavelength. You end up with a curve for each blackbody temperature. The sun is almost a blackbody, so it follows Planck quite well, and it has a peak at about 480nm, right in the middle of visual (Wien’s law determines that). The solar spectrum is slightly modified as it passes through the atmosphere, but still pretty close to Planckian. When the radiation hits the ground, the absorbed part heats it. The re-radiated power is going to have a different spectral distribution, with a peak around 10um (micrometer). Assuming blackbody radiation it would also follow Planck’s law.

S-B’s law is in principle the integral of Planck from zero to infinity wavelength. Instruments do not have equal response from zero to infinity, but they are calibrated against blackbodies, and whatever signal they output is considered to mean the temperature of the blackbody. And so on for a number of blackbodies until you have a calibration curve that can be fitted for conversion in the instrument.

That means that the instrument can only measure correctly on targets that are either blackbodies, or greybodies with a spectral distribution looking like a Planck curve, but at a known offset. That offset is emissivity, the epsilon in your S-B equation in that paper. It is defined as the ratio of the radiation from the greybody to that of the blackbody, both at the same temperature (and wave length, and angle…). Some targets will not be Planckian, but have a spectral distribution that is different. If you want to measure temperature of those, you need to measure the emissivity with the same instrument and at a temperature reasonably close to the one you will measure on the target later.

So, of course, the whole principle behind the greenhouse effect is that shorter wavelengths from the sun penetrates the atmosphere easily, whereas the re-radiated power—being at a longer wavelength—is reflected back at a higher degree. I have no dispute about that fact. It is reasonable. So I think the Figure 1 you refer to is correct in principle. My immediate question is raised regarding the numbers in there though. The remaining 0.9 W/m2 seems awfully close to what I would assume to be the inaccuracies in the numbers input to calculate it. You are balancing on a very thin knifes edge with such big numbers as inputs for reaching such a small one. An error of +/- 0.5% on each measurement would potentially throw it off quite a bit, in the worst case. But I don’t know what they use to measure this, only that all the instruments I use have much less accuracy than that. But with long integration times…well, maybe…but there may be an issue there.

KLC: I am interested in some rather expensive thermopile-based radiation detectors called pyrgeometers (an example is the KippZonen CGR 3 instrument http://www.kippzonen.com/?product/16132/CGR+3.aspx).

If a piece of equipment like this is pointed into the nighttime sky and reads something like 300W/m2 of downwelling IR radiation, what is it actually measuring? If I built a test rig from IR-emitting lightbulbs calibrated to emit 300W/m2 and placed this over the pyrgeometers, would I get the same reading?

MC: “What is it actually measuring?” Well, probably a voltage from those thermopiles…and that signal has to be calibrated to a bunch of blackbody reference sources to covert it either to temperature or blackbody equivalent radiation.

Your experiment will fail, though! If you want to do something like that, you have to look at a target emitting a blackbody equivalent spectrum, which is what the instrument should be calibrated to. IR light bulbs emitting 300W/m2 is simply impossible, because 300W/m2 corresponds to a very low temperature! Use S-B’s law and try it yourself. Like this: room temp, 20°C = 293K. The radiated power from that is 293K raised to the power of 4. Then multiply with sigma, the constant in S-B’s law, which is 5.67*10-8, and you get 419 W/m2 or something like that, it varies with how many decimals you use for absolute zero when you convert to Kelvin. For 300 W/m2 radiation I get -23.4°C at 300 W/m2 when I calculate it (yes, minus!). Pretty cool light bulb.

I don’t know what your point is with that experiment, but if it is to check their calibration you need a lot more sophisticated blackbody reference sources if you want to do it at that temperature. But you could do a test at room temperature though. Just build a spherical object with the inside painted with flat black paint, make a small hole in it, just big enough for your sensor, and measure the temperature inside that sphere with a thermocouple, on the surface. Keep it in a stable room temperature at a steady state as well as you can and convert the temperature to radiation using S-B’s law. You should get the same as the instrument. Any difference will be attributable to inaccuracy in the thermocouple you use and/or the tested instrument. Remember that raising to the power of 4 exaggerates errors in the input a lot!

I hope I have been able to clarify things a little bit, or at least caused some creative confusion. When I teach thermography I find that the more you learn the more confused you get, but on a higher level. Every question answered raises a few more, which grows the confusion exponentially. It makes the subject interesting, though.

Let me know if you need any more help with your project!

KLC: I found your paper because one of the FLIR divisions is local and I was searching their site for reference information about IR radiation. I know what a 100W IR lamp feels like because I have one in my bathroom. If someone tells me there is 300W/m2 of IR power coming from space, and I hold out my hand…I expect to feel it. What am I missing?

MC: Yeah, you put your hand in front of a 100W bulb, but how big is your hand…not a square meter, I’m sure. It is per area unit, that is one thing you are missing. The 100W of the bulb is the electrical power consumption, not the emitted power of the visual light from it. That’s why florescent energy-saving lamps as opposed to incandescent bulbs give much more visual light per electrical Watt, because they limit the radiation to the visual part of the spectrum and lose less in the IR, which we cannot see anyway. The body absorbs both IR and visual, but a little less visual.

And, here is the other clue. Your light bulb radiation in your bathroom is added to that of the room itself, which is 419 W/m2, if the room is 20°C. Your 300 W/m2 from space is only that. You will feel those 300 W/m2, sure. It will feel like -25°C radiating towards your hand. But you don’t feel that cold because your hand is in warmer air, receiving heat (or losing less) from there too.

Actually, we cannot really feel temperature—that is a misconception. Our bodies feel heat flow rate and adjust the temperature accordingly. It is only the hypothalamus inside the brain that really has constant temperature. If you are standing nude in your bathroom, your body will radiate approximately 648 W/m2 and the room 419 W/m2, so you lose 229 W/m2. That is what you feel as being cooled by the room, from radiation only. Conduction and convection should be added of course. The earth works the same way—lose some, gain some. It is that balance that is being argued in the whole global warming debate.

KLC: I still feel like I’m missing something. IR heat lamps are pretty efficient, maybe 90%? Let’s pick a distance of 1 meter and I want to create a one-square meter flooded with an additional 300W/m2. It must be additional irradiation, doesn’t it? That’s going to take a good bunch of lamps and I would feel this heat. However, I go outside and hold out my hand. It’s cold. There’s no equivalent of 300W/m2 heater in addition to whatever has heated the ambient air.

Perhaps I’m puzzled by something that is more like a flux…something that just is as a side-effect of a temperature difference and not really something that is capable of doing any work or as a vehicle for transporting heat energy.

It’s a canard of climate science that increasing atmospheric CO2 from 390PPM to 780PPM will raise the earth’s surface temperature by about 1°C (expanded to 3°C by positive feedbacks). From my way of thinking, the only thing CO2 can do is increase coupling to space…it certainly can’t store or trap energy or increase the earth’s peak or 24-hour average temperature.

Any comments are welcome.

MC: Efficiency of a lamp depends on what you want, if heat is what want then they are 100% efficient, because all electrical energy will be converted to heat, the visible light as well, when it is absorbed by the surrounding room. If visible light is required, a light bulb loses a lot of heat compared to an energy saving lamp. Energy cannot be created or destroyed—first law of thermodynamics.

When you say W/m2 you ARE in fact talking about a flux (heat flow is what will be in W). If you have two objects radiating towards each other, the heat flow direction will be from the hotter one, radiating (emitting) more and absorbing less, to the cooler one, which radiates less and absorbs more (second law of thermodynamics). The amount of radiation emitted from each of them depends on two things ONLY, the temperature of the object and its emissivity. So radiation is not a side effect to temperature, it is THE EFFECT. Anything with a temperature will radiate according to it, and emissivity. (If something is hotter than 500°C we get incandescence, emission of visible light.) Assuming an emissivity of unity, which is what everyone seems to do in this debate, the radiation (flux. integrated from zero to infinity) will be equal to what can be calculated by Stefan-Boltzmann’s law, which is temperature in Kelvin, raised to the fourth power, multiplied by that constant sigma. It’s that simple!

With regard to your thought experiment, it is always easier to calculate what an object emits than what it absorbs, because emission will be spreading diffusely from an object, so exactly where it ends up is difficult to predict. I am not sure where you are aiming with that idea, but it does not seem to be an easy experiment to do in real life, at least not with limited resources.

CO2 is a pretty powerful absorber of radiated energy, that fact is well known. Water vapor is an even stronger absorber. In the climate debate it is also considered a reflector, which probably also true, because that is universal. Everything absorbs and reflects to a degree. So I guess that the feedback you mention has to do with the fact that increasing temperature increases the amount of water vapor, which increases absorption, and so on. But my knowledge is pretty much limited to what happens down here on earth, because that is what matters when we measure temperature using infrared radiation. However, it is important to remember, again, that we talk about different spectral bands, the influx is concentrated around a peak in the visual band and the outgoing flux is around 10 micrometer in the infrared band, and the absorption may not be the same.

With so many scientists arguing about the effects of CO2 I am not the one to think I have the answers. I really don’t know what the truth is. And the problem that all these scientists have is that they will never be able to test if their theories are correct, because the time spans are too long. For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

If not, it is not science, it is guessing.

More like a horoscope…

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465 thoughts on “A Conversation with an Infrared Radiation Expert

  1. When water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into liquid water and then changes state again and becomes ice, it gives off latent heat for both state changes.

    Does that latent heat release follow Stefan-Boltzmann’s radiative equation ?

  2. With so many scientists arguing about the effects of CO2 I am not the one to think I have the answers. I really don’t know what the truth is. And the problem that all these scientists have is that they will never be able to test if their theories are correct, because the time spans are too long. For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    Now that is a wise statement. As someone who designs temperature measurement systems (principally for spacecraft) I have always been amused that the AGW community can make the statement that they can use an instrument with 0.5 degree accuracy and get 0.001 degree temperature variation out of it.

    In designing thermal control systems for spacecraft you have to be incredibly sensitive to the absorptivity/emissivity (a/e ratio). If you get this even slightly wrong in spacecraft design, you either run the equilibrium temperature too high and it will fail, or too low and it will fail.

    MC makes the observation that the radiated temperature is 100% dependent upon emissivity, which is correct, but I have never seen this really integrated into AGW models, they simply use a blackbody approximation, which is a terrible reference in that this varies wildly around the world.

    Also, the models do not take into account the dramatic differences in resulting temperature based upon altitude, especially in desert regions of the globe.

    A lot of physics modeling operates by making simplifying assumptions, but how many of these assumptions are testable and repeatable?

    This is the basis of a lot of my skepticism on the models involved.

  3. “The only thing Co2 can do is increase the coupling to space”. Thereby having a cooling effect. Good stuff. I would love to hear what Dr. Lindzen has to say about this. If I am not mistaken, this is what he has been saying.

  4. Great comment:

    “For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven. If not, it is not science, it is guessing.”

    Why is it that leading climate scientists have tried to hide their data and methods? In what way are such tests repeatable? In what way have they stood the test of time?

  5. MC: For 300 W/m2 radiation I get -23.4°C at 300 W/m2 when I calculate it (yes, minus!). Pretty cool light bulb.

    300 W/m² is more like -3.3°C (26°F). It is still cold though. At -23.4°C (-10°F) black body radiation is only 220 W/m².

  6. Good post, thanks. The one area I struggle with is the reflector part. Do the “green house gas” molecules absorb and re-radiate energy? Yes. Is it like a reflector? Questionable. Since molecules are 3-dimensional and constantly in motion “green house gases” will re-radiate IR energy in 3 dimensions not just back at the earth like a reflector. Again it just may be the weakness of the terms used that is throwing me.

  7. The confusion of temperature vs energy is an interesting one. I’ve attempted to explain how it works by the following. Place a sheet of paper above a surface. In that sheet is a 6″ hole through which passes sunlight. That light lands on a thermometer which records the temperature. It is intuitively obvious the temperature will remain the same if we move the paper and thermometer around the immediate area so we determine there is a fixed relationship between the sun and the thermometer.

    Now we place a 6″ lens over the paper and by good fortune the focus point is exactly on the thermometer. We know the same amount of energy is entering the lens as entered the hole in the paper but the temperature is likely to cause the thermometer to explode. The energy is concentrated.

    This is clearly not a tale told to people of science with any expectation of creating revelation but it helps the grand kids to understand the relationship between heat and energy.

  8. It seems that MC knows the subject matter extremely well. It also seems that he says you cannot be certain what is really going on with IR and CO2 in the atmosphere, despite those who seem to be absolutely certain.

    Food for thought indeed!

  9. MC puts KLC right on a few of his misconceptions. I only fault MC’s terminology where he uses the word ‘reflected’ for IR from the sky, when in fact it is emitted. This is probably just loose wording on his part, but there is a scientific distinction.

  10. Absolutely brilliant…thank you. I like the term ‘increase earth’s coupling with space’ I have been trying to explain this to the numpties for ever.
    One question I ask CO2 Warmists is, ‘have you ever noticed the outside temperature when flying on a plane at cruising altitude…-30 to -60 degrees C. right? Have you ever looked down and wondered what is happening at the top of the cloud layer…heat loss right? So if the atmosphere was to get warmer wouldn’t these clouds simply rise a little higher because of convection and lose their energy through radiation into the vast reservoir of coldness above?
    Interestingly I find that when I use words like radiation and convection they tend to glaze over and lose interest. In fact I don’t think that ‘science’ matters that much to believers…
    Keep up the good work guys.

  11. I am an IR expert, 20+ years in the field.

    CO2 is an IR absorber of only narrow wavelength bands of IR.

    Water vapor is a much more stronger IR absorber because it absorbs very large wavelength bands of IR.

    In addition, water vapor is approx 3.5% of the atmosphere or 35000 ppm. (That’s a global average. At the poles the air is drier. In the tropics, the air is much wetter.)

    CO2 is only about 390 ppm.

    So, water vapor from a ppm point of view is probably 100X greater in effect as a greenhouse gas from an atmospheric percentage only compared to CO2. (I rounded up slightly because the tropics have more effect than the polar regions, having more water vapor to absorb and store solar energy.)

    In addition, a molecule of H2O is also quite a few multiples greater in absorption of IR compared to a molecule of CO2.

    Take a look at absorption spectra for H2O: http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C7732185&Units=SI&Type=IR-SPEC&Index=1#IR-SPEC

    For CO2: http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C124389&Units=SI&Type=IR-SPEC&Index=1#IR-SPEC

    Just eyeballing these two NIST absorption spectra curves for H2O and CO2, it appears H2O may be at least 10X greater at absorption per molecule than CO2 is.

    Thus, the comparative effects on ‘global’ warming, changes in H2O composition in the atmostphere are probably 1000X greater than CO2 changes in terms of contribution to ‘greenhouse effect’.

    give or take a bit for some error =>>>>> approximately 1000 TIMES!!!!

    CO2 is a non-issue compared to water in the atmosphere.

  12. In the 1950’s, I was working on the Sidewinder air-to-air missile at the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, CA. Sidewinder’s guidance system is built around an infrared sensor. I remember all the “gee whiz” stuff that was observed during the sensor’s testing, e.g., it would lock on to a quarter moon in the middle of a hot summer day and even Venus at night. The sensor has undergone much improvement since those days and advanced versions of the missile are still seen under-wing on today’s combat aircraft.

    Not much to do with this topic but just an interesting side-note on the practical uses of infrared technology.

  13. As long as we’re on the subject, most people don’t realize that the most accurate CO2 measuring devices also are IR based. They utilize those narrow bandwidths of CO2 IR absorption to measure the amount of CO2 in an atmospheric air sample.

    A while ago, I took a look at the history of the supposed pristine CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa. I pulled up two papers (Keeling 1960, and Thoning 1989) describing the methods, calibration protocol followed, etc.

    They have been following very good protocol. However, they have to constantly calculate out the effects of the nearby Mauna Loa volcanic activity. Mostly during night times, due to the prevailing winds, the CO2 measuring devices do jump showing dramatic increases in CO2 from the volcanoes. They supposedly developed algorithms to eliminate those errors. I haven’t looked at those yet.

    HOWEVER, that activity from Mauna Loa volcanoe, has another effect that I HAVE NOT SEEN THEM TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION.

    If Mauna Loa volcanoe is potent enough to send their CO2 measurements skyward, that means that WARM AIR from the volcano at night, is also affecting their temperature data. It’s the same warm air that contains increased CO2. And I would bet it also has biased their night time temperature data. BUT THERE IS NO MENTION THAT THEY HAVE FACTORED THAT WARM AIR EFFECT FROM MAUNA LOA VOLCANOE OUT OF THEIR TEMPERATURE RECORDS!

    In my opinion, the temperature data from Mauna Loa station is greatly suspect from what I can see.

  14. Berényi Péter says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm
    “300 W/m² is more like -3.3°C (26°F). It is still cold though. At -23.4°C (-10°F) black body radiation is only 220 W/m².”

    Gives “warmist” a whole new meaning. Co2 increases might even increase the temp to -2.3 deg C or so.

  15. Ken, I’m glad you are listening to someone that knows what he is talking about. I’ll claim to be somewhat of an expert here as well (I design the IR sensors that go into the kinds of instruments you are talking about).

    I agree with everything MC said except (as Jim D noted) that IR is not reflected by CO2, it is absorbed and then re-emitted in all directions.

  16. Since molecules are 3-dimensional and constantly in motion “green house gases” will re-radiate IR energy in 3 dimensions not just back at the earth

    I doubt that Co2 re-radiates much at all. As soon as the CO2 molecule absorbs any radiation, 90% are immediately quenched by contact with other molecules in air, primarily nitrogen. The other molecules don’t “radiate” in the sense that CO2 does, with bending molecular bonds. They just convect and carry the heat up and away.

    I’ve never seen any science that directly addresses quenching of “warmed” CO2 to other atmospheric gasses prior to “re-radiation.”

  17. >>
    The remaining 0.9 W/m2 seems awfully close to what I would assume to be the inaccuracies in the numbers input to calculate it. You are balancing on a very thin knifes edge with such big numbers as inputs for reaching such a small one. An error of +/- 0.5% on each measurement would potentially throw it off quite a bit, in the worst case.
    <<

    This is a major problem with Trenberth, Fasullo, and Kiehl 2009. They use the same atmospheric window value of 40 W/m^2 as they do in Kiehl and Trenberth 1997.

    There is a minor problem with cloud cover. The cloud cover is supposedly 62%. KT 1997 combines three cloud layers (49%, 6%, & 20%) to get that figure. They call it “random overlap,” whatever that means. It looks like an application of the Inclusion-Exclusion principle. I get 61.6% which rounds to 62%. Their famous energy diagram (fig. 7 in KT 1997 and fig. 1 in TFK 2009) should state: “62% cloud cover assumed.”

    After calculating 62% for the global cloud cover, the term “cloudy” is ambiguous throughout the rest of KT 1997. Every time you see “cloudy,” does KT 1997 mean 100% cloudy, 62% cloudy, or something else?

    My favorite computation is the value for the atmospheric window, and I quote from KT 1997:

    “The estimate of the amount leaving via the atmospheric window is somewhat ad hoc. In the clear sky case, the radiation in the window amounts to 99 W/m^2, while in the cloudy case the amount decreases to 80 W/m^2, showing that there is considerable absorption and re-emission at wavelengths in the so-called window by clouds. The value assigned in Fig. 7 of 40 W/m^2 is simply 38% of the clear sky case, corresponding to the observed cloudiness of about 62%. This emphasizes that very little radiation is actually transmitted directly to space as though the atmosphere were transparent.”

    This is really sloppy math. The term “cloudy” is again ambiguous. If KT 1997’s cloudy term means 62%, then the correct window value is 80 W/m^2. If they mean 80 W/m^2 is a 100% cloudy value then they should interpolate between 99 W/m^2 and 80 W/m^2 and get something like 87 W/m^2. Apparently the 80 W/m^2 cloudy value is thrown in as a detractor, because they interpolate between 99 W/m^2 and 0 W/m^2. Apparently, they obtain 37.62 W/m^2 and round up to 40 W/m^2.

    That’s a slop of at least 2.38 W/m^2 (ignoring the other larger values). The 0.9 W/m^2 seems a little nonsensical to me.

    Jim

  18. The narrative is so clear, practical, non-confrontational, unemotional and straight-forward that I came away thinking “I *almost* understood what he said.” He brought up the measurement accuracy again too, which I posted about in my first post on WUWT a couple years ago, and another commenter has chimed in with his professional experience.

    Are there any matter-of-fact scientific narrative examples similar to this on the AGW side?

  19. Domenic, you have a major error in your calculation: you used IR absorption data for _liquid water_, not gas phase water vapor!

    Even when you correct that, you need to take into account that absorption reaches near 100% in narrow spectral lines, so adding more does not increase absorption linearly. That is why the effect of CO2 only increases approximately as the log of concentration.

  20. >> Jim D says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm
    MC puts KLC right on a few of his misconceptions. I only fault MC’s terminology where he uses the word ‘reflected’ for IR from the sky, when in fact it is emitted. This is probably just loose wording on his part, but there is a scientific distinction. <<

    His statement was that there's always reflection. In a sense, that's true here. Whenever you have a change in the index of refraction you get a reflection at the boundary. I'm not sure how that applies to the continuous change as the atmosphere thins with altitude, but there might be some reflection from that.

  21. Jim D:

    “I only fault MC’s terminology where he uses the word ‘reflected’ for IR from the sky, when in fact it is emitted.”

    I believe the reflection, re-emission, back-scattering terms are describing the same phenomenon, depending on the discipline. In the field of optics, it is considered reflection. From quantum physics we have no such phenomenon, as photons are absorbed and re-emitted. Even in nuclear reactors, old terminology, referred to the “moderator” as a “reflector”. It is a problem during inter-disciplinary discussions, especially when dealing with photons which can be regarded as both particle and wave. Personally, I prefer the term back-scattering as most descriptive of the term/process. GK

  22. Mark Wagner: “As soon as the CO2 molecule absorbs any radiation, 90% are immediately quenched by contact with other molecules in air, primarily nitrogen. …I’ve never seen any science that directly addresses quenching of “warmed” CO2 to other atmospheric gasses prior to “re-radiation.””

    The effect you describe is included in the science. Re-radiation is assumed to occur at about the same temperature as the other gases at that altitude. That is why the measurements described in the article give -50 degrees C or thereabouts.

  23. #
    #
    Schadow says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    In the 1950′s, I was working on the Sidewinder air-to-air missile at the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, CA. Sidewinder’s guidance system is built around an infrared sensor. I remember all the “gee whiz” stuff that was observed during the sensor’s testing, e.g., it would lock on to a quarter moon in the middle of a hot summer day and even Venus at night. The sensor has undergone much improvement since those days and advanced versions of the missile are still seen under-wing on today’s combat aircraft.

    Not much to do with this topic but just an interesting side-note on the practical uses of infrared technology.

    ############
    yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our
    safety as a nation depends upon.

  24. Domenic- the CO2 measurements by Scripps Institute are taken in several locations around the world including the locations near the North and South pole. See http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/research/atmospheric_co2.html These measurements support the findings of the measurements at Mauna Loa. They also show there is a lag of CO2 from the Northern to Southern Hemisphere (the levels in Antarctica lag those in the Northern hemisphere), as expected given the gains in CO2 are primarily from anthropogenic sources.

    The models used by climate modelers show that the heat balance in the upper atmosphere from increased concentrations of CO2 is what matters, not its effect at sea level where water vapor dominates .

    Dennis Wingo- With regard to your statement that climate modelers assume Co2 emits as a black body (emissivity of 1) I believe is not true (the emissivity of CO2 in the IR range is quite low). Further, your statement that is not possible to achieve a measurement less than the accuracy of an instrument is also not correct, as the accuracy can be increased by taking many measurements (up to a threshold). The resultant accuracy is approximately proportional to the square of the number of readings. This holds true in several fields. For example one can determine the position of a smear image of an object on a digital sensor to the resolution of 1/5 the size of a pixel (so-called super-resolution techniques). The recent findings of earth-like planets around other stars uses the change in apparent brightness of the star when a planet or plants are in different positions on their orbit. The sensitivity of the systems used in these measurements is extraordinary, well beyond what scientists thought was possible with state-of-art equipment. By the way where did you see that AGW scientists are measuring temperature to an accuracy of one thousandth of a degree (K?)?

  25. Thank you for posting this Anthony. I am in awe of your sense of fair play. Takes a big man to have the courage to post something that does not necessarily fall in line with your own perspective. WUWT? sets the standard once again.

  26. Ken,
    You referenced Figure 1 in the Trenberth article. This is very similar to the figure for the energy balance of the earth in IPCC AR4 FAQ. What strikes me about the energy balance is that about 160 w/m2 is absorbed by the earth’s surface, of which 17 ascends to the upper atmosphere in themals and 80 is used to evaporate water. That leaves a net of about 60 w/m2 to be radiated. Yet, the diagram shows well over 300 w/m2 being emitted to the CO2 “cloud”. Where does all that energy come from, and what ever happened to the First Law of Thermodynamics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed? There seems to me to be no need of considering the resulting temperature when the energy simply does not add up.
    By the way, it matters little that the energy is circulated. That additional 300 w/m2 has to come from somewhere. It this diagram is correct, then we are getting free energy, in which case we do not need any more power plants at all.

  27. Steve Reynolds says:
    February 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    I agree with everything MC said except (as Jim D noted) that IR is not reflected by CO2, it is absorbed and then re-emitted in all directions
    =================================================
    Steve, Since it’s constantly being exposed to IR, when it’s saturated, does it just reflect because it can’t absorb any more?
    Or is it in a constant state of absorbing and re-emitting? neutralizing itself?

    Since it’s constantly being exposed to IR, does [?? ]

  28. Domenic Wrote:
    “Thus, the comparative effects on ‘global’ warming, changes in H2O composition in the atmostphere are probably 1000X greater than CO2 changes in terms of contribution to ‘greenhouse effect’.”

    This fact has been acknowledged by the AGW community, but as their argument goes, the relatively small added heat from CO2 creates a positive feedback loop that includes adding more water vapor into the atmosphere until there comes a ‘tipping point’ where the global temperatures go into thermal runaway.

    CO2 is the “trigger” of of this positive feedback AGW, not necessarily the source of all the extra heat.

    As a “warmist,” I cannot deny that CO2 does absorb and re-radiate heat energy. It is the existence of positive feedback vs. negative feedback mechanisms in the atmosphere that is at the heart of the global warming debate.

  29. What one is measuring is interesting. But one of the problems in this debate is the assumptions made by the AGW proponents and the fact that everything is treated as if it were an average. Averaging can be a useful tool. However, it is almost invariably the case that when one examines any given individual scenario, one is looking at something other than the average. In other words, the average is rarely encountered in the real world experience. This obviously has a bearing when one considers what they wish to see when making a measurement. Ken Coffman ponders upon an experiment where he is hoping to measure back radiation of 300w per sqm, but this is the so called average back radiation and this raises the question of precisely where on planet Earth would you see that amount of back radiation? It is highly unlikely to be seen at the location where he was conducting the experiment. That being the case, the results of the measuring experiment may tell one little about the effects of CO2.

    I can understand that CO2 absorbs IR and then re-radiates this in all directions, some up, some sideways and some downwards etc. This scattering is a continuing process such that I can understand that as a consequence of that, CO2 delays IR finding its way out to space. However, what I do not understand is how this effectively heats up the Earth.

    The average global temperature of the Earth will only heat up if the amount of energy received from the sun is not fully re-emitted back to space (by way of all forms of energy dispersion). But CO2 merely delays the escape of IR radiation, it does not provide an impenetrable shield preventing the IR from escaping back to space.

    This then begs the question whether the encumbrance/delay caused by CO2 has any significant impact. The answer to this appears to me to be whether the delay is of such magnitude that all the IR does not have time to escape to space during the time when the Earth is not receiving energy from the sun. Whilst this process is happening 24 hours a day, simplistically the question is whether during the period of night there is sufficient time for all the energy received during the day to escape back into space. If there is sufficient time during night for this to happen, then there is no effective energy entrapment and the Earth will not be heating up.

    IR travels at the speed of light. Approximately 300,000 km per second. If a photon of energy was to take a direct route to space this would involve a distance of about 120km. If because of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere, the photon does not take a direct route but instead bounces around millions of times taking a zigzag course into space (bearing in mind that the density of CO2 decreases with height), we are delaying the IR escape into space by minutes. It is clear that all the energy received during the day, can (subject to water vapour and clouds etc) escape into space within less than an hour of sunset even if the concentration of CO2 were to double. So how does CO2 cause warming in the real world in which we live in?

  30. I had to dig deeply through my old space program files to find this one:

    I fully realize that I have not succeeded in answering all your questions. Indeed, I feel I have not answered any of them completely. The answers I have found only serve to raise a whole new set of questions, which only lead to more problems, some of which we weren’t even aware were problems. To sum it all up, in some ways I feel we are more confused than ever, but I believe we are confused on a higher level, and about more important things.

  31. Really nice article.

    I would like to see much more discussion of the actual physics involved here because this is all happening at the quantum level – where physics is king – not in climate models where 20 km-square boxes and just 21 layers of the atmosphere is king.

    The numbers is this debate are staggeringly huge as well as staggeringly small.

    – the energy represented by a solar photon spends an average 43 hours in the Earth system before it is lost to space. Some spend just a millisecond while a very, very tiny percentage might get absorbed in the deep ocean and spend a thousand years on Earth or longer. In essence, the Earth has accumulated 1.9 days worth of solar energy. If the Sun did not come up tomorrow, it would take around 86 hours for at least the land temperature to fall below -200C.

    – the energy represented by a solar photon spends time in 5 billion individual molecules on Earth before it escapes to space. That means it is bouncing around from molecule to molecule to molecule almost continuously. The IR emitted by the surface is not skipping Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules and preferentially seeking out CO2 and H20 only. Every molecule on Earth and in the atmosphere is participating in this process and does so continuously. Maybe CO2 or H20 provides the initial absorption, but that energy is shared amongst the rest of the atmospheric molecules almost immediately. What happens to it then?

    – The surface accumulates almost none of the solar energy which hits the surface during the height of the day. 960.000 joules/m2/second is coming in and 959.083 joules/m2/second is moving up and away from the surface. At night, virtually no energy is coming in and only 0.001 joules/m2/second is flowing up and out to space. That is not consistent at all with the greenhouse theory and the back-radiation theory. It is more consistent with energy flowing from hot to cold continously (like the second law of thermodynamics) and it flows faster the more there is a differential between that hot and cold.

    – We need a time perspective on radiation physics because it is happening at the speed of light and at the miniscule amount of time that a molecule absorbs that energy before passing it on through emission or collisional exchange. CO2 holds onto an absorbed IR photons for an average 0.000005 seconds before it is emitted or passed onto another molecule, Every atmospheric molecule hits another atmospheric molecule every 0.00000000015 seconds, an emitted IR photon from the surface could escape the atmosphere in just 0.000016 seconds at the speed of light – yet it actually takes 40 hours to make the journey. In the Sun, the average photon takes 200,000 years to make it out.

    Is there a climate model that can simulate that accurately? It would be far too complicated for any computer even 1000 years from now to be able to simulate accurately. We have to empirically measure what is really happening in such a complicated system and base models on that instead. What is really happening is that the theory is off by at least half to date.

  32. Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.

  33. steven mosher says:
    February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our
    safety as a nation depends upon.”
    ======
    WOW, did you just say skeptics are too stupid to defend themselves??

    Sounds like you helped protect us, thanks for that!!
    I’ll say it again, thanks.

    Now, it is time to protect ourselves, from ourselves.

  34. Mark Wagner says:
    February 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve never seen any science that directly addresses quenching of “warmed” CO2 to other atmospheric gasses prior to “re-radiation.”

    ======================

    Mark, this has been discussed right here a couple of times before. See:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/31/does-co%e2%82%82-heat-the-troposphere/

    Just if anyone else wants something to consider:

    This is a two way street and the energy moving from CO2 to N2 and O2 can go backwards to both H2O and CO2 eventually, for all energy does leave the earth only by radiation. And since there are some 100x more H2O molecules up to the tropopause, mostly H2O accepts this energy and radiates it to space.

    [ And yes, a bit less than half is directed downward, but “back radiation” is a null effect when speaking of surface to space transfer, it can’t actually re-warm the surface in bulk (thermodynamically), only if you speak of singular photons and ignore the other effect (cooling) that cancels. ]

    If you are speaking of published scientific papers I have not seen any either.

    All of Mikael Cronholm’s explanations are well worded and even the mention of reflection can be quite correct if placed in the right frame of reference. All reflection is an absorption and re-emission at the quantum level for Richard Feynman made that so perfectly clear in his explanation of his quantum electrodynamics.

    http://vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8

    If you listen to his lectures, just replace the glass with the atmosphere and the light with infrared and ask: Can the IR cancel just as he describes black reflection bands as his mental counter goes Zzzzzzzzz….. (on the complex plane)?

  35. Wonderful Stuff ……… I would like to confirm that CLOUDS ( shouting loudly ! ) are the winners in my book, I have just spent 5 days on a very remote beach on the west coast of Baja, no people, no lights, nothing ……. just the big blue watery thing called the PACIFIC, the big yellow thing called the SUN and on one cold windy day some white stuff called CLOUDS ………. they had a stunning effect for that day, then were gone.

    In the isolation that I was experiencing the big three just made sense………Thanks for the very interesting IR info and discussion.

  36. John S says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm
    “[…] This fact has been acknowledged by the AGW community, but as their argument goes, the relatively small added heat from CO2 creates a positive feedback loop that includes adding more water vapor into the atmosphere until there comes a ‘tipping point’ where the global temperatures go into thermal runaway.”

    The tipping point, if it exists, should be observable first in hot, moist regions, then. So places like the Amazon should “tip” before, say, sub-zero wintery Siberia. Once a hot, moist place on Earth “tips over”, the generated increased moisture should spread, making neighbouring regions “tip over” into the “hothouse Earth” mode.

    In fact, the threshold difference between the Amazon rain forest and Siberia should be so big that a much smaller CO2 concentration should suffice to make the rainforest tip over initially than Siberia.

    So, if we want to find proof for the existence of the tipping point, we should watch the rainforest. And maybe one could do an experiment. CO2 is heavier than air. Erect a big circular “fence” of thin plastic, maybe lifted up with a number of balloons, and increase the CO2 concentration within the fence. That should bring us much closer to the tipping point. As surface LWIR is absorbed and re-emitted by CO2 after a few meters, the effect should be measurable even if the fence is only say a 100 m high.

    The fence would also ensure that the “tipping” can’t spread to pristine wilderness. Any takers?

  37. “For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    If not, it is not science, it is guessing.

    More like a horoscope…”

    Completely nailed AGW to the mast….
    Or he could have said “More like a religion…”
    Either is probably acceptable…

  38. steven mosher says @ February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm:
    “the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny”

    “Many skeptics,” indeed. Well, “some say” they are sick and tired of strawman characterizations of their skeptical positions.

  39. John S says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm
    Domenic Wrote:
    “Thus, the comparative effects on ‘global’ warming, changes in H2O composition in the atmostphere are probably 1000X greater than CO2 changes in terms of contribution to ‘greenhouse effect’.”

    This fact has been acknowledged by the AGW community, but as their argument goes, the relatively small added heat from CO2 creates a positive feedback loop that includes adding more water vapor into the atmosphere until there comes a ‘tipping point’ where the global temperatures go into thermal runaway.

    CO2 is the “trigger” of of this positive feedback AGW, not necessarily the source of all the extra heat.

    As a “warmist,” I cannot deny that CO2 does absorb and re-radiate heat energy. It is the existence of positive feedback vs. negative feedback mechanisms in the atmosphere that is at the heart of the global warming debate.

    It is more the insistence that there is one linear positive feedback – the rate of water evaporation into the atmosphere and then water vapor acting solely as a ‘green house gas’ that is at the heart of the debate. For example, if the water vapor feedback is initially positive but then becomes strongly negative due to albedo effects of clouds and release of latent heat at height above the optically thick CO2/H2O layers of the atmosphere (this appears to be shown to be the case by satellite metrics) then the AGW hypothesis fails.

  40. I will clarify my earlier statement regarding IR emission versus reflection. Reflection of IR photons is negligible if you remember (e.g. from “why is the sky blue?” arguments) that scattering is greater for shorter wavelengths (scattering being reflection), and IR has a long wavelength relative to visible light. The measured IR from the sky is pretty much all emitted by CO2 and H2O molecules (and the other greenhouse gases present). You don’t see the same photons coming back down as the ones going up from the earth.

  41. Good discussion that adds to the recent posts I made about experiments using an IR thermometer to get a sense of the “effective” temperature of the sky as seen from the ground.

    The important thing that this experiment shows, is that unless the ground or ocean surface is receiving direct sunlight its entire view to the sky is in effect a very very cold surface. As you mention it is frequently off scale low on my IR thermometer which reads down to -76 deg F (-60 deg C) at emissivity 0.95 setting.

    As a result a surface like the ground, a roof, or the ocean surface must always be losing heat to the sky by IR if it is not directly illuminated by the sun (or scattered sunlight from clouds etc.) The only other source of heat energy to maintain the temperature of that surface must come from heat transferred from the air, which by comparison is very small unless there is air motion.

    It is perhaps a subtle distinction for some folks, but the CO2 and water vapor “back radiation” does not “warm the ground” or the ocean surface, it only “reduces the rate at which it is cooling by IR radiation” to the apparent surface of the very very cold sky.

    As I showed in the measurements I made in the IR, due to this constant IR exchange between surfaces and the cold sky, there is very little relationship between the air temperature and nearby surfaces. At night, concrete is a very efficient radiator in the IR being like asphalt a nearly perfect black body radiator with an emissivity in the high 90% range (different sources give different values but most cluster between 0.95-0.98 for both).

    What is more important, in a built up area, is a given piece of ground has a significantly reduced view of the sky due to buildings. As a result it cannot cool as rapidly through IR radiation to the sky at night because most of its hemispherical view is no longer of the open sky but rather building walls that are only a few degrees cooler than the air temperature rather than deep into the subzero IR temperatures of the open sky.

    The urban heat island effect is as much to do with changes in visibility of the sky, as it is about waste heat lost from buildings. Even if you built an empty town that used no energy, ground measurements would still be warmer at night due to this change in the IR view of the sky due to structures and modifications of the topography that limit the hemisphere of the sky that is viewable from any given surface.

    An analogy could be made if you replaced IR radiation with visible light. The sky would be a deep black but all nearby surfaces are very bright . The illumination of the ground surface would be completely dominated by the bright surfaces in a built up area, where in the open prairie or desert the illumination of a flat surface would be completely dominated by the black sky, with only a trace of scattered light from the nearby ground.

    No matter how much you insulate buildings or reduce their energy consumptions, you will not change this IR view issue to the sky. Surfaces will always be warmer in a built up area than they would be in the open unobstructed environment of open ground regardless of energy consumption.

    Larry

  42. Hans Erren says on February 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.

    Hmmm, surely, it is every second particle?

    Secondly, which particles? H2O, CO2, O2, N2?

    Which has the larger effect?

  43. Latitude: “Since it’s constantly being exposed to IR, when it’s saturated, does it just reflect because it can’t absorb any more?”

    There is no reflection from a gas. Also, under normal conditions, CO2 in the atmosphere does not become ‘saturated’ if I understand how the term is being used.

    Latitude: “Or is it in a constant state of absorbing and re-emitting? neutralizing itself?”

    Yes, molecules are absorbing, equilibrating temperature with surrounding molecules, and emitting at the equilibrated temperature in random directions.

  44. Steve Reynolds says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    Yes, molecules are absorbing, equilibrating temperature with surrounding molecules, and emitting at the equilibrated temperature in random directions.
    ======================================================
    So it’s just absorbing and scattering the IR, same in and same out.

    Wasn’t clear on that, I slept through class…….

    thanks Steve

  45. “bulbs emitting 300W/m2 is simply impossible, because 300W/m2 corresponds to a very low temperature!”

    It wouldn’t be a conventional “bulb” first of all because those are nowhere near blackbody spectrum and second of all because they’re near infrared not far infrared.

    Your “light bulb” would be a piece of black metal with an area of 1 square meter maintained at a temperature at of -23.4C. In most cases you’d have to be cooling it below ambient temperature unless you were operating it outdoors the other night in Oklahoma when it hit -35C then you’d need to run a bit of electricity through it to heat it up some.

    This is essentially what the great experimental physicist John Tyndall did 150 years ago when he experimentally verified infrared opacity in various gases. Tyndall’s main “light bulb” was a copper vessel painted with lamp-black filled with boiling water which emits a blackbody spectrum in the far infrared and maintains a pretty constant temperature without much hassle since water won’t heat above its boiling point without pressurizing the vessel. It was aimed at a brass tube polished to a mirror finish on the inside and capped on each end with a plate of rock salt (rock salt is practically transparent to infrared) with valves and a vaccuum pump to evacuate the tube and introduce the gases he wanted to test. On the far end had a thermopile and galvanometer. The galvanometer response was non-linear and so to keep the thermopile outputting a voltage in the linear high-sensitivity range of the device he put another “infrared source on the backside of the thermopile with an adjustable shield to regulate how much radiation the thermopile received from the backside. The setup was quite sensitive and just a warm body in the same room with it would compromise the experiments. To demonstrate its sensitivity Tyndall would bring the thermopile/galvnometer into halls where he was giving a lecture, aim it at a wall on the other side of the lecture hall then have a member of the audience step into its view and the galvanometer would peg at the max reading. So a warm body moving around the lab during an expermental runs didn’t compromise the results he read the galvanometer from a distance with a telescope. It was quite the ingenious experimental setup given the times (1850).

    The thermopile was quite sensitive and just a warm body in the same room with it threw it off so

  46. Bill Illis says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm
    “The IR emitted by the surface is not skipping Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules and preferentially seeking out CO2 and H20 only.”

    I would say the IR photons *do* skip the N2 and O2 molecules as these molecules can’t absorb IR. The IR photon does not “see” these molecules but passes through them as if they weren’t there.

    Of course, after the IR photon is absorbed by, say CO2, the energy is thermalized and can be transferred from, say CO2 to N2 – but also back from N2 to CO2, and the CO2 can re-emit an IR photon.

  47. steven mosher says:

    yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our
    safety as a nation depends upon.

    Wow, mosher. You must be bored to start taking cheap shots at strawmen. As far as I know, there aren’t many skeptics that deny the physics, just the conclusions that Earth is going to see a large temperature increase because of it.

  48. Charles Nelson says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Absolutely brilliant…thank you. I like the term ‘increase earth’s coupling with space’ I have been trying to explain this to the numpties for ever.
    One question I ask CO2 Warmists is, ‘have you ever noticed the outside temperature when flying on a plane at cruising altitude…-30 to -60 degrees C. right? Have you ever looked down and wondered what is happening at the top of the cloud layer…heat loss right? So if the atmosphere was to get warmer wouldn’t these clouds simply rise a little higher because of convection and lose their energy through radiation into the vast reservoir of coldness above?
    Interestingly I find that when I use words like radiation and convection they tend to glaze over and lose interest. In fact I don’t think that ‘science’ matters that much to believers…
    Keep up the good work guys.

    Brilliant. Focus on one particular phenomenon, radiation from the tops of clouds, as if that is all that is going on. No need to look at any other effect to determine the plausibility of the idea that GHG’s emission are going to warm the planet. No need to do any mathematical modeling. All you need to do is believe what you want to believe, and select those phenomena which confirm your beliefs and focus on it.

    It is great propaganda and apologetics, but hardly science.

    REPLY:

    “Brilliant. Focus on one particular phenomenon, radiation from the tops of clouds, as if that is all that is going on.”

    Well said, we should stop focusing on CO2, as if that is all that is going on. – Anthony

  49. There’s no need to be confused. The “canard” the author refers is no canard but a manifestation of his ignorance. The infrared absorption characteristics of various gases was measured experimentally 150 years by John Tyndall. If you shine far infrared light through a column of IR-transparent gas the amount of radiation you get on the far side of the column is the same as you get going through a column of vacuum. If you replace the transparent gas (like nitrogen) with an IR-absorptive gas (like water vapor) there is less radiation emitted at the far end of the column. The gas absorbs the radiation from a directional source and re-emits it in all directions. In Tyndal’s apparatus there were only two exits for the radiation since the column was a brass tube polished to a mirror finish on the inside – the two exits were plates of rock salt at either end of the tube. The radiation entering the column remains the same no matter what gas (or vacuum) is in the column but the radiation exiting the column at the far end varies according the kind of gas in the column. Energy must be conserved so what’s missing at the far end of the tube has to be going somewhere – in fact it heats the gas which increases the amount of energy the gas is emitting and since the gas emits in all directions some of the energy goes through the rock salt entrance plate instead of the exit plate while some smaller portion will heat the brass tube through conduction and some even smaller amount will heat the tube through absorption because even brass polished to a mirror finish isn’t quite 100% reflective.

  50. For 300 W/m2 radiation I get -23.4°C at 300 W/m2 when I calculate it (yes, minus!). Pretty cool
    ———-
    I get the impression that there is some miscomprehension here.

    I would say that the flux of 300W/m2 being calculated here, is not the same as the 300W/m2 of down-radiated atmospheric IR.

    Maybe the definition of terms and conditions in the SB formula needs to be verified.

  51. Well said, we should stop focusing on CO2, as if that is all that is going on. – Anthony
    ===============================================
    Now that really was brilliant! good one………

  52. Hans Erren says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.

    ———-

    That’s right. Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small upward radiator also, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell is why there is no real “greenhouse effect”. The two effects always cancel. You say ‘more warming downward’ and I say ‘also equal cooling upward’.

    You see, it’s a two way street in real physics, you just ignore the part that doesn’t fit your (incorrect) view.

    That to me that is why Miskolczi came up with the results he did. Now why, No one has answered that. Is it that with the small increase of temperature we have seen and the small expansion of the atmosphere does cause a higher fraction to escape to space because we do live on a sphere and not an infinite plane and that is merely a geometric effect (ex-secant correction)? Could it be that there is one or more negative feedbacks? Is it a combination of both? I’m still searching.

  53. To Steve Reynolds

    1. There is not a great deal of difference, if any, between liquid phase H2O spectral transmission and water vapor spectral transmission. I used those two graphs because data from NIST tends to be more reliable than most that I have seen.

    But here’s another graph for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmosfaerisk_spredning.gif

    See the wide absorption band at 5.5 to 7.7 microns…that is entirely by water vapor, H2O. Compare it to the narrow bands absorbed by CO2 in the same graph. In the vapor state, it is still at least 10X greater for this wavelength spread.

    There is a problem though, and that is that we have to speculate over the entire spectral output of the dominating forces especially the sun, which outputs much energy in shorter wavelengths to the earth. To my knowledge, that data (spectral absorption and transmission and reflection of CO2 and H2O) has never really been assembled as there had never seemed to be a need for it.

    2. CO2 does indeed have a reflective component as does H2O. Only a black body has no reflective component. The reflective component of H2O is better known than that of CO2 because water is more common, and has been tested for IR more thoroughly. All real world materials are reflective, absorptive and emissive. In general, metals are highly reflective (think Al foil, etc) on one end of the scale, organics and others less so, water being one of the most absorptive, least reflective. And the reflective component is highly wavelength measured dependent, as well as angularly dependent (the angle with which the wavelength strikes the molecule).

    But for magnitudes of the effect on the atmosphere in terms of greenhouse effect, the known data is sufficient to see the HUGE differentials between water vapor effects vs. CO2 effects.

  54. Dennis Wingo says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    With so many scientists arguing about the effects of CO2 I am not the one to think I have the answers. I really don’t know what the truth is. And the problem that all these scientists have is that they will never be able to test if their theories are correct, because the time spans are too long. For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.
    There is no such thing as absolute proof of a theory in science. We don’t need that in order to take action on the basis of the knowledge that we have.

    More detailed observations can tell us more precisely what is happening in the present, so that we don’t have to wait 100 years to find out the outcome of increasing CO2 concentrations. That is the purpose of the scientific research that is going on. Observations of radiation, behavior of clouds, and other phenomena that are involved, plus innovation in computers and models, provide the information needed to produce better predictions of climate change.

    Now that is a wise statement. As someone who designs temperature measurement systems (principally for spacecraft) I have always been amused that the AGW community can make the statement that they can use an instrument with 0.5 degree accuracy and get 0.001 degree temperature variation out of it.
    No one is claiming that as far as I have seen.


    In designing thermal control systems for spacecraft you have to be incredibly sensitive to the absorptivity/emissivity (a/e ratio). If you get this even slightly wrong in spacecraft design, you either run the equilibrium temperature too high and it will fail, or too low and it will fail.

    MC makes the observation that the radiated temperature is 100% dependent upon emissivity, which is correct, but I have never seen this really integrated into AGW models, they simply use a blackbody approximation, which is a terrible reference in that this varies wildly around the world.
    I think you are wrong about this. Models provide for different emissivities for snow, forests, grassland, rocks ocean etc.


    Also, the models do not take into account the dramatic differences in resulting temperature based upon altitude, especially in desert regions of the globe.

    This is clearly wrong. Models do take altitude into account in the prediction of climate change.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%281997%29010%3C0288%3AEDOTSC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Elevation Dependency of the Surface Climate Change Signal: A Model Study


    A lot of physics modeling operates by making simplifying assumptions, but how many of these assumptions are testable and repeatable?

    These assumptions are constantly being tested. One of the first assumptions made, by Arrhenius in 1896, in his modeling of CO2’s impact on global temperature was that average Relative Humidity would be constant and water vapor concentration in the atmosphere would increase, resulting in positive feedback for temperature increase. Satellite observations are being made which seem to confirm this assumption.

    http://news.cisc.gmu.edu/doc/publications/Chung%20et%20al%202010.pdf

    In spite of significant biases in tropospheric temperature
    and humidity in climate models [John and Soden,
    2007] and resultant compensating effects in simulating the
    clear-sky OLR, our analysis finds broad consistency between
    the observed and modeled rates of clear-sky OLR radiative
    damping. This consistency is noted over a broad range of
    observable sources of climate variations, suggesting that the
    strong correlations between water vapor and temperature
    necessary to generate such sensitivities are a robust feature
    of both models and observations. This analysis offers
    further evidence to support the ability of climate models
    to depict the physical processes related to the combined
    water vapor and temperature climate feedback.

    This is the basis of a lot of my skepticism on the models involved.

    It seems then that the basis of your skepticism is not real.

  55. Domenic says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    “In addition, water vapor is approx 3.5% of the atmosphere or 35000 ppm. (That’s a global average. At the poles the air is drier. In the tropics, the air is much wetter.)”

    True enough. It varies between 1% (Sahara) and 5% (Amazon) except for Antarctic interior where it is close to 0%. But that’s at the surface. Adiabatic lapse rate squeezes out the water vapor with falling temperature while CO2 concentration remains constant with altitude.

    Tyndall (circa 1850) however found that the concentration of the gas doesn’t matter but rather the total amount of the gas in the column is all that matters. He confirmed that by varying the pressure and length of the column. Tyndall performed literally thousands of experiments with varying, varying pressures, varying column lengths, and varying infrared frequencies.

    To begin understanding the physics of greenhouse gases one must at least be familiar with what was experimentally demonstrated by physicists in the mid-19th century.

    There’s plenty to complicate the situation in the real world beyond comprehension because the atmosphere is a dynamic system with varying gases, pressures, and many physical processes other than radiation going on that are moving heat from one place to another and radically different and rapidly variable rates.

  56. the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny.

    This statement is an insult to the intelligence of people who actually work in the field. The parameters related to the absorption and re-emission of IR radiation by CO2 were worked out by the USAF (the early parts were classified), in what used to be called “upper atmospheric research”. Spectrometer technology was specifically improved to the point to where the individual quantum absorption and emission lines were discerned by the mid-late 1950’s.

    These measurements were used as a validation of the gaussian to Lorentz transform that characterizes the increase in the absorption/emission lines of CO2 and other IR absorbers/emitters. This was used to design the IR sensors of ALL of our inventory of IR sensing missiles.

    If you find the equations for this emission/absorption, you will find that the increase in the line widths is proportional to the increase in the minor gas against the ENTIRE atmosphere, not just the concentration of the gas relative to the arbitrary baseline of 280 ppm. The absorption/emission of CO2 has two dependent variables, temperature and pressure, neither of which are accurately characterized in the models used by the AGW community.

    All of this is set forth in any Quantum Mechanics book on the theory of light, of which the relevant IR wavelengths absorbed/emitted by CO2 are a part. The relevant text I use is from Loudon, pages 82-89.

    Why don’t you have the moral courage to look that up and derive the effect of the increase of CO2 yourself. You will be surprised at the result.

  57. Anthony,

    This exchange was a treat, it amazes me sometimes what can be learned on the web.

    This quote
    “For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    If not, it is not science, it is guessing.

    More like a horoscope…”
    —–
    Is intriguing as well. Gore and company stopped long ago trying to prove anything. They were more interested in having enough of their theories “accepted” to stay at the grant trough. In a way it is reminiscent of the times when it was “accepted” that the Sun orbited the Earth. But then it was more for religious reasons than scientific. Today Gore strives to maintain his religious acceptance of CAGW to prop up the price of his offset credits.

  58. W. Falicoff says: “Further, your statement that is not possible to achieve a measurement less than the accuracy of an instrument is also not correct, as the accuracy can be increased by taking many measurements (up to a threshold). The resultant accuracy is approximately proportional to the square of the number of readings.”

    HHmmmm. If a basic sensor has a mean error of 0.75 deg., and 3 sigma of say +/- 0.25 deg., your true error will be between 0.5 & 1.0 deg no matter how many readings you take. You might want to add a few qualifiers.

  59. A safe statement is “increasing atmospheric CO2 will result in increasing surface temperature if nothing else changed“. What causes “confusion at a higher level” is that lots of other things DO change and the amount of warming directly attributable by CO2 infrared absorption and re-emission is small and can be utterly swamped (lost in the noise) by many other dynamic processes. Water in all its phases has the starring role in shaping our climate. CO2 plays a major role in surface temperature only during so-called “snowball earth” episodes when most of the water vapor has been frozen out of the atmosphere and there’s little to no liquid water presenting on the surface. In that case there are no working CO2 sinks so volcanoes, which keep on belching out CO2, gradually build up the amount of CO2 in the column until there’s enough greenhouse effect to begin melting the planet. If it weren’t for CO2 the earth would likely be covered in ice with no hope of ever melting. That’s the most commonly accepted hypothesis at any rate and I personally haven’t seen anything that seriously disputes it.

  60. Maybe those who doubt the ‘frequency selective’ nature of CO2 IR spectra should investigate Molecular Spectroscopy as it relates to the vibrational modes of CO2 (and the other important GH gas WV) on account of it’s molecular properties:

    By examining the emission spectrum of the CO2 laser, we are able to understand much about the CO2 molecule and about the dynamics of diatomic and triatomic molecules in general. The CO2 laser is a molecular laser, meaning that it generates light from the vibrations and rotations of the CO2 molecules in the plasma rather than from electronic transitions between energy levels, as in a He-Ne laser.

    Like a spring between two masses, the binding forces between the atoms of the CO2 molecule cause the atoms to move in one of three vibrational modes: the symmetric stretching mode, asymmetric stretching mode, and the bending mode.

    Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_spectroscopy

    High-school level physics, boys …

    .

  61. wayne says on February 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Hans Erren says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.

    That’s right. Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small upward radiator also, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell is why there is no real “greenhouse effect”. The two effects always cancel. You say ‘more warming downward’ and I say ‘also equal cooling upward’.

    What you have said, Wayne, does not seem correct to me.

    It seems to me that approximately half the energy absorbed by CO2 would be re-radiated upwards and half downwards.

    They do not cancel.

    The energy remains in the atmosphere for a little longer than it otherwise would, but I suspect that it does not matter as H2O transports much more energy out of the atmosphere and any that is “trapped” by CO2 quickly departs during the night.

  62. There is no reason for the warmist to exhibit glee to the admission of CO2 narrow back-scatter effect. All substances absorb and emit IR (yes, even salt and quartz windows). It is all about spectrum or frequency and a molecule’s representative target cross sectional area .

    The debate is entirely about CO2 back-scatter’s significance on the actual climate.

    Since theoretically, CO2 IR spectrum is already saturated, any additional molecules, simply cannot affect much. The same is not true concerning the planets biomass. It will expand exponentially to increased temps, increased CO2, and increased available moisture. This too will have a feedback. As stated many times, this is about climate sensitivity as per much debated feedbacks and forcings. GK

  63. Dennis Wingo says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    … The absorption/emission of CO2 has two dependent variables, temperature and pressure, neither of which are accurately characterized in the models used by the AGW community. …

    – – – – – – – –

    Dennis, I see you great point but could you expand a bit on your statement above? I’m wondering if that could be temperature and density, for a slightly warmer atmosphere will expand but the mass remains constant, therefore, density drops but the pressure remains constant at sea level (average that is). Does it make sense?

  64. Anthony,

    doesn’t your camera “see” in the near infrared? The earth emits in the far infrared. The cut-off is at about 4um between the two I believe.

    Some of that wonderful military hardware some people keep talking about is working in the near infra-red and has little applicability to the back radiation issue!!

    The scatter, reflection, absorption bit I have been trying to clarify also. Reflection generally refers to the effect where a particle or wave encounters and leaves an object or field at the same angle. Scatter is where the direction is random. Absorption, of course, is where there is no exiting wave or particle. They are different.

    Electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere is rarely reflected by gasses, only particles like water droplets or aerosols. They are either scattered or absorbed.

    Someone please correct me as I am obviously not the expert here.

  65. To Dave Springer

    Re the measurement of IR absorption.

    The polished tube method is not exact. It’s an approximation. It does not account for angular effects of wavelengths and reflective effects of wavelengths striking the molecules accurately. In addition, it relies on imperfect ‘spectal window transmission coatings’ on the sensor window material, and other factors.

    The science is nowhere as accurate as many believe it to be.

  66. “Back Radiation” is such a horrible analogy, description or way to think about heat transfer in the atmosphere, that I wish it would just go away. What we are concerned with is the flow of heat from the surface of the earth to space. Its not that the surface warms the co2 in the air then the co2 “back radiates” re-warming the surface, its that when the co2 in the air is warmed the flow of heat from the surface to the warmed co2 is reduced, thus increasing the temperature of the surface until the flow of heat returns to equilibrium.

    1) sun rays heats surface of earth
    2) warmed surface radiates, heating greenhouse gasses
    3) smaller temp delta between surface and greenhouse gasses reduces heat flow
    4) reduced heat flow from surface increases surface temperature
    5) equilibrium is restored with higher temp surface and greenhouse gas

    My problem with the greenhouse effect is how do you separate radiation from the effects evaporation, condensation, conduction and convection. Anecdotally I feel that conduction is a far superior mode of heat transfer and evaporation is even better.

    To cool my cup of hot chocolate faster is should:
    a) hold it up to the sky on a low humidity night
    or
    b) blow on it

    When I am hot I should:
    a) stand outside naked on a low humidity night
    or
    b) get soaked in water and stand in front of a fan

  67. Brilliant conversation, thanks for sharing.
    Considering the energy smart rattle being waved by local authorities, one wonders how derelict Urban Authority, IR emission equipment callibration, will be.
    And i’ve learnt the hard way that the moment one puts Red on a map, some policy wonk will smell promotion and run with even the most tenuous data, and as this site so often points out Policy = Misspent funding. Usually when one says IR, the colour red shows up somewhere, and RED = Hot right and away we go.
    One may point out a scale can be quite tight, with the banding representing a single degree, case in point, IR work done in winter. All of a sudden ones city glows bright red, the Policy wonk will scream ‘Look at all that energy wasted!’, until Johnny lab coat points out, ‘That sir is a mere 14 degree’s centigrade’. And you’d be amazed when you point out that water holds a lot of heat, their eyes cross, they don’t like the notion the very landscape is bleeding heat.
    I’d be keen to know what tolerances and ranges equate to a fair IR reading within an urban environment, and with emissivity being so key, one can imagine Urban Authorities taxing by the W/m radiated.

    Good luck with your endeavors.

  68. Oh no, the Ham and radio guys are gonna get me.

    In my statement above I left out the effects of IONIZED gasses which DO reflect electromagnetic radiation.

  69. steven mosher says:
    February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny.

    And if you had any idea what that was, you would have told us instead of delivering that empty and useless trollbuttal. What physics are being denied? Put up or shut up!

  70. Steve Reynolds says:
    February 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    “Even when you correct that, you need to take into account that absorption reaches near 100% in narrow spectral lines, so adding more does not increase absorption linearly. That is why the effect of CO2 only increases approximately as the log of concentration.”

    Actually that’s not quite right. At low CO2 concentrations it’s nearly linear and as concentration rises it becomes logarithmic. John Tyndall experimentally discovered that too by experiment over 150 years ago. It’s pretty much a case of the proverbial low-hanging fruit. The first few molecules get all the fruit they can handle but as the number of molecules increase there’s less and less fruit available per molecule. IIRC correctly the curve is logarithmic by the time concentration reaches 100ppm.

  71. WOW! When Ken asked me if he could have our conversation offered for publication somewhere I had no idea it would create such an interest ans so many extremely initiated comments. I am glad I could contribute even if it is on a fairly basic level, and I apprecite everyones inputs.

    I want to repeat again that I am not on any “side” in the global warming debate. And my opinion is that anyone who claims to be absolutely sure about it may be politically correct but never scientifically correct. There are no scientific proof, one way or the other. Science is not democratic, so counting the forces in your camp is merely silly.

    I do stand corrected on the 300W/m2 calculation, it turns out to be about -3.3C. It does not change the point I was making though.

    I also understand the objection when I say “reflected” regarding the radiation from that is returned to the earth from the atmosphere. Anything WILL reflect, unless it is a blackbody, but true, in IR where I am familiar only about 5% is reflected from water or ice. The rest is absorbed and re-radiated. But my expertise, as I pointed out mainly down on earth.

    Water is an amazing substance and the more I study it the more it amazes me. It has several unique features, among them its incredible ability to store heat, especially latent heat. Just the simple fact that it is a dipole and therefore orders the molecules when it freezes in such a way that the density goes down (unique!) is an important fact that is overlooked. If not for that, we could forget about fish in most freshwater lakes up north, for example.

    But the most important thing with water is its ability to moderate temperature here on earth. The greenhouse effect as such is not a threat – it is an absolutely necessary condition for life on earth. It creates the moderated thermal equilibrium that allows us to live on a planet that does not change its temperatures too much over the day and year. Whether or not we are tinkering too much with that equilibrium is what this whole debate is about, and no proof is yet presented, one way or the other.

    I will look through the comments again one by one when I have a little more time to spend and see if I can make any additional contributions.

    Thanks Ken for pulling these things out of me, and thanks everyone for scrutinizing and commenting on our conversation!

  72. Key point by Mikael Cronholm about the uncertainties……

    ……it is always easier to calculate what an object emits than what it absorbs, because emission will be spreading diffusely from an object, so exactly where it ends up is difficult to predict.

    Mix in variable convection and possible gas density ‘layering’ and the difficulty in measurement is compounded.

  73. _Jim,

    Your comment claims elementary physics around the CO2 molecular bond and transitions. Would you mind explaining whether the transition energy or the bond energy is more important at atmospheric temperatures and why?

  74. richard verney says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    “CO2 delays IR finding its way out to space. However, what I do not understand is how this effectively heats up the Earth.”

    It doesn’t heat the earth any more than insulation in your attic heats your house in the winter. It slows down how fast heat can escape. Since the heat is arriving at the same but leaving at a slower rate this causes the surface to become warmer which then increases the rate at which heat moves across the boundary. A new higher surface equlibrium temperature is thus established. In reality too many other things change too rapidly for equilibrium to ever be attained but the theoretical equilibrium point will rise and thus the target which the system seeks is that much higher.

  75. Slacko says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm
    =======
    So, other than your rant, have you anything to add?
    I can’t wait.

  76. Mikael Cronholm,

    In your paper you say “Radiation is the strongest heat transfer mode”. Please elaborate. From my anecdotal experience conduction and evaporation are stronger modes of heat transfer: sweating is better for cooling down than not, blowing on a cup of hot chocolate is better than letting it cool by radiation.

    What do you think of the concept of “back radiation” whereby “downwelling radiation” from colder air warms the warmer surface of the earth.

  77. Domenic says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    “The polished tube method is not exact. It’s an approximation.”

    It might not be exact but when you have a vacuum in the tube and nitrogen in the tube the thermopile output is uneffected but when you have a greenhouse gas in the tube the thermopile output is reduced.

    That proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s something very different about greenhouse gases illuminated by infrared.

    Feel free to explain the difference via some mechanism other than some gases being transparent to IR and some being opaque. Alternative explanations have two defining characteristics: they are always entertaining and never true.

  78. Awesome article.

    “From my way of thinking, the only thing CO2 can do is increase coupling to space…it certainly can’t STORE or TRAP energy or increase the earth’s peak or 24-hour average temperature.”

    Every AGW supporter I have spoken to cannot get their heads around this concept.

  79. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    “There are no scientific proof, one way or the other.”

    Insofar as some gases absorb infrared radiation and some do not was scientifically proven in the mid-19th century. Your continued denial only means you know less about the physical properties of gases than mid-19th century physicists.

  80. J. Bob says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    W. Falicoff says: “Further, your statement that is not possible to achieve a measurement less than the accuracy of an instrument is also not correct, as the accuracy can be increased by taking many measurements (up to a threshold). The resultant accuracy is approximately proportional to the square of the number of readings.”

    HHmmmm. If a basic sensor has a mean error of 0.75 deg., and 3 sigma of say +/- 0.25 deg., your true error will be between 0.5 & 1.0 deg no matter how many readings you take. You might want to add a few qualifiers.

    If the mean error is know, the readings can be adjusted. If the mean error remains constant, than the temperature anomaly, which is what is being sought will not suffer in accuracy. This is the important point, that many who argue about the problems with temperature data seem to ingore, or not understand.

  81. Bill Illis says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    In essence, the Earth has accumulated 1.9 days worth of solar energy. If the Sun did not come up tomorrow, it would take around 86 hours for at least the land temperature to fall below -200C.

    What!?? Where I live it can sometimes fall from +40C to +36C between sunset and sunrise. I think maybe you left the atmosphere out of that equation.

  82. Dave Springer says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    “Actually that’s not quite right. At low CO2 concentrations it’s nearly linear and as concentration rises it becomes logarithmic. John Tyndall experimentally discovered that too by experiment over 150 years ago. It’s pretty much a case of the proverbial low-hanging fruit. The first few molecules get all the fruit they can handle but as the number of molecules increase there’s less and less fruit available per molecule. IIRC correctly the curve is logarithmic by the time concentration reaches 100ppm.”

    Not sure I like that. The form of the equation shouldn’t change for different numbers unless there’s a discontinuity. It has to be logarithmic over the entire range of positive real numbers and obviously isn’t physical for negative numbers. I think you mean that for low concentrations of Co2 the dependence diverges only slightly from a simple linear dependence and the divergence grows as the concentration grows.

  83. MC – excellent discussion, simple straight forward answers referencing the actual physics. We need more of this in the discussion, not more slogans, so thanks for stepping up!

    Now – H2O vs CO2

    For all the skeptics who have been trying to present the argument that water vapour is so much stronger an absorber than CO2 that CO2 doesn’t matter, sorry, but you are wrong. And I am a hard core skeptic!

    Water vapour is in fact a much stronger absorber than CO2 and in the same approximate spectrum. If water vapour and CO2 were mixed evenly in the atmosphere, that would make CO2 insignificant. But they are NOT. CO2 is reasonably well mixed throughout the troposphere, but water vapour concentration falls rapidly with temperature. As a consequence water vapour declines with both altitude and latitude. What ever CO2 does or does not do, well over 90% of it exists in the atmosphere at temperatures low enough that water vapour is also low enough that CO2 becomes significant by comparison.

    That said, I repeatedly ask the logical next question that I have yet to see a reasonable answer for from the warmists. If CO2 reflects/re-radiates/back-scatters what ever you want to call it, upwardly bound long wave, it makes sense that this would result in a temperature increase which in turn would increase water vapour. BUT, and I repeat BUT, does it not also follow that any increase in water vapour works both ways? That is, certainly the water vapour would re-radiate upward bound LW from earth surface, but it would ALSO re-radiate DOWNWARD bound LW too. The downward bound LW that would normaly have been absorbed at earth surface now has an increased % chance of being re-radiate back up. And we’re not talking about just the downward LW from increased CO2, we’re talking ALL the downward LW from ALL sources. In other words, increased water vapour may in fact have a net positive feedback, but it has a huge, built in, negative feedback too that likely renders the whole calculation near meaningless.

    THERMAL QUENCHING – I saw some comments on this too. This was a big issue for Ernst Beck (may he rest in peace) who felt that this was an under estimated effect of CO2 LW absorption. His explanation was way, Way, WAY over my head. It was a seriously complex issue as there are so many factors that govern how an individual molecule can or cannot aborb or lose a photon when in collision with another dismilar molecule, at what temperature, and at what time period before re-emission would happen anyway. I don’t have any certainty that he was correct, but the explanations and rebuttals showed one thing pretty clearly – no one has a real good grip on the complexities, in the atmosphere in particular, and measuring thermal quenching is darn near impossible.

  84. For completeness and accuracy of the article it should be noted that the “inexpensive” household IR (non-contact single point) thermometers are designed to measure emission from distant solid objects. Therefore they use the “atmospheric window” where air has the least interference with IR and CO2 does not absorb nor emit, so they can get better distant readings of objects they are designed to measure. Hence the device uses an IR detector working in a narrow 8-12um range, right in the center of the window. When pointing to sky, only clouds/haze/smog can affect readings.

    Regarding the Antony’s picture, he should be able to recalibrate the scale of his FLIR camera to colder side, and it is likely that he would see IR images of clouds behind his house in minus-40-50 range, where they fly.

  85. Richard Sharpe says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    What you have said, Wayne, does not seem correct to me.

    It seems to me that approximately half the energy absorbed by CO2 would be re-radiated upwards and half downwards.

    ——-

    Two units of energy goes up, cooling the suface, surface -2, and is absorbed warming the atmosphere, atmosphere +2, your radiators means one unit always goes upward to space, atmosphere now +1, space +1, and one back down to the surface, surface -1, atmosphere is now zero. Plaease tell me what has just happened, for the surface is -1 unit of energy and space is now +1. Why is this so confusing to you?

    And I do know this is ignoring energy that goes via the radiative window directly to space but that effect is exactly the same.

  86. The following is pretty elementary compared with what has been presented in the text and in the comments, but…..this example may help visualization of “back radiation”. I shower in the same stall daily. In the summer, I have to run the water a little cool to keep from overheating myself when the temperature is, say, 20°C. In the winter I have to run the water considerably warmer and keep the air temperature around 22° to keep comfortable. I figure that the difference is due to the difference in temperature of the walls and ceiling in the two seasons.
    Related to this, friends heat their house by means of electrical heating panels that warm the drywall panels in the ceiling. Even though they are barely warm to the touch, they are adequate to keep people in the room comfortable. Radiant energy.

    IanM

  87. u.k.(us) says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Slacko, — other than your rant, have you anything to add?
    I can’t wait.

    What rant? I repelled a rant and posed a question.
    So while you’re waiting, maybe you can figure out “What physics do skeptics deny?” If you lot think you can get away with accusing me of your own folly, you’re wasting your time.

  88. chico sajovic says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    “Mikael Cronholm,

    In your paper you say “Radiation is the strongest heat transfer mode”.”

    Ultimately it’s the ONLY mode as convection, conduction, and mechanical transport (evaporation/condensation) ends where the atmosphere ends.

    But that is certainly a valid point as we live and breathe and raise our crops on or very near the surface and these mechanisms can accelerate the transfer of heat from surface to above the cloud layer resulting in practically no change at the surface. The increase in temperature caused by increased CO2 doesn’t have to be at ground level. It could be at 10,000 ASL and not effect our surface activities one tiny bit. In fact the climate boffins expected to find the CO2 “signature” as a hotspot in the upper troposphere where the air is very dry and they were confounded when the temperature rise was found to be greatest at the surface where the air is very wet. This should have been their first clue that their climate models were fundamentally wrong. But they’d already decided by then that fossil fuel consumption was going to cause great harm to the planet so they had to continue blaming it. The mantra morphed from “global warming” first to “climate change” then when that didn’t resonate with the unwashed masses they changed it again to “global climate disruption”. That’s not science it’s a marketing campaign for an ecoloon religion. A floundering campaign, by the way, which is losing ground at an accelerating rate with every passing day.

  89. From the article:

    “KLC: I still feel like I’m missing something. IR heat lamps are pretty efficient, maybe 90%? Let’s pick a distance of 1 meter and I want to create a one-square meter flooded with an additional 300W/m2. It must be additional irradiation, doesn’t it? That’s going to take a good bunch of lamps and I would feel this heat. However, I go outside and hold out my hand. It’s cold. There’s no equivalent of 300W/m2 heater in addition to whatever has heated the ambient air.”

    What’s missing is that the lamps are already radiating based on their room temperature. The 300W/m2 from the lamps when they are turned on is, of course, additional, whereas the 300W/m2 from the sky is the total heat flux from the sky. The two are not comparing the same thing at all.

    It was also nice to see all the talk about the importance of emissivity. It’s a subtle point that many get wrong.

  90. @chico sajovic, 8.20. I think you talk about the furnace paper then, and in a furnace radiation is much stronger than any other mode. In the radiation section at the bottom, where the flames are, radiation is completely dominant. Up in the convection section, the tubes draw out the remaining energy they can from the exhaust gases, but that is much less than what is added to the feedstock in the radiation section. The clue is that radiation increases with the temperature to the power of 4, according to Stefan-Boltzman’s law, while conduction and convection don’t. Conduction is linear, convection probably less strong than linear, with temperature (logic: just because a surface is 1000C it does not create a storm around it by convection).

  91. my comment above has a mistake. I meant to say “square root” not “square”. Let me provide an example. If we take a photo of an astronomical object such as a star or nebula using a CCD camera that has a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) for one image of say x, then if we take N images of that same object, the SNR will increase by the square of N. That is the new SNR will be (square root of N) times x.

  92. @ Dave Springer. I was not discussing properties of gases. I just say there are no scientific proof that increased CO2 emission causes climate change, or that it does not. And I am not on any side in the debate, for that very reason.

  93. The solar day on Venus is about 582 days.
    So it has long nights of 291 days.
    It has a suface temp of 735 K, 460 C
    Doesn’t that mean it should be emitting 36 times more W/m^2 than the
    Earth at 300K? (735^4)/(300^4)
    How is it, then, that Venus remains so hot, even on its night side?

    It is closer to the Sun, but shouldn’t that mean it is only getting a little over 2.2 times the energy per unit area? Venus also has a high albeto — that ought to help keep it cooler.

    Venus has almost 300,000 times more partial pressure of CO2 than does earth. It has almost no water. If the IR saturated spectra argument is valid, would 10% CO2 be just a bad as 99.5% CO2?

    Surface pressure 93 bar (9.3 MPa)
    Composition ~96.5% Carbon dioxide
    ~3.5% Nitrogen
    0.015% Sulfur dioxide
    0.007% Argon
    0.002% Water vapor
    0.001 7% Carbon monoxide
    0.001 2% Helium
    0.000 7% Neon
    trace Carbonyl sulfide
    trace Hydrogen chloride
    trace Hydrogen fluorid

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

    Is it something as simple as PV=nRT ?
    with the high altitude, low pressure, low temperature stratosphere being the governor for heat loss rate?

  94. I realize that many of you are not fond of the website realclimate.org. However, there are useful posts on the above subject (CO2 radiation exchange in upper atmosphere) at

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    and more importantly at

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/

    Also an important data source for the absorptivity of CO2 is given in the data found in HITRAB at http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hitran//

    This software uses data from HITEMP https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/13476

    “The HITRAN database has been recognized for more than 20 years as the international standard compilation of spectroscopic absorption parameters for atmospheric gases.”

    The following paper has some of the CO2 data (available on line):

    http://faculty.uml.edu/robert_gamache/papers/Rothman_et_al_Preprint.pdf

    From what I have read the emissivity of CO2 does vary as a function of both pressure and wavelength. But I am not an expert on this subject.

  95. Mikael, I am sitting in front of my wood burning heat-o-lator. When the door is closed and the fan running, the room heats up quite quickly, but my body doesn’t. If i want a quick kick of warmth, I turn off the fan, open the door, re-arrange the wood so that the ember side is now facing out, and Whammo! instant warming of the body.

    Also reference the campfire effect. Side facing campfire feels warmth, as the body is cooler then the flames/embers. side away from campfire feels cool/cold, as body on that side is radiating heat to a lower temp atmosphere.

  96. Jim D says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    The measured IR from the sky is pretty much all emitted by CO2 and H2O molecules …

    No Jim. If that were true then the warmth of the sun on my face would be coming in from all directions equally. But even a blind man …
    Or do you mean at night?
    And do you really mean to tell us that nitrogen can’t radiate IR?

  97. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    “@chico sajovic, 8.20. I think you talk about the furnace paper then, and in a furnace radiation is much stronger than any other mode. In the radiation section at the bottom, where the flames are, radiation is completely dominant. Up in the convection section, the tubes draw out the remaining energy they can from the exhaust gases, but that is much less than what is added to the feedstock in the radiation section. The clue is that radiation increases with the temperature to the power of 4, according to Stefan-Boltzman’s law, while conduction and convection don’t. Conduction is linear, convection probably less strong than linear, with temperature (logic: just because a surface is 1000C it does not create a storm around it by convection).”

    Be careful. Just because radiation goes as the 4th power of temperature doesn’t mean it’s always the dominant form of heat transfer. It also has an extremely low coefficient compared to that of conduction or convection of most materials. Also, both conduction and convection are linear with temperature but their respective ratios are dependent on the particular fluid’s properties. Finally, that 1000C surface may not create a storm, but it most certainly will drive noticeable amounts of air or any other surrounding fluid flow. Of course, if you’re using your hand to measure that then you’re probably more worried about the burns you’re getting by holding your hand too close to a very hot object.

  98. Ian W says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    When water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into liquid water and then changes state again and becomes ice, it gives off latent heat for both state changes.

    Does that latent heat release follow Stefan-Boltzmann’s radiative equation ?

    No Ian, latent heat is not really related to S-B. Latent heat means that when you add or remove heat, energy, from a substance it will usually change its temperature, except when there is a phase change. At a phase change, for example melting or evaporation, you will be able to add or remove heat without a change in temperature taking place, the change of heat in the substance causes the phase change to take place instead. In the case of freezing water for example, there is molecular kinetic energy stored in translational movement, i.e. the molecules move around relative to each other (they have a mass, they move=energy). When the liquid turns to a solid crystalline structure, that energy of movement must be removed before the molecules can stand still in relation to each other. That is the latent heat that is released from the water when it freezes. Fruit orchard are actually sprinkled with water to prevent the plants from getting damaged on cold clear night in the spring. The water freezes and give off heat to the plant, preventing it from getting too cold.

    So, as far as S-B is concerned, this process will only influence the input T in that equation, insofar as the cooling or heating of the substance reaches a plateau when latent heat takes effect. The radiation will still always depend on the temperature and emissivity of the substance.

  99. To Dave Springer

    In actuality, to my knowledge, the true greenhouse effect of any gases (including Nitrogen) has never been measured properly. They are calculated based on a lot of basically untested assumptions. (To explain all the assumptions currently used would require a very detailed and long technical paper.)

    To do it correctly, you should use a radiative source at room temp to represent the typical earth radiation temperatures instead of a high heat source used historically in gas detectors. Then the detector itself should be near absolute zero to simulate outer space at night time rather than the room temperature state it normally is in a gas detector.

    In other words, this proposed setup should be an exact simulation of night time conditions. The gases you put inside the tube can represent any kind of atmosphere conditions, or gases, that you wish.

    THEN you DIRECTLY measure the longwave radiation transmission, to a great extent, etc of the various gases in the atmosphere.

    For those of you with IR guns or devices, you can see true greenhouse effects directly at night by aiming your IR device at the center of the sky on a cloudless night, and then comparing that reading to another night by aiming at the center of the sky when the sky is full of clouds. That is a TRUE greenhouse effect differential measurement.

  100. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    It is perhaps a subtle distinction for some folks, but the CO2 and water vapor “back radiation” does not “warm the ground”

    Why not? Does it have to do with the 10 micron wavelength?

    or the ocean surface,

    Why not? Those photons have to go somewhere. Why does this look like a “missing heat” problem?

    it only “reduces the rate at which it is cooling by IR radiation” to the apparent surface of the very very cold sky.

    So “back radiation … only reduces … cooling.”
    Huh??

  101. @ Tsk Tsk. No, but at high temperature it is definitely dominant, and my paper deals with furnaces where temperatures are very high.

    Another point to make about that is that radiation and conduction are the most predictable and easy to calculate of the three, at least if conduction is in a solid. Convection is a nightmare!!!

  102. chico sajovic says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    “Back Radiation” is such a horrible analogy, description or way to think about heat transfer in the atmosphere, that I wish it would just go away. What we are concerned with is the flow of heat from the surface of the earth to space. Its not that the surface warms the co2 in the air then the co2 “back radiates” re-warming the surface, its that when the co2 in the air is warmed the flow of heat from the surface to the warmed co2 is reduced, thus increasing the temperature of the surface until the flow of heat returns to equilibrium.
    ——————————————-
    I don’t quite get the preoccupation with “the surface” when it’s actually the air temperature that we measure, not the ground.
    GHG’s don’t make the ground warmer in the daytime than insolation is able to do and at night, the paltry amount of energy accumulated in the surface doesn’t provide much residual warmth to the air, especially since it’s only a fraction of outgoing LWR that is absorbed.
    The heat capacity of the air is not enormous but radiative heat loss is not really rapid at these temperatures, either.
    Something like that?

  103. in answer to the question up there, the SB equation doesn’t work with dimensional gases.

    Secondly, it is a theoretical equation that doesn’t work with climate generally,

    Practical demo: The basal human metabolic rate is around 58wm2. An average human is around 2m2, so the average energy a human generates is around 110wm2
    This creates more heat than does the atmosphere or the ground at night under the view of spectroscopes.
    It is therefore safe to assume that there is much less than even 50w m2 re-radiation.

    true, there may be air currents rising, but these are invisible to c02 which absorbs (well, it doesn’t really absorb but delays by a billionth of a second) energy at around 15 microns, which corresponds to subzero temperatures.

    It then quickly thermalises with nitrogen and oxygen at its most active region – which is quite high in th eatmsphere where freezing temperatures correspond to c02 absorbtion. However, at this height (around -28C in the troposphere) it also competes with the peaks of nitrogen and oxygen absortion (they absorb radiation too).

    It is questionable that c02 is even a greenhouse gas in real observable terms.

  104. Slacko 10.33, perhaps I can explain. If you look at the beginning of Ken’s and my conversation I mention something we call “apparent temperature”. It is the blackbody equivalent temperature that something radiates. We use it to determine the reflected radiation in commercial IR measurements. That is also what would be measured in that IR image at the top if the camera was able to measure that low (and emissivity was set to 1 and distance to zero).

    So consider the exchange of heat between earth and the sky. It depends on the balance between incoming and outgoing radiation, the net difference is the gain or loss. If you have a very clear sky, the sky will have a low apparent temperature, so the temperature difference between the earth and the sky is the greatest. (You will still have a big influence from the atmosphere, otherwise the apparent temperature of the sky would approach absolute zero. -273C.)

    Clouds will have a higher apparent temperature, meaning that they will radiate more towards the earth than a clear sky would do, so the difference is smaller and hence the heat loss is also smaller, than with a clear sky.

    So, yes, it is true that radiation from the clouds will prevent cooling of the earth, allowing the earth to keep its heat to a larger degree. But as the clouds will not be hotter than the earth, they will not reverse the heat flow from the earth to become a gain rather than a loss, they can just make it less of a loss. The sun will give the positive contribution.

  105. Slacko says: (February 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm)
          …that empty and useless trollbuttal.

    On the web: No definitions were found for trollbuttal.

    Anthony, Slacko may have coined a new, very expressive, and very useful word here on WUWT.
    I hope you will note it with appropriate applause.

  106. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    heat leaves earth by convection. Clouds prevent convection. They don’t radiate energy

  107. Falicoff — Further, your statement that is not possible to achieve a measurement less than the accuracy of an instrument is also not correct, as the accuracy can be increased by taking many measurements (up to a threshold). The resultant accuracy is approximately proportional to the square of the number of readings.

    Apples and oranges, and utter nonsense.

    What you describe is simple measurement repeatability with an assumed constant source and then averaging out many multiple readings. All modern measurement devices derive their accuracy spec (traceable to NIST etc) in this manner. Of course, I know this because I made measurement equipment for many years… The measurements in question are those of thermometers looking at a different condition each time, not a fixed, constant source, and the result is that the error is the stated resolution of the device.

    If an 1880’s era thermometer was good to +/- 1 degree, that’s your error range. You can’t average out 220x 1880’s era thermometers and derive accuracy tighter than +/- 1 degree.

  108. richard verney says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I believe this is a valid question. The response –

    Dave Springer says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    fails to address the question in ignoring the diurnal cycle of solar energy input for a given location on the Earth’s surface. For CO2 to cause CUMULATIVE warming, the near surface temperature just before dawn for a single point on the Earth’s surface would have to be greater for a local air mass with greater CO2 concentration than for one with less. A simple empirical experiment could clarify this. I would be interested if anyone could point me to the results of such an experiment.

  109. richard verney
    You asked what sort of time delay does CO2 impose on the re-emission of the sun’s energy back into space.

    I do not know the answer, but suggest we consider what happens when the hot summer ends and chilly winter appears?
    What happens when day follows night?
    What happens to the measured temperature at individual locations for well over a century, when you are able to adjust for the rising level of UHI?

    Not much – that’s my simple answer.

  110. John S says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    the relatively small added heat from CO2 creates a positive feedback loop that includes adding more water vapor into the atmosphere until there comes a ‘tipping point’ where the global temperatures go into thermal runaway.

    How can it be explained that ANY increase in temperature does not cause this “thermal runaway” ‘tipping point’? If the temperature as recently as the MWP was higher than today, which it certainly was in at least some areas and possibly all, why was this mythical tipping point not reached? As it was not, what makes you believe it will be during the present warm period? Is there any evidence for this? Models are NOT evidence, BTW, as they ONLY produce what they are programmed to produce.

  111. chico sajovic says:
    February 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    When I am hot I should:
    a) stand outside naked on a low humidity night
    or
    b) get soaked in water and stand in front of a fan

    from what we’re told. you should do c) go to a special room that has 280ppm c02, regardless of its temperature

  112. Slacko says:
    February 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm
    hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    QUESTION
    It is perhaps a subtle distinction for some folks, but the CO2 and water vapor “back radiation” does not “warm the ground”
    Why not? Does it have to do with the 10 micron wavelength?

    ANSWER: Because the downward re-reradiated LW is MUCH more likely be be absorbed by water vapour or other absorbers and be re-radiated back up than it is to ever hit the ground. Double CO2 instantly, wait for a new equilibrium to be established, and you have the EXACT same amount of SW going in, and the EXACT same amount of LW coming out. The EFFECTIVE black body temperature of the earth is what the IPCC claims is going to rise by 1 degree, and this is at a point high up in the atmosphere (about 14,000 feet if I recall) not at earth surface.

    QUESTION
    or the ocean surface,
    Why not? Those photons have to go somewhere. Why does this look like a “missing heat” problem?>>

    QUESTION
    LW radiatiance cannot penetrate more than a micron or so of water before being absorbed. The result being that any longwave that does strike water is absorbed in a layer so thin that it immediately evaporates taking the extra energy from the LW, plus any energy that was already in that water with it into the atmosphere. Any temperature changes in the ocean have to be attributed as a consequence to other factors such as fluctuationm of SW from the Sun, rainfall, runoff and so on. As for “missing heat” that’s a measurement problem.

    QUESTION
    it only “reduces the rate at which it is cooling by IR radiation” to the apparent surface of the very very cold sky.
    So “back radiation … only reduces … cooling.”
    Huh??

    ANSWER – that is an imperfect way of thinking about it, but at day’s end it is a fair description. A given photon might, in theory, be radiated upward and go straight out to space. Or it might hit one CO2 molecules be absorbed, and then re-radiated in a random direction. Up, sideways, down, what ever. For rough figuring, call it 2/3 up or sideways and 1/3 down. So no matter how much CO2 you have, the end results is always more ups than downs, and the photon eventually escapes to space, but not have hundred, to millions of absorptions and re-radiations. So adding CO2 does not add a single additional photon, not one, to the equation. All it does is increases the average number of zig zags through the atmosphere before eventually escapting to space. So yes, extra CO2 would add no extra heat at all, it would just increase the amount of time it takes any given photon to escape, and “slow down the escape” could roughly be equated to “slow down the cooling”.

  113. Slacko says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm
    Jim D says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    The measured IR from the sky is pretty much all emitted by CO2 and H2O molecules …

    No Jim. If that were true then the warmth of the sun on my face would be coming in from all directions equally. But even a blind man …
    Or do you mean at night?
    And do you really mean to tell us that nitrogen can’t radiate IR?

    Sorry Slacko but Jim D is right. The sun emits energy in the visible and UV part of the spectrum and a good job it does too. The atmosphere is almost transparent at these wavelengths so unless it gets reflected by clouds or the surface it will make it to the ground where it will be absorbed to warm the earth. The earth on the other hand emits at longer wavelengths with a peak at 10 micron (infra red starts at about 0.8 micron) and a lot of this does get absorbed by the CO2 and water vapour in the atmosphere before being finally radiated into space by the same molecules.

    And no, nitrogen does not radiate (or absorb) in the infra red.

    On a more general point. The picture at the top of this piece is a bit misleading. When you point an infra red camera at the sky at night you will only capture the infrared radiation from molecules (mainly CO2 and H2O ) in the atmosphere. There is no other significant source of infra red radiation in space to detect. Since these molecules are radiating in narrow bands and a lot of it in the far infrared that the camera may not detect the total energy received by the camera is quite small. As explained in the responses by MC the camera will assume it is looking at a grey or black body with energy distributed across the whole spectrum according to Planck’s law. So it will calculate what temperature a back or grey body would have to be to output that amount of energy. Because the energy in the narrow bands that are detected is then spread out over the whole spectrum that calculated temperature will appear much lower than it really is and the sky will be shown as black.

  114. ” For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    If not, it is not science, it is guessing.

    More like a horoscope…”

    Love it!

  115. I agree with Berényi Péter with respect to
    “For 300 W/m2 radiation I get -23.4°C at 300 W/m2 when I calculate it”
    My temperature conversion calculator correlates 300 W/m2 with -3.3°C (assuming an emissivity of one), and -23.4°C with either an emissivity of 73.4% or 220 W/m2. A few lines later
    your body will radiate approximately 648 W/m2
    implies that your skin temperature is at least 129°F (don’t think so).

    To Jim D:
    Yes, IR is reflected. The 324 W/m2 back radiation from Kiehl and Trenberth (1997) implies a temperature of 34°F if the emissivity is one, but 58°F (15°C) with an emissivity of 0.8 (-20% in my calculator). Since I don’t think that the atmosphere is able to be the same temperature as the surface (remember, the troposphere cools with increasing height), some of the energy must be reflected and not emitted. Some calculations indicate that even 80% is too high .. in the absence of clouds. On the other hand, since about 50% of the planet is covered with clouds, it sort of makes sense to assume that some of the energy is “reflected” by the cloud bottoms. In fact, on cloudy nights, the hand held radiometers indicate an apparent cloud temperature within 2°F of the surface temperature. In addition to the expected reflection by the droplets themselves, the heat from the surface evaporates droplets at the cloud bottom, which then causes the vapor rise a few inches, where they recondense. For both evaporation and condensation, the associated spectrum is nearly blackbody, with no spectral lines. Notice that this is similar to reflection since the energy emitted is not affected by the temperature of the cloud, but only by the temperature of the surface. (“Scattering” may be a better term.)

    For Jim Masterson:
    In Kiehl and Trenberth (1997), the downward flux of 324 W/m2 is specifically for cloudy days, it is 278 W/m2 for clear days.

    To all:
    At a single frequency, the change in absorption is logarithmic. However, when the entire IR band is considered, and over the range from 200 ppm to 500 ppm, the change in CO2 absorption is logarithmic with R^2=0.9988 and linear with R^2=0.9932. This is because as each frequency becomes more saturated, a new frequency starts to absorb.

  116. P Wilson says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    heat leaves earth by convection. Clouds prevent convection. They don’t radiate energy

    Reply: Sorry Mr Wilson, but I do not agree with what you say. (To other readers: I was not the one who made the statement above.)

    Convection takes place in substances in the form of fluids and the atmosphere itself is a fluid, so convection can take place in it, including within the clouds themselves (they don’t “prevent” convection, they take part in it). It is true that heat transfers from the ground to the atmosphere, but it is still part of the heat that surrounds the planet. So assuming that we count the atmosphere as a part of our planet, as opposed to space around it, no heat will enter space by convection because there is no fluid that can circulate into space. Clouds do radiate, because everything with a temperature does.

    Let us make this clear. The only way that Earth, and its atmosphere, can exchange heat with space is by radiation.

  117. I have been fascinated by this posting – as well as all of the many cogent comments from the insightful experts that have been attempting to answer many of the questions that have been posed in the subsequent comments here.

    If I may, I would like to add my two cents worth to clear up some things I have read here, and use this forum as a sounding board/perhaps clarify some misconceptions. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    First, regarding reflection, vs absorption/re-radiation. Although, at a molecular level, it may seem they are the same, there is a difference. Corner cube reflection in a prism of glass or reflection that occurs inside a droplet of water generally 1)absorbs incoming light at the first material boundary, transmits through the second material, then reemits the incoming light back into the first material and maintains all spectral integrity and most of the intensity of the incoming light, (polarization may occur) 2)there is very little if any loss of energy EXCEPT at those wavelengths that the second material absorbs light and 3) reflection/refraction occurs where either a phase change, or significant density change is encountered. It isn’t widely understood but, gases can be seen to refract and change the apparent direction of incoming light and this could be considered “reflected” light, but it is nowhere near as dramatic an effect as what occurs in the reflection of nearly all visible light when it encounters many many tiny droplets of liquid water (clouds or rainbows). Two examples of air refracting/reflecting light are the Schlieren waves you see when you look at a distant scene across a hot parking lot or runway http://hiviz.org/hsi/ss/schlieren/index.htm
    and the “mirage” you see of a distant city or the reflection of the sky to give the appearance of an oasis of water on a hot desert.

    But that is NOT what happens when a molecule like water or CO2 ABSORBS light at their respective infrared bands. The definition of absorbance is A = 1 – R – T where R is the reflectance and T is the transmittance. Absorbance is the loss of light at specific wavelengths of light, and these unique wavelenghts for both CO2 and water correspond to electronic, vibrational, and rotational energy modes that are unique to each molecule. They happen at unique wavelengths because only quanta of energy that match the exact electronic, vibrational and rotational energies for each of these molecules can cause them to absorb and become excited at these quanta of energy. Generally, if a molecule is excited at a specific wavelength, but it immediately gives up that energy and decays back to an unexcited state and thus reemits that photon, it is no different than transmitted light. The resulting photon seems to pass right through the excited->unexcited molecule. Outside of absorbance bands this is usually what happens to both visible and infrared light when it interacts with gases like CO2 and water. However, at very short UV wavelengths light absorbance/scatter has the effect of making the absorbing gases appear to “glow” in the visible spectrum – Raleigh scattering and Mie scattering – which is why the sky appears sky blue, but at sunrise or sunset appears to have a rainbow of colors, and why the sun appears yellow.
    At absorbance bands, however, scatter, transmittance and reflectance don’t often happen. The incoming photons with quanta of energy that match absorbance bands of any given gas molecule are absorbed by that gas molecule and it is excited up into a higher electronic or vibrational, or rotational energy state, and if or when it reemits that energy it necessarily must experience some LOSS – entropy gets it’s cut. Because the molecule has an “affinity” for quanta of energy that correspond to its natural “frequencies”, it is also very rare that light that is “absorbed” at a given wavelength is reemitted at that wavelength. If it were you wouldn’t see the loss of light – absorbance – at that wavelength. Instead, energy that is absorbed at one quanta is usually released only when 1) even more energy is pumped into the molecule at the same quanta (rare), or 2) it reemits that light at a longer wavelength (fluorescence – does CO2 fluoresce in the infrared? I’m not sure but I doubt it.), or 3) the molecule collides with another molecule that has less energy (the usual case). When collisions occur, (very frequently) the absorbed quanta of energy is transferred between the two molecules so that they balance out – generally both of them just pick up more translational energy – they move a little faster.

    In general devices that “measure” the temperature of a gas or a liquid actually transfer (come into equilibrium with) the translational energy of that gas or liquid to a visual media – indicator liquid that expands in a fixed volume – or transfer the translational energy to an equivalent vibrational energy in a solid material which is used to derive an electronic (thermistor, thermocouple etc.) or visual signal (bimetal). So an observed “temperature” of a gas is an average of all of the molecule’s translational energies in a given volume that interact with the surface of the measuring device.

    Now having said that, I would like to make the following ascertions:
    1) As stated by several previous posters, water has many more, and much broader absorbance bands in the infrared than CO2,
    2) Water vapor, and water droplets are much, much more abundant in the lower atmosphere than CO2,
    3) Even at the now greater concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere the relatively small amount of IR energy it might absorb is quite quickly transferred during collisions to the much greater abundance of water liquid, water vapor, N2, or O2 molecules,
    4) Water vapor, water liquid, and ice all have greater heat capacity than any of the other gas molecules in air. Liquid water’s heat capacity is significantly greater!
    5) Because water experiences phase changes and significant density changes, it is redistributed throughout the atmosphere in ways that have a significantly greater impact on the transport of energy from the lower atmosphere and planet’s surface to outer space than any of the other gases that make up our air,
    5) Since water vapor regularly experiences both gas to liquid, liquid to solid, and even gas to solid transitions in the atmosphere:
    a) At any given instance the loss of incoming solar radiation energy (on the day sid of the planet) by direct reflection, refraction and back scatter, by clouds, snow, rain and the oceans are significantly greater in magnitude than all of the IR absorbed by CO2 combined.
    b) At any given instance the total amount of incoming solar radiation energy that results in phase change of water liquid to water vapor, greatly and significantly exceeds all of the IR energy absorbed by CO2 combined.
    c) At any given instance the total amount of energy contained in water vapor, water liquid droplets (clouds) and water ice particles (high clouds) in the planet’s atmosphere by a huge amount dwarfs the total amount of energy contained in IR excited CO2 gas molecules, so much so that I would think (I have no proof) that most of CO2’s translational energy content is created more by collisions with water molecules than IR photons by a very large ratio.
    d) And finally and most imortantly, changes in the concentration of CO2 that have been observed have gradually been increasing over DECADES. But in any given DAY the concentration of water vapor, water liquid and ice particles in the atmosphere change by orders of magnitude greater concentration than the few hundred parts per million that CO2 has changed. These significant concentration changes even at the poles have a far greater effect on both immediate weather and of course long term climate. Alarmists would have us believe that water cycle does not now have the capacity to mitigate and regulate the small change in CO2 concentration that have occurred after centuries and centuries of significantly higher CO2 concentrations and significantly LOWER CO2 concentrations in the past.

  118. @chemman Feb 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm:

    …Since molecules are 3-dimensional and constantly in motion “green house gases” will re-radiate IR energy in 3 dimensions not just back at the earth like a reflector.

    I’ve always assumed they all deal with it as 3D re-radiation – including only the downward re-radiation in the heat flow system. Otherwise some of the skeptics would have certainly ripped into them about it.

  119. This is a very useful discussion, particularly for those not of a physics bent. As someone who has worked for many years in the field of fluid flow and heat and mass transfer, it is evident to me that the radiative efects of CO2 in the atmosphere are of 2nd or 3rd order compared to the radiative, convective and latent heat effects of H2O. Our climate is dominated by the water cycle in all its forms.

  120. I have some hands on industrial R&D experience with heat flow vs temperature, and also with the reality of emissivity.

    I ran experiments using what are called “engineering plastics” in order to find the best plastic for a 420°F application. In one, we heated the plastic to temperature and then subjected it to weight loading to see what kind of strain we got. In the process, I handled up to 500°F pieces of plastic (a bit higher than the real application, for “cushion”). I did this barehanded. Even with a thermocouple telling me the plastic was 500°F, the plastic was almost not even warm in my hand. It is not the temperature that burns; it is the heat flow. See the next paragraph…

    As to emissivity, we also had highly polished and chrome plated tool steel (H13) that was oil-heated to the 420°F temperature. The polishing and chrome plating made the emissivity extremely low (how I still don’t “get”). I could put my skin well within 1/16″ of the surface of the hot metal and not even feel warmth. (It is not easy to do without jittering, but I did manage to do it, bracing my hand on something cooler, just to see.) However, once the heat transfer method went from radiation to conduction – when I actually touched the metal – it was instant BURN!

    Low emissivity is amazing.

    Low heat flow is also amazing.

    (Note: By far the best fix for the occasional burns was using freon from a spray can. I was SERIOUSLY [snip . . irritated?] when they banned CFCs to protect the ozone hole. And I completely believe that in time that theory will be completely refuted.)

  121. steven mosher [February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm] says:

    “yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our safety as a nation depends upon.

    Ouch! That is seriously nasty.

    ATTENTION: Thomas Fuller or CTM … would one of you please give Steve Mosher a call and let him know that one his laptops was stolen and that somewhere nearby in some dirty sleazy bar or seedy hotel with free Wi-Fi there is a nasty old miserable drunk posting on WUWT in his stead.

    ;-)

  122. “Domenic- the CO2 measurements by Scripps Institute are taken in several locations around the world including the locations near the North and South pole. See http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/research/atmospheric_co2.html These measurements support the findings of the measurements at Mauna Loa. They also show there is a lag of CO2 from the Northern to Southern Hemisphere (the levels in Antarctica lag those in the Northern hemisphere), as expected given the gains in CO2 are primarily from anthropogenic sources” … W. Falicoff

    “For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.” … Mikael Cronholm

    So all you have to do now W.F. is show your repeatable science and you will have done something that would change the entire scientology of AGW

  123. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Re convection:

    It is known as convective inhibition when cloud cover at night = warmer than cloudless night.

    Clouds form a barrier. From IR it block some solar radiation, and from earth it prevents convection currents of rising air from leaving. Most energy leaving is via convection. It is known as atmospheric convection

  124. Very interesting post & posts! Great source of knowledge down to little known details (such as spraying water on fruit). Lot of food for thought!
    I only have one question to add to this conversation: Is it at all possible to measure the energy balance (or radiation balance) of the earth. By energy (radiation) balance I mean the difference between energy input and output. Please excuse if this question is put forward in terms which fall short of physicists standarts – that´s because I am just a curious layman.

  125. to clear the matter: Since IR radiation from earth is weak, it can’t move through the atmosphere and is absorbed by water vapour mainly, and c02.

    Since warmer air is less dense than cold air convection occurs to take energy upwards, via what they call advection

  126. We have a little blue planet that is stirred internally by a big yellow monster, this same monster bombards us with the full spectrum of radiation. Mitigating factors protect us from this monster or we would perish. Like wise if it failed to arise tomorrow we would perish very quickly. Our little blue planet works its fanny off trying to balance an out of balance heat input caused by all sorts of wobbles and perturbations. The occasional large volcanic eruption is compensated for and the world returns to normal. A flea on elephant comes to mind as to effect of CO2 on the planetary climate. The cyclic changes we see if we live long enough are the result of the rules of thermodynamics in an open heat pump trying its utmost to balance itself.
    It would be pure folly and ego on our part to contemplate that we could change the climate. Looking backward to Newton and celestial mechanics using real geometry is the key to finding the reasons behind ice ages and interglacials. When these are understood then we can look at the minor perturbations with some understanding and a modicum of confidence. Some scientists are looking at this aspect and finding a surprising correlation to the suns recalcitrant attitude.

  127. I agree with everything MC said except (as Jim D noted) that IR is not reflected by CO2, it is absorbed and then re-emitted in all directions.

    If the CO² molecules has radiatively absorped and is therefore above ground state state it will likely ‘reflect’ further incoming IR.

  128. ThomasU says:
    February 14, 2011 at 3:50 am

    This is indeed a big problem. Temperature measurements are used, which are inadequate, sparse and unreliable.

    Atmospheric energy should be measured in joules per cubic metre. Not in temperature

  129. Cal says Feb 14, 12:49 am, Slacko says, Jim says

    Sort it out, will you.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-infrared-heat-work.htm

    “To observe how infrared heat works, the heating and cooling of the earth is probably the most helpful example. Apart from driving all weather events and patterns, as well as ocean currents, infrared heat from the sun is what the Earth during the day, and it is what the ground gives off at night after the sun sets. It is interesting to note that while the sun does emit a huge amount of infrared heat, only about half of the heat we feel on the ground is from direct infrared radiation from the sun. The other half comes from energy from visible light that is absorbed by objects on earth, and then emitted later as infrared heat.”

    So which is it?

  130. “infrared radiation is what warms the earth during the day”

    Infrared is the heat you feel, but cannot see.

  131. I’m not understanding this idea that a 1deg rise in temps caused by CO2 will cause a further 2deg rise through the extra water vapour that is created.

    Surely if that were true it would be possible to surround a small lake with something like the Eden Project biodomes, pump it full of CO2, and then extract the heat that all the extra water vapour created. It would be the ultimate passive energy creator, no windmills, solar or thorium required. At the very least we could do it on a small scale to test the thesis that that is what would actually happen.

  132. Steve Reynolds says:, “I agree with everything MC said except… that IR is not reflected by CO2, it is absorbed and then re-emitted in all directions”
    To which Latitude asks,
    “Steve, Since it’s constantly being exposed to IR, when it’s saturated, does it just reflect because it can’t absorb any more?
    Or is it in a constant state of absorbing and re-emitting? neutralizing itself?”.

    The gases in our atmosphere (N2,O2 and CO2) do not ‘reflect ‘ light. If they did it would be impossible for us to see coherent images because the light would be bouncing all over the place. We can only form clear images where light travels in straight lines.
    The same is true in the infra-red.You no doubt have seen pictures from infra-red imaging cameras, e.g. police helicopters. These are only viable because atmospheric gases do not ‘reflect’ infra-red radiation but allow it to travel in straight lines.
    However, CO2 does absorb infra-red within a narrow wavelength band. The important absorption occurs at wavelengths between 14 and 16 microns (other CO2 absorption bands are not significant In the context of greenhouse warming because they do not obstruct the radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface). Photons of infra-red radiation around 15 micron have just exactly the right amount of energy to raise a CO2 molecule from one vibrational state to another one. Being thus ‘tuned’, they may be captured by a CO2 molecule which then changes state. Almost instantaneously, within nanoseconds, the CO2 molecule re-emits the photon and reverts to its original state. Because the photon can be re-emitted in any direction (spherically random) about half of them will be re-directed back to Earth and will represent an additional heat flux if they ever get there.
    If the ‘excited’ CO2 molecule collides with another molecule, say of Nitrogen. before it can re-emit its captured photon, then it becomes ‘thermalised’ (or as Mark Wagner says, ‘quenched’). Its extra energy is transformed into heat and it can no longer emit a photon. If this happens the atmosphere is warmed.

  133. Its physically impossible for a 1C rise in temperature by c02.

    What causes temperature changes are weather systems (via convection).

    Storms, snow, cyclones, clouds – the whole gamut are caused by convection. When air convects, it cools sufficiently for it to fall below its dew point. Thats when clouds form.

    I don’t know why c02 was brought into meteorology and climatology.

    Maybe it was to paint a human face on climate.

  134. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:18 am

    what you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of c02 absorbs radiation. It corresponds to -28C which is up in the lower troposphere. When it leaves that temperature range it thermalises. Now: There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C. That is tantamount to saying that putting cold water in the freezer will cause it to be lukewarm

  135. Best post I’ve seen here for some time. It’s a clear, concise essay which encourages the reader to do their own research elsewhere. Great stuff.

  136. Jim Masterson The cloud cover is supposedly 62%. KT 1997 combines three cloud layers (49%, 6%, & 20%) to get that figure. They call it “random overlap,” whatever that means. It looks like an application of the Inclusion-Exclusion principle. I get 61.6% which rounds to 62%. Their famous energy diagram (fig. 7 in KT 1997 and fig. 1 in TFK 2009) should state: “62% cloud cover assumed.”

    The Inclusion-Exclusion Principle requires that we know the overlap(s) to begin with, so it can’t give us the answer. The average of the minimum and maximum overlaps gives exactly 62%:

    ((49 + 6 + 20) + 49) / 2 = 62

    but I’m not sure that this is what we’d get with random overlap, even if, as my calculation assumes, there are no real-world constraints.

  137. Don V says February 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

    An excellent post, Sir. IMHO non radiative transfer of energy to the tropopause by water completely swamps any radiative effects of increasing CO2. What happens at and above this point is more interesting, however.

  138. P. Wilson says, “What you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of C02 absorbs radiation”.

    The CO2 absorption of photons at 15 micron is not dependent on temperature. A molecule of CO2 will absorb any photon with the ‘correct’ quanta of energy which impacts it, irrespective of temperature.

    More interestingly, “There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C”.

    I assume that subzero here means below zero on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. Now ALL objects above absolute zero emit radiation; that includes you, me and an ice cube. The amount an object emits (Stephan’s Law) and the wavelengths of the radiation emitted (Plank’s Law) is determined by their temperature. So even cold objects, such as an ice cube, emit radiation. If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.

    As for making the Earth warmer, remember that the Earth is warmed by the Sun. The CO2 ‘blanket’ , by sending radiation back to the surface, simply acts as insulation. The incoming solar energy is what causes the Earth’s surface to rise.

    At the top of the atmosphere of course, the amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always balance the radiation coming in – no matter how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere. But we don’t live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the surface – and it is the surface temperature which is effected by the greenhouse gases.

    P. Wilson says, “What you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of C02 absorbs radiation”.

    The CO2 absorption of photons at 15 micron is not dependent on temperature. It will absorb any photon with the ‘correct’ quanta of energy which impacts it, irrespective of temperature.

    More interestingly, “There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C”.

    I assume that subzero here means below zero on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. Now ALL objects above absolute zero emit radiation; that includes you, me and an ice cube. The amount an object emits (Stephan’s Law) and the wavelengths of the radiation emitted (Plank’s Law) is determined by their temperature. So even cold objects, such as an ice cube, emit radiation. If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.

    As for making the Earth warmer, remember that the Earth is warmed by the Sun. The CO2 ‘blanket’ , by sending radiation back to the surface, simply acts as insulation. The incoming solar energy is what causes the Earth’s surface to rise.

    At the top of the atmosphere of course, the amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always balance the radiation coming in – no matter how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere. But we don’t live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the surface – and it is the surface temperature which is effected by the greenhouse gases.

    P. Wilson says, “What you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of C02 absorbs radiation”.

    The CO2 absorption of photons at 15 micron is not dependent on temperature. It will absorb any photon with the ‘correct’ quanta of energy which impacts it, irrespective of temperature.

    More interestingly, “There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C”.

    I assume that subzero here means below zero on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. Now ALL objects above absolute zero emit radiation; that includes you, me and an ice cube. The amount an object emits (Stephan’s Law) and the wavelengths of the radiation emitted (Plank’s Law) is determined by their temperature. So even cold objects, such as an ice cube, emit radiation. If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.

    As for making the Earth warmer, remember that the Earth is warmed by the Sun. The CO2 ‘blanket’ , by sending radiation back to the surface, simply acts as insulation. The incoming solar energy is what causes the Earth’s surface to rise.

    At the top of the atmosphere of course, the amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always balance the radiation coming in – no matter how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere. But we don’t live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the surface – and it is the surface temperature which is effected by the greenhouse gases.

    P. Wilson says, “What you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of C02 absorbs radiation”.

    The CO2 absorption of photons at 15 micron is not dependent on temperature. It will absorb any photon with the ‘correct’ quanta of energy which impacts it, irrespective of temperature.

    More interestingly, “There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C”.

    I assume that subzero here means below zero on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. Now ALL objects above absolute zero emit radiation; that includes you, me and an ice cube. The amount an object emits (Stephan’s Law) and the wavelengths of the radiation emitted (Plank’s Law) is determined by their temperature. So even cold objects, such as an ice cube, emit radiation. If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.

    As for making the Earth warmer, remember that the Earth is warmed by the Sun. The CO2 ‘blanket’ , by sending radiation back to the surface, simply acts as insulation. The incoming solar energy is what causes the Earth’s surface to rise.

    At the top of the atmosphere of course, the amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always balance the radiation coming in – no matter how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere. But we don’t live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the surface – and it is the surface temperature which is effected by the greenhouse gases.

    P. Wilson says, “What you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of C02 absorbs radiation”.

    The CO2 absorption of photons at 15 micron is not dependent on temperature. It will absorb any photon with the ‘correct’ quanta of energy which impacts it, irrespective of temperature.

    More interestingly, “There is no physical mechanism that can cause subzero temperature ranges to penetrate back to earth and warm it up beyond the nominal 14-15C”.

    I assume that subzero here means below zero on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. Now ALL objects above absolute zero emit radiation; that includes you, me and an ice cube. The amount an object emits (Stephan’s Law) and the wavelengths of the radiation emitted (Plank’s Law) is determined by their temperature. So even cold objects, such as an ice cube, emit radiation. If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.

    As for making the Earth warmer, remember that the Earth is warmed by the Sun. The CO2 ‘blanket’ , by sending radiation back to the surface, simply acts as insulation. The incoming solar energy is what causes the Earth’s surface to rise.

    At the top of the atmosphere of course, the amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always balance the radiation coming in – no matter how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere. But we don’t live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the surface – and it is the surface temperature which is effected by the greenhouse gases.

  139. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Well if I wasnt confused before, I am cerainly now, after reading your post. Was it an attempt on demonstrating backradiation with words? The same stuff coming again, and again, and again? Looked like a very unstable post to me.

  140. W. Falicoff says:
    February 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    “… Further, your statement that is not possible to achieve a measurement less than the accuracy of an instrument is also not correct, as the accuracy can be increased by taking many measurements (up to a threshold). The resultant accuracy is approximately proportional to the square of the number of readings. This holds true in several fields. …”

    Actually, repeated measurements cannot improve accuracy, it can only improve precision. If there is bias in the gauge then repeated measures will keep giving you the biased answer. Precision (e.g. the standard deviation) of the average value of the measurement can improve by the inverse square root of the sample size.

    But there’s far more to it than increasing sample size. Check out MSA (Method System Analysis) or Gauge R&R (Repeatability and Reproducibility). In a manufacturing environment a Gauge (or measurement system) is not considered capable until the precision is at least 1/10th the specification range. So in terms of AGW, if the world is going to melt down at an additional 2C then the gauge should be able to repeatably and reproducibly measure to +/- 0.2C on the individuals….not multiple measurements to construct an average.

  141. @- davidmhoffer says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm
    “LW radiatiance cannot penetrate more than a micron or so of water before being absorbed. The result being that any longwave that does strike water is absorbed in a layer so thin that it immediately evaporates taking the extra energy from the LW, plus any energy that was already in that water with it into the atmosphere. ”

    The LW absorbed in the surface layer may not be enogh to liberate a water molecule from the bonds at the surface layer, it may just increase the random kinetic energy of the molecules in the surface layer that is transported to the deeper layers millimetres further down by surface turbulence. Water is rarely so still that this transport mechanism is insignificant.

    Even if it does provide enough energy for a water molecule to break free of surface bonds and ‘evaporate’ that molecule has a ~50% chance of colliding with the other molecules and bouncing back into the water surface adding to the thermal kinetic energy of the surface layer.
    There is no way that the water surface acts like a one-way street for all incident radient energy. It is not Maxwell’s demon!

  142. P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:32 am

    “what you haven’t mentioned is the temperatures at which this 14.77 peak of c02 absorbs radiation”

    The temperature of the gas has little to do with IR absorption. The earth emits LWIR in a continuous blackbody spectrum with a peak emission at around 10um which corresponds to a blackbody at approximately 52F which is the average surface temperature of the ocean. CO2 absorbs narrow bands out of that continuous spectrum which excites the CO2 molecule and because the molecule is part of a cold dense mix of gases the excited molecule almost instantly bumps into a neighbor (most likely N2) which then thermalizes the N2. Re-emission up the upwelling narrow band energy is a continuous blackbody spectrum corresponding to the temperature of the gas at whatever altitude the re-emission occurs. The process starts from the ground up and proceeds to saturation. Looking down at the atmosphere from above with a spectrometer one sees a continuous blackbody spectrum with narrow absorption bands where the energy level falls off. The energy missing from those narrow bands is redistributed across the rest of the spectrum. The altitude/temperature to which you refer is the energy level at the top of the 15um band.

    See figure 8.2 (spectrograph from 20km looking down on the north pole):

    http://www.sundogpublishing.com/AtmosRadFigs.html

    The blackbody emission curve is at about 265K which corresponds to the surface temperature at the pole at the time. You’ll notice a big hole in the spectrograph centered on 15um with the bottom of the hole following the 225K blackbody curve. The missing energy at 15um is what CO2 has absorbed beginning from the ground up and has been completely thermalized by an altitude where the air temperature is 225K which, applying the dry adiabatic lapse rate of 10K per 1000 meters is about 3000 meters or 10,000 feet (middle region of the troposphere).

    The missing energy in the 15um, when thermalized, is re-emitted as continuous blackbody spectrum so the top of the curve at 265K (which is the surface temperature) is a bit higher than it would be otherwise. That bit higher surface temperature is the effect of CO2’s action as a greenhouse gas. It impedes the flow of 15um energy from surface to space which in effect acts like insulation making the surface temperature a little higher than it would be otherwise. The temperature of the cosmic void is about 3K and doesn’t change. The increased differential between surface and space raises the rate at which energy flows from surface to space re-establishing a new surface temperature equilibrium point between energy-in (short wave energy from the sun) and energy-out (long wave energy from the earth).

    This is all undisputed except by cranks and and other assorted ignoramuses who refuse to accept the radiative absorption and emission characteristics of various gases according to physics theories that have been around for over 200 years and which were experimentally confirmed 150 years ago by John Tyndall and which have remained as well established as any theory in physics since then.

    The controversy isn’t about the direct effect of increased CO2. That’s cut and dried number crunching of basic physics formulas. The bone of contention is in the feedbacks. The climate boffins on the “hockey team” insist there is a large positive feedback which will somehow cause a runaway greenhouse despite the fact that all paleo-climate evidence of every kind shows the earth has never in its history experienced a runaway greenhouse despite atmospheric CO2 levels far higher than could be obtained by burning every last drop, wisp, and crumb of recoverable fossil fuels. ALL the evidence says the feedback is negative which limits the maximum global surface temperature and where the temperature increase (we’re in a very COLD period of the earth’s history) is concentrated in the higher latitudes i.e. the tropics won’t get much warmer but the temperate and polar regions will. The usual state of affairs for the earth over the past billion years is warm and friendly for living things from pole to pole. The current terrestrial biosphere is a shrunken frozen shadow of itself much of the time over much of its extent compared to the warm (non-ice age) periods which is to say 90% of the time for uninterrupted periods lasting as long as hundreds of millions of years. The earth has been in a ice-age for the past 3 million years and ice ages are not the normal state of affairs – they are the exception to the rule of a planet lush, warm, and green from pole to pole with far higher atmospheric CO2 content and a far larger/faster carbon cycle driven by living things.

  143. Could someone (obviously way smarter than I) post a brief summary of what I learned reading thru all this, comparatively to what I would’ve learned (had I understood any of it) reading the paper that contains the ‘notorious Ternberth/Keihl energy balance schematic’. Perhaps I just missed it but what was the definitive answer to, ” . . . does this aspect of the global warming theory make any sense?”

    MC had issues with ‘the numbers’ used in fig1 etc. and I was hoping among the learned posters here that some discussion/debate over those numbers would lead to an understanding of what numbers were most likely to be considered real or reasonable.

    -Looking for knowledge in all the right places . . .
    -Barn

  144. Hello Izen

    Quote “There is no way that the water surface acts like a one-way street for all incident radient energy. It is not Maxwell’s demon!”

    But CO2 is a demonic gas, with its wavenumber of 666.666 (15 µm)!

    Is it not Maxwell’s demons casting back all the IR radiation?

    The blackbody temperature to emit a peak IR of 15 µm is according to Wiens law 193.18456 Kelvin.
    This equates to -79.97 Centigrade (Please do not miss the MINUS sign, yes nearly minus 80C!)

    How hot can this 15 µm -80 Centigrade IR heat anything?

    NoIdea

  145. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Thanks for the lesson on radiative physics theory – i’m quite aware if it. (The theory, that is)

    Which is all that it is. A theory.

    In theory, I receive energy from my surroundings, but they never surpass my basal metabolic rate of 58wm2. Similarly I transmit to cool night air energy at this basal rate, although only to the immediate few inches at most, and this energy soon thermalises. (disappears as the form of heat. Heat is not a permanent)

    There’s little point in invoking the rather absurd SB equation, which is a thought experiment that leads to rather absurd conclusions.

    The c02 blanket is a non existent phonomenon. Its a theoretical phenomenon – since it paints a human face on a climate system, just like Big Bang paints a human face on the unknown origins of time and the universe.

    It was established well before AGW ideology that c02 delays the transit of 8% of total IR radiation, regardless of its quantity. As you know, as 14.77 microns the saturation window closes. 14.77 microns does broadly correspond to -28C. 10 microns corresponds to around 15C, the average global temperature. So the last place that c02 absorbs radiation is at the surface, which on average is above subzero. C02 is invisible to these temperatures.

    In climatology the fix is made by saying that something is going up in the upper levels of the lower troposphere where indeed these subzero (C) temperatures occur and where c02 captures radiation at its peaks. Only it really isn’t, and what radiation is absorbed at subzero temperatures is quickly released.

    There is no radiative mechanism by which -28C can increase to 15C or upwards from a base point of -28C. Unless, of course you increase the heat source (The sun). But then c02 becomes invisible again to SW radiation (It absorbs/delays at subzero).

    if you want to prove that an ice cube will heat a cup of coffee -a tepid one, to give you the benefit of the doubt (which is the gist of your argument – that used by alarmists to prove the c02 conjecture) then we’d all be grateful for your video test results)

  146. Dave Springer says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

    only the problem with this theory is that the radiation goes in all directions equally, which does not change the amount of heat in the atmosphere.

  147. NoIdea says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:29 am

    “The blackbody temperature to emit a peak IR of 15 µm is according to Wiens law 193.18456 Kelvin.
    This equates to -79.97 Centigrade (Please do not miss the MINUS sign, yes nearly minus 80C!)

    How hot can this 15 µm -80 Centigrade IR heat anything?”

    reply

    oops. I’m way out on the temperature range at which c02 captures energy.

  148. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Nice. It’s heartening to see some commenters who understand the physics. “School-boy” misunderstanding might be a bit harsh but I understand where you’re coming from. A good understanding of the four years of science taught in grades 9-12 covers almost everything you need to know about this subject in biology, chemistry, and physics from how the greenhouse gases work to what acid rain from sulfate emissions does to how these thing effect the biosphere. When PhDs get involved in the conversation they start such a pedantic bickering over small details in their fields of expertise that the big picture gets lost and laypersons then proverbially can’t see the forest because there are too many trees blocking the view.

  149. @-P Wilson says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm
    “heat leaves earth by convection. Clouds prevent convection. They don’t radiate energy”

    Some energy leaves the SURFACE by convection, but it does not get very far.
    It is not clouds that block it… strange idea!
    Its the adiabatic lapse rate.
    Convection can only move air until the increased bouancy from the lower number of molecules per cubic metre is offset by the lower density with increasing altitude. It is the lower density of the atmosphere with altitude that blocks convection.

    The low altitude of most clouds indicates that the temperature falls below freezing just a few Km above ground level and the atmosphere regains that latent heat of evaporation well below the tropopause. Above the main low cloud layer water vapor is much less important as an atmospheric absorber/emitter.

  150. P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:30 am

    ” As you know, as 14.77 microns the saturation window closes. 14.77 microns does broadly correspond to -28C. 10 microns corresponds to around 15C, the average global temperature. So the last place that c02 absorbs radiation is at the surface, which on average is above subzero. C02 is invisible to these temperatures.”

    This is laughably wrong! PEAK emission frequency corresponds to those temperatures. A blackbody emits a CONTINUOUS spectrum with broad shoulders that fall off slowly on either side of the peak frequency. There’s plenty of 15um energy coming from a blackbody with 10um peak frequency. You obviously have no idea what a continuous blackbody spectrum looks like. What you’re saying is like saying no colors of visible light come from sun except for yellow because that’s the peak emission frequency of a 5200K blackbody source. Ridiculous misunderstanding.

  151. Hello NoIdea
    as usual you ask a deep question.
    Any blackbody emitter above -80 Centigraqde will ALSO emit more energy in the 15 µm band, as well as more at shorter wavelengths.

    But CO2 is NOT a blackbody emitter. Like the other atmospheric gases, including water vapor it is a very poor emitter over most of the spectrum. It just has strong bands of emission/absorption like water vapor at wavelengths related to its molecular vibrational modes.

    Very hot CO2 will still have a peak emssion spectra in the 15 µm band becuase that is its surface ‘colour’, it does not have a blackbody emission/absorption spectra but one vastly biased to the energy level of the molecular vibrational modes.

    In the Infra-red longwave spectra CO2 has a surface ‘colour’ that modifies its emission spectra; think of it as a ‘Deep Purple…..’
    -grin-

  152. Myrrh says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:06 am
    Cal says Feb 14, 12:49 am, Slacko says, Jim says

    Sort it out, will you.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-infrared-heat-work.htm

    “To observe how infrared heat works, the heating and cooling of the earth is probably the most helpful example. Apart from driving all weather events and patterns, as well as ocean currents, infrared heat from the sun is what the Earth during the day, and it is what the ground gives off at night after the sun sets. It is interesting to note that while the sun does emit a huge amount of infrared heat, only about half of the heat we feel on the ground is from direct infrared radiation from the sun. The other half comes from energy from visible light that is absorbed by objects on earth, and then emitted later as infrared heat.”

    So which is it?

    I accept that I should have said that the sun radiates at all wavelengths from UV to far infrared, but that the peak is in the visible region. Moreover a lot of the incoming energy in the infra red region is absorbed by CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere and is then re-radiated downwards (and upwards ultimately to space) in exactly the same way as the energy radiated by the surface. UV is also absorbed (particularly by ozone) but the peak energy at the surface is still in the visible region of the spectrum. So at night all the infrared radiaton is from CO2 and H2O and during the day the majority is. However the main point I was making was about infra red radiation at night.

  153. Tsk Tsk says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm
    Not sure I like that. The form of the equation shouldn’t change for different numbers unless there’s a discontinuity. It has to be logarithmic over the entire range of positive real numbers and obviously isn’t physical for negative numbers. I think you mean that for low concentrations of Co2 the dependence diverges only slightly from a simple linear dependence and the divergence grows as the concentration grows.

    No need for a discontinuity, if you expand the terms in the equation for small [CO2] you get a linear dependence, for medium values you get √ln([CO2]) and for large values √[CO2]. For the range of values in the atmosphere ln[CO2] is a good fit.

  154. Izen.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Clouds keep the earth warmer (or a given portion of the earth) by preventing heat from escaping. In fact, convectional currents can rise a long way into the atmosphere before they lose their buoyancy. Something like a hot air balloon does.

    This uplift, and cooling of air is what causes most weather. Cumulonimbus clouds are often 10,000 metres in height from surface.

    actually, watervapour above this level acts as an absorber of radiation. the so called greenhouse effect.

  155. eadler says
    “If the mean error is know, the readings can be adjusted. If the mean error remains constant, than the temperature anomaly, which is what is being sought will not suffer in accuracy.”

    And those “if’s” can be significant. Much of the mean error “adjustment” ability depends on the sensor, electronics, environment, calibration protocols, and how well these protocols are ACCUALLY followed.

    My first “outside” job, over 60 years ago, was taking the hi-lo temperatures, for a neighbor, on a old Taylor mechanical thermometer. It had mechanical slides that indicated the hi-lo points, and if I remember, 2 deg. graduations. The neighbor then sent the data, to some government agency. At $0.50 a week that was big money back then. A long way from 3/4 wire platinum RTD’s

    Falicoff’s
    comment about taking multiple readings may “enhance” the resolution, or quantization, but not necessarily the accuracy. This is also known as “resampling”, as denoted in p.334, “The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing”, Berry & Burnell.

  156. P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

    “How hot can this 15 µm -80 Centigrade IR heat anything?”

    Because it sits between a 15C ocean surface and the -253C of the cosmic void. It doesn’t heat anything. It slows down the rate of cooling by interposing something warmer than the black of space between the surface and the black of space. This isn’t rocket science. It’s about as difficult to understand as is understanding why sitting a cup of hot coffee on a block of dry ice versus a block of water ice. In both cases the coffee won’t get any hotter but it will cool a lot faster sitting on the dry ice versus sitting on the regular ice. Or even better hot coffee in an insulated thermos vs. a non-insulated thermos. In both cases the coffee is going to get cooler but the insulated thermos will slow down the rate of cooling. To get an even closer analogy consider an insulated versus and uninsulated hot water heater where the heating element is turned on once a day for a set period of time. The insulated water heater will have a higher temperature because the amount of energy added to each one is equal but the rate of escape of that added energy is lower for the insulated vessel. The end result is the water in the insulated vessel will have a higher maximum and minimum daily temperatures. In the case of the ocean it’s the sun doing the heating on a daily basis and greenhouse gases are the insulators which slow down how fast the ocean cools when the sun isn’t heating it. As Ernest Rutherford said “if you can’t explain a theory in physics such that a bartender can understand it then the theory is probably wrong”. A bartender can understand the difference between an insulated and uninsulated thermos. Why can’t you?

  157. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:59 am :

    “If that radiation impacts a warmer object then it is absorbed by the warmer object. The warmer object therefore receives energy that it wouldn’t receive if the cold object was not there – and so the warm object is kept warmer than it otherwise would be. Radiation is not somehow preferentially attracted only to colder objects. Thus the presence of cold objects can keep warm objects warmer!!! This does not infringe the 2nd law of thermodynamics, only a schoolboy misunderstanding of it.”
    ———————-
    Hoping to have eluded the Groundhog Day Effect that your comment was caught in, I’ll remark that the warmer object will now be inclined to radiate a lot more energetically than it otherwise would have.
    At lower troposphere densities it will be even more inclined to pass on the energy, through collisions, to non-absorbing species which then convect upwards.
    When your feet are cold, it takes a painfully long time for them to warm up by merely putting on wool socks. If you change those socks out repeatedly for a colder pair, your toes will turn blue.
    It’s not hard to understand that GHG’s provide the air with warmth, but it seems the ground is not really significant in the back-radiation scenario. In fact the warmer the surface becomes the more the energy will be radiated to space without bouncing around in the atmosphere.

  158. “And the problem that all these scientists have is that they will never be able to test if their theories are correct, because the time spans are too long”

    Is that so? What if we had a month off for CO2 emissions as a globe, with CO2 output deliberately reduced by say 30%. This would create a point of inflexion in our CO2 output which in theory should then be followed by a point of inflexion in rising temperatures, thus proving AGW theory and demonstrating cause and effect. It would then allow us to go further and estimate the actual impact of given increases in CO2. Got to be worth doing just as a global experiment before making any solid commitments to changing our habits.

    (Well in theory, in practice I guess it would just get lost in the noise of normal weather patterns which would only prove the futility of the whole AGW nonsense)

  159. P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

    “actually, watervapour above this level acts as an absorber of radiation. the so called greenhouse effect”

    Water vapor is invisible. A cloud is composed of water droplets not water vapor. Water vapor coming out of a tea kettle is invisible until it has cooled enough to condense into water droplets. This is barely high-school level physical science. You need to go back to high school and relearn this stuff and that’s presuming you ever learned it in the first time through which at this point is a matter of grave doubt. You’d do miserably on the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”

  160. I didn’t mean to suggest that heating the surface more would cool the air!
    Just that returning energy to the surface provides more of a direct avenue for escape than if it relied only on radiation from GHG’s.

  161. Dave Springer says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Largely irrelevant comments re c02 though correct ones regarding the sun. However, the argument is that c02 is largely irrelevant to the climate, since most heat escapes via convection and conduction, hence the quick cool down at night. this cooldown, and corresponding cool upper layers show just how quickly this takes place. Nothing to do with the SB equation. To do with observed phenomena

    the main reason is that there is no heat being generated, or stored by greenhouse gases, and so back radiation doesn’t occur. Even if it did, the quantities would be almost infinitessimal.
    In your later analogy however, it is convection that is being vastly reduced in a thermal flask, which prevents quick cooling.

    this convectional trapping process does not occur with outgoing IR radiation through c02 or any other ghg.

    however, even at ground-10,000 metres, what c02 does is so infinitessimally small that it might as well be factored out of climate projections.

    at 15microns peak, that makes not an iota of difference to atmospheric temperatures. Besides, gases are not blackbodies, and are 3 dimensional. Radiative equations can’t be applied to them (air has a very poor conductor), and so is irrelevant to climatology. With ghg’s, *blocking* operates in all directions, so doesn’t make any difference to the atmospheric heat content.

    if you’re talking about the shoulders of c02, then at this level there is more nitrogen and oxygen per CO2 molecule in this area. Dilution reduces the temperature increase per unit of energy.

  162. Dave Springer says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:54 am

    i said

    “actually, watervapour above this level acts as an absorber of radiation. the so called greenhouse effect”

    Water vapour is indeed invisible.

    the above comment was a contradiction of Izens, who said that water vapour higher than clouds have no effect. He said “Above the main low cloud layer water vapor is much less important as an atmospheric absorber/emitter.”

    I think you’ve got it muddled somewhere, although if you wish to trace a source of the confusion between clouds and water vapour, I suggest you consult Izens first.

  163. An interesting dialog; but perhaps KLC didn’t ask the right questions, so in turn MC didn’t really provide the needed answers; although what MC DID say is not incorrect.

    One issue raised in the discussion was the 100 Watt light bulb, versus the 300 W/m^2 from the sky. the first one feels “hot”; while the second one doesn’t. MC says that the 300 W/m^2 corresponds to -23.4 deg C. That ties in well with Trenberth’s 390 W/m^2 corresponding to +15 deg C or 288 K.

    But here’s what MC didn’t tell KLC; and we have all seen it with that 100 W light bulb “radiating” onto two samples of dry air; one containing more CO2 than the other. Well “The Science Guy” Bill Nye, has performed that quite fraudulent experiment in public.

    Here’s what’s wrong with it and what MC forgot to tell KLC.

    The 100 Watt light bulb, is a tungsten filament lamp (likely gas filled), and it will emit a roughly black body like spectrum (thermal spectrum); and MC explained how near BB and real BB sources can be related via an emissivity; and of course most practical sources, are not a singl4 Temperature source so they will be somewhat spectrally discombobulated as well.

    But back to that 100 Watt lamp. Which is fairly typical of the so called “warm white”light source. It will radiate a spectrum that is something like a 28-2900 deg thermal spectrum; ie a somewhat BB like source of radiation with a color temperature of about 2900 K. THAT IS HALF THE TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN SURFACE.

    The sun emits a thermal (BB like) spectrum at about 64 million Watts per square metre (at the sun’s surface). Our innocent 100 Watt lamp, at half the temperature is only emitting 4 million Watts per square metre, since that goes as T^4, per S-B.

    More importantly, the 100 Watt “light bulb” is ten times the Temperature of the 288 K Trenberth average Temperature of the earth, and the presumed source of that 390 W/m^2.

    So the incandescent light bulb is ten times the average earth Temperature, and is radiating 10,000 times as much energy per square metre as the average earth.

    So now we kick in with the Wien Displacement Law that MC also mentioned.

    At 288 K (+15 deg C or +59 deg F), the LWIR radiation spectrum, that is emitting a total 390 w/m^2, has a spectral peak wavelength at 10.1 microns. And assuming a single Temperature source, 98% of the LWIR radiation is contained between 1/2, and 8 times the peak wavelength so from 5.0 to 80 microns, is the spectral range of the average earth Temperature roughly BB spectrum. So colder places, will radiate even longer wavelengths, but being colder, they also are radiating even less, so they don’t really contribute much energy on the long wave end. For the highest surface desert Temperatures which can be above +60 deg C, the spectral peak could be as low as about 8.8 microns from the Wien Law, so that will radiate down to maybe 4.4 microns, and also the total S-B emission can be 1-8-2.0 times as high as Tenberth’s 390 W.m^2. So it is those hot dry desert regions that are the principle radiative coolers of the earth. The 8.8 micron peak is even further away from the 15 micron CO2 band, and the peak moved further into the “atmospheric window” where water vapor is somewhat benign. Well there’s little water vapor in those arid deserts anyway. But don’t forget that Ozone kicks in a dip at around 9.6 microns; but it is quite narrow, because of the height, and low density and Temperature of the ozone layer (less line broadening)

    Now back at our phony heat lamp at 2880 K,; not only is it emitting 10,000 times the emittance of the average earth; but the spectral peak is not 10.1 microns either, but is now 1.0 microns.

    Well wouldn’t you know it; water (H2O) has several absorption bands near there at 0.94 microns, and also at 1.1; and supposedly humans are 95% H2O.

    So the peak radiant emission from a 100 Watt light bulb is at the correct wavelength to cause strong absorption in human flesh; no wonder it feels warm.

    The 288 K mean earth surface on the other hand is radiating at 10.1 microns, and the water absorption coefficient there is about 1000 cm^-1; which gives a 1/e transmission depth of 10 microns; or a 99% absorption depth of 50 microns; 2/1000 inches.

    It doesn’t even make it through the surface of your skin; and even if it did, it wouldn’t register against your body Temperature of 98.6 deg F or 37 deg C.

    So no wonder the 100 Watt lamp feels warm to your skin, and no wonder it warms the air samples. CO2 has absorption bands at around 2.7 microns, and I think also at 4.0 microns. The 2880 K lamp spectrum is going to put 98% of its energy in the spectral range from 0.5 Microns (green) to 8.0 microns, so both of those CO2 bands are going to be activated. And even the 15 micron band will absorb much more energy from the 2880 K source than from the 288K source.
    One should also note that although the S-B equation says the total emittance goes as the 4th power of temperature; the spectral peak emittance actually goes as the fifth power of the Temperature (T^5).

    I’ll leave it to the math geeks out there to figure out how much more spectral emittance you get at 15 microns, from a 2880 K sourcves compared to a 288 K source (Watt’s per m^2 per micron wavelength.

    So like I said the 100 Watt lamp demonstration is a total fraud. A much better source fo 300-390 W/m^2 LWIR radiation that is properly spectrally peaked at about 10 microns, would be an ordinary 16 ounce bottle of water. I don’t recommend the French Evian water; it’s too expensive and doesn’t radiate any more than any other water; use tap water it’s cheaper.

  164. “”””” P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:10 am
    Dave Springer says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Largely irrelevant comments re c02 though correct ones regarding the sun. However, the argument is that c02 is largely irrelevant to the climate, since most heat escapes via convection and conduction, hence the quick cool down at night. this cooldown, and corresponding cool upper layers show just how quickly this takes place. Nothing to do with the SB equation. To do with observed phenomena

    the main reason is that there is no heat being generated, or stored by greenhouse gases, and so back radiation doesn’t occur. Even if it did, the quantities would be almost infinitessimal.
    In your later analogy however, it is convection that is being vastly reduced in a thermal flask, which prevents quick cooling.

    this convectional trapping process does not occur with outgoing IR radiation through c02 or any other ghg.

    however, even at ground-10,000 metres, what c02 does is so infinitessimally small that it might as well be factored out of climate projections.

    at 15microns peak, that makes not an iota of difference to atmospheric temperatures. Besides, gases are not blackbodies, and are 3 dimensional. Radiative equations can’t be applied to them (air has a very poor conductor), and so is irrelevant to climatology. With ghg’s, *blocking* operates in all directions, so doesn’t make any difference to the atmospheric heat content.

    if you’re talking about the shoulders of c02, then at this level there is more nitrogen and oxygen per CO2 molecule in this area. Dilution reduces the temperature increase per unit of energy. I don’t know about other readers; but I have absolutely no idea who said what, in this joint effort by P-Wilson, and Dave Springer.

    Perhaps, P. Wilson, being the outermost poster, can find some simple methodology to separate what he is citing from Dave Springer (if anything) and what is the product of his own thoughts.

    I often see people ascribe whole rafts of stuff to me; when I never said one word of what they posted.
    Trying to italicize things doesn’t do a thing, since the browsers can make mincemeat out of font twiddling.

    So I dunno P. Wilson; just what did you add if any to what Dave said if any ?

  165. Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:51 am “In fact the warmer the surface becomes the more the energy will be radiated to space without bouncing around in the atmosphere.”

    WUWT?
    So the surface has a direct connection to space then?

  166. Can I ask all the Physics guys a simple question?

    What happens when 2 photons travelling in opposite directions collide?

  167. George Smith

    dave Springer maintains that ghg’s – particularly c02 slows the rate of cooling of the atmosphere, and uses the analogy of a thermal flask (which limits conduction and convection.

    i’m arguing that c02 doesn’t make much measurable difference to atmospheric heat content and cool rate

  168. steven mosher [February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm] says:
    “yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our safety as a nation depends upon.“

    Got out of bed the wrong side today Mosh??? Only an idiot would think that tarring all sceptics with the same brush is a sensible way to have a useful debate.

    My own take on this is simple. Although lab experiments show CO2 could raise Earth’s overall temperature by a tiny amount, the IPCC’s predictions of catastrophic temperature increases produced by carbon dioxide have been challenged by many scientists and found to have no substance in the real world.

    The importance of water vapour is frequently overlooked by environmental activists and by the media. The large temperature increases predicted by many computer models are non-physical and inconsistent with results obtained by basic measurements – much scepticism is warranted when considering computer-generated projections of global warming when these same models cannot even predict existing observations.

  169. ok, I think i gleaned something re: the shoulders of co2. 15microns is the peak.

    all I can fathom is that Dav Springer argues that the entire shoulders and peaks of c02 count, but that at the shoulders – or else the band either side around 15microns – then they become miniscule as heat absorbers. At the tropospheric level where the outer bands absorb, there are more oxygen and nitrogen competing for heat than c02

  170. A C Osborn says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:51 am “In fact the warmer the surface becomes the more the energy will be radiated to space without bouncing around in the atmosphere.”

    WUWT?
    So the surface has a direct connection to space then?
    —————
    Yes

  171. cal says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Most of the energy the earth receives is visible light from the sun. The 5200K blackbody spectrum carries a significant but minor fraction of its total energy in the near infrared but no practical amount of the energy is in the far infrared where CO2 absorption begins. Conversely the earth (discounting reflected visible light during the day) emits essentially no energy in the near infrared and essentially all of it in the far infrared. The amount of the energy emitted in the far infrared necessarily over time is equal to the amount of shortwave energy absorbed by the ocean durin the day. Near infrared hitting the ocean surface is absorbed within the first few microns and doesn’t heat the ocean but is rather carried off in water vapor which rises by convection where the energy is released when the water vapor condenses into a cloud. Visible light however penetrates over 100 meters and is almost completely absorbed with very little of it reflected. Land surfaces to a small degree and clouds to a high degree reflect incoming visible light straight back out into space. Estimates of the earth’s average albedo are in the 35% range plus or minus a few percentage points depending on who you ask and what they need to stick into their climate models to better reproduce paleo-climate data. Albedo is used as a fudge factor to tune climate models for better fitting climate hind-casts.

    So anyhow about 60% of the solar energy arriving at the top of the atmosphere works to heat the ocean and all that energy eventually radiates out at night at much lower frequency. It’s the difference in CO2 frequency response to short wave versus long wave radiation that allows it to act as an insulator. It’s transparent to short wave radiation and opaque at a few significant long wave frequencies so it almost all solar energy through to the ocean unimpeded during the day but impedes long wave energy emitted by the surface at night. The simplest and quite accurate way to conceptualize this is that CO2 is an insulator – it’s like a blanket over a dark rock where you remove the blanket during the day so the rock can heat up in the sun and you put the blanket back at night to retain more of the warmth from the sun during the night. The end result of blanket vs. no blanket is a warmer rock with the blanket than the rock would be without it.


  172. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm
    Ian W says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    When water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into liquid water and then changes state again and becomes ice, it gives off latent heat for both state changes.
    Does that latent heat release follow Stefan-Boltzmann’s radiative equation ?
    No Ian, latent heat is not really related to S-B.

    So if you consider all the clouds and it is estimated that 62% of earth’s surface is covered by clouds – the amount of energy released as latent heat is huge. Yet people persist in working out the amount of heat leaving the surface using Stefan-Boltzmann radiation equations. This is obviously incorrect.


    izen says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:15 am
    Some energy leaves the SURFACE by convection, but it does not get very far.
    It is not clouds that block it… strange idea!
    Its the adiabatic lapse rate.
    Convection can only move air until the increased bouancy from the lower number of molecules per cubic metre is offset by the lower density with increasing altitude. It is the lower density of the atmosphere with altitude that blocks convection.
    The low altitude of most clouds indicates that the temperature falls below freezing just a few Km above ground level and the atmosphere regains that latent heat of evaporation well below the tropopause. Above the main low cloud layer water vapor is much less important as an atmospheric absorber/emitter.

    Well I don’t know about ‘not getting very far’ 60,000ft or more in the tropics is the level of the tropopause (the top of the convective atmosphere) and in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) the cloud tops of towering storms are (by definition) up to that level. (A recent Northwest Airlines flight experienced liquid rain hitting the aircraft in cruise above 30,000ft in a storm between Hong Kong and Tokyo despite the ambient outside-air-temperature being well below zero. The rain froze into ice on hitting the airframe) The height of the cloud tops all depends on why the clouds are there.
    Humid air is more buoyant than dry air, so just being more humid is enough for a volume of air to start convection. Drier air sucked in will then pass over the wet surface and Henry’s law applies and more water will evaporate into the dry air cooling the surface. No external heat source is required. As the humid air rises the air temperature will drop at the wet adiabatic lapse rate and water will start to condense around nucleation particles and form clouds. This type of cloud with a gentle wind will become the low stratocumulus over oceans and coastlines. And each and every cloud droplet has taken heat from the surface and radiated it as it becomes a droplet and again when it becomes ice.
    With the application of tropical heat and humidity convective storms develop every day some towering ten miles high into the atmosphere. If the conditions are conducive these storms merge and the Coriolis force on the air being rapidly drawn in at the base of the storms starts the winds in the storm system to rotate. There is a lot of discussion of the ACE index here, but to put it in perspective, the amount of energy released by a hurricane can be calculated based on the latent heat emitted and / or the kinetic energy.
    An average hurricane in a day transfers latent heat equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity.

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html

    As confirmed in response to my question at the top of this thread, the temperature of the cloud has no bearing on the amount of latent heat being released. The heat being released is linked to the amount of water changing state and the latent heat of that state change.
    The missing heat is almost certainly in the misunderstood and underestimated hydrologic cycle that is ignored in favor of a simple Stefan-Boltzmann radiation equation.

  173. Slacko,
    Following up on the reply already by cal, solar radiation contains a small fraction of IR, maybe only a few W/m2, so most of the warmth you feel is from absorbing the visible/UV rays.
    The other part of Slacko’s question: yes, N2 can’t radiate IR, nor can O2 or argon. This is from physics.

    Robert Clemenzi,
    Yes, 324 W/m2 corresponds to 34 F. This is supposed to be a global and annual average value, which obviously varies greatly locally. I think your suggestion is that it implies reflection because the clear atmosphere is probably colder than this. Actually clouds behave as almost perfect black bodies, so the cloud bases are emitting at their temperature, which may account for the average being as high as 324 W/m2. In the tropics even clear skies can emit more than 324 W/m2 to the surface because of the high H2O contents.

  174. The paragraph about Mikael Cronholm (MC) states … ‘and holds two Bachelor of Science degrees (Economics and Business Administration)’.
    I think it likely that’s a typo, and should read ‘Bachelor of Arts’.
    Of course I could be wrong. Are there really universities that issue Bachelor of Science (Economics) and Bachelor of Science(Business Administration) degrees?

  175. “”””” at 15microns peak, that makes not an iota of difference to atmospheric temperatures. Besides, gases are not blackbodies, and are 3 dimensional. Radiative equations can’t be applied to them (air has a very poor conductor), and so is irrelevant to climatology. With ghg’s, *blocking* operates in all directions, so doesn’t make any difference to the atmospheric heat content. “””””

    Either P.Wilosn or Dave Springer said the above; well it contains both of their names at the top. I’m inclined to discount Dave, as the source of that statement; but can’t tell where if anywhere Dave stops, and P. starts.

    In any case, while it may be pedantically true that gases aren’t black bodies; we know that since absolutely nothing real is a black body.

    But where in the Physics texts does it say that water or ice stops radiating thermal radiation, the instant that it changes from a liquid or solid, into a gas at the same Temperature. Has anybody ever recorded a motion picture video of that shut-off process actually taking place in any Physical system.

    Can somebody cie some peer reviewed literature that forgives gases from radiating thermal radiation; that is Electromagnetic Radiation of a spectral nature that depends on on the Temperature of the gas. And where in that peer reviewed paper, did it say that the sun is further excused from obeying the non thermal EM radiation prohibition of gases ?

    One thing we can be fairly sure of, is that the Raleigh scattering of short wavelength sunlight, which makes the entire daytime sky appear “Sky blue” when viewed in any direction (not counting near the sun); and that means it looks the same looking up as looking down; because the large angle scattering due to the RS process makes the atmosphere an isotropic source of sky blue light which originally came from the sun.

    By the same token, the LWIR emissions from the atmosphere; whatever their source; are slso isotropic, since there is no preferred dirction of emission. So the infrared sky looking up towards space is pretty much the same as looking down from outer space; except (apparently) that according to Trenberth, 40 W/m^2 of LWIR radiation that is actually emitted from the earth’s surface, actually escapes unharmed to space, and the other 350 W/m^2 is absorbed by the atmosphere. Apparently per P.Wilson, it cannot be subsequently emitted from the atmosphere per the radiation laws governing BBs and other thermal radiation laws; which he says don’t apply to gases.

    So now would somebody not as dense as I am, like to explain to me what is the source of quite thermal spectrum looking (grey body) radiation that is seen from outer space, when looking at the earth. Onl;y 40 W/m^2 of it can be coming from the ground per Trenberth and it does not have a narrow CO2 absorption band spectrum as one would expect, if direct emission of molecular resonance radiation spectra from CO2 was the source.

    Several have noted that a lot of “heat” transport to the upper atmosphere is a result of convection of hotter surface gases into the upper regions. Somebody could explain for us how that eventually escapes to space, seeing as how gases can’t radiate thermal spectra according to the black body or S-B radiation laws.

    Clearly the ten years, that I formally studied Physics in School, plus the subsequent 50 years of using it daily in practice to accomplish things; was not enough for me to come across that jewel of knowledge, that gases do not radiate according to the radiation laws.

    Readers might also find it intersting to look at Fi 11; “Higher Members of the Balmer Series of the H Atom (in Emission) Starting from the Seventh Line, and showing the Continuum (Hertzberg41) ”
    The reference to “hertzberg 41″ is the G. Herzberg Ann. Physik (4) 84, 565 1927 citation

    And that photo of an actual real measured, scientific observation of a (non teracomputer simulation of) Balmer spectrum including a “Continuum Spectrum” along twith the Balmer line specrum is in; “Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure” by Gerhard Herzberg; Prentice Hall 1937. Herzberg mentions that in Emission the continuum corrsponds to a free electron of any energy being captued by a proton, adn going in to “the orbit” having the principal quantum number n=2 (this is of course in the Bohr Atom interpretation. Modern Quantum formulations may be different.)

    And nowhere does temperature get mentioned here. This continuum radiation still corresponds to an energy level transition; in this case from an ionised state. Well of course you won’t find any ionised states on the sun I would imagine. that spectrum is commonly observed in stars. But The end of the Balmer series, is at about 3800 Angstroms; so that continuum is in the UV region; not in the LWIR region where the thermally originated LWIR emission spectrum occurs.

    The extraterrestrial LWIR spectrum from the earth, does show a narrow spectral dip at the 9.6 micron Ozone band, and a wider one at the 15 micron CO2 band from about 13.5 to 16.5 microns. otherwise it looks pretty much like any other near bB-spectrum as limited by the Planck and S-B laws (Wien also)

  176. The question posed early on this thread from KLC; ” . . . From your point of view as an IR expert, does this aspect of the global warming theory make any sense?”
    RE: “. . . notorious Ternberth/Keihl energy balance schematic (as shown in Figure 1 of this paper: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/TFK_bams09.pdf ), you see the back radiation is determined to be very significant…”

    Maybe I missed it but was there a summary or (for want of a better term) a consensus from the posters here that can answer this with some authority? MC replied he had issues with the numbers used. I was wondering what others thought re: reasonable numbers if those referred to (fig 1) are not reasonable.

    MC also noted, “Every question answered raises a few more, which grows the confusion exponentially. ”

    I was hoping to clear up some confusion on my part.

    -Barn

  177. “”””” P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:44 am
    although, George, it depends what posts you’re referring to “””””

    I cut and pasted the entirety of the post headed by your name, and containing a reference to Dave Springer. That post, and only that post was being referred to by me.

  178. i see. That was entirely my post. As a response to Dave Springer. I just cut and pasted his name and time to show what post I was replying to

    Hope that clears things up

  179. barnErubble,
    MC was not concerned with the main number of > 300 W/m2 from IR as back radiation in those papers. He was concerned with the accuracy of the residual 0.9 W/m2, and how anyone could accurately state such residuals given the large canceling numbers involved. This is rather related to Trenberth’s “missing energy” issue, and is a valid concern.

  180. George E. Smith says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:28 a

    “Clearly the ten years, that I formally studied Physics in School, plus the subsequent 50 years of using it daily in practice to accomplish things; was not enough for me to come across that jewel of knowledge, that gases do not radiate according to the radiation laws.”

    of course they do, as only you would know. I’m referring to the SB equation in particular as applied to c02, and the fanciful results on paper that it generates. I think you’ve implied before that except for a tiny fingerprint of black body radiation, most radiation evades c02 in its escape to space.

    Before energy escapes into space through radiation, it doesn’t matter whether the energy is in contact with CO2, water vapor or nitrogen.

  181. Jim D says:
    “solar radiation contains a small fraction of IR, maybe only a few W/m2, so most of the warmth you feel is from absorbing the visible/UV rays.”
    Actually, more than 50% of the solar energy at the top of the atmosphere is IR. At the surface, the percent is increased because some of the UV was absorbed at a higher level. On a cloudy day you can get a sunburn. However, since you will not feel a temperature difference between overcast light and full shade, the “heat” you feel on a sunny day will not be from the UV.

  182. Steeptown mentioned:
    …it is evident to me that the radiative efects of CO2 in the atmosphere are of 2nd or 3rd order compared to the radiative, convective and latent heat effects of H2O.

    Well, when do 2nd order effects become important? The problem with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is the ever increasing 2nd order effect. So a little bit of energy doesn’t escape. No big problem. But, if the effect is compounded, which appears to be the case for CO2, suddenly a little bit of energy becomes a lot of energy. When do we care?

    Water in the atmosphere has two very different properties versus CO2. First, the amount of water in the atmosphere is not likely to double unless there is a major change in the atmosphere. So even if H2O is a first order effect, the much smaller changes in the amount of water is not going to be significant. However, CO2 is increasing fairly quick. And a doubling or possibly tripling the amount of CO2 is very real so the second order impact is likely to be much larger than the small deviations of the first order impact. Second, CO2 is throughout the entire atmosphere. Sure, it is only 0.04% of the atmosphere. But if we look at the entire atmosphere, not just the surface, water is only 0.4%. Doubling or tripling CO2 is now ~0.1 %. Suddenly CO2 is not that small after all.

    Something else folks seem to be forgetting with CO2 is the bands it absorbs. In particular, it is absorbing in bands that water is not. At lower levels of CO2, a sufficient amount of LW radiation was escaping to provide an energy balance. With the increased amount of CO2, the balance has been upset and the Earth is trying to reach a new equilibrium.

    Some folks are very taken with Mr. Cronholm’s one comment:
    For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.
    This may be true, but we only have one planet. We don’t have an alternate Earth that we can play with to see what happens. Also, tested does not necessarily mean run in a lab or a model. Consider evolution. We don’t “test” evolution, we look at the available data and the composite result from this evidence is the fundamental reasons for evolution. Climate change is similar: we look at temperature, CO2, extended growing seasons, northern and southern boundaries of migrating birds and insects, extreme weather events, receding glaciers, etc.

    One comment that has been discussed time and again is that in the geological record, an increase in CO2 occurs after an increase in temperature. Fine, let’s assume that is true. The problem we have is the measurements we are making now show CO2 increasing and temperature following. What does it mean? Simple: a different mechanism is now responsible, not the natural processes we have been able to identify from past changes.

    Of course, there could be another natural phenomenon we have not found/discovered. But as Dr. Alley from Penn State has pointed out: we built the satellites, we made the measurements, when someone disagreed we made new satellites and new measurements. We have spent billions of dollars and so far the overwhelming evidence is in support of AGW.

    Think of it like Children’s Hospital. The doctors there have one job: to put themselves out of a job. If they could solve all the medical issues they see, they would no longer be needed. And that is actually their goal! They don’t want kids to suffer. Do people really think climate change scientists want AGW to be true? If they are right, the end result is really bad.

  183. AC Osborne: re photon-photon collision

    I am not a physicist but, back when I went to college and took physics, I was taught that photon-photon collisions are not possible. Being virtually massless and only possessing momentum, two photons can only indirectly interact with each other. Their interaction is called Delbrück scattering. When they “interact” they annihilate into a virtual electron-positron pair, which then annihilates back into two real photons again. They lose no momentum or energy in the process.

    Don’t know if that is completely right, my memory is hazy, but my rule of thumb has always been that for first approximations photons are massles and that massless quanta’s of energy basically just go right thru each other.

  184. Tenuc says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    steven mosher [February 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm] says:
    “yup, but there is more to it than that. If you want to do IR design today ( of sensors, or counter measures or stealth technology) the physics you use is the same physics that many skeptics deny. good thing we don’t let them design the machines that our safety as a nation depends upon.“

    Got out of bed the wrong side today Mosh??? Only an idiot would think that tarring all sceptics with the same brush is a sensible way to have a useful debate.

    #####
    I wrote: “the same physics that many skeptics deny”
    You accused me of “tarring all sceptics”

    There is a reason why I chose the word “many”
    There is a reason why I did not use the term “all” or “Most”

    The reason was to trap idiots who are not careful with words.

  185. I found the explanations both fundamentally accurate to my understanding level and very nicely presented in what should be a very understandable way.

    One major error though is the misconception that 0.9w/m^2 imbalance is measured. It is a model calculation based upon plenty of presumptions. The references to the CERES & ERBE data actually turn up to have accuracy problems of several watt’s per m^2 so despite all the discussions in the papers, they resort to modeling to get their value. In the earlier papers, such as hansen’s, the uncertainties in the modeling for such things as cloud formation versus T are discussed and decisions made that gives rise to their claim that cloud formation decreases with temperature which is not the case for all presumption options like cloud formation depending upon absolute humidity levels.

  186. Don V :
    February 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Thank you Don, well thought out comment!
    Found not a single thing within I would argue about.

    You have a clear mind. Could we talk some physics here? I have one big question I need some help answering (or try to answer at least, and, it’s on a very simple logical level).

  187. Barn,

    the details isn’t so much radiative theory as it is to the system of Earth and its atmosphere. You can rather safely bet that the warmer crowd will minimize every number that limits AGW and exaggerate every number that supports it.

    Primary amongst the real uncertainties is that of the albedo and cloud cover and the behavior of the cloud cover with conditions such as temperature. The whole premise being used that there is one surface temperature average for a given blockage of outgoing IR is totally flawed. While incoming solar average power is given great importance, the notion of what the albedo reflects away is often considered to be constant and not the actual variable it really is, driven by many other factors. If you consider the comments of the warmers, they give lip service to land use changes and loss of snow and ice cover as being the important factors with albedo. Funny how about 80% + of the albedo is due to a 60% + cloud cover and of that under 20% surface contribution, around 70% is oceans and that leaves next to nothing for contributions from the land surfaces, never mind ice and snow and a little rain forest or two.

    K&T97 admit possible errors of up to 20% in their cartoon values. Amazing how close they got to that by underestimating cloud cover and overestimating land and surface contribution. It actually looks like they forgot to take cloud cover into account and gave a clear sky only value. Later they use the same values and apparently forgot to include their serious margin of error.

  188. Ian W says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:06 am
    “As confirmed in response to my question at the top of this thread, the temperature of the cloud has no bearing on the amount of latent heat being released. The heat being released is linked to the amount of water changing state and the latent heat of that state change.
    The missing heat is almost certainly in the misunderstood and underestimated hydrologic cycle that is ignored in favor of a simple Stefan-Boltzmann radiation equation.”

    The ‘Science of Doom’ site linked to from here (top right of page) has a good discussion of some of these issues.
    The amount of energy transported by latent heat changes is complex, there is one simple way to quantify it however. The total global yearly rainfall is a direct measure of how much energy was moved by evaporation and condensation in the hydrological cycle.

    But the first LoT kicks in. The energy is still around. The only way it can get of the planet is by radiating IR photons into space. All the hydrological cycle can do is move the location of that emission around. That evens out the temperature so that water does not boil at the equator and can melt at the poles, but the same amount of energy has to leave the planet. Otherwise it will warm until the S-B T^4 relationship increase the emissions enough to compensate.

  189. >>
    Smoking Frog says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:36 am

    The average of the minimum and maximum overlaps gives exactly 62%:
    ((49 + 6 + 20) + 49) / 2 = 62
    but I’m not sure that this is what we’d get with random overlap, even if, as my calculation assumes, there are no real-world constraints.
    <<

    Interesting. It may be what the authors were doing.

    >>
    The Inclusion-Exclusion Principle requires that we know the overlap(s) to begin with, so it can’t give us the answer.
    <<

    But it does give us an answer that is almost the same:

    .49 + .06 + .20 – (.49)*(.06) – (.06)*(.20) – (.49)*(.20) + (.49)*(.06)*(.20) = 0.61648.

    Jim

  190. You accused me of “tarring all sceptics”

    There is a reason why I chose the word “many”
    There is a reason why I did not use the term “all” or “Most”

    The reason was to trap idiots who are not careful with words.

    Steve, That may well be the case but seeking to trap idiots is no more valid than your rivals statement. I believe also that your comment ‘that most skeptics deny’ is also and POSSIBLY incorrect. I know I feel somewhat agrieved because while I am a skeptic (and a physicist) I understand well enough the ‘science of CO²’ but I have never been convinced that the phrase that ‘increasing CO² causes global warming’ has ever been proven (show me where) or is in anyway true. Suggest you read those words very carefully. :))

  191. izen says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    “But the first LoT kicks in. The energy is still around. The only way it can get of the planet is by radiating IR photons into space. All the hydrological cycle can do is move the location of that emission around.
    ——————————–
    You make it sound like water just shuffles energy around horizontally.
    This is claiming the taxi delivers you to your holiday hotel door, not the airplane.

  192. frog, jim,

    the details show in kt97 that the assumptions are 100% optical thickness for the two main cloud types and 50 or 60% thickness for the 6% coverage contributor. The 62% result they come up with is assuming 100% thickness with random overlap. It does seem to agree well with what little is known of the actual coverage, which can vary substantially over time, something like over +/- 5% as I recall. That also leads to an albedo variation of around 5% and a peak to peak difference in reflected incoming light power of about 10 w/m^2, far more than a mere co2 doubling.

  193. Hans Erren says on February 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    “Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.”

    Hmmm. Then why is the maximum temperature there NEVER as hot as it is almost every day from June-Sept. in Phoenix, AZ?

  194. “”””” Ian W says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    When water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into liquid water and then changes state again and becomes ice, it gives off latent heat for both state changes.

    Does that latent heat release follow Stefan-Boltzmann’s radiative equation ? “””””

    Latent heat and anything to do with heat, is a property of physical matter; it has nothing to do with Electromagnetic Radiation; so it has nothing to do with the Stefan Boltzmann equation.

    EM radiation can go anywhere it wants to; heat can’t.

  195. Interesting article, and Al Tekhasski covers a good point too.

    Detectors are tuned to work in a certain wavelength. We can make materials that have energy levels (or bands) that only allow transitions of certain energy. One common way of doing it is to create a ‘quantum well’ (look it up!) using sandwiched layers of different materials, but there are others.

    The atmosphere is largely transparent in some wavelengths, it doesn’t absorb well here. This means that there aren’t many available transitions, so it can’t emit here well either. So if you point your scanner upwards and measure, and your scanner is tuned to this energy band then you won’t measure many photons coming down. This will mean a small electrical signal (the voltage output is related to the number of photons) and your device thinks ‘small voltage, so not many photons, so what I’m measuring is cold’.

    This works because most objects have emissivity close to 1 at these ranges, whilst the atmosphere doesn’t. So you can measure the photons coming from far away objects and not the atmosphere; if the atmosphere had emissivity 1 for these wavelengths then it would absorb the light from the object before it could reach your scanner, and you would always measure the atmospheric temperature – not useful for a long range thermometer!

    The strength of CO2 absorption can be tested empirically by spectral measurements from satellites (and changes can be measured from ground stations) for a variety of conditions. Look up some of Philipona’s papers or the Harries 2001 paper. They provide experimental confirmation of the physics.

  196. physics schymisics,

    real world

    When CO2 levels were 4000 ppm – we had an ice age
    when CO2 levels were 3000 ppm = we had an ice age
    when CO2 levels were 2000 ppm – we had an ice age

    and here we are wringing our hands and wetting the bed over 390 ppm……………….

    real world says the only tipping point is when CO2 levels get in the thousands, we can have another ice age……………..

  197. I will correct my answer to Slacko, taking into account Robert Clemenzi’s point.
    Yes the IR at night is mostly due to H2O and CO2. During the day, the sun produces near-IR in the 1-2 micron range, while the atmosphere only emits at the wavelengths longer than about 4 microns. These two types of IR may be of comparable magnitude in the upper atmosphere, but much of the near-IR is absorbed before reaching the surface.

  198. “Sensor operator says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:52 am
    Think of it like Children’s Hospital. The doctors there have one job: to put themselves out of a job. If they could solve all the medical issues they see, they would no longer be needed. And that is actually their goal! They don’t want kids to suffer. Do people really think climate change scientists want AGW to be true? If they are right, the end result is really bad.”

    Sensor, I don’t have to THINK that is what some climate scientists think. Phil Jones actually stated it in his e-mails.

  199. How does Nitrogen and Oxygen warm up and cool down in the atmosphere.

    The way it is decribed by some here, the radiation theory assumption is that both of these gases are at absolute zero.

  200. Infrared is Heat, or rather far and mid is heat. Near infrared is not felt as heat, think remote control. You’re not going to get warm by flicking your remote at yourself.

    Visible light and UV do not feel hot, they are cool. UV doesn’t penetrate very far into the body, it tans, or burns, the skin – can do so even on cloudy days as Robert Clamenzi says (Feb 14, 11:23 am).

    We receive IR here on earth from the Sun. Why is this excluded in AGW literature?

  201. “Don V says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    AC Osborne: re photon-photon collision”

    Wikipedia has an interesting article on photon-photon collisions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-photon_physics

    Of course it points out that photons can’t collide since they don’t become photons, or quantized, until they interact with matter. This gets to the root of the issues with backradiation. Until the radiation from the CO2, or the earth for that matter, actually interacts with a particle they are best described through wave mechanics which was well mapped like here:

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

    http://www.mrelativity.net/Papers/4/Rykov.htm

    Many people ask what would happen to the energy if 2 waves cancelled.

    http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.radio.amateur.antenna/2005-12/msg00243.html

    Sometimes the most simple concepts are missed. Actually it may not be simple reflection but scatter, although the scatter would seem to be when less than 100% cancellation occurs.

  202. “”””” Bill Illis says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm
    How does Nitrogen and Oxygen warm up and cool down in the atmosphere.

    The way it is decribed by some here, the radiation theory assumption is that both of these gases are at absolute zero. “””””

    Funny you should notice that too Bill. N2 and O2 at 288 or 300 K may not seem to be emitting any thermal radiation; but that is because we are used to feeling our “heat” at much shorter wavelengths, and much higher Temperatures.

    Considering how difficult it is to observe and measure thermal radiation at 288 K; especially spectrally resolved; it is no wonder that ordinary humans are not even aware of its existence. We certainly can’t feel it on our skin.

    But shift the wavelength down by ten, and raise the Temperature by ten, and the Total Radient emittance by 10,000 times, and the spectral peak emittance by a factor of 100,000 and humans finally can be made aware of it’s presence.

    But I don’t see a whole lot of 100 Watt “heat lamps” turned up skywards, anywhere I’ve ever been !

  203. Turns out I was right about you on the other thread, Mr. Mosher. You have shown your true colors. Why do you feel you have to trap anybody? You are not a nice man.

    REPLY: David, you don’t know jack, I know Mosher personally, you don’t. You’re simply wrong on this point. – Anthony

  204. “”””” JAE says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    Hans Erren says on February 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    “Adding water vapour in the tropics gives the tropics a greenhouse effect, I remember very well when I left the airconditioned hotel in Dhaka Bangladesh, a wall of humid heat hit me and I had to wipe my glasses.

    Every added particle to the atmosphere is a small downward radiator, adding more particles therefore adds more radiators. That’s in a nutshell the greenhouse effect.” “””””

    So what is the magic of these particles that they know to only radiate downwards? Common sense would say that whatever in the atmosphere is emitting radiation of any kind, is doing so pretty much isotropically with no directional bias.

    So whatever your particles are emitting downwards, they must be emitting a like amount upwards; whcih escapes to space. So whatever the originals ource of the energy that your particles are radaiting; be it direct incoming sunlight or surface emitted LWIR radiation, it seems that half of it si going to escape to space, and not reach the ground. Particularly when the sun is the source of that energy your particles are radiating downwards; that is an amount of sunlight that will never reach the ground; so it will get less hot than if your particles did not intercept that solar raiation.

    No matter how you try to skin the cat; anything in the atmosphere that absorbs any incoming solar energy or even widely scatters it, such as the blue skylight due to Raleigh scattering, must result in less solar energy reaching the surface of the earth (ocean) and getting stored in earth’s thermal sink.

  205. izen says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm
    Ian W says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:06 am
    “As confirmed in response to my question at the top of this thread, the temperature of the cloud has no bearing on the amount of latent heat being released. The heat being released is linked to the amount of water changing state and the latent heat of that state change.
    The missing heat is almost certainly in the misunderstood and underestimated hydrologic cycle that is ignored in favor of a simple Stefan-Boltzmann radiation equation.”

    The ‘Science of Doom’ site linked to from here (top right of page) has a good discussion of some of these issues.
    The amount of energy transported by latent heat changes is complex, there is one simple way to quantify it however. The total global yearly rainfall is a direct measure of how much energy was moved by evaporation and condensation in the hydrological cycle.

    But the first LoT kicks in. The energy is still around. The only way it can get of the planet is by radiating IR photons into space. All the hydrological cycle can do is move the location of that emission around. That evens out the temperature so that water does not boil at the equator and can melt at the poles, but the same amount of energy has to leave the planet. Otherwise it will warm until the S-B T^4 relationship increase the emissions enough to compensate.

    So when the heat is released at 30,000 feet (*) in the atmosphere as liquid water turns to ice, well past the dense part of the atmosphere it does not radiate to space?

    How does it know that it can only radiate down? ;-)

    It certainly appears that significant IR is being emitted from these clouds and weather systems independent of their temperature

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-rb.html

    (*) The updrafts in the ITCZ as aircraft have found out to their cost can be in the order of 100KnH or more and liquid water can get that high before freezing – hence my quote of the Nortwest Airlines Airbus.

  206. Bill Illis
    N2 and O2 are at the same temperature in a small parcel of air, just like the co2. The co2 absorbs some energy and the average time it takes to radiate it away is more than enough time for it to be transferred away by collisions, most likely n2 followed by o2. just because a co2 molecule excited by a photon is likely to have its energy reduced by a collision, so too is the likelihood that a co2 molecule will be excited by a collision and capable of emitting a photon or capable of being ‘defused’ by yet another collision. net result is that a certain fraction of these molecules will emit a photon of a particular energy (wavelength) based upon the temperature and upon the proclivity of the co2 molecule to absorb or emit that energy. absorption doesn’t really depend much on temperature but the emission is highly dependent. The blackbody curve for a give temperature is actually a portrayal of the fraction of molecules at particular energies that are capable of emitting photons. The bb curve must be a solid or liquid – or an optically thick enough gas to be thick at all wavelengths. For the sun to essentially emit a 5800k BB curve from the photosphere, one has many heavier elements present that are ionized and so are capable of emitting a continuum rather than merely a spectrum.

  207. Myrrh, it may depend on what definition you use for heat, but the one I stick to is that heat is the total kinetic energy of the particles in a substance (mass times velocity squared over two). Then infrared is not heat, but it is caused by, and can cause, heat. Emission creates radiation energy by converting heat energy to electromagnetic waves (or photons, if you prefer) and absorption converts in the opposite way.

    Thermal radiation, if you define it as radiation that can heat or cool a surface by exchange of radiation, will be wavelengths from somewhere in the UV throughout visible and IR. Most of the heat the earth receives from the sun is in fact in the visible band. In the shorter wavelengths, X-ray and gamma, most objects will transmit most of it, and hence no transfer of energy. Longer wavelengths, microwave, and radio wave, do not significantly heat things, I am not sure why, but if they did heat us we would be cooking with all the radio waves around. Microwaves can only heat by directly agitating water molecules, because they are dipoles, so it is a different process than we normally think of as heat transfer by radiation. But it is a matter of definition, largely.

    Normally, the shorter the wavelength the better the penetration. If you consider human skin, UV, visible and IR penetrate in that order, UV the most, visible a little bit, and IR hardly at all.

    The reason a remote control does not feel hot is merely a question of magnitude. A couple of AA batteries don’t have a lot of energy to give off. By the way, you can use a normal CCD camera to check if your remote works, a simple one in a cell phone will do fine. CCD’s work up to around 1 micrometer.

  208. One question I am looking for a good answer.

    At sea level, when an ir photon is emitted from earth in a upward direction, what is the distribution of its path length before it excites(is absorbed) by a CO2 molocule and is thermalized into the atmosphere. Believe I know the answer, but looking for indepenant confirmation.

  209. davaidmhoffer says:

    CO2 is reasonably well mixed throughout the troposphere,
    ————-

    This is not true and is just flat out wrong. In real air, there is no unifrom distribution of mass of the atmosphere in space and time as shown by weather maps. High pressure cells have more regional mass and dry air than do low pressure cells with moist air. And these are constantly moving sometimes quite rapidly. Humidity lowers the density of dry air by a much as 5%.

    Tropical air at ca 30 deg C and with 100% humidity has 80% of the mass per unit volume than does dry cold air at STP ( 0 deg C and 1 atm pressure).

    Comprised of nitrogen, oxygen, the inert gases, which are the fixed gases, and CO2, purified dry air (PDA) at STP has presently 390 ml, 17.4 millimoles, 766 mg or 0.000766 kg of CO2 per cubic meter and has a density of 1.2929 kg per cu per meter. PDA does not occur in the earth’s atmosphere. The composition of PDA (i.e, rel amounts of the fixed gases and CO2) is fairly uniform thru out the earth’s atmosphere and is independent of site, temperature, pressure, humidity which includes water vapor and clouds except for minor local variation in particular with prespect to CO2.

    If PDA is cooled to -53 deg, the amount of CO2 is 21.6 mmole cubic meter and concentration is 390 ppmv. If PDA is heated to 45 deg C, the is concentration is still 390 ppmv but there is only 12.5 mmoles of CO2 per cubic meter.

    GCM calculations generally use the concentration of CO2 in ppmv which is the incorrect metric and thus are fatally flawed. The correct metric is mass (or millimoles) of CO2 per unit volume.

    The water droplets of clouds contain CO2 which can be released if they dissipate or transport CO2 to the surface if they turn into raindrops. How much CO2 is sequestered in the clouds? Probably a lot.

  210. enough says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    One question I am looking for a good answer.

    no real good answer I’m afraid. Depending on the wavelength of the photon, it might travel from surface to space without a hint of a capture OR it might not make it 2 centimeters without a sure thing capture. Most of the critical wavelength bands fall somewhere in between. at lower altitudes (higher pressures) the individual lines are spread out essentially forming bands. At higher altitudes and lower pressures, the lines become much sharper taller and narrower. Molecules here are less likely to absorb or emit a photon whose wavelength is further from the peak.

  211. mikael,

    that’s a very restricted definition of heat energy. energy can add velocity to a molecule or it can increase the internal energy state. IR is merely an electromagnetic form of energy. The same goes for radio waves, light, IR, uv, xrays and gamma rays.

  212. J. Bob says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

    eadler says
    “If the mean error is know, the readings can be adjusted. If the mean error remains constant, than the temperature anomaly, which is what is being sought will not suffer in accuracy.”

    And those “if’s” can be significant. Much of the mean error “adjustment” ability depends on the sensor, electronics, environment, calibration protocols, and how well these protocols are ACCUALLY followed.

    Calibration error doesn’t affect the temperature anomaly if the error remains constant. In the case of equipment changes, so that the temperature trend becomes discontinuous, the change if detected is corrected for by the use of adjacent location data that is consistent. These adjustments are normallyl done by using computer programs. Calibration of the equipment is not really necessary. The new data base, which is the subject of this thread will be corrected for equipment discontinuities in the same way as the previous thermometer data bases have done it.
    This is getting off topic of this thread. There are other threads on this web site that deal with corrections of the temperature record, including the new data base being developed by Muller.

  213. One question I am looking for a good answer.

    no real good answer I’m afraid. Depending on the wavelength of the photon, it

    Sorry, question was not to the point, If an IR photon in the co2 band is emitted at sea level, what is its path length before being absorbed by a co2 molecule.

  214. Jim D says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm
    Bill Illis, nitrogen and oxygen heat and cool by conduction and convection only, not by radiation.
    —————

    Accordingly to your theory, these are meaningless concepts. They play no part in the greenhouse effect. Why do you bring them up now?

  215. @ cba. Yes, I know it is a restricted definition, which I kind of pointed out, implicitly. I just though a simplified answer would be good enough, since the main point I was making was that radiation in itself is normally not defined as heat. But there are two definitions of heat, differing only in the semantics.

  216. mikael,

    heat is energy in transit. loosely, radiation readily fits the definition. One too easily tends to forget that there is more to energy states than kinetic energy of the motion of individual molecules.

  217. cba says:

    “Bill Illis
    N2 and O2 are at the same temperature in a small parcel of air, just like the co2. The co2 absorbs some energy and the average time it takes to radiate it away is more than enough time for it to be transferred away by collisions, most likely n2 followed by o2. just because a co2 molecule excited by a photon is likely to have its energy reduced by a collision, so too is the likelihood that a co2 molecule will be excited by a collision and capable of emitting a photon or capable of being ‘defused’ by yet another collision. net result is that a certain fraction of these molecules will emit a photon of a particular energy (wavelength) based upon the temperature and upon the proclivity of the co2 molecule to absorb or emit that energy. absorption doesn’t really depend much on temperature but the emission is highly dependent. The blackbody curve for a give temperature is actually a portrayal of the fraction of molecules at particular energies that are capable of emitting photons. The bb curve must be a solid or liquid – or an optically thick enough gas to be thick at all wavelengths. For the sun to essentially emit a 5800k BB curve from the photosphere, one has many heavier elements present that are ionized and so are capable of emitting a continuum rather than merely a spectrum.”

    I think this is all correct.

    But, I would like to posit another “world” for the warmistas. Suppose the atmosphere of Earth consisted of ONLY N2 and O2. Now, these gases could not cool by IR emissions, but they would warm by conduction from the surface. And they could not radiate to space. So would they continually warm for millions of years?? Would they melt the planet? WTF, folks?

  218. Bill Illis, you are saying conduction and convection are meaningless when they explain the temperature profile of the atmosphere and a large part of the heat flux from the ground. They are vital to any complete theory. Some people have trouble with the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation all being important at the same time, I guess.

  219. @ cba. Yes, that is the other definition. Both are equally valid, but when I teach heat transfer and IR temperature measurement to engineers, I find the definition that implies that heat is contained in objects to be easier to work with. I accept both definitions and the systems of nomenclature that they create, I just prefer one because of simplicity. And following this discussion it seems to me that the definition I prefer for practical reasons also seems to be the one that people use here.

    If I define heat as being the thermal energy flow I run into problems explaining heat capacity for example. The term “heat transfer” becomes a bit funny if “heat” in itself is a transfer, a bit like saying”free gift”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat#Semantic_misconceptions

  220. Great experts for this place. An electrical engineer and a business/economics major. And these musings disprove global warming and the properties of CO2? Lol. Check any temperature charts lately? Any Mars missions planned from your garage? How about no Watts in the bulb?

  221. marky48,

    And what is your expertise?

    No one here is trying to disprove global warming. It is the continuation of the natural warming cycle from the LIA. And no one is arguing the properties of CO2. It is a trace gas that delays the emission of radiation to space.

    The question is whether a minor trace gas controls the climate. If you believe you have solid evidence that it does, provide it.

  222. @ marky48. Great contribution! Very informative! Naah, not really…

    When you find something interesting to post that questions or discusses the facts presented instead of arguing ad hominem and attempting to ridicule me, you can try again.

    In absence of degrees on the subject, I have worked with and studied IR thermography, as it is applied in industry and research, for over 20 years, and I have been teaching it for 15 years or so, and written books about it. This discussion is on the fringes of my expertise, and I don’t claim to be a climate scientist or expert at all, but I am quite enjoying learning about it here. And if you look a little carefully you will find that I am on neither side in the debate. You have apparently taken sides though, based on what, I don’t know. If you would attempt to enlighten me you will have to show a little more intelligence than you just did.

  223. jae says:
    February 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm ………………..
    Suppose the atmosphere of Earth consisted of ONLY N2 and O2. Now, these gases could not cool by IR emissions, but they would warm by conduction from the surface. And they could not radiate to space. So would they continually warm for millions of years?? Would they melt the planet? WTF, folks?
    ———————-
    jae, there was a good thread on this several months ago. Although I’d like to track it down for you, I think somebody will recall it better than I do and save me the trouble.
    Obviously, the surface could still radiate and accept heat from the atmosphere through collisions. Convection would arise.

  224. Then try these nuggets on for size. Only fools and not even oil companies dispute man’s contribution to the greenhouse effect and the observed effects of global warming. If you are smarter than NASA you haven’t shown it here. Get out or lose your reputation. If you value the one you claim to have, that is.

  225. “The question is whether a minor trace gas controls the climate. If you believe you have solid evidence that it does, provide it.”

    See the above smokestack. Ever heard of exponents? It sounds like you’ve had too much of the emissions already though like the rest of these toasties.

  226. @ cba
    That CO2 imparts warmth to N2 and O2 seems straight-forward, but it also seems at odds with the notion that it can heat the terrestrial surface at the same time by radiation.
    If CO2 happily re-radiates (I know some don’t like that expression) the energy it absorbs, why is the surface not simply tossing it right back out when it receives it?
    Sure, the minerals of the surface will briefly become hotter but then they will radiate more vigourously and a percentage of that radiation will be at frequencies incompatible with CO2 absorption, so it will be gone, gone.
    What does “back-radiation” have to do with anything? Isn’t it like radiation within an iron bar that I heat with an oxy-acetylene flame? Overwhelmed?

  227. @marky48

    Including your IQ as part of your screen-name puts you at a bit of a disadvantage.
    Very few will take your incredibly astute comments seriously and the planet will slip a little further into catastrophe.
    Yes, it’s somewhat your fault but don’t beat yourself up too much!

  228. marky48.

    Arhenius having the wrong bandwidths I guess doesn’t really matter. Believers KNOW they are right so it is OK to adjust things to fit their incorrect models based on 100 year old incorrect science.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  229. @All…

    Imagine you have 450 boxes on ground and each box can contain only one cat. Imagine you have only one box buoying in the air and it only can contain one cat. Now, imagine the Sun is sending 900 cats towards the ground, i.e. towards the place where the 450 boxes are placed. Remember, only one cat per box. From the 900 cats, only 450 cats hit on the ground, where the boxes are placed. 45 cats are “bounced” towards the outer space and 405 cats go into their respective boxes. There will be 45 empty boxes. But… ~365 cats get scaping from their correspondent boxes and they want to go back to the source of cats. They find that one box is obstructing their passage to the glory and one cat is “trapped”, momentaneously, into the box floating in the air. Question:

    How many cats can be “absorbed” by the empty box that is floating in the air?

    Let’s continue:

    The cat inside the floating box tries to scape to the glory and jumps out from the box. Question:

    Would the cat go back to the ground looking for another empty box? For answering this question, remember that there are not empty boxes on the ground because the Sun is sending cats continuously, therefore, the empty boxes on ground are occupied immediately by another cat incoming from the Sun.

    Let’s continue: The cat finds another empty box floating few meters far away from the first box from which it had scaped and try to jump toward it. It fails and feels a strong cats current from the ground pushes it towards the outer space; additionaly, it finds that there is a very strong pressure exerted from the surface against which it cannot struggle. Questions:

    Will the cat be re-absorbed by any of the occupied boxes on the ground?

    Could it be that other kinds of containers do exist in the air, at shorter distances than the prior box where it was “trapped”?

    Could the cat prevail over that strong current of cats and the powerful pressure, which push it towards the outer space, if it doesn’t bump into another empty container?

    Keys:

    Cats = IR quantum/waves.

    Cats from the Sun = short wavelength IR quantum/waves.

    Cats from the ground = long wavelength IR quantum/waves.

    Cats jumping from the boxes floating in the air = very low energy density long wavelength IR quantum/waves.

    Boxes on ground = limited and limiting configurations the energy absorbed by the ground can adopt.

    Boxes floating in the air = limited and limiting configurations the energy absorbed by CO2 molecules can adopt.

    Other empty containers floating in the air = limited and limiting configurations that the energy can adopt without minimizing the free energy.

    Cats’ current = short and long wavelength IR quantum/waves outgoing from the emitters.

    Pressure = radiation pressure.

    Conclusion: Through spontaneous processes of heat transfer, it is impossible for a colder system to do work on another warmer system. In other words, it is impossible for a colder system to transfer energy towards a warmer system.

    :|

  230. ” Observed effects of global warming”. You mean like all the hurricanes ? Maybe you mean the cold and snow. Oh, and flooding, cause thats never happened before. It’s all covered by the theory as well. Global warming, it’s whats for dinner, ……

  231. [Smoking Frog]The Inclusion-Exclusion Principle requires that we know the overlap(s) to begin with, so it can’t give us the answer.

    [Jim Masterson] But it does give us an answer that is almost the same:

    .49 + .06 + .20 – (.49)*(.06) – (.06)*(.20) – (.49)*(.20) + (.49)*(.06)*(.20) = 0.61648.

    It can’t do it by itself, and you’re not using it by itself. You’re assuming random overlap without knowing it. (It didn’t occur to me that a random-overlap calculation could be that simple, so I thank you for the insight.)

    Let the cloud layers be called A, B, C, corresponding to the 49%, 6%, 20%. Assume that the patches that make up each layer are infinitesimally small and randomly distributed in the spherical shell in which the layer resides. Then the most likely (A,B) overlap is (0.49)(0.06), the most likely (A,C) overlap is (0.49)(0.20), and so forth for (B,C) and (A,B,C).

    Naturally, the patches are not infinitesimally small, but I doubt that this changes the result by much. Non-random distribution could change it by much, but it would take a meteorologist to deal with that problem.

    Anyway, your answer is better than mine. I can see that, generally speaking, the two methods will give different answers, but I don’t see how to explain that the random-overlap answer is not the average of the two extremes.

  232. I have read through this thread and have not yet seen a reasonable answer to the question raised in the comment –

    richard verney says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

  233. What’s up with all the boxes of cats?

    The simplest way I know to understand the greenhouse effect is to realize that when you’re standing on the ground in daytime the Sun is shining on you in visible light, and the atmosphere is shining on you in infrared. If you change the atmosphere so it shines more (e.g. adding more CO2 and other greenhouse gases) you will be warmer on the surface because there is more electromagnetic radiation coming down on you than otherwise. That’s it. More CO2 = more radiation on you.

    All the complex logic might be important if you want to understand the details of radiative transfer (e.g. if you were grad student in physical oceanography or atmospheric science), but the previous description is good enough.

    “I just say there are no scientific proof that increased CO2 emission causes climate change, or that it does not. And I am not on any side in the debate, for that very reason.”

    Think for a bit. Is there scientific *proof* that Miami’s climate next winter is going to be warmer than Minneapolis’s?

    Well, sure, because you can rely on basic physics. Because of the inclination of Earth’s axis, in the winter there is more electromagnetic radiation hitting Miami than Minneapolis, and this will be the case next winter too. You can handwave about advection and chaos and weather and unpredictability and yadda blah blah blah, but the overall number one physics controlling the temperature is the amount of EM radiation. After all, what else is there to make you above absolute zero? (only a tiny amount from radioactive decay of Uranium in the Earth’s center, and this can be measured and it is miniscule)

    More E&M radiation = warmer climate.

    And likewise, more CO2 in the atmosphere = more E&M radiation. This is not a theoretical prediction, this is a measured and observed *fact*.

    With more CO2 in the atmosphere it is physically impossible for the climate *not* to change.

    Next step is quantifying the amount, and then it gets complicated, but the people who have been doing this for 50 years are reasonably good at it, and you should believe them.

  234. George E. Smith says:
    “So whatever your particles are emitting downwards, they must be emitting a like amount upwards; which escapes to space.”

    Actually, the lower atmosphere is mostly IR opaque with a few windows. For most of the spectra were absorption occurs, 99% of the available energy is absorbed within 20 meters of the surface. In the “wings” it requires about 500 meters to absorb 99%. From this, I deduce that very little radiation from the lower troposphere ever gets to space. Based on my analysis of lapse rate plots, it is pretty obvious that, near the surface, the atmosphere is IR opaque and the net radiation is toward the surface. Since it is opaque, the radiation emitted toward space is simply reabsorbed within a few meters. At the tropopause, the atmosphere becomes IR transparent and a significant amount of energy is emitted into deep space.

    cba says:
    “For the sun to essentially emit a 5800k BB curve from the photosphere, one has many heavier elements present that are ionized and so are capable of emitting a continuum rather than merely a spectrum.”

    Actually, the line spectrum is temperature and pressure broadened to produce the continuous spectrum. Heavier elements are not required.

  235. @ Matt. That does not sound right to me, as someone who deals mainly with terrestrial stuff. There is the sun, there is a very long bit of near vacuum, there is the atmosphere, there is the earth, and radiation goes from left to right in that sentence. Assuming the radiation from the sun is constant, the near vacuum will be near perfectly transmitting, (leaving the atmosphere out for a while), we come to the earth that will not transmit at all, so it can only reflect and absorb (and re-emit).

    Now, are you saying that the transmissivity of the atmosphere will *increase* when there is more CO2 in it? You will have to explain to me how, then!

    The way I understand the theory is that the CO2 supposedly lets the shorter wavelength solar radiation through, while blocking the longer wavelengths the earth emits from radiating back into space, and that any possible decrease in the influx is counteracted by an even greater decrease in the outflux. And so the balance is disrupted, according to thetheory. Or have I misunderstood something?

    When you say “you should believe them” you begin to sound a bit like a missionary, and that makes me suspicious. Before I believe something I need to understand it.

  236. @ Matt. Another thing: “Think for a bit. Is there scientific *proof* that Miami’s climate next winter is going to be warmer than Minneapolis’s?” Well, yes, I think there is, and the point there is that the proof for the theory is repeated cyclically every year. The cycles that are discussed in the climate debate are much longer, if I am not mistaken, which means that there are no chances of repeating the “CO2 test” and see if the same result occurs again.

  237. Cal says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I accept that I should have said that the sun radiates at all wavelengths from UV to far infrared, but that the peak is in the visible region. Moreover a lot of the incoming energy in the infra red region is absorbed by CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere and is then re-radiated downwards (and upwards ultimately to space) in exactly the same way as the energy radiated to the surface. UV is also absorbed (particularly by ozone) but the peak energy radiated at the surface is still in the visible region of the spectrum. So at night all the infrared radiation is from CO2 and H2O and during the day the majority is. However the main point I was making was about infra red radiation at night.

    But, even if true, peak energy of visible light is not heat. Heat is IR (far and mid).

    Take a plant, it absorbs blue and red light from the visible spectrum. It is taking in energy for photosynthesis, it is not taking in heat in these colours, they don’t have any heat. Visible light is not hot.

    Both day and night the infrared radiation is from everything to some extent, from the earth, from plants, and depending on how hot these are will be the different IR radiating.

    What heat has been absorbed during the day by the earth is radiating out at night, and what is being generated by life is being radiated out at night, as heat in the far and mid IR.

    http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html

    So, it’s not true that all the IR radiated out at night is from H2O and CO2, no more is that true that the majority of IR is from these during the day.

  238. P Wilson says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

    actually, watervapour above this level acts as an absorber of radiation. the so called greenhouse effect”

    Water vapour is lighter than air, it absorbs heat radiation and transports it up and away from earth, where it cools and comes down as rain. The greenhouse effect is keeping the earth cool enough for life overall. Compare deserts with hot areas with available water.

    Our whole atmosphere is a greenhouse, both cooling and warming via greenhouse gases, predominantly water vapour.

    Without an atmosphere the earth would bake during the day and freeze at night, the average surface temperature would be -18°C (0°F); the average temperature of our earth is 15°C (59°F).

    With our atmosphere but with little or no water the temperature of the earth would be 67°C.

  239. Sorry, I’m being horribly distracted. Missed a close italics before “Water vapour is lighter than air”.

  240. @Myrrh. Oh yes, visible light will cause a temperature rise, hence heat an object, as it is absorbed. Google “Herschel experiment” and I am sure you will find food for thought!

    Another proof for that is that objects with different colors will absorb differently in the visual, white the least, black the most, and other colors in between. In the IR, the absorptivity (or emissivity) will NOT depend on color. And this is definitely my area of expertise, I assure you!

  241. On the blackbody ranking of 0 to 1 (with 1 being a perfect blackbody), what are the rankings for Nitrogen and Oxygen in the IR spectrum that Earth produces.

    If they are not Zero in the IR spec, what does that say about the radiation theory (considering that there is 35 times more N2 and O2 in the atmosphere than H20 and CO2).

    Jim D and the radiation theory seems to assume they are Zero.

  242. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    it may depend on what definition you use for heat, but the one I stick to is that heat is the total kinetic energy of the particles in a substance (mass times velocity squared over two). Then infrared is not heat, but is caused by, and can cause, heat. Emission creates radiation energy by converting heat energy to electromagnetic waves (or phtons, if you prefer) and absorption converts in the opposite way.

    Mikael, this, I think, is the crux of the matter, definition.

    By common science, IR is heat. We feel it as heat, it is deeply penetrating, it warms things up. This is how it is commonly used in science, for example: http://www.reynardcorp.com/cold_mirror.php

    “The cold mirror is designed to separate heat from light. The visible spectrum is reflected (), while the infrared wavelengths are transmitted ().”

    Heat is classically defined in science as a form of energy associated with the motion of atoms or molecules and capable of being transmitted through solid and fluid media by conduction, through fluid media by convection, and through empty space by radiation. & The transfer of energy from one body to another as a result of a difference in temperature or a change in phase. (answers.com)

    The last is important, heat always travel from hot to cold.

    Several posters remind us here and elsewhere that what we’re talking about is heat transfer, people who actually do understand thermodynamics. They’re usually ignored, eyes seem to glaze over when convection is mentioned.. AGW has actually excluded that from its calculations by concentrating on radiation, not all of which is heat, and this pulls in many skeptics who, istm, have also lost the plot, in arguing about radiation with AGW’s as ‘total kinetic energy etc.’ and how much of it ‘back radiates etc.’, it takes on a far greater importance than it is due – and the subject is Global Warming after all. It’s been mentioned many times in this argument, that it is impossible for a cold body to warm up a warmer one, because heat travels from warm to cold. How much does it matter then when CO2 is radiating from a colder atmosphere even if the photons reach the earth? IR will always be travelling from warmer to colder, heating up the earth in the day and cooling the earth at night. There isn’t anything that ‘traps’ it in the atmosphere globally capable of changing the climate by overriding the normal warming and cooling on a day to day basis, let alone from ice age to interglacials. (Water doesn’t, it also cools the earth.)

    AGW arguments take sound bites from science and create an unreal world from these, ignoring the IR as heat penetration is such a sleight of hand by saying that it’s irrelevant in the energy balance received on earth and only kicks in when the heated earth radiates it back. We don’t live in a test tube in a lab, we live in a real atmosphere which has weight and volume and is subject to gravity, (and molecules don’t travel at superfast speeds through that to mix thoroughly in the atmosphere as AGW has it); we do not live in a vacuum.

    Normally, the shorter the wavelength the better the penetration. If you consider human skin, UV, visible and IR penetrate in that order, UV the most, visible a little bit, and IR hardly at all.

    Not as I know it. UV barely penetrates the skin, around 1mm, IR is deeply penetrating in the far infrared. It is what we feel as heat and it is what heats up the earth, the ground.

    The reason a remote control does not feel hot is merely a question of magnitude. A couple of AA batteries don’t have a lot of energy to give off.

    Again, not as I know it. This is in the near infrared and doesn’t carry heat of any significance. A million (I’m not a scientist, this could be exaggeration) remote controls flicking at you will not warm you up.

    Both Far Infrared and Near are used in medical therapies. Far infrared warms up your insides, saunas are built using IR as the heat source. The closer to visible light the cooler the IR, UV can’t be felt at all. Microwaves and radio waves are perhaps not in concentrated enough form in the atmosphere to heat us up.

  243. jae said:
    “But, I would like to posit another “world” for the warmistas. Suppose the atmosphere of Earth consisted of ONLY N2 and O2. Now, these gases could not cool by IR emissions, but they would warm by conduction from the surface. And they could not radiate to space. So would they continually warm for millions of years?? Would they melt the planet? WTF, folks?”

    Heat would be transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection, increasing the energy in non-radiative transfers (perhaps it is kinetic energy or there is no change in angular momentum of the energy states so that the transition probability integrates to zero).

    The atmosphere would warm, but as soon as it became as warm as the surface, it would stop absorbing heat (2nd law of thermodynamics – atmosphere can’t get hotter than the surface!). The near surface atmosphere would approach the surface temperature, and the upper atmosphere would be cooler as defined by the dry adiabatic lapse rate (easily derived from PV = nRT plus hydrostatic balance).

    So no, it wouldn’t warm forever. At equilibrium, it would have no net effect on the heat flows so the surface temperature would be the simple surface radiative balance (and much cooler than today, assuming ice is still allowed)

    So the effect of conduction and convection eventually heads to an equilibrium value. Adding objects with an emissivity means that they absorb energy from the surface but they can also ‘bypass’ this absorption by increasing the emissivity higher up. However, since the surface is warmer than the higher level, it emits more. For an atmosphere where emissivity is not higher at higher altitudes then the effect is always warming.

    We live in this world, hence the greenhouse effect warming us up.

  244. Matt [February 15, 2011 at 12:26 am] says:

    “The simplest way I know to understand the greenhouse effect is to realize that when you’re standing on the ground in daytime the Sun is shining on you in visible light, and the atmosphere is shining on you in infrared. If you change the atmosphere so it shines more (e.g. adding more CO2 and other greenhouse gases) you will be warmer on the surface because there is more electromagnetic radiation coming down on you than otherwise. That’s it. More CO2 = more radiation on you.”

    So the Law of Conservation of Energy has been repealed? (***) Therefore Over Unity and Perpetual Motion devices are not only possible but practical? Electric cars that run off the alternator cannot be far behind. As another commenter pointed out, a vacuum would allow maximum transfer of EMR from the sun. Any amount of matter in any form can only decrease the total transfer.

    Now Matt, you nailed yourself to the wall right there for all the world to see. Seriously, right this minute you *should* be dwelling on the fact that the foundation you built all your conclusions on (and perhaps your religion) is non-existant. An epiphany lies in your immediate future if you are a wise person.

    However if you are otherwise, well, you will probably continue your journey on the AGW bandwagon. If so, I can recommend exciting offers that I find in my spam filter concerning ethanol, miracle fuel pellets and super duper windmills.

    (***) For some reason Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny fits right in there!

  245. Konrad says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:47

    I have read through this thread and have not yet seen a reasonable answer to the question raised in the comment –

    richard verey says:
    February 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Because the reasonable agree with him.

    The unreasonable AGW argument is that CO2 traps IR in a blanket, it can do this they say because CO2 stays up in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years accumulating. The unreasonable have created a supermolecule wearing its pants on the outside of its trousers. It can do many impossible things before breakfast, defy gravity, rise up through lighter molecules even though heavier, stay up accumulating forming a blanket trapping IR and so able to create runaway heating of the earth by continually bouncing back IR from earth to blanket and back again, and re Richard Verney’s post, it can do this because AGWCO2 doesn’t know it’s an average, it thinks it’s well mixed throughout the atmosphere at 390 ppm or whatever and with its superpowers it has spread that average everywhere..

    ………………………………………………………..

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    Oh yes, visible light will cause a temperature rise, hence heat an object, as it is absorbed. Google “Herschel experiment” and I am sure you will find food for thought!

    http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/classroom_activities/herschel_example.html

    “Herschel was interested in measuring the amount of heat in each color. To do this he used thermometers with blackened bulbs and measure the temperature of the different colors of the spectrum. He noticed that the temperature increased from the blue to the red part of the spectrum. Then he placed a thermometer just past the red part of the spectrum in a region where there was no visible light and found that the temperature there was even higher. Herschel realized that there must be another type of light which we cannot see in this region. This light is now called infrared.”

    My emphasis in italics. The earth and all on it are not painted black.

    Re: penetration: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9784938

    “Wavelengths in the near-infrared range have much better penetrance in organic substances than visible light. ”

    This subject is AGW claims that global warming is caused by increasing CO2 molecules in the atmosphere. It is a trace gas. It has even less capacity to hold heat than oxygen or nitrogen, and all these far below water. (We fill our radiators with water, not with any of these other gases.) However, there is more oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere than water and carbon dioxide.

  246. Eadler says
    “Calibration error doesn’t affect the temperature anomaly if the error remains constant. In the case of equipment changes, so that the temperature trend becomes discontinuous, the change if detected is corrected for by the use of adjacent location data that is consistent. These adjustments are normally done by using computer programs. Calibration of the equipment is not really necessary.”.

    First I’ll agree this is somewhat off the thread, but temperature sensors include IR, and their results form the bases of these data sets, so much discussed. And much of what is discussed here relates to temperature and how accurate it is measured.

    However if the sensors are in error, and that error is not accounted for, the resultant anomaly is subject to error. The reason for the Metrology Dept., is to correct for that slow insidious “drift” that takes place in instrumentation, which is why most reputable manufactures recommend periodic calibration. An earlier, and very well written item is:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/22/the-metrology-of-thermometers/

    As far as using adjacent stations to correct for others, it may be the “blind leading the blind”, as noted by the quality of stations presented by the following site.

    http://www.surfacestations.org/

    As far as “adjustments” using computer programs, the old saying “garbage in, garbage out” comes to mind”.

  247. Sensor operator says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:52 am
    “Do people really think climate change scientists want AGW to be true?”

    Yes. Full stop. As stated previously, many of the best known climate scientists have said as much. How else to justify your life’s work? Why would M. Mann not switch to using mussel shells and such for proxies, instead of continuing with dodgy tree ring reconstructions? Because (I think) he’s not interested in actually doing an accurate historical temp. reconstruction but instead wishes to find proof of something he really, really wants to find exists. For most warmongers I fear, AGW theory HAS to be true . . . too much invested to now say, “maybe not” in spite of what observation tells them.

    ” If they are right, the end result is really bad.”

    And that statement is based on what? Historically speaking; how much better things were when it was colder than when it got warmer? And please spare me the horrors of some areas (now considered a shit-hole that can’t sustain life) COULD be worse.

    -Barn
    If I hold my last utility bill in one hand and my wallet in the other, they will hit the floor at the same time if I drop them at the same time. Well established physics with centuries of consensus. Only what happens . . .?

  248. @Myrrh.

    IR is electromagnetic radiation. Or photons. The radiation is emitted when excited electrons shift from one shell to another, roughly speaking. The hotter an object is, the more excited the molecules and atoms are, and the more radiation will be emitted. When the radiation hits another object, the reverse happens. If that object happens to be you, you will feel the absorbed radiation as heat on the surface of your skin, and it will spread from there by conduction and convection (blood flow). If you roast a chicken, does it heat up evenly all the way through at once? Of course not! It will absorb the radiation on the surface and then it will conduct (no convection, no blood flow, dead chicken, hehe) throughout the meat. A microwave oven heats from the “inside” though, because it excites water molecules directly, as they are dipoles.

    Visible light will definitely heat things. So will parts of UV and all of IR. I don’t just know it, I could prove it live to you, but not on a blog. So that ends my discussing of that issue.

    Around the type of IR I work with, roughly 2-24 micron with the exception of the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um, human skin will absorb 98%. The rest is reflected. But my knowledge stops there, so maybe at even longer wavelengths there will be penetration, I don’t know. In shorter wavelengths I would expect penetration to increase.

    A penetration depth of UV of 1 mm is something I would consider deep penetration in skin. At shorter wavelengths still, X-ray and gamma, we don’t just get penetration, we have complete transmission through, except the very small portion that is absorbed.

    If you ask Max Planck he will tell you that the energy of a photon increases with shorter wavelengths.

    I don’t know what kind of sauna you use, but is sounds more like a toaster. My sauna is a wet sauna, with a wood fired stove with rocks on it where I throw water to get steam. The heat transfer to my body is actually mostly through condensation, since my body is the coolest thing in there. So the latent heat from the steam is given off to my body as it condenses and mixes with sweat. There is radiation and convection taking place in there too, of course. But the real heat shock comes when I throw a good splash of water on the rocks!

    Common sense does not always make scientific sense.

  249. @Myrrh. Good, you found old Herschel! Now, did you notice what that radiation went through before it hit his thermometers? A glass prism. Spectral things will happen to white light as it goes through glass. And I can guarantee you that above approximately 2.3 micron there would be no more radiation to heat his bulbs.

    Now go and find a Planck curve for the solar spectrum and see all that energy right there in the visual part of the spectrum. What do you think happens to that ENERGY when it hits a surface? Three things could happen, absorption, transmission, reflection. And no, you are right the earth and us humans are not painted black, BUT WE ARE NOT SHINY POLISHED MIRRORS EITHER. Sorry, don’t know how to emphasize that in a better way. So all objects will be absorbing visual light, more or less, but for sure never zero. Not even close to zero, unless it is very shiny metal.

    Most energy that reaches earth from the sun is in the visual spectrum. It will be absorbed and be converted to heat.

  250. @- Myrrh says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:39 am
    “The last is important, heat always travel from hot to cold.
    …It’s been mentioned many times in this argument, that it is impossible for a cold body to warm up a warmer one, because heat travels from warm to cold.”

    Heat or energy in the form of photons or radiation travels in ALL directions including from cold to hot, otherwise it would be impossible to see yourself in a mirror which is colder than you are.
    It is just that MORE heat travels from the warm region to the cold than travels from the cool to the warm so the NET flow of heat is from warm to cold. But the amount flowing back from cold to warm modifies the NET flow.

  251. A thought experiment.

    Lets us construct a vessel in order to produce a simulated blackbody, this will essentially be a spherical chamber with an opening and a black interior. We shall construct it so that produces 1000w of continuous blackbody spectrum IR from the opening when at its desired target temperature.

    Let us place it somewhere very cold, perhaps 2.7 Kelvin degrees and airless. (In orbit on the dark side of a dark moon perhaps?)

    If we now heat our chamber to 193.18456 Kelvin, the IR leaving the opening should have its peak emission with a (continuous blackbody spectrum) wavelength at 15 µm.

    We are used to dealing with CO2 in its gaseous form, from Wiki I found…

    “At 1 atmosphere the gas deposits directly to a solid at temperatures below −78 °C (−108 °F; 195.1 K) and the solid sublimes directly to a gas above −78 °C. In its solid state, carbon dioxide is commonly called dry ice.”

    I have not found a reference to the temperature that CO2 deposits to at zero atmospheres, (or close to) I did find reference to the fact that dry ice has been detected on Mars and in comets. So for now I will assume that it can exist in a near vacuum.

    If we now introduce a chunk of CO2 (say 1kilo at 3 Kelvin) in front of the opening to absorb and get heated by this 15 µm peak IR, how warm could it get?

    NoIdea

  252. @Matt…

    What’s up with all the boxes of cats?

    The simplest way I know to understand the greenhouse effect is to realize that when you’re standing on the ground in daytime the Sun is shining on you in visible light, and the atmosphere is shining on you in infrared. If you change the atmosphere so it shines more (e.g. adding more CO2 and other greenhouse gases) you will be warmer on the surface because there is more electromagnetic radiation coming down on you than otherwise. That’s it. More CO2 = more radiation on you.

    The cats is an illustration about what actually happens through the heat transfer from the Sun to the ground and from the ground to the air, as well as the impossibility that a colder system warms up to a warmer system. A scientist must adhere to observed phenomena and to well tested theories.

    The simplest way you know is not the correct mechanism how it actually happens, though popular; however, popularity is not a step of the scientific method.

    The atmosphere doesn’t shine. The Sun does shine.

  253. @Blade;

    There is no breaking of conservation of energy; to everyone who doesn’t believe in the greenhouse effect you have a lot more reading to do: I recommend Guenault’s statistical physics textbook as an excellent (and concise!) starter. Atmospheric Physics by Ambaum is also concise and deals with radiatve transfer in later chapters. Most of your claims are dealt with explicitly there, if you can follow the maths.

    The emission ability of a substance is related to its absorption (if it has energy levels allowing emission, it has the same levels allowing absorption). This value depends on wavelength for most materials – you can be transparent to visible light but absorb a lot in the infrared for example.

    The emissivity/absorptivity of the atmosphere in the wavelengths sent by the Sun is relatively small (with notable exceptions like ozone absorbing UV). CO2/H2O doesn’t absorb here so adding it doesn’t reduce the amount of energy hitting Earth.

    But it does absorb in the lower wavelengths. Since it absorbs there, it must be able to emit there too. The atoms move quickly and interact with each other, which allows CO2 to dump heat into the O2/N2 and vice versa.

    Adding CO2 doesn’t prevent sunlight hitting Earth, but it does absorb light going up from Earth. Hence the warming.

  254. barn E. rubble says:

    “If I hold my last utility bill in one hand and my wallet in the other, they will hit the floor at the same time if I drop them at the same time.”

    Not true! Your utility bill will absorb your wallet before it hits the ground! ;) GK

  255. Mikael,

    Did you see Bill Illis’ excellent question, and do you know the answer?

    Bill Illis says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Also Mikael you state at:

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Quote: “Around the type of IR I work with, roughly 2-24 micron with the exception of the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um”

    Is 6-8 µm the absorption band of O2 and/or N2? Because it isn’t CO2 is it? CO2 absorption is 15 µm as we all know.

    So when you refer to “the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8 µm” which part of the atmosphere is absorbing at 6-8 µm please?

  256. Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

    A C Osborn says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:51 am “In fact the warmer the surface becomes the more the energy will be radiated to space without bouncing around in the atmosphere.”

    WUWT?
    So the surface has a direct connection to space then?
    —————
    Yes

    Wow, I didn’t realise there were any Mountains that high.
    The Earth’s Surface is in DIRECT contact with space?
    Not going through any atmosphere for the photons to “bounce around” in then?

  257. “A C Osborn says:
    February 15, 2011 at 10:03 am
    Wow, I didn’t realise there were any Mountains that high.
    The Earth’s Surface is in DIRECT contact with space?
    Not going through any atmosphere for the photons to “bounce around” in then?”

    AC,

    you should try a job as a comedienne, or not. You apparently need to read about atmospheric windows.

    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/light/windows.html

    I’ll leave it to others to decide whether particles can reach states in the atmosphere where they can no longer absorb in bands where they typicall are considered to absorb.

  258. My post seems to have gone missing!

    Lets try again.

    Mikael,

    Did you see Bill Illis’ excellent question, and do you know the answer?

    Bill Illis says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Also Mikael you state at:

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Quote: “Around the type of IR I work with, roughly 2-24 micron with the exception of the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um”

    Is 6-8 µm the absorption band of O2 and/or N2? Because it isn’t CO2 is it? CO2 absorption is 15 µm as we all know.

    So when you refer to “the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8 µm” which part of the atmosphere is absorbing at 6-8 µm please?

    Thanks

    Will

  259. To Will

    Water. H2O absorbs nearly 100% in the 6 to 8 micron band. If you are an IR device operator, and you wish to estimate temperature measurement with any degree of accuracy from more than a few inches away, you had better not be using a filter that includes the 6-8 micron band.

    CO2 is practically a non-issue in IR thermography (using IR cameras). CO2 is irrelevant.

    That is one of the points that I keep making. Most physicists, scientists, who keep trying to point to CO2 as a major contributor to the greenhouse effect, have never spent time in the REAL WORLD working directly with IR and trying to quantify measurements with it. If they did, they would quickly see the foolishness of their assumptions regarding CO2, and would be amazed at the magnitude that H2O truly plays.

    Forget CO2. It’s so minor that it is nearly irrelevant.

  260. After wrestling with this question of CO2 heating the atmosphere, my take is this: CO2 absorbs at several different wavelengths. 15 microns is the one where water vapor isn’t already absorbing all of Outgoing Longwave Radiation. 15 microns wavelenght is in the far infrared, corresponding to -4 degrees F. So, when the ground is at -4 F, COLDER CO2 in the vicinity can absorb radiation and be heated. If the atmosphere is warmer than the ground, all bets are off. Now, since the atmosphere radiates too, any CO2 ABOVE air at -4 F, no matter how high up over the ground, can also absorb radiation and be heated. Of course, when CO2 absorbs 15 micron radiation, the molecule of CO2 is excited, and the atoms vibrate. Due to Brownian motion, this vibration is immediately absorbed as extra kinetic energy (= heat) by surrounding molecules. So, if the ground is at -4 F, the 4-parts-in-10,000 CO2 can absorb and transfer a little heat to the atmosphere without violating the Second Law.
    It doesn’t seem enough to get all excited about. Water can freeze at 59 F ambient, outdoors with quiescent amposphere and a very clear night, it is in my Thermo textbook.

  261. “”””” Matter says:
    February 15, 2011 at 8:19 am
    @Blade;
    ………………………….
    The emission ability of a substance is related to its absorption (if it has energy levels allowing emission, it has the same levels allowing absorption). This value depends on wavelength for most materials – you can be transparent to visible light but absorb a lot in the infrared for example.
    ………………………
    The emissivity/absorptivity of the atmosphere in the wavelengths sent by the Sun is relatively small (with notable exceptions like ozone absorbing UV). CO2/H2O doesn’t absorb here so adding it doesn’t reduce the amount of energy hitting Earth.

    But it does absorb in the lower wavelengths. Since it absorbs there, it must be able to emit there too. The atoms move quickly and interact with each other, which allows CO2 to dump heat into the O2/N2 and vice versa.
    Adding CO2 doesn’t prevent sunlight hitting Earth, but it does absorb light going up from Earth. Hence the warming. “””””

    Well I can’t tell what @Blade said from what Matter said; but there’s enough misinformation to go around here.

    “”””” The emissivity/absorptivity of the atmosphere in the wavelengths sent by the Sun is relatively small (with notable exceptions like ozone absorbing UV). CO2/H2O doesn’t absorb here so adding it doesn’t reduce the amount of energy hitting Earth. “””””

    Take that for example; demonstrably false; and not just a little bit false. For a start, the solar spectrum received at earth contains 98% of its energy essentially in the wavelength range from 0.25 microns in the UV to 4.0 microns in the IR, with only 1% left over at each end. Ozone of course cuts off the short end at about 0.3 microns. About 2.5% of solar radiation lies below 300 nm. Ozone also takes asmall bite out of sunlight at around 0.6 microns; but not much.
    CO2 on the other hand has several significant absorption bands in the solar spectrum IR region; first at 2.0 microns; where normal atmospheric CO2 absorbs about35% of that band, then there is a strong 2.7 micorn CO2 band where essentially 100 % is absorbed, and finally there is an equally strong CO2 band at 4.0 microns. The main GHG CO2 band is of course in the region of 13.5 to 16.5 microns.

    For the 4.0 micron CO2 band; the solar spectrum has only 1% left in that area, so a fairly small but NOT zero CO2 absorption of incoming solar energy. At 2.7 microns, the solar spectrum still has 3% of its energy left; or 41 W/m^2, so CO2 can capture a good part of that (which therefore will NOT reach the ground as incoming solar energy.

    Then there is that pesky non GHG feedback H2O. It has a strong absorption band starting at about 4.0 microns, and going up to about 6.5 microns, where the “Atmospheric Window” starts, so it overlaps the long edge of the CO2 4 micron band so doesn’t have much impact on that 1% remaining solar energy. BUT H2O has a strong band that starts at about 2.3 microns, and goes to about 3.3 microns completely enveloping the CO2 2.7 micron band. (but note that the high resolution lines are likely to be separated; but a good chunk of that solar energy will fall to water or CO2.

    But water really gets going at shorter than the 2.3 to 3.3 micron band. there are bands at 1.6-1.8, 1.2-1.4, 0.94, 0.85, and 0.75 microns.
    47% of the solar spectrum energy lies at longer than 0.75 microns wavelengths, and water plus CO2 could easily account for about half of that or say 20% of the total solar incoming energy can be absorbed by H2O and CO2 in the atmosphere, and not ever reach the surface as solar spectrum energy, where much of it would be deposited deep in the oceans.

    So it simply is NOT true, to say that “”””” CO2/H2O doesn’t absorb here so adding it doesn’t reduce the amount of energy hitting Earth. “””””

    Every single additional molecule of H2O or cO2 that is added to the atmosphere WILL reduce the amount of incoming solar energy that reaches the surface of the planet to warm it.
    Yes that energy will warm the atmosphere as a result; and that warmed atmosphere; being above absolute zero, will radiate a thermal LWIR spectrum, and only half of that will be directed down towards the gound, so the rest will get lost to space.
    Thermal radiation depends on Temperature; not on energy levels either atomic or molecular; it is a result of the thermal motion (and acceleration) of electric charge. Just think about the acceleration of charge that occurs when a warming GHG molecule collides with an ordinary gas molecules or atom (N2, O2, Ar). So every collision that results from the non zero Temperature of the gases, results in charge acceleration, and consequent Electromagnetic Radiation according to the Planck and Stefan-Boltzmann equations; not that you necessarily get a complete black body spectrum; but what you DO get, has that Planck BB spectrum as its outer envelope (can’t exceed).

    People keep coming here to WUWT and insisting that gases do NOT emit thermal radiation. They are about the only people who believe that. Physicists don’t believe that; because they have never not observed such non-emission. Hot things radiate thermal spectra; they don’t suddenly stop doing so when the melt and vaporize, or simply sublime.

  262. “”””” izen says:
    February 15, 2011 at 7:47 am
    @- Myrrh says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:39 am
    “The last is important, heat always travel from hot to cold.
    …It’s been mentioned many times in this argument, that it is impossible for a cold body to warm up a warmer one, because heat travels from warm to cold.”

    Heat or energy in the form of photons or radiation travels in ALL directions including from cold to hot, otherwise it would be impossible to see yourself in a mirror which is colder than you are.
    It is just that MORE heat travels from the warm region to the cold than travels from the cool to the warm so the NET flow of heat is from warm to cold. But the amount flowing back from cold to warm modifies the NET flow “””””

    “Heat” is NOT energy in the form of photons. Heat is purely MECHANICAL KINETIC ENERGY in the form of molecular or atomic vibrations due to collisions between particles (of matter) Sans matter; there is NO “HEAT”. Heat is characterized by TEMPERATURE.
    Photon energy is Electromagnetic Radiation that obeys Maxwells equations; from down to; but not including DC; and extends all the way beyond the gamma ray spectrum.

    EM radiation and photons don’t know ANYTHING about Temperature; and they can go where they damn well please; hot of cold.

    The very same earthshine radiation that leves arth for the dark side of the moon will if it misses the moon proceed on and could reach the sun which has the same angular size as the moon, so the amount of earthshine that could hit the moon can also hit the sun.

    Leif Svalgaard, has not reported ANY instances, of earthshine photons being refused landing permission on the sun; despite its 6,000 K Temperature.

    And the second law of Thermodynamics as stated by Clausius, refers to cyclic machines.

    “No cyclic machine can have no other effect, than to transport “HEAT” from a source at one Temperature, to a sink at a higher Temperature.” doesn’t say anything about EM radiation; just “HEAT”.

    We wouldn’t have this problem if people just accpeted that “HEAT” is a verb, NOT a noun.

  263. A C Osborn says:
    February 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Wow, I didn’t realise there were any Mountains that high.
    The Earth’s Surface is in DIRECT contact with space?
    Not going through any atmosphere for the photons to “bounce around” in then?
    ————————
    Well, ACOsborn, it’s too bad your humour is commensurate with your knowledge and not with your truculence.
    Since kuhnkat has given you a pointer to the physics, I’ll address your language usage and comprehension.
    You asked about “direct connection” and then got it all confused with “contact”.
    I know it’s difficult because words have literal and figurative and contextual meanings, but with patience and perseverance you will get the hang of it.

  264. Wow, this discussion is interesting and lively. I really appreciate the facts and theories presentet here, and enjoy the challenge to try and follow the posts.

    I had asked (Feb. 14, 3:50 am) if it was possible to actually measure the energy balance of our planet. P. Wilson – thanks for the reply – pointed to the fact, that temperature measurements are no good for this purpose.

    What I had in mind was a satellite which should be able to actually measure the radiation coming to earth from space and also measure the radiation going from earth to space. Is it at all possible to do this? Has it already been done? Spetcral analyses of this kind should be possible I guess, I´d almost expect they were alredy made. If so: Is there anybody around who can comment the results?

    It seems to me that a great deal of the theories which are claimed to substantiate the AGW hypothesis suffer from a frightful lack of evidence. I see the so called “glass-house effect” as a radiation delay. The gases in the atmosphere delay the radiation to space. If there was no delay, nighttime cooling would be similiar to that on the moon, I guess. The main source of energy on earth is – the sun. If its otput gets less – for whatever reasons – the earth is going to receive less and get cooler. And vice versa.

    Well this discussion being as long as it is, I could say a lot more, but I want to come back to my question: Has the radiation (or energy) balance of earth ever been measured from space? Is it at all possible?

  265. George E Smith, I made a humiliating series of errors there and apologise for my last post, it should be deleted.

    My CO2/H2O energy approximation was a mistake from a quick misreading of the waveband units, absolutely stupid of me.

    My thermal radiation mistake was from assuming a constant temperature and looking at changes in emission, which filters out the non-emissivity related features so I associated them with internal level energy transfers.

    I took my conclusion from the results of line-by-line radiative transfer models along with measurements of net heat flow as a function of wavelength, which shows that a greenhouse effect does exist and that CO2 strengthens it. My understanding of the inbetween bits was wrong. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction George; I’ll take a bit more time out to check through the full spectral results now. :)

  266. RE: Domenic says:
    February 15, 2011 at 11:46 am
    “That is one of the points that I keep making. Most physicists, scientists, who keep trying to point to CO2 as a major contributor to the greenhouse effect, have never spent time in the REAL WORLD working directly with IR and trying to quantify measurements with it.”

    That statement I find most interesting. Are there any arguments to the contrary? (I mean other than the feeble flotsam drifting over from markyMark’s sinking theories.)

    So if I understand correctly, the debate or questions about feedbacks (+/- &/or whatever) caused by increased CO2 levels (man made or otherwise) isn’t really moot but trivial?

    I’m having a hard time here imagining I’ve come to the end of my journey – but thanks.

    -barn

  267. ThomasU says:
    February 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    The short answer is that it is possible to measure the in going and out going radiation from Earth. A satellite was built to do this named Triana later renamed DSCOVR. The satellite would have orbited earth in the L1 position, giving it a whole hemisphere view. There has been much debate about why this satellite was not launched with both sides of US politics claiming that the other side were afraid of the results. I believe the satellite, which was delayed by problems with the space shuttle, has been approved for reconditioning by the present administration for launch “sometime” in the future.

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

    At present the work by Dr. Spencer utilizing existing lower orbiting satellites, has indicated that there is little radiation imbalance, and that any water vapour feed back to increases in temperature are negative. The DSCOVR satellite would however provided far better data to analyze.

  268. Domenic says:
    February 15, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Sorry Domenic no offence but my question is to Mikael not you. You have missed the point with your H2O response. There is nothing in Mikael’s statement that indicates he is refering to water. He states clearly

    “atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um”

    This is clearly not a reference to H2O.

    The atmosphere does not consist of H2O which incidently absorbs strongly in many regions not just the 6-8 µm.

    So when you butt in and answer questions that are not directed at you, you miss the point and ultimately muddy the water. Whether this is deliberate or simple bungling interference, the end result is the same. You have diluted a pertinent question with irrelevant distractions.

    So I ask once more, and this question is to:-

    Mikael (and not any one else!)

    Did you see Bill Illis’ excellent question, and do you know the answer?

    Bill Illis says:
    February 15, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Also Mikael you state at:

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Quote: “Around the type of IR I work with, roughly 2-24 micron with the exception of the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um”

    Is 6-8 µm the absorption band of O2 and/or N2? Because it isn’t CO2 is it? CO2 absorption is 15 µm as we all know.

    So when you refer to “the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8 µm” which part of the atmosphere is absorbing at 6-8 µm please?

  269. To barn E. rubble

    Yes. CO2 is trivial.

    To Will

    I noticed Mikael has a day job, and would not be able to answer your question for a while. So, I gave you the answer to keep the thread going. It is interesting to me to see what kind of understanding of IR physics exists in those concerned about AGW and the greenhouse effect.

  270. @ Will. Your comment was not lost, but I was sleeping. I live in Thailand so I am on an almost opposite time zone compared to the US.

    Anyhow, the absorption rates and wavelength bands of N2 and O2 are unknown to me, they are accounted for in the models we use together with all the rest in the air. Domenic correctly answered your other question about the absorption band that separates the two wavebands we use for thermal imaging, the dominant absorber there is water vapor.

    I will explain a little deeper about the atmospheric compensation that is done when we measure temperature in IR. Two spectral bands are used, 2-5 and 8-14 um, approx. These days the longer one dominates the industry completely, for practical reasons and cost, because those detectors are un-cooled. (In furnaces we use a narrow band at 3.9 um to avoid H2o and CO2 generated by the flames from the burners. That is an extreme atmosphere.)

    Remember, “atmospheric” does not mean we deal with higher altitudes. We assume sea level, I guess. The calculation uses the LOWTRAN atmospheric model, which is an empirically developed model. The camera has three inputs for the compensation; distance, air temperature and relative humidity. Air temperature is used for two things, to re-calculate the relative humidity to an absolute value, and to determine the emission from the atmosphere. The atmospheric emission, once calculated, is removed from the total signal. Then there is the absorption, the atmosphere gives and takes, so the calculated absorbed radiation is put back. Simple as that!

    Notice that the model is empirical. That tells me that the scientists that figured all this out at some point, did not consider it worthwhile to try and calculate the influence of all the gases involved.

    Notice also that although we are not in the H2O absorption band, humidity – water vapor – is still the only gas that is individually accounted for in the model, because it is the only one that changes significantly from time to time. That means the other gases are just a standard soup with an assumed recipe. So that is where O2 and N2 are accounted for, they are included in the empirical LOWTRAN model and their individual contributions are unknown to me, because I don’t need to know to do my job.

    Now, if I would be manipulating these numbers to see what errors are involved, the one that throws the measurement off the most is distance. So the compounded effect of all gases together seems large H2O itself. Air temperature is the second most important, but seldom gives any large errors. Relative humidity is almost insignificant, it can usually be left at 50% and forgotten. I put it at 25% or 75% if I think I am closer to those values, but I never make a humidity measurement to be exact. It changes only on the decimals, if at all. This is valid in the distance ranges we normally work, up to about 20 m.

    What we have to remember about absorption bands is that they do not abruptly cut on and off, they vary up and down with wavelength. I don’t think there is any gas that is COMPLETELY transparent in ANY part of the IR spectrum at least. And as a GENERAL rule I always assume that the shorter the wavelength the better the penetration. The band variations that exist I think have to do with optical effect on a molecular level due to the geometry and composition of the molecules, but I am not an expert on that, so don’t take my word for it. If anyone has initiated input I would appreciate it.

    And, for the record, I meant to say I work in the 2-14um band, minus the absorption band, not 2-24um, that was a typo, sorry. I noticed my error in Will’s quote.

  271. @ Domenic. Yes, I have a day job, but halfway around the world from where most of you probably are, so, as I mentioned to Will, I was sleeping. :-)

  272. Matt says:
    February 15 2011 at 12:26am

    The simplest way I know to understand the greenhouse effect is to realize that when you’re standing on the ground in daytime the Sun is shining on you visible light and the atmosphere is shining on you in infrared.

    Fifty percent of the energy radiating from the Sun is in Infrared, greater by the time it gets here, some 80% I read somewhere. This is what heats you, warms you up, which you feel as heat. When a cloud passes in front of the Sun you will feel cooler practically instantly even though visible light all around you hasn’t changed, this is because the Sun’s infrared isn’t reaching you for that moment. (The cloud isn’t as far away from you as the sun, doesn’t take minutes to feel lack of IR.)

    ……………..

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

    If you roast a chicken, does it heat up evenly all the way through at once? Of course not! It will absorb the radiation on the surface and then it will conduct (no convection, no blood flow, dead chicken, hehe) throughout the meat. A microwave oven heats from the “inside” though, because it excites water molecules directly, as they are dipoles.

    Nope. IR is deeply penetrating in an organic body, and the term for this is “conversion”, not “conduction” as in your dead chicken. Without IR, if you waited for your chicken to conduct heat from the skin to its insides you would probably have a thick layer of ash surrounding an empty bit in the centre, your stuffing uncooked. I’m not a scientist, I may be exaggerating in my thought experiment..

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/eq0pu7155011728r/fulltext.html

    “Abstract
    This paper describes the synthesis of new upconverting luminescent nanoparticles that consist of YF etc. functionalized with poly(acrylic acid) (PAA).
    Unlike the upconverting nanocrystals previously reported in the literature that emit visible (blude-green-red) upconversion fluorescence, these as-prepared nanoparticles emit strong near-infrared (NIR, 831 nm) upconverstin luminescence under 980 nm excitation. …………………….The new PAA-coated luminescent nanoparticles have the potential to be used in a variety of bioanalytical and medical assays involving luninescence detection and fluorescence imagin, especially in vivo flurorescence imaging, due to the deep penetration of NIR radiation.

    Odd that, other scientists using IR in practical applications understand it very differently from you.

    A penetration depth of UV of 1mm is something I would consider deep penetration in skin.

    Hardly through the epidermis, the first layer of skin, which is around 0.5mm eyelids to around 1.5mm soles of feet, palms.

    IR is deep body penetration.

    If you ask Max Planck he will tell you that the energy of a photon increases with shorter wavelengths.

    Did he understand IR?

    I don’t know what kind of sauna you use, but it sounds more like a toaster. My sauna is a wet sauna, with a wood fired stove with rocks on it where I throw water to get steam. The heat transfer to my body is..

    You don’t know how peculiar that sound to me as you say you are an expert on IR…

    An IR sauna doesn’t have that immediate great heat feeling from the water holding heat, the log fire using up your oxygen.., it’s comparatively cool, there’s no great sensation of heat as in the atmosphere of traditional saunas, which many find difficult to tolerate. IR heats the body, not the air. From what I can find, traditional saunas operate at around 70-120°C, IR saunas 35-55°C , so, comforably warm.

    I used to have an IR panel heater which I used in a downstairs cloakroom of a limestone house; it never felt cold, never as warm as it would have done with a radiator, just comfortable because the IR first heated the walls which in turn were not drawing away one’s own heat on entry, and then heating one’s own body during the brief visits.

    Common sense does not always make scientific sense.

    Too true. However, here I’m making a judgement about explanations, and in that common sense is extremely valuable. Your “sounds like a toaster” doesn’t inspire me confidence that you understand IR at all.

    Heat or energy in the form of photons or radiation travels in ALL directions including from cold to hot, otherwise it would be impossible to see yourself in a mirror which is colder than you are.

    ?? Yer what?

    Energy travels in all directions, heat doesn’t.

    It is just that MORE heat travels from the warm region to the cold than travels from the cool to the warm so the NET flow of heat is from warm to cold. But the amount flowing back from cold to warm modifies the NET flow.

    Ah, this is what the warmistas say. Are you pretending you’re neutral? Energy may well travel in all directions, but definition of heat, that which always flows from hotter to cooler, or rather, the colder grabbing the heat from the hotter as I’ve seen it explained.

    I don’t know Mikael, I thought one reply you gave in response to one poster’s statement that heat travels from the earth by convection, a very AGW type response.

    Brushing aside that this was obviously referring to heat transfer in our atmosphere, you said something like ‘there’s no way for it to travel from the atmosphere into space but by radiation’.

    Straw man. Why didn’t you engage with what he said?

    Going back to something you said earlier, February 15, 2011 at 3:12 am:

    Another proof for that is that objects with different colors will absorb differently in the visual, white the least, black the most, and other colors in between. In the IR, the absorptivity (or emissivity) will NOT depend on color. And this is definitely my area of expertise, I assure you!

    I didn’t actually understand what you were talking about here, as this was added to your injunction that I read Herschel, which simply, is the discovery of IR outside the visible, found by measuring its greater heat than the other colours of the visible when he moved the thermometer to the side of the visible. That’s why some colours are described as cool, some hot.

    Still, I have found this page on further exploration: http://windowoutdoors.com/WindowOutdoors/Color%20and%20Thermal%20Regulation.html

    Which is interesting and explains what you mean by colours not affecting IR, as they all are black to it.

    “Particularly, most paints and dyes are black in the infrared range. The exception is metallic (aluminum) paints and space blankets, which have low IR emissivity.”

    The Herschel experiment had nothing to do with “absorptivity or emissivity” as such. It was strictly about the temperature of the different colours from which he found that there was a colour much hotter outside of the visible. That he might have been measuring one or the other or both, isn’t actually relevant, istm, and I have no idea what you mean by it being a proof.

    You then confuse me further by your February 15, 2011 at 6:51 am post:

    Good, you found old Herschel! Now, did you notice what that radiation went through before it hit his thermometers?

    Yes. That’s how he got the visible light separated out enough to measure the differences in temps. Er, now let me think, it was one of the famous scientists who came up with a prism and found light wasn’t “white”, but split into different colours, wasn’t it? Now, what was his name?

    A glass prism. Spectral things will happen to white light as it goes through glass.

    Even a flat pane of glass?

    And I can guarantee you that above approximately 2.3 micron there would be no more radiation to heat his bulbs.

    ? I’m at quite a loss to understand why I would need such a guarantee. Whatever that means. What does it mean?

    If it relates to something I’ve said, please be explicit.

    Now go and find a Planck curve for the solar spectrum and see all that energy right there in the visual part of the spectrum. What do you think happens to that ENERGY when it hits a surface? Three things could happen, absorption, transmission, reflection. And no, you are right the earth and us humans are not painted black, BUT WE ARE NOT SHINY POLISHED MIRRORS EITHER. Sorry, don’t know how to emphasize that in a better way. So all objects will be absorbing visual light, more or less, but for sure never zero. Not even close to zero, unless it is very shiny metal.

    ? I’m sure this means something to you, but as yet I’m not sure what. I meant by this that different colours affect absorption. As in plant photosynthesis, which takes in blue and red light via its pigment chlorophyll, which enables it to convert Carbon Dioxide into glucose. It is a poor absorber of green portions of spectrum, its green colour reflects green light.

    Hmm, that’s interesting, I’ve just taken a look at the wiki page on chlorophyll, and it says:

    “Chlorophyll molecules absorb in the blue and red bands, but not the green and infrared bands. Chlorophyll content meters measure the amount of absorption at the red band to estimate the amount of chlorophyll present in the leaf. To compensate for varying leaf thickness Chlorophyll Meters also measure absorption at the infrared band which is not significantly affected by chlorophyll.” Not sure what it means. Is it saying that green limits the absorption of IR?

    But anyway, I still can’t see how anything you’re saying actually addresses my point, that colours have different degrees of “heat”. It is the Far Infrared which is tangibly felt as heat, hence, it is known as Heat Energy.

    Most energy that reaches earth from the sun is in the visual spectrum. It will be absorbed and be converted to heat.

    Not as I know it. Most of the energy from the Sun reaching earth is in the Infrared, some 80%.

    OK, you try and find me some proof of what you claim and I’ll see what I can find to back up mine. And anyone else interested, either view.

    But, you seem to be ignoring the references I made in my posts to pukkha medical understanding of light absorption, visible light does not penetrate the body to any significant extent, UV hardly at all, it is IR which penetrates deeply into organic material. What we feel as heat from the Sun is IR, Heat Energy. This is what warms the earth and us on it. Which is being released by the rocks in your sauna.

    Put out the fire once the rocks have heated, add more rocks if needed, forget the water, and you’ve got yourself an IR sauna. Or join some Native Americans in a Sweat Lodge… Before the idea of heating the air in the room by convection, the heating systems across europe were mainly IR from ceramic stoves. Big corner stove with a small fire radiating heat energy into the walls, and into whoever was in the room. Like the Roman hypercaust system, (sp?), and back today as ‘underfloor heating’.

  273. @ George E. Smith, February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I just want to say I appreciate your input in this comment a lot. I have that solar spectrum curve in front of me if I close my eyes. And when I remind myself that the darn thing is in a logarithmic scale, all those numbers you give make a lot of sense. Thanks for that!

    My only slight objection is here:
    ““Heat” is NOT energy in the form of photons. Heat is purely MECHANICAL KINETIC ENERGY in the form of molecular or atomic vibrations due to collisions between particles (of matter) Sans matter; there is NO “HEAT”. Heat is characterized by TEMPERATURE.”

    Agreed to the most part. It is the last sentence I am a little bothered with. Heat and temperature are connected in such a way that they co-vary depending on heat capacity, BUT with the exception of latent heat during phase change. If you observe a temperature change you can safely assume that the amount of heat it the object has also changed, but if you have a change in heat it may not necessarily cause a change in temperature, if there is phase change going on.

  274. Hi Mikael

    Thailand? Good gracious!

    One of the few places left in the world that I do wish to visit.

    I was going to ask you what you were measuring out to 24 microns, as that is unusual for industrial/commercial work…but thanks for the correction.

    I must admit I am impressed with your patience in answering the many questions here. The misconceptions about IR and radiational heat transfer are so vast in the scientific community…

    To Myrhh

    IR cannot penetrate into the body. It is absorbed by the skin to a minor depth. Most of skin composition is H2O. That is the main reason why.

    H2O is a powerful absorber and emitter of long wavelengths. When you look at an IR image of a person’s head, you can see some arteries and other features. But it is not because the IR looks within the body, but rather because there are certain arteries that are close to the skin surface. And there are parts of the surface of the human body where there are lots of tiny arteries just below the skin, high blood perfusion, that show up as large hot spots.

  275. This may help some begin to understand what radiational heat transfer really is. Take a look at this graphic

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EM_Spectrum_Properties_edit.svg

    Now, I really like this graphic because it uses a nice handy old fashioned thermometer figure at the bottom. So you have a nice easy way to look at the idea.

    If you have a perfect ‘blackbody’ atom, at any temperature over absolute zero it emits radiation (heat energy). That perfect blackbody atom near absolute zero will first emit very very long radio waves. As you heat that blackbody atom up, the hotter it becomes, the heat energy shifts to shorter and shorter wavelengths.

    Just follow the thermometer and the wavelengths.

    That graphic is perfect in illustrating what basically happens in radiation in an ideal situation.

    Everything emits energy above absolute zero. Everything. In effect there is no such thing as COLD. There is only less heat and more heat. Heat flux, or radiational heat transfer, is simply the NET flow of heat (or energy) from a hotter material to a less hot material. The forms that ‘heat radiation’ are classified as, is exactly as shown in the graphic.

    But, in effect, all matter in the universe is in a form of constant sort of ‘communication’ due to electromagnetic radiation, but with net energy moving from hotter to less hot.

    However, real world atoms (hence molecules, etc) are not perfect blackbodies, so they will GENERALLY follow this graphic, subject to unique quirks of each different type of atom or molecule. Those quirks are the tricky part. And science has not tested various atoms and molecules anywhere near enough to fully understand those quirks. Even N2 which makes up most of the atmosphere has hardly been tested at various temperatures, thus wavelengths to fully understand the nature of it’s true radiational properties.

  276. @ Myrrh.

    “IR is deep body penetration.” Too generic a statement. IR is a very broad spectrum. Some IR may penetrate deeply, you may want to inform me exactly which wavelengths, if you know, I am truly interested (not sarcastic, I promise). But certainly NOT the kind of IR we look at with thermal imagers. From Hollywood people “know” that we can see through walls and stuff with IR. That is probably where that BS comes from originally. It is BS though, no less.

    Saunas: Go ahead, use the one you prefer. I love mine! :-)

    If you don’t believe condensing steam will give off huge amounts of latent heat, put the kettle on and when it boils, stick your finger right in the steam that comes from it and you will find out.

    ““Particularly, most paints and dyes are black in the infrared range. The exception is metallic (aluminum) paints and space blankets, which have low IR emissivity.””

    Wrong, total rubbish! They are approximately “grey” in IR images, if we refer to “black” as being blackbody absorbing. Paint will be about 0.90-0.95 emissivity in a long wave camera. I could go on and teach you for half a day or more about emissivity in thermography applications… You seem to just google for a while until you find something that supports your preconception, without bothering to understand. I don’t know where that statement came from, but I would not believe much from that source.

    The guy with the other prism experiment that you don’t remember was probably Newton. He got in trouble with the religious guys for that if I am not remembering wrongly. Religious people sometime have a hard time changing their mind when they are “sure”, like the earth is flat, and so on…

    And then we get to this:
    “A glass prism. Spectral things will happen to white light as it goes through glass.

    Even a flat pane of glass?

    And I can guarantee you that above approximately 2.3 micron there would be no more radiation to heat his bulbs.

    ? I’m at quite a loss to understand why I would need such a guarantee. Whatever that means. What does it mean?

    If it relates to something I’ve said, please be explicit.”

    I understand that you don’t understand, because you don’t want to understand if it challenges your beliefs.

    Glass is what is referred to as a selective radiator. It means that its emissivity, reflectivity, and transmissivity all change with wavelength. You seem to think that just because visible light passes through it easily, there is no change in the composition of he spectrum on the other side. There is. Not so much in visual, but in IR there are big things going on! We have to forgive Herschel, he had no spectrometers at hand, but in this day and age we do. Glass will start to lose transmissivity around 2 um and nosedive completely at 2.3um. Over 3um there is hardly any transmissivity AT ALL!!!!!! How can I know for sure? Because glass is totally opaque to any IR camera I use, in addition to all the spectral charts that are available. Can’t see through it at all. Had Herschel moved his thermometers a little further from NIR, into where IR should have been, they would have dropped completely. His result can only be seen as qualitative (“there is other light than visible”), rather than quantitative. The sun is still giving off more heat to the earth in the visible. Basta! Read George E. Smith, February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am for an initiated comment about that. Don’t argue with me about that any more, please, I will not oblige you further with any reply on it if you do. Search the net if you want more info.

    FYI, in IR cameras we use lenses made of either silicon (3-5um) or germanium (8-14um). Glass lenses would definitely not work.

    So, if you are able to accept that, we can go one step further into your claim that “IR is heat, visual is not”. Knowing that no IR over 2.3um will go through a normal window, will you accept that the heat you feel when you stand behind a window where the sun shines in comes from visual light? If not, I cannot help you any more, you have to remain ignorant about that.

    The rest of your comment seems to use some kind of shotgun approach, firing off in all sorts of directions, chlorophyll, and so on. I don’t find that necessary to reply to, because you try to prove the same thing with all of that and I have just proven you wrong. At least one quote there was not even mine, so I will not defend it. So, “you seem to be ignoring the references I made in my posts to pukkha medical understanding of light absorption”. Yes I did. It is too limited. What these people are using may be some narrow band of NIR where deep penetration exists. I will not argue one way or the other and I don’t care to look into it – to prove my point I don’t need to.

    And “warm” or “cool” colors may exist in psychology, but not science. If you think red is “warmer” than blue for example, that concept would be backwards, since blue incandescent light would need a much hotter object to dominate the spectrum. An object at 7245K would peak at 0.4um, for example. Much hotter than the sun. Consider arc welding. You have probably noticed how blue the arc looks. Very hot, that’s why!

    I hope that was helpful to you.

  277. @ Domenic. It sounds like you are a colleague. You would be most welcome to visit Thailand. If you want to e-mail me, take my name and write both first and second together in lower case, and add “at” and gmail dot com. (Just avoiding spambots…)

  278. @ George E. Smith. I noticed afterward that all those nice numbers were in a previous post, not the one I referred to. Very useful nonetheless. Thanks!

  279. George Smith says…

    Every single additional molecule of H2O or cO2 that is added to the atmosphere WILL reduce the amount of incoming solar energy that reaches the surface of the planet to warm it.

    That assertions is not valid for CO2, which is an absolutely-blind cat to short wavelength IR quantum/waves incomming from the Sun.

    It’s a one-eyed cat towards long wavelength IR quantum/waves; nevertheless, it only absorbs a little from this spectral band because its absorptivity, taking into account the mean free path lenght and the crossing lapse time of IR quantum/waves IN the atmosphere, is quite low: 0.004. Taking into account the whole column of air, the CO2 Pp and actual temperatures of the atmosphere -not that of an idealized blackbody because CO2 is not a blackbody neither it “resembles” a blackbody, the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide is no more than 0.002.

    As a way of comparison, the total emissivity of water vapor is 0.7, the total emissivity of moistened clay with organic materials is 0.95. The total emissivity of liquid water is 0.96. These observed and verified facts transform the CO2 into a feeble one-eyed cat.

    Alternatively, the delay that a molecule of carbon dioxide causes to the emission of electrons and photons, after having absorbed a photon, is measured in attoseconds (as), i.e. 10^-18 of a second; consequently, there is no way for the atmospheric carbon dioxide to “hold” the absorbed energy for periods longer than 20 ± 5 as.

    :|

  280. marky48, you had more in your hip pocket than you let on. I read the article that you posted and found it very compelling. I am much more inclined to this, if you are willing to show the same courtesy- http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0469%281999%29056%3C1649%3ATWVACS%3E2.0.CO%3B2 The article you posted assumes that Co2 increase precedes temperature but makes little case to inform on that point. This is a vital to the discussion. It would certainly resolve all the debate on this thread.

  281. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Re “IR is deep body penetration”
    Too generic a statement. IR is a very broad spectrum. Some IR may penetrate deeply, you may want to inform me exactly which wavelengths, if you know, I am truly interested (not sarcastic, I promise). But certainly NOT the kind of IR we look at with thermal imagers. From Hollywood people “know” that we can see through wall and stuff with IR. That is probably where that BS comes from originally. It is BS though, no less.

    I give you pukkha medical references which contradict your claim that UV penetration and Visible light penetration greater than IR, practical applications, and you want me to find all the detail. You’re the expert on IR, so you say. These examples falsify your claims.

    If you don’t believe condensing steam will give off huge amounts of latent heat, put the kettle on and when it boils, stick your finger right in the steam that comes from it you will find out.”

    ?!! Where did I say I thought that? Again, you show yourself apt to avoid what is actually being said by creating a straw man. Re saunas:

    My point was, because you imagined that an IR sauna would be like a toaster I find it impossible to take your claim that you are an expert about IR, seriously.

    I’m sorry, that’s how it looks from where I’m standing. You may well be an expert in some applications of IR, but you cannot expect me to think that you understand it fully. I cannot be sure that your statements about it in areas where you are not an expert are anything but assumptions, as I have already found to be the case where other scientific disciplines using IR contradict you.

    You can claim until you’re blue in face that UV and Visible light penetrate deeper than IR, and arrogantly demean me as “unteachable” about IR because you are the expert, but the fact remains that what I have found from real science contradicts you and putting me down doesn’t change that.

    I haven’t made any claim to be an expert, I have said that I make judgements about conflicting statements by assessing these using what common sense I have. And I find this a continuing struggle in this argument because I do not have the easy familiarity with scientific terms, and certainly not its language of maths, of many here, I have to look everything up.. However, it’s obvious to me, using this method of common sense, that what you say about penetration is contradicted, here, by people who use actual knowledge of light penetration in their medical practice.

    Common sense tells me you can’t both be right.

    Your throwaway that this must be some deeply penetrating NIR and that you don’t care to explore it is insulting. One the one hand you expect me to take whatever you say about IR as coming from an expert and accept without question your claim that UV and Visible light penetrate more deeply and then get annoyed when your expertise is shown limited. I can understand you’d be annoyed, but I was also under the impression from what you had also said that you were willing to explore admitting that you didn’t know everything about IR. So I’m confused. Which makes it impossible for me now to take anything you say about IR as fact. I am quite practiced, through examining assumptions in the AGW arguments, in starting from ignorance every time I ask a question and not expecting provable facts in reply..

    ..because my interest is to gain understanding of the argument and so far, as majority others here have found, assumptions are frequently bandied about as scientific fact by AGW and closer inspection shows they are not.

    One thing I thought, if you’re still willing to explore this, is that far IR being close to Microwave could be penetrating in much the same way. As I said before re your wondering why microwaves in the atmosphere don’t cook us, it could be just the difference in concentration.

    Re Herschel, you say that what he was measuring was in near IR and that if he’d moved it further away it would have disappeared completely, but, near IR is still IR, and this was hotter than the other colours, whatever that means. The claim in AGW is that glass is opaque to IR, so this is an important point, for me, in understanding the statements pro and con. And, is it proved that it was near IR he was measuring and not, say, mid IR or even far IR? I am having little joy with searching for this information, if you have it handy somewhere as actually tested please give me the link.

    You give a figure where glass becomes opaque to IR which some sources say is still in the near IR band, while others say this is mid IR, while others.. Most, of the pages I’ve looked at, have far IR beginning at 3 microns.

    OK, I think I might have found a page that understands glass and IR:

    http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-60.html

    “Absorption of radiant energy by glass varies with the wave length of the radiation and the absorption characteristics of the glass. It may be seen in Figure 1B that 1/4-inch plate glass is essentially transparent to all of the solar spectrum except the short-wave ultra-violet. It is less transparent, however, to wave lengths over about 3 microns and opaque to wave lengths over 4.5 microns. This means that solar radiation can pass through glass to heat surfaces inside a building, but longer wave length radiation from objects in the building is absorbed by the glass. This accounts in part for the common “greenhouse effect,” or the ability of an unheated glass-enclosed space to experience a rapid temperature rise during hours of sunshine and retain its heat during the night. It should be noted that absorption of radiation causes the glass temperature to rise, and transmitted radiation causes a heat gain the building interior.”

    So, glass of the common soda-lime lets in some far IR, that dubbed thermal, about 1.5 microns of its spectrum, that glass isn’t opaque to IR until 4.5 microns.

    If the rest is absorbed by the glass, heating it, isn’t this also delivering IR into the greenhouse?

    It says further:

    “Thermal Conductivity
    the thermal conductivity (k) of soda-lime glass at between 5 and 7 Btu/hr sq ft °F/in. is higher than that of insulating materials, but much lower than that of most metals. Glass of normal thickness offers neglibible resistance to heat transfer between the inside and outside of a building and the thermal resistance of a pane is predominantly due to the surface films.”

    Which might mean something to the majority posting on these boards, but all that I grasp from it is that “Glass of normal thickness offers neglible resistance to heat transfer between inside and outside of a building and the thermal resistance of a pane is predominantly due to the surface films.”

    So, does this falsify the AGW claim that glass is opaque to incoming IR and traps outgoing, or not?

    And even if it was wholly opaque to all IR, does it matter since the heated glass itself will be emitting IR into the greenhouse? All it would do, istm, is delay some thermal energy transfer.

    I suppose I now have to look up the emissivity of glass..

  282. Oh shhugar, I messed up the italics again. Sincere apologies, will stop and think before posting in the future, I didn’t check.

  283. Matter [February 15, 2011 at 8:19 am] says:

    “@Blade;

    There is no breaking of conservation of energy; to everyone who doesn’t believe in the greenhouse effect you have a lot more reading to do: I recommend

    {… blah blah …}

    Adding CO2 doesn’t prevent sunlight hitting Earth, but it does absorb light going up from Earth. Hence the warming.”

    Very sloppy on your part Mr. Matter. You immediately got sidetracked from the simple and iron-clad point I made (and as a commenter mentioned) you didn’t bother to quote me which provided cover for your conversational detour. So, let’s recap …

    Matt [February 15, 2011 at 12:26 am] says:

    “The simplest way I know to understand the greenhouse effect is to realize that when you’re standing on the ground in daytime the Sun is shining on you in visible light, and the atmosphere is shining on you in infrared. If you change the atmosphere so it shines more (e.g. adding more CO2 and other greenhouse gases) you will be warmer on the surface because there is more electromagnetic radiation coming down on you than otherwise. That’s it. More CO2 = more radiation on you.”

    Then I said …

    Blade [February 15, 2011 at 5:31 am] says:

    “So the Law of Conservation of Energy has been repealed? (***) Therefore Over Unity and Perpetual Motion devices are not only possible but practical? Electric cars that run off the alternator cannot be far behind. As another commenter pointed out, a vacuum would allow maximum transfer of EMR from the sun. Any amount of matter in any form can only decrease the total transfer.”

    I’ll make it crystal clear …

    Let the Earth have no atmosphere and we shall call the EMR striking the Earth as X,
    Let the Earth have its present or any atmosphere and we shall call the EMR striking the Earth as Y,
    I ask you now: Is … X < Y … or … X = Y … or … X > Y? There is only one answer. X > Y.

    P.S. Therefore your last sentence is wrong …

    “Adding CO2 doesn’t prevent sunlight hitting Earth, but it does absorb light going up from Earth. Hence the warming.”

    (well you certainly employ vague yet enigmatic use of the terms sunlight, and then light wouldn’t you say?)

    Let’s avoid confusion. If a single photon of any part of the EMR spectrum is either reflected or absorbed and re-radiated to space, (i.e., it never gets here!), then, the net EMR is reduced, period. The point (as I was responding to Matt) is that there is no way that any matter (Atmosphere) placed in between the Sun and the Earth can ever increase the amount of EMR we receive. It is theoretically possible (but highly unlikely) for it to be EQUAL, but not GREATER.

    Now unless you are planning on telling us that CO2 does not intercept a single photon of any part of the EMR spectrum traveling from the Sun to the Earth, (not a single photon? CO2 is a perfect insulator?), then only one statement can be held as true: CO2 decreases the net EMR transmitted from the Sun to the Earth (even if it is a single photon). You certainly are not proposing there is no downstream infrared from the Sun are you?

    The current controversy seems to lie in the energy balance of the photons that actually make it here through the atmospheric ‘wall’. On this I agree with the crude blanket analogy, the energy bounces around here a little longer than it would were there no atmosphere, CO2 or not. That means that if you switch off the Sun, we’ll take just a little longer to freeze to death. How much longer? Who cares. Not long enough though.

  284. I can comment about what marky48 has in his “hip pocket”. The reference he provided was from a polite and helpful (and uncredited) suggestion at RC by the eminent Dr. Raymond Pierrehumbert. To be precise, here is a quote of that helpful suggestion.

    [Response: I’m averse to polluting myself by wading into the sewer of pseudoscience over there [at WUWT], but perhaps somebody with more fortitude would do me the favor of going over there and posting a link to my Physics Today article on infrared radiation. (available at http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/publist.html ) Maybe then they’d learn something (though I doubt it). –raypierre]

  285. George E Smith seems to be saying that CO2 (and H2O) are double edged swords.

    That is, every extra molecule of CO2 contributes to keeping some fraction of incoming radiation from making it to to surface (approximately half of what is intercepted is re-radiated, although some of it contributes to heating the atmosphere), while it also contributes to keeping some of the outgoing energy in the atmosphere for a while longer.

  286. To Ken Coffman

    Raymond Pierrehumbert’s paper is loaded with cherry picking and assumptions carefully crafted together by him to try and prove that CO2 is far more important to the greenhouse effect on earth than it really is.

    I doubt he has ever spent even a day working out in the field with IR measuring equipment to directly measure parts of the greenhouse effect.

    He’s a typical pencil pusher with no primary experience with real data and the instruments used to obtain that real data.

  287. Thanks for that reference, Ken Coffman, and to you too, Domenic. Care to respond marky? The sequence of events is still critical to the discussion.

  288. Sad and weak the Pierrehumbert would rather dismiss than engage. I think that Mr. Cronholm has shown here that he has some cogent knowledge that I think Mr. Pierrhumbert needs to address. And of course my question on the sequence of events regarding Co2 and temperature.

  289. I hope all those contributing here haven’t moved on as this thread has been most interesting.

    Domenic says:
    RE: Raymond Pierrehumbert’s paper
    ” . . . prove that CO2 is far more important to the greenhouse effect on earth than it really is . . ”

    What aspects do you find to be cherry picking and assumptions. I ask because of my lack of knowledge and no expert application. Is Domenic alone is his opinion of Pierrehumbert’s paper? Are there any other opinions supporting Pierrehumbert’s view?

    The closing paragraph seems to sum up Pierrehumbert’s argument. I was wondering, based on all that I’ve read here, why this is the first I’ve read re: what Pierrehumbert refers to as the ‘bite of IR spectrum” and how that “bite” increases as CO2 increases?

    RE: Pierrehumbert:
    “The CO2 greenhouse effect is directly visible in satelite observations of the bite taken out of the IR spectrum near 667cm-1, a feature whose details agree precisely with results of calculations based on first-principles radiative transfer calculations. Laboratory spectroscopy demonstrates that the width of the bite will increase as CO2 increases, and warming inevitably follows as a consequence of well-established energy-balance principles . . .” (last line) “the basic radiative physics of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is unassailable.”

    Ready to learn more . . .
    -Barn

  290. “”””” Richard Sharpe says:
    February 16, 2011 at 7:45 am
    George E Smith seems to be saying that CO2 (and H2O) are double edged swords.

    That is, every extra molecule of CO2 contributes to keeping some fraction of incoming radiation from making it to to surface (approximately half of what is intercepted is re-radiated, although some of it contributes to heating the atmosphere), while it also contributes to keeping some of the outgoing energy in the atmosphere for a while longer. “””””

    Richard, that is precisely what I am saying BUT !! Let’s keep a proper perspective. I think the “back of the envelope” chicken scratchings I did, show that perhaps CO2 is not a big culprit as far as lowering the incoming; but the effect is incontrovertible; it is real. The issue is much more important for H2O, because there is a lot more of it; it is never less than the amount of CO2, and it varies widely geographically, and with weather.

    In the long haul, there can be no doubt, that an increase in H2O on a global scale, and over climatically meaningful time scales; must reduce to total solar energy that reaches the earth surface; where it can be stored in the oceans, or in the land materials. Sooner or later, that must mean a cooler earth.

    I should add one further clarification. The main solar spectrum portion that is intercepted by H2O, and the same is true for the CO2, is longer than 0.75 microns, and as long as 4.0 microns. It would NOT be correct to say that this is deposited “Deep” in the oceans, like the bulk of the solar energy is.
    As every scuba diver knows, the red end of the spectrum disappears first as you go deeper, and 750 nm is a quite deep red; so we are talking metres to tens of metres; but not hundreds. We know that H2O has its very strongest spectral absoption at 3.0 microns, where maybe a couple of percent of solar energy still is to be found. At that wavelength the water absorption coefficient, is about 9,000 cm^-1, so the 1/e absorption depth is just 1.1 microns, or 5.5 microns for 99% extinction.

    So to some extent much of that lost solar energy, would have been absorbed in shallower water, and would likely have given rise to enhanced evaporation from the surface; which is pretty much what the returned LWIR from the atmosphere does also.

    We should note that both GHG absorption of LWIR, and similar absorption of incoming solar energy HEAT THE ATMOSPHERE. They do NOT heat the ground. Once the atmosphere is heated; regardless of means; the ambient LWIR radiation which is going in all directions, is a function only of that atmospheric Temperature; and quite independent of what heated the atmosphere.

    As others constantly point out here; convection and evaporation and other energy transport mechanisms are perhaps more important to the earth cooling process, at least at living elevations. I don’t ignore those effects; I just don’t dwell on them; since absolutely none of that is in any way affected by GHGs or the Greenhouse effect. That is purely a radiation phenomenon; which is why I concentrate my thoughts on the radiant energy processes. I’m happy that others do keep track of the other thermal processes, and the various circulations like ENSO and AMO etc.

    Water really is THE double edged sword, since it is the only condensing GHG; and in liquid or solid form as clouds, I’m convinced it ALWAYS cools the earth; NEVER warms it. Those high clouds that we associate with humid balmy nights; are a consequence of the earlier surface conditions (Temperature and Humidity); they are NOT the cause of those surface conditions.

  291. I think a lot of my own confusion comes from buying into the warmist strategy of counting photons: up, down and sideways. You get yourself into a tangled mess and into the mysterious “back radiation” and equally mysterious “net radiation”. We have a choice–we can think of photons as particles or waves. So, what if we imagine waves instead of photons? When we do this, I think the picture becomes much more clear.

    The amount of radiation emitted from each of them depends on two things ONLY, the temperature of the object and its emissivity. So radiation is not a side effect to temperature, it is THE EFFECT.
    – Mikael Cronholm

    If we think of waves like lines of flux, then they point from the warm body toward the cold body (and there are none when the bodies have equal temperatures). We have radiation and nothing like anti-radiation. Given this mental model, (ignoring temperature inversions for now) is there any way for atmospheric CO2 to increase the temperature of the earth’s surface? It can modify the cooling rate, but it cannot increase the temperature. So, global warming with more and more record high temperatures? This is not something CO2 can do.

    This is a point made over and over from different points of view in the Slaying the Sky Dragon book. I, for one, am looking forward to Mikael’s comments about this book, good, bad or indifferent.

  292. “”””” Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    @ George E. Smith, February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I just want to say I appreciate your input in this comment a lot. I have that solar spectrum curve in front of me if I close my eyes. And when I remind myself that the darn thing is in a logarithmic scale, all those numbers you give make a lot of sense. Thanks for that!

    My only slight objection is here:
    ““Heat” is NOT energy in the form of photons. Heat is purely MECHANICAL KINETIC ENERGY in the form of molecular or atomic vibrations due to collisions between particles (of matter) Sans matter; there is NO “HEAT”. Heat is characterized by TEMPERATURE.”

    Agreed to the most part. It is the last sentence I am a little bothered with. Heat and temperature are connected in such a way that they co-vary depending on heat capacity, BUT with the exception of latent heat during phase change. If you observe a temperature change you can safely assume that the amount of heat it the object has also changed, but if you have a change in heat it may not necessarily cause a change in temperature, if there is phase change going on. “””””

    Mikael, what I meant by that statement, is simply this. “HEAT” (energy) is nothing more nor less, than the total kinetic energy
    of all of the particles of matter in the “sample”. That total energy, and its distribution as to particle velocity is defined by the Temperature. The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of velocities is defined by the Temperature (in gases).

    The average KE per particle is simply 3kT/2. That is for the translational energy (in three axes). Some molecules will also have rotational degrees of freedom, so they can have more energy per particle, and one can calculate the RMS velocity as sqrt(3kT/m) where m is the particle mass.

    One can calculate the velocity distribution (ideal gas) in the form:-

    (1/N)dN/dv =4piv^2(m/2pikT)^3/2. exp(-mv^2 /2kT) which is the M-B distribution.

    As to these curves; My most uesful source of (somewhat dated) thermal data is “The Infra-Red Handbook”, and I have several Optics Handbooks that I use at work all the time, that have a lot of stuff. Another VERY useful curve to have is a Normalized Back-Body Radiation curve. Normalized in the sense that the wavelenght axis is normalized to the peak wavelength, so the peak is at 1.0, and the spectral radiant emittance is also normalized to the value at the peak wavelength so it also is 1.0.

    There is such a curve in “Modern Optical Engineering by Warren J. Smith; published by McGraw Hill. It is his Fig 8.7 I have an old copy and also a new copy and the curve is in both. He plots wavelength from 0.1 to 50 (times the peak) and relative spectrale mittance from 0-1 (linear) and also from 1.0-10^-5 (logarithmic), and then he has a nifty scale of fraction of total energy emitted below, going from 10^-6 (at 0.24 of peak wavelenght) up to 99% at 8.0 times peak.

    So I don’t really have to eyeball that much; I can read it off the graph. Since we can’t cut and paste pictures here, it is hard to show people this data. But if you care to give Anthony permission to send me your e-mail address, I’d be happy to snap some digital photos of some of these uesful graphs, and e-mail them to you.

    The Normalized Planck curve is very useful. A lot of people are not aware that the Planck curve is a function of the single variable lambda.T, which is also a consequence of Wien’s Displacement Law; lambdamax.T is a constant (2897.8 micron.Kelvins)

    Also the peak spectral radiant emittance is 1.288 e-11. T^5 W/m^2micron^-1

    Most people know that 25% of the BB spectrum radiation is emitted below the peak wavelength. The actual number is extremely close to 25%; but I have never actually done the integration to find out if that is exact; and if any of the PhD physicists out there know; they aren’t telling anybody. But everybody should know that 25% :75% before and after the wavelength peak. And only 1% below 1/2 of the peak wavelength, and 1% left above 8 times the peak.

    So it is kind of interesting that the solar spectrum long wavelength tail dies at about 4.0 microns, and the short wavelngth edge of the earth emitted LWIR also dies at about 4.0 microns; which is where the CO2 peak that is dominant on Venus, sits. So that particular CO2 band doesn’t have much influence on earth; well unless you are doing one of those fraudulent heat lamp CO2 absorption demos.

  293. A couple of things are clear from Pierrehumbert’s piece;
    First, that CO2 is the sine qua non of the greenhouse effect. He declares that, absent CO2, all the water woud be ice. CO2 transforms water into a greenhouse gas.
    Secondly, he finds it confusing, too, as he says “Carbon dioxide is just planetary insulation”.
    If there’s any doubt as to his slant on the whole story, there’s his statement that “CO2 accounts for about a third of the clear-sky greenhouse effect in the tropics and a somewhat greater portion in the drier, colder extratropics; the remainder is mostly due to water vapor.”
    “The remainder” is a surprising phrase to use to describe upwards of 60% of the whole. It’s not that it’s false, just that it suggests some attitude.
    He declares that the basic radiative physics is unassailable, but he implies that every aspect of the AGW hypothesis is equally sound, by association.

  294. “”””” Nasif Nahle says:
    February 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm
    George Smith says…

    Every single additional molecule of H2O or cO2 that is added to the atmosphere WILL reduce the amount of incoming solar energy that reaches the surface of the planet to warm it.

    That assertions is not valid for CO2, which is an absolutely-blind cat to short wavelength IR quantum/waves incomming from the Sun. “””””

    Nasif, you are apparently determined to completely ignore the significant CO2 absorption bands, at 1.8, 2.7 and 4.0 Microns wavelength which certainly address incoming solar spectrum energy. So I stand by my statement; but I anxiously await your contrary data that would show I am incorrect.

  295. I am not claiming this has any significance when considering the mass of the earth…but I found it interesting. Yes, I know this is contrary to my thoughts about viewing IR radiation as waves.

    Light seems such a “flimsy” thing it is probably difficult to imagine it pushing on anything, or at any rate pushing very hard. And yet, the radiation force on the earth due to the sun is on the order of an impressive 100,000 tons! This is equivalent, for example, to a fully loaded aircraft carrier.
    – Paul J. Nahin, Oliver Heaviside, The Life, Work, and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age

  296. The degenerate bending mode of CO2 is the usual 15 micron band. The strongest CO2 absorption band is the assymmetrical stretch mode, where all three atoms are in longitudinal motion along the axis of the CO2 molecule. That is observed at 2345 cm^-1 which is 4.26 microns wavelength.
    The symmetrical stretch mode where the C atom is stationary is predicted at about 6.3 microns; but is IR inactive since the dynamic dipole moment is zero.

  297. Can we simply look at Dr. Pierrehumbert’s first two sentences?

    In a single second, Earth absorbs 1.22 x 10^17 joules of energy from the Sun. Distributed uniformly over the mass of the planet, the absorbed energy would raise Earth’s temperature to nearly 800,000K after a billion years, if Earth had no way of getting rid of it.
    – Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, Infrared radiation and planetary temperature

    Beyond the silly, speculative nature of Dr. Pierrehumbert’s thought experiment, he imagines an earth at a much greater temperature than the source of the energy…the sun. Maybe this is simply the pragmatic engineer in me, but I would never dream up an analogy like that. Nothing good can come of imagining this scenario…it’s like a signpost on the road to madness.

  298. “”””” Oliver Ramsay says:
    February 16, 2011 at 9:58 am
    A couple of things are clear from Pierrehumbert’s piece;
    First, that CO2 is the sine qua non of the greenhouse effect. He declares that, absent CO2, all the water woud be ice. CO2 transforms water into a greenhouse gas. “””””

    If ALL of the water on earth was ice; then there would be no clouds and very little water vapor in the atmosphere, and suddenly we would have the full sun beaming down on the surface at closer to the 1362 W/m^2, than 1000 W/m^2 like it does now. That would be the mother of all climate forcings, since even now, the sun can heat the land surface to over 60 deg C during the day. With no clouds, there’d be no snow in the main land areas of the earth; the boiling sun would melt all that so it could run into the oceans and freeze.

    What Peter Humbug is missing, is that water ice simply is not all that reflective. Fresh snow just a few minutes old may have 80% solar reflectance; but it quickly drops to a fraction of that once the sun gets on it. Sea ice looks quite bright; but only when compared to sea water, which is near black (3% reflectance).

    It is quite clear that CO2 does virtually nothing to keep the Temperature up at nighttime in a high arid desert. Freeze all the oceans, and CO2 won’t do a damn thing about unfreezing them.

    But the sun beating down on the ice so the surface melts, and refreezes, creating an anechoic optical trap that conducts light and heat to great depths. And the sun would evaporate all kinds of water vapor off the top of that ice even if there was not a single .molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    So you take out the CO2 and you get a little bit less cloud cover globally; but I doubt that the global Temperature would be perceptively different.

    Our comfortable temperature range at todays orbital values, depends almost entirely on the Physical Properties of the H2O molecule.

    This of course could be disproven by simply publishing some peer reviewed, and experimentally observed data, that shows the global Temperatures foillowing the atmospheric CO2; for any period of history, and any time offset, between the Temperature and the CO2. So far we’ve seen no such data.

  299. “”””” Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 15, 2011 at 1:11 am
    George E. Smith says:
    “So whatever your particles are emitting downwards, they must be emitting a like amount upwards; which escapes to space.”

    Actually, the lower atmosphere is mostly IR opaque with a few windows. For most of the spectra were absorption occurs, 99% of the available energy is absorbed within 20 meters of the surface. In the “wings” it requires about 500 meters to absorb 99%. From this, I deduce that very little radiation from the lower troposphere ever gets to space. Based on my analysis of lapse rate plots, it is pretty obvious that, near the surface, the atmosphere is IR opaque and the net radiation is toward the surface. Since it is opaque, the radiation emitted toward space is simply reabsorbed within a few meters. At the tropopause, the atmosphere becomes IR transparent and a significant amount of energy is emitted into deep space. “””””

    If the earth atmosphere is IR Opaque, then exactly how does LWIR from the upper atmospehre or even clouds ever reach the surface; and what is the directional selective mechanism, which causes the LWIR radiation to be concentrated downwards. The emissions from the surface are most definitely concentrated in the upwards direction. Emissions FROM the heated atmosphere itself are quite clearly isotropic; so they are not biassed donwwards. If anythign the escape path to space is favored over the downward path to the surface; simply based on the change in absorption line bradening due to Temperature and Pressure (collision broadening). Higher atmospheric layers are colder and lesss dense, so their absorption and emission lines are narrower than closer to the surface where the density (collision rate) and Temperature (Doppler broadening) are increased.

    There’s no possible way the atmospheric radiated thermal spectrum can be concentrated downwards. The phenomenon is not optically different from the Raleigh scattering at short wavelengths; which makes the sky blue (daytime). The Raleigh scattering is also greater at ground level compared to the upper Troposphere, yet the blue sky looks the same upwards and downwards, except at the boundaries of the atmosphere (outer space, or the ground).

    The earth’s atmosphere isn’t even vaguely IR opaque; well not until you get out beyond any CO2 bands and only H2O is IR absorbing.

    The surface emitted spectrum goes from about 5.0 microns to about 80 microns for 98% of the emitted energy, and CO2 only grabs a small chunk of that in the 13.5 to 16.5 micron range. We are talking about a global “heating” source that has an average Temperature of 288 K, and radiates about 390 W/m^2. An ordinary one pint (250 cc) drinking water bottle is what is typically causing global warming via LWIR “heating”

  300. To Oliver Ramsay

    And he completely downplays any effects of nitrogen.

    We live at the bottom of an ocean composed mainly of nitrogen which in itself is a huge heat sink moderating temperature, and subject to all the fluid and thermal properties as would a liquid in an ocean.

    1 atmosphere of pressure = 10.3 m (34 ft) of water.

    The atmosphere, mostly nitrogen, is ‘approximately’ the equivalent of the earth being covered in an additional 34 ft of water. Everywhere.

    I don’t think nitrogen has ever been properly characterized for thermal radiation properties into the long wavelengths, lets say 8 microns and more. But that is absolutely necessary to characterize it’s insulating, or greenhouse properties.

    I can’t find any data. In the past, there was simply never any need to do it. Now there is. Both N2 and O2 need to be fully characterized for absorption, emittance, reflectance, and transmission in the long wavelengths.

    You will find a lot on the short wavelength response of N2 (O2, CO2, etc), but not long wavelengths. That is because short wavelength response is extremely easy to do. A high temp source is easy to build (a light bulb, hot plate, etc) and direct the thermal radiation through a room temp gas sample. Or send any other high energy particles through the gas sample.

    The low temp characterizations have never been done because those are much more difficult measurements to make. You need a low temp sensor, as close to 3 or 4 kelvin as possible to simulate outer space background thermal radiation, and then have the gas sample and a 290 K or so radiation source emit through the gas. Or vice versa.

  301. oops forgot to add

    The reason N2 and O2 need long wavelength characterizations is because there are MASSIVE amounts of it in our atmosphere. Even small absorption, reflection, etc amounts, because there is so much of it, will totally swamp any puny CO2 effects.

    These ivory chair pundits in academia need to get real….

  302. No. I’m sorry. This is as far as I’m reading. This man is not a scholar, he’s a clown. That’s not an insult, it’s an observation. I suppose Physics Today is a peer-reviewed journal. Lovely.

    An atmosphere is a mixed gas of matter and photons.
    – Dr. Raymond T. Pierrehumbert

  303. Ken Coffman says:
    February 16, 2011 at 11:55 am

    No. I’m sorry. This is as far as I’m reading. This man is not a scholar, he’s a clown. That’s not an insult, it’s an observation. I suppose Physics Today is a peer-reviewed journal. Lovely.

    An atmosphere is a mixed gas of matter and photons.
    – Dr. Raymond T. Pierrehumbert
    ————————————
    If only he’d continued thus ” An atmosphere is a mixed gas of matter and photons, dreams and aspirations, airplanes and the rumble of history….etc” he could have been a poet or philosopher (neo-post-mod).

  304. jae February 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm:


    But, I would like to posit another “world” for the warmistas. Suppose the atmosphere of Earth consisted of ONLY N2 and O2. Now, these gases could not cool by IR emissions, but they would warm by conduction from the surface. And they could not radiate to space. So would they continually warm for millions of years?? Would they melt the planet? WTF, folks?

    You are conveniently setting aside the sensible transfer of heat energy to the poles via your N2 and O2, where, that surface cools by IR radiation into ‘space’ (BB radiation proportional to T to the 4th power); I do not think you can deny that …

    .

  305. Domenic February 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I don’t think nitrogen has ever been properly characterized for thermal radiation properties into the long wavelengths, lets say 8 microns and more. But that is absolutely necessary to characterize it’s insulating, or greenhouse properties.

    I can’t find any data. In the past, there was simply never any need to do it. Now there is. Both N2 and O2 need to be fully characterized for absorption, emittance, reflectance, and transmission in the long wavelengths. …

    Has that not been done already?

    “Infrared spectroscopy” N2 – http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=%22Infrared+spectroscopy%22+N2&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    .

  306. To Jim

    No.

    Either you did not read what I wrote, or you do not understand it.

    Spectroscopy is common. But NOT WITH LONG WAVELENGTHS as the source.

    It should be done from 8 to 50 microns or so, if possible.

    There is still a great deal of thermal energy being radiated at by the earth at 17 C and lower surface temps. And a large net flow out because outer space is at on 3 or 4 Kelvin.

    You have to duplicate those conditions in a laboratory.

    It is not easy to do.

  307. Thank you George E. Smith for understanding what I am trying to say. AGW is in BIG trouble if it is shown that Co2 follows temperature. The fact that we have had ice ages at much higher concentrations of Co2 in the past is a big clue.

  308. “”””” Ken Coffman says:
    February 16, 2011 at 10:38 am
    Can we simply look at Dr. Pierrehumbert’s first two sentences?

    In a single second, Earth absorbs 1.22 x 10^17 joules of energy from the Sun. Distributed uniformly over the mass of the planet, the absorbed energy would raise Earth’s temperature to nearly 800,000K after a billion years, if Earth had no way of getting rid of it.
    – Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, Infrared radiation and planetary temperature “””””

    Well it seems that Peter Humbug is a bit iffy to me. He says Earth absorbs that amount of energy 1.22 E17 Watts (rate). Well it isn’t going to get distributed uniformly over the entire earth mass; and in addition the earth DOES have a way to get rid of it; simple thermal radiation; and at 800,000 K Temperature, it is going to radiate at a much faster rate, that energy arrives from the sun; so the earth would cool, extremely rapidly; well it would never get to that Temperature no matter how long oyu wait.

    A rather childish example if you ask me; no; please DON’T ask me.

  309. Domenic says:
    February 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    IR cannot penetrate into the body. It is absorbed by the skin to a minor depth. Most of skin composition is H2O. That is the main reason why.

    H2O is a powerful absorber and emitter of long wavelenths. When you look at an IR image of a person’s head, you can see some arteries and other features. But it is not because the IR looks with the body, but rather because there are certain arteries that are close to the skin surface. And there are parts of the surface of the human body where there are lots of tiny arteries just below the skin, high blood perfusion, that show up as large hot spots.

    Well, I think you’re on to something here, (in respect of sorting this out), though you’re not actually acknowledging it! You say that IR only penetrates the skin and that’s because most skin is composed of H2O and water you say is a powerful absorber and emitter of longwaves, but, apart from Carbon at around 20%, the rest of the body is mainly water. You’ve cracked it. I think.

    This could be how IR is similar to Microwave in penetrating the body as I thought it could be somehow. Saunas of IR do penetrate the body deeply, they cause the body to heat up internally, from which there are many medical benefits.

    I’m going to go back to the beginning of this, it’s getting confusing enough as it is with being distracted by Herschel and tired eyed answering izen in the wrong post and messing up codes.

    I’d said in one post that UV hardly penetrates the skin, and Mikael found that interesting enough to respond to, because his view was different:

    Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Normally, the shorter the wavelength the better the penetration. If you consider human skin, UV, visible and IR penetrate in that order, UV the most, visible a little bit, and IR hardly at all.

    [This is also the post where he mentions microwaves, and wonders why we don’t all cook. I think it might be simply the concentration of them, but, the important thing here is that microwave is also longer wavelength and does penetrate to cook.]

    Anyway, Mikael’s understanding is totally at odds with what I know about IR penetration, it is much used in medical procedures of one kind or another based on the same understanding I have of it, that it penetrates more deeply than either Visible or UV light. UV light hardly penetrates the skin, about 1mm, which is within the epidermis just, which ranges from 0.5mm to 1.5mm, and there’s two more layers of skin to go. It isn’t felt as heat and so can easily burn someone unused to it.

    Mikael said further on this (February 15, 2011 at 6:25 am)

    Around the type of IR I work with, roughly 2.24 micron with the exception of the atmospheric absorption band at 6-8um, human skin will absorb 98%. The rest is reflected. But my knowledge stops there, so maybe at even longer wavelengths there will be penetration, I don’t know. In shorter wavelengths I would expect penetration to increase.

    And then he says because of Planck, which I don’t understand.

    So, back to your post. Here’s another example from the medical science world of applications using IR because of its known properties.

    http://freshgasflow.com/physics/respi_gases/oxygen/pulse_oximeter.html

    Which is a really good explanation of how IR penetrates deeply, beyond the skin, because it measures the IR passing through a finger to detect problems re oxygen levels in blood.

    “If a finger is placed in between the light source and the light detector, the light will now have to pass through the finger to reach the detector. Part of the light will be absorbed by the finger and the part not absorbed reaches the light detector.

    The amount of light that is absorbed by the finger depends on many physical properties and these properties are used by the pulse oximeter to calculate the oxygen saturation.

    Physical property No. 3: oxyhemoglobin absorbs more infrared light than red light & deoxyhemoglobin absorbs more red light than infrared light
    ..
    The pulse oximeter uses two lights to analyze hemoglobin.
    One is a red light, which has a wavelength of approximiately 650 nm. The other is an infrared light, which has a wavelength of 950 nm.

    In a body part such as a finger, arterial blood is not the only thing that absorbs light. Skin and other tissues also absorb some light. This poses a problem, because the pulse oximeter should only analyse arterial blood while ignoring the absorbance of light by surrounding tissues”

    It then goes on to discuss difference between fat and thin fingers.. Anyway, what this shows is that IR does penetrate deeply. So, when I read a medical science reason for the use of IR and stated because it penetrates more deeply than Visible light, I have no reason to disbelieve it. This is practical applied science, used and understood, proved.

    Back to your hotspots imaging. Isn’t this limited to the amount of heat emitted rather than showing actual depth of IR penetration? Although possibly in that colour range would be whatever corresponds to the innermost heat level? There’s an interesting piece on imaging using IR “due to the deep penetration of NIR radiation” http://www.springerlink.com/content/eq0pu7155011728r/fulltext.html

    Long waves, contrary Planck if that’s what Mikael meant, do penetrate deeply as in microwaves, which are longer than IR. IR is known in some science disciplines and in use in practical applications, to penetrate deeply. Deep heat therapies are well known, penetrating tissue and muscle, and so on. It’s proven.

    So what has Planck to do with this?

    It’s interesting that here too, in the above description of how an oximeter works, that the two Laws invoked in explanation have to be greatly modified to conform to reality.

    I found this with certain descriptions from AGW about CO2 in which they used Ideal Gas laws to explain CO2 (as e.g. travelling at great speed through the atmosphere and by colliding and bouncing off other molecules also travelling at great speed and so becoming well mixed, everywhere in the same proportion ppm), when Ideal Gas laws are imaginary and do not describe Real gases, (which are subject to gravity, pressure, have volume, etc., which Ideal gases aren’t) and those actually working with gases know they have to modify Ideal gas laws in their calculations to get to Real gas conditions, and if I recall, even then the best is still approximation. So like Averages, these laws have their uses, but they do not actually describe Reality. There are mentions here and elsewhere on WUWT that the Stephan Bolzmann Law is irrelevant, but I haven’t yet got into exploring this aspect.

    But, I wrote a post yesterday re Feet2theFire February 14, 2011 at 2:12 am, which I now can’t find, I thought I posted it, congratulating him on falsifying the Stephan Bolzmann Law by his experience of emissivity re heat/temperature. And wondered what other of the Laws are falsified by real life.

    http://www.omega.com/techref/iredtempmeasur.html

    There’s 4 of them under the heading: “Theoretical Basis for IR Temperature Measurement”.

  310. At lunchtime today, I talked at a later Starbucks coffee shop, with a high powered PhD Physicist. Make that a Particle Physicist; and I stumbled across him recently when I noticed him reading a text book containing pictures that looked a whole lot like Feynman Diagrams. So I quipped; “You’re not studying Particle Physics are you ?” Well actually yes he replied.

    He recommeneded that I read a small popular physics book “QED” by Richard P. Feynman, which I just received.

    No QED does not mean “Quite Easily Done”, or even the Latin equivalent. It stands for Quantum Electrodynamics; the theory of the interrraction between Photons, and Electrons, is how Feynmann puts it; and he was one of the primary instigators of QED at CalTech. It’s the most thoroughly proven (by experiment) physics theory that we have; well almost anyhow; so I told him today that he probably needed QCD or Quantum Chromodynamics to do what he was doing. He seldom pokes his head outside the Nucleus; so QED is passe for him; but he agreeed that QED was all I needed to completely understand molecular spectroscopy; and also to fully understand BB like thermal radiation. He fully agrees with me; that thermal radiation; that is Electromagnetic Radiation following Maxwells equations and emitted from ALL materiasl at above absolute zero, including ALL gases; including N2 and O2 and even Ar; and he agrees that the fundamental Physical mechanism is simply accelerated electric charges following Maxwell’s Equations for the EM field.
    You see the molecules/atoms in a gas are zipping this way and that, and colliding with each other; and everytime two molecules collide, they take off in some unknown direction with some unknown velocity; but with a Maxwell Boltzmann distribution of energies, and it is the impulse of that collision; and the “time of engagement” I f I could use that term, to determine the acceleration that occurs for each colliding molecule; and it is that acceleration of the electric charge contained in the molecule that sets up the EM field that becomes the Thermal Radiation.

    Now Maxwell’s EM theory explanation came under fire with the postulation of the Bohr atom to explain the observed line spectra of gases. Maxwell insists that the electron running around in its Bohr atom orbit, must continuously radiate, so it would run down.
    So Nils Bohr dismissed that objection with a quite unwarranted assertion that his orbital electrons did not radiate while they stayed in their orbit; but if they moved to a different orbit, then they radiated the energy difference as the E= h. nu radiation photon. Well the theory was a spectacular success in predicting the line spectra of Hydrogen and other atoms.

    Now Bohr’s “transgression” was not his insistence that the photon was emitted only when an orbit change took place; that part worked spectacularly. But you see he put the kibosh on Maxwell’s insistence that accelerating charges must radiate; so Maxwell’s equations looked like they were headed for the dust bin. And Bohr’s assertion was totally without any supporting evidence; he just dreamed it up.

    Well history salvaged both Maxwell’s equations and also the Bohr Atom; or what it evolved into.

    Bohr’s planetary accelerating and radiating “Orbits” morphed into today’s “Orbitals” or whatever we call them these days. Simply probability clouds mapping where the electron might be found, and the probability of it being there.

    Voilla !! Say Guv’nor, who said anything about the electron moving around; it’s just there somewhere Mate; why would it move around ?

    Wonderful; if Bohr’s energy levelled Orbitals are just parking garages, and the electron is there somewhere and parked; it isn’t accelerating, so it doesn’t need to radiate per Maxwell’s equations.

    Well understand this is very much a stick in the desert island sandy beach sketch of what is going on. So QED to the rescue to explain it in ways that neither you nor I, nor even Feynmann can really understand.

    So forget Bohr’s planetary like Orbits; but NOT completely. the role they played in understanding Atomic structure and atomic spectra can not be underestimated. The Bohr Atom IS one of the Crown Jewels of modern Physics; and Maxwell’s equations survived it with little damage. Arnold Sommerfeld of course added much insight to Bohr’s model; including the invention of the “fine structure constant” that has had a checkered life of its own.

    So Maxwell survived, and accelerated charges DO radiate EM radiation, and at the molecular level, that manifests itself at ordinary Temperatures in the LWIR emissions that we get form the earth surface, and the oceans, and from the atmospheric gases themselves.

    Keep in mind, that the capture of LWIR photons by GHGs, and the re-emission of thermal radiation from N2 or O2, or Ar, are continuous processes; so even though the gases have low thermal mass, and would cool rapidly on emission of a photon; they quickly pick up more energy from the collisions, as well as the continual capture by GHGs. So the atmosphere doesn’t simply go chilly because it radiates; it is resupplied immediately in a continuous cylic process.

    And I freely invite any of the Physicist PhDs to polish off the rough edges of my somewhat sketchy tale here.

  311. One more post on my argument about colours carrying heat, as in, IR in near is not felt as heat because it isn’t hot, remote control, which here has been dismissed as mixing ‘psychological feeling’ about colours with temperature..

    The Herschel experiment shows that colours do have a temperature of heat greater the more into infrared we go, IR is known as heat energy. It’s proven, isn’t it? It isn’t anything to do with some imaginary ‘perception’ of heat or cold from colours, but our perception of them has to do with the relative amounts of heat they give out.

    Yet, Mikael isn’t the only one, who promotes the idea that lighter lights are hotter, even while pointing to Herschel. There’s a NASA page on IR which says that the further we go into the long waves the more the decrease of energy and temperature. It’s official..

    It also contradicts Herschel and contradicts all practical experience of light which knows that blue light is cooler than infrared by actual measurements. So what’s happening?

    I think there’s some kind of disjunct between energy and heat here, and perhaps those here with more science under belts can describe it better, but, the ‘official’ measures the heat from first taking black body and making hotter, the hotter it becomes the more the light changes from red to yellow. But what is this actually measuring? Only that it takes more energy to produce these colours, not that the colours are this temperature.

    So this I think is what Mikael was referring to by mentioning Planck, that he assumes the higher the energy states the more they can penetrate and the hotter they are.

    In AGW this is what is used to say that Visible light heats the Earth which then gives off IR. But, as I’ve quoted from somewhere, it is IR that penetrates organic matter better than Visible light. It is IR from the Sun which really heats the Earth, not Visible light.

    It is IR from the Sun which is ignored, dismissed, downplayed, by AGW in their models. Because they have confused energy with heat.

    Yes?

  312. George E. Smith says:
    February 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Higher atmospheric layers are colder and lesss dense, so their absorption and emission lines are narrower than closer to the surface where the density (collision rate) and Temperature (Doppler broadening) are increased.

    Whoaa … I was following along quite nicely to you said that :-). Can you expand on this please? Correct me if I’m wrong; we have temperature rising/density falling as we ascend through the stratosphere then temperature falling and gradual physical stratification (with H2O coming out on top) through the Mesosphere. How does all this fit together radiatively and what (if anything) is the apparent increased incidence of noctilucent clouds telling us?

  313. George E. Smith says:
    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    “””””Keep in mind, that the capture of LWIR photons by GHGs, and the re-emission of thermal radiation from N2 or O2, or Ar, are continuous processes; so even though the gases have low thermal mass, and would cool rapidly on emission of a photon; they quickly pick up more energy from the collisions, as well as the continual capture by GHGs. So the atmosphere doesn’t simply go chilly because it radiates; it is resupplied immediately in a continuous cylic process.””””””

    ———–

    George E. Smith,

    Appreciate your focus and energy on these discussions.

    The pieces are falling into place with the concept that N2 and O2 (and all other) gases in our atmosphere emit EM radiation in a continuous spectrum when they collide with any other molecule in the atmosphere, including with the spectral IR absorbing CO2 molecule.

    Now I am starting to appreciate much more what Tom Vonk was saying way back when during his post here at WUWT [“CO2 heats the atmosphere…a counter view”, posted on August 5, 2010].

    CO2 does not appear to heat the atmosphere.

    John

  314. George E. Smith,

    Heat or energy in the form of photons or radiation travels in ALL directions including from cold to hot, otherwise it would be impossible to see yourself in a mirror which is colder than you are.

    Isn’t that due to reflection and not radiation?

    Here you say:

    And the second law of Thermodynamics as stated by Clausius, refers to cyclic machines. “No cyclic machine can have no other effect, than to transport “HEAT” from a source at one Temperature, to a sink at a higher Temperature.” doesn’t say anything about EM radiation; just “HEAT”.

    But here you say:

    So the atmosphere doesn’t simply go chilly because it radiates; it is resupplied immediately in a continuous cylic process.

    If our atmosphere is comprised of both EM radiation and heat, and is cyclic, doesn’t the 2nd law of thermodynamics rule our atmosphere by default?

    It seems to me that the heat reflecting properties of clouds, working in conjunction with the 2nd law, is what creates our atmospheric spin cycle.

    CO2 doesn’t have reflective properties like a solid, does it?

    Respectfully.

  315. George, I imagine there was no discussion of rarefied molecules storing IR, or slowing IR radiation’s escape to space (there can be delay, sure, but it’s on the order of a millisecond?), possessing amazing insulating properties or IR “back radiation”…all things AGW experts achieved consensus on…

  316. To Myrrh

    The pulse oximeter is an excellent example. You can get an idea of how that works by simply placing a tiny powerful flashlight on your finger tip. You will notice how it ‘glows’ on the other side. Some visible light is pentrating through the finger.

    However, strictly speaking, the wavelengths they use are visible, and very near visible, or near infrared, not what is commonly known as ‘infrared’. Notice they are using 650 to 950 nm wavelength light sources. That is simply .650 to .950 micrometers, or .65 to .95 microns.

    Infrared wavelengths are roughly .70 to 1000 microns. When the term ‘long wavelength infrared’ or ‘far infrared’ is used, it means much, much longer wavelengths than those near the visible.

    Now ‘microwaves’ wavelengths are much longer still than even infrared: from 1000 microns to 1,000,000 microns, or rather from 1000 microns to 1 meter in length!

    In general, much of the stuff from the bulk of the infrared range will not penetrate the human body. It simply heats the surface. But microwaves can penetrate deeply into the body depending on the wavelengths used.

    So, notice the situation: short wavelength visible light can penetrate the flesh to some extent as shown with the oximeter. Then most of infrared cannot. Then microwaves can, etc. Do you see the pattern? Short wavelengths penetrate. Medium do not. Then longer still do penetrate. etc, etc.

    ‘Transmissivity’ through materials is wavelength dependent. So is emission, reflection, absorption. It is ALL material specific, depending on the atom and/or molecule.

    To make it all even more complicated it is also ANGULARLY dependent, depending on the angle that the thermal radiation strikes the atom or molecule. Some atoms and molecules are very reflective of IR at certain angles of incidence, and highly absorptive at other angles of incidence. But you probably have enough to chew on for now.

  317. @ John Whitman,
    Ditto on George’s contributions.
    I can’t agree about the Tom Vonk thread. I was convinced that it was all just a question of semantics and that nobody quarreled with CO2 absorbing some energy and passing it on to the other gases.
    All the craziness built on that premise is what keeps us entertained.

  318. To George E. Smith

    Yes, now you are getting it.

    Now, also in regards to Peter Humbug’s (great play on the name!) paper.

    The angular effects from the energy of the sun striking the earth are very significant.

    When the sun is directly overhead, the absorption by water of the visible components of the total energy are MUCH greater than when the sun is near the horizon. You can ‘see’ that for yourself if you look out over the ocean at noon and then at dawn or dusk on a clear day. At noon, you will see almost no reflection of the sun on the water. Some of it, of course is reflected straight back upwards skyward, but a lot of it simply penetrates straight into the water.

    In the tropics, the sun spends a great deal of time in the overhead position, penetrating water deeply.

    In the polar regions, however, the sun only goes up to a very narrow angle over the horizon. Hence, it’s ability to penetrate the polar water mass and ice mass with thermal energy is GREATLY diminished. Much visible solar energy that could be absorbed is NOT. It is simply reflected away back into space because of the narrow angle. (Snow blindness, etc.)

    So, there is a HUGE difference from solar effects on the tropics compared to the polar regions.

  319. @Domenic

    That is very reasonable for planet Earth, but it’s clearly different on a planet with a temperature of 288K at all locations, at all times.
    It seems that, although mention is made of latitudes and hemispheres and even diurnal variation, the planet AGW is an accretion of averages, with Earth-like phenomena painted on the surface for decoration.
    This why the equator will be glaciated if we don’t get the whole CO2 elimination trick just right.

  320. To Oliver Ramsay

    They do indeed live on a different planet.

    Those Peter Humbug types who simply hang around their comfy little offices and other artificial environments. To them, it must be easy to envision a uniform 288 K world.

    But it’s not the Earth.

    It’s a figment of their imagination.

    It’s also called delusion.

  321. @ Myrrh.

    I think you are being very argumentative and stubborn, and as I have no obligation to teach you, nor any obligation to investigate things that don’t interest me, I will discontinue this discussion with a piece of advice.

    You need to study Planck’s Law, Stefan-Boltzman’s Law, and Wien’s Law and how they are connected. Look at Planck curves and make sure you notice the log scale normally used. Before you understand those things, you will be blind to everything else.

    You also need to be specific about wavelength when you discuss “IR”. You say that “IR” does this and that, but it is of no value if you don’t say what kind of IR you are talking about. Nomenclature of IR bands is useless because different disciplines have different nomenclature – I have noticed that you know that, but yet… Numbers count, not names. You have been trying to tell me that “IR is deep penetrating” without specifying what IR you are talking about. Then you ask me to find out, and when I don’t you call me a fraud. Enough of that.

    And as general comment, I am not here to prove anything, one way or the other. I want to contribute what I can from my perspective, and learn what I can learn that may be interesting and useful to me. I am not sure, but it seems that those who have taken sides in the issue are all accusing me of being on the other side. I see that as a good sign :-)

  322. @ George E. Smith. I would very much appreciate if you would send me those curves in some form by e-mail. You can use an e-mail address consisting of my name and write both first and second together in lower case, and add “at” and gmail dot com. (Just avoiding spambots…)

  323. Ken at 10:38 am Feb 16

    Thank you for mentioning the ridiculous nature of the humbug paper’s first paragraph, it does indeed make reading the rest of it feel like a waste of life.

    Oliver at 12:36pm Feb 16

    Thank you for the inspirational line, I allowed a few to follow it, just to see where it went…
    I named it…

    HELIOCENTRIC HUMBUGGERY

    An atmosphere is a mixed gas of matter and photons, dreams and aspirations, airplanes and the rumble of history

    The blogosphere is a mixed matter of gas and phlogiston, nightmares and fears, chem.-trails and the neon visions of the future

    Neo post modernistic philosophers search for the stone unturned, the poet for the phrase yet learned but still realistic

    Warmest warmonger alarmists still shill; shrieking and striking at all they do not understand and cannot tell

    Listening to the voices only they can hear, turning the light of truth aside, no reason to reason only to hide

    In dark terror despising all thoughts arising, potentially disguising for a brief moment their hatred of life

    Do these “experts” really believe that if you add 2 pans of water that are both 95C they will become 190C?

    Have they never heard of laws that stand unmolested, standing the tests of time and engineering our life comforts?

    Shading our eyes from an incandescent source, our fingers held tight but glowing with the light seemingly flowing

    So many everyday proofs that what the fearful refuse to believe, it is out of our hands and into the face of the sun that we stare

    Blinded by the force of authority, no room for a thought, no time for a dream, just time for terror and voice to silently scream

    Taking out the extraneous, adding in the superfluous, searching for the essence of what lays hidden in plain vision

    Poetry is the mathematics of a language, weird as that sounds. Minimal enough to be nothing but exactly zero and still be found

    Sometimes a wave is as good as a particle to a blind bat, the spiraling nature of insanity is lost on the long winded fans

    Cabalistic and cannibalistic biting the hand that feeds them, the leeches launch caution into the path of the principled precautionary

    Humbuggery overwhelmed peers of consensual consensus, pal reviewed policies of global genocide so reckless

    NoIdea

  324. Domenic says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    The pulse oximeter is an excellent example. You can get an idea of how that works by simply placing a tiny powerful flashlight on your finger tip. you will notice how it ‘glows’ on the other side. Some visible light is pentrating through the finger.

    However, strictly speaking, the wavelengths they use are visible, and very near visible, or near infrared, not what is commonly known as ‘infrared’. Notice they are using 650 to 950 nm wavelength light sources. That is simply .650 to .950 micrometers, or .65 to .95 microns.

    Bull. Of course it’s what is commonly known as Infrared. You claim that “IR cannot penetrate into the body. It is absorbed by the skin to a minor depth” (Feb 15, 7:36 pm) and when I provide evidence to the contrary you begin claiming that it’s not really infrared.. Together with, “Notice they are using”..

    There is a ‘great’ difference between the red visible being used and the invisible IR in terms of microns; at this end of the spectrum the differences between the colours are fine, violet, .38 to .45, blue .45 to .495 microns, etc.

    Infrared wavelenths are roughly .70 to 1000 microns. When the term ‘long wavelength infrared’ or ‘far infrared’ is used, it means much, much longer wavelengths than those near the visible.

    ? So? Have I shown myself ignorant about this is my previous posts? To my, obviously very stupid recollection, I’ve been using the differences in my argument about the relative heat these carry..

    In general, much of the stuff from the bulk of the infrared range will not penetrate the human body. It simply heats the surface.

    Prove that.

    It is contrary to well known, in some science fields, characteristics of IR. So prove it. As I have been showing proof for what I’m saying. And, remember you were wrong about IR not penetrating beyond the skin..

    To help you, two can play at this game, look up How it Works: Science and Technology by Marshall Cavendish Corporation and go to page 743.

    “Just as human skin is lightly transparent to red light, it is even more transparent to light of longer wavelength. Infrared can therefore penetrate to some depth, and infrared lamps are used by physiotherapists in the heat treatment of muscles and tissues.”

    Have you really been missing all my references to the medical sciences?

    Both you and Mikael are wrong. Why not simply admit it and move on?

    And, since this is an important point re the AGW arguments, because they ignore that the bulk of the energy coming from the Sun is in IR which is what warms up the organic Earth and instead promote a strange idea of Visible light heating the earth coupled with a strange twisting of ‘greenhouse’ to ‘prove’ it, I think it worth sorting out. See posts above for examples of this confusion. (Which is why I came into the discussion.)

    But microwaves can penetrate deeply into the body depending on the wavelength used.

    Yes.., which was my other point, and what I had been trying to discuss with Mikael, that these are even longer wavelengths than IR, so, like the Herschel and temperature of colours, we have already proven science to falsify the notion that it is because Visible and UV have higher energies and hotter that they ‘penetrate more deeply than IR’.

    So, notice the situation: short wavelength visible light can penetrate the flesh to some extent as shown with the oximeter. Then most of infrared cannot. Then microwaves can, etc. Do you see the pattern? Short wavelengths penetrate. Medium do not. Then longer still do penetrate. etc, etc.

    Nope, I don’t see that pattern… I see garbled thinking equalling the best AGWScience comes up with to explain their miraculous and magic ideas about the world and CO2.

    Etc. But you probably have enough to chew on for now.

    When you finally let go of this already falsified assumption, for which you offer no proof, that IR does not penetrate deeply and Visible light and UV are deeply penetrating, you might like to re-read my previous post to you and engage in my thoughts about how this confusion has arisen. Up to you.

  325. To Myrrh

    You just don’t seem to ‘get it’.

    The ‘medical field’ is still loaded with lots of ‘quackery’.

    I don’t have to ‘prove’ anything to you.

    It is up to you to learn.

    But keep studying, and maybe you will.

    Or you can get out there and spend 20+ years dealing with IR in the field taking measurements, looking at thousands of applications, designing IR detectors, IR filters, as I have.

    Then you will be better able to judge who out there is knowledgeable or not.

    Good luck to you.

  326. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/13/a-conversation-with-an-infrared-radiation-expert/#comment-599845

    “Glass will start to lose transmissivity around 2 um and nosedive completely at 2.3um. Over 3um there is hardly any transmissivity AT ALL!!!!!! How can I know for sure? Because glass is totally opaque to any IR camera I use, in addition to all the spectral charts that are available. Can’t see through it at all.”

    Opaque, meaning the glass appears black in IR imagery?

    http://www.absorblearning.com/advancedphysics/demo/units/040104.html#Infraredradiation

    All the windows in this IR image in figure 6 all appear lighter than the surroundings. Not black as they would do if they were opaque to IR.

    Also infra-red detectors on security lights which are filtered to detect between 8-14 µm will still work perfectly well with a thick piece of glass covering the sensor even when the housing is encased in tinfoil. This is a test I have carried out many times.

    http://www.glolab.com/pirparts/infrared.html

    So you are wrong I’m afraid. Glass is not opaque to IR at all. If it were then there would be no need for IR reflective coatings (LW and SW IR) for architectural glass.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V2G-4TNTN33-3&_user=10&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F2009&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1643861542&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=5edd31ac18b15d1d108fde9b876d280f&searchtype=a

    Will you stand corrected? I doubt it.

    Will you answer directly my earlier question? For the same reason I doubt it.

    The AGW fraud rests to a large part on the claim that glass is opaque to IR. This way it can be implied that the opacity of glass blocks IR inside greenhouses. This is the foundation of the fallacy of the greenhouse effect.

    The fallacy of the IR opacity of glass hides the fact that it is the air inside which is saturated with IR in a three-dimensional environment and that it is the reduced probability of emission through the two-dimensional barrier that the glass presents which acts as a resistance to emission.

    The resistance occurs because the IR has to transverse from a three-dimensional to a two-dimensional environment to escape the enclosure of the greenhouse or interior of a building. It is the reduced probability factor of emission towards and through the 2D glass barrier, as molecules move away from the glass surface, which is responsible for the temperature difference in greenhouses and in fact ALL interiors with 2D surfaces (windows, walls, floors and ceilings).

    The fallacy of glass opacity serves to hide the fact that IR is absorbed into all air molecules and therefore cannot pass through the glass barrier until emission occurs close enough to the glass surface that it does not become re-absorbed by another air molecule. The further the molecules are from the glass the lower the probability of emission through it. This effect, though still fleeting, is what is responsible for elevated temperatures of all interiors. This effect is the “greenhouse effect”. There is no such effect in the open atmosphere.

    As you have already stated, any substance above 0K emits IR. Or in other words IR penetrates all substances. Your equipment as you have alluded to, is calibrated to ignore the specific fingerprint absorption bands of O2 and N2. Lets face it, it would not be much use if it were not.

    Which brings me back to my original question.

    Which part of the atmosphere is it that absorbs at 6-8 µm?

    You have said that Domenic has answered this question by stating H2O. But this is not what you meant is it Mikael? Since when did we start referring to H2O absorption as “atmospheric absorption”?

    If H2O only absorbed at 6-8 µm that answer may have been acceptable but H2O absorption is not limited to 6-8 µm. There is also a very large peak at 2.5-3 µm. So why not exclude that also if you were really talking about H2O ?

    You say quote:

    “the absorption rates and wavelength bands of N2 and O2 are unknown to me, they are accounted for in the models we use together with all the rest in the air. “

    So for 99% of the atmosphere you don’t know which part of the IR spectrum it absorbs and emits, yet all your equipment has to be calibrated to ignore this part of the spectrum in order to detect anything at all.

    I have long suspected your industry and its various offshoots, of co-conspiring to hide the fact that O2 and N2 are what is referred to as “participating gases”, in that they freely absorb and emit IR as do all substances. AGW fraud has relied on the claim that the main components of the atmosphere O2 and N2 are “non-participating” such that they can only be warmed kinetically. This argument has slowly fallen apart as people realise that kinetic energy transfer could not keep pace with light-speed energy emission. Kinetic energy transfer is conduction. Air is a poor conductor but is a near perfect 3D radiator.

    There are millions of human lives in the balance and hundreds of trillions of dollars tied up in AGW fraud. When the day of reckoning arrives, and that day is coming faster than most realise, the question your industry will be called upon to answer will be this:

    Which specific absorption bands do you calibrate your equipment to ignore, in order to make the atmosphere appear transparent enough to detect gases and/or substance other than O2 and N2?

    The answer: “I do not need to know that to do my job”, will NOT be an acceptable answer.

  327. George E. Smith says:
    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm
    … thermal radiation; that is Electromagnetic Radiation following Maxwells equations are emitted from ALL materials at above absolute zero, including ALL gases; including N2 and O2 and even Ar; and he agrees that the fundamental Physical mechanism is simply accelerated electric charges following Maxwell’s Equations for the EM field.

    You see the molecules/atoms in a gas are zipping this way and that, and colliding with each other; and everytime two molecules collide, …
    —————————————————-

    At sea level pressure, each atmospheric molecule collides with another molecule 6.7 billion times per second. A rate that is 33,000 times faster than the average emission time for CO2. So, an excited CO2 molecule (which is now effectively many times warmer than the surrounding air) crashes into another atmospheric molecule 33,000 times before it can emit. In the troposphere, the numbers are not much different, 10,000 times.

    So, if N2 and O2 and Argon are actually emitters and absorbers of IR (albeit at a far reduced level than the specific absorption and emission frequencies of CO2), and are crashing into CO2 at a far faster rate than CO2 emits at, the entire picture of atmospheric radiation changes.

    There is less emission at the CO2 and H2O specific absorption frequencies (because it is getting siphoned off by all the other molecules before being emitted) and, instead there will be increased emissions in the blackbody spectrum of the Earth’s effective temperature where N2 and O2 are operating like blackbodies.

    And that is exactly what the emission spectrum of Earth shows. The effective emission temperature in the CO2 bands is only 220K. While the blackbody atmospheric windows are 290K (while the average is supposed to reflect 255K).

    This is a different perspective than is commonly explained in the greenhouse radiation theory.

    Its just that you cannot find anywhere on the internet, someone that shows N2 and O2 and Argon absorb any IR at all. Everyone seems to believe/has been taught, that N2 and O2 do not absorb any IR at all, even blackbody-type radiation.

  328. Midael Cronholm says:
    February 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I think you are being very argumentative and stubborn, and as I have no obligation to teach you, nor any obligation to investigate things that don’t interest me, I will discontinue this discussion with a piece of advice.

    I’m not looking for a teacher..

    The last ‘expert’ I discussed something with had a different way of handling the contradicting facts I presented, they were turned around and given back to me as if they were being taught to me and I didn’t understand them… The arrogance of some who think themselves teachers and experts. I am exploring a subject, to which end I ask questions and listen to what other people think and know about it. I make up my own mind from this. However, here on this site there’s an added dimension, one of free and frank exchange of views with the flexibility of mind to explore and learn from the others. It really is a very good Science resource even for those not in any science field and unable to speak the language of maths, and most posters recognise that doesn’t mean anything more than someone can’t speak the language and adjust replies accordingly. I’m sure you would recognise this difference if some replied to your posts partly in Sanskrit. “If you can’t explain your concepts to your grandmother, you don’t understand them.” So someone said, it’s been attributed, with variations, to several.

    So far, I have found you wanting in your claim to be an expert in IR and some important ‘facts’ you have given me to be contradicted by real world practical and well known science. As in my reply to Domenic, if you want to accept that real world science but in a different field shows you are wrong and you want to continue discussing this aspect, which interests me, of how these already falsified ‘facts’ bandied around and used in AGW arguments as if real science came to be, where I have spotted a disjunct, then I’d be willing to continue discussing this with you. Until such time, let me give you a piece of advice.

    Ignorance about your subject in the person you’re talking to does not mean they’re argumentative or stubborn, or too stupid, to understand what you’re saying when they disagree with you.

    What you have to deal with is that I have shown you’re wrong re penetration and heat of colours. That I can’t help you with except to say that I’ve found it quite common that scientists in one discipline will take as fact something from another, assume to be correct, which if actually important in their own they would know was incorrect.

    This AGWScience promotes many such ‘facts’ about science as if they were real, and, re your list of what I should read, presents many of these by referring back to “the Laws” as if they support their claims. When looked at in more detail these are found to be taken out of context, an example I gave above such as using an Ideal gas law, which starkly says its molecules have no volume and are not subject to gravity or pressure and don’t interact with other molecules, out of context to describe the movement of CO2 in our atmosphere where molecules are Real not Imagined, and do interact with other molecules, and are subject to gravity and pressure, and do have volume.

    As an example, from misapplying Ideal gas laws AGWScience confidently says that CO2 diffuses into the atmosphere without any work being done and there it therefore thoroughly mixes in with the other molecules of Oxygen and Nitrogen and can’t be unmixed, the proportions being everywhere the same. The latter also includes confusion about what average means, but the main gist is that they cannot get their minds around the fact that CO2 is heavier than air and therefore will always sink through air, displacing it, and come to the ground if there is no work being done to alter that (such as wind, etc.). They have to think this, because another claim from AGWScience is that Carbon Dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere staying up for hundreds and even thousands of years, forming their mythic ‘blanket’ trapping heat and bouncing it back to warm the earth. I have had a PhD physicist tell me that CO2 pooled on the ground would diffuse into the atmosphere without any work being done, (he finally conceded that CO2 could pool, then excised his own post where he said it couldn’t because it was so well mixed, and came up with a strange explanation for how it did this).

    From this mistaken AGWScience fact which is really fiction, AGW’s can’t understand that gases will separate out in the atmosphere and one such AGWScientist was determined to prove, admirable in itself, that gases were well mixed. As examples that CO2 is heavier than air and displacing air pools on the ground, RealScience gives breweries, volcanic activity, pits and mines, and it’s in the latter that the lighter than air gas Methane is shown to gather at ceilings of mines. So this AGWSc went to a mine and introduced Methane, and he couldn’t understand why it didn’t become well mixed given the amount of time he gave it for this to happen.. He concluded, because he was so sure his AGWScience hadn’t lied to him about it, that there must have been a separate source of Methane entering the mine and so in temporarily rising to the ceiling, as CO2 ‘temporarily pools on the ground’, it was replenishing that which was becoming thoroughly mixed. As I recall, he didn’t continue checking to see if that conclusion was viable, he didn’t test the levels of Methane in the air below that which had separated out at the ceiling, and so on. He remains ignorant, as far as I know, of the real properties of gases as do all those who subscribe to AGW in the ‘climate sciences’.

    This is the quality and level of science now being indoctrinated into our schoolchildren by the AGW Greens takeover of the system, determined to teach that the trace Carbon Dioxide is harmful in all kinds of ways. Teachers who do know the difference have to be wary of being hounded if they object too loudly. It has even been put on some government lists of toxic hazards.

    You also need to be specific about the wavelength when you discuss “IR”. etc.

    I was. In context.

    You have been trying to tell me that “IR is deep penetrating” without specifying what IR you are talking about.

    All IR, I was specific. In contrast to Visible and UV. In other words, I was saying the opposite of what you claimed. Both in penetration and temperature re colour.

    Then you ask me to find out, and when I don’t you call me a fraud.

    ? You mean this?:

    I give you pukkha medical references which contradict your claim that UV penetration and Visible light penetration [is] greater than IR, practical applications, and you want me to find all the detail. You’re the expert on IR, so you say. These examples falsify your claims.

    First of all, your reply to which I was responding was an obfuscation, my reply is in response to that. You are not dealing with the argument. Secondly, I did not call you a fraud.

    Thirdly, you followed this with more obfuscation, this time implying that I was questioning ‘steam giving off latent heat’ – when I did no such thing. What you avoided responding to.. was my conclusion.

    Enough of that

    Yes please, from you. Deal with the dichotomy that what you say about penetration by IR, Visible and UV is the opposite of what I say. I have given proof from known and working scientific knowledge of the principle in use to back up what I say, so far you have not proved anything, you merely claim that it is so because you’re the expert.

    And as general comment, I am not here to prove anything, one way or the other. I want to contribute what I can from my perspective, and learn what I can learn that may be interesting and useful for me. I am not sure, but it seems that those have taken sides in the issue are all accusing me of being on the other side. I see that as a good sign :)

    Hmm, you refuse to consider my evidence against your opinions and point me to Herschel and when I show that he is confirming what I say about heat of colours you simply ignore the contradiction and much else I’ve been complaining about and to top it all you call me stubborn and argumentative from your superior self-assumed role of expert and teacher. And refuse to discuss it further. Belies the above… :)

  329. I appreciate the efforts of all those providing information &/or opinion that has been presented here, very much.

    From what I’ve read here I’m finding even harder to believe that ‘heat’ &/or ‘heat energy’ or even just ‘energy’ could be transferred to the deep ocean depths >900m. Trenberth has lately claimed that that’s where he’ll find the ‘missing heat’ re: energy balance. This transfer was apparently undetected during the transfer and remains undetectable. From what I understand Trenberth believes ALL current and previous temp. data are wrong, as well as all interpretations of the available data.

    Is it possible for any IR energy to penetrate >900m? Further could that happen without being detected with current technology?

    Again, thank you for the time and effort of teaching . . .

    -Barn

  330. @ Will. I have to be restrictive with my time here, so I will just ask you this, why do you think “Not black as they would do if they were opaque to IR.”? Why would a window look black if it is opaque? How many times have you actually held an infrared camera in your hand?

  331. @ barn E. rubble. “Is it possible for any IR energy to penetrate >900m?” Within the wavelengths of IR cameras, 2-14 um: Definitely NO! And unless Myrrh and Will can tell you one of their magic IR wavelength bands that penetrates everything, I seriously doubt that there is much radiation in any E/M band that reaches down there. As a SCUBA diver I know that the longer wavelengths of visual begin to disappear pretty fast, even at the depths of amateur SCUBA, red start to disappear and things look more blue. I have heard of fish that live at extreme depths having red color as camouflage. There is no red light there anymore, so nothing will reflect off them, and they “disappear”.

    I don’t remember the exact numbers now, but I have read some time that the first 10 m or so of the oceans contain the majority of the heat stored in the oceans.

  332. @ Will. On the site you refer to with your link they say, under “Infrared Windows”: “An IR transparent weatherproof shield or window can be made of polyethylene which is transparent to IR radiation in the 5 ~ 15 micrometer wavelength range. ” They suggest PE, because glass is opaque. The lenses they use are plastic, because glass is opaque.

    And here something for you (and Myrrh):
    “An example of a material whose emissivity characteristics change radically with wavelength is glass. Soda-lime glass is an example of a material which drastically changes its emissivity characteristics with wavelength (Figure 2-5). At wavelengths below about 2.6 microns, the glass is highly transparent and the emissivity is nearly zero. Beyond 2.6 microns, the glass becomes increasingly more opaque. Beyond 4 microns, the glass is completely opaque and the emissivity is above 0.97.”

    And here you can find that quote, and a nice spectral graph (Figure 2-5 above) that describes how the transmission changes with wavelength. It even shows different thicknesses and how that changes the transmission.

    http://www.omega.com/literature/transactions/volume1/theoretical3.html

    And with that, I am done with the discussion about the IR transmission of glass. I could show you a live demo here at my office, but you would have to pay the ticket to Thailand yourself.

  333. Mikael,

    A substance which exhibits “hardly any transmissivity AT ALL!!!!!!” in the IR will obviously appear black in an IR image because it is not transmitting any IR, obviously.

    I have never actually counted of how many times I have used my infra-red camera.

  334. To Will

    You are not reading what Mikael wrote very CAREFULLY. Mikael wrote that common glass starts decreasing transmission at 2 microns, and at 2.3 microns stops nearly all further transmissions.

    So, yes indeed, glass does transmit ‘some’ IR, BUT ONLY A TINY AMOUNT compared to the entire infrared band!

    Infrared originally simply meant ‘beyond the color red” because of Herschel’s discovery in 1800. However, later it was defined as the region of 0.7 to 1000 micron wavelengths.

    re the pyroelectric motion detector

    First of all, those are the cheapest IR systems you can buy. Any specs they give should be treated as ‘suggestions’ rather than ‘specs’. Most are built in China. The quality of the optical coating on the internal silicon window they use is the cheapest possible.

    If you explain to me EXACTLY what you did with that glass and al foil in your test of that pyroelectric security sensor. I will tell you EXACTLY where your error in understanding is.

    You cannot compare that cheap pyroelectric device with the equipment that Mikael uses. Mikael’s equipment is much more sensitive and precise, but it also has its limitations.

    re Window coatings
    You do not yet understand the concepts of emissivity and reflectivity. If you did, you would see where your reasoning has failed.

    re O2 and N2
    That part, I agree with you strongly. They have not been characterized fully for absorption, reflection, transmission, and emission over the ENTIRE infrared band 0.7 to 1000 microns. That is one the major flaws in the way the warmists have been defining greenhouse effect. I have been pointing that out in multiple posts here.

  335. Response to George E. Smith

    There are several frequency bands where the atmosphere really is IR opaque. Even though radiation is emitted in all directions, it is reabsorbed within 10 meters or so. Therefore, the fact that the line widths change with temperature and pressure does not have an effect. As a direct result, more energy is returned to the surface from the warm lower layers than released to space from the cold upper layers.

    As for clouds, these are blackbody emitters and their energy passes through the windows where greenhouse gases don’t absorb. Except for a very small amount of energy from ozone, no IR energy from the upper atmosphere reaches the surface. None.

    Your claim that “the escape path to space [should be] favored over the downward path” would be true if the atmosphere was only partly absorbing at those frequencies. To be clear, the atmosphere is IR opaque in most of those frequencies where water vapor and CO2 absorb, and IR transparent in the “windows”.

    Sorry, I don’t understand your “drinking water bottle” comment. Could you please clarify that?

  336. RE: Myrrh says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:28 am

    “I’m not looking for a teacher.. ”

    I am. And you’d be one of them. Having found most of what’s been posted here to be a tuff skate; it has been most informative. Altho I didn’t get the impression that much, if any, was in support of AGW. Do I understand correctly (from what I read from Myrrh) that CO2 levels, however increased, does not in fact mix or average out at increased levels globally but would accumulate locally, ie: where it is being produced and cycle about unless moved by other forces and dissipate sooner rather than later? Further, the GH effect of Co2 as per warming the surface temp by re-emitting IR/heat energy towards the surface is negligible? Is there no peer reviewed papers (for what that’s arguably worth) on the natural separation of in our atmosphere that Myrrh mentions? Growing ever so skeptical, it would appear the main plank in supporting AGW; well established physics, RE: CO2, seems to be . . . well, less so? Leaving the only other plank; consensus, somewhat shaky?

    Excuse me for taking the discussion back a grades for just a moment. My understanding of AGW simply put: Energy from the sun comes in and hits the surface of the earth warming it. Energy is emitted back from the earth where CO2 (among others) blocks/absorbs and re-emits energy back to the surface. Increasing CO2 levels will enhance this by blocking/absorbing more energy and thereby re-emitting more energy/heat back to the surface. And so on, until the dreaded tipping point. Apparently that means our atmosphere must surely be getting bigger as well, like blowing up a balloon, if that is, there isn’t an equal (and natural) release somewhere. Does there not have to be a volume balance to deal with and not just the energy balance for AGW to work? Considering the panic of increased levels of one component should there not be an equal panic (at least a question or two?) about what components are being displaced?

    Back to IR:
    A small aside here from examples used earlier on. There is no such thing as an IR sauna. Full stop. Perhaps just a misnomer but the literal translation of ‘sauna’ is steam bath. You can no more have a ‘dry’ sauna than you can have a ‘dry’ shower or bubble bath. Call it a warm room or sweat closet but a sauna it is not (pronounced: sow-na) it irritates your Fin friends, believe me.

    Always sweating the small stuff . . .

    -barn

  337. @ Robert Clemenzi. I think I can explain the “drinking water bottle” comment. Find the name “Will” somewhere in this thread and click on it… scroll down… very funny!

  338. “”””” Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 17, 2011 at 7:28 am
    @ barn E. rubble. “Is it possible for any IR energy to penetrate >900m?” Within the wavelengths of IR cameras, 2-14 um: Definitely NO! And unless Myrrh and Will can tell you one of their magic IR wavelength bands that penetrates everything, I seriously doubt that there is much radiation in any E/M band that reaches down there. “””””

    Sea Water at it’s most transparent point; which occurs at about 460-70 nm wavelenght (blue), has an absorption coefficient of between 1 and 2 x 10^-4 cm^-1. So that means that that wavelenght will be attenuated down to 1/e (37%) in a dept of 10^4 cm max, or 50-100 metres for thatrange (I can’t read the logarithmic scale on the graph any more accurately). So five absorption lengths will reduce the residual down to 1%, which is 250 -500 metres. For 5% remaining you go three times, so 150-300 metres; and that is for the MOST penetrating wavelength. At the UV end of the visible spectrum, (380 nm) the absorption is 10 times as much; 0.001 cm^-1, so 99% extinction in 50 metres depth.
    For the red end (780nm) the absorption is another ten times higher , or 0.01 cm^-1, so 99% is gone in 5 metres of good clean clear sea water, uncluttered with plankton etc.
    At 1.5 microns wavelenght in the near IR, you run into a significant water absorption band, where alpha is 30 cm^-1, so the 1/e depth is 333 microns, or 1.6 mm for 99% loss. There’s a slightlyhigher peak at 2.0 microns, and then the highest of all at 3.0 microns where alpha is8-9,000 cm^-1 or 1.1 to 1.25 micron absorption depth. Longer than that, there’s some dips, but not below 100 cm^-1 for alpha, and after 7.0 microns, it settles down to around 1000 cm^-1, at least out to 100 microns wavelength which is about the limit of our interest for climate issues. Then water slowly gets more transparent about as the square root of the wavelength (or frequency) all the way into the radio spectrum. It finally gets back to around 1 cm^-1 at around three metres wavelength (100 MHz).

    So no; there is no part of the EM spectrum, of concern for climate issues, that can penetrate to 900 metres depth in the ocean.

    Those data are from two graphs in the same paper.

    G.C. Ewing Oceanography from Space, Woods Hole Oceanogrqaphic Institution, Woods Hole Mass WHOI ref.No 65-10 April 1965

  339. Domenic,

    Your ad hom attacks on my understanding of these subjects will not gain any traction here.

    These tactics are what we look for to discover the weakness in the arguments of self proclaimed experts. You are displaying the typical traits people like myself have come to expect.

    It is interesting that as is a usual feature on these type of threads, there is a sort of tag team effort ongoing between yourself and Mikael.

    I have pointed out once before that I’m not actually talking to you, yet you seem to want to answer all the points that Mikael appears to be struggling with.

    There is a specific name for that technique. It’s called the Delphi technique. Have you heard of it?

    That question is to you Domenic.

  340. Mikael,

    Before we leave the subject of glass I have a couple more questions.

    If a substance has an emissivity of 0.97, with 1.00 being a perfect black-body emitter, what would be the absorptivity of that substance? And how could this be considered as a barrier to trap IR as in opaque?

    Finally, are we going to continue to resort to semantics?

  341. At the end of the day, the salient point is really in those last 3 paragraphs.

    “If not, it isn’t science, it’s guessing.”

    Kind of obvious really, but elegant in the way such quotes often are.

  342. to Will

    You have not given me the details of the test you performed on the pyroelectric sensor with window glass and al foil. There are multiple ways for you to introduce error in your ‘test’. How can I possibly address what you observed it you do not give me the all the details of your ‘experiment’? Do you think I am going to sit here and play a guessing game with you? That is not an ad hom attack.

    The absorption would also be 0.97, but only for THOSE SAME WAVELENGTHS IT EMITS.

    If an object has an emissivity of 0.97, then 0.03 is coming from either (1) reflection of wavelengths from materials around it or (2) transmission of wavelengths from materials going through it. If you can guarantee it is not one of those, then you are left with the other.

  343. @ Will. Emissivity and absorptivity is essentially the total opposite of each other, emissivity tells you how well something ‘gives off’ radiation and absorptivity how well it ‘takes up and retains’ radiation. But here is the clue, and it is a very fundamental thing and basic in radiation science. At any given wavelength and angle of incidence the absorptivity and emissivity of a surface will ALWAYS be the SAME VALUE. This is called Kirchhoff’s Law, but if you google it make sure don’t end up with the one that deals with electrical circuits.

    That law is fundamental, because without it we could not achieve equilibrium in a system.

    So, if something has an emissivity of 0.97, the absorptivity is exactly the same.

    Radiation equations:
    a + r + t = 1
    e = a
    e + r + t = 1
    For most objects we can assume t = 0, so
    a + r = 1
    e + r = 1

    And I would still like to know why a window would look black in the IR camera because it is opaque?

  344. @ Will. Sorry, I see now that you have answered that already. So with your infrared camera, have you ever looked at windows or glass with different temperatures? And, just a question, what wavelength is your camera and what is normally your purpose for using it?

  345. “”””” Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 17, 2011 at 8:54 am
    Response to George E. Smith

    There are several frequency bands where the atmosphere really is IR opaque. Even though radiation is emitted in all directions, it is reabsorbed within 10 meters or so. Therefore, the fact that the line widths change with temperature and pressure does not have an effect. As a direct result, more energy is returned to the surface from the warm lower layers than released to space from the cold upper layers.

    As for clouds, these are blackbody emitters and their energy passes through the windows where greenhouse gases don’t absorb. Except for a very small amount of energy from ozone, no IR energy from the upper atmosphere reaches the surface. None.

    Your claim that “the escape path to space [should be] favored over the downward path” would be true if the atmosphere was only partly absorbing at those frequencies. To be clear, the atmosphere is IR opaque in most of those frequencies where water vapor and CO2 absorb, and IR transparent in the “windows”.

    Sorry, I don’t understand your “drinking water bottle” comment. Could you please clarify that? “””””

    What’s to understand? The mean Temperature of the earth (surface or Lower Troposphere) is purported to be 59 deg F or 15 deg C; 288 Kelvins. So a Black Body at that Temperature radiates a spectrum that peaks at 10.1 microns, and contains 98% of its total elergy emissions between 5.0 microns and 80 microns, with only 1% beyond each end. Now Temperature extremes range from as low as 183 K around Vostok to as high as 333 K in the tropical deserts (surface). So that will extend the spectrum somewhat.
    But we should note that NO Black body emits MORE energy at ANY wavelength, than is emitted from a black body at a HIGHER temperature. So we can completely discount any areas that are substantially colder than the global average; their emissions don’t show up as any perceptible increase in the global average.
    The high Temperature limit (333 K) will drop the spectral peak down to around 8.8 microns, so extending the low wavelength limit to say 4.4 microns.

    So we can say that the LWIR spectrum of the earth covers perhaps 4.0 to 80 microns wavelength range.

    Of that, CO2 carves out a notch from about 13.5 to 16.5 microns. At least half of the entire spectrum energy is emitted entirely below that 13.5 micron band edge of CO2; and at least 35%, maybe as much as 40% is entirely above the 16.5 micron upper edge of the CO2 band. And those higher Temperature tropical desert areas are emitting as much as 1.8 to 2.0 times the global mean radiant emittance; and that into a nearly water free atmosphere, and at wavelengths even further removed from the CO2 band; so even more escapes.

    That leaves at MOST, 10-15% of the entire earth LWIR Radiant energy emissions subject to CO2 absorption.

    The rest of that energy, with dry air, is pretty much free to leave.

    Please don’t insult us here at WUWT by claiming that H2O is a greenhouse gas; the AGW folks are most strident in their assertions that H2O is merely a feedback amplifier for CO2 the Prince of green house gases.

    Absent H2O, the atmosphere isn’t even vaguely IR opaque.

    But back to our water bottle. As I said, the earth LWIR spectrum is reasonably from about 4.0 to 80 microns with a peak near 10 microns; and corresponds to a black body thermal radiation source (roughly) at a Temperature of around 288 K; 300 K or whatever; that is the Temperature of a source for the radiation that is involved in the greenhouse effect (which most WUWT readers readily acknowledge).

    Now water has a reflection coefficient of about 3% tops, so a bottle of water at about room temperature is perfectly good laboratory source for the kind of LWIR radiation, that is absorbed by COt and causes the greenhouse effect.

    !00 Watt light bulbs are NOT a good source for earth like LWIR thermal radiation. The wavelength is 10 times too short, and the Brightness is 10,000 times too large, and the Temperature is 10 times too high.

    “”””” There are several frequency bands where the atmosphere really is IR opaque. Even though radiation is emitted in all directions, it is reabsorbed within 10 meters or so. Therefore, the fact that the line widths change with temperature and pressure does not have an effect. As a direct result, more energy is returned to the surface from the warm lower layers than released to space from the cold upper layers. “””””

    When you say it that fast; you can almost get people to believe that. But that assertion is based on a popular fallacy; the notion that gases do NOT radiate a thermal spectrum based on their Temperature, so the “re-emission”, is the same 13.5 to 16.5 micron CO2 absorption spectrum. And that is clearly not the case.

    The atmosphere clearly does radiate a normal Tempertaure based thermal Spectrum, and yes it does contain some absorption dips notably a narrow one aorund 9.6 microns, from the thin high level Ozone layer, and the 13.5 to 16.5 micron CO2 band; heck, take 13 to 17 microns if you like. The point is that the bulk of the thermal radiation from the atmospehre qand from the surface is NOT within the CO2 absorption band, so it can proceed to space through a dry atmosphere, with just a small recapture by CO2. what the CO2 doesn’t recapture; which is most of the spectrum, escapes; subject ONLY to the water conditions; and we know that water is not a GHG; just a CO2 helper.

    My source for the atmosphere radiation data is:- H. Rose, et al., “The Handbook of Albedo, and Thermal Earthshine”; Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), Ann Arbor, MI, Report No. 190201-1-T

    Yes it is true that in the near vaccuum of the stratosphere, the mean free paths are long enough for CO2 to spntaneously re-radiate its 13.5 to 16.5 micron band; but in the lower levels (tou mentioned the 10 metres or so near the surface), the capured energy is completely thermalized through molecular collisions; so the source of the atmsopheric LWIR is ordinary thermal emission form the ordinary atmospehric gases, and that emission is entirely independent of any trace GHG content; and depends ONLY on the temperature of the Atmosphere.

    And if you really want to permit H2O to take its proper place in the mechanics of the atmospheric energy (radiant) processes; then you will quickly discover how inconsequential CO2 really is.

    Since H2O is the ONLY condensing GHG, it is the only one that can form clouds, which immediately introduce a huge net cooling effect. Nobody EVER observed it to warm up (go to a higher Temperature) in the shadow zone, when a cloud moves in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools down.

    “”””” …….. no IR energy from the upper atmosphere reaches the surface. None.

    Your claim that “the escape path to space [should be] favored over the downward path” would be true ……….. “””””

    Somewhat conflicting aren’t these notions ?

  346. to Barn

    The most pristine data sets to relate these IR discusssions to are those from Amundsen Scott AFB and Vostok bases in Antarctica.

    The sun is a minor effect there. Temperatures are almost completely dominated by radiational heat transfer to outer space through the atmosphere.

    Outer space is a constant. Nighttime sky does not vary as a blackbody target.

    If CO2 was acting as a powerful greenhouse gas, it would show up in their data first, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere there would trap more heat radiationally.

    But it is not.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/VOSTOK.pdf

    And the data would be more clear if someone went and picked out simply the lowest recorded temperature per year at those two locations. And then graph those.

    You see, there is absolutely nothing on earth that can drive those temperatures lower.

    Nothing.

    Except the ‘greenhouse effect’ lessening.

  347. Bill Illis says:
    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Its just that you cannot find anywhere on the internet, someone that shows N2 and O2 and Argon absorb any IR at all. Everyone seems to believe/has been taught, that N2 and O2 do not absorb any IR at all, even blackbody-type radiation.

    This was the only page I’d ever found, don’t know how good it is: http://www.spinonthat.com/CO2_files/02_N2_IR_absoption.html

    He makes the same point you do, that both sides take this for granted as if confirmed scientific fact. And says:

    “The evidence I have presented here conclusively shows that Oxygen and Nitrogen which constitute 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere, as one would expect, do in-fact absorb infrared radiation.

    The claim that these two gases are transparent to IR is completely fallacious. Which goes a long way to explain why the “Greenhouse Effect” hypothesis is one of the longest standing unsubstantiated hypothesis in the history of science.

    The so called “Greenhouse Effect” will always remain an hypothesis for the simple reason that it is based on pseudo science.”

  348. “”””” Bill Illis says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:01 am
    George E. Smith says:
    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm
    … thermal radiation; that is Electromagnetic Radiation following Maxwells equations are emitted from ALL materials at above absolute zero, including ALL gases; including N2 and O2 and even Ar; and he agrees that the fundamental Physical mechanism is simply accelerated electric charges following Maxwell’s Equations for the EM field.

    You see the molecules/atoms in a gas are zipping this way and that, and colliding with each other; and everytime two molecules collide, …
    —————————————————-

    At sea level pressure, each atmospheric molecule collides with another molecule 6.7 billion times per second. A rate that is 33,000 times faster than the average emission time for CO2. So, an excited CO2 molecule (which is now effectively many times warmer than the surrounding air) crashes into another atmospheric molecule 33,000 times before it can emit. In the troposphere, the numbers are not much different, 10,000 times.

    So, if N2 and O2 and Argon are actually emitters and absorbers of IR (albeit at a far reduced level than the specific absorption and emission frequencies of CO2), and are crashing into CO2 at a far faster rate than CO2 emits at, the entire picture of atmospheric radiation changes. “””””

    Bill, YOU get it I get it, some others get it. Why is it so hard for others to grasp.

    The LWIR radiant energy that is specific to the GHG absorption bands (13.5-16.5 microns for CO2), is what the GHG molecules CAN and DO capture; from the entire 4.0-80 micron LWIR spectrum corresponding to earth Temperatures; and that capture energy is immediately thermalized (thanks for coming up with the numbers); and as of that point; the GHG molecule is totally removed fromt he picture (well to capture again).

    And even thogh N2 and O2 or Ar, and other non dipolar molecules do not capture IR through resonance absorption bands, as do CO2 and H2O, those air molecules are still quite free to radiate a perfectly normal thermal emission spectrum, that depoends ONLY on the atmospheric Temperature, and is quite insensitive to the mechanism that heated the atmosphere in the first place.
    That heating could have been incoming soalr heating, or ground contact conduction and convection; by whatever means the atmosphere can be warmed (including deposit of latent heat from water condensation (or freezing); it will then radiate according to thermal radiation laws; and MOST of that thermal radiation spectrum is NOT subject to further assault by CO2; more is by H2O though.

    As Phil several times pointed out here, in the stratosphere mean free paths can be long enough for GHGs to spontaneously decay to the ground state.

    Even thoguh the atmospheric gases are low thermal mass, and must therefore cool from radiating thermal emission; they are maintained at the ambient Temperature by immediate resupply from the molecular collision processes; so it is a continuous energy pumping process.

  349. Mikael,

    “@ Will. Emissivity and absorptivity is essentially the total opposite of each other, emissivity tells you how well something ‘gives off’ radiation and absorptivity how well it ‘takes up and retains’ radiation. But here is the clue, and it is a very fundamental thing and basic in radiation science. At any given wavelength and angle of incidence the absorptivity and emissivity of a surface will ALWAYS be the SAME VALUE. This is called Kirchhoff’s Law, but if you google it make sure don’t end up with the one that deals with electrical circuits.
    That law is fundamental, because without it we could not achieve equilibrium in a system.
    So, if something has an emissivity of 0.97, the absorptivity is exactly the same.
    Radiation equations:
a + r + t = 1
e = a
e + r + t = 1
For most objects we can assume t = 0, so
a + r = 1
e + r = 1″

    Yes of course I knew the answer to the question because I know all about Kirchhoff’s Law. And the last and most important part of my question, which you didn’t manage to answer was, “And how could this be considered as a barrier to trap IR as in opaque?”

    So you have stated quote: “Glass will start to lose transmissivity around 2 um and nosedive completely at 2.3um. Over 3um there is hardly any transmissivity AT ALL!!!!!! How can I know for sure? Because glass is totally opaque to any IR camera I use, in addition to all the spectral charts that are available. Can’t see through it at all.”

    Meaning that IR cannot pass through glass because it is “opaque” to IR and therefore traps IR as in the “greenhouse effect”.

    Yet here you are tying yourself up in knots with your own semantics.

    No further questions your honour.

  350. If I were a fotong from the stellar entity Sol who had somehow been cast abruptly down to the Earth’s surface, I would be trying to get back to the mother ship as quickly as I could. Falling into the clutches of CO2 and having to ping-pong my way back to freedom through the troposphere, I would be delighted to be back-radiated to the ground ‘cos then I’d have another chance at a clear shot through the window.
    Gettng my bearings after that might prove difficult but, if I did make it back to Sol, I would make my home “warmer than it otherwise would have been”.

  351. to Will

    you wrote: “Also infra-red detectors on security lights which are filtered to detect between 8-14 µm will still work perfectly well with a thick piece of glass covering the sensor even when the housing is encased in tinfoil. This is a test I have carried out many times.”

    You are making claims that go counter to common knowledge to many infrared professionals.

    In fact, I have performed those same tests you describe with many, many IR detectors. And gotten completely different results than you claim.

    I asked you for specific details of how you performed those tests.

    You have not supplied those details.

    Why?

  352. @ Will. And no further answers to you! I find it a bit insulting that you ask me to explain things to you that you already claim to know. But still don’t seem to understand at all…

    @ Domenic. I think I know. Because Will is a dishonest trickster who is playing games here to make us waste our time. No more of that…

    Will is obviously in the business of peddling misinformation. Look at the silly stuff with water bottles that he has on his website. Click his name. How many scientific errors can you find in that experiment? But to a layman it might seem like it would be true, although it does not prove anything that it claims to prove.

  353. Mikael,

    I thank you for allowing us to eavesdrop on your conversation with Ken. It was both enjoyable and informative. Additionally, you also joined us here to continue the discussion. That probably made this thread one of the better ones to read and digest on WUWT.

    The only thing I may disagree with you is your definition of heat, as I learned the classical thermodynamic system boundary version. Old habits are hard to break.

    Thanks again,
    Jim

  354. @ Jim. Thanks! I have previously only had a casual interest in the issue of global warming (or not?) and I still don’t know what the final answer may be, but I have gained some very valuable insights from many of the comments made here.

    On the definition of heat, we probably don’t even need to agree to disagree, since we are both victims of the semantic confusion that exists. I no longer make the mistake of arguing one way or the other, and the choice of principle I have made for teaching is for purely didactic reasons. The physics remain the same anyway!

  355. Hi Mikael

    It’s been very enjoyable to join you in these discussions. I really hadn’t engaged much in the AGW debate until lately. There really hadn’t been any good venue to be able to do so until Anthony got WUWT up and running.

    It’s been about seven years since I’ve even engaged in any ‘infrared’ discussions in any meaningful way with interested parties. So, it has been a good exercise to share in that. And doing so, has triggered some insights that I hadn’t seen before.

    I don’t mind the ‘Will’s of the world. The science of infrared, and the thinking involved, is quite arcane and alien to most people. By its nature, it forces one to look at ‘wholes’ rather than ‘pieces’ as is common in the thinking of most people.

    I have noted your email, thank you. I don’t think I will be getting to Thailand for at least a few years, but I do appreciate it.

  356. @ Mikael,

    It looks like the sign-off prayer here, so I’ll just say thanks, too, and commend the whole AGW thing to you as a fascinating topic from physics through economics to social and individual psychology.
    It’s fun to argue.

  357. http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/o2.pdf and http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/n2.pdf show the IR spectra of O2 and N2, respectively. Unfortunately, there are no spectra for H2O and CO2 for comparison. The following table compares the peak absorption coefficients per molecule for several molecules.
    CO2 1 E-19
    H2O 1 E-18
    O2 1 E-28
    N2 1 E-28
    The bigger the value, the more energy is absorbed. Granted, these numbers must be multiplied by the total number of molecules in the column to get the actual absorption. However, the relative concentrations can be used to make simple comparisons. Since water vapor is about 1% of the lower atmosphere (10,000 ppm) on a dry day and because it absorbs at many more frequencies than any of the other 3, you can see why it is the main greenhouse gas in the troposphere. Basically, after adjusting for the relative concentrations, it is 8 orders of magnitude stronger than O2 or N2. At the bottom of the tropopause, water vapor is still about 70 ppm and it is still the strongest greenhouse gas.

    At any rate, these numbers explain why so many people agree that O2 and N2 are IR transparent.

    In addition, for a given molecule, radiation is absorbed and emitted at exactly the same frequencies (same spectrum). It is not correct to assume that O2 absorbs with one spectrum and emits with a blackbody spectrum. The only exceptions I know to this are fluorescence and phosphorescence.

    For George E. Smith:
    The radiation spectra for a gas at a given temperature is the blackbody spectra for that temperature times the spectra coefficients from the HITRAN database (adjusted for temperature and pressure) times the number of molecules in the path. Thus the emission spectra is always less than or equal to the blackbody spectra.

    Also, you seem to think that desert air contains no water. Actually, it contains a lot (perhaps 1,000 ppm or so), just not enough condense and form dew and/or fog in the mornings.

  358. Mikael Cronholm says: at 5:55 pm on Feb 17th

    “Will is obviously in the business of peddling misinformation. Look at the silly stuff with water bottles that he has on his website. Click his name. How many scientific errors can you find in that experiment? But to a layman it might seem like it would be true, although it does not prove anything that it claims to prove.”

    Mikael, thank you for pointing out the experiment shown by Will is full of scientific errors.
    As a stupid ignorant layman I could not see so many.
    Perhaps he was using the wrong kind of CO2; we all know the manmade stuff is much more dangerous…
    Perhaps you could show us the version of the experiment that YOU run without the errors.
    What are the errors in Will’s experiment?

    NoIdea

  359. Mikael,

    “@ Will. And no further answers to you! I find it a bit insulting that you ask me to explain things to you that you already claim to know. But still don’t seem to understand at all…”

    I understand very well.

    I understand that on the one hand you have claimed that glass is opaque to IR, as in that it acts as a barrier to IR. Then on the other hand you have claimed that is a near perfect black-body absorber and emitter at 0.97 above 8 µm.

    I understand that these two claims could not possibly be more contradictory and unscientific.

    I understand that anyone who ignores such contradiction has no interested in the truth.

    I also understand the definition of slander, so in the interests of fair play, I think you should know that I archive all threads on which I post for future use.

    Finally, I want to thank you Mikael, you have been very helpful.

    H/T NoIdea

  360. @ NoIdea. The first and most important one has to with the transmissivity of the bottles. They will spectrally modify the radiation that shines on them, which has the wrong spectrum to start with. Exactly how they do that requires a spectral curve of the material, for the thickness they have. I have a feeling, from looking at such bottles with IR cameras, that they will be opaque or just slightly transparent in the 2-14um band. In any case, they will change the radiation enough to make the test invalid. I have been trying to explain those things in vain for a while, so there is plenty above to read about it.

    Someone made a comment somewhere in this thread asking me if I was going to launch a rocket from my garage soon. I have worked with missiles and a Mach 2.5 windtunnel (free blowing, of course), to look at aerodynamics of stabilizer fins and such, but I have no such plans for myself. The people who made that experiment seem to be up for anything though! That which well equipped scientists have a hard time with in labs, they can do at home! What will come next? :-)

  361. @ Robert Clemenzi. As a matter of fact, even desert air will condense, but not on the ground, which is perhaps what you mean. The ground has too high heat capacity to cool down enough by radiating heat to the sky. But on objects with less heatcapacity, water will condense from the air. That is how a cactus can survive. Water condenses on the needles, or barbs, or what you call them, because they are dry in themselves and away from the cactus that remains warm due to the heat it has accumulated. The condensed water on the needles will run down to the roots and be absorbed there. Cactii have short roots and with very sporadic rainfall they will have no other way to reach water except that the cactus makes the water itself.

    In military special forces they use old desert techniques to create water from the air by placing a piece of cloth or something on sticks with a small rock in the middle to make an upside down tentlike device which will cool down towards the sky, enough to go below the dewpoint and get condensation.

    It can be REALLY cold in the desert at night too. Because of the relative lack of greenhouse effect, due to low levels of water vapor. Which kind of ties this together with the topic :-)

  362. Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 18, 2011 at 1:17 am
    http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/o2.pdf and http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/n2.pdf show the IR spectra of O2 and N2, respectively. Unfortunately, there are no spectra for H2O and CO2 for comparison. The following table compares the peak absorption coefficients per molecule for several molecules.
    CO2 1 E-19
    H2O 1 E-18
    O2 1 E-28
    N2 1 E-28
    ————————–

    Again, this is based on the assumption that N2 and O2 are Zero (on the scale of 0 to 1 for blackbodies).

    We know N2 and O2 warm up to reflect the air temperature at whatever location or height they are in the atmosphere. So no emission or absorption other than these two very weak specific spectra?
    ——————————-

    From Raymond Pierrehumbert’s recent article on planetary atmospheres and the greenhouse effect (Pierrehumbert is the newest star expert on atmospheric physics on the pro-AGW side having also written a long textbook on the matter which will likely become a key source at universities etc.)

    ” An IR photon absorbed by a molecule knocks the molecule into a higher-energy quantum state. Those states have very long lifetimes, characterized by the spectroscopically measurable Einstein A coefficient. For example, for the CO2 transitions that are most significant in the thermal IR, the lifetimes tend to range from a few milliseconds to a few tenths of a second. In contrast, the typical time between collisions for, say, a nitrogen-dominated atmosphere at a pressure of 104 Pa and temperature of 250 K is well under 10−7 s. Therefore, the energy of the photon will almost always be assimilated by collisions into the general energy pool of the matter and establish a new Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution at a slightly higher temperature. That is how radiation heats matter in the LTE limit.”

    He then goes on to explain the formulae etc. and then writes …

    “We can determine that temperatures of the atmosphere and ground range at least from 220K to 285K. But absent additional information, we cannot tell that the high end of that range actually comes from the ground.”
    —————-

    The 220 K is where the CO2 spectral band dominates and 285 K is the atmospheric windows where N2 and O2 blackbody radiation dominate. But they cannot tell what the origination point is for the 285K blackbody radiation from N2 and O2. It might be directly from the ground or it could be 20 kms high where the density of air falls to a level which starts to allow a 50:50 chance of a photon being emitted directly to space.

    I choose to believe the “lapse rate” tells us exactly what is happening to the energy levels in the atmosphere and where the radiation is going and which molecules are excited etc.

    It is different than the way Pierrehumbert explains it and it does not completely ignore blackbody radiation which seems to be how the global warming theory got started – by focussing on the specific absorption bands only and ignoring collision rates and blackbody radiation in the atmosphere.

  363. barn E. rubble says:
    February 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I am. And you’d be one of them. Having found most what’s been posted here to be tuff skate; it has been most informative.

    I’m pleased it was of use to you, but teacher I’m not. I’d be wary of any setting themselves up as ‘teachers’ of ‘climate change’, for one thing the subject takes in sooo many fields of knowledge that it would be genius who could put all that together, even if any had the time, valiant attempts have been made. From what I’ve gathered from individual stories here, it’s an aspect of it already of interest that draws people in to explore AGW further, often started by something it claims which jars with one’s own knowledge, with something one has learned and still seems logical. I was drawn in when I found that people were arguing about it, curiosity. Someone in that discussion gave me some basics and knowing something about graphs the first thing I questioned was the claim that the the temperature rise since the Industrial Revolution was anything unusual. It was obvious to me knowing we had gone through a cold period around that time, though not knowing it was called the Little Ice Age, that using this cold period as a starting point on a graph was bound to show warming. The AGW’s then pointed me to info on the Hockey Stick, and I found it was well on its way to being debunked for deliberately eliminating the LIA and Medieval Warm Period (MWP), though still trying to get a lot of the data which was being withheld and which in science claims should be freely available for checking by others. That really jarred, but worse, was the well educated scientist who was arguing for the Hockey Stick version of events didn’t see anything wrong in this. And it continued to deteriorate, until every counter argument I found which I thought would be a launch pad for discussion, I was still trying to get my head around some of the arguments and wanted clarification, he returned with curt dismissal, refusing even to read them. It was quite some time before I found that some discussions about AGW on other sites had the same attitude problem and posts that were too uncomforable for AGW supporters would be censored, or just deleted, and people banned from posting. All that to say I think most ‘skeptics’ are just people who’ve come to a point were they can no longer take AGW seriously, and from there it’s just further exploration into the absurdities of it; so what you’ll find is not teachers, but fellow travellers discussing it, arguing with all comers and telling tales of their experiences around camp fires.

    Do I understand correctly (from what I read from Myrrh) that CO2 levels, however increased, does not in fact mix or average out at increased levels globally but would accumulate locally, i.e: where it is being produced and cycle about unless moved by other forces and dissipate sooner rather than later?

    That’s how I understand it. There isn’t one huge wind mixing up our atmosphere as if it’s a wooden spoon stirring porridge, and it’s not ‘empty space’ in which Ideal gases travel at great speed with no constraints apart from bouncing off each other. Weather is local and the properties of CO2 relative to air will be in the air it’s relating to locally. This concept from AGW of “background well-mixed” isn’t feasible.

    Mauna Loa measurements a bad joke, firstly because they claim it is a “pristine site” for measurement, one in which their measurements of this supposedly background level is uncontaminated by local output. It’s on the world’s biggest active volcano, in an area of immense volcanic activity in a warm sea with its own pattern of winds stirring all this up – it is impossible for them to measure ‘background’ CO2 in all this even if such as thing existed. And if you look at their method of measuring you’ll find they simply decide what it should be and adjust their findings accordingly, in AGW speak which is garble sounding ‘scientific’. Keeling, who began measurements there, had an agenda. He couldn’t wait to promote it, in less than two years of measurements he declared he had found conclusively that CO2 background level was rising from man-made sources. He had an awful lot of CO2 to play with.. His famous Keeling Curve showing steady increase of CO2 over the decades since bears no relationship to any temp changes in those decades, which is why AGWScience continually re-adjusts past temperatures to better hide the decades of cooling.

    Further, the GH effect of CO2 as per warming the surface temp by re-emitting IR/heat energy towards the surface is negligible?

    Some here have looked into this in great detail in the many facets this is presented by AGW, and so conclude.

    Is there no peer reviewed papers (for what that’s arguably worth) on the natural separation of in our atmosphere that Myrrh mentions?)

    I put it together for myself because puzzled that AGWScience made these claims for CO2, and I couldn’t find any concentrated discussion about it at the time. There’s a lot of scattered information, and that aspect is becoming more discussed, and there’s now a new discussion on the front page here about CO2 which I haven’t had time to read yet. My info came mostly from old fashioned science about CO2, and gases generally re weight and so on, because well known in all sorts of practical common areas. Mining is a good example (and how I first learned of it in school, around age 10) and I was interested in discovering how AGW could make such claims for CO2 that its properties weren’t capable of effecting. That’s when I found they were using laws out of context, and this is a pattern repeated in other aspects of the claims. They often miss stuff out – the classic is not accounting for water in cooling the atmosphere, by taking heat away in water vapour, so they have it only as ‘a greenhouse warming gas’, and then not in its own right, because they say this is too complicated to model and doesn’t stay in the atmosphere long enough to be a problem (remember they’re claiming absurd accumulation times for CO2 for their blanket), but only by some idea that CO2 amplifies warming effect of water, whatever it is. Again, others have explored this in more depth.

    Back to IR:
    A small aside here from examples used earlier on. There is not such thing as an IR sauna. Full stop. Perhaps just a misnomer but the literal translation of ‘sauna’ is steam bath. You can no more have a ‘dry’ sauna than you can have a ‘dry’ shower or bubble bath. Call it a warm room or seat closet but a sauna it is not (pronounced: sow-na) it irritates your Fin friends, believe me.

    I’m sorry but they’re stuck with it. Like Cheddar cheese, all kinds of cheeses masquerading as the real thing.. But, in a sauna one can choose whether or not to dump water onto the rocks, making it a dry sauna. Do the Fins never do this? If they do, do they still call it a sauna?

    Always sweating the small stuff

    That creates steam whatever the method of heating the hot room..

  364. I would like to publicly thank Mikael and Domenic and George and Oliver and Robert and Barn E., and yes, even Will, and all the other contributors for a stimulating and interesting conversation. In any public arena, there will be a few folks who contribute more to ‘noise’ than ‘signal’, but it’s been mostly tolerable in this thread. Also, I would like to thank Anthony for giving us this forum and hosting a great conversation.

    Can I add one more dumb question? Let’s take an N2 molecule as an example. I think we all agree…if it has a temperature, it will radiate and for N2 the wavelength is real short. Nonetheless, isn’t this emitted energy highly-significant from an energy balance POV? It’s a short wavelength, but isn’t there a lot of it? I feel like there is a missing piece in my thinking.

    Thanks!

  365. To Robert Clemenzi

    Unfortunately, those curves you link to cannot be trusted. They are only partial data.

    Notice the preponderence of peaks up to 6 microns or so, then the lack of any peaks for wavelengths longer than that. In the O2 graph, for example, they skip all the way to nearly 1000 microns. They do that in the graphs because real data has never been taken in the 6 to 1000 micron range. They can only put in what they have tested or guessed (calculated).

    That is the problem.

    If you have followed my posts here, I have explained why. It is because those physical measurements are difficult to make. But in order to understand the true effects of O2 and N2 in the atmosphere and their contribution to the greenhouse effect, those physical absorption measurements must be made. Real data must be taken in those long wavelengths, not guessed at or calculated.

  366. To Ken Coffman, and others still here

    Because of this topic, I’ve started to look very closely at theAntarctic Vostock and Amendsun-Scott data. It’s the most pristine data out there.

    You want to know what is really strange…that the data I’ve seen so far, from a radiational physics point of view, is showing that the ‘greenhouse effect’ of all the gases in the atmosphere is actually DECREASING! That surprised me.

    Despite all the stuff we supposedly are putting into the atmosphere. Now that is indeed a shocker!

    But then “Nature” has always been much different than many ‘think’ it is, always confounding man….

    I am going to look into it more thoroughly.

  367. Ken and Mikael,

    I have repeatedly given Mikael the opportunity clear up the ambiguity concerning the statement that glass is opaque to IR, by repeatedly adding the following caveat “as in that it acts as a barrier to IR.”

    Yet he has consistently failed to clarify that this is a misconception of the word opaque.

    The use of the word opaque and the phase “opaque to IR” in this context, is the source of a very serious misrepresentation of what occurs inside a greenhouse. It implies, as is perfectly obvious, that glass somehow blocks the passage of IR. Yet as has been demonstrated by Mikael’s link, glass certainly does not block IR because above 4 µm it is almost a pure black-body absorber and emitter. This means that IR is absorbed and emitted by the glass at light speed. As the interior of the greenhouse is always going to be warmer than the exterior, it naturally follows that the IR energy will pass through the glass to the exterior with the same ease as if it were “transmitted” and in that case the use of the phrase “opaque to IR” is pure semantics with the intention to deceive. Sometimes referred to as sophistry.

    Not only has Mikael allowed this misconception of the use of the term “opaque to IR” to imply that glass presents a barrier to the passage of IR (the foundation of the “greenhouse effect hypothesis”) but in the example I have given regarding the IR sensor on my outdoor security light, which is empirical proof that glass does not block IR, he has failed acknowledge that this is the case and has allowed Domenic’s false claim that this test is invalid, to stand unchallenged.

    This is a deliberate fraud, directly and by proxy.

    As you Ken are the thread initiator and Mikael being the stated IR expert that you have called in to discuss the topic of IR, this makes you both equally responsible for public deception.

    I notice that whoever is moderating this thread has blocked my last post and so I expect this post to disappear into the same memory hole. No matter, as I intend to circulate it widely as an open email to bring to as many peoples attention as possible, the deception to which you are both engaged.

    You can however avoid such action by apologising for the misconception and acknowledging your mistake in explicitly implying that glass can block the passage of IR.

    Regards

    Will

  368. Mikael – You sent me off to look at Boltzmann and Planck. Boltzmann I noted in an earlier post (February 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm), has been falsified by Feet2theFire. See his post above, (February 14, 2011 @ 2:12 am).

    In my post I linked to a site on measuring IR which had these two and two more laws under the heading: Theoretical Basis For IR Temperature Measurement, and asked if anyone could falsify the others.

    I think I have for Planck’s Law: http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/light/radiation.html

    “The Planck Law gives a distribution that peaks at a certain wavelength, the peak shifts to shorter wavelengths for higher temperatures, and the area under the curve grows rapidly with increasing temperature.”

    If I’ve understood that correctly, if it’s saying that the higher the temperature the more Visible light then it’s been falsified already, see here:

    http://m.plantengineering.com/index.php?id=2831&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=33209&cHash=db4db9479b

    Which says: “A sufficiently hot object will emit light or visible radiation, a phenomenon called incandescence. A light bulb filament, smoldering ember, and a billet of red-hot steel are examples of this phenomenon. The hotter the object, the brighter and whiter its color. It is possible to estimate the temperature of an object this way. Experienced steelworkers do this regularly.

    Not as widely recognized is the fact that incandescent objects emit a tremendous amount of invisible infrared radiation. For example, the radiance of a steel billet at 1500F is 100,000 times greater in the infrared spectrum than in the visible spectrum.”

    So, Planck’s Law is broken. A hot object gives out more long wavelengths than short, he got his peak wrong.

    Both falsified.

    So, what is it you want me to understand by these Laws?

    Two more to go. (They might already have been shown falsified in this discussion, but I’ve failed to appreciate it.)

  369. P.S. Which was what I was saying. All that it showed was that higher temperatures create the brighter colours of the shorter wavelengths, not that the shorter wavelength colours are hotter than the longer wave.

  370. This has been quite enlightening and entertaining. Thank you, to all those who have offered their expertise, knowledge and opinion. I appreciate the patience shown to those of us PhD challenged. I’m hoping all those contributing on this thread haven’t signed off yet because I was looking for a brief summary re: IR and the AGW theory, that I can take away from all of this.

    Two points from the thread (and unfortunately I didn’t copy contributor names).

    1) CO2 negligible to global warming because:
    “That leaves at MOST, 10-15% of the entire earth LWIR Radiant energy emissions subject to CO2 absorption.”
    IE: CO2 only absorbs (and re-emits in 3D, Earth, atmosphere and space) a fraction of IR/heat energy that is being referred to as ‘back radiation’, the main issue driving AGW.

    2) CO2 significant in global warming because:
    “The simplest and quite accurate way to conceptualize this is that CO2 is an insulator . . .”
    IE: CO2 absorbs (and re-emits back to Earth) a significant amount of IR/heat energy that is being referred to as ‘back radiation’, the main issue driving AGW

    Have I got the main issues here?

    Thank you for your time and trouble.

    -barn

  371. RE: IR with respect to O isotopes
    Perhaps someone here can shed some light or even a thot on the following. Somewhere on this thread referred to some charts with Oxygen isotopes and corresponding IR wavelengths. I have been reading with some interest of the work coming out of the Univ. of Saskatchewan Isotope Lab where they’ve been using O isotopes for temp reconstructions. The colder the temp the more heavier O (18?) was found.
    The question is: How does the IR/heat energy cause more (or less) of one isotope than another. IE: Does temperature change the isotopes?

    Thank you for any insights.
    -Barn

  372. Myrrh says:
    February 18, 2011 at 7:46 am
    Not as widely recognized is the fact that incandescent objects emit a tremendous amount of invisible infrared radiation. For example, the radiance of a steel billet at 1500F is 100,000 times greater in the infrared spectrum than in the visible spectrum.”

    So, Planck’s Law is broken. A hot object gives out more long wavelengths than short, he got his peak wrong.

    Both falsified.

    So, what is it you want me to understand by these Laws?

    Some understanding would help, your claim of falsification is nonsense.
    According to Planck a blackbody at 1500ºF (~1100K) has a peak emission at ~2.7μm significantly in the NIR, whereas at 3000K it’s 1μm so much more visible light, at 6000K it’s 0.5μm in the visible spectrum. Hint, 1100K isn’t ‘hot’.

  373. @ Myrrh. My goodness! You are just too much! It is actually quite amusing to see you fooling yourself by turning things inside out. I am just waiting for you to see an airplane flying past and come running in here saying that Newton got it all wrong, gravity is falsified!

    According to those laws you just “falsified”, your 1500F (815C in real units) steel slab will radiate its peak emission at about 2.7 um (simplifying it as a blackbody, it’s close enough). So there is no contradiction at all. Sure, 2.7 um is in the infrared, not visual, just like your source says, and just like Planck and Wien will tell you. The people at Plant Engineering who came up with those numbers will have used the same laws (Stefan-Boltzman, which is the zero-to-infinity integral of Planck) to calculate the numbers that you claim are falsified by the very same numbers. Really funny my friend!

    It is the sun that peaks in visual, at 480 nm or thereabouts. Hotter than the sun – even shoreter peak emission.

    And this;
    ““The Planck Law gives a distribution that peaks at a certain wavelength, the peak shifts to shorter wavelengths for higher temperatures, and the area under the curve grows rapidly with increasing temperature.”

    If I’ve understood that correctly, if it’s saying that the higher the temperature the more Visible light then it’s been falsified already, see here:”

    Weeeellll Myrrh, the higher the temperture, the more of ALL wavelenghts will be emitted. It is just the peak that shifts to shorter wavelengths.

    What will you amuse me with next? :-)

  374. To Mikael Cronholm

    It is my understanding that the plastic in the desert condenses water on the bottom of the plastic, not the top. From Collect Water in a Solar Still

    “Moisture from the soil then evaporates, rises and condenses on the underside of the plastic barrier above.”

    Notice, this device increases the amount of water vapor under the plastic and does not collect water from the atmosphere.

    I agree with you that a small amount of condensation occurs in the desert. However, in more moist climates, it is the morning dew and fog that release latent heat and keeps the surface warm .. which explains why the dry deserts are colder. At any rate, my main point was that even “dry” air still has a lot of water vapor and George E. Smith was suggesting that “dry” means “none”.

    For Ken Coffman
    For the emission at a given temperature, the gas spectra has to be multiplied by the blackbody spectra for each frequency. If the gas has a strong emission line at a short wavelength, but a blackbody would not emit at that wavelength, then neither will the gas. This is part of the reason why O2 and N2 don’t play a part in spectral absorption and emission at 15C, it simply is not hot enough. In fact, both O2 and N2 have absorption frequencies in the IR band, but their coefficients of emission are more than 8 powers of ten lower than the “active” gases. Those gaps in the spectra are not because no one has tried to measure the absorption there. Instead, it is because the absorption is so weak that our instruments can not detect anything to measure. In addition, “normal” diatomic molecules do not have any peaks in the range we are discussing. The peaks that are there are because the two atoms in the molecule are different isotopes of the same element. For example, O16-O18 will have a spectra in that region, but O16-O16 will not. This spectra in the plots is low because the coefficients were adjusted to account for the natural abundance of O18, which is very small.

  375. @ Will. You are also amusing me more and more, so I give you this:

    You: “The use of the word opaque and the phase “opaque to IR” in this context, is the source of a very serious misrepresentation of what occurs inside a greenhouse. It implies, as is perfectly obvious, that glass somehow blocks the passage of IR. Yet as has been demonstrated by Mikael’s link, glass certainly does not block IR because above 4 µm it is almost a pure black-body absorber and emitter.”

    I think you have a problem understanding what a blackbody is, that is where the confusion is. It absorbs 100% of all incoming radiation at all wavelengths. Then it emits 100% according to S-B’s law (gives the flux), and Planck (gives the wavelength distribution), at whatever temperature it has. Yes, an almost pure blackbody absorber and emitter will ABSORB, and hence cannot transmit any infrared radiation over 4um, approx. (It will reflect the rest. You did say you knew Kirchhoff, no?) For heat to pass to the other side of the glass, it has to do so by conduction. Then it will radiate on the other side again, according to its temperature and following those pesky laws… but by radiation the energy WILL NOT pass through. End of story.

    And I will not apologise for knowing and understanding elementary radiation physics :-)

  376. Will says:
    February 18, 2011 at 7:21 am
    Ken and Mikael,

    I have repeatedly given Mikael the opportunity clear up the ambiguity concerning the statement that glass is opaque to IR, by repeatedly adding the following caveat “as in that it acts as a barrier to IR.”

    Yet he has consistently failed to clarify that this is a misconception of the word opaque.

    The use of the word opaque and the phase “opaque to IR” in this context, is the source of a very serious misrepresentation of what occurs inside a greenhouse. It implies, as is perfectly obvious, that glass somehow blocks the passage of IR. Yet as has been demonstrated by Mikael’s link, glass certainly does not block IR because above 4 µm it is almost a pure black-body absorber and emitter. This means that IR is absorbed and emitted by the glass at light speed. As the interior of the greenhouse is always going to be warmer than the exterior, it naturally follows that the IR energy will pass through the glass to the exterior with the same ease as if it were “transmitted” and in that case the use of the phrase “opaque to IR” is pure semantics with the intention to deceive. Sometimes referred to as sophistry.

    Not only has Mikael allowed this misconception of the use of the term “opaque to IR” to imply that glass presents a barrier to the passage of IR (the foundation of the “greenhouse effect hypothesis”) but in the example I have given regarding the IR sensor on my outdoor security light, which is empirical proof that glass does not block IR, he has failed acknowledge that this is the case and has allowed Domenic’s false claim that this test is invalid, to stand unchallenged.

    This is a deliberate fraud, directly and by proxy.

    No it’s a misunderstanding of the physics on your part.
    Borosilicate glass cuts off around ~2μm above that it’s increasingly opaque to IR.
    As a pure blackbody it does not transmit IR it absorbs it and emits bb radiation back.
    The illuminators used with IR security cameras are typically at ~0.8μm just in the NIR and still able to pass through borosilicate glass. However such glass is completely opaque to 15μm IR which is responsible for the GHE, to work at that wavelength you’d need something like ZnSe optics which is transparent at that wavelength. Which is why experiments like Will’s are totally irrelevant to GHE, they use the wrong wavelength and if they used the right one the materials their containers are made of aren’t transparent at that wavelength! Will’s experiment uses heaters which are in the 1-2μm range which would be relevant if the surface of the planet were ~2000K!

  377. Myrrh says:
    February 18, 2011 at 5:01 am
    “But, in a sauna one can choose whether or not to dump water onto the rocks, making it a dry sauna. Do the Fins never do this?”

    Not that I’m aware of, in fact, splashing down the walls and benches is part of the prep. or so I was taught. Further, and in spite of what you may have heard, it’s not a ‘real’ sauna without a cold beer (optional: frozen vodka shot). To reiterate: there is no such thing as a ‘dry’ sauna; in any sense of the word ‘dry’. Add a dip in cool to cold water and things don’t get any better . . .

    Thank you for your time and patience in your postings. Most appreciated.
    -B

  378. Will, I’m not sure why you are getting so excited. This is a fascinating topic worthy of thought and exploration…why are you not having any fun? No one is telling you what to believe. Look at what people say. Think things through. Draw your own conclusions.

    Here is a bit of conversation about R. W. Wood’s experiment…perhaps you’ve already seen it?

    We may well ask if it is at all possible for backradiation to coexist as a significant process alongside kinetic transfer. It would certainly seem possible within the limitations of thermal gradients. However, if we revisit the experiment conducted by Robert Wood in 1909, an entirely different picture emerges. Wood constructed two miniature greenhouses identical in all but one respect. One used a plate of halite to transmit light into the interior, while the other used a plate of glass to transmit light into the interior (Wood, 1909). While glass absorbs more than 80% of infrared radiation above 2900nm, halite does not and is regarded as quite transparent to infrared. The point of the experiment was to test whether the halite’s lack of absorption and re-emission of infrared radiation relative to that of glass would have any effect on the temperature of the greenhouse.
    – Timothy Casey, The Shattered Greenhouse, http://greenhouse.geologist-1011.net/

  379. @ barn E. You make me homesick for my sauna back in Sweden! I am Swedish and my mother was from East Botnia in the Swedish speaking part of Finland, so sauna is in my blood so to speak. At my place in Sweden I built the two houses first and then the sauna, which is opposite to tradition – the sauna is built first in Finland! It is more than tradition, it borders on religion. The sauna is a home for spirits and the sauna gnome. The special sauna spirit has a name in Finnish, löyly, which is difficult to translate but it is the warmth and the feeling of well being, and it is surely connected with the steam too. It is an old word that traces back to Proto-Fenno-Ugric and has a counterpart in Hungarian meaning “soul”.

    By using evaporation and condensation the heat from the rocks can be transfered in a very controlled way. Sauna is not about sweating but condensation on the skin. The more water, the hotter. Löyly! Dry “sauna” has no löyly… so you are right. I have never seen one in Finland.

    My sauna has neither electricity or running water, even though it could be easily done. But it would take away the charm of the preparations, carrying the water in buckets, lighting the fire, the warm light from the paraffin lamp outside the window. You wash in the room itself, the water is mixed with hot from the heater on the chimney and cold from the buckets and it runs down through the floor and out on the ground.

    Heating and cooling repetedly is important. A snow bath is great!

    Sauna makkara is sauna sausage, smoked, tasty. Beer and vodka can join it, but after or late in the session. You feel better then. Sit outside and cool down in the semi darkness of the summer nights in the north. Good sleep.

    Here in Thailand where I live now it feels a bit redundant with sauna, unfortunately…

    (Sorry for going off topic!)

  380. to Robert Clemenzi

    Just two points

    1. I don’t mean to be picky, I like your posts…actually dew is not just a morning effect, that’s just when most people wake up and see it…it can go on all night. I live in the Miami Beach area, and I have often observed dew forming on my car immediately following sunset.

    2. regarding O2 and N2…you should have noticed that I also mentioned that they have to be tested for reflectivity and transmissivity at the long wavelengths. A gas molecule can be a very effective ‘greenhouse gas’ even with little absorption….if it’s reflection to long wavelengths is high, reflecting them around to be absorbed by H2O, etc, as well as reflecting them back towards earth.

  381. AJB says: All your Joule are belong to us.

    I followed the link you provided to find an illustration comparing the energy content of water, CO2 and N2 vs temperature, but unfortunately I have to disagree with the accuracy of what is depicted. The truth concerning water’s amazing properties, that this illustration should show, is even better! Can you find all that is wrong with this illustration?

  382. @ Ken. You got me all excited for a while there. “Halite”, hmm, what is that? Never heard of it and Ken says its IR transparent! The “wow” factor was a little less when I looked it up – sodium chloride. So I learned a new name for it. Anyhow, very early IR lenses and optics were made from it. It is one of the few cheap IR transparent materials, but not the only salt. Barium flouride and calcium flouride are salts too, and IR transparent (at best only at 90% up to 12um). But less cheap. Sodium chloride has the distinct disadvantages of being brittle and hygroscopic, so it cannot be used for making lenses for cameras. We are stuck with super expensive germanium, a metal, for the long wave cameras of today.

  383. Phil, Ah well, I did wonder if I’d understood it; Mikael, glad you find it amusing.. Still, am I right in thinking Feet2theFire has falsified Stephan’s Law?

    Mikael – Remains though, the problem that you’re still associating greater penetration with shorter wavelengths and, so far, you haven’t even attempted to prove that to me..

    ..distracting me by sending me off on wild goose chases doesn’t impress.

  384. @ Ken. You could actually recreate that experiment quite easily by using polyethylene film – food wrap – instead of the halite. It should have similar enough characteristics to halite, at least compared to glass.

  385. Well as to my comments about “DRY” air; I am quite aware that real atmospheric air is never dry, in the sense that it contains NO H2O molecules. BUT that is precisely what I mean when I say “DRY air”. And that is simply to separate out the real King of greenhouse gases. CO2 from the non GHG H2O usurper, that is merely carrying the water (so to speak) for the true villain.

    It also helps in that it removes the H2o absorption spectrum from consideration when it comes to the heating and radiation from the atmosphere.

    Somebody way up the forum there (my apologies to the poster; but you can find him) stated, that the atmosphere blocks (is opaque) in some bands in just the bottom few metres, and that that warmer lower layer radiates more heat downwards tot he surface; whereas the higher cooler layers radiate much less upwards; ergo the atmospehric thermal radiation is concentrated downwards; and warms the surface.

    So let’s examing the validity of that notion.

    Consider a very thin atmospheric layer anywhere in the atmosphere (doesn’t matter where so long as it is in the lower 20 km or so); so for the moment shall we say our layer is at the standard Owl Box height of 2 metres; right where that thermistor is. A thermistor is a very poor excuse for a thermometer; but in this case it doesn’t matter.
    Shall we say our thermistor (refuse to call it a thermometer) reads 288 K, 15 deg C or 59 deg F, the current assumed without proof mean Temperature of the earth. The S-B equation gives 390 W/m^2 (roughly) for this Temperature, for the total Black Body Radiation. Did I say that my atmospheric layer is just one micron thick.

    So it is emitting (isotropically) 390 W/m^2 upwards and 390 W/m^2 downwards (TIMES EPSILON, the EMISSIVITY). Now more accurately we should use the spectral emissivity; but for the time being we’ll assume it is constant over the meaningful spectral range.
    Now Wien’s Constant (b) is 2.897756E-3 m.K +/- 8.4 ppm, so that gives the peak of the LWIR spectrum to be 10.0616…. I used to call that 10.1, I’m going to go with 10.0 microns.

    Also the peak spectral radiance is given by 1.288E-11.T^5 w/m^2/micron. which comes out to 25.51986…. ; I’ll take 25.52 Watts per m^2 per micron (of spectral bandwidth).

    So now we are set to go. Taking the CO2 band center as 15 micron (nobody knows what it really is); that makes it 1.5 times the peak (of 10.0 micorns), and at 1.5 times the peak wavelength the BB spectral radiant emittance is 0.70 times the peak, which gives us 17.86 W/m^2/micron, at the CO2 band. Getting generous, and giving CO2 the entire 13.5 to 16.5 micorn spectral width or 3.0 microns total, we get 53.6 W/m^2 (times epsilon) for the up and down halves of the isotropic thermal radiation from my one micron thich layer.

    And that radiant energy is 98% contained between 5.0 microns and 80 microns (0.5 to 8.0 times the spectral peak wavelength).

    Now that energy is radiated from the ordinary atmospheric gases of N2, O2, and Ar that are all at 288 K Temperature. And note that only 53.6 out of 390 is capturable by CO2, that’s 13.7% of the Total thermal energy that can be captured by the CO2 in the layers immediately above and below my one micron layer; the rest goes right on through the adjacent one micron thick layers.
    Now the layer above is colder than my layer, and less dense, so the doppler broadening and the collision (pressure) broadening in that higher layer, are less than in my emitting layer (not much but less anyhow). The air layer below, is slightly higher Temperature and slightly higher density, so both the pressure and doppler broadening are higher than for my layer; and in particular are higher than for the layer above me.
    So I have 390 (epsilon) w/m^2 of identical radiation going upwards, and downwards; but the layer above has narrower absorption lines than the layer below, so the layer below is going to undergo CO2 absorption of slightly more of my 390, than will the layer above.
    So both layers bordering mine, now absorb about 53.6 out of my 390 (don’t forget the emissivity) but the upper layer absorbs slightly less, so that more of the upward LWIR energy goes beyonf the upper layer, than goes beyond the lower layer.

    Each of those layers will in turn thermalize that cO2 captured energy, slightly raising their Temperature. Well not really; those thin layers will cool rapidly due to their thermal radiation losses, if it was not for the contunuous resupply by the CO2 GHG trapping process. That is why those layers are at those Temperatures in the first place. Well don’t forget that conduction and convection etc can also bring more juice to my thin layer.

    Now I gave my layer some numbers; just to have some numbers to talk around; but it should be obvious, even if you have never scratched on the beach sands with a stick, that it doesn’t matter where my layer is; so long as it is in the steadily declining density and Temperature range of the Atmosphere, the same situation applies. The escape route upwards, is favored over the return to earth downwards, byt those gradients and their line broadening effects. OK!, not by much to be sure; but certainly for sure.

    It doesn’t matter that the one micron layer right at the ground iws radiating much more than the layer at 10 km altitude; it is still radiating isotropically, and the upper escape route is still favored over the return to earth.

    I’m NOT going to claim a measurable difference; it’s the beat of a butterfly’s wing thing; but it is quite real, and it puts the lie to the notion that the atmospheric thermal radiation is biassed downwards towards the earth; it isn’t.

    Now feel free to reintroduce H2o; bring on your own favorite GHG; where’s that fearsome 20 times methane monster.

    I actually have a chart that purports to have a methane absorption spectrum. It has a very modest band at 8 microns, and a pitiful one at 3.3 microns, and a totally miserable one at 2.4 microns

    Hey Earth to Atmosphere ! there isn’t any earth emitted LWIR energy at 3.3 or shorter microns; and at 8 microns the spectral radiant emittance is 86% of the peak (10 microns). Did I already say that only 25% of the total BB emission energy lies below the peak wavelength; and actually only 10% lies at less than .8; or 8 microns
    Yes in the hotter desert Temperatures, the thermal peak will move towards the CH4 8 micron band.

    You can do all of those things and though they change the absortion numbers; they do not change the fact that the upper cooler les dense layers intercept less energy than the lower denser, warmer layers; so the escape path is always favored.

    And if you really want to believe that H2O is a greenhouse gas, since there never is dry air. Whence comes this nonsense that H2O needs CO2 to kick it into action; and once your accept H2O as a gHG all bets are off; because as the only condensing GHG, it is the only one that can form clouds, and then it can shut down incoming soalr energy big time.

    Our quite mild Temperature range on earth from -90C to + 60 C, is regulated completely by the physical and chemical (bio too) properties of the H2O molecule.(in all its phases)

  386. Re Infrared

    It [my link to IR radiance of hot steel 100,000 times greater in IR than Visible light] is interesting re the figures for IR radiation from the Sun, which AGW promote and which seems to be accepted by many on the other side of the argument, to be around 50% IR, typical on this in the wiki page on Infrared.

    On that wiki page is also that mid and far are often referred to as thermal, in contrast to near and short wave Infrared which are said to be reflective. I think that means the mid and far are then absorbed? Which AGW then says not much reaches the ground. Obviously we don’t feel warmth from the Sun.. And also, much is made of this being near infrared, which I say is cool, by mentioning it and not mentioning the mid and far.(because other standard sources say so, that heat energy begins in mid and is strongest in far.)

    For example: http://www.emersonww.com/FAR_NearInfrared.htm

    “Infrared:
    This wavelength of light warms objects without warming the air between the source and the object (known as conversion).
    This radiant heat can also be called Infrared Energy (IR). Do not confuse this with UV radiation (sunburn) or atomic radiation (nuclear) – see the diagram above for where these types of light fall on the spectrum. Infrared waves are not visible to human eyes but can be seen by special instruments that translate infrared into colors that are visible to our eyes. The best example is the sun (80% of the sun’s rays are infrared).
    Our atmosphere allows infrared rays in the 7 to 14 micron range to safely reach the earth’s surface.
    When warmed, the earth radiates infrared rays with its peak output at 10 microns.
    The human body radiates infrared energy out through the skin at 3 to 50 microns, with most around 9.4 microns.”

    So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR makes sense from the hot steel fact and yet contrary to our everyday experience of living in a world heated by the Sun, AGW says that IR is practically irrelevant to heating the Earth and ourselves, that the Earth is heated by Visible light and some Near Infrared, and the only Infrared that needs to be considered is that radiated back into the atmosphere from the Earth.

    Second, this page also gives micron spread for the Infrared – .76-1.5 for near, 1.5-5.6 for middle and 5.6-1000 for far infrared.

    Since the mid infrared is where it begins to carry heat energy, heat from IR is radiating directly into a greenhouse, and out again at night when no longer being radiated in by the sun. I’ve seen other applied science pages which give the beginning of opaque to IR at 5 and 6.

    Actually, a third. AGW claim is that Infrared is mostly unable to get through our atmosphere, so therefore irrelevant to heating the Earth directly, but, if what is said above is saying that it is the shorter wave length infrared which gets reflected, then these are like I suppose, the blue colour which gets scattered. This it seems to me is what is meant by “Our atmosphere allows infrared waves in the 7 -14 micron range to safely reach the earth.”

    So it appears that AGW has simply jettisoned all the mid and far infrared non-reflective IR from their energy budget diagrams and models, that Infrared which is absorbed by organic matter on earth.

    [Sorry mods, I did check the first post, but missed that the slash and b were reversed.]

  387. I give up. Don’t know what I’ve done wrong here.

    Anyway, to counter the Domenic put down about medical sources cranky,

    http://www.panmedicahealth.com/photobiomodulation.shtml

    Scroll down to –
    Low Level Laser Therapy Clinical Applications
    NASA research further explains:
    “Low-energy photon irradiation by light in the far-red to near-Ir spectral range with low-energy (LLLT) lasers or LED arrays has been found to modulate various biological process in cell culture and animal models. This phenomenon of photobiomodulation has been applied clinically in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and the acceleration of wound healing. etc.”

    IR is deeply penetrating and short wave UV is not. I’m glad it’s this way around..

    And neither Mikael nor Domenic have come up with anything to prove otherwise.

  388. “”””” Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 18, 2011 at 1:17 am
    http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/o2.pdf and http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/n2.pdf show the IR spectra of O2 and N2, respectively. Unfortunately, there are no spectra for H2O and CO2 for comparison. The following table compares the peak absorption coefficients per molecule for several molecules.
    CO2 1 E-19
    H2O 1 E-18
    O2 1 E-28
    N2 1 E-28 “””””

    Robert, rest assured that I DO know that even in the dryest of air, there is lots of H2O. And thanks for your actual numbers for some interesting places. I simply wanted to make a “Dry Air”, totally devoid of water, so that I could discuss the gh effects relating to just the CO2 by itself; and I agree with you that the N2,O2 line spectra emissions are negligible in the scheme of things.

    Once one understands how CO2 in the N2/O2/Ar atmosphere acts, then one can re-insert the H2O or any other GHG and see that the same consequences still apply.

    The point is that any small sample of air ( one cubic micron for example), is constantly radiating a thermal spectrum; and by “thermal spectrum” I mean a black body like spectrum that is a consequence solely of the Temperature of the sample.

    That radiation would of course cool the sample; but the energy is constantly being replensihed by other energy input processes, either gHG absorption and thermalization or from latent heat or conduction.

    So the air sample is at the Temperature it is at, because that is the Temperature at which its thermal radiation just equals the energy input from other sources.

    In any case; thanks for your insights. If there was an app, for some geektoy or other, that could compute the spectrum of any species in any environment to the extent that QED makes that possible, I would consider buying such a geektoy. Sadly I don’t have access to some of the behind the pay wall programs; and also I have no confidence that they are even correct, since they never say what the circumstances of the derivation are.

  389. It would appear that IR is selective in many ways. Apparently it’s warming up my insides but it won’t come out and tell me how warm they are. Either that or I’m about to succumb to hypothermia. My IR gun says my toes are 18C. I ‘d always thought that was the surface temperature. I guess I really am cold-hearted.

  390. @ Myrrh. About shorter wavelengths penetrating better. It is a general rule with plenty of variation. But consider the extremely short X-ray and gamma wavelengths and you have a couple of good examples.

  391. Re Bolzmann – “NASA covered up for forty years proof that the greenhouse gas theory wa bogus.” “..NASA, proved there was no such thing as a greenhouse gas effect because the ‘blackbody’numbers supporting the theory didn’t add up in a 3-dimensional universe:”

    http://sppiblog.org/tag/stefan-boltzmann-equations

    Re the ‘missing longer wave IR absorbed by the atmosphere and not reaching earth’ of the AGW energy diagrams. Seems it is absorbed by water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so doesn’t get down to us except that re-radiated from this which is only part of its initial force as some gets re-radiated away from Earth.

    Anyway, at around, don’t recall but offhand about .5 – 3or5% of the atmosphere is water vapour depending on local conditions, this can hardly stop the bulk of longwave IR from reaching the Earth. More nonsense then.

    http://www.castlerock.wednet.edu/HS/stello/Astronomy/TEXT/CHAISSON/BG305/HTML/BG30503.HTM

  392. It’s simply a fact that far IR penetrates deeply, its properties are well known in some science which uses this knowledge and it’s well known to some science that UV doesn’t penetrate. Anything can penetrate given enough force. But warmth from the Sun is indisputable to everyone’s common sense, we all know the feeling of being warmed up by the Sun. Go stand in the coldest spot you can tolerate and then go stand in the sunlight, IR isn’t called Heat Energy for nothing.

    To say that shorter wave lengths penetrating better is a general rule subject to variation is not good enough since you claim these penetrate deeper than IR. Prove that in real life. You haven’t disproved Herschel.

  393. Re George E. Smith, February 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm, we disagree on much of what you say. However, I do agree with “most” of your description of how more radiation goes toward space because the absorption lines get narrower. The problem with your description is that you ignore the clouds. Remember, they cover about 1/2 of the planet. Because clouds are blackbody radiators with no distinct spectral lines, there are no line widths to change with temperature and pressure. As a result, their downward radiation is greater than upward since the bottoms are warmer than the tops.

    Also, please stop suggesting that O2, N2, and Ar are blackbody emitters. At the temperatures and frequencies of interest, they simply are not. On the other hand, clouds, aerosols, and dust are.

    I am currently working on an app that works with the spectra of just water vapor and CO2. If you would like to be an alpha tester, contact me via my web page.

  394. Michael H. Anderson
    Oops: Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html#ixzz1EKbIpSQb

    Why has this non-issue not simply dried up and died? Why isn’t this article known to every English-speaking man, woman, and child on the planet?

    There are lots of things people ought to know, but you can’t know about a subject unless you follow that subject. Is the fact you cite news to you? It’s about a year old, and Richard Lindzen was saying essentially the same thing well before then.

  395. Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm
    I am currently working on an app that works with the spectra of just water vapor and CO2. If you would like to be an alpha tester, contact me via my web page.
    ——————-

    I tried out the Stefan-B convertor on your webpage.

    One issue that should be relevant to this topic is that Earth is a rotating sphere.

    During the height of the day at the equator, 1361 joules/m2/second (less 30% Albedo) is coming in from the Sun but the surface temperature only increases as if 0.0017 joules/m2/second is absorbed (or impacts the temperature at 2 metres). The extra 959.9983 joules/m2/second flows away from the surface effectively almost as fast as the energy is coming in.

    Your calculator says surface temperatures should increase to 87C.

    At nght, virtually no radiation is coming in (and the upwelling less downwelling radiation) says the surface should be losing about 100 joules/m2/second but it actually only loses 0.001 joules/m2/second.

    This is the real-world now versus the theoritical.

    The daily radiation budget fluctuates by huge numbers (+/- 1060 watt/m2) but the surface temperature only changes by +/- 5.0C on average or +/- 27 watts/m2.

    One SurfRad station measurements over a 24 hour period.

    Something else is going on in the real world.

  396. There is indeed, a LOT of that ‘something else’ that goes on in the real world.

    That is why I have been repeatedly posting here that most assumptions made by climate experts, and others, regarding the ‘greenhouse effect’ and thermal radiation are completely wrong.

    to Robert Clemenzi

    For example, on your website you wrote: “On the Moon (no atmosphere and 28 day rotation), the maximum temperature is within a few degrees of what is predicted. However, on the dark side the minimum temperature is never reached … it is not even close. This indicates that objects heat up faster than they cool down. This asymmetry means that Stefan’s law can be used to predict maximum temperatures, but is fairly worthless at computing the minimum temperature of a rotating body. It also means that using this equation to compute the expected temperature from the average energy will always give the wrong results.”

    The problem is not Stefan’s law, the problem is the thermal mass of the target area and the thermal conduction within the target area material.

    Here’s an experiment for you: take a piece of styrofoam and aim a radiant heat source at it while also aiming an IR thermometer at it. You will see the surface IR temperature immediately jump to an equilibrium value. Now, remove the radiant heat source, and you will see the IR temperature immediately DROP to the local radiational ambient temperature, virtually no time delay.

    The reason, of course is that styrofoam lacks thermal mass, so there is no thermal conduction to keep supplying the surface with additional heat once you remove the radiant source.

    Stefan’s law will hold perfectly in this situation.

  397. RE: Mikael Cronholm says:
    RE: Saunas
    (Sorry for going off topic!)

    A pleasure reading. . . My father from Finland, me Ma from Ireland. According to Dad, neither could speak ‘English’ when they here in Canada. The clothing ‘optional’ thing even when the nieghbours were over for a steam never impressed Mom much. In the beginning (60’s) Mom saw as it some kind of Hippy-freak thing as opposed to a cultural norm (and would have no part of it!). Fifty years on her opinion hasn’t changed much. Dad on the other hand, never saw the point in ‘High Tea’ . . .

    Now back to the tuff stuff. . . sigh . . .

    I’m trying hard to simplify things in a way that will give me at least a chance to remember salient points raised here.

    RE: Myrrh says:

    “So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR . . .”

    Is there agreement among posters in this thread with that statement?

    “AGW claim is that Infrared is mostly unable to get through our atmosphere, so therefore irrelevant to heating the Earth directly . . .”

    Again, among the posters here, is the above a mostly true or mostly false claim?

    -Barn

  398. Mikael, Phil and whoever is still reading this thread and Ken,

    Firstly to address the criticism of my experiments, which incidentally I have not mentioned once on this thread, I will simply say the following. I have many variations on these experiments, using different heat sources from IR halogen heaters to candles and plain old sunlight in a south facing window: “AGW Debunked again.pdf”

    It makes no difference what type of plastic these bottles are made of or what the heat source is, the result is always a bias of 1 degree towards the Air bottle. Argue the semantics all you like, it doesn’t change that fact. I am not interested in arguing semantics, it is simple, produce an experiment that proves I am in error or shut up already.

    My last word on the opacity of glass.

    As I have made perfectly clear, the claim that glass is opaque to IR is a fallacy which leaves one with the false impression that glass presents a barrier to the passage of IR. Pure and simple. At no point have I claimed, as Mikael has implied that IR is radiated through the molecules in the solid glass. Simply I maintain that glass does not present a barrier to the escaping IR energy from inside a greenhouse any more than a gas does in the open atmosphere.

    Whether or not this achieved via conduction through 4 mm of solid glass via conduction at a rate of 6.7 billion collisions per second, to the colder exterior surface of a greenhouses glass walls, is of no consequence. The effect is the same. The IR energy is not trapped, the energy instantaneously exits through the glass all the same. The likelihood that this energy will be returned to the interior and become “trapped”, as in the implication by the use of the phrase “opaque to IR” is reduced to at least improbable by the second law of thermodynamics. Whether you call this transmission or absorption and re-emission is pure semantics for the following reason. To absorb energy, the glass, being a solid, must be cooler that the ambient surroundings. To emit energy it must be warmer. These are definite conditions. If the glass is at equilibrium with the environment we are left with pure probabilities. Probabilities being the nature of not just light but all natural phenomena. So we are left with the probability that an infra-red photon will be absorbed and re-emitted by the glass, a probability that it may be absorbed and reflected or re-emitted back inside. But the fact that the greenhouse interior is warmer changes a probability into a near certainty and ensures that the energy flows out.

    The nature of glass with it’s transparent double sided 2D surfaces, allows for all sorts of fun and games for the sophists. The only way to show that the phrase “opaque to IR” is a meaningless, deceptive use of the very broad, unspecific adjective/noun which is meant to describe visible not invisible phenomena, is to enclose an IR sensor behind a piece of glass (with the glass at equilibrium with the ambient air temp) filtered to detect between 8-14 µm, which is the usual spec for such devices and see if it picks up any IR. This I have done many times and find no barrier effect from glass that blocks the passage of IR. This whether you like it or not is empirical evidence that glass does not block IR. It also shows that transmission of IR is not required in order for IR energy to traverse substances with relative ease. That is not controversial physics, it is common knowledge.

    As I have made clear to both Ken and Mikael, the use of the term “opaque to IR” is not only meaningless, it is pure sophistry. It gives the false impression that IR is trapped by glass in a greenhouse and that this effect is similar to the effect of “greenhouse gasses” in the open atmosphere.

    When the public realises that whole greenhouse effect hypothesis hangs on such flimsy, ambiguous use of such terms as ““opaque to IR”” and such brazen underhandedness is at the very root of AGW fraud,

    PREDATOR becomes PRAY.

    Over and OUT.

  399. Bill Illis says:
    Something else is going on in the real world.

    It is called the greenhouse effect. Conduction and convection keep the days cooler than expected. Radiation from the sky keeps the nights warmer than expected. Think of the poles, with 6 months of no Sun they should be close to absolute zero. It is heat radiation from a much warmer sky that keeps them at a “warm” 190K or so. In fact, at many places over land, the morning surface temperature is lower than the temperature of the air above it.

    Mountain tops actually receive slightly more energy from the sun than the land at sea level. Yet, they are colder because the air at that level is colder.

    Where I live, in the spring it sometimes snows one week, will be in the 70F’s the next week, and then snow yet another week later. During this period, the amount of energy from the Sun increases each day (remember, this is during the spring).

    The difference between Stefan’s equation and what is observed is the definition of the greenhouse effect.

  400. Has any of our posters read thru this?:
    Professor Claes Johnson Dissects the Failed Greenhouse Gas Theory

    Ken Coffman (KLC) as above interviews Dr. Claes Johnson (CJ) Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

    I found it @John O’Sullivan’s blog:
    “Top Swedish math professor, Claes Johnson, who mathematically refuted the greenhouse gas theory of man-made global warming, was banned by his university employers from teaching his expert analyses to students. Despite the gag on his academic freedom, a brave Johnson spoke candidly to Ken Coffman on the biggest controversy now raging in climate science.”

    The rest here: http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/

    It appears the AGW theory is missing more than just some heat . . .
    -Barn

  401. Don V says February 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    The truth concerning water’s amazing properties, that this illustration should show, is even better! Can you find all that is wrong with this illustration?

    Apart from conflating the impact of the illustration with sublimation and pressure change, no. The data largely came from Engineer’s Toolbox (e.g. for water vapour). Feel free to elaborate and correct, I’m all ears.

  402. Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 19, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Bill Illis says:
    “Something else is going on in the real world.”

    It is called the greenhouse effect. Conduction and convection keep the days cooler than expected. Radiation from the sky keeps the nights warmer than expected. Think of the poles, with 6 months of no Sun they should be close to absolute zero.
    ———————————
    Certainly, its clear that the relative warmth of the air over the pole doesn’t come from sunshine at the pole when there isn’t any.
    What’s not so clear is that this story of radiating to the surface makes any sense at all.
    It’s the air temperature we’re interested in. That’s what we measure (or, guess at). That’s what makes us put on our coats, or take them off. We are not running aound sticking thermometers in the snow and declaring that the air has warmed it.
    Conduction and convection are accepted mechanisms for cooling in the lower latitudes and that’s how the arctic stays toasty.
    The picture evoked is a static sky beaming down on the frigid landscape. The reality is more dynamic, even if the pace seems rather sedate.
    The lapse rate is largely inverted at the pole, the radiative flow from the shorter atmosphere is upwards, the air circulates from equator to pole and back again.
    The lower atmosphere at the pole is warmer than you might expect but not warmer than the air above it, which is radiating away to space, cooling and descending. Then it’s slithering down south so it can get warmed up again. Sometimes, it passes through Tulsa.
    The fact that some photons are absorbed by the snow is not very important.

  403. [Ta very much Mods, greatly appreciated]

    barn E. rubble says:
    February 19, 20100 at 7:17 am

    RE: Myrrh says: “So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR…”

    Is there agreement among posters in this thread with that statement?

    :) I think it’s fairly safe to say that the consensus opinion here is that consensus in science isn’t a principle in science. A fact is a fact, regardless how many vote for it.

    Well, from my post Feb 18, 7:46 am – if the example given of a billet of steel is anything to go by, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that most of the energy from a very hot object will be in IR. The examples of hot objects given included hot embers and lightbulbs, but see Feet2theFires post I’ve been mentioning re emissivity. I leave it to you or others to work out what % IR that would be coming from the Sun, assuming the same ratio of temp to IR as the steel is a good a start as any, my calculator’s broke..

    RE: “AGW claim is that Infrared is mostly unable to get through our atmosphere, so therefore irrelevant to heating the Earth directly..”

    Again, among the posters here, is the above a mostly true or mostly false claim?

    It’s standard AGW. Your best bet here is to google ‘global warming energy balance’ or some such wording and look at the sites that come up from the AGW perspective. Here’s one: http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/earth_atmosph_radiation_budget.html

    With pretty graphic, it says: “A relatively narrow “window” of EM wavelengths around visible light reaches the ground. It includes some of the longer wavelength UV frequencies, some of the shorter wavelength IR frequencies, and all of the visble light region of the spectrum.”

    Most of the longer wavelength IR waves, and many of the shorter radio waves, are absorbed by the stratosphere before reaching the ground. There is a sizeable “radio window” of radio wave frequencies that also reach terra firma.”

    One thing commonly found in looking into such AGWScience is that it is never simple to get an explanation about any of it, because AGW avoids explanations. This leads to immense confusion even among AGW’s and is like wading through sticky toffee for anyone exploring, and one often has strange encounters with such consequences. AGW promotion of the idea of “blanket of greenhouse gases” for example, had some people seriously taking out a patent to deal with this “layer of gases in the atmosphere” – http://www.lightwatcher.com/chemtrails/Hughes_patent.html

    (I’m posting this after having looked up Welsbach patent and found many references to it being real, but it still seems to me a “spoof”, I can’t quite get my head around how absurd this is.)

    I have seen the explanation “absorbed by the stratosphere” for longwave IR, but so far have been unable to find any explanation of how this happens. Maybe you’ll have more luck or someone else knows. As I said earlier, the only explanation I’ve found is that it is absorbed by water and greenhouse gases before it reaches the ground. And although the explanation is often given that some of this ‘captured’ long wave IR is radiated to earth, it is then ignored.

    So, what it, AGW, begins with is the idea that only a narrow window of energies reach earth, in the picture it’s called Optical “window”, you’ll often find it called “the Solar energies”, but it amounts to long wave UV, the Visible Spectrum, and Near Infrared. Near Infrared as noted in my above, is not considered Thermal/Heat Energy in sciences operating outside of AGWSpeak; Heat Energy is Mid and Far IR.

    Most of the time AGW simply ignores this Near IR as a separate entity in basic diagrams and lumps it into “Visible Light” from a very hot Sun, and this, it says, is what heats the Earth, which then radiates back heat as far IR. One strange consequence I’ve seen is some AGW’s think Near IR is visible.

    Now, I haven’t explored radio waves…, and deciding to take a quick look to see what I could find agreeing and disagreeing with this and the whys, I found: http:www.scribd.com/doc/14676816/E-E-RICHARDS-Earth-Power-Spectrum. I get easily distracted when exploring and so for the moment will avoid this tangent and stick with the IR problem presented here by the AGW scenario.

    Bearing in mind that, as I have found generally, AGW explains the lack of mid and far IR reaching earth by saying it gets absorbed by water and carbon dioxide and only part of this is then re-emitted to earth and it doesn’t then bother with how much of this is reaching Earth, it doesn’t bother itself with Mid either, wouldn’t want anyone to start investigating the difference.., so it’s Near IR if mentioned at all, within Solar Energy, and longwave/far/thermal IR only. This wiki page is pretty much standard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

  404. @barn E. rubble, February 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

    (This was written last night but my internet connection went down, so it is a delayed post.)

    Clothes in a sauna?!?! Ridiculous! That’s like wearing clothes when you take a shower. People who cannot bear other people’s nudity will have to sauna alone, missing the important social aspect. In many countries business is done on the golf course. Guess where it is done in Finland? (Basically saying; I agree with your Dad!)

    Anyhow, about your questions:

    “RE: Myrrh says:

    “So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR . . .”

    Is there agreement among posters in this thread with that statement?”

    No, there is not, and I think the best answer was made here, comment and partial quote:

    “George E. Smith says:
    February 15, 2011 at 11:54 am
    For a start, the solar spectrum received at earth contains 98% of its energy essentially in the wavelength range from 0.25 microns in the UV to 4.0 microns in the IR, with only 1% left over at each end. Ozone of course cuts off the short end at about 0.3 microns. About 2.5% of solar radiation lies below 300 nm.”

    I totally agree with George on that, based on my understanding of Planck’s Law (which Myrrh “falsified” using data obtained with….. Planck’s Law!).

    Then this one:

    ““AGW claim is that Infrared is mostly unable to get through our atmosphere, so therefore irrelevant to heating the Earth directly . . .”

    Again, among the posters here, is the above a mostly true or mostly false claim?”

    I would agree that very little heat from infrared radiation would be absorbed by the surface of the earth through the atmosphere, firstly because according to the above, very little energy reaches TO the atmosphere in the first place and secondly because even IF any significant IR reaches the “outside” of the atmosphere, it would have a real hard time getting through it. We have to keep the logarithmic scale of the Planck curves in mind when we look at them.

    And then there is the so called greenhouse effect that I believe is for real (although it has not been so clearly defined so I may be confused about it), and necessary for our survival on this planet. IR radiation from earth will not radiate easily towards the cold space, but be trapped in the atmosphere to a degree. Some of the heat in the atmosphere must be in the form of latent heat in the water vapor itself and it keeps our planet from cooling off too much. This has been happening for millions of years, the balance has been shifting back and forth and warmer and colder periods have been taking place for a variety of reasons – in combination! I am just not very sure about these mechanisms, but somehow there is a balance between heating and cooling that keeps us at a comfortable equipibrium.

    I think it is important to make a distinction between “green house effect” and “global warming”. Greenhouse effect as such is necessary and not an evil thing, if the term means what I think it does. We depend on it. The other claim that CO2 emissions cause an additional warming effect – that is compounded with an increase of the greenhouse effect – is the part that I feel is not proven at all. This is where all the politics and prestige comes into the picture and as a crowning of it, even fraudulent behavior from scientists.

    So there we go, I think that in addition to replying to your very well chosen questions I was also promted to sum up my personal standpoint at this time. Subject to continuous scrutiny and revision of course!

  405. Will says:
    February 19, 2011 at 7:53 am
    Mikael, Phil and whoever is still reading this thread and Ken,

    Firstly to address the criticism of my experiments, which incidentally I have not mentioned once on this thread, I will simply say the following. I have many variations on these experiments, using different heat sources from IR halogen heaters to candles and plain old sunlight in a south facing window: “AGW Debunked again.pdf”

    But none of those light sources have any relevance to the Greenhouse Effect, for that you would need a solid object at a temperature of ~300K, the problem is there is no simple experiment to demonstrate it under realistic conditions. All sorts of temperature and material problems.

    It makes no difference what type of plastic these bottles are made of or what the heat source is, the result is always a bias of 1 degree towards the Air bottle. Argue the semantics all you like, it doesn’t change that fact. I am not interested in arguing semantics, it is simple, produce an experiment that proves I am in error or shut up already.

    Design an experiment that simulates the Greenhouse Effect and we’ll have something to talk about, the experiments you describe are far removed from that. You’ll need to have a light source corresponding to a blackbody at 300K (peak wavelength ~10μm), and a container transparent up to ~20μm (ZnSe would probably work although a 1/2″ diam window will cost over $100). Have at it.

  406. @ Phil. Creating a 300K source is no problem at all, since it correspond to about 27C. The problem is to simulate the atmosphere and space. That is not something you do in a kitchen! Using ZnSe windows we could probably create a slightly less stupid experiment than the plastic bottle one, and then tell Will to shut up until he makes a better one than that. But it is pointless. Creating one flawed experiment after the other makes very little sense. What is important is not to believe charlatans…

    In the end, the burden of supplying proof rests instead on those that claim CO2 is responsible for warming the earth. None of that has been presented so far and it will be difficult to do. It brings me back to what I ended the discussion with Ken with:

    “…the problem that all these scientists have is that they will never be able to test if their theories are correct, because the time spans are too long. For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    If not, it is not science, it is guessing.”

  407. Myrrh says:

    “Is there agreement among posters in this thread with that statement?

    :) I think it’s fairly safe to say that the consensus opinion here is that consensus in science isn’t a principle in science. A fact is a fact, regardless how many vote for it.”

    That is so true! Completely agree!

  408. Michael,

    Please read carefully the following quote: “THE SIMPLE TEST A comparison of the Infrared absorption of CO2 against ordinary Air.”

    See that is what is clearly stated at the link.

    “AGW Debunked again.pdf”

    You have falsely implied that I have attempted to model the “greenhouse effect”.

    Yet I have clearly stated that it is a simple gas comparison test. I would not try to model something which cannot and has not been shown to exist. What would be the point in that.

    The technique of perpetually taking me out of context in order to claim I am in error is a trick you have repeatedly used on this thread Mikael, shame on you Sir.

    Phil,

    What temperature do you think my house is for Christ’s sake, and who do you think you are fooling?

    This is a “science blog” where interested folke come to learn things. Not to be led up the garden path.

    Nobody has provided a legitimate criticism of these simple experiments. Just out of context ad hom and sophistry dressed up as science.

    Any fool can criticise a video or an image with some text, what does that prove? Like I said, perform an experiment which proves mine is wrong, or shut up about it.

  409. barn E. Rubble says:
    “RE: Myrrh says:

    “So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR . . .”

    Is there agreement among posters in this thread with that statement?

    “AGW claim is that Infrared is mostly unable to get through our atmosphere, so therefore irrelevant to heating the Earth directly . . .”

    Again, among the posters here, is the above a mostly true or mostly false claim?

    ———————————-
    1. AFAIK , around 50% of the total energy is IR.
    2. It is strongly absorbed by water vapour and other absorbing gases and particles fairly high up. It warms the air, not the surface, but is not irrelevant.

  410. Will says:
    February 20, 2011 at 5:46 am
    Michael,

    Please read carefully the following quote: “THE SIMPLE TEST A comparison of the Infrared absorption of CO2 against ordinary Air.”

    Which can be done much more effectively with a spectrometer, such as here for instance:

    See that is what is clearly stated at the link.

    “AGW Debunked again.pdf”

    You have falsely implied that I have attempted to model the “greenhouse effect”.

    Well in order to ‘debunk AGW’ it would be important to conduct an experiment at conditions relevant to AGW! Something you failed to do.

    Yet I have clearly stated that it is a simple gas comparison test. I would not try to model something which cannot and has not been shown to exist. What would be the point in that.

    The technique of perpetually taking me out of context in order to claim I am in error is a trick you have repeatedly used on this thread Mikael, shame on you Sir.

    So stop claiming to have debunked something when your experiment could not possibly do so, that is the context that you claim.

    Phil,

    What temperature do you think my house is for Christ’s sake, and who do you think you are fooling?

    This is a “science blog” where interested folke come to learn things. Not to be led up the garden path.

    The only one ‘leading up the garden path’ is you, your experiment is not science it’s junk!

    The ‘G’ stands for globe and refers to the following situation:

    A solid sphere in the vacuum of space, heated by the sun at ~5800K (peak emission ~0.5μm), achieves a surface temperature ~300K by radiational exchange through an atmosphere to space at ~4K.

    Your experiment, a hollow vessel filled with CO2, heated from outside by a heater at ~2000K (~2μm?) in an atmosphere at 1bar exchanging heat with its surroundings at 300K via radiation, conduction and convection.

    Nobody has provided a legitimate criticism of these simple experiments. Just out of context ad hom and sophistry dressed up as science.

    Really perhaps you should try reading, starting above.

    Your experiment has all the parameters wrong for a comparison with AGW as shown above. Even then it is unlikely to measure what you think it does!

    You compare a sample of wet air with wet CO2, the CO2 is at a higher pressure than the air and consequently will have a higher heat capacity (CO2 has a higher molar Cp too). You illuminate both with Near IR probably peaking around 2μm so that if there is any absorption by CO2 it will be in the 2.7μm and 4.3μm bands which are weakly activated by the solar spectrum. However that light has to pass through the vessel walls and it is the wall temperature which you are measuring not the gas temperature. None of the variables are well controlled, in short it’s a terrible experiment and goodness knows what it’s actually responding to, most likely radiational heating of the plastic and heat loss to variable heat capacity enclosed gas, but that’s nothing to do with AGW.

  411. Mikael Cronholm says:
    February 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm
    @ Phil. Creating a 300K source is no problem at all, since it correspond to about 27C. The problem is to simulate the atmosphere and space. That is not something you do in a kitchen! Using ZnSe windows we could probably create a slightly less stupid experiment than the plastic bottle one, and then tell Will to shut up until he makes a better one than that. But it is pointless. Creating one flawed experiment after the other makes very little sense. What is important is not to believe charlatans…

    Quite so, but when those charlatans post here like Will does it’s important to rebut them lest readers believe their nonsense. While there are many things wrong with Will’s experiment to design a good one isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap.

    REPLY: Will’s been put in the troll bin for thread bombing his plastic bottle nonsense. I’m going to routinely delete his posts from now on, simply because he’s incapable of listening to others when we point out he has the basis of his experiment all wrong. – Anthony

  412. [snip – take your plastic bottles IR experiments elsewhere, your fatally flawed commentary is no longer welcome here – Anthony]

  413. Thank you Anthony

    Robert Clemenzi says:
    February 18, 2011 at 1:17 am
    http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/o2.pdf and http://www.coe.ou.edu/sserg/web/Results/Spectrum/n2.pdf show the IR spectra of O2 and N2, respectively. Unfortunately, there are no spectra for H2O and CO2 for comparison.

    Actually there are at the same site that you get those from. To save trouble here are the spectra for CO2, N2 and O2, plotted on the same graph:

    and here is the BB emission spectrum on approximately the same scale:

    Note that the scale of the first graph is log base 10 so that the N2 and O2 bands are many orders of magnitude weaker than the CO2 bands, also in the region where they show up is an H2O peak which also swamps them by a similar margin.

  414. Mikael says to barn E. rubble
    February 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    barn E. rubble Re: Myrrh says: “So, two things here. First, the 80% of Sun’s radiance being in IR..”

    Is there agreement among poster in this thread with that statement?

    Mikael replies: No, there is not, and I think the best answer was made here, comment and partial quote:
    George E. Smith says: “For a start, the solar spectrum recieved at earth contains 98% of its energy in the wavelength range from 0.25 microns in the UV to 4.0 microns in the IR, …”

    Mikael says: I totally agree with George on that, based on my understanding of Planck’s Law (which Myrrh “falsified” using data obtained with … Planck’s Law!).

    Hmm, not all energy is heat. Most of that then, not that I’m agreeing with the division here, is of Visible Light Energy which ain’t so hot, visible light is not heat carrying, it doesn’t warm up things. You can shine a yellow light, hey let’s go for peak, white light at your kettle and you’d be waiting a long time for your tea. You haven’t falsified Herschel. The greatest amount of energy is in the Thermal IR.

    Here, perhaps I’m just not very good at explaining it: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99505.htm

    Light Bulb Color and Temperature

    name Shawanna
    status student
    grade 4-5
    location MD

    Question – Do different color light bulbs produce different amounts of heat?
    —————————————-

    Hi Shawanna,

    There is no significant difference in the amount of heat produced, between different color of light bulbs of the same wattage.

    To give you a little more detail, all standard filament-type lights waste around 95% of their power as heat, and only about 5% of the power they use is used to make white light.
    So, a 100 watt light bulb may be using 100 Watts of electrical power, but it is producing only about 5 Watts of actual white light, and a whopping 95 Watts of heat!

    Etc. Likewise the Sun. It takes heat to create the colours, that does not mean the colours are that heat, nor that colours can produce that amount of heat. All the colours show is the temperature of the object generating the colours.

    As my example re the steel billet explained, a skilled steel worker can tell from the colour how hot the steel is. And the punchline – that a steel billet at X, scroll up yourselves, produces 100,000 times as much IR as Visible Light.

    Which is all I was saying re the Planck thingie, the peak energy should be in IR which is what is most produced by a heated object. And if the light bulb to steel at temp X may be a ‘relative constant’ of some sort, on a sliding scale 19 times for 100 Watts through to the steel 100,000 times and to the sun X times as much?

    So, anyway, what we have in AGW is this ridiculous notion that Visible Light heats the Earth. Example on this wiki page, which some here can tell you was totally corrupted by AGW control, but that’s another story.. Anyway, look up Thermal radiation and you’ll find this:

    Examples of thermal radiation are an incandescent light bulb emitting visible-light, infrared radiation emitted by a common household radiator or electric heater, as well as radiation from hot gas in outer space. A person near a raging bonfire feels the radiated energy of the fire, even if the surrounding air is very cold. Thermal radiation is generated when thermal energy is converted to electromagnetic radiation by the movement of the charges of electrons and protons in the material. Sunlight is solar electromagnetic radiation generated by the hot plasma of the Sun, and this thermal radiation heats the Earth by the reverse process of absorption, generating kinetic, thermal energy in electrons and atomic nuclei. The Earth also emits thermal radiation, but at a much lower intensity and different spectral distribution because it is cooler. The balance between heating by incoming solar radiation and cooling by the Earth’s outgoing radiation is the primary process that determines Earth’s overall temperature.

    AGW says Solar electro-magnetic radiation is sunlight, this means the Visible Light spectrum, and it’s this which heats the Earth by generating kinetic, thermal energy in electrons and atomic nuclei, the opposite of absorption (which is how thermal IR heats), I put this in italics.

    Note it precedes this by saying the thermal radiation of the sun produces sunlight, but doesn’t say it produces thermal energy, so only kinetic production is used in their “Energy Budget”.

    It is ignoring the real thermal radiation heating the Earth, by absorption of Thermal Energy itself, mid and long wave IR.

    If a 100 Watt light bulb produces 95% Heat/Thermal Energy, how much is the Sun producing? It reaches us in the same 8 minutes as Visible Light, remember.

    Like I said, AGW ignores the real heat source actually heating the Earth, Thermal IR.

    If you look at the AGW diagrams you’ll notice that none of the thermal energy which is the real peak of energy, is used to calculate the heating of the Earth. Not even, as I said earlier, the thermal IR absorbed by water in clouds and water vapour and also heating the atmosphere and “radiating back to Earth” in some of the AGW scenarios..

    If you look at the diagrams, you’ll notice rather a lot of thermal IR being radiated back from the Earth.

    George and Mikael, please show me, and barn E. rubble, the experimental data which proves that Visible Light, Sunlight, is kinetically heating the Earth to such an extent as to produce this amount of Thermal Energy radiating back into the atmosphere from the Earth.

    What this does to Planck, I have no idea. What it does to AGW should be obvious to you all now. It’s JunkScience.

  415. @ Myrrh. For your own sake, please listen: You need to spend a little time learning how Planck, Stefan-Boltzman, and Wien work, and how they are related. It is pointless to discuss with you before you understand those things. You can try and turn things upside down, inside out as much as you want, it will not change these very basic laws of science!

    A white car and a black car will have the same absorptivity in the IR, and yet the black one gets hotter when they stand in the sun beside each other. The white car reflects more of the visible light from the sun, while the black one absorbs more of it. Is that impossible for you to understand?

  416. Myrrh says:
    February 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    “Here, perhaps I’m just not very good at explaining it: …”
    ————————————-
    I have to agree with that statement.
    I don’t think you’ll find many claiming that an object at 300K is emitting most of its energy as visible light. I believe that you might emit one photon of visible blue in 10,000 years. As long as you don’t cool down too much in the interim.
    Not even at 6,000K. In addition to IR, there’s UV and x-ray.
    I don’t think you’re talking to many AGWers here but, equally, few would accept that the atmosphere is heated from the top down, except for during the polar nights and that’s about convection.

  417. Mikael – stop avoiding what I’m saying. Answer my post and no more prevarication.

    YOU HAVE STILL NOT PROVED WHAT YOU CLAIMED.

    YOU SAID UV AND VISIBLE LIGHT PENETRATE DEEPER THAN IR.

    If you can’t handle my post, exactly as I have presented my argument, and if you continue to offer no proof of what you have claimed, then, there’s nothing more to say. Except, if you can’t answer these, why are you claiming to have knowledge of them?

    barn E. rubble, make up your mind. And bear in mind, to my experience, that people answering by throwing ‘laws’ at you with such disdain as shown here while unable to answer contradictions, either don’t know the laws themselves, which includes their limitations, or are bluffing because they can’t answer you. Note well, that Mikael’s last reply to me about cars has got nothing, zilch, to do with what I am saying and asking him.

    It’s simply bloody obvious, that there is more thermal energy given off by a hot body than visible light. They are like for like electro-magnetic energies. The Planck “peak” might well be in the shorter wavelengths. But that cannot be saying as George said and Mikael agreed, that this means 98% of the energy given off by the sun is in the wave lengths George said with any implications that this means Visible light is in that in any amount except as a minor contributor to the total energy coming from the Sun.

    In other words, be careful how things are phrased. Remember the light bulb, 5%-95% of light energy to heat energy.

    Oliver – that’s exactly what is being claimed by AGW. I’m sorry I’m not explaining myself well enough for you, perhaps if you actually followed it with more attention given my obvious limitations, you would have seen that by my examples from AGW’s own bumf. The wiki article is specific on this. The Earth is not heated by absorption but by kinetic energy from the Visible light spectrum, a.k.a. Solar Energy. AGW takes downwelling Thermal energy out of the equation.

    And who said anything about the atmosphere being heated top down? Light reaching us in 8 minutes from the sun includes the major component, Thermal IR. The heat we feel on earth standing in the Sun light is not from the Visible light energies, but from the Thermal IR. That is reaching us even if we are in a cold atmosphere, like sitting in front of a fire in a cold room, we’ll be feeling the heat while our backs are cold, so on some Alpine slope in the Sun light; and it reaches us at the same time as the Visible energies reach us. We are warmed from the Earth up by absorption, not by kinetic AGW twaddle.

  418. @ Myrrh.

    You say: “… of Visible Light Energy which ain’t so hot, visible light is not heat carrying, it doesn’t warm up things.” Wrong, which is what the car example aimed at, but you did not understand. Visible light, when absorbed, will heat things up. The two cars will absorb equally in IR, but the white one will reflect more of visible and the it why it is cooler when it is standing in the sun. So the visible is the difference, which it could not have been if it could not transfer heat. If you cannot get your head around that, what can I do?

    You also do not believe the numbers George gave you that I agreed with.

    Well, there is a a set of three curves (solar radiation on the outside of atmosphere and on earth, compared with blackbody) that will show you that the sunlight has the most intense energy flow (which becomes heat when absorbed by the earth) in the visible part. There is also a lot in the near IR, but not much over 2.5um, which is what I pointed at re. Herschel. There would have been very little energy in the longer wavelengths and they would have been blocked by the glass prism anyway.

    And please stop assuming that I have any obligation to prove anything to you. You claim that I am unable to show you, when in fact you are unable to understand.

  419. @ Myrrh. BTW: “The Planck “peak” might well be in the shorter wavelengths.” It may, it may not – it depends on the temperature of the object where the peak end up! Every temperature has it own Planck curve… learn!

  420. Myrrh says:
    February 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm
    Mikael – stop avoiding what I’m saying. Answer my post and no more prevarication.

    YOU HAVE STILL NOT PROVED WHAT YOU CLAIMED.

    YOU SAID UV AND VISIBLE LIGHT PENETRATE DEEPER THAN IR.

    Here’s the absorption spectrum for liquid water (blue curve), note the 8 order of magnitude drop-off from the near IR to the UV (300nm).

  421. @Myrrh

    Okaaaay…. could you give me your version of what happens, up close, when an IR photon encounters a water molecule, in the midst of a whole bunch of other water molecules at a partial pressure of 10 millibars? Let’s add some N2 and O2 to make a total pressure of 1,000 millibars.
    Then, a snapshot of a photon at 400 nanometres doing the same thing.
    Please, don’t leave out the vibrational bits, or the translational stuff. Are electrons involved? Is there such a thing?

  422. @ Phil. Thanks! I had a feeling it should look something like that.

    And if we consider that us humans consist of about 2/3 of that stuff, I think Myrrhs alternative medicine healers had better not show that to their patients.

    In fact, thanks to Myrrh, I am learning and finding out a lot of stuff from this discussion.

  423. Why don’t you answer my actual questions? Deal with my actual points made? barn E. rubble asked specific questions, I did my best to answer him, my answers make sense, yours are either distractions or irrelevant or plain daft.

    Your car example is the same as the, quite frankly, stupid, BBC promotion of AGW in their experiment to show how dreadfully hot carbon dioxide became by heating a jar full of carbon dioxide and a jar full of air.

    How long have you given the two cars to heat up? And critically, which cools down more quickly?

    Check out Wien, 2nd Law Thermodynamics and the Osanger reciprocity principle. Like the AGW ‘back-radiation’ from Carbon Dioxide will keep heating up the Earth and set up a runaway global warming your black car will just keep getting hotter and hotter… None of you really understand these laws, do you?

    barn E. rubble asked two questions. You have not shown him any proof that I am wrong in the answers I gave him.

    Are you unable to concentrate? I know I get easily distracted, but your avoidance is bordering on something else perhaps…

  424. @ Myrrh. The answers to those two questions have been given. If you don’t understand the graph I gave you, or the explanations by me and others, I cannot really help you any more. You have to study the basics.

  425. Mikael, you haven’t answered my questions, you never really do. Either you don’t know or you understand exactly what I’m saying in the tale of two lightbulbs.

    Either way, AGWScience is nonsense, and so garbled that it’s no wonder AGW’s don’t understand what it’s saying…

    barn E. rubble – A couple of things before I sign off here. A few posts up George mentioned the energy the earth receives, he said: For a start, the solar spectrum recieved at earth contains 98% of its energy in the wavelength range from 0.25 microns in the UV to 4.0 microns in the IR”

    Bear in mind firstly that AGW claims it is Solar Energy which heats the Earth, not Thermal IR. Solar in AGW only comprises UV, Visible and Near IR. Thermal IR is only used in their ‘energy budgets’ as that which the heated earth radiates out.

    Near IR is 0.7-1.5 microns, then comes Mid IR and Far IR. What George has done here is include Thermal Mid IR in his 98% of Solar Energy. Rather a lot of it…

    There is some confusion about where one ends and the other begins, but those who have particular need to accurately tell, do know. Near and Mid IR have different properties, Near is Reflective, Mid is Absorptive, Near is Cold, Mid is Thermal. In other words Near IR is included in the Solar Energies because it is Light not Heat energy.

    Those interested in IR re furnaces for example, who work in IR beginning at 2, I would reason that this begins a 2 microns to be sure that what is being worked with is Thermal IR/Heat Energy, and not interfered with by Near IR which isn’t, which is Light Energy.

    Here’s NASA on Cool Near Infrared: http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kid/imagers/ems/infrared.html

    And from another page from those who need to understand the difference to use the wavelengths accurately: http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.arts.sf.science/2008-07/msg00098.html

    From which: If we assume a suffficiently advanced technology, near IR and visible are good for getting through air. If you are operating on a planet or plan to bombard a planet, you are pretty much restricted to a band of 1.5 to 0.2 microns wavelength for your light – near IR 1.5 to 0.7 microns, visible 0.7 to 0.4 microns, and near UV 0.4 to 0.2 microns (if you need to shoot through an ozone layer, etc.

    This fills in with detail by actual number what the NASA page explaining cold Near IR has indicated in its graphic. Cold IR relative to Hot Thermal IR, you cannot feel it, any more than you can feel the rest of the Light Energies from the Sun in any of the colours of the rainbow or in UV. George has include 2.5 microns of Thermal IR in his statement.

    If this is how AGW calculates its Energy Budget models then it is claiming one thing, that only Near IR is used, while actually also using the heat energy of Mid IR.

    And, claiming that it is this total which is impacting the Earth to heat it, microscopically by generating heat kinetically only and not by absorption of Thermal Mid and Far IR.

    See here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page1.php

    Only Shortwave in, Longwave out.

    What this does to those Energy Budget Diagrams I don’t have the maths patience to work this out. Are they using 2.5 microns of Thermal Energy masquerading as Shortwave? (George?)

    UV as I’ve said, doesn’t penetrate beyond the first layer of skin, the epidermis, which is why people can get sunburnt even on not so hot days without realising they’re being burnt. Short wave energies do not carry heat, and it’s only these said to be included in the term Solar or Solar energies by AGW, the Visible + the nearest short waves either side. They have a high energy frequency, although with a tendency to be scattered in the atmosphere because they are Reflective and not Thermal. They can be concentrated and directed then with accuracy, as the weapons use discusses, but they can no more warm the Earth than they can cook your egg, because their reflective penetration is neglibible, and, the Earth and all life isn’t permanently scorched.. When you’re sitting on a hot rock warmed by the Sun, it’s Mid and Far Thermal energy which has penetrated its organic matter, just as it warms us and the metal tanks in the desert the soldiers used to fry their eggs. Astonishingly complementary energies, perfect for life as we know it.

    The high energy states do not have the bulk nor the heating power of Thermal Energy, which is explained in my link about a 100 Watt lightbulb, and properly understood, this means the Sun gives the majority of its Energy in Thermal IR which is deeply penetrative. And, as NASA understands in its work which it developed with spacemen in mind, this deep penetration is also healing in tissue and cell levels.

    In other words, the AGW claim that shortwave Solar Energy, which is Light, heats the Earth kinetically without Thermal Ir is simply absurd.

    As an aside to this, Anthony and Phil, I am sorry to see Will banned. He was goaded into explaining himself (I’ve seen this method played out elsewhere) by those who never answer straight questions, but always claim their own use of out of context science trumps. It doesn’t. Which is why they can never give a straight answer. Wishing them a real lightbulb moment.

    Anyway, barn E. rubble, good luck with trying to make sense of it all.

  426. AJB says: Apart from conflating the impact of the illustration with sublimation and pressure change, no. The data largely came from Engineer’s Toolbox (e.g. for water vapour). Feel free to elaborate and correct, I’m all ears.

    Ok, The Y axis is in units of heat capacity. The heat capacity for ice is illustrated correctly, the heat capacity for water is illustrated correctly, the heat capacity for steam is illustrated correctly, and the heat capacity for N2 is illustrated correctly all at 1 ATM. But . . . .
    At 273 K the latent heat of fusion shouldn’t be illustrated with just a big orange blob. In fact at it’s melting point ice just sits there and sucks up 334 kJ/Kg with no change in temperature at all. This should be illustrated on a logarithmic Y-axis scale showing a huge spike in energy absorbing capacity – a vertical line that jumps not one but two decades from the 2.0 value up to 334 and then back down to eventually arrive at the 4.2 value of water.
    And then again at 373 K it should show an even bigger spike of 3 decades of energy absorbing capacity of 2257 kJ/Kg to get from water to steam.

    In addition, CO2 is incorrectly illustrated at 195 K. This is the temp at which it sublimes. Below 195 the heat capacity of solid CO2 is 1.2 kJ/(Kg*K). Right at 195 a similar spike in the graph should be illustrated of ~760 kJ/Kg to reflect the latent heats of melting + vaporization since CO2 sublimes at 1 atm.

    But neither of these addequately illustrate what is going on, because the units of latent heat of fusion, and latent heat of vaporization, don’t match the units of heat capacity.

    I believe what the author of this illustration was trying to show was how much energy absorbing capacity water had over either of the atmospheric gases. IMHO to illustrate this correctly, the Yaxis should have just had units of energy, and the X axis units of temperature. When this is laid out properly, even with a logarithmic Y axis, the significantly higher heat capacities of ice, water and water vapor, PLUS the huge energy absorbing phase transitions, show just how amazing water’s temperature/energy buffering capacity is! You need a logarithmic scale just to keep the other gases even on the graph, otherwise they look like they are both barely above zero over the whole range of temperatures. (BTW Normal climatic temp range 240-320 K)

  427. I would like to add one more comment to this thread that suggests a neat experiment anyone can do to prove the very low contribution of CO2 back radiation to our blue planet.

    http://solarcooking.org/plans/funnel.htm

    On this page (put together by BYU professor Steven E. Jones, and his students) you will find simple directions for how to build a simple solar cooker out of a piece of cardboard, aluminum foil, a mason canning jar and a “shake and bake” bag. The plans illustrate a way to make a simple funnel shaped mirror with the canning jar (blackened) sitting inside the bag (to prevent convective energy loss) at the focal point of the mirror to focus radiant energy transfer and collect all of the energy in the sun’s light rays.

    Now, you could play around with this fun toy on a nice sunny day (or even a cloudy day) and show just how much radiant energy rains down on us. But that isn’t the cool experiment. No, the cool experiment is to take the funnel mirror with the blackened mason jar (a blackened plastic frozen juice can might work bettter) inside of not one but two plastic bags out on a average cloudless night, and face the mirror out at the black sky.

    Read almost to the bottom of the page at the above web site and you will see that over a couple of hours the radiant energy transfer to the cold black body temps of deep space will drop the temperature of the water in the can 10 degrees C below ambient! They claim they even achieved freezing!

  428. A quick p.s. Re: Reflective. Reflective means that it bounces off objects, Visible and Near Infrared are Reflective, not penetrative, that’s why Near is used in IR detection systems (object can be seen because not in colour – http://www.sensorsinc.com/whyswir.html).

    I discovered this by chance for myself a couple of years ago when I pressed my remote control to change channels in mid movement, it was pointing to the ceiling at the time and still changed the channel. (Spent some moments testing out angles, but didn’t try from another room… grin) Bounces off, that’s why UV generally does not burn up everything.

    One other thing, Visible light against Mid and Far IR – Visible does not travel as well through foggy conditions when it loses half its energy compared with 3% loss for Far IR. Can’t find the naval page looking at this, but it’s what I recall from the table. The longer the wave the less lost, when visible light has practically stopped the IR is still relatively strong. Don’t know how this can be used in understanding Heat Energy through the atmosphere. If I can find it again will post for info.

  429. Don V says February 22, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Hi Don,

    Point taken about CO2 at 195K. But you seem to be having a problem with units, the blobs as labelled bear no relation to the Y-axis and temp goes nowhere. I guess you’d rather see something like this (no need for a log scale, did you forget to factor out K on the Y-axis?):

    Obviously both depictions are hugely simplistic, just a like for like comparison of each in a pure state, hence the jokey title. Water is nifty stuff though, except when you don’t want it playing it’s big bag of tricks :-)

  430. To AJB

    Nice graph.

    Now graph the same three molecules with respect to number of molecules of each gas within the atmosphere…for total joules in the atmosphere for each.

    What do you see?

    Focusing on CO2 by the warmistas looks pretty ridiculous once you look at the whole scheme of things….

  431. AJB, I second Domenic. We are very fortunate to live on a planet with so much water–which is capable of absorbing and emitting huge amounts of energy during the two common phases changes…all of which help us maintain a livable temperature. Energy does not equal temperature. The reason we’re here today thinking about this stuff is a side-effect of that fact.

  432. AJB,
    Yes, that’s closer to what I’m talking about! Are you sure you got all the slopes and phase change jumps right though? Especially for CO2? Remember the energy content can be computed as m*Cp*(T-Tzero) up to the first phase change. Thereafter the energy content is equal to the total heat capacity at the temperature of the phase change plus the phase change energy plus the heat capacity of the new phase multiplied by the delta T as measured from the phase change. The CO2 graph should include a large phase change energy added to the solid phase heat capacity starting at it’s sublimation temp.

    Furthermore water’s slope should be 4, ice to water jump only 334 (graph seems a bit more than that), and water to steam jump 2257 (graph should hit near 3600 near 400 K).

    Domenic,
    I agree, that’s the point I was trying to make. Multiplying each of the numbers in each graph by the mass of each gas in a kg of air would illustrate the energy content carried by each. Since CO2 is such a tiny, tiny fraction of air’s total volume, it’s energy carrying capacity is miniscule, when compared to water’s. The difficulty of producing this kind of graph though is deciding what part of the atmosphere you want to “sample” and deciding on the sample’s water content. It can go anywhere from near zero in the dead of winter at the poles to greater than 1 Kg(H2O)/Kg(Air) in a drenching ice storm (all three phases). See:

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/moisture-holding-capacity-air-d_281.html

    And then when you add in the density differences of each of them in the gas phase and realize that most of the CO2 is sinks to the bottom . . . .

  433. to Don V

    We do have a pristine data baseline reference to guage the true ‘greenhouse effect’ of CO2. It’s the Antarctic data. (Note: do not use Antarctic coastal data, it’s too noisy due to higher ave temps and higher humidity. The interior data is most pristine. High signal, no noise.)

    There is virtually no moisture in the atmosphere above Vostok and Amundsen-Scott.

    And there has been a rise in CO2 in the air there comparable to Mauna Loa.

    So, in Antarctica, any ‘greenhouse effect’ of CO2 increase should be magnified there, as there is no water vapor to moderate it.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/VOSTOK.pdf

    Keep in mind, the ‘greenhouse effect’ of CO2 the warmists keep pointing at actually has two components (1) absorbing more incoming solar radiation during daytime, and (2) keeping heat ‘trapped’ during night time.

    And yet, the temperature records there show decreasing temperatures, not increasing with increased CO2 also present there.

    And during both the Antarctic summer and winter! sun and no sun.

    What bothers me most is that Keeling must have noticed that. He was involved in setting up the original CO2 monitoring in Amundsen-Scott in 1957. That SOB must have known his original theory of connecting global warming with CO2 was a sham in his later years, prior to his death. And yet, he said nothing…

  434. RE: Myrrh says:
    “Anyway, barn E. rubble, good luck with trying to make sense of it all.”

    And here I thot everyone had moved on from this thread. (I got real busy and didn’t get a chance to catch up until now.) I appreciate the time and efforts from all who’ve contributed here. I’m sure I’m not alone and there are many more who think the same, reading thru all of this with great interest. As much as it may not seem to those directly involved but – this is real debate! Science vs. science (in spite of how some may see it) arguing about how things ‘REALLY WORK’ . . . well, from their point of view . . . which of course is ALLdebate. I picked up some anomisty but no uncivility. I think those involved in the details here may underestimate how many people were following your debate and just because they didn’t post a comment doesn’t mean you were arguing between yourselves. This has been a great thread! It has been enlightening and disheartening, IE: for those of us looking (hoping?) for agreement that ‘all is well and here’s why’ . . . vs. the ‘we’re all gonna die and it’s my fault’.

    While trying to keep up with those here RE: graphs, laws and such, I tried to find some base understanding of the topics discussed by reading up on the specific stuff mentioned here, elsewhere. Thinking the more sources of information I found the better. As if! It seems the more I read the worse the fog gets!

    On my recent journeys I found many sites that left more questions than answers. Unfortunately (for me anyway) well written pieces can seem quite logical and reasonable. Thanks to the internet, IE: post whatever ya’ want, you need to have your own info/bullshit filters. Only you can’t buy them. So those like me are left to to try and make our own. One area in particular that I’ve read about seemed reasonable but because I hadn’t seen/heard about it before leads me to think I may have been mislead. As in my own BS meter started to twitch.

    I’m referring to the Stefan-Boltzmann law which is something that has been a major foundation block (if you will) to the discussion here. Now this may well be old news to most here but it’s the first I’ve read about NASA finding the SBL of no use for the moon landings.

    For those that know better, is this just a ‘junk science’ thing that I’ve read? I found a number of sites/pages starting from about a year ago and they all read well . . . seem to have supporting references and ‘non-crazy’ authors. I have no way (either education or pro experience) to refute what I’m reading.

    What are the thoughts here on the premise that SBL has no ‘real’ world application? And in particular how real world applications of SBL on the AGW argument?

    I’ve gone back thru this whole thread looking for this connection and didn’t find it. Maybe I missed it.

    Again to those contributing here; I’m not the only one who appreciates your time and expertise here.

    Thank you.

    -barn

  435. @ barn E. rubble and other readers/contributors. I totally agree with you, it has been a very interesting debate here, and I second barn E. rubble in the appreciation of all the input.

    The laws of physics are not depending on us for their existence. We don’t make them up, we discover them. They are not inventions, they are the rules and mechanisms by which the universe operates. Once discovered and found to hold true by testing, it is up to us to use them within their proper realm and limitations. So a law of physics does not care whether it is “applicable” to us or not in a given situation. We have to figure that out, and to do it, we first need to understand it. Really understand it. I have have realized just how big a challenge that is for people who are not used to working with these laws regularly for years on end. I see the same challenge towering before the students I teach in IR thermography. The difference is that we have material prepared, we have the time we need to go through things step by step, so that all is introduced in a less painful manner and gets into place.

    Trying to get things explained well on a forum like this is difficult. There is a great variation of previous knowledge between readers and you cannot find a balance to suit everyone’s needs when explaining something. It will be too simple or too difficult for many readers. Of course, the big plus with a discussion like this is the interactivity which weighs up some of the disadvantages.

    In general, I have a feeling that a lot of the stuff that is written on these topics are going over our heads. Scientists in the higher hemispheres are not very good at explaining in layman terms and that presents a challenge to all of us.

    The saddest thing though is when science becomes hostage of politics, and politics are driving science instead of the opposite. Scientific discovery cannot be planned, ordered, administrated, or made to fit preconceived models. That is the problem with the global warming issue. Scientific work needs to start with a hypothesis, of course, but the result of the research must be accepted whether it turns out to prove the hypothesis or not.

    I wish everyone best of luck in their endeavors of learning!

  436. Hello.Progress of thermodynamics has been stimulated by the findings of a variety of fields of science and technology. The principles of thermodynamics are so general that the application is widespread to such fields as solid stat.e physics, chemistry, biology, astronomical science, materials science, and chemical engineering. I find two great open access books “Application of Thermodynamics to Biological and Materials Science” You can read it on online reading platform or just download it here: http://www.intechopen.com/books/show/title/application-of-thermodynamics-to-biological-and-materials-science and “Thermodynamics” http://www.intechopen.com/books/show/title/thermodynamics
    The contents of this books should be of help to many scientists and engineers. Chee

  437. I too want to thank all participants for this great discussion!
    I certainly experience the difficulty described by

    Mikael Cronholm (says: February 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm) also by barn E. rubble (says:February 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm) and perhaps many others here (I didn´t have the time to re-read the whole thread)

    … the diffuculty to follow a discussion which partly is well above my head. The one thing which is obvious nevertheless, is that “the scinece is settled” can only apply to science settled to follow the scientific principles. Any appeal to authority, any smearing of differing opinions, any “untidyness” resulting in lost data, any group-thinking, “save-the-world” fervor, etc. – should be ruled out and disqualifies the person who resorts to it. For me at least.

    Domenic says:
    February 23, 2011 at 2:23 am
    Thank you for this information (antarcitc data), unfortunately I can not find the source of it. Which is bad, because I´d like to use it in discussions with friends and other people. Could you share the relevant publishing information or piont me to the place which I overlooked? Thanks!

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