Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” – Emission Spectra

Guest post by Ira Glickstein

The Atmospheric “greenhouse effect” has been analogized to a blanket that insulates the Sun-warmed Earth and slows the rate of heat transmission, thus increasing mean temperatures above what they would be absent “greenhouse gases” (GHGs). Perhaps a better analogy would be an electric blanket that, in addition to its insulating properties, also emits thermal radiation both down and up. A real greenhouse primarily restricts heat escape by preventing convection while the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth.

Many thanks to Dave Springer and Jim Folkerts who, in comments to my previous posting Atmospheric Windows, provided links to emission graphs and a textbook “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” by Grant Petty, Sundog Publishing Company.

Description of graphic (from bottom to top):


Earth Surface: Warmed by shortwave (~1/2μ) radiation from the Sun, the surface emits upward radiation in the ~7μ, ~10μ, and ~15μ regions of the longwave band. This radiation approximates a smooth “blackbody” curve that peaks at the wavelength corresponding to the surface temperature.

Bottom of the Atmosphere: On its way out to Space, the radiation encounters the Atmosphere, in particular the GHGs, which absorb and re-emit radiation in the ~7μ and ~15μ regions in all directions. Most of the ~10μ radiation is allowed to pass through.

The lower violet/purple curve (adapted from figure 8.1 in Petty and based on measurements from the Tropical Pacific looking UP) indicates how the bottom of the Atmosphere re-emits selected portions back down towards the surface of the Earth. The dashed line represents a “blackbody” curve characteristic of 300ºK (equivalent to 27ºC or 80ºF). Note how the ~7μ and ~15μ regions approximate that curve, while much of the ~10μ region is not re-emitted downward.

“Greenhouse Gases”: The reason for the shape of the downwelling radiation curve is clear when we look at the absorption spectra for the most important GHGs: H2O, H2O, H2O, … H2O, and CO2. (I’ve included multiple H2O’s because water vapor, particularly in the tropical latitudes, is many times more prevalent than carbon dioxide.)
Note that H2O absorbs at up to 100% in the ~7μ region. H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region, particularly above 20μ, where it reaches 100%. CO2 absorbs at up to 100% in the ~15μ region.

Neither H2O nor CO2 absorb strongly in the ~10μ region.

Since gases tend to re-emit most strongly at the same wavelength region where they absorb, the ~7μ and ~15μ are well-represented, while the ~10μ region is weaker.

Top of the Atmosphere: The upper violet/purple curve (adapted from figure 6.6 in Petty and based on satellite measurements from the Tropical Pacific looking DOWN) indicates how the top of the Atmosphere passes certain portions of radiation from the surface of the Earth out to Space and re-emits selected portions up towards Space. The dashed line represents a “blackbody” curve characteristic of 300ºK. Note that much of the ~10μ region approximates a 295ºK curve while the ~7μ region approximates a cooler 260ºK curve. The ~15μ region is more complicated. Part of it, from about 17μ and up approximates a 260ºK or 270ºK curve, but the region from about 14μ to 17μ has had quite a big bite taken out of it. Note how this bite corresponds roughly with the CO2 absorption spectrum.

What Does This All Mean in Plain Language?

Well, if a piece of blueberry pie has gone missing, and little Johnny has blueberry juice dripping from his mouth and chin, and that is pretty good circumstantial evidence of who took it.

Clearly, the GHGs in the Atmosphere are responsible. H2O has taken its toll in the ~7μ and ~15μ regions, while CO2 has taken its bite in its special part of the ~15μ region. Radiation in the ~10μ region has taken a pretty-much free pass through the Atmosphere.

The top of the Atmosphere curve is mostly due to the lapse rate, where higher levels of the Atmosphere tend to be cooler. The ~10μ region is warmer because it is a view of the surface radiation of the Earth through an almost transparent window. The ~7μ and 15μ regions are cooler because they are radiated from closer to the top of the Atmosphere. The CO2 bite portion of the curve is still cooler because CO2 tends to be better represented at higher altitudes than H2O which is more prevalent towards the bottom.

That is a good explanation, as far as it goes. However, it seems there is something else going on. The ~7μ and ~15μ radiation emitted from the bottom of the Atmosphere is absorbed by the Earth, further warming it, and the Earth, approximating a “blackbody”, re-emits them at a variety of wavelengths, including ~10μ. This additional ~10μ radiation gets a nearly free pass through the Atmosphere and heads out towards Space, which explains why it is better represented in the top of the Atmosphere curve. In addition, some of the radiation due to collisions of energized H2O and CO2 molecules with each other and the N2 (nitrogen), O2 (oxygen) and trace gases, may produce radiation in the ~10μ region which similarly makes its way out to Space without being re-absorbed.

There is less ~15μ radiation emitted from the top of the Atmosphere than entered it from the bottom because some of the ~15μ radiation is transformed into ~10μ radiation during the process of absorption and re-emission by GHGs in the atmosphere and longwave radiation absorbed and re-emitted by the surface of the Earth.

Source Material

My graphic is adapted from two curves from Petty. For clearer presentation, I smoothed them and flipped them horizontally, so wavelength would increase from left to right, as in the diagrams in my previous topics in this series. (Physical Analogy and Atmospheric Windows.)

Here they are in their original form, where the inverse of wavelength (called “wavenumber”) increases from left to right.

Source for the upper section of my graphic.
Top of the Atmosphere from Satellite Over Tropical Pacific.
[Caption from Petty: Fig. 6.6: Example of an actual infrared emission spectrum observed by the Nimbus 4 satellite over a point in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Dashed curves represent blackbody radiances at the indicated temperatures in Kelvin. (IRIS data courtesy of the Goddard EOS Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) and instrument team leader Dr. Rudolf A. Hanel.)]

Source for the lower section of my graphic.
Bottom of the Atmosphere from Surface of Tropical Pacific (and, lower curve, from Alaska).
[Caption from Petty: Fig. 8.1 Two examples of measured atmospheric emission spectra as seen from ground level looking up. Planck function curves corresponding to the approximate surface temperature in each case are superimposed (dashed lines). (Data courtesy of Robert Knutson, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.)]

The figures originally cited by Dave Springer and Tim Folkerts are based on measurements taken in the Arctic, where there is far less water vapor in the Atmosphere.

[Fig. 8.2 from Petty] (a) Top of the Atmosphere from 20km and (b) Bottom of the Atmosphere from surface in the Arctic. Note that this is similar to the Tropical Pacific, at temperatures that are about 30ºK to 40ºK cooler. The CO2 bite is more well-defined. Also, the bite in the 9.5μ to 10μ area is more apparent. That bite is due to O2 and O3 absorption spectra.

Concluding Comments

This and my previous two postings in this series Physical Analogy and Atmospheric Windows address ONLY the radiative exchange of energy. Other aspects that control the temperature range at the surface of the Earth are at least as important and they include convection (winds, storms, etc.) and precipitation (clouds, rain, snow, etc.) that transfer a great deal of energy from the surface to the higher levels of the Atmosphere.

For those who may have missed my previous posting, here is my Sunlight Energy In = Thermal Energy Out animated graphic that depicts the Atmospheric “greenhouse effect” process in a simlified form.

I plan to do a subsequent posting that looks into the violet and blue boxes in the above graphic and provides insight into the process the photons and molecules go through.

I am sure WUWT readers will find issues with my Emissions Spectra description and graphics. I encourage each of you to make comments, all of which I will read, and some to which I will respond, most likely learning a great deal from you in the process. However, please consider that the main point of this posting, like the previous ones in this series, is to give insight to those WUWT readers, who, like Einstein (and me :^) need a graphic visual before they understand and really accept any mathematical abstraction.

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476 thoughts on “Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” – Emission Spectra

  1. A very complicated and flawed article.
    What are we actually measuring when we measure temperature? It is the measure of Kinetic energy of the atom. In the laboratory CO2 will adsorb IR radiation and increase in temperature. In other words the atoms increase their vibrations. In the atmosphere, where there are other gasses, this CO2 will transfer these vibrations to the other gasses by collision. This is heat conduction.
    When gas gets warmer it expands, density falls and it rises, convection. In the troposphere heat is lost through convection not radiation. Radiation is not possible because as this air rises its temperature falls due to adiabatic expansion. Its temperature will fall below that of the surface, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics forbids heat flow from cold to hot ( this is heat flow by any means available) so this rising warm air, relative to the surrounding air though colder than the surface, cannot warm the surface.
    We can measure what we might think is the LW IR as back radiation but we probably forget that as energy flows through the atmosphere it has an effect on that atmosphere which will reduce that incoming energy which is revealed as a frequency change ( its speed remains constant) so that measured LW IR is altered solar energy not re-radiated IR from CO2.
    At least this is how I see it bearing in mind those old Laws of Thermodynamics.
    It is also flawed to use the black body formula for the earth since it is not in equilibrium at any time due to changes to cloud cover.

  2. I’m glad you included the original Petty plots, because I think they are the most informative. The Arctic ones are very helpful. It’s a good idea to include lots of black body curves, so you can see where the radiation is coming from.

    You said “some of the ~15μ radiation is transformed into ~10μ radiation during the process of absorption and re-emission by GHGs in the atmosphere”. Well, yes, but not much. Kirchhoff’s Law comes into play. Just as 10μ is easily transmitted, very little is emitted. That’s why the 10μ looks like it is coming from the ground, rather than higher up.

  3. “…. Perhaps a better analogy would be an electric blanket that, in addition to its insulating properties, also emits thermal radiation both down and up…..”

    I am not sure about this ‘radiation down’ or so called ‘back-radiation’.
    According to Trenberth et al. this amounts to about 330 W/m2, nearly twice that of the energy reaching the Earths surface from the sun (184 W/m2). If this is true why isn’t this energy collected and used as an energy source (better than solar energy as no need for storage – this can be collected 24 hours /day).
    The reason I suspect we can’t use this energy is because it doesn’t exist – heat will not flow from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth.
    I think the emission spectra shows the scatter of infra-red from the atmospheric gases that wont reach the collimated collector of the sensors due to its direction of travel?

    Thoughts please!

  4. Ira

    I will enjoy reading and considering your post. I have only quickly glanced at the first few paragraphs and my immediate brief observations are:

    I consider your better analogy (ie., that of an electric blanket) to be a worse analogy. An electric blanket has a power source and consumes energy in order to provide heat. Where is this seperate power source in your model Earth?

    It would also be useful if you would briefly explain how the Earth emits a smooth blackbody curve given that temperatures vary between about 325K (desserts) and 220 to 235K (Artic/Antartic). What are the emission frequencies at these varying temperatures.

  5. Morris Minor says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Don’t forget that light has 2 behaviors:
    As a particle and as a wave.
    As a wave it is contructive going down (in sympathy with incoming solar radiation) but in going up it is destructive and helps to add to Earth’s albedo.
    Gets complicated in a hurry, doesn’t it?
    Take away the water vapor and the C02 in Earth’s atmosphere would probably freeze out at the poles (most notably the Antarctic).
    Remind you of another planet?

  6. The graphics have one (unfortunately very common) error. They are plotted as a wavenumber distribution but labeled with wavelength. You CANNOT just transform the wavenumber into wavelength as they have different peaks. Much like the difference between wavelength and frequency: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PlanckDist_ny_lambda_en.png

    The peak of a distribution in wavelength for 280K is at 10.5 µm.

    “The dashed line represents a “blackbody” curve characteristic of 300ºK (equivalent to 27ºC or 80ºF). Note how the ~7μ and ~15μ regions approximate that curve, while much of the ~10μ region is not re-emitted downward.”

  7. Ira Glickstein, why don’t you explain to your readers why the various curves for blackbody radiation in your article peak in the range of 17μm to 19μm when the http://spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php site comes up with a peak wavelength of 9.659μm for 300K and 11.828μm for 245K. This is also confirmed by the Wikipedia graph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png), showing a peak at about 9μm for 310K.

    I look forward to your explanation.

  8. If one defines “greenhouse” as the systems capacity to absorb shortwave radiation being different to and greater than its capacity to emit long-wave radiation, such that a net increase in temperature over a pure black-body temperature is needed for thermal equilibrium, then an important aspect is the ability of the oceans to absorb shortwave to a much greater depth than the depth that emits longwave.

    This means that the temperature of the oceans would generally be greater than blackbody temperature, that they will tend to heat the atmosphere above them through various mechanisms, and evaporate water into the atmosphere as well. Earth is warmer because of its oceans, through an indirect greenhouse mechanism, that has nothing to do with co2.

  9. John Marshall,

    “Its temperature will fall below that of the surface, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics forbids heat flow from cold to hot ( this is heat flow by any means available) so this rising warm air, relative to the surrounding air though colder than the surface, cannot warm the surface.”

    The second law says no such thing. The misconception that the second law says that heat cannot flow from a cooler to a warmer body is the old nineteenth century understanding which dealt with conducting bodies. It was then rewritten in terms of entropy – entropy must always increase in a closed system.

    This is what the second law actually says:

    “The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system (Wikipedia).”

    The key point to note is that over time, differences in temperature will equilibriate. The idea of greenhouse gases radiating energy back to the Earth’s surface does not contradict this description as long as the temperatures will equilibriate over time.

    The second law allows energy from a cooler body to radiate to a warmer body (in fact, allow is the wrong word – all bodies above absolute zero must radiate energy) because it knows that the warmer body must be radiating even more energy to the cooler body and that their temperatures would most definately equilibriate over time.

  10. The reason I suspect we can’t use this energy is because it doesn’t exist – heat will not flow from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth.

    Yes it will. When the energy is emitted it is in a random direction and has no knowledge of it is heading towards a warmer or colder body.
    Heat will flow from a cold to hot body but at the same time more energy is going the other way. The flow energy from the atmosphere to the surface does exist.

  11. Ira Glickstein

    You seem to think that an ordinary blanket is unlike an electric blanket in effect to radiation, perhaps you think it does not radiate?
    For the record an ordinary blanket is a better radiator than for example the atmosphere.

    At night the passive atmosphere is only capable of insulating the hotter Earth surface to some extent.
    That is it reduces the heat loss compared to no atmosphere.

    During daylight the DLR radiation is mainly redirected and degraded radiation of solar origin that has not reached the surface directly.
    There will of course be some DLR which has an energy sourced by the warmer Earth surface.

    I think you would do well to read some Physics books that deal with thermodynamics and heat transfer before making elementary errors.

  12. Ira

    Further to my last comment, your article is interesting and I am still pondering upon its implications. Whilst ultimately at the very top of the atmospher all heat is radiated into space, I consider that below that boundary other forms of heat transfer are far more significant that radiation.

    As I have commented numerous times, I do not consider the Earth to be a blackbody and the assumption that it behaves in this simplistic way distorts what is truely happening. The Earth is never at equilibrium. There are constant changes in albedo due to changes in cloud cover, ice, snow, vegetation., seasons etc These variations change the emission properties of the Earth. The oceans act as huge heat sinks such that diurnal changes over oceans is very different to changes in diurnal temperatures over land. There are peaks and valleys and all of this means that the Earth does not simplistically behave as a uniform blackbody.

    You state: “the surface emits upward radiation in the ~7μ, ~10μ, and ~15μ regions of the longwave band. This radiation approximates a smooth “blackbody” curve that peaks at the wavelength corresponding to the surface temperature.” I accept that the curves set out in the “Bottom of the Atmosphere from Surface of Tropical Pacific (and, lower curve, from Alaska) tend to follow the 300K and 245k blackbody curve save for dips in the 8 to 14μ wavelengths, the effects of which you are seeking to highlight.

    However, the “Top of the Atmosphere from Satellite Over Tropical Pacific” data is very different. This does not follow the 300k or 290k curve. Up to 7μ it seems to follow a 210/220k curve Between 7 and 8μ it takes a path crossing the 220 to 250K curve. Between 8 and 9μ it jumps up to about the 300K curve. Between 18 to 25μ it falls through the 270 down to the 250K curve. My view of this plot, ignoring the dips around the 9.5μ and the 13 to 18μ range is that it does not exhibit a smooth blackbody curve at any part through the 6 to 25μ wavelengths.

    What is the explanation and how in the light of that explanation can it vbe asserted that the Earth (even in that snapshot in time) is exhibiting a smooth blackbody emission spectra?

    I look forward to hearing your commenst so that I may better understand your article.

  13. rbateman says:
    As a wave it is contructive going down (in sympathy with incoming solar radiation) but in going up it is destructive and helps to add to Earth’s albedo.

    The waves need to be in phase to interfere. The radiation from the surface and the atmosphere is at a completely different frequency and wavelength so doesn’t interfere with the solar radiation.

  14. Other aspects that control the temperature range at the surface of the Earth are at least as important and they include convection (winds, storms, etc.) and precipitation (clouds, rain, snow, etc.) that transfer a great deal of energy from the surface to the higher levels of the Atmosphere.

    Your other modes of heat transfer are SIGNIFICANT and can not be dismissed.
    At altitude radiation is indeed the mode of heat leaving the planetary system.
    As altitude gets lower radiation becomes less important and transports less and less of the total heat.

  15. Thanks Ira. At last a description that I can pretty well totally agree with. My only caveat is the one Nick Stokes mentioned; that very little energy can be converted into “10 micron ” radiation in the atmosphere as I, and others, pointed out before on your previous thread.

    As I also commented then, the facts with good explanations beat a good analogy. The graphs are excellent. It won’t stop some trying to deny them or interpret them in bizarre ways ( we have had a couple on this thread already) but the majority of WUWT readers will understand this contribution.

    I also welcome the fact that you have taken the time to do this and persevere in trying to come to a “consensus”. I can’t believe I have just used that word!

    I think that the AGWs have exploited the poor science displayed by some posters here to argue that the whole of the sceptic position is ill founded. The fact that the greenhouse gas effect exists is irrefuteable, as your graphs clearly show, and arguing to the contrary plays into the hands of those who wish to exploit the implications of increased CO2. While the effect of CO2 is clear the effect of increasing CO2 is far from obvious.

    From the graphs it is clear that CO2 radiates from space from the top of the troposphere and re-radiates back to earth from relatively low altitudes. Paradoxically this is due to the fact that CO2 is indeed a VERY powerful greenhouse gas in the 14-18 micron window so that it will trap energy very close to the earth’s surface and will not radiate, unencumbered, into space until the air density is very low. Due to convection in the lower troposphere, high levels of humidity and clouds it is not at all obvious how increased CO2 and the subsequent reduced altitude of first absorption will effect downward radiation. Nor is it clear what will happen to radiation to space given that this is already taking place near the tropopause where the temperature no longer decreases as one goes higher.

    These are the issues that need to be debated not the fundamental science. As far as I know there have been no actual measurements that confirm the signature of greenhouse forcing that would explain current warming on the basis of CO2 changes and this is a travesty!

  16. Water vapour is the main so called “greenhouse gas” yet it does not produce a “greenhouse effect” as in a warming effect because it is a fluid gas. Though it may absorb IR, having done so it obviously expands and convects up through the atmosphere taking the IR up to cloud level. It does so because it is a highly mobile fluid gas.

    CO2 does exactly the same thing by absorbing heat at the surface and transferring up to cloud level where it is emitted as IR. The cloud level, which begins at around 5000 meters is the beginning if the emission hight of the atmosphere. We know that CO2 begins emit the same level as water vapour because rain water is acidic. The acidity is caused by the dilution of CO2 into the water vapour as it form into clouds on emission, becoming carbonic acid.

    Water vapour has a cooling effect on the surface. In exactly the same way so too does CO2.

    How is this a “greenhouse effect” ???

    The only place that the “greenhouse effect” is actually observed is in the computer models, not in the real world. The only reason that computer models predict a “greenhouse effect” is because they use a parameter known as “convective parameterisation”. In a computer model, if you over estimate convection you will not see a “greenhouse effect”. But if you underestimate this parameter, it will obviously and naturally result in a “greenhouse effect”.

    Greenhouses are designed predominantly to inhibit convection as every body knows.

    So in the models we have a “greenhouse effect” but in the atmosphere we do not.

  17. Ira,

    Please leave out the “degree” when talking about Kelvin. It’s “degree Fahrenheit” and “degree Celsius”, but it’s “Kelvin” (without the “degree”). Same when abbreviated: It’s 270K, not 270ºK.

    In your first article, you also abbreviated Argon as A, while it is Ar.

    And it’s μm, not μ. The graphics you copied from other sources use it correctly, the graphics you made yourself are labelled wrongly.

    Small mistakes like this distract from the article and undermine your credibility: If one can’t get simple details like proper usage of units correct, …

  18. Bryan says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Bryan: Did you even look at Ira’s brief CV at the bottom of his article. Does the phrase: “BS in Electrical Engineering” mean anything to you? Every EE program that I know of, includes Physics, Dynamics, and Thermodynamics as basic course requirements for graduation. Your insinuation that Dr. Gluckstein read some books that deal with heat transfer and Thermo is a bit of snark that is not needed.

  19. Would a human being cook if he or she was enclosed in a container of CO2

    In theory a percentage of the heat given off would return and increase the body temperature if the GHG theory is correct. Something surely is seriously wrong with the GHG theory.

  20. Ira Glickstein
    “the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth.”

    No, No and a thousand times No.

    Re-emitted radiation does not and cannot heat the Earth significantly, because downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength. The amount of energy from back radiation mixed into the ocean by wind and wave action is negligible and extra co2 therefore cannot account for the additional warming of the ocean bulk in the late C20th.

    The greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space . There is more than a semantic difference. Understanding it this way enables you to understand that it was reduced albedo 1979-1998 allowing more Solar energy to enter the oceans that caused the majority of the global warming at the end of the last millenium.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/tallbloke-back-radiation-oceans-and-energy-exchange/

  21. Vince Causey

    ….”The second law says no such thing. The misconception that the second law says that heat cannot flow from a cooler to a warmer body is the old nineteenth century understanding which dealt with conducting bodies. It was then rewritten in terms of entropy – entropy must always”…….

    Clausius was well aware of radiation when he formulated his second law.
    He also invented the entropy concept.
    He conducted tests with mirrors and lenses to confirm that for radiation as for conduction and convection;
    …..”Heat flows from from a higher temperature surface to a lower temperature surface never the reverse.” one expression of the famous second law.
    Vince Causey perhaps is confusing radiation with heat.
    A colder surface will radiate to a warmer surface.
    A colder surface cannot heat the warmer surface.
    Heat carries the thermodynamic capacity to do work in the given situation.
    Thus work can be done hot to cold.
    Work cannot be done cold to hot.
    Another way to think about it is the cold surface cannot increase the temperature of the hotter surface all it does is reduce somewhat the heat loss from the hotter surface.

  22. Ira,

    As you have seen many people do not agree with your findings. Nor do I.

    First, without planetary rotation, there is no convection as the planets own energy is the centrifugal force it generates at 1669.8Km/hr due to the vacuum of space. The atmosphere bends a great deal of light and solar energy with the suspended molecules in the atmosphere with the tilting of the planet to the sun. The hottest point of the sun is it’s equator that our planet drifts through due to proximity and size of the suns equator. Next very little consideration for the absorption and storage of heat that is then released at night.

  23. can you state how you generated the radiance curves for each temperature? Typically these type of figures have a fudge factor to correct for the black/white body fraction. I have never believed that one is allowed to do this from first principles.

  24. Ira,
    That is a terrific presentation.
    Most interested people lose interest if an article gets too scientific and complicated.
    You are fast becoming our new Isaac Asimov. [especially for GHG theory]
    Thanks to you and Anthony for this.

  25. Dr. Glickstein, I greatly appreciate your efforts, as well as those commenters who have made constructive criticisms.

    In what I hope is one of the latter, I, too, will cast my vote against the electric-blanket analogy.

  26. If someone could just toss up a link to a spectrum at 800 mbar in the tropics pointing sideways so we could just blow everyone’s mind quickly and hopefully be able to rebuild what’s left outside of this insidious AGWphysics this time. ☺

    Fourier’s law of heat diffusion reigns when outside the windows frequencies in the bulk of the lower atmosphere, on both sides of the spectrum. You should not have brought in “back radiation” there unless you are only speaking of the lower 100 meters or so. The term back radiation has it’s place but it is only meaningful within the window wavelengths and mainly in relation to clouds, their BB radiation near 10 µm beams down the window to warm the ground on cloudy nights (and days, but not apparent). Within the thick of the atmosphere, all radiation outside the window can be properly viewed a fast, long-range conduction, that simple. Why? The atmosphere is all but totally black to these frequencies and most radiation only travels mere meters before re-absorption. That’s my current take, and still evolving though quickly now.

    Ira, E for effort. I had high hopes as you began this whole series that you were going to be more open and all here could move a notch closer in truly understanding radiation’s relations within the atmosphere. You have many points exactly correct, and your animations can be deemed correct too, but only with the correct limitations and factors applied in the surrounding words. But beyond that, the whole story-line gets off of the track, IMO.

  27. “Well, if a piece of blueberry pie has gone missing, and little Johnny has blueberry juice dripping from his mouth and chin, and that is pretty good circumstantial evidence of who took it.”

    This is why climate scientist ought not dabble in police work I think, for what if Charles was the one who nicked the piece and in passing Johnny smeared him blue with it?

    But essentially the dissipation is 360˚ but mostly, naturally, concentrated at the nap of the earth, just like the stove which will burn if ones hand is too close but the farther away the hand gets the colder it gets, to the point of room temperature, the in between GHGs doing absolutely next to nothing to transfer the heat to that further away location due to it’s own dissipation rate even though the GHGs are pre-heated by being inside the house as well. But of course, eventually, the stove’ll raise the temperature in the kitchen, but only when the floor, ceiling, and the walls are more radiant, but only to a certain point (unless the stove doesn’t burst into flames the paint on the farthest wall ain’t gonna start cooking any time soon.) So whom is the construct of the thief that steals that heat? :p

  28. Ira, read the following http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/CO2_and_climate_v7.pdf which is the basis of a presentation by Dr (Ir) Noor Van Andel to KNMI in February and based on real measurements. Then, think again. -Incoming radiation to the sea surface from the sun controlled by cloud cover, evaporation at the sea surface, convection and pressure changes causing air movements, ToA radiation to space.
    Dr Van Andel is a chemical engineer who has developed efficient heat exchangers for use with air see here http://www.xs4all.nl/~fiwihex/english/ Look at some of the links if you want some information on heat transfer theory.

  29. We live in an upside down world.
    Water vapor makes up anywhere from 1-4% of the atmosphere. I can’t find the average because the percentage is so variable. CO2 is .04% of atmosphere. So water vapor is about 100x more plentiful than CO2 in atmosphere. Do anyone know the difference between the strength of CO2 vs WV as a greenhouse gas. Also, we know CO2 gets saturated in its’ greenhouse gas ability. Does this happen to WV? Then we know that man only creates 3% of the atmosphere CO2, well we don’t really know that, it’s just another big guess/estimate. How could we know that when we have forests densities completely changing throughout our world. Here in the US our forests are growing at a very fast rate, still recovering from the clearcuts of >100 yrs ago.
    Then we have a possible feedback between CO2 and WV. Is it positive or is it negative? IPCC and modern “science” says CO2 always causes a positive increase in WV, causing amplification of greenhouse effect. But measurement of humidity and water vapor apparently doesn’t show this to be reality.
    http://www.climate4you.com/GreenhouseGasses.htm, in fact WV is decreasing the last few years.
    Then of course we have the oceans and their cylces, the sun and planetary alignment, undersea volcanoes etc etc etc. But THEY know everything. The SCIENCE is settled.
    Yet after 11 years of increasing CO2 and amplification models, their data shows we are back where we started from in temperature with no trend whatsoever.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999

    We don’t know nothing about climate!

  30. 1 – Ira has presented us with curves showing the measured values of upward and downward radiation.

    2 – One of the graphs shows the energy leaving the planet. The only way energy can leave the planet is by radiation.

    3 – The other graph shows radiant energy arriving at the surface in the far infra-red region of the spectrum. Most of this energy is radiated by the atmosphere. It is explained by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun and by heating of the atmosphere caused when the atmosphere is heated by radiation, conduction, evaporation, etc. from heat leaving the surface of the planet.

    4 – Under some conditions, upward radiation probably explains most of the heat leaving the surface. The graph comparing Barrow with Nauru is pretty dramatic. There isn’t a lot of heat from the atmosphere beaming down on Barrow. ;-) There also isn’t a lot of heat moving up through the atmosphere in the form of thunder storms in Barrow in November (when the graph was created). Most of the heat leaves Barrow as radiation and little of it heats the atmosphere and returns as back radiation in the range between 13 um and 8 um. (It looks like much/most of it comes back around 15 um.)
    On the other hand, the effect of thunderstorms in tropical regions is huge. Evaporation takes heat from the surface and deposits it higher in the atmosphere. From there it can be carried elsewhere or be radiated.

    5 – For those who doubt that back radiation exists, consider this: Infra-red radiation is electromagnetic radiation. It is the same as radio waves and light. Here are two examples of radiation from a weaker source going toward a stronger one: a) If I stand with my back toward the sun, I will be able to see a flashlight being shone at me. Nothing about the sun’s radiation will prevent the radiation from the flashlight from reaching me. b) If I stand near a strong radio transmitter, I can still tune in weaker transmitters. Nothing about the stronger transmitter’s signal prevents the weaker signal from getting to me. The net energy flux will still be from the stronger source toward the weaker one. It is a net flux though, in other words, the net flux is the difference between the two signals.

    6 – The discussion totally ignores heat removed from the tropics by ocean currents and moved toward the poles. The effect of that heat is also huge. Compare, if you will, the climate of Regina Saskatchewan and London England. In the winter, Regina is a lot colder than London in spite of the fact that London is somewhat further north. The average low January temperature in London is 2.4 deg. C. In Regina, the same figure is -21.6 deg. The difference is entirely explained by heat transported by the ocean.

    7 – Ira’s article made stark the difference between a tropical humid atmosphere and an arctic dry one.

    8 – Many commenters might spend more time carefully reading Ira’s article and less automatically gainsaying it on the basis of any preconceived notions they may have. It is what it is. It explains one aspect of climate science and doesn’t pretend to be encyclopedic. My only quibble is that it leaves the impression that most of the heat in the atmosphere is caused by radiation.

  31. william gray says:
    March 10, 2011 at 5:16 am

    How do we measure re-emittance of IR? I know absorbtion can be measured.
    ——-
    You should be able to get pretty close by taking a spectrum at say 800 mbar in the tropics aimed sideways at night. ☺ That’s the only way I can think of doing it. Wouldn’t that be close?

  32. Ira

    I applaud your efforts, but you should start off with the simplest case first.

    The Tropical western Pacific spectrum is not fixed. You have presented a simple snapshot of of it, I believe. Or is it an average? I don’t see any definition here of what that spectrum really means.

    The tropics are EXTREMELY dynamic from a radiational heat transfer point of view. The absorption, transmission, and reflections, are constantly shifting due to water vapor. Everything changes from moment to moment, and it can be drastic. Just imagine lying on a beach on a sunny day, and a thick cloud passes overhead. The temperature you feel on your skin immediately plunges. That’s an immediate change in radiational heat transfer. Those curves you present are actually dancing around dramatically.

    Even Barrow, Alaska is a rather complex situation.

    I suggest trying to model and understand the interior Antarctic Polar region (Amundsen-Scott, Vostok, etc) first from a radiational heat transfer point of view. There is virtually no water in the atmosphere there. It is dominated by radiational heat transfer. And there are reliable surface temperature data, as well as documented of increased CO2 from 1957 to data.

    You have to learn how to simply walk before you can dance the tango with its infinite complexities and beauty.

  33. Ira,
    You should stop saying the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warm the earth to this crowd. Too may engineers running around here. The atmosphere slows the rate at which the earth loses energy to deep space. Thus, the earth in the sun-earth-space system has a higher equilibrium temp. The “old” rules of thermodynamics still apply: a warm object cannot gain net thermal energy from a cold object.

    Thank you for posting the good data though, especially of the IR toward and away from earth at the arctic. I am curious what the ground temperature was on the days that this data was collected, since at the arctic you often have an inverted lapse rate and the atmosphere could indeed “heat” the ground. I am curious if the ground temps are cold enough at the poles, and the lapse rate is positive instead of negative, so that the atmosphere could indeed “heat” the Earth, at least in these specific conditions and locations.

  34. After reading all the comments I am, again, uncertain.
    There are so many contradictory statements about frequency and wavelength, heat transfers, conduction, radiation etc., etc., …….
    Has anyone presented a theory based on photons?
    I know……… stupid question

  35. Sorry but this article is filled with misinformation.

    “Perhaps a better analogy would be an electric blanket that, in addition to its insulating properties, also emits thermal radiation both down and up.”

    no a much better analogy is a blanket. There is no additional heating coming from the atmosphere.

    They seem to give out degrees and doctorates in corn flakes boxes these days.

  36. I too have been enjoying your articles. From prior posters, I thought of an additional analogy. Consider traffic flow over a section of road. The number of vehicles in the section being monitored represents joules. Joules are constantly entering the section at one end- radiation from the sun, and leaving at the other end-outgoing raiation cooling off the earth. Now, thanks to greenhouse gases, suppose there’s a traffic accident or a road construction crew closing one of the outgoing lanes The amount of traffic coming into the intersection-radiation from the sun, continues at the same rate, but the outflow due to fewer exit lanes results in a buildup of traffic- joules, in the system.

    Note the NET effect is not a warming from the sky, which tends to confuse some posters here, but a constriction of outgoing radiation and a buildup of heat from the sun.

  37. As in virtually all such articles focusing on longwave emissions/apsorption/etc, no account is given for the effect of the oceans which are the main determinant of global temperatures on this planet. The oceans absorb the vast majority of solar radiation on this planet and they do so to a considerable depth. Water is a relatively slow conductor of heat and therefore tends to hold it for a good length of time. Ocean currents and temperature layering cause the heat to move from the equator to the poles. Atmospheric temperatures in the tropics are nearly what one would expect from a black body analysis. The so called “green house effect” is really only visible at higher latitudes. This is due almost entirely to the redistribution of heat by the oceans. Atmospheric effects are quite small in comparison. This is not a new idea. until a few years ago oceanic scientists such as Doctor Robert Stevenson could have described all of this in considerable detail. Unfortunately, “climate scientists” with a poor understanding of the influence of the oceans have completely ignored it.

  38. Ira, there’s a problem here. as P. van der Meer says at 3:15 am. The blackbody curves are showing a peak at about 18 micron when they should be peaking at about 10 micron for a 300K blackbody.
    In fact, if you refer to your previous post ‘Visualising the Greenhouse Effect – Atmospheric Windows’, you have the peak correct at 10 microns.
    So, the current graphs don’t make sense – unless I am missing something? I have looked at the source material and that appears to be wrong also.

    Has anyone got an explanation for this?

  39. tallbloke says: March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am
    “….The greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space . There is more than a semantic difference. Understanding it this way enables you to understand that it was reduced albedo 1979-1998 allowing more Solar energy to enter the oceans that caused the majority of the global warming at the end of the last millenium.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/tallbloke-back-radiation-oceans-and-energy-exchange/

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Thanks for the link to your article. I was one of those who was arguing similar points with Willis and I have not seen your article before today. It is an interesting read.

    I too respect Willis’ views but he was unable to even begin to explain the physics involved in how heat could be entrained by the oceans given the wavelength of DLR and its penatrative depth and thus become well mixed.

    The only point he came up with (which did not answer the question) was that but for GHGs, the oceans would freeze and he referred to a link on scienceofdoom which suggested that without GHGs, the oceans would freeze within about 4 years. The underlying data and codes were not attached to the scienceofdoom article so that that assessment could not be verified. However, as I tried to point out to Willis, it is too simplistic looking at average temperatures and average conditions. The oceans are extremely complex and act as both a huge storage reservoir and a huge heat pump. For example, if one looks at the Baltic, in late summer, the sea temp is 16 to 18C and yet within about 4 months, it freezes over notwithsanding GHGs. There are many parts of the oceans (and inland lakes/seas) that freeze within months and this will tend to give the impression that when viewed on an average basis the seas would freeze within years. However, of course, there are great swathes of the Pacific, Indian Ocean, Atlantic etc receiving immense amounts of solar energy which energy is then pumped around by currents etc. It is almost certainly the case that it is this input and distribution that stops the majority of oceans from freezing over within seasons. Further, one may enquire rhetorically as to what causes the ice to melt/recede on these frozen seas/lakes? It is not an increase in GHCs but rather an increase in solar energy either directly and/or indirectly (via currents/circulation patterns).

    I consider it probable that the vast majority of recent warming is due to natural variations and one of the key contenders for this being changes in cloud cover and changes in albedo allowing more solar energy to have penatrated the oceans.

  40. I’ve been working with a combination of the reanalysis data and CO2 data to quantify the relative effects of atmospheric water and CO2 on OLR from the top of the atmosphere (click on my name). I think that a better approach would be to consider the average optical thickness of that blanket of atmosphere. First estimate the temperature at the top of the atmosphere using the S-B law. Then using skin surface temperature (SST) and lapse rates to calculate average optical thickness. (wet in the tropics and dry near the poles). Regress the calculated thickness on precipitation rate, precitatable water, and CO2. This method measures the effects of non-radiative processes of energy transfer as well as the “greenhouse effect”. (the formation of clouds, rain, and snow). You will find that any minor effect of CO2 is lost in the variability in the combination of effects of atmospheric water (vapor, clouds, rain, and snow).

  41. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:30 am
    So what concentration of CO2 saturates these wavelengths?

    There is already proof from Venus that the Greenhouse effect is not exponential http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html
    ——–
    Thanks Scarlet, one impressive analysis. Also since NASA lists Venus’s *average* temperature at 464 C and if the surface was as high as 505 C then the natural dry lapse rate matches the graviation acceleration almost exactly, as it should. (778K-339K)/49.5km = ~8.87 °C/km (g=8.87 m/s2). Neat, 96.5% CO2 and no greenhouse effect at all. Now that’s some pure simple logic!

  42. Re-emitted radiation does not and cannot heat the Earth significantly, because downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength.

    But the radiation from the Sun has an even smaller wavelength. How come solar radiation can heat the Earth but re-emitted radiation?

  43. funny all this blanket stuff, we know that without greenhouse gases the surface can get very hot during the daytime – the moon, though at night leads to rapid cooling.

    Seems to me that greenhouse gases lead to cooling during the day, and at night leads to a slow cooling , or in the desert, rapid due to less moisture.

    After all if the sun didn’t come up next day how quick before the planet froze.

    Such a simple elegant explanation.

  44. The commentary for this article is pure gold. Mr. Watts, please continue a series of posts on basic planetary science processes; I’m very eager to see what your readership can come up with. I’d love some insight on, for example, how the Coriolis effect really works.

  45. I suggest we rid the atmosphere of o2 also. I mean it has this fat absorption/emission band at 50-70 GHz. One cannot be too careful you know.

  46. A proper comparison of the atmospheric temperatures of Venus and Earth proves (to any competent, and honest, physical scientist) that there is no greenhouse effect such as is “visualized” here and promulgated by the IPCC scientists.

    Venus: No Greenhouse Effect

    Therefore, clearly something is fundamentally wrong with your understanding (and the IPCC’s).

    From many comments I have seen on the internet, it is clear to me that many think that a “greenhouse effect” is proven merely by the ability of CO2 and other gases to absorb infrared radiation (Judith Curry clearly believes this, for example). And invariably, those who try to lecture on the greenhouse effect, focus on infrared emitted by the surface, and then absorbed by the “greenhouse gases”, and then supposedly radiated back to the surface again. All the visualizations of this supposed process I have seen, from the by-now-infamous Trenberth and Kiehl “Energy Budget” onwards, simply accept a huge loop of energy, larger than that coming from the Sun, between the surface and the atmosphere (and which is largely derived from wrongly assuming that the Earth’s surface is a blackbody). I know this is believed as the sacred scientific truth in many quarters (based on a belief in the present use of radiative transfer theory in climate science), so I won’t argue about it; I will simply tell you, as directly and honestly as I know how, that it is an incompetent belief, that violates the conservation of energy (no matter what believers such as ScienceofDoom, or Judith Curry, or Roy Spencer, etc. tell you). The critical evidence that decides the issue is the Venus/Earth comparison of actual temperatures I have done, and it is decisive against that incompetent belief.

    To start with, everyone needs to consider that the Sun radiates a continuous spectrum that is about half infrared, most of which (except for the well-known atmospheric windows) is directly absorbed by the atmosphere (even the Trenberth diagram shows 20% of the incident radiation being so absorbed, and the actual fraction, in my present view, is around 40%). Absorbed going down, not coming back up from the surface. The Venus/Earth comparison directly indicates this, because the ratio of temperatures, Venus/Earth, is essentially a constant (1.17) which is just that due to the distances of the two planets from the Sun, NOTHING ELSE. It does not depend upon CO2 concentration (Earth has 0.04% CO2, and Venus a whopping 96.5%); and it does not depend upon albedo, either at cloud tops or planetary surfaces (Earth’s surface is 70% deep ocean, while Venus is solid crust) — These great differences in the two atmospheres and surfaces mean nothing, introduce no complicating effects. The Venus/Earth comparison shows they have no overall effect, because the solar distance explains the entire difference, over a broad range of atmospheric pressures. So both planets MUST be warmed, overall, by direct atmospheric absorption of the same (infrared) portion of the Sun’s incident radiation, not by the more complicated process of first warming of the surface. This is a revolutionary finding, but my Venus analysis is easily verified by any competent scientist, and should have been confronted and generally accepted nearly 20 years ago, when the 1991 Magellan mission returned the detailed Venus data.

    So you have a complicated radiative transfer theory — obviously incompetently implemented when you consider the Earth’s surface a blackbody, or ignore the fact that you are showing thermal measurements, not directed radiation measurements — supposedly backing up a complicated “greenhouse effect”, versus a simple, planet-sized experiment (a competent Venus/Earth comparison) that definitively denies the “greenhouse effect” concocted by James Hansen et al..

    Obviously, in the present heated intellectual atmosphere, it is going to take time for enough good scientists of dispassionate manner to confront and accept my clear and simple contribution. I submitted it to “Physics Today”, for a necessary open airing before the entire scientific community and the public, but of course have gotten no response. So I await signs of an incipient competency among climate scientists on this subject, or an overthrow of the current climate “consensus” by scientists in other fields (I am a physicist). The truth is quite different, and remarkably simpler, than anyone now seems to realize.

  47. “I am not sure about this ‘radiation down’ or so called ‘back-radiation’.
    According to Trenberth et al. this amounts to about 330 W/m2, nearly twice that of the energy reaching the Earths surface from the sun (184 W/m2). If this is true why isn’t this energy collected and used as an energy source (better than solar energy as no need for storage – this can be collected 24 hours /day).”

    This simple question points a very large problem with the back radiation model. The simple fact that we cannot harness the power of the back radiation points to a problem with the back radiation model.

    If Trenberth’s et al model is correct, then standing naked outside at midnight in still air should feel almost as warm as standing outside naked at noon on a sunny day.

    We should also be able to harness the energy of the IR photons from the back radiation using solar panels sensitive in the IR spectrum to generate a large fraction of the power we generate in sunlight.

    The simple fact that we cannot harness the energy of the back radiation suggests that it exists more as a function of our current theories in physics than as anything else. If the back radiation can’t do work, then something is missing in the explanation.

  48. I’ve been working with a combination of the reanalysis data set and CO2 data in an effort to quantifiy the relative effects of atmospheric water and CO2 on OLR from the top of the atmosphere.(click on my name). I think a better approach is to estimate the “average optical thickness” of the atmospheric blanket and determine what effects water and CO2 have on it. First estimate the temperature at the top of the atmosphere using the S-B law and OLR at TOA. Then estimate “average optical thickness” using the difference between SST (skin surface temperature) and temperature at TOA with different lapse rates (wet for tropics and dry near the poles). Regress these values on precipitation rate, precipitable water, and CO2 to determine the magnitude of their effects. This technique captures the additional effects of non-radiative processes (formation of clouds, rain, and snow). I expect you will find that any minor effect of CO2 is statistically lost in the error variability of the atmospheric water factors.

  49. richard verney says:
    March 10, 2011 at 6:29 am (Edit)
    tallbloke says: March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am
    “….The greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space .

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/tallbloke-back-radiation-oceans-and-energy-exchange/

    Thanks for the link to your article. I was one of those who was arguing similar points with Willis and I have not seen your article before today. It is an interesting read.

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for that. In fact, it was your exchange with Willis on the folie a deux part deux thread which prompted me to write the article and invite Willis to respond.

    His position and Ira Glicksteins seem quite close, but niether of them seem willing to engage with the issue of the inadequacy of the mixing down of the back radiation warmed ocean surface to explain the rise in ocean heat content in the ’90’s.

    The ocean freezing argument misses the real point. If the ocean is re-emitting whatever back radiation flirts with it’s surface in short order, an increase in co2 is not going to affect ocean heat content much, because it’ll just cause a bit more evaporation/convection, which cools the ocean surface.

    Cheers

  50. Two identical plates at identical temperatures exactly parallel in a vacuum radiating at each other.
    heat transfer between the two is:
    q/a = (emissivity * sigma * T1^4) – (emissivity * sigma * T2^4) since e and sigma are the same
    q/a = emissivity*sigma* (T1^4-T2^4) since they are both the same T no heat transfer.

    There is no temperature increase at both plates because the other is radiating at it, no slow down of radiation, nothing. Even if you now put a gas (CO2) in between the plates you still end with the same thing no heat transfer between plates. The gas will not impede the plates from radiating. The gas will not make the plates hotter.

    For people who say a cold body will transfer heat to a warmer body please present a formulaic argument for that.

    For Phil who ask about why PV=nRT does not heat Titan: The gases on Titan are near critical temperature and therefore the formula cannot be used. However on Earth the critical temperature of nitrogen (-173 C or so) is so far away from the air temperature of the Earth that PV=nRT can be used at one atmosphere with a less than 1% error. Ergo my statement that we over state the effects of any GHG effect by at least 18 C.

    And we have yet to have a definitive answer as to whether N2 and O2 follow the noraml law that “all matter will radiate according its temperature” or that N2 and O2 are immune form this.

  51. To John Marshall and Vince Causey:

    In regard to the second law discussion, I would add this way of looking at it, which is really just a simpler way of saying what Vince said. When you have energy being transfered between the ground and the air it will have a rate of flow based on the difference in temperature between them. If you make the air warmer and the ground stays the same temperature, then the rate of energy flow will slow down. It’s not a matter of whether energy flows in both directions or not. The question is relative rate of flow. Changing the temperature of either medium relative to the other will change the rate of flow in the form of conduction.

    To Ira Glickstein:

    Are there any sources that show what those bottom/top of atmosphere graphs would look like with double CO2? I wonder how much it would change and how?

  52. this one must be for Roy Spencer and his Vacuum theory,

    For people who say a cold body will transfer heat to a warmer body please present a formulaic argument for that.

  53. Next up: Could you address for our reading audience LOWTRAN, MODTRAN and HITRAN and what that means for LWIR transmission and how it relates to CAGW?

    Moshpit (S. Mosher) can advise where to obtain if required … so can cba I think.

    .

  54. #
    #
    Gilbert K. Arnold

    ……” Did you even look at Ira’s brief CV at the bottom of his article. “……

    Perhaps he has forgotten his thermo.
    Other posters have pointed out mistakes with Kelvin temperature units and so on.
    I was being helpful when I said he should revise his thermodynamics.

  55. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    March 10, 2011 at 6:10 am
    Ira, there’s a problem here. as P. van der Meer says at 3:15 am. The blackbody curves are showing a peak at about 18 micron when they should be peaking at about 10 micron for a 300K blackbody.
    In fact, if you refer to your previous post ‘Visualising the Greenhouse Effect – Atmospheric Windows’, you have the peak correct at 10 microns.
    So, the current graphs don’t make sense – unless I am missing something? I have looked at the source material and that appears to be wrong also.

    Has anyone got an explanation for this?

    Yes, the Petty data is spectral radiance (mW/m^2.sr.cm-1) plotted vs. cm-1 and is correct, the transformation to a plot in terms of wavelength is non-linear (and is why it’s misleading for Ira to have reversed the axis on his plots, should leave it in wavenumbers).

  56. James says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:06 am
    Re-emitted radiation does not and cannot heat the Earth significantly, because downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength.

    But the radiation from the Sun has an even smaller wavelength. How come solar radiation can heat the Earth but re-emitted radiation [can’t]?

    It’s because it has a smaller wavelength that it can penetrate the ocean. Most of the incoming solar energy is in the visible wavelengths, and it penetrates the ocean to around 300feet at most. The U.V. penetrates even further, to 1500feet or more, but carries a lot less energy than the visible. A big percentage is absorbed in the top 30feet, but that’s ok, because that’s well onto the zone which can get mixed further down by wind and wave action, tidal action and subsurface currents.

  57. Harry Dale Huffman says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Thank you Harry.

    And

    mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

    “And we have yet to have a definitive answer as to whether N2 and O2 follow the noraml law that “all matter will radiate according its temperature” or that N2 and O2 are immune form this.”

    Ditto.

    I have been saying exactly this for years. If N2 and O2 do not radiate according to their temperature then they must be the only two substances in the Universe which do not.

    How convenient would it be, if that were the case (which of course it is not), that they happen to make up 99% of the atmosphere?

  58. to Harry Dale Huffman

    Good post. Great analysis. Far more valid than the nonsense out there.

    On earth, the data from the Antarctic interior regions, confirms exactly what you concluded. CO2 levels have no silly feedback effects.

    It’s as if the climate scientists, ignorant of the basics of radiational heat transfer, have built an elaborate farce. They chase around bits and pieces, thousands of localized effects. Meanwhile they construct a farcical ‘greenhouse effect’, include in it what they think belongs there, blow them way out of proportion, and exclude or ignore what they ‘think’ doesn’t belong there.

    Then they frighten themselves with their own farce of a nightmare. And they try to get others to join them in their self-created nightmare.

    Incompetence abounds, not only as scientists, but as people.

  59. “Morris Minor says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

    “…. Perhaps a better analogy would be an electric blanket that, in addition to its insulating properties, also emits thermal radiation both down and up…..”

    I am not sure about this ‘radiation down’ or so called ‘back-radiation’.
    According to Trenberth et al. this amounts to about 330 W/m2, nearly twice that of the energy reaching the Earths surface from the sun (184 W/m2). If this is true why isn’t this energy collected and used as an energy source (better than solar energy as no need for storage – this can be collected 24 hours /day).
    The reason I suspect we can’t use this energy is because it doesn’t exist – heat will not flow from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth.
    I think the emission spectra shows the scatter of infra-red from the atmospheric gases that wont reach the collimated collector of the sensors due to its direction of travel?

    Thoughts please!”

    Absolutely 100% right Morris Minor- Cooler air CANNOT heat the warm ground, this article is nothing more than lukewarmer nonsense-
    ( and by the way great choice of car, I own three! One Traveller, one convertible and a 4-door saloon project. )

    regards
    John

  60. Gilbert K. Arnold says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:09 am
    Did you even look at Ira’s brief CV at the bottom of his article.

    I’ll reserve judgement on the value of the CV until Ira has cogently debated the points raised in opposition to his characterisation of the greenhouse effect.

  61. mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

    For Phil who ask about why PV=nRT does not heat Titan: The gases on Titan are near critical temperature and therefore the formula cannot be used. However on Earth the critical temperature of nitrogen (-173 C or so) is so far away from the air temperature of the Earth that PV=nRT can be used at one atmosphere with a less than 1% error. Ergo my statement that we over state the effects of any GHG effect by at least 18 C.

    As you’ve been told before you can’t use the gas laws this way, it’s utter nonsense to do so. I didn’t ask about Titan but Triton, where the atmosphere (N2) is far from the critical point.

    And we have yet to have a definitive answer as to whether N2 and O2 follow the noraml law that “all matter will radiate according its temperature” or that N2 and O2 are immune form this.

    Yes you have but it doesn’t fit with your preconceptions so you don’t believe it.

  62. On the 2nd Thermodynamics Law, some above are confusing Net Flow of Heat, which must always be from hotter to colder, with Rate of Heat Flow, which can be influenced by placing a resistor in the system (eg the vacuum part of a thermos bottle, for example). The hot toddy in the thermos bottle still cools as heat is transferred out, but more slowly.

    A blanket is a resistor to heat flow. The atmosphere is a resistor to heat flow.

    The atmosphere resists heat flow more in the infra-red than in the visible light specrum. So heat from the Sun, mostly in the visible range, gets in with less resistance than heat radiated from the Earth, mostly in the infra-red. The Earth must rise in temperature until the imbalances in resistance are balanced by increased radiation from the warmer Earth. This higher equilibrium point, about which the Earth in reality fluctuates, is empirically confirmed by comparison with the average temps on the airless moon.

    The issue for AGW (the CO2-part, not the urban heat island (UHI) or land use part) is whether elevating CO2 levels change the net resistance to flow in the assumed linear fashion (ie, doubling CO2 doubles CO2’s contribution to the air’s resistance to heat flow outgoing from the Earth). Logical application of saturation effects suggest that as CO2 rises, its added contribution diminishes.

    This leaves aside the issue of feedbacks, positive or negative, related to clouds, storms, surface albedo, and so on.

    In summary, one reaches a flat-earther or the-moon-shots-were-fakes level of denial when one tries to deny that a “greenhouse effect” exists because of the atmosphere’s resistance to heat flow. The reason that CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) is in doubt is because:
    1. The temp records poorly correlate with CO2 levels.
    2. “Saturation” effects may limit the change induced by rising CO2.
    3. The net feedbacks are most likely negative (characteristic of a stable system, as the Earth has been for eons), not positive.

  63. Obvious take-aways: the “greenhouse” has a lot of broken windows and the “blanket” has a lot of holes.

  64. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    “As you’ve been told before you can’t use the gas laws this way, it’s utter nonsense to do so. I didn’t ask about Titan but Triton, where the atmosphere (N2) is far from the critical point.”

    Sorry for the mistake between the two moons. But my comment stands as I went back to my themodynamics book and what I said is a virtual quote about critical temperature and being able to use it about air within a 1% error here on earth. If you disgree then you disagree with not only me but my old text book.

    Again with the preconceptions. There was a disagreement on the last thread about this and just because you post a link to somewhere does not make it definitive. But let’s say you are correct that N2 and O2 do not radiate according to thier temperature. Then why Phil: “Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere.” Is NOAA wrong? The quote is from an earlier story here on WUWT.

  65. Domenic says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:30 am
    to Harry Dale Huffman

    Good post. Great analysis. Far more valid than the nonsense out there.

    Except it’s wrong!
    For example, the following:
    The Venus/Earth comparison directly indicates this, because the ratio of temperatures, Venus/Earth, is essentially a constant (1.17) which is just that due to the distances of the two planets from the Sun, NOTHING ELSE. It does not depend upon CO2 concentration (Earth has 0.04% CO2, and Venus a whopping 96.5%); and it does not depend upon albedo, either at cloud tops or planetary surfaces

    Venus has a bond albedo of 0.75 due to the sulfuric acid clouds whereas the earth has a bond albedo of 0.29, you bet the temperature depends on the albedo. Venus absorbs 25% of the light incident on it and Earth 71% but the ratio of temperatures still only depends on the distance from the sun? Even a physicist should see the problem with that.

  66. I’m an engineer, not a physicist, but I think I may be able to clarify the misunderstandings with respect to heat transfer and the second law of thermodynamics.

    Any matter that is not at zero Kelvin will emit energy.

    Where a cold surface meets a hot surface, both emit energy but the hot surface will emit more than the cold.

    Although there will be energy transfer in both directions, the net transfer must be from the hot body to the cold one, causing the hot body to cool and the cold body to warm.

    So when the second law forbids the transfer of heat from the cold body to the warm, I think it refers to net heat transfer.

    Disclaimer: my thermodynamics are pretty rusty so that might be all wrong.

  67. “Harry Dale Huffman says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 am
    A proper comparison of the atmospheric temperatures of Venus and Earth proves (to any competent, and honest, physical scientist) that there is no greenhouse effect such as is “visualized” here and promulgated by the IPCC scientists.”

    Excellent post, went to your site and read in entirety, very succinct and straightforward. Thanks for joining us here. I find it disheartening that not more of the posters here (only one other I’ve seen so far: Domenic says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:30 am and I agree with his comments also) have picked up on the import of your analysis.

    My personal feeling is that too much time is spent on coddling over personalities, psychologies, and what you touched on: this preponderance over comples calculations concerning a dead hypothesis. I mentioned on another thread that the truth is ill-served by trying to “build bridges” or find “common ground” for discussion with scoundrels. Congratulations on your adept use of Occam’s Razor and thanks again.

    I have bookemarked your site for frequent referencing.

  68. mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

    You are correct, all substances radiate according to their respective temperatures, there are no exceptions to that fact.

  69. Gaylon says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    March 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Hey all, in my previous post I am not refering to ALL AGW’s believers as scoundrels. I am refering to the scoundrels (Trenberth, Mann, Jones, et al). I realize that this science (climate science) is still in it’s infancy and that many climb on-board through a sincere desire to explore, explain, and to learn. Others, named, not so much.

  70. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 5:53 am
    Ira,
    You should stop saying the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warm the earth to this crowd. Too may engineers running around here. The atmosphere slows the rate at which the earth loses energy to deep space. Thus, the earth in the sun-earth-space system has a higher equilibrium temp. The “old” rules of thermodynamics still apply: a warm object cannot gain net thermal energy from a cold object.

    But a warm object with a continuous heat source surrounded by a radiatively active atmosphere which is warmer than space will reach an equilibrium temperature which is warmer than it would otherwise be in the absence of such an atmosphere. Some of the BB emitted from the surface will be recycled to the surface (and be measured) ask some of the ChemEs what the effect of 50% recycle is on throughput, is that contrary to conservation of mass? Ask the MechEs why when they measure the exhaust from a gas turbine with a thermocouple they get a certain temperature but when they put a thin radiation shield around it the temperature goes up, is that contrary to the laws of thermodynamics?

  71. “”Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:31 am
    Domenic says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:30 am
    to Harry Dale Huffman

    Good post. Great analysis. Far more valid than the nonsense out there.

    Except it’s wrong!””
    ________________

    Phil, go back and actually read the analysis here:

    http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html

    The calculations are relatively simple, are applied at the 1000mb level, and are congruent with earth at 1000mb. It’s straight, simple, to the point and beyond refutation. Maybe Harry will come back and answer you directly, but I think when he writes, “The Venus/Earth comparison directly indicates this, because the ratio of temperatures, Venus/Earth, is essentially a constant (1.17) which is just that due to the distances of the two planets from the Sun, NOTHING ELSE. It does not depend upon CO2 concentration (Earth has 0.04% CO2, and Venus a whopping 96.5%); and it does not depend upon albedo, either at cloud tops or planetary surfaces (Earth’s surface is 70% deep ocean, while Venus is solid crust) — These great differences in the two atmospheres and surfaces mean nothing, introduce no complicating effects. The Venus/Earth comparison shows they have no overall effect, because the solar distance explains the entire difference, over a broad range of atmospheric pressures.”, his comments are substantiated by the math. Very simple.

  72. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    “Venus has a bond albedo of 0.75 due to the sulfuric acid clouds whereas the earth has a bond albedo of 0.29, you bet the temperature depends on the albedo. Venus absorbs 25% of the light incident on it and Earth 71% but the ratio of temperatures still only depends on the distance from the sun? Even a physicist should see the problem with that.”

    I think Phil has either missed the point here or he hasn’t read Harry’s article. http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html

    He clearly states that Earth and Venus are heated top down by incoming IR.

    Quote: “This in fact indicates that the Venusian atmosphere is heated mainly by incident infrared radiation from the Sun, which is not reflected but absorbed by Venus’s clouds, rather than by warming first of the planetary surface. (It also indicates that the Earth atmosphere is substantially warmed the same way, during daylight hours, by direct solar infrared irradiation, and that the temperature profile, or lapse rate, for any planetary atmosphere is relatively oblivious to how the atmosphere is heated, whether from above or below.)”

    Albedo applies to visible electromagnetic radiation not invisible IR.

  73. You have gone to great lengths to explain the spectral absorption features of the greenhouse gases. These gases are in the atmosphere and that is what they do. But it is unhelpful to know what the gases that are sitting there do when the atmosphere is in a stationary state. What is important to know is how does the addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere change this picture. We are told that if you do that the atmospheric absorption will simply increase at the wavelengths that the added gas absorbs and in proportion to the amount added. But is this really true? There are no direct instrumental measurements of this and we simply have to believe theory about it. But what if there was a way to actually observe how the total atmospheric absorption changes as we increase the amount of CO2 we add to the atmosphere? It turns out that there is as Ferenc Miskolczi has pointed out. NOAA has been keeping a database of weather balloon observations since 1948 and these can be used to determine the relevant atmospheric absorption parameters. Miskolczi used this database to calculate how the global annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere varied throughout these years. And he found that the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs remained constant for 61 years, with a value of 1.87. This tells us that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared did not change for 61 years despite constant addition of CO2 to the atmosphere through all this long stretch of time. Hence, the greenhouse absorption signature of the added carbon dioxide which we are told about simply isn’t there. This is an empirical finding, not something derived from theory, and it overrides any calculations from theory that do not agree with it. Theories that disagree must either be modified or discarded. I want to point out also that his work came out in 2009 and no one so far has attempted to present any peer-reviewed arguments against it. Miskolczi concludes: “It will be inferred that CO2 does not affect the climate through the greenhouse effect.”

  74. I am enjoying the various views expressed in the various comments.

    As regards the various arguments as to whether heat can flow from a cooler body to a warmer body, net heat flow, the rate of net heat flow etc, given the importance of this issue, it amazes me that there appears to be no experimental data on this. Whilst this is not my field, surely, it cannot be that difficult to devise a suitable experiment. Possibly along the lines:
    1. A very larger insulated air chamber with a well mixed air temperature at say 290K.
    2. Suspend within the chamber a modest size blackbody sphere at say 340K and measure the time taken to cool to 320K.
    3. Repeat 2 above but this time additionally suspend within the chamber a significantly smaller blackbody sphere (say perhaps 1/10th surface area) at 300K say 2 metres away from the larger 340K blackbody. Measure the time taken for the 340K blackbody to cool to 320K. Measure the heat radiated on both sides of that blackbody to see whether there is a difference in the amount of heat being radiated on the side which is adjacent to the smaller cooler blackbody. Measure the heat being radiated by the smaller blackbody to see whether there is a difference in the amount of heat being radiated on the side adjacent to the warmer blackbody.
    4. Repeat 3 above but with the smaller blackbody at 280K.
    5. Repeat the experiment with different sizes of blackbodies, and different temperatures for each blackbody and different distances between the blackbodies.
    6. Repeat the experiement with the chamber of air having 500ppm, 600ppm, 700 ppm and 800ppm of Co2.
    7. Repeat the experiment but with a slow running fan placed under and sime distance away from the blackbody spheres.
    8. Carry out a number of experimental runs as appropriate.
    9. Collect data and analyse.

    I am not suggesting that the above experiment but some experiment along those lines ought to establish what really happens in the real world.

  75. Phil,
    In fact, I was one of those Chem E’s! Thank you for your compliment!
    I agree with what you say. I am just telling Ira that his use of language is contrary to what we would teach in a thermodynamics classroom. An atmosphere won’t transfer net heat to a warmer body. It may slow the rate at which EMR is emitted from the body, or change the equilibrium temp of the body, but the “Heat Transfer” will always go from the Hot source to the Cold source. You can’t make statements like -“A real greenhouse primarily restricts heat escape by preventing convection while the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth” – to a group of engineers.

  76. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:44 am
    a warm object with a continuous heat source surrounded by a radiatively active atmosphere which is warmer than space will reach an equilibrium temperature which is warmer than it would otherwise be in the absence of such an atmosphere.

    And a warm object which has lower albedo for 25 years allowing more energy from the continuous heat source onto its surface will too.

  77. Unfortunately we have low clouds in the middle of the optical path.

    If the emission is a function of surface temperature.

    Nobody knows the correct temperature.

    The interface temperature (SSTint)

    At the exact air-sea interface a hypothetical temperature called the interface temperature (SSTint) is defined although this is of no practical use because it cannot be measured using current technology.

    The skin sea surface temperarature (SSTskin)

    The skin temperature (SSTskin) is defined as the temperature measured by an infrared radiometer typically operating at wavelengths 3.7-12 µm (chosen for consistency with the majority of infrared satellite measurements) that represents the temperature within the conductive diffusion-dominated sub-layer at a depth of ~10-20 µm. SSTskin measurements are subject to a large potential diurnal cycle including cool skin layer effects (especially at night under clear skies and low wind speed conditions) and warm layer effects in the daytime.

    http://www.ghrsst.org/SST-Definitions.html

    On the other hand, consider a cloud that is made up of 10 µm-diameter water droplets: it behaves like a homogeneous medium with respect to the long wavelengths of microwave radiation even though it is quite inhomogeneous with respect to visible and infrared radiation.
    in,
    A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation page 72.

    Unfortunately we have low clouds in the middle of the optical path.

    In those circumstances it seems reasonable that the input is different from the output. Without necessarily indicate an energy imbalance (caused by CO2).

  78. I keep seeing the argument that heat cannot flow from a cold body to a hot body. If I follow this argument then a emergency reflective blanket sold in camping stores will not keep you warmer. The second law says there cannot be any NET flow from cold to hot but says nothing about an absorbing gas reducing the rate of heat flow from the hot body.

    Here is an actual experiment. I was using a hot filament in high vacuum to heat a sample to high temperature (~1000°C). I could not get one sample hot enough so I put a shiny metal cylinder around but not touching the filament or sample. The reflected heat increased my sample temperature over 100°C. The added radiation from the relatively cold cylinder increased the temperature of the white hot filament. The net flow of heat of course was from hot to cold. This is a pure radiation example and some heat did radiate from the cold reflector to the hot filament.

  79. An electric blanket has an internal heat source and thus isn’t an appropriate comparison. An electric blanket can warm another object above the object’s starting temperature. A regular blanket can’t do that. A regular blanket can only slow down the rate of heat loss from an object it covers. Stick to a pair of black rocks that are exposed to the sun during the day and one of them gets a blanket over it at night. That’s about as close to reality as you’re going to get using ordinary objects in a way that almost everyone can understand from personal experience. Most people also understand that each additional blanket is less effective at retaining warmth than the previous blanket i.e. the first blanket makes a huge difference while a tenth blanket won’t help nearly as much as the first.

    After that the argument is just over the exact amount of warming (not much for CO2 & CO2 equivalents alone which isn’t a matter of great dispute) and whether or not there is any positive feedback from water vapor. The water vapor feedback is the matter of great dispute and appears to be nothing more than a wholesale fabrication without a wisp of empirical evidence in support of it and posited for the sole purpose of turning a little bit of welcome, beneficial warming into something worth worrying about.

  80. mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:21 am
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    “As you’ve been told before you can’t use the gas laws this way, it’s utter nonsense to do so. I didn’t ask about Titan but Triton, where the atmosphere (N2) is far from the critical point.”

    Sorry for the mistake between the two moons. But my comment stands as I went back to my themodynamics book and what I said is a virtual quote about critical temperature and being able to use it about air within a 1% error here on earth. If you disgree then you disagree with not only me but my old text book.

    Your old text book correctly tells you the accuracy with which the gas laws apply to the Earth’s atmosphere, they don’t tell you that PV=nRT heats the Earth which is what you said!
    At the surface P is effectively constant so the gas laws tell us that the density of the atmosphere is a function of T, i.e. n/V=P/RT. The surface temperature is determined by radiational exchange with the sun and the surface heats the atmosphere, the hotter it gets the lower the density, Temperature does not depend on PV=nRT!

    Again with the preconceptions. There was a disagreement on the last thread about this and just because you post a link to somewhere does not make it definitive. But let’s say you are correct that N2 and O2 do not radiate according to thier temperature. Then why Phil: “Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere.” Is NOAA wrong? The quote is from an earlier story here on WUWT.

    N2 and O2 do not emit BB radiation according to their temperature, they can only emit where there are transitions between energy levels which are determined by molecular structure. At any given temperature they will not emit more that given by S-B at that wavelength. O2 has pure rotationa transitions in the microwave spectrum around 60μm, the fraction of BB emissions from the Earth at that wavelength is extremely small and has no significant contribution (line intensities ~10^-26, BB spectral radiance ~1%) compared with H2O and CO2 (many more lines, line intensities ~10^-19, right in the heart of the BB radiance spectrum). Those microwave emissions are useful diagnostically because they’re in a region which is sparsely populated by other spectra (a little H2O), they don’t contribute to the energy balance of the atmosphere.
    Learn something about the physics of gases rather than pick up snippets that you don’t understand and think it shows that those who’ve researched the subject and taught it at the graduate level missed something.

  81. @sjoerd: “”Please leave out the “degree” when talking about Kelvin. It’s “degree Fahrenheit” and “degree Celsius”, but it’s “Kelvin” (without the “degree”). Same when abbreviated: It’s 270K, not 270ºK.””

    Only to kids. We old farts grew up with “degrees Kelvin”, before it was changed by a convention in the early 70’s. Just like many of us grew up with “degrees Fahrenheit”, before many countries started changing to “degrees Celsius”. We also used to know it by “Centigrade”, not “Celsius”. How about you wait till we’re all dead before waxing on about your superiority, huh?

  82. Will says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:37 am
    mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

    You are correct, all substances radiate according to their respective temperatures, there are no exceptions to that fact.

    There are many exceptions to that ‘fact’ because it’s simply not true, if it were there would be no need to go to the difficulty of constructing a BB cavity for calibration purposes. Gases in particular emit line spectra not BB continua.

  83. Michael J says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

    …..”Any matter that is not at zero Kelvin will emit energy.”….

    Yes but some molecules radiate quite a lot at certain frequencies and some hardly any.
    For O2 and N2 we can ignore any radiation in the IR for all practical purposes.

    ……”So when the second law forbids the transfer of heat from the cold body to the warm, I think it refers to net heat transfer.”……
    Radiation goes from cold to hot but not heat.
    Being an engineer you can think of lots of ways to get work done by a machine taking heat from a high temperature then e.g. operating a piston and rejecting unused heat to a lower temperature.
    However you cannot think of one device that takes heat from a lower temperature does some work then rejects unused heat to a higher temperature.

  84. John Marshall says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:04 am

    May I respectfully suggest you go read a junior level physics text book.

  85. Arno Arrak says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:11 am
    You have gone to great lengths to explain the spectral absorption features of the greenhouse gases. These gases are in the atmosphere and that is what they do. But it is unhelpful to know what the gases that are sitting there do when the atmosphere is in a stationary state. What is important to know is how does the addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere change this picture. We are told that if you do that the atmospheric absorption will simply increase at the wavelengths that the added gas absorbs and in proportion to the amount added.

    Who’s telling you that? It depends on the gas, for CO2 it’s approximately logarithmic at present atmospheric conditions.

    But is this really true? There are no direct instrumental measurements of this and we simply have to believe theory about it.

    There are plenty of instrumental measurements of this, the broadening of spectral lines is well understood.

  86. Bryan,

    “Vince Causey perhaps is confusing radiation with heat.”

    Yes, I was using the two terms interchangably. If we take heat flow to mean something getting warmer, then it is certainly impossible for a cooler body to make a warmer body still warmer. What I was trying to say was that energy will flow from the cooler body but heat will not – ie, the warmer body will not heat up, but will still cool down and equilibriate with the cooler body.

    I was attempting to respond to a poster who asserts that the GHG effect violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics which forbids heat flowing from a cooler body to a warmer body. A better worded response would be to say that GHG does not depend on ‘heat’ flowing in that direction, merely the flow of energy, and that energy flow will have the effect of slowing down heat loss from the warmer body.

  87. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:16 am
    2nd Law. Disorder to order. Low entropy to High Entropy. And everyone still appear to be mixing classical and quantum reactions. Kinetic and convective transfer are classical effects. Radiative is a quantum effect. What ‘see’ will be different for both models.

  88. Will says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:58 am
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    “Venus has a bond albedo of 0.75 due to the sulfuric acid clouds whereas the earth has a bond albedo of 0.29, you bet the temperature depends on the albedo. Venus absorbs 25% of the light incident on it and Earth 71% but the ratio of temperatures still only depends on the distance from the sun? Even a physicist should see the problem with that.”
    ………..
    Albedo applies to visible electromagnetic radiation not invisible IR.

    No: “The Bond albedo is the fraction of power in the total electromagnetic radiation incident on an astronomical body that is scattered back out into space. It takes into account all wavelengths at all phase angles.
    It is an important quantity for characterizing a planetary body’s energy balance.
    For objects in the solar system, the relevant weighting of each wavelength is proportional to the solar power spectrum. Visible light is a major contribution because over 40% of solar output is in this range.
    Like most albedos, the Bond albedo is a value between 0 and 1.”

  89. Morris Minor,

    “If this is true why isn’t this energy collected and used as an energy source (better than solar energy as no need for storage – this can be collected 24 hours /day).”

    Actually heat is collected from the ground. Thermal heat collectors based on heat pumps are able to extract that heat from the 2 metres below the surface and can be used to warm houses.

  90. tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Be careful about wavelength v penetration in water. Submarines use very longwave radiation for communication and detection because higher frequencies and therefore higher energy waves are rapidly attenuated in water. I have not data at all beyond these details because I designed adaptive filters for one of the first sideways viewing ‘radars’ back in the late ’70s’.

  91. GaryP says:

    ……”Here is an actual experiment. I was using a hot filament in high vacuum to heat a sample to high temperature (~1000°C). I could not get one sample hot enough so I put a shiny metal cylinder around but not touching the filament or sample. The reflected heat increased my sample temperature over 100°C. The added radiation from the relatively cold cylinder increased the temperature of the white hot filament. The net flow of heat of course was from hot to cold. This is a pure radiation example and some heat did radiate from the cold reflector to the hot filament.”…..

    All your reflector did was to insulate the hot filament.
    When you put on clothes you reduce heat loss from your body.
    The clothes also radiate IR as well as reducing heat loss by conduction and convection.
    You would not saythat you wear your own greenhouse effect clothing would you?

  92. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:16 am
    … but the “Heat Transfer” will always go from the Hot source to the Cold source. You can’t make statements like -”A real greenhouse primarily restricts heat escape by preventing convection while the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth” – to a group of engineers.

    Net heat will go from the warmer object toward the cooler. You are absolutely right about that. You are, however, wrong about radiation.

    A weaker source will radiate toward a stronger source. The radiation from the stronger source does not magically drive back that of the weaker source.

    I give a couple of examples in a longer post above which I will repeat here.

    a) If I stand with my back toward the sun, I will be able to see a flashlight being shone at me. Nothing about the sun’s radiation will prevent the radiation from the flashlight from reaching me. b) If I stand near a strong radio transmitter, I can still tune in weaker transmitters. Nothing about the stronger transmitter’s signal prevents the weaker signal from getting to me. The net energy flux will still be from the stronger source toward the weaker one. It is a net flux though, in other words, the net flux is the difference between the two signals.

    Infra-red is electromagnetic radiation. It behaves like any other kind of EM radiation.
    Ira’s statement is just fine.

  93. peter_ga says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:21 am

    “Earth is warmer because of its oceans, through an indirect greenhouse mechanism, that has nothing to do with co2.”

    Bingo!

    see here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1487&linkbox=true&position=4

    “The Hot Water Bottle Effect.”

    and while I’m about it the one most important thing I have realised from the advice of solar expert Leif Svalgaard is that it is not all about radiative physics (sorry Ira).

    If we are going to explain movements of the Earth’s air circulation systems to fit observations then radiative physics just does not work.

    We see a cooling stratosphere/mesosphere when the sun is active and a warming stratosphere/mesosphere when the sun is inactive. That is the opposite of conventional climatology.

    Thus the air circulation systems move poleward when the sun is active and equatorward when it is inactive. That affects global albedo and energy input to the oceans.

    What we are left with is atmospheric chemistry involving ozone overriding radiative processes to shift the air circulations, affect global cloudiness and albedo and thereby switch the oceans from net energy gain to net energy loss. The tropospheric air temperatures then follow in due course.

    This is my latest effort on that issue:

    http://www.irishweatheronline.com/irishweather/how-the-sun-could-control-earths-temperature.html

    “How The Sun Could Control Earth’s Temperature”

    Alternative suggestions are welcome but they need to fit real world observations at least as well as do my proposals.

  94. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 9:44 am
    “But a warm object with a continuous heat source surrounded by a radiatively active atmosphere which is warmer than space will reach an equilibrium temperature which is warmer than it would otherwise be in the absence of such an atmosphere.”
    ——————–
    I’m not aware of anywhere on this spinning, tilting, cloud-bedecked planet for which this description would be apt.
    Furthermore, the fact that the atmosphere also interacts with the incoming radiation that is the heat source for the surface complicates speculation about what it it woud all be like “if..”.

  95. “Since gases tend to re-emit most strongly at the same wavelength region where they absorb, the ~7μ and ~15μ are well-represented, while the ~10μ region is weaker.”

    We went over this before. Kirchoff’s first of law radiation: solids, liquids, and dense gases emit continuous blackbody spectrums with the peak emission frequency determined by the temperature. The earth’s atmosphere below the thermosphere is dense in the context of Kirchoff’s law. When the gas molecules are densely packed they give up energy through collisions. Collisions don’t generate emission line spectra they generate continuous blackbody spectra. The “temperature” is a measure of the average speed of the molecules and hence the average energy involved in collisions between molecules.

  96. Vince Causey

    ……..”Actually heat is collected from the ground. Thermal heat collectors based on heat pumps are able to extract that heat from the 2 metres below the surface and can be used to warm houses.”……..

    This fully complies with the second law.
    Clausius said that heat will not flow spontaneously from a lower to a higher temperature.
    You can of course use external energy as work in a device to pump the heat.
    Like a refrigerator or heat pump.

  97. GaryP says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Here is an actual experiment. I was using a hot filament in high vacuum to heat a sample to high temperature (~1000°C). I could not get one sample hot enough so I put a shiny metal cylinder around but not touching the filament or sample. The reflected heat increased my sample temperature over 100°C. The added radiation from the relatively cold cylinder increased the temperature of the white hot filament. The net flow of heat of course was from hot to cold. This is a pure radiation example and some heat did radiate from the cold reflector to the hot filament.

    A slightly more sophisticated version of this is used with incandescent light bulbs to improve their efficiency. The glass envelope is coated with a coating which reflects IR and transmits visible, so the visible is emitted but the IR is reflected back towards the filament, the filament gets hotter and therefore brighter as well as shifting to more visible. Consequently the bulbs emit more visible light for a given electrical input than a conventional bulb thanks to ‘back radiation’.

  98. John Marshall says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Before you go about “understanding” the laws of thermodynamics in your head you should first learn about the results of experiments conducted circa 1859 by John Tyndall with regard to thermal absorption of gases. If the answer you get from the thermodynamic model in your head is not the same answer that comes from experiment then your mental model is flawed. Your understanding is flawed if you do not acknowledge “back radiation”. Tyndall was the first to actually measure it in a series of thousands of experiments with various gases, mixtures of gases, at various pressures, through varying column lengths, and with thermal energy sources at different temperatures. He gave countless lectures and demonstrations about it and published collections of papers in a few books which are available in their entirety free of charge from books.google.com. You might want to start with “Heat: A Mode of Motion” and skip up to the chapters on gases. It’s great reading especially the ingenuity of the experimental setup which is described in great detail along with anecdotes about he obtained various materials required for its construction.

  99. I recently voted for this as being the best scientific blog but, in response to this article, we still get people who say that back radiation cannot happen or wish to divert the discussion to some strange theories about the temperature on Venus.
    But there is a serious problem with Ira’s article!
    As expressed before (6:10AM); his blackbody curves are showing a peak at about 18 micron when they should be peaking at about 10 micron for a 300K blackbody. So, the graphs don’t make sense

    Now Joel Heinrich at 2.57 AM and Phil at 8.21AM, March 10, say this is because Ira has converted wave number to wavelength.
    But this does NOT cut the mustard. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, albeit ending up with a non-linear scale rather than a linear scale. In fact, the
    Source Data itself includes the wavelength scale, so it is nothing to do with Ira’s conversion.

    On the ‘wave number’ scale the peak of the blackbody curves should be around a wave number of 1000 – which they are not! They peak around a wave number of 600 – which is WRONG!
    So the whole article and its conclusions are WRONG!
    Now, can any mathematician or physicist please explain to me why I am mistaken? What am I missing?
    Come on Ira.

  100. tallbloke on March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am says: “…it was reduced albedo 1979-1998 allowing more Solar energy to enter the oceans that caused the majority of the global warming at the end of the last millennium.” Rubbish. There was no such warming before 1998, it’s all fake. Satellite temperature measurements contradict this fantasy that appears on NASA, NOAA and Met Office charts. What satellites do see in this time slot is a temperature oscillation, up and down by half a degree for twenty years, but no warming until the super El Nino shows up. The oscillations belong to the alternation of warm El Nino and cool La Nina periods that are part of the ENSO system in the Pacific. Read “What Warming?” available on Amazon.com.

  101. Since such articles are very comment-rich, I assume the science is far from settled, even the basic theory.

    While the charts are ok, nobody yet calculated how much is this backward IR actually affecting the earth surface temperature. Remove oceans and 99% of atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) with their tremendous heat-keeping capacity and run the experiment with those GHGs again. Or look at the Mars with 6,000 ppm of CO2 and its temperature like blackbody, since oceans, nitrogen and oxygen are missing.

  102. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    If I said surface I misspoke as I know the air isn’t going to heat the surface. My point was and is that -33 C which is used as the starting point for GHG effect may not be correct and that 0 C (STP) is a more proper place to start with any effect of GHG’s.

    Again with the angry. I never said I had all the answers about gas physics I said I was asking questions and there was a difference of opinion. But now I know that, “At any given temperature they will not emit more that given by S-B at that wavelength. ”
    So does this say I can use Wein Displacement Law for a temperature find the wavelength and figure the energy being emitted?

  103. CommieBob,
    Is that flashlight cooler than your eyes? I never said, nor have I seen anyone else on this thread say, that radiation from a hot source would somehow “block” the radiation from a cooler source. I don’t see how this example refutes anything anyone is stating. If you shine a flashlight in your eyes, it will warm you, not the other way around. The flashlight will not warm the sun. The filament in the flashlight is not a hot as the photosphere of the sun. The photons that represent the information being exchanged between the sun and the filament will result in a net warming of the filament, not the sun.
    I would expect my students to state that the atmosphere (or any insulation layer), changes the rate at which energy is transmitted.
    You say that wearing a coat warms the body. I say putting on a coat slows the rate at which your body transfers thermal energy to the surroundings. (and yes, this is obviously conduction, not radiation) There is not really much difference mathematically. It is that statement that greenhouse gases HEAT the earth” by re-radiating IR that is not going to sit well with the thermodynamics vocabulary police.

  104. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Yes I can read wikipedia also. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_albedo
    from which you have clearly quoted verbatim.

    The fact is that again you are either missing the point or you are deliberately taking things out of context.

    Harry is talking about ALBEDO, you are talking about BOND ALBEDO. You have shifted the goal posts.

    ALBEDO in context to Harry’s point is only relevant to visible light. Also from wikipedia, Quote: “When quoted unqualified, it usually refers to some appropriate average across the spectrum of visible light.”

    And from the same wiki page: The term is derived from Latin albedo “whiteness”

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

    So as usual we are now unnecessarily arguing semantics, when it is perfectly clear to anyone what Harry actually means by albedo.

    As for this

    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I am no more interested in responding to waffle than I am arguing semantics.

    So I refer you to my first post.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/#comment-617396

  105. “”””” P. van der Meer says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:15 am
    Ira Glickstein, why don’t you explain to your readers why the various curves for blackbody radiation in your article peak in the range of 17μm to 19μm when the http://spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php site comes up with a peak wavelength of 9.659μm for 300K and 11.828μm for 245K. This is also confirmed by the Wikipedia graph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png), showing a peak at about 9μm for 310K.

    I look forward to your explanation. “””””

    “”””” Joel Heinrich says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:57 am
    The graphics have one (unfortunately very common) error. They are plotted as a wavenumber distribution but labeled with wavelength. You CANNOT just transform the wavenumber into wavelength as they have different peaks. Much like the difference between wavelength and frequency: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PlanckDist_ny_lambda_en.png

    The peak of a distribution in wavelength for 280K is at 10.5 µm. “””””

    Well the explanations are quite simple:

    For Joel Heinrich’s comment; you can in fact plot a graph of anything you like against anything else that you like, even if they aren’t in any way related.

    But in this case they are. Wavelength and wave number also are related, and you can get from one to the other or from the other to one if you prefer.

    And some of the Graphs Ira gives, have horizonatal axes, in both Wavelength and Wave number, as you can plainly see.

    But as you can also plainly see the vertical scale has specific units. And ALL of the graphs have the wrong labels. The vertical axis is not RADIANCE. It IS “Spectral Radiance”, which is the contribution to total RADIANCE, per increment of either WAVE NUMBER as it is in these graphs, or WAVELENGTH which is also quite co0mmon. I actually am more used to seeing blackbody radiation plots using a Wavelength horizontal scale, or a logarithmic wavelength horizontal scale, and a per unit wavelength Spectral Radiance for the vertical scale; but chemists tend to use Wave Numbers and per wavenumber units, and the BB curves are different depending on which you use.

    At 288 K , the BB Planck function has about a 10 micron peak spectral radiance; which is also 1000 cm^-1 BUT ONLY if the Spectral Radiance is specified per unit of WAVELENGTH increment. If the spectral radiance units are per wavenumber (cm^-1) then the peak is closer to 600 cm^-1 or around 18 microns.

    Obviously the global warmists prefer the per wave number version, since the peak of the curve is right on the CO2 band, making CO2 seem more important; whereas the same data on a per micron wavelength plot peaks at 10 microns, or 1000 cm^-1 with the CO2 15 micron band now down lower on the long wavelength tail.
    Although I am more used to the wavelength and the per micron spectral radiance scale, I do agree there is some merit in using frequency units, since the photon energies are proportional to frequency, and not to wavelength. But actually neither version is without problems.

    On a per wavelength scale, you get high spectral radiance for solar UV; but remember that the range of wavelengths available for solar UV is just 2-3 hundred nanometres, versus the tens of microns available for the LWIR emissions from the surface.

    Conversely, on a per wave number spectral radiance plot, the CO2 band gets a miserable 100 wave numbers, whereas that low amplitude water tail has many hundreds of wavenumbers bandwidth; so neither representation is without problems.

    Some people graph black body radiation curves using numbers of photons, versus wavelength or wave number, and then you get a different peak again.

    Now guffawingly, Peter Humbug in his now famous Physics Today special paper, emitted the per spectral units interval all together, giving a totally ridiculous plot, that implied an infinite amount of total energy; which interestingly he also called flux, rather than spectral radiance.

    But we will cut him some slack, and put his error down to a simple typo; we know what you meant Peter. And incidently as he plotted it he did mean per wave number interval.

    Perhaps if he had paid more attention to his subject and left out the political BS, about climate disruption, and 800,000 Kelvin earth Temperatures, then he might have caught his mistake. But as I said we will grant him some leeway. I personally never make typeos, because I review everything carefully.

  106. Arno Arrak says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    tallbloke on March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am says:
    “…it was reduced albedo 1979-1998 allowing more Solar energy to enter the oceans that caused the majority of the global warming at the end of the last millennium.”

    Rubbish. There was no such warming before 1998, it’s all fake. Satellite temperature measurements contradict this fantasy that appears on NASA, NOAA and Met Office charts. What satellites do see in this time slot is a temperature oscillation, up and down by half a degree for twenty years, but no warming until the super El Nino shows up. The oscillations belong to the alternation of warm El Nino and cool La Nina periods that are part of the ENSO system in the Pacific.

    Yeah, that’s the point. The oceans had been saving up excess solar energy and hiding it away from surface measurements in the subsurface pacific warm pool for years. Then just like I said, “at the end of the last millenium” kapow! super el nino. Large amounts of solar derived energy released into the atmosphere and recycled round the ocean surface, and an upward step change in surface temperature post 2000 as the system bounced back from la nina.

  107. @Ira

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to go into quantum mechanics which is generally reserved for quantum scale phenomena. Wavelengths in the micron range in a dense gas means a single wavelength spans millions of molecules at once which is in the domain of classical thermodynamics. Temperature itself is not a quantum measure but rather an average speed of a great number of molecules. That said I’ll take a stab at a lay description of individual molecules and photons in the dense portion of the earth’s atmosphere.

    I just finished reading an article in this month’s issue of Scientific American about a new technique for cooling matter down closer to absolute zero than anyone has obtained before and even better a way to do it with elements that previous techniques didn’t work with. Background information in the article talked about the speed of motion of room temperature gases which if I recall correctly ranges from about 2000 miles per hour to down near zero. The gadget they constructed used a pair of laser beams that act like Maxwell’s Demon allowing lower speed molecules to pass through the pair of beams in one direction only. The volume on one side is smaller than the other and when they trap all the atoms on the smaller side (which for some esoteric quantum reason I don’t really understand doesn’t raise their temperature by compression) they turn off the lasers and let the atoms expand back into the full volume and when they expand they cool down. By doing that over and over and over each time dropping the temperature a little bit they get to within a few millionth’s of a degree of absolute zero.

    Preceding the laser stage they got most of their cooling by letting a gas of atoms out through a pinhole into a vacuum. This had the effect of both cooling the atoms and getting them all moving at close to the same speed. They aimed this beam of atoms at the receding edge of a fan blade moving at half the speed of the atoms which had the effect of slowing them down even more without disturbing their distribution or speed relative to each other. After having that done to them a few times they passed into the laser chamber for the final cooling cycles.

    I just thought I’d throw that in because it’s way interesting, bleeding edge, and descriptive of how temperature is a measure of speed of motion.

    Anyhow, certain gas molecules have a shape that is resonant with certain frequencies of thermal radiation. When photon of that frequency intersects the molecule it is absorbed. The absorbed energy raises the molecule to a higher excitation state. In a rarefied gas it would eventually emit a photon of the same frequency and fall back to the lower excitation state in a quantum jump. In a dense gas where it is rubbing shoulder to shoulder with other molecules however the higher excitation results in greater speed and means it’s going to collide with another molecule right away, before the average amount of time elapses for a quantum transition to occur. Don’t ask me how long it takes for a quantum jump to occur. All I know is that it isn’t a fixed amount of time but rather a probability of occuring where there is a small probability of being instantaneous, a small probability of taking forever, and a greater probability of some length of time in between those two. A quantum physicist should be able to give a more definitive answer. But the answer is moot because it has been experimentally demonstrated that in a dense gas collisions occur before any significant number of quantum emissions happen. Thus Kirchoff’s law predates quantum mechanics by over half a century.

    Due to the absorption of a thermal photon at narrow resonant frequences in so-called GHGs the higher excitation means that molecule is going to have a more energetic collision than it would have otherwise. A collision will also cause a photon to be emitted but the photon frequency is determined by the collision energy not the energy added by the resonant photon. Since the molecules are all moving at anywhere from 0-2000mph to start with the collisions will cause photons to be emitted over continuously varying range of energies (or frequencies as photon energy and frequency are the same thing). So what we end up with is a continuous blackbody emission spectrum reflective of the individual collision energies in billions of atoms all moving at different speeds. A few of the collisions will be very low energy giving us lower frequency photons and some will be higher energy giving us higher energy photons. The closer we get to the average speed of the molecules the more collisions we get with that amount of energy in them. Thus we get a spectrum with a peak energy at a certain frequency that falls off in a smooth curve to either side of that frequency i.e. a continuous blackbody spectrum. Since temperature is a measure of the average speed of a great many individual molecules the peak emission frequency of the spectrum is a function of temperature.

  108. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The graphs presented reflect the change in temperature, and thus wavelength emitted, associated with the atmospheric lapse rate as measured from TOA or from the surface. Quite a different picture from a blackbody spectrum where all the emissions would be from the surface of the substance.

  109. TB, how do you think the ocean is heated if not at the surface? Geothermal? And why does it matter how far IR penetrates the surface? At what penetration distance do you think it would make a difference? All we need is for the top micron to be warm in order to start things cooking, by whatever means.

    Willis’ point was spot on–without atmospheric heating of the ocean it would freeze. In your defense you only contradict yourself, claiming long term equilibrium, which equilibrium could only be arrived at through atmospheric heating. And globally we would see that temp/time lags even out, or no equilibrium could be achieved. That is, being a good heat sink, half the time the ocean heats the air and the other half the sky heats the ocean. If the ocean were always a net emitter of energy it would freeze fast.

    Your claim that H2O molecules rise because they’re lighter is worse than the notion that IR hits the ocean directly from on high. Do you think there is a layer of water vapor that floats to the top of the atmosphere? It takes months for gases to mix through the atmosphere, and it all happens through collisions. The only thing the light molecules have in their favor is their faster speed, which does accelerate dispersion through permeable membranes and through the air.

    The top film of a warm ocean is hot and dense due to radiation and evaporation. But that superdensity contributes negliigibly to circulation–it cannot compete with wind and wave action or even conduction. But we know the sea heats from the top down–geothermal heat is negligible, and the coldest water is at the bottom.

  110. Some confusion on wavelengths and wave numbers:

    To go from wave number to wave length:
    769 wave number, move the decimal 4 places to the left, or 0.0769 and hit the 1/x reciprocal key giving 13 µm.

    To go from wave length (in µm) to wave number:
    Take 13 µm, hit 1/x, gives you 0.0769, move the decimal 4 to the right to give 769/cm wave number. That simple. Maybe that will help.

    The real confusion is these two type of charts are normally also flipped right to left on the x axis to each other. I agree, that makes it hard for everyone including myself to compare apples to oranges.

  111. What is incredible for me it’s that everyone who talk about the outgoing and the back scattered spectra, always considers the vertical paths only.
    Does anybody out of here have graphs of the back scattered spectrum at ground for different angles at the same place? That is the azimuthal (90°), the 60°, the 45° and the 30° for example.
    What I’m guessing here is that the graphs could be very different.
    But the most interesting should be the outgoing spectrum at the TOA for the different angles, because the following links shows how the so called “limb radiation” is almost complementary to the nadir one (see the topmost graph of figure 3).

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/6/4061/2006/acpd-6-4061-2006-print.pdf

    (The research pertain a radiosonde at abt. 34km, but how you can see from the radiance emitted from the deep space at that height there is almost no more energy back scattered).
    What I’m arguing is that the increased absorption pit at 15um due to the doubling of the CO2 seen at the satellite nadir view doesn’t mean that the radiation is backscattered or held by the atmosphere, that energy just exits the atmosphere under different angles not seen by the satellites “eye”.

  112. We do observe back radiation from the atmosphere I think though that what comes back is much less than is emitted by the Earth. Long wave radiation has less energy than short wave radiation and we are told that the molecules in the atmosphere do not absorb shortwave radiation only long wave radiation at particular frequencies but the Earth absorbs shortwave radiation and emits long wave radiation there has to be a net transfer from the Earth to the atmosphere and to space because of this. I think that the presentation was more realistic than many that we have been given, it does attempt to give empirical data rather than analogy and thought experiments.

  113. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    CommieBob,
    … by re-radiating IR that is not going to sit well with the thermodynamics vocabulary police.

    We are clearly talking at crossed purposes. One of the things I have expertise on is EM radiation. If the problem is vocabulary, so be it. If you are saying that a weak emitter can not radiate energy toward a stronger emitter, you are just plain, flat, dead, completely wrong.

    What I can also tell you as an expert is this: If I build and energize a transmitter antenna, I can still measure the signals on it that are caused by adjacent transmitters. (The total voltage on the antenna will be the sum of the local transmitted signal and all the received signals.) In fact, a good example would be continuous wave radar. A signal leaves the transmitting antenna, strikes the sharp edge of an aircraft, re-radiates at the same frequency and, shifted by the doppler effect, returns to the sending antenna and is detected. http://www.tpub.com/content/fc/12404/css/12404_24.htm

    For experimental evidence with gases and heat, Dave Springer has a post above where he describes the work of John Tyndall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tyndall

  114. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    “I would expect my students to state that the atmosphere (or any insulation layer), changes the rate at which energy is transmitted. You say that wearing a coat warms the body. I say putting on a coat slows the rate at which your body transfers thermal energy to the surroundings. (and yes, this is obviously conduction, not radiation)”

    If I were in a physics class I’d say the coat slows down how fast your body loses heat. If I were at a soccer game on a cold day and my kid came off the field shivering I’d say put on this coat to warm yourself up.

    “There is not really much difference mathematically. It is that statement that greenhouse gases HEAT the earth” by re-radiating IR that is not going to sit well with the thermodynamics vocabulary police.”

    Agreed. But in the end the surface is warmer and it’s difficult to describe how the equilibrium temperature between the surface and the 3 Kelvin cosmic microwave background temperature rises such that the heat transfer rate through the additional insulation rises commensurately. Then you might have to explain that because it’s a dynamic system with a plethora of other things changing both more slowly and more rapidly than GHGs the equilibrium temperature is a moving target that is approached but never attained for very long but that when the system goes farther out of equilibrium the harder it tries to get back to equilibrium.

  115. Arno Arrak says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    ………….Miskolczi used this database to calculate how the global annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere varied throughout these years. And he found that the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs remained constant for 61 years, with a value of 1.87. This tells us that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared did not change for 61 years despite constant addition of CO2 to the atmosphere through all this long stretch of time. Hence, the greenhouse absorption signature of the added carbon dioxide which we are told about simply isn’t there. This is an empirical finding, not something derived from theory, and it overrides any calculations from theory that do not agree with it. Theories that disagree must either be modified or discarded. I want to point out also that his work came out in 2009 and no one so far has attempted to present any peer-reviewed arguments against it. Miskolczi concludes: “It will be inferred that CO2 does not affect the climate through the greenhouse effect.”

    On the one hand you have very educated people doing back of the envelope calculations using formulae that do not quite apply to the task with inputs to the formulae that are based on oversimplified assumptions, and willfully ignoring major aspects of the atmosphere.

    On the other you have an empirical scientist going out and using actual atmospheric measures to invalidate the claims.

    Stands to reason that the ‘back of the envelope incomplete formula disregarding major parts of the system’ will be the one people believe.

    AGW looks more and more like the Phlogiston theory – that was supported by scientific consensus too.

  116. commieBob says:
    March 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    “What I can also tell you as an expert is this: If I build and energize a transmitter antenna, I can still measure the signals on it that are caused bay adjacent transmitters. (The total voltage on the antenna will be the sum of the local transmitted signal and all the received signals.) In fact, a good example would be continuous wave radar. A signal leaves the transmitting antenna, strikes the sharp edge of an aircraft, re-radiates at the same frequency and, shifted by the doppler effect, returns to the sending antenna and is detected.”

    I only worked on a conventional pulsed (weather) radar 35 years ago. CW Doppler can’t do ranging without adding in frequency modulation. What a nightmare sorting out the return signal would have been with old analog electronics!

    That said, constructive and destructive interference happens in all situations and really muddies up the picture. As long as the frequencies are different you sort it out using analog filters or a DSP running FFTs on it. In fact new fangled cars have active noise reduction where road & engine noise in the passenger compartment are drastically reduced by destructive interference – there are listening devices that generate sound of equal amplitude but 180 degrees out of phase. The energy in the sound waves has to go somewhere so in the car I reckon that heats the air a little bit.

    But this raises a puzzling question for me when it comes to electromagnetic waves in a vacuum. Suppose we have two emitters at exactly the same frequency but 180 degrees out of phase. The wavefronts meet and perfectly cancel out. Say they are separated by a two light-seconds and each starts emitting at exactly the same time. Theoretically the wavefronts will meet halfway and cancel each other out so the radiation from either will never reach the other. The puzzling part is where does the energy go?

    I had an interesting email conversation with a couple of academics who’d published an article in SciAm about common misconceptions about the Big Bang. They were describing the expansion of the universe and how the 3000K temperature of the early universe (the point at which it became transparent to radiation) had fallen to 3K today due the universe expanding by a factor of 1000 since that time. They explained it in quantum terms using photons and how the individual photons lost energy over time. I objected and said that photons propogating through a vacuum are immortal and unchanging. If the photon lost energy, I asked, where does the lost energy go and what form does it take? I went on further to say the particle description was inappropropriate. They should have explained it using waves which is appropriate for EM propogating through a vacuum – the fabric of space simply expanded and stretched out the electromagnetic waves along with it. That satisfies the law of conservation of energy. They came back with some vague BS about gravitational energy and refused to answer any further questions. There may very well be a gravitational answer but unfortunately there’s currently no theory of quantum gravity. Why do people insist on making things so complicated when there are simple answers staring them in the face?

  117. Well when I think about these issues, I ask myself; How can I explain this to those ten year old kids, on “Are You Smarter than a Fifth grader ?”

    Which is not to suggest that visitors to WUWT are no smarter than fifth graders; simply that some visitors kn0w Physics, or Physical Chemistry, or Extra Terrestrial Biology, and some understand how to turn ordinary mud into China, or draw a bunch of chicken scratching line drawings, that illustrate some political fox pass of this week’s news cycle. So if you can explain anything to a ten year old, then probably most adults, regardless of their specific skill sets, can grasp what you are talking about, (about ANYTHING).

    So does putting on the coat; say after you run in off the soccer field, warm you up, or doesn’t it ? Well of course it does. Assuming that you had breakfast before going out on the field, then your body is taking energy out of the chemical decomposition that is going on in your GI tract, so you are able to get out on that field and run after the guy with the ball. Or instead, you could perhaps climb up K2, instead of kicking the leather Bucky ball.

    Now without the coat on, you are going to freeze your arse off; specially if you decide to climb K2. Because you are connected to the environment (atmosphere) by the largest organ in the human body; your skin; and it was specially designed for getting rid of EXCESS HEAT, both by way of conduction directly to the cold atmospheric molecules that touch your skin (which is at 98.6 deg F), and also by evaporation of H2O through the pores of your skin, removing something like 645 calories per gram of water lost (depending on the Temperature). So your skin is going to cool down, despite the fire that is raging within. Remember that “Calories” of food, are actually kilocalories, of energy (disguised so as to not shake up the weight conscious ladies.)

    So climbing K2 in a speedo, is not too cool; you’ll freeze; same thing for coming off the soccer field in winter.

    So you put on that jacket; maybe lined with Eider down, or some synthetic super insulator, or some breathable fabric, that lets air in and out, but provides a high thermal resistance to heat flow, either by conduction, or convection, and even by radiation (silver linings).

    Now instead of your skin assuming -40C/F deg on K2, or just say 20 deg F off the soccer field, the internal heater (decaying hot dogs) continues to try to drive heat out through your flesh and skin, but now since you raised the external thermal resistance, the Temperature drop across your internal thermal reistance goes down, so your skin warms up. Most people when they get goose bumps, actually experience it on their skin, in the form of little protrusions, not unlike goose bumps, and it makes them shiver, which raises the thermal activity level to try and stop that goosebumpy skin from complaining it is cold out there. So it is your skin that tell you; hey it is bloody cold out here !

    Do not expect your gall bladder to tell you when it is too cold; or for that matter when it is too hot; gall bladders just do not know hot and cold.

    Guess how a lot of people who are dumb enough to try and climb K2, end up dying up there. No they don’t smash their limited brain capacity on a glacier 4,000 feet below them; nor do they freeze their arse off at -40C/F deg.

    They COOK their insides (gall bladder included). That coat (which of course couldn’t possibly warm them), stops their skin from freezing or even goose bumping, so their skin cannot get rid of all the excess internal heat energy generated from the decay of hot dogs, and drinking too mcuh 5-hour energy.

    So their internal organs, which are mostly lacking in nerve endings, and specially don’t have a goose bumper, or a sweat gland to tell them; hey its getting too damn hot in here, simply cook; the person dies from heat stress, because that coat that they need to stop their skin from freezing, also stops their body core, from dissipating the excess heat that is generated, specially from doing dumb things like climbing K2. (or playing soccer ).

    So the key thing about the coat, warming, or a blanket on your bed for example, is that there is a heat (energy) soure INSIDE the thermal barrier.

    So try putting an inflatable pin-up doll in your guest bed overnight along with a Thermometer to measure the Temperature.

    Next night try putting a real pin-up doll in your guest bed overnight, along with the Thermometer to read the Temperature (record your results). For a real clincher test, join the pin up doll in your guest bed over night along with the Thermometer, to record the Tempertaure. NOTE Reread the above about how idiots who climb K2 die, before trying this last experiment.

    Well of course it is the same with the atmosphere and GHG.

    You see there IS a continuous source of HEAT inside that enveloping blanket of GHG’d atmosphere.

    The atmosphere is to a large extent (but not completely) transparent to the incoming solar spectrum EM radiation that constantly arrives from the sun, and most of it goes right into the oceans to depths from a few cm down to hundreds of metres, and the rest gets absorbed in rocks, or plants, or Urban heat islands; and the bulk of that absorbed radiant energy is quickly converted into waste heat; pretty much the same as decaying hot dogs; and that waste heat source is now totally INSIDE the enveloping high thermal resistance atmospheric blanket, that surrounds the earth.

    So no you can say the blanket is not cooking the earth; just like the down jacket does not cook the K2 climber; but the internal heat source most surely does; and it is the continuous input of solar spectrum EM radiation energy, that ultimately becomes extra heat to warm the planet; because the “blanket”, slowed down the rate of exit of that excess “HEAT.”

    Now I’ll bet, that any ten year old kid can understand that.

  118. Will says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Yes I can read wikipedia also. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_albedo
    from which you have clearly quoted verbatim.

    The fact is that again you are either missing the point or you are deliberately taking things out of context.

    Harry is talking about ALBEDO, you are talking about BOND ALBEDO. You have shifted the goal posts.

    ALBEDO in context to Harry’s point is only relevant to visible light. Also from wikipedia, Quote: “When quoted unqualified, it usually refers to some appropriate average across the spectrum of visible light.”

    But I referred to Bond albedo and you said in reference to that that albedo only referred to visible which is not relevant to my correct statement.
    How can the ratio of the temperatures of Earth and Venus only depend on their distance from the sun when the albedo (bond albedo used correctly as I did before) is so different? Harry’s original statement was wrong.

  119. richard verney says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:27 am
    Ira

    I will enjoy reading and considering your post. … I consider your better analogy (ie., that of an electric blanket) to be a worse analogy. An electric blanket has a power source and consumes energy in order to provide heat. Where is this seperate power source in your model Earth?

    It would also be useful if you would briefly explain how the Earth emits a smooth blackbody curve given that temperatures vary between about 325K (desserts) and 220 to 235K (Artic/Antartic). What are the emission frequencies at these varying temperatures.

    Thanks, Richard.

    Electric blanket I knew the analogy would raise some questions, because an electric blanket works primarily by taking an external power source and radiating heat both upwards and downwards. During the daytime, the Atmosphere does have an external source, as it absorbs some of the shortwave radiation energy from the Sun, due to the Oxygen/Ozone 100% absorption in the UV (0.2μ to 0.3μ) as well as the strong water vapor absorption in the near-IR (scattered wavelength areas between 0.8μ to 2μ). Water droplets (fog and clouds) also absorb some Sunlight directly. Thus, at least during the daytime and early evening, there is an external source of thermal energy for the Atmospheric electric blanket that distinguishes it from a purely passive blanket.

    But, the main reason I mentioned the electric blanket is that, for the first time, I realized how it really works. It has long bothered me that our electric blanket is above both our top sheet and a regular blanket, which means half its heat is lost going upwards, and the rest has to go through two layers of insulation to get down to our skin to warm it. Though it is quite obvious, it only recently dawned on me that the downward heat is in the form of radiation, which passes through the top sheet and blanket relatively freely.

    Bottom line on the electric blanket analogy: A regular blanket works primarily because it limits air conduction/convection and only secondarily because it warms up and thus re-radiates some of our body heat back down. The GHGs in the Atmosphere work by absorbing and re-radiating longwave energy, both down towards the Earth and out to Space, which reminds me more of an electric blanket.

    Smooth, approximate “blackbody” curve: Yes, surface temperatures do vary considerably, but, if you look at the dashed lines in the Petty Fig. 8.1 plot above, you will see that ther is not that much difference between the 300K (peaks around 17μ) and 245K (peaks around 21μ) lines, other than their amplitude. Both are smooth curves that cover the ~7μ, ~10μ, and ~15μ regions.

    When the Earth is heated by shortwave or longwave radiation, the surface absorbs and re-radiates that energy as thermal radiation in a relatively smooth curve that approximates a “blackbody”, with characteristic contributions in the ~7μ, ~10μ, and ~15μ regions. Since the downwelling radiation from the Atmosphere is not a “blackbody”-like smooth curve, because it has less representation in the ~10μ region, the transaction of energy from the Atmosphere to the surface, and back, results in a relative amplification of the ~10μ region. The effect of this relative amplification is shown in the satellite-observed radiation from the top of the Atmosphere where the ~10μ region is relatively over-represented.

  120. mkelly says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    If I said surface I misspoke as I know the air isn’t going to heat the surface. My point was and is that -33 C which is used as the starting point for GHG effect may not be correct and that 0 C (STP) is a more proper place to start with any effect of GHG’s.

    As I told you before STP is an arbitrary point with no physical significance at all.

    Again with the angry. I never said I had all the answers about gas physics I said I was asking questions and there was a difference of opinion.

    And I told you that facts are not something you can have opinions about, perhaps you should start listening to the answers to those questions.

    But now I know that, “At any given temperature they will not emit more that given by S-B at that wavelength. ”
    So does this say I can use Wein Displacement Law for a temperature find the wavelength and figure the energy being emitted?

    At any temperature a distribution of wavelengths will be emitted (S-B distribution), Wien’s Law will tell you the the wavelength of the peak of the distribution. It will give a different value if applied to the spectrum in the frequency domain, a cause of confusion above.

  121. Glickstein’s analogy of the “greenhouse effect” to an ELECTRIC blanket is totally incorrect. Electric blankets operate on an INDEPENDENT source of energy to produce additional heat. In stark contrast, GHGs can only operate on the energy thermalized mainly at the surface, producing none on their own. It’s sad to see such basic physical confusion being perpetuated here on WUWT.

  122. Massimo PORZIO says:
    March 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    “What I’m arguing is that the increased absorption pit at 15um due to the doubling of the CO2 seen at the satellite nadir view doesn’t mean that the radiation is backscattered or held by the atmosphere, that energy just exits the atmosphere under different angles not seen by the satellites “eye”.”

    Over the arctic looking down from 20km the bottom of the pit conforms perfectly to a 225K blackbody curve while outside the pit the curve fits perfectly to a 265K curve. Clear arctic air is very dry so water vapor has a minimal effect. 265K is -8C which is the surface temperature of the ice. Yet in the 15um window the ice appears to be -48C. What we are seeing in the 15um window is the so-called emission altitude. Dry adiabatic lapse rate is 1 Kelvin per 100 meters. The emission altitude is 4000 meters. This is the height at which the CO2 in the atmosphere has absorbed all the 15um radiation available upwelling from the ground and what remains is thermalized radiation from the atmosphere at that height.

    Were we to reduce the 265K curve to a temperature such that the total reduction in volume underneath the lowered curve is the same volume as the hole then we would have the equilibrium surface temperature absent ALL atmospheric CO2. I believe that works out to about 15C. The thing of it is that the first 100ppm or so of CO2 does the lion’s share of the work so by the time we get to the surface equilibrium temperature difference between 280ppm and 560ppm CO2 (a doubling) the increase is only about 1.0C.

    This takes us round to my hypothesis that the MOST IMPORTANT climate function of CO2 is in raising the average surface temperature of the earth from -23C (no greenhouse gases – the average surface temperature of the moon) to -8C. At -23C the earth is a snowball and positive feedback from the exceedingly high albedo of ice keeps it that way. Once CO2 is in the atmosphere to help melt some snow and ice this lowers the albedo dramatically where it matters the most (at low latitudes where the sun is the strongest) and additionally starts pumping water vapor into the atmosphere from the liquid water surface which accelerates the melt and we are back to a water planet instead of an ice planet. Once we have a water planet the low albedo of the global ocean and the higher absolute humidity keeps it a water planet (barely, with a few excursions to a snowball once every few hundred million years).

    So CO2 serves as “kindling” to light the fire which melts the ice and turns what would otherwise be a frozen world into a liquid water planet. The water cycle, once activated takes over the show. And water limits the maximum temperature through negative feedbacks of evaporation and cloud formation.

    During most of the earth’s history CO2 has been up around 2000ppm. The current 380ppm is dangerously low which probably has a lot to do with why we’ve been in an ice age for the past 3 million years.

    Despite even 2000ppm CO2 the earth has still entered ice ages once in while and a few times severe enough to freeze the entire planet. It’s a bit of a puzzle what could possibly kick the earth out of a snowball episode but after about 10 million years it does indeed melt. The most popular hypothesis for the melt is that when the earth is frozen over all the normal CO2 sinks are gone. The global ocean doesn’t absorb any CO2 and there are no forests that grow on glaciers taking in CO2 and no chemistry between CO2 and ice forming carbonate compounds. But volcanoes don’t stop belching out CO2 so over the course of millions of years atmospheric CO2 rises and rises and rises until its greenhouse effect starts driving back the ice at an accelerating rate and viola – a water world is born again and the water cycle caps the maximum temperature at a point nice and comfy for living things from pole to pole.

  123. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    March 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm
    I recently voted for this as being the best scientific blog but, in response to this article, we still get people who say that back radiation cannot happen or wish to divert the discussion to some strange theories about the temperature on Venus.
    But there is a serious problem with Ira’s article!
    As expressed before (6:10AM); his blackbody curves are showing a peak at about 18 micron when they should be peaking at about 10 micron for a 300K blackbody. So, the graphs don’t make sense

    Now Joel Heinrich at 2.57 AM and Phil at 8.21AM, March 10, say this is because Ira has converted wave number to wavelength.
    But this does NOT cut the mustard. This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, albeit ending up with a non-linear scale rather than a linear scale. In fact, the
    Source Data itself includes the wavelength scale, so it is nothing to do with Ira’s conversion.

    On the ‘wave number’ scale the peak of the blackbody curves should be around a wave number of 1000 – which they are not! They peak around a wave number of 600 – which is WRONG!
    So the whole article and its conclusions are WRONG!
    Now, can any mathematician or physicist please explain to me why I am mistaken? What am I missing?

    What you have in your head is the spectral radiance wrt wavelength whereas what’s plotted in Petty’s paper is spectral radiance wrt wavenumber, as I said above you can’t linearly transform them and they don’t have the same shape nor a maximum in the same place. Both are correct they’re just showing the data in a different form, as George has explained above chemists tend to prefer one form, physicists another.
    If you use Wien’s Law to determine the maximum there are two forms, a frequency form and a wavelength form, the peak frequency does not correspond to the peak wavelength using c=λν.

  124. cal says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:57 am
    Thanks Ira. At last a description that I can pretty well totally agree with. My only caveat is the one Nick Stokes mentioned; that very little energy can be converted into “10 micron ” radiation in the atmosphere as I, and others, pointed out before on your previous thread.

    As I also commented then, the facts with good explanations beat a good analogy. The graphs are excellent. It won’t stop some trying to deny them or interpret them in bizarre ways ( we have had a couple on this thread already) but the majority of WUWT readers will understand this contribution.

    I also welcome the fact that you have taken the time to do this and persevere in trying to come to a “consensus”. I can’t believe I have just used that word! …

    Thanks Cal! You have correctly interpreted my intentions – many of my more reasonable environmentalist friends are losing faith in the runaway …. tipping-point … so-called scientific consensus. However, they are hesitant to join a Skeptic group that appears to them to be bending over backwards in an opposite and equally un-scientific direction. Only a minority of Skeptics fit that description, but our Warmist antagonists use these unscientific statements to push their side.

    My consensus position as a Lukewarmer-Skeptic, which I believe is the most tenable from a scientific viewpoint given our current state of knowledge, is that, yes Virginia, there is AGW – there has been a net warming trend over the past century or so, and human activities have contributed a bit to it, but it is not any kind of crisis and may actually turn out to be beneficial.

    Conversion of ~7μ and ~15μ thermal energy to ~10μ happens in the emission-absorption-re-emission transactions between the Atmosphere and the surface, where, in the upward direction, all three regions are represented more or less according to a smooth “blackbody” curve. However, as all the above graphs show, ~7μ and ~15μ are relatively over-represented in the downward direction. That disparity results in a relative amplification in the ~10μ region. That this is true, desipite all the other effects (convection, precipitation, etc.) , is shown in the graphs of radiation to Space, where ~10μ is relatively over-represented, compared to a smooth “blackbody” curve.

  125. Please let me know if I am mistaken, but it seems to me that the blackbody radiation-spectrum gives an upper limit on downward emmissions from the atmosphere. I understand that if the atmosphere gave such a spectrum, that would would imply that it actually absorbed everything and re-emitted isotropically.

    It looks like where CO2’s absorbtion and emmission are significant, the blackbody-spectrum has already just about been reached. Does this imply the small difference between current emmissions and those of a blackbody gives a low upper limit on the potential effect of additional CO2 on the temperature?

  126. If only there was a FAQ for some of these issues! Then we could refer people to previous discussion rather than rehashing all the discussions like:

    * What is “heat”? (confusion abounds about how “heat” relates to energy flow, energy content, temperature, of “thermal IR”. As long as different people use different definitions, people will continue to talk past each other.)
    * Can energy flow from cool objects to warm objects? (yes!)
    * Can NET energy (heat, as defined in thermodynamics) flow from cool objects to warm objects? (no!)
    * Is “the greenhouse effect” the same as how a real greenhouse works? (not at all, so any arguments based on such analogies are pretty much useless from the start.)
    * Do GHGs “heat” the ground? (no, by the definition of “heat” above) Do they “radiate IR energy” to the ground? (yes) Do they “increase they temperature” of the ground? (definitely, compared to an atmosphere with no GHGs) Do they “warm” the ground? (as I would use the word, my answer is yes)

    What else would need to go in that FAQ?

  127. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:21 am
    … the Petty data is spectral radiance (mW/m^2.sr.cm-1) plotted vs. cm-1 and is correct, the transformation to a plot in terms of wavelength is non-linear (and is why it’s misleading for Ira to have reversed the axis on his plots, should leave it in wavenumbers).

    Thanks for your comment, Phil. The Petty plots have both wavenumber and wavelength, and I preserved his wavelengths in my simplified curves when I reversed the plots horizontally. The reason I think in wavelength is that my experience with IR is based on near-IR 1.06μ laser rangefinders and far-IR ~10μ Forward-Looking Infrared video sensors. However, the conversion between the two measures is simple:

    Wavenumber = 10,000/Wavelength

    The reason for the difference in peaks has nothing to do with the use of Wavenumber or Wavelength.

    As Phil noted, Petty plots Radiance.

    My earlier posting plots Spectral Intensity. (It is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png.

    From Wikipedia:
    The units of the spectral intensity are energy/time/area/solid angle/frequency. In MKS units this would be W·m-2·sr-1·Hz-1 (watts per square-metre-steradian-hertz).

    The SI unit of radiance is watts per steradian per square meter (W·sr−1·m−2).

    Notice the difference? That explains why the peaks are different and why the longer wavelengths plot higher in Radiance than they do in Spectral Intensity, where they are normalized.

  128. Dave Springer says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    “So CO2 serves as “kindling” to light the fire which melts the ice and turns what would otherwise be a frozen world into a liquid water planet.”

    Don’t have time for a lengthy discussion, but the thermal mass of CO2 is way too small for it to play the “kindling” role that you suggest. A CO2-free Earth might be slightly cooler, but would not be frozen, because convection would nevertheless heat the base of the atmosphere to similar temperatures, thereby sharply reducing the radiative loss from the surface. It’s the PRESENCE of a dense atmosphere, rather than its chemical composition, that matters most thermodynamically. This is entirely lost in treatments that look only at radiative heating of the atmosphere.

  129. when it is too hot; gall bladders just do not know hot and cold.
    George E. Smith says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    “Guess how a lot of people who are dumb enough to try and climb K2, end up dying up there. No they don’t smash their limited brain capacity on a glacier 4,000 feet below them; nor do they freeze their arse off at -40C/F deg.

    They COOK their insides (gall bladder included). That coat (which of course couldn’t possibly warm them), stops their skin from freezing or even goose bumping, so their skin cannot get rid of all the excess internal heat energy generated from the decay of hot dogs, and drinking too mcuh 5-hour energy.”
    ——————————–
    This must be why the Canadian woods are filled with people running around harvesting bear gallbladders from the poor creatures that got cooked from the inside.

  130. John Marshall says:
    March 10, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Its temperature will fall below that of the surface, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics forbids heat flow from cold to hot ( this is heat flow by any means available) so this rising warm air, relative to the surrounding air though colder than the surface, cannot warm the surface.

    I keep hearing this. It gets boring.

    Cool Body radiates x in all directions, including towards Warm Body. Warm Body radiates 2x in all directions, including towards Cool Body.

    Warm Body cools more slowly than if Cold Body were not present

    Overall heat transfer is not from Cool Body to Warm Body, so that 2nd law has not been broken, and nobody (pun intended) goes to Thermodynamic Jail.

  131. CommieBob,

    I am not asserting that a cold object cannot radiate EMR to a warm body. Only that the net flow of energy will only go from a hot to cold.

    Since you are an EMR expert (no sarc) , I do have a question that I have been wrestling around with, but have been unable to find an answer.

    Any other EMR experts please feel free to chime in. None of my texts or classwork deal with this (at least through grad school), as it is a combination of thermo, general relativity, and quantum mechanics.

    When an object drops from an excited state and emits a photon, that photon is then absorbed somewhere else in the universe by another object. To that photon, all distances are zero, time does not exist, and the photon transfers its information instantly. The photon doesn’t exist between between points (GR). Is it possible for that individual photon to transfer information from a less excited molecule (or electron or whatever) to one more excited? The answer isn’t the obvious yes that I thought initially. In fact, blackbody radiation would still work form a cold source to a warm source because of all the random motion and complete statistical range of excitation levels of the particles. I know there are some super smart people trying to tie in thermo with QM, QED, QLG, so it would seem if it ties in, then the photon would only be able to transmit information from an excited state to one less excited.
    In other words, since this is all happening instantly from the perspective of the photon, can a photon “tell” an excited object to become more excited as it “tells” the less excited object to become even less excited. If it is all based on probabilities of states (QM), then the answer should be yes, even though this goes against the grain of the Thermo underpinnings.

    Thanks!

  132. RJ says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Would a human being cook if he or she was enclosed in a container of CO2

    In theory a percentage of the heat given off would return and increase the body temperature if the GHG theory is correct. Something surely is seriously wrong with the GHG theory.

    NO. They would just cool down more slowly, so the overall temperature of the human would increase slightly until equilibrium (energy gained = energy lost) is reached. This assumes they are living (which is not a given in a container of CO2, BTW), and is generating a constant amount of energy from that living process.

    I really fail to see why something so obvious is so hard to get. When you add a blanket at night, do you ‘cook’? No. Your temperature just increases until equilibrium (energy gained = energy lost) is reached. Try it!

  133. Joe Lalonde says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:49 am

    First, without planetary rotation, there is no convection

    I think a lot of convection is due to differing temperatures. This is why you get a lot of wind when clouds come over on a sunny day. Also why the wind (assuming few clouds) goes toward the sea (which is warmer) in the first part of the day, and way in the latter part. Simple temp.

    as the planets own energy is the centrifugal force it generates at 1669.8Km/hr due to the vacuum of space.

    No. 1. there is no such thing as centrifugal force. It is simple inertia. Centrifugal force, does exist, however, and that is what stops everything flying off. In this case, gravity. The rest of the concept you put forward makes no sense to me.

    The atmosphere bends a great deal of light and solar energy with the suspended molecules in the atmosphere with the tilting of the planet to the sun. The hottest point of the sun is it’s equator that our planet drifts through due to proximity and size of the suns equator.

    Well, between the tropics, anyway. It differs through the year.

    Next very little consideration for the absorption and storage of heat that is then released at night.

    That is a false assumption. Just because sunlight is shown does not mean the rest of it stops when the sun goes down.

  134. This might be too simplistic… but what I would like to see are some specta showing the measured (not calculated or theorized) downward radiation from the sun as measured at the TOP of the atmosphere. I find it amazing that the sun emits so little in the IR wavelengths.

    Anyway, if there are good measured downward spectra at the top of the atmosphere, and good measured downward spectra at the bottom of the atmosphere, then the difference between the two should clearly show what’s being re-emitted (downward) by the atmosphere… shouldn’t it?

    So… what do the data show?

  135. Back radiation is like what a diver sees when he is on a wreck 100 feet down with visibility of only 50 feet. He can’t see the surface but he can certainly see. Its like a blue glow that comes from all around. If we could see infrared and not visible, thats what we would see.

  136. Dave Springer says:
    March 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    But this raises a puzzling question for me when it comes to electromagnetic waves in a vacuum. Suppose we have two emitters at exactly the same frequency but 180 degrees out of phase. The wavefronts meet and perfectly cancel out. Say they are separated by a two light-seconds and each starts emitting at exactly the same time. Theoretically the wavefronts will meet halfway and cancel each other out so the radiation from either will never reach the other. The puzzling part is where does the energy go?

    The energy is still there and keeps on traveling. The stationary null that you describe is matched by a stationary peak somewhere else.

    What you describe is similar to a standing wave in a cable. You get peaks and nulls. As you travel along the cable, the RF voltage varies in a predictable manner. The two waves continue to exist and travel along the cable and get to their respective ends where they reflect or are absorbed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_wave

    In three dimensional space, you get a predictable pattern. If I arrange two antennas wrt space and phase, I will get a particular pattern in the resulting field. No energy is created or destroyed. It is, however, redistributed. In the case of two antennas the pattern is basically based on hyperbolas. In other words, if you plot the nulls (or peaks, but nulls are easier to measure) you get hyperbolas.

  137. “”””” Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    March 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:21 am
    … the Petty data is spectral radiance (mW/m^2.sr.cm-1) plotted vs. cm-1 and is correct, the transformation to a plot in terms of wavelength is non-linear (and is why it’s misleading for Ira to have reversed the axis on his plots, should leave it in wavenumbers).

    Thanks for your comment, Phil. The Petty plots have both wavenumber and wavelength, and I preserved his wavelengths in my simplified curves when I reversed the plots horizontally. The reason I think in wavelength is that my experience with IR is based on near-IR 1.06μ laser rangefinders and far-IR ~10μ Forward-Looking Infrared video sensors. However, the conversion between the two measures is simple:

    Wavenumber = 10,000/Wavelength

    The reason for the difference in peaks has nothing to do with the use of Wavenumber or Wavelength.

    As Phil noted, Petty plots Radiance.

    My earlier posting plots Spectral Intensity. (It is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png.

    From Wikipedia:
    The units of the spectral intensity are energy/time/area/solid angle/frequency. In MKS units this would be W·m-2·sr-1·Hz-1 (watts per square-metre-steradian-hertz). “”””

    Notwithstanding ANYthing that you may find on wikipiddle, the units of “spectral Intensity” ARE NOT energy/time/area/solid angle/frequency.

    “INTENSITY” (fancy word for candlepower) has NO MEANING for anything but a POINT SOURCE; so with /area/ in there the intensity (spectral or not) would be infinite.

    The /area/ for a source of non zero area, converts Intensity (spectral or ot) into RADIANCE ore STEARANCE which some snobs like to use.
    )
    As to the per frequency for the “spectral Intensity” or “spectral Radiance”, it could be either per frequency (or wavenumber, or per wavelength; so long as it is stated; either /cm^-1 or /micron.

    I like to use per wavelength; because I much prefer to use a normalized Black Body Radiation plot, which is totally universal; and acknowledges that the Planck Radiation Function is a function of the single independent variable lambda.T which immediately points to the Wien Displacement Law.

    So a normalized plot plots on a horizontal scale (usually logarithmic) whose variable is (lambda.T)/|lambda.T|max; and the Y-axis, is spectral radiance/ |spectral radiance|max and usually is plotted on both a linear or a logarithmic vertical scale.

    So the BB curve typically goes from say (0.1) t0 maybe (100) in X and (0) to (1) in Y or 1.0 down to 10^-5 on the logarithmic plot.

    An excellent graph can be found in “Modern Optical Engineering” by the late Warren J Smith, who was for years with Infra-Red Industries in Santa Barbara California.

    Now yes you can reformulate all of this in terms of frequency or wavenumbers; and then Wien’s Displacement law becomes T/f is constant.

    And yes a frequency based plot acknowledges the Einstein relationship E = h.nu; but as I have already noted, neither a wavelength or wave number graph is very intuitive (on the spectral interval) since one form favors the UV, and the other favors the far IR, as far as viually indicating relative importance. There are simply huge wave number ranges associated with those miserable looking spectral radiance values in the H2O bands; but the very prominent looking CO2 band (in the wave number pictorial) has a measly 100 cm^-1 for spectral bandwidth.

    Note that 25% (almost exactly) of BB radiation occurs at shorter than the spectral peak Wavelength on a per micron spectral radiance plot; I have no idea how much lies below the peak on a per wave number plot; but you can easily work it out.

    As I said some people like their BB plots in numbers of Photons, not in direct energy or power units.

    But nyet on the spectral Intensity; the earth surface or atmosphere is not a point source.

    For the pedantic, the actual IRRADIANCE on a surface due to a finite area source (on axis) differs from that due to a perfect point source by less than 1% for a source to surface distance that is ten times the source diameter.

    Also there is no such thing as a point source of anything (physical). For EM radiation the boundary conditions for Maxwell’s Equations cannot be satisfied for a point source; and for the Quantum Physicists, a point source by virtue of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle must have an infinite spectral bandwidth; so the energy or power in any finite wavelength or frequency range would be zero so it would be undetectable at any wavelength or frequency.

    I don’t have a problem with Ira’s use of both the wavenumber and wave length horizontal scale, as Ira said, that makes no difference, except as Phil pointed out, the wavelength conversion scale from wave number would be non-linear. But just keep the per wave number or per micron units straight in the sepctral Radiance units, and then everything is kosher.
    Peter Humbug solved that dilemma by simply leaving out the per frequency altogether; but I’ll give him a typo yellow card on that.

  138. Fred Souder says:
    March 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm
    Is it possible for that individual photon to transfer information from a less excited molecule (or electron or whatever) to one more excited?

    Yes provided that hν for the photon matched the energy difference between the two higher energy levels (in a Q branch for example).

  139. Ira

    Thanks for your further comments. I now understand why you suggested an electric blanket as analogy. However, I remain unconvinced that it is in fact a superior analogy. In fact in some ways, I liked the comment by Alan McIntire March 10, 2011 at 6:08 am comparing the position with traffic flow over a section of road with accidents, road works whathaveyou. My response to that is that yes at peak times, there are snarl ups and the journey time is increased, however, late in the evenning and at night, there is less and less traffic indeed during the night no traffic such that all the cars eventually exit the highway and the road is completely free come morning. All the traffic has disippated akin to all the energy received by the Earth finally finding its way out to space so that there has been no effective build up of energy.

    I digressed, reverting to your electric blanket. Lets for the sake of argument assume that you are right with respect to the power source (although I have concerns regarding the lack of independent power source), one of the problems I have is how this all works in the real world (as opposed to in isolation in a laboratory), by which I mean that other atmospheric processes are at play which may overwhelm the effective influence of effective heat transfer from the sky to the Earth. In particular, convection. Further, does the energy absorbed by say CO2 thermalise before it has had an opportunity to radiate.

    Say that you normally make your bed by creating a sandwich of a sheet, electric blanket and ordinary blanket. When the electric blanket is plugged in, this keeps you nice and snug. Now consider that you have a 4 poster bed but without any curtains. Instead of your electric blanket being placed on top of the sheet, it is suspended at the top of the 4 poster frame say about 3 feet above the matress. You now only have the sheet and the blanket directly over you. When the electric blanket is switched on, the down radiated heat is not sufficient to warm you, nor does the down radiated heat sufficiently prevent heat loss being radiated from your body. With this set up, you are cold at night. Even in the stillness of your bedroom, convection overcomes you feeling any real benefit from the down radiated heat. I am not saying that the electric blanket has no effect, only that it is overcome by other processes.

    The fact is that radiation is weak compared to convection. I have gas central heating running radiators. When the system is on, even if I place my hand within 1/2 inch of the face of the radiator (ie., place my hand parallel with the radiator close to the surface of the panel), I struggle to feel the heat. Yet, if I place my hand several feet above the radiator, I can still feel the heat. Of course, if I touch the radiators they are very hot to touch and unpleasant to keep your hand there for any length of time.

    I must admit that I struggle to see that the amount of energy that the Earth is said to receive from back radiation is more than the energy it receives from the sun in circumstances where the source of that back radiation has ultimately all come from the sun (if one ignores geothermal energy being produced from the centre of the Earth). If that were true, on a sunny day, there would not be a substantial difference in temperature between the temperature in the sun and under a cloud. At night, our bodies could be warmed and bask in the radiant energy from the sky which would be safer than sun bathing, and the photo electric cell would not be tuned to capture sun light but rather research would be directed at tuning it to work on back radiation which is available 24 hours a day and whether it is sunny or not. It appears to me that the heat transfer from the Earth from the ground to lower atmosphere is dominated by other processes (particularly the water cycle) which completely overwhelm the effects of back radiation.

    I am not saying that there is no ‘greenhouse’ effect (how I dislike that expression) but rather in the real world, the effect of back radiation may be considerably less than is speculated (and I use this word since there is no body of empirical observational data backing up the claims) and I consider that the effect of any change in CO2 concentratioons above present levels is likely to be extremely modest. Indeed, Miskolczi could well be right on how it all works.

    PS. Whilst I do not necessarily agree with various points you make, I liked your post and it certainly has generated many interesting comments and views.

    PPS. I think you should consider carefully whether you wish to run with the eklectric blanket since this in my opinion in many ways confues the issue. Would not a better analogy be a one way mirror which is losing some of its mirrored surface such that it allows most of the incoming sunlight to pass through but only allows some of the LWR emitted from the Earth to pass back through towards space and reflects some part of the LWR back down towards the Earth.

  140. I really like Dr. Glickstein, but I think he’s way off base with his ideas about a cold, rarefied gas heating the earth’s surface. Trapping radiation? Really? You might delay it’s escape to space by a few microseconds, but storing heat energy? Back radiating? Unicorns?

    Think about this. You have a heated bowling ball and a passive bowling ball. Suppose you could flip a switch and the make the passive ball instantly colder. What happens to the radiation between the balls?
    A) Stays the same.
    B) Increases.
    C) Decreases.

  141. richard verney says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm
    Would not a better analogy be a one way mirror which is losing some of its mirrored surface such that it allows most of the incoming sunlight to pass through but only allows some of the LWR emitted from the Earth to pass back through towards space and reflects some part of the LWR back down towards the Earth.

    I’ve used this as an example to show how the recycled IR can exceed the initial solar radiation.
    Consider a blackbody illuminated by 300W/m^2 solar radiation via a dichroic mirror which passes 100% of the solar wavelengths but reflects 50% the IR (BB) incident on it. At equilibrium the temperature of the BB has increased so as to radiate 600W/m^2 of IR, 300W/m^2 of which is returned to the surface. If the reflectivity of the mirror is increased to 66.6% then the BB radiates 900W/m^2 of IR, 600W/m^2 of which is returned to the surface.

  142. What’s the electric blanket plugged into, again? What is this external source of energy pumping the system up? I got lost somewhere in the bouncing frequency stuff.

    What is also misrepresented is the minusculeness of the bounce-back. I refer you to Noor van Adler: http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/CO2_and_climate_v7.pdf

    The trends of the temperature in the high atmosphere in the last half century are very negative, on and above this height where the deep convection reaches. Cloud tops radiate much more intensely
    than the thin air on this height. This is the cause behind the cooling, as much as the CO2 increase is.
    This cooling trend increases the effective environmental lapse rate and so reinforces the strength of deep convection. This means that in this respect, more CO2 has a cooling effect rather than a warming effect.

  143. All these posts about backradiation towards quantum mechanics made me go back to the basics, looking at it using the old thermodynamics and I ended with a result where there is backradiation but without any resulting effect. I dissected the first basic steps where radiation hits the surface and this seems enough to get answers.

    In the radiative solution, the non-GHG surface temperature is found by using E = sigma T^4 (SB) where E comes only from the sun. If then T could go up because of GHG, this would mean more energy input would be needed. So where does this come from, are GHG capable of generating energy? Many people found a justification for this, but think of the following?

    If we look at the CO2 idea as a plate with T2 above earth, you have something like the
    classic radiation between two plates here, where the sun would heat the lower one which is T1.
    So sure radiation will go both ways, there is backradiation and I go with that.
    But read that in an end state (equation 19.2) where both plates would be T1, Qnet will be zero. Surface1 will never get any warmer by the (back)radiation from above, despite the accumulated (heat)energy in plate 2 and radiation going everywhere. Radiation is energy but is never heat.

    So you can do this calculation with multiple radiation layers (like CO2 layers) and the
    result will be the same. T1 will not get any warmer with Qnet getting zero, and all the
    layers acting as insulation (like some people think CO2 does) and all plates actually
    permanently getting radiation from both sides.
    (Earth atmospheer would also be forced to become T1 everywhere form the surface up if it was’nt for gravity)

    So what are the tricks with radiation that many people don’t see?
    For starters I want to say that the photons of EM radiation can be regarde as cold, only interaction with matter gives any thermal energy (to get a temperature) which is taken away (partly) when a(nother) photon leaves.
    Ideas where the delay of escaping photons by GHG causes heat accumulation have no basis, heat comes from a surface (matter) and cold energy went with the photons that took off. It does’nt matter how long it takes before the photon gets out to space (in the sun it takes up to 170.000 years)

    Most greenhouse effect statements/sites claim that the radiative balance of earth must be because of the First law, the greenhouse theory makes fame by using energy in-out balances etc. convincing 99.99 percent of the people. But this is all dead wrong, the Second law rules here and this means simple energy conservation is not the whole story.
    Earth could conserve it’s energy by accumulating it until it would be as hot as the sun,
    nothing against the First law this way.

    Is’nt it strange to say at first: well, because of energy conservation earth must
    radiate away what it receives and that way we can calculate what the temperature must be by using SB and so we know for sure it must be -18C (not mentioning atmosfeer, and what is actualy measured).
    Then secondly: listen, we also have GHG and this makes earth +15C because bla bla. So in fact saying: it’s wrong, earth does not simply radiate away what it receives and SB does not apply, but we can calculate the greenhouse effect using it.
    Or: GHG introduces new physics, if one places multiple layers between two radiative
    surfaces the old laws of physics don’t work anymore. Extra energy will turn into heat and raise the original surface temperature (think of the plates, it won’t happen).

    So then in the GHG physics T of earth surface is supposed to go up with still the same
    amount of energy coming from the sun. Now we know the Second law wants to establish a dynamic radiative equilibrium at the surface with a certain temperature but also T = dE/dS, so this means that for T to be able to go up by backradiation up entropy must decrease?? Strictly looking at this step.

    Looking closer it must look like this:
    Why does the sun heat the earth to T? Because HQ radiation from the sun can leave earth as LQ IR radiation (to the cold space) in the process gaining entropy by leaving WASTE HEAT on the surface (and they don’t call this irreversible for nothing, the downgraded (photon)energy won’t be able to do the same trick at this place again).
    Some LQ IR returns (backradiation), but can never get rid of more heat. Because in that case it would have to leave as even lower quality IR, and hey …… this can only happen at a LOWER surface temperature (think of the BB-spectra of earth next to the sun, all the energy flows from the high spectrum to the low one).
    See the contradiction, that’s the mighty second law of thermodynamics in action that says: it’s all wrong with this heating by backradiation philosophy.
    So backradiation will simply leave in a reversible proces (like reflection does) with NO
    waste heat, and with the same frequency as it had and bounce whatever way it wants with no effect on the surface. It’s like in the Qnet = zero situation between the two plates (lotsa radiation, no more heating by the cold photons).

    So what is ‘the heat’ that can’t go from low to high temperature, and warming the earth surface and what’s all the confusion?
    Sadi Carnot who laid the foundations of the Second law meant it to be like this: heat =
    entropy (read here), but Clausius later changed the definition.
    Maxwell’s classic Theory of Heat states: heat is something which may be transferred from to another, according to the Second law of thermodynamics.
    In any case, heat needs matter which has a temperature (as kinetic energy) and other
    matter at lower T. Radiation has no temperature and can never ever represent heat. And so the photons of radiation can be regarded as cold.

    Heat is the waste from the irreversible radiation phenomena happening due to what the Second law dictates and is equivalent to the entropy gained and what is called
    dissipation.

    Heat is released when a photon interacts with matter. Almost everybody thinks ‘the
    heat’ has to do with all the energy (E= h x v) related to the cold travelling photon. So
    we have seen that this is not the case, this is imaginary heat (which is not heat but
    energy) that is never released as long as matter is’nt involved. Energy is only released
    when the photon disappears in the matter and after that heat from this matter may flow if other colder matter is there, but this heat is not equivalent with the photon energy but is a function of the temperature difference between surface temperature and colder matter above it (Q = k*A*dT). If there is no colder matter, there is no heat (dT=0).

    If earth had no atmosfeer, the photons would warm earth surface to SB temperature but no heat would ever emerge or be exchanged. Then if there was a layer of CO2 around it at 10 meters or 10 km, this would create backradiation, but the vacuum inbetween would be as cold as in space, and the backradiation would not make the surface warmer, and there would be no heat despite all the radiation.

    Now because heat is flowing from earth surface we know we have an irreversible process (waste heat, making entropy rise) then we also know for sure the new lower energy photon can never release waste heat at this temperature where it came from ever again, so to think backradiation can go beyond that and even create a higher temperature is impossible by the laws of thermodynamics.

    This IR photon can release energy to matter at a higher colder level, and this energy
    could flow as heat to matter at an even higher colder level, but that than is in fact
    where this heat is. At a higher colder level, and this is the only direction heat can go.

    So the heat coming from the surface is the part of the solar radiation that did’nt get
    radiated away (directly) as IR (and the total energy of this IR is thus lower than the LWR that hits the surface). Heat is the part that has nothing to do with radiation, and the IR that left has nothing to do with heat.
    And so the balance becomes: IR = LWR – HEAT. So the IR that leaves the surface does’nt only have a lower frequency, but the total energy of it is also lower than the incoming LWR. This is the second blow for the backradiation.
    It is this HEAT that warms the lower atmosfeer and gives the temperature’s measured (in air, so does not even have to be representing the surface), and it can only take place by conduction from surface to air(surface), (or the process in the top ocean layer) it must be transported from matter at T1 to matter at T2 and it finds its way up to space dissected from the photons that gave up their energy.

    As I Googled on the photons in the sun, the radiation from core to surface passed by on many pages and since these are not infected with the greenhouse virus the discriptions go along the lines of my view. Photons jiggle in the ‘random walk’ for tenthousands of years from layer to layer, and they do not heat the core. And also found; this degradation of high quality X-ray photons to relatively low quality optical photons, is only to be expected from the Second law of thermodynamics.

    And look at this: a photon can only travel a tiny distance before running into another
    hydrogen nucleus. It gets absorbed by that nucleus and the re-emitted in a random
    direction. If that direction is back towards the center of the Sun, the photon has LOST
    GROUND! It will get re-absorbed, and then re-emitted, over and over, trillions of times. The path it follows is called a "random walk"

    — Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington:
    "The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

  144. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm
    richard verney says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm
    Would not a better analogy be a one way mirror which is losing some of its mirrored surface such that it allows most of the incoming sunlight to pass through but only allows some of the LWR emitted from the Earth to pass back through towards space and reflects some part of the LWR back down towards the Earth.

    I’ve used this as an example to show how the recycled IR can exceed the initial solar radiation.
    Consider a blackbody illuminated by 300W/m^2 solar radiation via a dichroic mirror which passes 100% of the solar wavelengths but reflects 50% the IR (BB) incident on it. At equilibrium the temperature of the BB has increased so as to radiate 600W/m^2 of IR, 300W/m^2 of which is returned to the surface. If the reflectivity of the mirror is increased to 66.6% then the BB radiates 900W/m^2 of IR, 600W/m^2 of which is returned to the surface.

    Good examples, Phil and Richard Verney. Prior to my bouncing balls analogy, I considered and partially drew up a similar idea, using a half-silvered mirror.

    1) In a dark room, point a narrow beam flashlight or laser pointer at an angle towards a mirror on the floor. Notice the lighted oval in the dust on the mirror. The beam will reflect off the mirror and head for the ceiling.

    2) Now, take a half-silvered mirror and mount it horizontally above the floor in the path of the upward beam of light. Half will pass through, but the other half will reflect back to the mirror on the floor, creating another lighted oval in the dust on the mirror. The second oval will be about half as bright as the first.

    3) The light from the second oval will head back up to the half-silvered mirror. Half will pass through, but the other half will reflect back to the mirror on the floor, creating yet another lighted oval in the dust on the mirror. The third oval will be about a quarter as bright as the first.

    4) Depending upon how large your half-silvered mirror is, there will be an unlimited number of lighted ovals in the dust on the mirror.

    5) The half-silvered mirror is an analogy to the Atmosphere with GHGs that, in effect “reflect” (actually of course they absorb and re-emit) half the IR radiation both upwards and downwards (actually of course in all directions so the radiation is dispersed and will not remain confined to an oval).

    6) Get a light meter, such as that used by photographers, and measure the light reflected from the floor both before and after installation of the half-silvered mirror. The second reading will be nearly twice the first. That is the point of the examples proposed by both Phil and Richard Verney.

    I especially like the idea of Phil to change the half-silvered mirror from 50% reflected to 66%, as an analogy to increasing Atmospheric GHGs (Not just CO2 but also H2O !!!). When this is done the light meter will register higher.

  145. Commie Bob (March 10, 2011@5:41am)

    Your point no. 5 is completely wrong. Lets dissect. You say “For those who doubt that back radiation exists, consider this: Infra-red radiation is electromagnetic radiation. It is the same as radio waves and light. While infra-red, radio and light may propagate similarly and be subject to the same law (inverse square) you have forgotten about wavelength. The obscure rays from an incandescent solid are vastly superior in their ability to heat than the luminous rays. You go on “Here are two examples of radiation from a weaker source going toward a stronger one:” Radiation commieBob is not heat. Radiation produces heat, and heat produces radiation but the radiation in and of itself is not heat, it is a byproduct. Radiation propagates without difficulty in space where there is no effective temperature(forget the 3k). I can even generate and emit emr without heat as the cause simply by plugging a transmitter into the wall and hooking up an antenna. Simply put the 2nd law does not apply to radiation at all. If it did all electromagnetic radiation emitted from the antennas of radio, tv, etc. would automatically head for colder climes like the interior of antarctica. The coldest would win(net flow). I won’t bother with your flashlight as it’s only vague misdirection. Just like agw. Backradiation as claimed is an energy absorption(conversion to heat)/reemittance towards the surface from some fictitious emitting altitude and raising surface temperature through fake amplification is clearly Bogus.

    5b is vacous nonsense. “If I stand near a strong radio transmitter, I can still tune in weaker transmitters. Nothing about the stronger transmitter’s signal prevents the weaker signal from getting to me. Of course not! A strong 30 meter wave doesn’t care what a weak 20m wave does! They don’t interact because their wavelength’s or frequencies are different so the stronger signal has no possible way to prevent the weaker signal from getting to you. “The net energy flux will still be from the stronger source toward the weaker one.” Here you are implying some form of energy transfer between a 30m wave and a 20m wave or vice versa. Do you have a magic wand?
    “It is a net flux though, in other words, the net flux is the difference between the two signals.” Oh, please commieBob do not emit any more pseudoscience as the net result is I can only laugh out loud.

  146. I advise all here to read through Hans’ post above, a few times. The English is weak, but the point about the nature of entropy and ‘waste heat’ is not to be missed.

  147. Phil.
    you say :Yes provided that hν for the photon matched the energy difference between the two higher energy levels (in a Q branch for example).

    Aha! Eureka moment, maybe? This makes perfect sense! The photon does not exist between points, but instantaneously communicates information (in its reference frame) between the point where it is emitted and the point where it is absorbed. Of course the photon energy must match perfectly where it is absorbed (and emitted). This also explains why photons are made up of the same “stuff” as matter. They merely communicate the state of the matter, which is governed by expectation probabilities that are predicted by quantum mechanics. When one “decay” or energy level drop happens that emits a photon, the other state shift elsewhere is necessary and already mapped by the photon. That would explain the “spooky” experiments we learn about in quantum mechanics that involve photons with equal energies and opposite momentum. By observing the polarization of one, we “influence” the polarization of the other instantaneously at any distance. Of course, the photons must “know” instantly the properties of the other because they are the vehicles of communication relaying the change of states, and the photons already “know” of their destination, as they are not under the influence of time. The properties of the photon, the energy and momentum, are the communications between states of matter separated by a distance. This feels like a logical connection between spec. relativity and quantum mechanics.
    Now, how does gravity fit in with all this?…
    Need more help, Phil.

  148. Folks, re-radiative shells (excuse my made-up lingo) and their ability to indirectly raise the temperature of the radiating object (via reduction of the rate of heat loss) is real. NASA has been using this for decades to keep their space vehicles from freezing. Its easy to look this up… it’s not a mystery. Stop arguing that it isn’t real. You’re missing the point. It’s definitely real… but the far better question is “how much of an effect would it be in an atmosphere?” When NASA uses it on their satellites, they maintain a vacuum between the readiative layers (to eliminate conduction). The atmosphere would behave much differently.

    I think all this discussion of thermodynamic, quantum theory, etc. is way off base. The question can be answered much more simply. Do what scientist used to do back when they were doing science. Measure.

    Go out 1 hour after sunset. Point a spectrometer straight up and measure the spectrum. Whatever you measure is being emitted by the atmosphere (mostly). Its either being emitted because of its inherent temperature, or from absorption and reemission from the upwelling IR of the planet.

    You could obtain measurements every hour, and watch the change. 1 hour after sunset may not be long enough… depending on the amount of solar radiation that scatters sideways in the atmosphere from the sun just over the horizon.

    Regardless… what you measure will be reality. Clearly, we can probably all agree, you will definitely measure some amount of IR. To make the analysis even more precise, obtain temperature readings of the atmosphere at different altitudes, and subtract out how much inherent IR that temperature of air would naturally radiate, etc.

    You may even be able to calculate or measure the upwelling IR from the ground. By carefully combining all this data, it shouldn’t be that hard to determine… not theorize… how much radiation is backscattered to the planet from the atmosphere.

    I suspect the answer will not be zero (I believe there is at least some GHG re-radiation), but I also suspect that the answer will not be enough… not nearly enough… to account for the alarmists claims.

    Anyways, all this discussion isn’t going to convince anyone… there are too many variables… to many unknowns. What fraction of heat transfer is re-radiation and what fraction is convection? No one knows. Does re-radiated IR from excited CO2 molecules make it back to earth, or does it somehow get taken up by the atmosphere along the way? No one knows. How much downwelling IR is from re-radiation of upwelling IR, and how much is due to scattered (and absorbed-reradiated) downwelling radiation from the sun? No one knows.

    But if we stop theorizing and start measuring, we can determine how much IR is emitted from the atmosphere towards the earth (even if we don’t know the exact mechanism). This will be the only real way to get a handle on this issue.

  149. Gary P. (March 10, 2011)

    Here’s a better explanation for your “experiment”. The radiation being emitted by your filament where previously was allowed free escape is now being reflected by the interior surface of your metal cylinder. Reflection is not absorption/reemission. Energy reflected is not energy absorbed. To invoke backradiation your filament needs to heat the cylinder hot enough to radiate sensibly back to the object. This is clearly not happening. Your cylinder was “relatively cold”. In fact by placing a round reflector around a centered filament you have created a rudimentary cavity whereby radiation formerly lost is now harnessed and focused centrally. The metal of the cylinder did emit no sensible radiation of its own. There is technically no hot to cold flow at all since you have removed air. Oh, and your emergency reflective blanket does reflect the small amount of heat a body produces but it does a far more important thing to keep one warm. Normal blankets are porous and allow easy convection and consequent air exchange. A reflective blanket is far less porous and much better at trapping the air mass around the body reducing the level of air exchange. This allows your body to warm the water vapor in your cocoon. No backradiation needed thanks!

  150. tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am
    Ira Glickstein
    “the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth.”

    No, No and a thousand times No.

    Re-emitted radiation does not and cannot heat the Earth significantly, because downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength. The amount of energy from back radiation mixed into the ocean by wind and wave action is negligible and extra co2 therefore cannot account for the additional warming of the ocean bulk in the late C20th.

    The greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space . There is more than a semantic difference. Understanding it this way enables you to understand that it was reduced albedo 1979-1998 allowing more Solar energy to enter the oceans that caused the majority of the global warming at the end of the last millenium.
    ————————————————————————————–
    I find it hard to follow the logic of this post. If “downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength” (which I do not believe is true anyway) it is because it is being absorbed. That means the energy is retained by the oceans. The alternative is that it is being reflected in which case the sea would be red. If you look at a swimming pool the deep end always looks bluer. That is because the light reflected off the bottom has had the red light removed by absorption. Infrared is even more strongly absorbed by water molecules a fact that is exploited by microwave ovens.
    You also write “he greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space” . This I sort of agree with but would prefer to use the statement “changes the radiation balance” Although it is only a different way of coming to the same conclusion you cannot reduce the energy going into space in the 14 to 18 micron band without saying where the rest goes. The fact is that the remainder is back radiated to earth in exactly the way Ira describes. These descriptions are not in conflict with one another.

    For all those others who come up with spurious reasons why there is no downward radiation, what does it take to convince you when you see graphs showing actual measurements of the energy being received. Where is this radiation coming from if it is not from the atmosphere? It cannot be the sun because the sun’s spectrum is insignificant beyond 3 micron.

  151. Ira,
    I follow your logic, but the electric blanket analogy was still a bad idea.

    On the other hand I’m amused that half the criticism comes from either complaints about nomenclature, or the “cold things can’t warm up warm things” argument.

    For the cold things can’t heat up warm things crowd, please stop with the complicated explanations and torchered arguments. Just ask yourself, do igloos work or don’t they? You can quote as many definitions of laws of thermodynamics as you want, construct as many analogies as you wish, with plates, bowling balls, flashlights, coats….but the fact is that igloos work. They’re made of cold stuff like ice and snow, and a person can survive very severe cold weather inside of one because “back radiation” keeps them warm. Someone dumb enough to sleep outside the igloo instead of inside is just a cryogenic experiment.

  152. nighttime says:
    March 11, 2011 at 12:33 am
    do the inuit build fires in their igloos.>>>

    sigh. i suppose they just might sometimes which has what to do with anything?
    If you insist I exclude the possibility of fire keeping them warm….

    An igloo, constructed of only snow and ice, containing no additional heat sources of any sort other than what is generated by the human being(s) within them, works.

    The dope sleeping outside next to a fire on the other hand will still be a cryogenic experiment with a cooked spot opposite the fire.

  153. Brian H says:

    I advise all here to read through Hans’ post above, a few times. The English is weak, but the point about the nature of entropy and ‘waste heat’ is not to be missed.

    I would like to second this comment.
    Hans also highlights the” quality” factor of the radiation or of energy generally.
    A number of people think that once the quantity of energy is known that all there is to it.
    The “quality” of the energy or radiation is perhaps even more important.
    What does “quality” mean.
    It means how easy it is to convert that energy into another type or for it to do work.
    The classic example is high quality Solar radiation(short wavelength) arriving on Earth and an approximately equal quantity of degraded Long wavelength radiation leaving.
    Now the first law of thermodynamics would not be violated if the whole process were reversed.
    Its the second law of thermodynamics that states that this is impossible to convert low quality radiation into an equal quantity of higher quality radiation.

  154. @ Dave Springer says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    Hi Dave,
    About your reply to my post, I agree with your explanation of what is seen at the arctic.
    I would like to know your opinion about the small emission peak in the middle of the CO2 15um absorption pit.
    It is my opinion that that could be the only real backscattered photon emission of CO2, and that the other emissions could be due just to temperature of the IR active gases in the atmosphere.
    Maybe I’m wrong with that, but I believe that because the “peak” is always positive at ground and at the TOA, and looking down at the tropical atmosphere that peak appears only over the 19-20km where the CO2 became the predominant IR active gas.
    I repeat, I could have wrote a very silly thing, I’m not an atmospheric physicist just an electronic engineer.

  155. Thanks to Hans for this information (and other that counter what to me seems like fiction but I’m never sure).

    Radiation leaving the surface then returning to heat the earth seems like nonsense. Even for reason of logic

    but it helps that posters like Hans and other explain why in this way.

  156. davidmhoffer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 12:15 am

    David, this is an interesting point but you are wrong about how igloos work. They do not work by back-radiation.

    Igloos maintain a higher temperature than the outside environment in the same way that all enclosures, including greenhouses, do.

    This is quite simple and holds for all internal 3 dimensional environments enclosed by two dimensional barriers.

    It is the result of the reduced probability of all three modes of energy transfer from a three dimensional gaseous environment towards and absorption through the two dimensional solid barrier (wall, glass or in the case of igloos, ice). The further from the two dimensional surface, the lower the probability is that the energy will be able to leave the enclosed atmospheric environment.

    Historically, traditional dwellings tended to be constructed around a central fireplace for this very reason.

    I live in a house high on the Sussex Weald which dates back more than 200 years. The are 4 fireplaces on the ground floor built into one central brick stack in the centre of the house. The external walls are merely 25 mm weather boarded with a 50 mm cavity and the internal skin is just 15 mm plaster board. There is no cavity wall insulation whatsoever and no double glazing. Thats just 2″ inches of wood and plasterboard between me and the elements 600 feet above sea level high on the Sussex Weald.

    In the winter it is evident that the above holds true in that the closer you are to the external walls on a cold night, the colder it feels. The same is true for greenhouses. Ask any horticulturalist which plants are his smallest and lowest yielding and he will tell you it is the plants nearest the glass. Ask any Eskimo which part of the igloo he prefers to sleep in and I guarantee he will tell you, “the middle”.

    This is what the “greenhouse effect” is. The greenhouse effect is simply the reduced probability of energy loss from all three modes of transfer, towards and through an external two dimensional surface from a three dimensional gas.

    This fact holds true for all internal environments from glass houses to timber clad houses and even to igloos.

    It does not hold true for the open atmosphere and therefore there is no “greenhouse effect” in the atmosphere.

    The two dimensional barrier, be it timber, brick, glass or even ice, simply inhibits all three modes of energy transfer. This is the so called “greenhouse effect”.

    That is why humans have evolved to construct and reside in dwellings.

    There is no “greenhouse effect” in the atmosphere.

  157. Can someone please comment on the post by DavidM re igloo’s

    “They’re made of cold stuff like ice and snow, and a person can survive very severe cold weather inside of one because “back radiation” keeps them warm.”

    If David is serious isn’t this fiction (I’m not an expert). Don’t igloo’s keep people warm because the air is warmer due to conduction. It has nothing at all to do with back radiation.

    For a start wouldn’t most of the heat leave the body by conduction not radiation. And the point that Hans raised above.

  158. RJ;
    but it helps that posters like Hans and other explain why in this way.>>>

    I am not just a skeptic, but a raging skeptic. There is so much hooey in IPCC AR4 that they should replace the 4 with an S. Which is why it drives me crazy when people go to great lengths to explain why there is no backradiation or it defies the laws of thermodynamics, or it creates energy… simple things like an igloo show that there IS backradiation, cold things CAN radiate heat to warm things, and NONE of it breaks any laws of physics.

    Here’s my oversimplified explanation on a photon by photon basis. Frankly it p**sed me off to no end to figure out that the surface does in fact get warmer (thought by darn little and maybe even cooler when all interelated effects are included) but as for the concept of backradiation, there is nothing wrong with the basic ghg explanation other than presumed order of magnitude:

    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/co2-exactly-how-does-it-warm-the-planet/

  159. Hans:
    Brian H:
    Brian:

    Yes, I totally agree with Hans explanation, it is correct. There are others here saying many correct statements. I have tried many times, in somewhat words, different analogies, trying to get others to see reality. But fellows, don’t get your hopes up. There are some here are firmly stuck in the AGW-IPCC-Trenberth mentality, as this post highlights, and since they have yet to see the reality, they probably never will. If I could say two thing I see keeping them confused, is that they consistently either speak instantaneously and not averaged over time and they fail to separate sun-earth-to-space system level energy flows with the inter-Earth system energy flows. And, heat does always flows from warmer to cooler, never backwards.

    davidmhoffer:

    I don’t mean to cross you, I mean that, I respect many of things you have said but can I try one last time for you to critique your thoughts on this “back radiation” and warming?

    All of this talk of igloos, quinzees, coats, blankets, layers of GHGs being insulators and increasing warmth by “back radiation” has one big flaw as my physics sees it. In the case of your body, the heat source is within your body and any of these insulators are wrapped around the energy source itself. In the sun-earth-to-space system’s case, when wrapping the Earth with blankets or layers of GHG’s, you do not have the energy source within, but instead, outside that system. Physics is a bitch, every time you try to fool it with ‘trapped heat’ you will find there is one big factor left out that in the end violates you whole concept.

    GHG layers will keep the same amount out of the Earth system as it can ever keep within, since the ultimate energy source is outside that system (ignoring radioactive decay in the soil). That’s it. Don’t have papers in my hand proving that albedo/reflection will increase *equally* with any insulation wrapped about the Earth but I do know it is true from what I have learned over the years. As I always try, keep an open mind and critique your own thoughts, you should see something in what I just said.

  160. Phil and Ira

    Phil, I found your comments (March 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm) very interesting. Is this based upon an actual experiment or only a theoretical calculation?

    What I am getting at is whether this reflected (back) radiation has genuine power to do work.

    Consider the attached power plant:. http://www.solar-green-wind.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/largest_solar_power_station-1528.jpg

    Consider the Earth’s energy budget:

    The power station is using mirrors tuned to collect and focus 184 w/sqm (i.e., 161 + 23) of solar bandwidth energy. Of course, during a sunny day, these mirrors are also receiving some (or all) of the 333 m/sqm back radiation. However, they are not focused to collect that nor are they tuned to the wavelength of downwelling long wave radiation. They are of course, tracking the elevation of the sun and therefore are effectively tuned to collect and focus the 184 w/sqm solar bandwidth energy. I presume that this power station produces no power at night and presumably only modest amounts on cloudy days and may be none on heavy dark rain cloudy days. It can effectively only work in a sunny climate such as California, Spain, Affrica (although of course, the illustrated station appears to be in Germany but Germany are beginning to realise that the country is not well suited to solar power generation).

    My question is: If there was real power in the 333m/sqm longwave back radiation, why isn’t the power station designed to collect and focus this longwave radiation? There is nearly twice as much energy (viz 333 cf 184 m/sqm) and this longwave energy is available 24 hours a day come rain or shine. This eliminated the storage issue which has always beset green energy projects.

    If there was real power (ie, the ability to do work) in this backradiation it is inconceivable that someone would not be collecting it, or that there would not be mainstream research designed at collecting this. For the vast majority of countries solar radiation is a non starter (due to cloudiness and latitude) but these countries have plenty of backradiation.

    I guess I am raising a question on the point made by Hans (Hans says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm) in that the radiation may be there but it does not have any energy/ability to do work.

    Phil and Ira your further views/comments would be appreciated.

  161. If, as so many people seem to claim, the atmosphere radiates like a blackbody than how come we can see landmasses sharply defined in the infrared satellite pictures that get beamed down every 6 hours. Would the land/sea boundary in local places not get fuzzy and streaky by either an onshore (cooler) wind or an offshore (warmer) wind. But no, the coastline remains sharp everywhere and at all times. These pictures are taken in the 8.3μm – 14.4μm band which is exactly the open infrared window WITH NO ATMOSPHERIC RADIATION.

    Check it out for yourself at http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/geobrowse/geobrowse.php. You will have to register, but it costs nothing.

  162. Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    “If you use Wien’s Law to determine the maximum there are two forms, a frequency form and a wavelength form, the peak frequency does not correspond to the peak wavelength using c=λν.”

    The superimposed dashed line blackbody curves don’t correspond to the frequency/wavenumber on the horizontal axis. If you plug in the peak frequency indicated on the horizontal axis to Wien’s Law formula you get a very different temperature in Kelvin from that labeled on the dashed curves. Interestingly the labeled values correspond to degrees Rankine!

    You can find it with calculator below which gives results in F, C, K, and R.

    http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpwien/wien_equation_t.php

    Something is definitely whacked in those plots but I can’t quite figure out what it is.

  163. wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 3:17 am

    “GHG layers will keep the same amount out of the Earth system as it can ever keep within”

    No. The energy enters the system in short wavelengths (visible light) which is not absorbed by GHGs. The shortwave energy is absorbed by the ocean. The energy leaving the system, radiated from the ocean surface, is longwave which is absorbed by greenhouse gases. The insulation effect of the GHGs works only in one direction. They do not insulate the earth from the sun but rather insulate the earth from the frigid cold of the cosmic void (which is 3 Kelvins and is called the cosmic microwave background radiation).

    The net effect is the GHGs don’t slow the warming of the ocean from the sun they slow the cooling of the ocean into the cosmic background. This causes the surface temperature to rise higher than it would be otherwise. The greater temperature differential between the surface and the cosmic background causes heat to move through the insulation faster which reestablishes equilibrium (energy in equals energy out). The insulating effect of the GHG raises the surface equilibrium temperature.

  164. davidm

    I don’t think people have said there is no back radiation. What I think they have said is this back radiation does not result in a colder body warming a warmer body from this back radiation.

    Cold things can radiate to hot things. But it will not warm the hotter thing when the radiation arrives is how I understand this process.

    Its like a brilliant teacher passing knowledge to a student. The student can pass knowledge back to the teacher but this will not improve or add to the teachers knowledge (heat). But the student can improve the knowledge of younger child. The same with the sun earth CO2 relationship.

    And I see you as a luke warmer not a true sceptic. You are sceptical of the overstated alarmists predictions not the GHG science itself.

    Even though the GHG science could lead to the chicken in the oven situation. Or a person in a CO2 container cooking themselves due to back-radiation.

  165. @wayne (con’t)

    The one-way insulating effect of GHGs is why, in my blanket example, I use two black rocks which are both exposed to the sun during the day so they can heat up (equally) then just one rock has a blanket thrown over it at night. The next morning they are uncovered and the temperature of the blanketed rock will be higher than the unblanketed rock. The next day, since one rock is warmer in the morning than the other yet both will be exposed to the sun again getting the same amount of daytime heating, the rock that is blanketed at night will reach a higher daytime maximum temperature. This temperature increase will continue until a new (higher) daytime equilibrium temperature is reached. The hotter the rock is when the blanket is thrown over it at night the quicker it will lose heat through the blanket. Heat flow rate through the insulating barrier is proportional to the temperature difference between the warm and cold sides. As the difference increases heat is lost faster. It is that which prevents the blanketed rock from just getting hotter and hotter until it melts.

  166. RJ says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:33 am

    “I don’t think people have said there is no back radiation. What I think they have said is this back radiation does not result in a colder body warming a warmer body from this back radiation”

    Correct. But it causes the warmer body to cool at a slower rate.

    Radiative transfer between two objects of different temperature is a two way street.

    Say the warmer body is radiating at 2 w/m^2 and the cooler body is radiating at 1 w/m^2. The net flow is, of course from warmer to colder, at exactly 1 w/m^2.

    The warmer body is adding energy to the cooler body but the cooler body is also adding energy to the warmer body. The cooler body is simply adding less energy to the warmer body than the warmer body is adding to the cooler body. This will always be the case. In most situations we only talk about the net flow of energy which always goes from warmer to colder but in reality there is flow in both directions and one flow is larger than the other. This smaller flow is “back radiation” and it is real beyond dispute.

  167. Dave S

    “or perhaps recycled back down to earth where the result is a warmer earth surface that generates photons at a higher rate to compensate”.

    If two heat sources are in a vacuum. One is 20 degrees and one 10 degrees.

    Option 1. Both heat sources have a power source to maintain their heat at 20 and 10 degrees. I assume the 10 degree source would rise slightly but the 20 degree source would not change.

    Option 2. The power source is switched off. Would the 10 degree source slow the cooling rate of the 20 degree source

    With conduction I assume it would as the air would be slightly warmer. But what about in a vacuum when there is only radiation energy loss.

  168. richard verney says:
    March 11, 2011 at 3:55 am
    Phil and Ira

    Phil, I found your comments (March 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm) very interesting. Is this based upon an actual experiment or only a theoretical calculation?

    What I am getting at is whether this reflected (back) radiation has genuine power to do work.

    This was a theoretical example but for it not to work as outlined you have to overturn basic physics. In fact the approach is used in practical light bulbs, a dichroic coating is applied to the bulb envelope to reflect the IR back to the filament and thus heat it so you get more output from the same current (or the same output in the visible from a lower current).

    http://www.bulbs.com/blogs/light_source/post/2010/12/03/Cooler-Than-Ever-Halogen-IR-Bulbs.aspx

  169. The only way I could ever even partially accept the blanket analogy would be if the blanket in question were something like a water filled rubber duvet and you were attempting to get a good nights sleep, perched on an overhanging precipice at the top of Mount Everest.

    Give it a go, I guarantee you will be stone cold dead by the morning.

    Blankets, electric or otherwise, its pure pseudo-science. The atmosphere bares no resemblance to a blanket. It has many properties and they all must be considered.

    Yet in the “greenhouse” hypothesis most of the atmospheres properties are ignored. This is a fact that we all know to be true.

    See my first post as an example of exactly that: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/#comment-617396

  170. Dave Springer

    ……”In most situations we only talk about the net flow of energy which always goes from warmer to colder but in reality there is flow in both directions and one flow is larger than the other. This smaller flow is “back radiation” and it is real beyond dispute.”……

    There is radiation both ways but the radiation from the colder surface has fewer photons of every wavelength than is leaving the hot surface.
    Also the QUALITY of the radiation is less as Hans pointed out and is restricted to the temperature profile of the colder surface.
    This means that the colder surface radiation from say 300K can only effect a cancellation of that part of the output profile of say a 400K warmer surface.
    That why it’s a misuse of language to say that the colder surface “heats” or “warms” the hotter surface.
    To say that the cold surface insulates the warmer surface is a more accurate description of the process.
    It also agrees better with your two rocks illustration

  171. In this thread arguing about greenhouse gases and how they lead to a warmer earth, it occurs to me that clouds have the same effect, but more so. If the earth has a roughly 60% cloud cover, and those clouds act roughly like the surface and absorb most of the short wave radiation and reradiate at longer wavelengths, we get 60% of incoming sunlight absorbed by clouds, 30% radiated back to space, 30% to the earth’s surface.
    40% of incoming sunlight directly reaches the surface, for a total of 70%, or roughly 240 watts out of 342.

    The ground radiates energy back to space, 40% gets through, and 60% is absorbed by clouds, half radiated to space, half radiated back to earth. That would result in
    a net warming to 10/7 *240 = 342 watts. You’ve got a significant fraction of the warming already without even considering greenhouse gases.

    I realize there is plenty of reflected light in the daytime so the actual figures would be reduced somewhat, but obviously zero reflected light at night.

  172. Dave Springer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:49 am
    RJ says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:33 am

    “I don’t think people have said there is no back radiation. What I think they have said is this back radiation does not result in a colder body warming a warmer body from this back radiation”

    Correct. But it causes the warmer body to cool at a slower rate.

    Radiative transfer between two objects of different temperature is a two way street.

    Say the warmer body is radiating at 2 w/m^2 and the cooler body is radiating at 1 w/m^2. The net flow is, of course from warmer to colder, at exactly 1 w/m^2.

    The warmer body is adding energy to the cooler body but the cooler body is also adding energy to the warmer body. The cooler body is simply adding less energy to the warmer body than the warmer body is adding to the cooler body. This will always be the case. In most situations we only talk about the net flow of energy which always goes from warmer to colder but in reality there is flow in both directions and one flow is larger than the other. This smaller flow is “back radiation” and it is real beyond dispute.

    Thanks Dave Springer for clearly explaining how “back radiation” from the Atmosphere to the surface of the Earth reduces the net flow of energy from the Earth to Space. This flow reduction causes the Earth to warm until, at the resultant higher temperature, the surface emits more longwave radiation such that energy in = energy out, and average temperatures stabilize.

    The Petty graphs (from his textbook that you turned me on to – thanks again) clearly show that a sensor on the surface, looking upwards towards the bottom of the Atmosphere, detects longwave radiation coming down. That is actual, measured evidence, not simply based on theory and models.

    Looking at these measurements confirms that the main peak is in the 14μ to 18μ region, exactly where CO2 has its major absorption and, consequently, where it re-emits most generously. The other peaks are where H2O and O2/O3 have their major absorption and emission. The main valley is in the ~10μ region where neither H2O nor CO2 absorb/emit strongly, again confirming the role of GHGs.

    RJ and others seem to accept the existence of “back radiation” but doubt that it can warm the surface of the Earth because it comes from a cooler source, the bottom of the Atmosphere. Thanks for setting them straight by reiterating that radiation goes both ways, with the Earth heating the bottom of the Atmosphere and the bottom of the Atmosphere heating the Earth, with the net flow of energy going from the Earth to the Atmosphere.

    Others in this thread seem to doubt the very existence of “back radiation”, despite the actual measurements reported by Petty. It seems these good folks are so sure it is dark that they refuse to open their eyes to see the light!

  173. Hi Fred Souder,

    Sorry for the late reply, I missed your post. Your question about photons is interesting. I have no clue about the general case but I can answer for the case where I am confident that I know what I’m talking about. ;-)

    When a photon strikes a surface or a molecule, a variety of things can happen:
    1 – It can promote something to a higher energy level. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_spectroscopy
    2 – It can have an elastic collision. (that’s how we see light reflecting from a surface) 3 – It can impart kinetic energy.

    We are taught, and can practically confirm, that a photon can not cause something to jump to a higher quantum level unless it has enough energy to make it do so. In other words, if I want a gas to emit green light, I have to excite it with blue light. Red light won’t work.

    On the other hand, low frequency (long wavelength) photons can cause a surface to heat without having to promote molecules to higher quantum levels.

    I think the answer to your question (as I understand your question) is this: Promoting molecules to higher quantum levels is not the only way a photon can impart energy.

    I have found a good lecture note on the subject: http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/black_body_radiation.html

  174. Ira

    RJ does not know re back radiation. I am just trying to understand this issue nothing more. Is the GHG theory flawed or not.

    Re evidence of radiation. What are your views on this

    http://slayingtheskydragon.com/Latest-News/climate-follies-encore.html

    Lord: “Back radiation can be simply demonstrated by pointing a simple infrared detector at the underside of a cloud. Try it.”

    Chorus: “My IR detector only cost $60! Simple! Agreed! Agreed!”

    Slayer: “Clouds do not absorb and re-radiate heat back to Earth. Clouds add THERMAL MASS which takes longer to heat and cool. Warmists ‘support’ this false hypothesis with IR thermometer readings, but the IR readings of a hot Barbie is the same from any distance; ENERGY is not. Your $60 REMOTE thermometer is not measuring the radiant energy you are receiving, it is measuring the resonance of the Barbie.”

    We know that this was the final act of the follies for there has been no reply in 36 hours from the Lord or the Luke Chorus.

    At this point from what I have read I do not believe that a colder body can heat a warmer body. Otherwise we get a ridiculous situation where a chicken above zero could be cooked by nothing more than back radiation.

    My views at this point are

    That most of the energy leaves earths surface by conduction not radiation
    The amount of CO2 is far to small to heat earth even if back radiation does occur and does heat the earth. (Which I doubt)
    Colder bodies can not heat a warmer one. So CO2 might slow the rate of cooling but can not warm earth.

  175. Dave Springer says:
    “The insulation effect of the GHGs works only in one direction.”

    The no belongs to you.
    I have never come across a “one-directional insulator”. Have you?
    You are imaginating out of what in physics has been proven over and over again.
    There are spectral bands in CO2 where the solar specrum crosses and those will keep the same outside the Earth system. But, if you can ever invent a one-directional insulator, you will be a rich man. Go for it, you seem tho think CO2 is it.

  176. cal says:
    March 10, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:26 am

    I find it hard to follow the logic of this post. If “downwelling IR does not and cannot penetrate the surface of the ocean beyond its own wavelength” (which I do not believe is true anyway) it is because it is being absorbed. That means the energy is retained by the oceans. The alternative is that it is being reflected in which case the sea would be red. If you look at a swimming pool the deep end always looks bluer. That is because the light reflected off the bottom has had the red light removed by absorption. Infrared is even more strongly absorbed by water molecules a fact that is exploited by microwave ovens.
    You also write “he greenhouse effect works by *SLOWING DOWN THE RATE THE EARTH COOLS AT*, by raising the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space” . This I sort of agree with but would prefer to use the statement “changes the radiation balance” Although it is only a different way of coming to the same conclusion you cannot reduce the energy going into space in the 14 to 18 micron band without saying where the rest goes. The fact is that the remainder is back radiated to earth in exactly the way Ira describes. These descriptions are not in conflict with one another.

    For all those others who come up with spurious reasons why there is no downward radiation, what does it take to convince you when you see graphs showing actual measurements of the energy being received. Where is this radiation coming from if it is not from the atmosphere? It cannot be the sun because the sun’s spectrum is insignificant beyond 3 micron.

    Hi Cal, and thanks for your reply.
    I didn’t say there was no downward radiation, I said it doesn’t heat the bulk of the ocean. Now some say it must or the oceans would freeze, because of the amount of radiation measured as upwelling from the ocean surface, compared to the amount of solar shortwave entering it. This misses the point. Downwelling IR at the wavelengths found in nature doesn’t penetrate the ocean beyond it’s own wavelength. Microwave ovens are tuned to used wavelengths that cause water molecules to vibrate, and so heat up. Different wavelengths. The small amount of IR generated heat which is mixed into the near surface is not enough to account for the increase in ocean heat content, and the extra height of the space radiative atmosphere has not been elevated sufficiently by extra co2 or any water vapour feedback to account for slowing down the cooling of the ocean enough to cause the OHC increase either.

    Therefore the most likely cause is the reduction in albedo over the tropics measured by the ISCCP cloud data from 1980-1998 allowing more insolation at the surface. Sunlight penetrates into the ocean many tens of meters. This is why you can see all the way to the bottom in clear tropical waters. It looks blue because the blue end of the spectrum penetrates the deepest of all, so it is blueish light which is being reflected off the white sand on the seabed or back out of the deep.

    The downwelling IR is not just coming down vertically. over 95% of downwelling IR is emanating from molecules which are less than a kilometer above the Earth’s surface and the photons are travelling in all directions from straight down to horizontal. This means a significant portion get reflected by the sea surface anyway. This means a proportion of the radiation measured as coming off the sea surface is reflected radiation not absorbed and re-emitted radiation. Additionally, as Stephen Wilde says on my blog:

    “What happens in practice is that increased DLR heats the ocean skin and thereby increases the rate of evaporation. The enthalpy of vapourisation (at current atmospheric pressure) dictates that for every unit of energy that provokes an evaporative event four more units oif energy are taken from the surrounding environment.

    So, the increased evaporation from more downwelling IR is self limiting. One fifth of the DLR provokes extra evaporation but when the evaporation occurs it soaks up the other four fifths of the extra DLR and once the extra DLR is used up it cannot provoke any more evaporation.”

    So it looks like the ocean maintains the atmosphere-ocean balance despite increased co2 and this is bourne out by the fact that satellite measurements of surface temperature show that the lower troposphere stayed at a pretty even temperature from 1980-1998 until the ocean belched out a big wad of energy in the super el nino. This then caused an upwards step change in global temperature. See Bob Tisdale’s posts on this

    The key point is that this was sequestered solar energy from a more active than average sun shining through less than average tropical cloud amounts, penetrating deep into the oceans, where longwave radiation from clouds and co2 doesn’t reach.

  177. Dave Springer said:

    “The net effect is the GHGs don’t slow the warming of the ocean from the sun they slow the cooling of the ocean into the cosmic background. This causes the surface temperature to rise higher than it would be otherwise. The greater temperature differential between the surface and the cosmic background causes heat to move through the insulation faster which reestablishes equilibrium (energy in equals energy out). The insulating effect of the GHG raises the surface equilibrium temperature.”

    I think that needs slight refinement.

    I don’t think that GHGs slow the cooling of the OCEAN into the cosmic background because all they do to the ocean is increase the rate of evaporation and radiation from the ocean skin with, I think, a zero effect on the energy flow from ocean bulk to air for reasons that I have set out elsewhere.

    However they do slow the cooling of the AIR into the cosmic background so the rest of the comment is correct but then one has to put the effect into proportion.

    Due to the ocean bulk temperature not being affected the necessary adjustments all have to be made in the air alone and that is achieved by shifting the speed of the hydro cycle and the air pressure distribution. The latitudinal position of the jetstreams is a good proxy for that.

    However the scale of natural changes in the hydro cycle and the air pressure distribution is already huge over periods of say 500 years such as the time between MWP and LIA or LIA and the present. The jets appear to have shifted by up 1000 miles latitudinally between such peaks and troughs.

    I have difficulty envisioning the effect of more CO2 contributing more than a mile to such shifts and possibly less than that when the full negative effects of a faster hydro cycle are factored in.

    In other words, wholly inconsequential.

  178. Dave Springer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Dave Springer,

    Your reply to wayne regarding the oneway insulating effect of GHG’s would only be valid if the Incoming EMR were entirely or even mostly SW.

    But this is not the case as it is mostly LW. Some say 50-50 but that is not the whole picture.

    Your point only has validity if incoming EMR is mostly SW. It is not and therefore you are as far from reality as it is possible to be.

    The SW EMR (light) emitted by the sun is a by product of the suns extreme temperature, not the other way round. Which is why there is a 600 km high bulge in the atmosphere under the solar point covering 25% of the atmospheres surface area, tracking the solar point around the Earth 24/7 called the Diurnal Atmospheric Bulge.

    http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?bibcode=1966SAOSR.207…..J&db_key=AST&page_ind=0&plate_select=NO&data_type=GIF&type=SCREEN_GIF&classic=YES

  179. What happens when radiation from cold surface reaches hotter surface?

    One hurdle that the “cold” radiation suffers from.
    It flows “up hill.”

    The respective blackbody spectra of the hot and cold objects will be centred around different maxima characteristic of their temperature.

    I will invent magnitudes rather than calculate accurate ones to save time.

    Lets say that initially there is only the colder object present.
    Lets say that some way out from the cold object placed in a vacuum, 100 Joules of IR centred radiation of wavelength 15um pass through one metre square area in one second.

    Now place a hotter object radiating at 250 Joule/s of 5um centred radiation at that squaremetre.

    So what happens to the radiation from the colder object?

    Three viable solutions.

    1. Classical wave theory approach.
    A single Pointing vector of magnitude 150W/m2 with direction hot to cold.

    2. Subtraction of photon streams will result in heat flow of resultant 150W/m2
    (The insulation option)

    3. Absorption of 100Joules/s of 15um centred radiation and emission of 100 J/s of 5um centred emission. (The “heating up” option)

    I consider that options 1 or 2 give the correct solution

    Whats wrong with option 3?

    The consequence for that square metre of having the hotter object there is the up-conversion of 100J of 15um centred radiation into 100J of 5um centred radiation.
    This also raises the possibility of increasing the temperature of the hotter object.
    If so this would also contradict the Stephan Boltzmann Equation as shown below.

    The increase in the “quality” of the radiation appears to violate the second law.

    Option 2 gives the correct answer using Stephan Boltzmann Equation without speculating about quantum mechanical effects of photon absorption.

    What do the textbooks say.

    University Physics Young and Freedman Pg 484.

    “If a body of absolute temperature T is radiating and its surroundings (at temperature Ts )is also radiating and the body absorbs some of this radiation.

    If it is in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings then
    T = Ts .

    For this to be true the rate of absorption must be

    = AεσTs^4 ”

    If however T > Ts

    Flow of heat from body = AεσT ^4 – AεσTs^4

    H = Aεσ(T ^4 – Ts^4 )

    “In this equation a positive value for H means heat flow out of the body.
    The equation shows that for radiation as for conduction and convection the Heat current depends on the temperature difference between the bodies.”

    So it looks like option 2, mirrors the equation above.

    .

  180. ” wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Hans:
    Brian H:
    Brian:

    Yes, I totally agree with Hans explanation”

    Thanks Wayne, Brian, and RJ. I hoped there would be at least some readers here making it to the end of my bad English analysis.

    “Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:23 am
    RJ and others seem to accept the existence of “back radiation” but doubt that it can warm the surface of the Earth because it comes from a cooler source, the bottom of the Atmosphere. Thanks for setting them straight by reiterating that radiation goes both ways, with the Earth heating the bottom of the Atmosphere and the bottom of the Atmosphere heating the Earth, with the net flow of energy going from the Earth to the Atmosphere.”

    Ira,
    radiation goes both ways but radiation is not heat. Radiation is cold and is able to create heat and that heat is not related to the photon energy. It happens only if there is matter, and there must be matter at Thot and at Tcold. Only then heat emerges as the energy flow from hot towards cold. This heat is a function of the surface temperature not of the photons as I pointed out here.

  181. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:16 am
    What happens when radiation from cold surface reaches hotter surface?

    One hurdle that the “cold” radiation suffers from.
    It flows “up hill.”

    A fundamental error in the first line, radiation doesn’t involve gradients, no such thing as ‘up hill’.

  182. Small correction

    The consequence for that square metre of having the hotter object there is the up-conversion of 100J of 15um centred radiation into 100J of 5um centred radiation.

    Should read
    The consequence for that square metre of having the hotter object there is the up-conversion of 100J of 15um centred radiation into 100J of 5um centred radiation to add to the effect of the hotter surface.

  183. Dave Springer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:18 am
    Phil. says:
    March 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    “If you use Wien’s Law to determine the maximum there are two forms, a frequency form and a wavelength form, the peak frequency does not correspond to the peak wavelength using c=λν.”

    The superimposed dashed line blackbody curves don’t correspond to the frequency/wavenumber on the horizontal axis. If you plug in the peak frequency indicated on the horizontal axis to Wien’s Law formula you get a very different temperature in Kelvin from that labeled on the dashed curves. Interestingly the labeled values correspond to degrees Rankine!

    You can find it with calculator below which gives results in F, C, K, and R.

    http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpwien/wien_equation_t.php

    Something is definitely whacked in those plots but I can’t quite figure out what it is.

    Nothing wrong with the plots, you’re using the wrong formula for Wien’s Law, you can’t use the wavelength formula and convert to wavenumber. You copied that statement from me and then ignored it and tried to do just that!
    Try looking here:

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Wien%27s+displacement+law&a=*FS-_**WiensDisplacementLaw.lambda-.*WiensDisplacementLaw.T–&f2=5780+K&f=WiensDisplacementLaw.T_5780+K&a=*FVarOpt-_**WiensDisplacementLaw.nu–

    For a temp of 270K the peak frequency is 15.9 THz corresponds to 18.9 microns.

  184. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:16 am
    The increase in the “quality” of the radiation appears to violate the second law.

    What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation? What are its SI units?

  185. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:16 am
    What happens when radiation from cold surface reaches hotter surface?

    Lets say that initially there is only the colder object present.
    Lets say that some way out from the cold object placed in a vacuum, 100 Joules of IR centred radiation of wavelength 15um pass through one metre square area in one second.

    Now place a hotter object radiating at 250 Joule/s of 5um centred radiation at that squaremetre.

    So what happens to the radiation from the colder object?

    Three viable solutions.

    1. Classical wave theory approach.
    A single Pointing vector of magnitude 150W/m2 with direction hot to cold.

    2. Subtraction of photon streams will result in heat flow of resultant 150W/m2
    (The insulation option)

    3. Absorption of 100Joules/s of 15um centred radiation and emission of 100 J/s of 5um centred emission. (The “heating up” option)

    I consider that options 1 or 2 give the correct solution

    Whats wrong with option 3?

    None of the above, the cooler object will warm up until it is in equilibrium with the incoming radiation from the hotter object resulting in more radiating reaching the hotter object which will also increase in temperature until it is in equilibrium too.

  186. Ira Glickstein said:
    “Thanks Dave Springer for clearly explaining how “back radiation” from the Atmosphere to the surface of the Earth reduces the net flow of energy from the Earth to Space. This flow reduction causes the Earth to warm until, at the resultant higher temperature, the surface emits more longwave radiation such that energy in = energy out, and average temperatures stabilize.”

    So now we have a new, sceptic, version of greenhouse warming. Backradiation does not directly add heat to the Earth but by reducing the rate of radiative cooling “it causes the Earth to warm”. Forgive me for not being able to distinguish between these two fallacies.

    A heated body’s molecules are vibrating in accordance with the energy it is absorbing. A cooler body emitting towards the hotter body cannot heat it up any more because the emissions (backradiation) are not at the energy level to make the molecules vibrate any faster. Likewise the radiative cooling version of greenhouse theory cannot make the hotter body’s molecules vibrate any faster. Of course there is such a thing as radiative cooling, but in a constant irradiance model (such as Kiehl & Ternberth’s) the Earth is not cooling down so cutting off the flow of radiant energy cannot add any heat as it cannot make the incoming energy vibrate the molecules any more. Reduction in radiative cooling may have an effect at night (and if so the Earth will be less cold than it otherwise would be) but this is not the basis of the ‘greenhouse effect’ which is about a build up of additional heat below a radiation barrier until it is breached and a fictitious radiative equilibrium is arrived at. Further, the net flow argument which is used to demonstrate compliance with the laws of thermodynamics in this theory is a fraud. On this argument you could have any amount of backradiation – a million watts for example – but as the flow out would still be greater than the flow in (1 million plus the 66 watts of solar) then there would be compliance.

  187. Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:41 am

    A fundamental error in the first line, radiation doesn’t involve gradients, no such thing as ‘up hill’.

    Well its a reasonable analogy
    Shorter wavelengths are characteristic of higher temperature sources .
    Shorter wavelength photons have higher energy than longer wavelength ones

  188. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 8:50 am
    Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:41 am

    “A fundamental error in the first line, radiation doesn’t involve gradients, no such thing as ‘up hill’.”

    Well its a reasonable analogy
    Shorter wavelengths are characteristic of higher temperature sources .
    Shorter wavelength photons have higher energy than longer wavelength ones

    Not reasonable at all because it has no relevance to the transport of radiation.

  189. It amazes me that so many are still chasing around the canard tossed out by the AGW people.

    Just like “Hide the decline!”

    “Hide the nitrogen, oxygen and water!”

    They tell you to disregard the N2, O2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

    They tell you to disregard the HUGE heat capacity and HUGE thermal mass represented by N2, O2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

    Disregard the 99.05% of the atmosphere. It has no effect.

    Focus only on the 0.05% CO2 that we tell you to.

    Because CO2 is a magical molecule and it controls the atmosphere.

    And like sheep, many do so.

    This is a far more accurate picture of what is truly going on:

    http://slayingtheskydragon.com/Latest-News/omgmaximum-co2-will-warm-earth-for-20-milliseconds.html

    “Thermodynamics will provide exact, repeatable quantities for energy flows or resultant temperature based on equations with three main variables. These variables are the difference in temperature, the mass of the bodies and the specific heat of the bodies. The greater the temperature difference, the greater the energy movement, which is the ‘delta T’ component.

    A pound of water is easier to heat than ten pounds of water, which is the ‘mass’ component. A pound of Aluminum is easier to heat than a pound of Lead, which is the specific heat component. Carbon Dioxide has a specific heat of 0.8J/Ks K, which means it gains or losses heat faster than standard air. This coefficient actually reduces the mass values we will now discuss, but we will assume this to be 1.0 J/Ks K to simplify discussion.

    In determining the heat flow of the planet we must place the ‘human produced’ atmospheric component in perspective with the total system. Humans produce 28 Giga-tons of atmospheric carbon annually. For comparison, 28 G-tons of ocean would be 5.93 cubic miles or 28 G-tons of Earth would be 2.96 cubic miles.

    What the Warmists are trying to tell you is that YOUR 6 cubic mile portion of the ocean controls the temperature of the entire 310,000 million cubic miles of ocean. Or alternatively, YOUR 3 cubic miles of dust controls the temperature of the 259 trillion cubic miles of Earth. As absurd as this assertion is, the actual particle physics is an equal distortion.

    It’s a Small World After All

    Carbon Dioxide is a benign molecule that is required for life and is currently less than 390 parts per million (PPM) of the atmosphere. Prolonged exposure to concentrations of up to 80,000 PPM, have shown no adverse side effects. All federal registries listed CO2 as ‘non-toxic’ until the recent EPA reclassification. Calling a substance a ‘toxin’ does not make that substance a toxin, except in the toxic mind of bureaucrats.

    All substances absorb and emit electromagnetic energy in discrete spectrum bands. The Earths outgoing Infrared energy is in a narrow band and can be absorbed by CO2 only in the 5 and 15 micron wavelength range. There is a finite amount of this IR energy, so the absorption is not directly connected with the amount of CO2. The term ‘absorption’ is misleading also, for the amount of time that this IR flow is ‘interrupted’, called the lapse rate is a fraction of a millisecond.

    The majority of the space around an atom is void. Most IR energy passes through the CO2 molecules with no impact. The further you go above the surface of the Earth, the less air and the less CO2 you and outgoing IR waves will impact. Professor Nasif Nahle of the UA de Nuevo Leon has done the ‘mean free travel’ calculations on the IR escape rate. Outgoing IR energy is delayed by at most 22 milliseconds.

    That is the total extent of ‘global warming’. All of the Planets CO2, the 97% from natural and the 3% from man delay temperature change by an immeasurably small amount of time. And this ‘delayed’ heat transfer is NOT radiated back to Earth. It is leaving a ‘hot’ Earth at the speed of light for a ‘cool’ outer space and is only delayed momentarily.” end quote

    CO2. In reality, in the overall scheme of things, an obscure bit player. Hardly worth looking at. A nothing. Just like the major AGW players: Keeling, Mann, Jones, Gore, Schmidt, Hansen….in reality they are nothing but bit players. Nothings. Not even worth a glance.

    Soon, many more people will come to realize that.

  190. Phil. says:

    What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?

    The ‘quality’ of radiation or energy generally is its ability to do work or in other words turn into other energy forms.
    If you google the appropriate words you will find plenty of hits particularly from solar energy capture systems.

    In the meantime here are two sources

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/31017446/The-Second-Law-of-Thermodynamics

    http://www.ijoticat.com/index.php/IJoT/article/viewFile/185/171

  191. Phil says of my 3 options above

    …..”None of the above, the cooler object will warm up until it is in equilibrium with the incoming radiation from the hotter object resulting in more radiating reaching the hotter object which will also increase in temperature until it is in equilibrium too.”…..

    So it appears that Phils answer to all questions on thermodynamics is…..
    The heat death of the Universe

  192. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:23 am
    Phil. says:

    “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    The ‘quality’ of radiation or energy generally is its ability to do work or in other words turn into other energy forms.
    If you google the appropriate words you will find plenty of hits particularly from solar energy capture systems.

    This is about science, the question you didn’t try to answer is what’s its units?

    A quantum of light has a wavelength and frequency, its energy is given by the product of h and frequency. What’s the equation for quality?

  193. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:29 am
    Phil says of my 3 options above

    …..”None of the above, the cooler object will warm up until it is in equilibrium with the incoming radiation from the hotter object resulting in more radiating reaching the hotter object which will also increase in temperature until it is in equilibrium too.”…..

    So it appears that Phils answer to all questions on thermodynamics is…..
    The heat death of the Universe

    Questions on matters of thermodynamics I answer with thermodynamics, what a concept!

  194. Phil. says:

    “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    So after informing you of something you knew nothing about wheres the;

    Thank you Bryan?

    ……..” question you didn’t try to answer is what’s its units?”……..

    I thought when you read the sources you could work that one out for yourself!
    However sceptics are ever helpful!
    “Quality” is a comparison.
    Electrical Energy has a higher “quality” than an equal quantity of Heat Energy.
    Black Body radiation centred around 2um has a higher “quality” than an equal quantity of Black body radiation centred around 20um

  195. to Bryan

    ((So it appears that Phils answer to all questions on thermodynamics is…..
    The heat death of the Universe))

    The laws of thermodynamics are simply a handy way of examining any closed system. They are the laws science uses to construct machines, toys, etc. That’s all. Period.

    There is no evidence that the universe is a closed system. On the contrary, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of a open system, not closed.

    What are the most powerful, energetic objects in the universe?

    Quasars.

    They are pouring additional energy into the universe.

    But almost nothing about them is understood.

  196. Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:51 am
    For a temp of 270K the peak frequency is 15.9 THz corresponds to 18.9 microns.
    ——–
    Phil, respectably, it seems you missed a factor in this calculation as explained by this paper: http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx/sep09/12_LAJPE_303_Lianxi.pdf

    Best to just use equation λmax (µm) = 2897.77/T without needing to using the c/1.760 correction in subsequntly converting frequency back to wavelength with Wien’s frequency form of the equation.

    For a temp of 270K the peak wavelength is 2897.77 µm·K/270K = 10.73 µm.

    Dave Springer:
    Look elsewhere than Wikipedia when possible for clarity, you are probably now totally confused, and yes, the top charts are incorrect.

  197. wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Phil, respectably, it seems you missed a factor in this calculation as explained by this paper: http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx/sep09/12_LAJPE_303_Lianxi.pdf

    Best to just use equation λmax (µm) = 2897.77/T without needing to using the c/1.760 correction in subsequntly converting frequency back to wavelength with Wien’s frequency form of the equation.

    For a temp of 270K the peak wavelength is 2897.77 µm·K/270K = 10.73 µm.

    Dave Springer:
    Look elsewhere than Wikipedia when possible for clarity, you are probably now totally confused, and yes, the top charts are incorrect.

    Hey Wayne, before you go dissing wikipedia you ought to read the list of references for the papers you present in your comments.

    The paper above (Lianxi) which you say explains a missed factor in Wien’s Law has a reference [5] which is to the Wikipedia article on Planck’s Law.

    Physician, heal thyself. :-)

  198. Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    “What’s the equation for quality?”

    I think you’re being facetious but for the benefit of everyone else…

    It depends on the application. Carnot was probably the first to quantify it for heat engines:

    μC = (Ti – To) / Ti

    where

    μC = efficiency of the Carnot cycle

    Ti = temperature at the engine inlet (K)

    To = temperature at engine exhaust (K)

    As a general rule of thumb energy quality is like pornography. It’s difficult to define but you know it when you see it.

    For instance a solar pond with 1 million pounds of water that is 1 degree F above ambient air temperature has 1 million BTUs of energy available to do useful work but it’s exceedingly poor quality. A boiler with 1000 pounds of water 1000 degrees F above ambient air temperature also has 1 million BTUs of energy available to do useful work and it’s high quality energy.

    Generally speaking water that is below the boiling point at STP, say 99C, is considered poor quality energy as it has a low Carnot efficiency. But if your application is supplying hot water for home use (clothes washing, hot shower, etc.) instead of running a heat engine then it’s very high quality energy.

    Another example, a cloud might have an electric charge of 1 megawatt/hour but it’s low quality energy. A bank of Lithium/Ion batteries with an electric charge of 1 mw/h is high quality energy if you have an electric vehicle but it’s pretty low quality if you have a horse & buggy. :-)

  199. Richard E Smith says:
    March 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Ira Glickstein said:
    “Thanks Dave Springer for clearly explaining how “back radiation” from the Atmosphere to the surface of the Earth reduces the net flow of energy from the Earth to Space. This flow reduction causes the Earth to warm until, at the resultant higher temperature, the surface emits more longwave radiation such that energy in = energy out, and average temperatures stabilize.”

    So now we have a new, sceptic, version of greenhouse warming. Backradiation does not directly add heat to the Earth but by reducing the rate of radiative cooling “it causes the Earth to warm”. Forgive me for not being able to distinguish between these two fallacies.

    Since I’m getting credit for it in this thread I get to name it. I’m calling it the “engineer’s version” because it’s the theory of operation behind millions of IR CO2 sensors around the world used to control ventilation systems in commercial structures.

    http://v2010.raesystems.com/~raedocs/App_Tech_Notes/Tech_Notes/TN-169_NDIR_CO2_Theory.pdf

    I’m not much on theory that has no demonstrated its usefulness in practical applications. In this case the absorption of longwave infrared by CO2 and thermalization of the other non-absorptive gases in the atmosphere is well established fact employed in practical applications around the world.

  200. Hans says:
    March 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Glad to see someone who deeply understands physics–entropy, in particular–and has the patience to explain it all to those weaned on soft science miscomprehensions upon which the “radiative greenhouse” paradigm rests. Danke schoen, Hans, very well done!

  201. “Phil. says:

    What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    That would be something like the ability do to work at the radiative equilibrium temperature of the matter that this radiation came from. So with the high frequency radiation of the sun at 5777 K versus the 255 K radiation of earth, the efficiency according to the Second law for the sun radiating to an object in space at say 100 K would be 1-(100/5777) = 98% and for earth doing this 1-(100/255) = 61%.

    And for backradiation on earth from 255K towards 288 K it would be 1-(288/255) = – 13%, that’s a nasty negative heat engine.

  202. RJ, Will, wayne, whoever said this:
    And I see you as a luke warmer not a true sceptic. You are sceptical of the overstated alarmists predictions not the GHG science itself.>>>>

    I’m insulted. I am a hardcore skeptic. But that doesn’t change the fact that some elements of the AGW position are correct. To be an EFFECTIVE skeptic, set the record straight and help people get proper perspective, one needs to recognize those elements of the AGW argument that are correct, and attack them where they are dead wrong and also where they highly misrepresent the facts to create a false impression.

    Stephan-Boltzman Law provides the math formula for calculating exactly how much energy flux a surface will emitt at a given temperature. You can do the calculation at an ambient temperature of -100C, 0, +100C and you will get the same number every time. You can do the calculation with another surface in proximity at -1000, +1,000C or 1,000,000 C, and you will STILL get the exact same answer. And those answers have been verified thousands upon thousands of times by experimentation.

    Unless you can disprove SB, there’s very little logical thought to follow. Since the energy flux leaving the surface is unaffected by the temperature of objects around it be they colder or hotter, the photons leave at that specific rate. If a colder surface is in proximity, it is subject to the exact same laws. The colder surface emitts the exact same energy flux it would have not matter what environment it is in or what it is proximate to. The photons the colder surface emitts travel away, and if they strike a surface capable of absorbing them, they will be absorbed, warming that surface up by the amount of energy they carried, not matter what the temperature of the surface is.

    At days end, the GHG explanation of CO2 IN ISOLATION OF ALL OTHER FACTORS is correct. It is however completely misrepresented by the AGW crown. The magnitude is tiny, it is modelled ats w/m2 at the top of the atmosphere which is ridiculous, feedbacks are ignored, exagerated, or even calculate with the wrong sine, and on and on and on.

    There is SO MUCH to take the IPCC to task for where they are dead wrong or obviously manipulative. Take for example their calculation that doubling CO2 will produce a direct 3.7w/m2 at TOA which in term results in a 1 degree temperature increase. Here’s a brief rundown of the stuff they document in the fine print, but you’d never know if from the big bolded explanations:

    1. They calculate +1 degree against the “effective blackbody” temperature of earth. That’s about -19C and occurs at about 15,000 feet altitude. Use their same exact physics to calculate the surface temperature change and you get only 0.6 degrees.

    2. They then say that changes in RF from GHG are usefull for calculating changes in the effective black body temperature of earth, but that these may not translate into surface temp changes in linear fashion, and they EVEN say that there may be NO surface change in temperature, but that the climate will still change dramaticaly. Say what huh?

    3. At no point do they explain their +1 degree in context other than average temperature. More hooey, there is no such thing. Assume worst case of +1 at effective black body, SB Law yields 0.6 at surface (it is is in fact linear which I doubt) average of +15. Now let’s use SB Law to calculate not the average increase, but the increase under various conditions. Like at +30 at the equator warms up to +30.1 while -50 in the arctic warms up to -46. See the issue here? The hottest parts of the planet, on the hottest days, change very little, most of the change comes in the coldest parts, during winter, at night time lows.

    4. Then the vaunted IPCC makes what I consider to be the most egregious misrepresentation of all. They admit via their own math that CO2 is subject to the laws of diminishing return, that it is logarythmic. Then the merrily move forward with scenario after scenario showing what would happen under various circumstances, conveniently leaving out that the amount of fossil fuel we would need to consume to achieve those levels is orders of magnitude beyond what we could actually burn even if all we did with it was burn it!

    I could go on…and on… and on… the CO2 backradiation argument is a rat hole that consumes everyone’s time, the basic physics of GHG is correct, but the magnitude, exagerated as far as the IPCC can possibly exagerate it through the information they bury in the fine print, is so small that it is at best splitting hairs.

    So igloos work, if you’ve done any winter camping you know that they have a vent at the top to vent carbon dioxide laden air from exhaled breath, that they have several air changes per night as a result, that the warmest air leaves first and is replaced by the coldest air from entrance, and STILL the person inside is warmer than if they were outside the igloo, and the extra warmth is from backradiation from the colder surfaces of the igloo.

    Stop fighting reality, start fighting the real battle.

    CO2 is logarythmic, we cannot possibly produce enough more to make a significant difference.
    The IPCC calculations are at a height in the atmosphere that does not translate to the same temp changes on the surface, and they even admit that there may be NO surface temp change.
    The IPCC glosses over the fact that any warming will be insignifanct in areas that are already warm, and most pronounced in cold places where it makes the least possible difference.

    With ammunition like that we’re fighting about backradiation why?

    If someone says that a g

  203. Bryan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:30 am
    Phil. says: “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    … [Bryan answers] “Quality” is a comparison. … Black Body radiation centred around 2um has a higher “quality” than an equal quantity of Black body radiation centred around 20um

    Say what? It seems like saying $1000 in $2 bills has a higher “quality” than an equal amount, $1000 in $20 bills.

    Phil gave the science behind what Bryan calls “quality” when, in an earlier comment (timestamped March 11, 2011 at 9:23 am) he wrote: “A quantum of light has a wavelength and frequency, its energy is given by the product of h and frequency.”

    So, using Phil’s scientific explanation, a 2μ photon, having a higher frequency, would convey ten times as much energy as a 20μ photon, which is at 1/10 th the frequency.

    According to Wikipedia, the energy and momentum of a photon depend only on its frequency (ν) or inversely, its wavelength (λ): E = hc/λ [where E is Energy, h is Plank’s constant, c is the speed of light, and λ is wavelength].

    However, in our discussions here, we are talking about equal quantities of Energy, (measured, for example, in Joules) on average, arriving at the Earth in the form of shortwave radiation from the Sun and, on average, leaving the top of the Atmosphere in the form of longwave radiation. So, using Bryan’s misinterpretation of “quality”, the Sun sends Earth a quantity X Joules of Energy in 2μ photons and the Earth’s Atmosphere sends an exactly equal amount, X Joules of Energy in 20μ photons out to Space. The number of photons from the Sun to Earth is different than the number from the Atmosphere to Space, but the quantity of Energy, on average, is equal.

  204. Good commentary and summary. The IPCC is notably more honest in the fine print that the political editors haven’t thoroughly cleansed.

    Except — CO2 ain’t logging any r(h)ythms. But its effect declines logarithmically.
    ;)
    :pPp

  205. wayne says:

    GHG layers will keep the same amount out of the Earth system as it can ever keep within, since the ultimate energy source is outside that system (ignoring radioactive decay in the soil). That’s it. Don’t have papers in my hand proving that albedo/reflection will increase *equally* with any insulation wrapped about the Earth but I do know it is true from what I have learned over the years. As I always try, keep an open mind and critique your own thoughts, you should see something in what I just said.

    Sorry, but as a physicist, I can say that what you have just said is basically complete and utter nonsense. Okay…There is a germ of truth in your idea of the relation between absorption and emission of radiation (which is not exactly what you say, but seems to be what you are sort of getting at if we are generous in our interpretation of what you have written). In fact, by Kirkhoff’s Law says they are equal; HOWEVER, that equality only holds wavelength by wavelength. Thus, it does not hold for the total wavelength-integrated emissions and absorptions except in the case when two objects are at the same temperature (and thus have the same emission spectrum).

    The sun and the earth are at very different temperatures and thus emit radiation with very different spectra…In fact, the temperatures are so different that their spectra are not only very different but even have very little overlap. As a result, there is no rule whatsoever that an increase in “insulation” needs to be accompanied by a compensating decrease in the amount of solar radiation that makes it through the atmosphere to reach the earth.

    I’m not going to keep an open mind about well-understood and settled basic physics just because someone does not understand it (and presents no empirical evidence whatsoever to back up his views and overturn the last couple centuries of our understanding of thermodynamics and radiative physics). That’s openmindedness to the point of letting one’s brains fall out.

  206. Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    “So, using Bryan’s misinterpretation of “quality”, the Sun sends Earth a quantity X Joules of Energy in 2μ photons and the Earth’s Atmosphere sends an exactly equal amount, X Joules of Energy in 20μ photons out to Space. The number of photons from the Sun to Earth is different than the number from the Atmosphere to Space, but the quantity of Energy, on average, is equal.”

    Concerning Bryan’s quality, he is correct because that would be the ability do to work at the radiative equilibrium temperature of the matter that this radiation came from. So with the high frequency radiation of the sun at 5777 K versus the 255 K radiation of earth, the efficiency according to the Second law for the sun radiating to an object in space at say 100 K would be 1-(100/5777) = 98% and for earth doing this 1-(100/255) = 61%.
    For backradiation on earth from 255K towards 288 K this would be 1-(288/255) = – 13%, that’s would be a negative heat engine.

    Concerning quantity of Energy being equal, yes. But there are three flows in play at the surface: LWR in, IR out and HEAT out. So the IR coming from the surface is lower in quantity and lower in quality than the LWR hitting the surface. So IR = LWR – HEAT.
    This heat has its own ways (thermal, evaporation) getting to the next higher layer at a lower temperature or the heat would not be there (no flow), and has no relation with the IR photons but with the delta T.
    Backradiation from this next layer going down can occur if there is interaction with matter at this lower temperature, but it misses the HEAT component that does not go down but further up.
    So backradiation hits the surface again and is believed to create more heat so we would get IR new = IR (old) – new HEAT.

    And this cannot be, because IRnew would thus have to leave from a surface with a LOWER temperature. Or perhaps backradiation cools the surface?

  207. Domenic:

    This is a far more accurate picture of what is truly going on:

    http://slayingtheskydragon.com/Latest-News/omgmaximum-co2-will-warm-earth-for-20-milliseconds.html

    Wow…That was written by one of the co-authors of “Slaying the Sky Dragon”?!? That’s really embarrassing. If I were an AGW skeptic, I would be running as fast as possible to disassociate myself from that book and anyone remotely involved with it! The fact that people like you are actually endorsing such scientific nonsense guarantees that you will continue to be regarded as “flat-earthers” by any serious scientists.

    CO2. In reality, in the overall scheme of things, an obscure bit player. Hardly worth looking at. A nothing. Just like the major AGW players: Keeling, Mann, Jones, Gore, Schmidt, Hansen….in reality they are nothing but bit players. Nothings. Not even worth a glance.

    Soon, many more people will come to realize that.

    And, you demonstrate that by posting a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense?!? Let me give you a hint…If you actually want to convert serious scientists to your point-of-view, you would be much better off being a little more discerning in what arguments you choose to embrace. Stick with defending arguments for low climate sensitivity; they also may be pretty poor (e.g., as has recently been demonstrated regarding some of Roy Spencer’s work: http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/roy_spencers_six_trillion_degree_warming ) but at least they aren’t patently ridiculous!

  208. Hans says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    … So backradiation hits the surface again and is believed to create more heat so we would get IR new = IR (old) – new HEAT.

    And this cannot be, because IRnew would thus have to leave from a surface with a LOWER temperature. Or perhaps backradiation cools the surface?

    Like your fresh style Hans. Same thoughts, different way to say it.

    That brings to mind the one case where I have always considered back-radiation literally, and not merely figuratively, real and proper; that is the case when low clouds are actually at a higher temperature that the surface, warmed from condensation. It does happen, but may be somewhat rare.

    In that case your last equation would show positive.

    Speaking in terms of individual photons as is common in these discussions, this is the very case where there would be more photons beaming down back to the surface than leaving from the surface traveling upward, literally heat moving downward and warming it. True back-radiation. Still don’t like that term, but since that what it is called, I will continue to use it. This is really just normal radiative warming from warm clouds.

    Trying to stay parallel, can you it put that way?

  209. wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:31 am
    Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:51 am
    For a temp of 270K the peak frequency is 15.9 THz corresponds to 18.9 microns.
    ——–
    Phil, respectably, it seems you missed a factor in this calculation as explained by this paper: http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx/sep09/12_LAJPE_303_Lianxi.pdf

    Best to just use equation λmax (µm) = 2897.77/T without needing to using the c/1.760 correction in subsequntly converting frequency back to wavelength with Wien’s frequency form of the equation.

    For a temp of 270K the peak wavelength is 2897.77 µm·K/270K = 10.73 µm.

    Nope I guess I’ll have to explain it again.
    When you plot spectral radiance as a function of frequency you get a maximum at a frequency of 15.9 THz corresponds to 18.9 microns as correctly shown in the data above from Petty.
    When you plot spectral radiance as a function of wavelength it is a different functional form and the maximum is at 10.73 µm. Both are correct you’re just looking at different representations of the curves.
    Try here as a source for the various equations:

    http://www.spectralcalc.com/blackbody/blackbody.html

    Dave Springer:
    Look elsewhere than Wikipedia when possible for clarity, you are probably now totally confused, and yes, the top charts are incorrect.

    No they are correct, perhaps it’s some of the commenters on WUWT that are confused?

  210. Hans says:
    March 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm
    “Phil. says:

    What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    That would be something like the ability do to work at the radiative equilibrium temperature of the matter that this radiation came from. So with the high frequency radiation of the sun at 5777 K versus the 255 K radiation of earth, the efficiency according to the Second law for the sun radiating to an object in space at say 100 K would be 1-(100/5777) = 98% and for earth doing this 1-(100/255) = 61%.

    Which is nothing to do with the radiation, you can’t tell me what the ‘quality’ of 5μm radiation is for example.

    Dave Springer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 11:58 am
    Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    “What’s the equation for quality?”

    I think you’re being facetious but for the benefit of everyone else…

    Not being facetious at all, so far no-one has answered the question, bear in mind what I asked was “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”, the simple answer is that there is no such thing!

  211. Domenic says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:09 am
    It amazes me that so many are still chasing around the canard tossed out by the AGW people.

    Just like “Hide the decline!”

    “Hide the nitrogen, oxygen and water!”

    They tell you to disregard the N2, O2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

    They tell you to disregard the HUGE heat capacity and HUGE thermal mass represented by N2, O2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

    Disregard the 99.05% of the atmosphere. It has no effect.

    Focus only on the 0.05% CO2 that we tell you to.

    The canard appears to be of your making, who among the ‘AGW people’ tells you that nonsense, no one tells you to ignore the thermal mass of N2 and O2, that’s the sink that absorbs the energy absorbed by CO2. You should however be aware that N2 and O2 aren’t capable of absorbing IR radiation.

  212. Dave Springer says:
    March 11, 2011 at 4:39 am
    @wayne (con’t)

    The one-way insulating effect of GHGs is why, in my blanket example, I use two black rocks which are both exposed to the sun during the day so they can heat up (equally) then just one rock has a blanket thrown over it at night. The next morning they are uncovered and the temperature of the blanketed rock will be higher than the unblanketed rock. The next day, since one rock is warmer in the morning than the other yet both will be exposed to the sun again getting the same amount of daytime heating, the rock that is blanketed at night will reach a higher daytime maximum temperature. This temperature increase will continue until a new (higher) daytime equilibrium temperature is reached. The hotter the rock is when the blanket is thrown over it at night the quicker it will lose heat through the blanket. Heat flow rate through the insulating barrier is proportional to the temperature difference between the warm and cold sides. As the difference increases heat is lost faster. It is that which prevents the blanketed rock from just getting hotter and hotter until it melts.

    Sorry Dave, didn’t notice you had commented back, tsunami and all, thank the Lord more people were not lost.

    But your example is a bit unreal in this aspect, you are physically removing the insulation from one rock only during the daytime, putting it back on during the night. Can’t do that for the atmosphere. Try running it again in your mind with the blanket left on it all the time, even during the day. One with a blanket, one without. What would the rocks show in their temperature profiles then?

    To me they would be different temperature profiles for sure but it seems, off of the top of my head, that there would be two times every day that their temperatures would be identical, given enough days to equalize. The blanketed one would have less diurnal range. The emissivity and reflectivity of the blanket itself would be the controlling factor.

    What would you guess?

    See, I don’t believe one-way insulators exist in gases. To me, that very factor is why Venus with an atmosphere of 96.5% CO2 is approaching a mirror surface to solar radiation. The CO2 blanket that you seem to see cuts equally both ways, and you end up back at with no change at all. Physics is good at twisting you mind like that, forgotten factors. See Scarlet Pumpernickel’s link above concerning Venus. I found that very interesting. I have spent countless hours on Venus’s atmosphere, it’s pressure gradient, density gradient, lapse rate, temperature profile, trying to understand a union of all planetary atmospheres, but I was working the surface up. He worked top down. I give him a pat on the back for his method, even if it ends up having flaws. I learned a new approach there.

  213. @ davidmhoffer

    I’ve always found winter camping very uncomfortable and I don’t do it if I can avoid it, however, now that I’ve gleaned some insight into the wonders of igloos I’m ready to give it another shot.
    It takes quite a number of hours to build even a small one but I’m sure it’s well worth the effort since I will not have to pack in a tent or a down-filled sleeping-bag.
    As I understand it, once in the snugness of my owner-built snow structure, I can safely remove my mukluks and caribou skin parka. These I can lay on the icy floor as a mat to reduce the dreaded conduction. Perhaps radiation from the floor would keep me warm but I’m not too sure of it.
    I know that, inside my clothing, my skin temperature is about 22C and I know from experience that my body’s internal organs are able to maintain homeostasis when my skin is that temperature. It’s got to do with dilation of blood vessels, although I’ve read elsewhere that it’s quite different on mountain-tops.
    So, I can confidently lie naked upon my folded clothing and feel the temperature of my skin rise to 23 degrees as the walls of the igloo benevolently shine their rays upon me. As this happens, the capillaries close to the surface of my skin will happily dilate so as to rid myself of excess heat and thus avoid the horrible fate of cooking from the inside.
    I do have some apprehension about the snow’s ability to modulate its radiative re-heating of my person, but I assume that if the ice is heating me, it is perhaps doing it at the expense of its own temperature; that is to say, it’s getting colder.
    There again, if cold ice can heat me so satisfactorily, what might even colder ice do?
    David, you invoked, very convincingly, Stefan’s Law, and I know you don’t think much of the Second Law, but the First Law is starting to falter here, too.
    Quality of energy has won itself a bad reputation in these parts but it’s the quantity I’m concerned about. How long can a person stay in an igloo before they spontaneously combust? Is there any way to control this relentless heating of oneself when surrounded by ice? If I put my parka back on will the ice stop with the heating?
    Can I really have faith in you as my arctic adventure mentor? How do you know it’s radiation at work and not conduction and convection. After all, you’re a little off on how many air changes you think a person would need and you suggest that the vent is sited so as to shed heat as well as exhaust gases.
    So we’ve got hot things heating cooler things, we’ve got cold things heating hotter things.
    I suppose if two things are the same temperature, they just keep heating one another equally forever.
    Why are you so keen to convince us that you’ve got it all figured out?
    Is it lonely out there?

  214. Oliver Ramsey;

    You have got to be kidding. That’s a rebuttal? Ridiculous conjectures drawn from thin air and attributed to me? Followed up with reading my mind announcing that you know what I think, and then making fun of that? I musta some ticked you off at some point. I shall try and be civil in order to set the record straight if nothing else.

    OR:It takes quite a number of hours to build even a small one (igloo)>>>

    You can build a quinzee in a fraction of the time and they are a better shelter for one person.

    OR:As I understand it, once in the snugness of my owner-built snow structure, I can safely remove my mukluks and caribou skin parka>>>

    No, I never said that, and your sarcasm does nothing to advance the discussion. If you insist I be specific, it takes time for the warmth to build up inside, it might never get warm enough to take off anything, though in most cases you’ll wind up unzipping your coat a bit to cool off. But you’ll not freeze to death like you would outside the structure.

    OR:So, I can confidently lie naked upon my folded clothing and feel the temperature of my skin rise to 23 degrees as the walls of the igloo benevolently shine their rays >>>

    Again, I said no such thing. You want to lie naked in the hopes of warming up go ahead. You want to construe that I said the igloo would shine that strongly then fine, lest you put words in my mouth, I’ll answer that one too. If you stopped to think through the physics for a moment you might ask yourself how much benevolent sunshine there is shining out of your…body in the first place. The igloo doesn’t create more heat, it only passes a small portion of the heat radiated by your body back to you. So unless you yourself are hot enough to shine benificently upon those around you in the first place, you are just being ridiculous.

    OR: I assume that if the ice is heating me, it is perhaps doing it at the expense of its own temperature; that is to say, it’s getting colder. >>>

    Bingo! Everything radiates energy commensurate with its own temperature as defined by Stefan’s law. So yes, it is getting colder. But it isn’t “heating you” at its own expense. Its radiating energy at exactly the same rate it would if you were there or not. Since you are there some of it runs smack dab into you. Not enough to keep you from freezing to death since you were dumb enough to take your clothes off, but some.

    OR: There again, if cold ice can heat me so satisfactorily, what might even colder ice do?>>>

    Uhm…. heat you less satisfactorily? C’mon, no where did I say that the colder the ice was the more it could warm you.

    OR: I know you don’t think much of the Second Law>>>

    You clearly do not know what I think, you don’t even understand what I wrote. The Second Law is just as real as Stefan’s Law.

    OR: How long can a person stay in an igloo before they spontaneously combust?>>>

    Forever.

    OR:Is there any way to control this relentless heating of oneself when surrounded by ice? If I put my parka back on will the ice stop with the heating?>>>

    Per my previous comment, you only get a portion of what you yourself radiated out in the first place back. If you put your parka back on before you stupidly freeze to death, then YES! the ice suddenly be getting less energy radiated at it by you, and consequently radiate less back. For a while. Eventually your body heat will heat up the parka, and it will start radiating heat, a portion of which the ice will radiate back at you.

    OR:How do you know it’s radiation at work and not conduction and convection. After all, you’re a little off on how many air changes you think a person would need and you suggest that the vent is sited so as to shed heat as well as exhaust gases.>>>

    Because when you radiate heat, you lose energy at the rate defined by your temperature and Stefan’s Law. If you are dumb enough to to sit your naked but on ice, you will definitely have conduction, the rate at which you will lose energy to the ice via conduction will be massively higher than what you radiate, and far in excess of what your body can replace by burning calories. Best keep your pants and parka on, they are made of stuff that doesn’t conduct well. As for the vent, yes, it is sited at the top to exhaust gases, most notably the carbon dioxide from your breathing. Since the warmest air in the igloo is most likely your own breath, it will rise via convection, taking both the CO2 and the heat you breathed out with it.

    In other words conduction is massively negative, and convection is also negative, that’s how I know that neither of them are what keep you warm inside an igloo.

    OR: I suppose if two things are the same temperature, they just keep heating one another equally forever.>>>

    Oddly, I know you meant that to be sarcastic, but you finally got one right.

    OR: Why are you so keen to convince us that you’ve got it all figured out?
    Is it lonely out there?>>>

    Why are you so keen to misrepresent what I said, exagerate to the ridiculous claims that I never made, pretend to read my mind and be critical of the fictitious opinions you attribute to me, and end with the most devastating, sarcastic, cutting logic that you can summon up. “Is it lonely out there?”

    You’re the one lying naked in the middle of an igloo freezing his appendages off and screaming see! I told you I wouldn’t spontaneously combust! So let me answer your question seriously.

    The subject of climate change is WAY off the rails. The claims of the AGW crowd are preposterous, the warning of impending doom fictitious nightmares, and the solutions proposed at best a medicine for worse than the disease. AGW has become nothing more than a tool in the hands of those who grasp for power and wealth for themselves at the expense of those who are doing honest work, and at the expense of the poor and down trodden that they proclaim to be protecting.

    I no more have it all figured out than do the climate “scientists” who spout doom and gloom while deleting anything that might contradict them. But there are certain aspects of how thermodynamics work that are known, they are the foundation upon which the AGW alarmism is built, and assailing a firm foundation with distorted criticisms of a ligitimate explanation wastes your time, my time, and discredits us as skeptics in front of the AGW scientists who happen to have taken the one piece of science they got right and built a house of cards upon it.

    I’m keen to set the record straight with warmists and skeptics alike so that we can move on to discuss order of magnitude, feedback, distribution of change by lattidude and altitude, and all the other issues that make a mockery of the AGW claims. If you want to level a well thought out, valid criticism of my explanation, I’ll either answer with a better explanation or an hmmm never thought of that. But if all your going to do is throw up wild claims about I said as arguments, then I’ll just say this:

    Those AGW dudes are planning on picking your pockets, and I’m keen to get their bullarky discredited before they get around to picking mine.

  215. Joel Shore,

    Thanks for catching that. After reading my own words back I should have been sure to mention the concept of shells, really any thickness. If a layer above “insulates” radiation going upward, then once given energy is above that same shell and is absorbed and radiated downwards that same shell will “insolate” to equally keep it outside the system. Same shell, same insolating property. Does that make it any clearer?

  216. Domenic:

    This is a far more accurate picture of what is truly going on:

    http://slayingtheskydragon.com/Latest-News/omgmaximum-co2-will-warm-earth-for-20-milliseconds.html

    Wow…That was written by one of the co-authors of “Slaying the Sky Dragon”?!? That’s really embarrassing. If I were an AGW skeptic, I would be running as fast as possible to disassociate myself from that book and anyone remotely involved with it! The fact that people like you are actually endorsing such scientific nonsense guarantees that you will continue not to be taken seriously by any serious scientists.

    CO2. In reality, in the overall scheme of things, an obscure bit player. Hardly worth looking at. A nothing. Just like the major AGW players: Keeling, Mann, Jones, Gore, Schmidt, Hansen….in reality they are nothing but bit players. Nothings. Not even worth a glance.

    Soon, many more people will come to realize that.

    And, you demonstrate that by posting a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense?!? Let me give you a hint…If you actually want to convert serious scientists to your point-of-view, you would be much better off being a little more discerning in what arguments you choose to embrace. Stick with defending arguments for low climate sensitivity; they also may be pretty poor (e.g., as has recently been demonstrated regarding some of Roy Spencer’s work: http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/roy_spencers_six_trillion_degree_warming ) but at least they aren’t patently ridiculous!

  217. For Oliver Ramsay and others who are saying that there is violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the atmospheric greenhouse effect: Show us specifically where said violation occurs using any precise correct statement of the 2nd Law and anything from the full-blown line-by-line radiation calculations to any sort of simple quantitative model of the greenhouse effect (such as the simple shell model that Willis Eschenbach posted about once here on WUWT).

    Hint: You won’t be able to do it because in fact none of these descriptions violate the Second Law.

    When I teach my students about the Second Law in a few weeks, I will tell them what I always tells them: that the Second Law is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a powerful tool that can easily cut through pseudoscientific nonsense (such as claims of perpetual motion machines). On the other hand, like any powerful tool, it can also be abused to actually spread pseudoscientific nonsense as when incorrect claims are made by creationists that evolution violates the 2nd Law or incorrect claims are made by AGW skeptics that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law.

    davidmhoffer says:

    I’m keen to set the record straight with warmists and skeptics alike so that we can move on to discuss order of magnitude, feedback, distribution of change by lattidude and altitude, and all the other issues that make a mockery of the AGW claims.

    Even though David Hoffer and I disagree strongly on the seriousness of AGW, I agree with him that if we are going to debate scientific issues, one might as well debate issues that are still open to real scientific debate (such as the magnitude of feedback effects and hence of the climate sensitivity) than to waste time with claims that are scientifically-ridiculous, such as claims that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law or that humans are not responsible for the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels over the last couple hundred years. Arguing these things may seem fun and may be able to convince some members of the general public but it is only going to further marginalize you in the scientific community … and that is where the scientific debate ultimately matters.

  218. @wayne ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/#comment-618875 ): Okay…Now, I think I understand what you are saying. However, it doesn’t prove what you seem to think it does.

    So, for example, if you model the atmospheric greenhouse effect by two shells that pass solar radiation but are blackbodies (perfect absorbers) for longwave radiation then, yes, radiation that is radiated from the outer shell back toward the surface of the earth will be intercepted and absorbed by the inner shell rather than passing down to the earth’s surface. However, if you are hoping that this will somehow negate the atmospheric greenhouse effect, you will be disappointed. In fact, such a simplified model is easy to solve exactly and will have a temperature at the earth’s surface that is higher than the temperature in absence of the shells by a factor of the 4th root of 3. [In general, the model with N blackbody shells has a surface temperature that is higher by a factor of the 4th root of (N+1) from the no-greenhouse case of 0 shells.]

    A more realistic model would have “graybody” rather than “blackbody” shells and solving it is a bit more complicated, but the basic structure of the result doesn’t change…i.e., a stronger IR-absorbing atmosphere leads to a higher surface temperature.

  219. Phil says
    ……….. so far no-one has answered the question, bear in mind what I asked was “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”, the simple answer is that there is no such thing!………..

    Whats this then ?

    Thermodynamic Availability of Solar Radiation
    by RH EDGERTON – 1983 – Cited by 2 – Related articles
    In the evaluation of second law efficiencies of solar energy converters, a determination must be made of the …. spectral energy flux per unit area per unit frequency in determining the quality of the radiation.
    pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-1983-0235.ch019

  220. @ davidmhoffer

    Well, this time I got your attention.
    But you’re still not noticing that, time and time again, commenters are acknowledging that energy is radiated from cooler things towards hotter things and that it is absorbed by the hotter things.
    It’s what happens after that that’s in dispute.
    Radiation and heat are not synonyms for one another. When visible light falls upon a slab of basalt heating occurs, but that’s not the case with chloroplasts. Photosynthesis isn’t about heating CO2 and boiling water.
    The back-radiation explanation always seems to end with “…and that heats the surface.”
    It’s not actually the surface temperature that we measure. It’s the air above the surface. When we do measure the surface temperature, we find that it varies enormously over distances of inches.
    Another thing that is repeatedly recognized is that IR radiation from the surface is absorbed by CO2 and does serve to heat the adjacent N2 and O2.
    If you’re irritated by my ridiculous igloo scenario, you will have an idea of how it is to be constantly told “…it’s just basic Physics”.
    Climate is an abstract concept that arises from human observation of weather.
    Weather is the interactions of all the fluid parts of our planet. It’s more than “basic”.

  221. wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    “That brings to mind the one case where I have always considered back-radiation literally, and not merely figuratively, real and proper; that is the case when low clouds are actually at a higher temperature that the surface, warmed from condensation. It does happen, but may be somewhat rare.”

    Yes, the problem is that so many things can happen in the atmosfeer. But this is in a much later stage as what I was strictly talking about, and that is the solid surface where LWR is converted in IR and heat, and what will happen in the very next thinkable layer so a micro distance. So this is at the heart of the radiative problem, the source of GHG theory.
    Where LWR hits the ocean it gets more complicated with the latent heat escaping and GHG theorie does’nt even want to burn there fingers here. So yes, in the real world we have the atmosfeer with latent heat, presure, lapse rate, clouds etc and al kinds of changes in time that creates temperature differences everywhere on earth. But GHG theorie solely uses radiation budgets and says it’s equal to heat and uses averages only.
    So one can only counter the GHG theorie by following their radiation assumptions, and starting from the very first instant where this should start.

    “Speaking in terms of individual photons as is common in these discussions, this is the very case where there would be more photons beaming down back to the surface than leaving from the surface traveling upward, literally heat moving downward and warming it. True back-radiation. Still don’t like that term, but since that what it is called, I will continue to use it. This is really just normal radiative warming from warm clouds.”

    Well, as long as it is higher in temperature (kinetic energy) it will flow to any lower temperature (up or above) by conduction/convection. Only the portion of water in it will also radiate IR. So this would indeed heat the lower levels towards earth.

  222. Bryan says:
    March 12, 2011 at 6:36 am

    “Whats this then ?

    Thermodynamic Availability of Solar Radiation
    by RH EDGERTON – 1983″

    Is’nt it great Brian what you can find digging in the solar thermodynamics?

  223. Ira

    In addition to the many other comments above, I’m afraid I cannot agree with your analysis that “the “greenhouse effect” heats the Earth because GHGs absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards Earth.” I’m making an assumption that you mean the downward radiative energy will hit the earth. I’m basing this assumption on the fact that you only acknowledge that some energy transfer from GHG to N2 and O2. See where you state:

    “In addition, some of the radiation due to collisions of energized H2O and CO2 molecules with each other and the N2 (nitrogen), O2 (oxygen) and trace gases, may produce radiation in the ~10μ region which similarly makes its way out to Space without being re-absorbed.”

    If I am incorrect, please accept my apology.

    In my view, the common “hit the earth” conclusion over-relies on an unsupported assumption that radiative transfer is “super dominate” transfer mechanism in the atmosphere. It appears just as likely that most radiative energy coming from the ground and subsequently absorbed by GHG is simply transferred to other atmosphere gases, liquid vapors, and ice by ordinary thermo/physical processes.

    Both Einstein and Neils Bohr provided a fairly sound basis for evaluating the predicted behavior of photons and simple gases. (For those interested, a good entry level description can be found in Chapter 12 of the text book “Fundaments of Phononics” by Bahaa E. Saleh and Malvin Teich; John Wiley & Sons, 1991 edition). I have read two papers that used the Bohr/Einstein approach both of which call into question AGW theory due to AGW failure to fully account for thermal transfer due to light/mass interaction (i.e. the saturation effect). Courtesy would demand that I provide the titles and the authors names to the papers from which I am referring. However, I have lost the papers and cannot recall the authors names. To this extent I apologize.

    In my mind, one of the most troubling aspects of the “back radiation” argument is that it ignores two serous statistical thermodynamic problems: 1) that the average direction of re-emission energy flow resulting from a photon hitting a GHG molecule is zero, and 2) that radiative re-emission is not the only avenue with which the GHG molecule can be dissipate the energy.

    With respect to the directional issue, only if one is very close to the earth can one claim any “back radiation” will be remitted by the earth’s surface. The higher one goes the more likely any back radiation will simply the absorbed by the gases below.

    With respect to energy conversion, one must consider the statistical probability that the GHG molecules energy will be simply be absorbed by molecule using alternate energy states (for example by evaporation, sublimation, or adiabatic cooling via expansion). Or that the energy will be transferred to another molecule by kinetic impact – prior to any radiative re-emission event. This leads directly to evaluation of simple gases via Einstein’s A and B coefficients and Neils Bohr related evaluations referred to above.

    I see another problem with the “back radiation” causes heating claim. Radiative transfer to a body with mass (with the transfer represented by Q), is and always has been, a subset of thermal heat transfer. One cannot ignore that both thermal and radiative transfer are the result of photon exchange at the molecular level – real photons (light) for radiative transfer and virtual photons for heat or thermal exchange. Thermal and radiative transfer are, in fact, subsets of the same phenomena.

    Consequently, in my view, the thermal gradient resulting from radiative transfer with gases are analogues to a thermal gradient in purely thermal transfers. Even in thermal transfer, molecules are hitting and transferring energy “up-stream” to the hot side; but, the net transfer is to the cold side. Radiative transfer is no different. Back radiation is not causing any additional warming – it is just a natural part of the temperature gradient observed when dealing with molecules or other bodies in bulk. I recognize there is the complication that not all gases will re-radiate at the same wave lengths nor at the same rate for a given temperature. Never-the-less the temperature gradient issue remains when considering bulk heat transfer wither by thermal or radiative means.

    Further, trying to rationalize the concept of “back radiation” as an “augmenter” of GHG warming leads one down the slippery slope of assuming that atmospheric radiative transfer is a reversible adiabatic process (i.e., is solely radiative and involves no transfer of heat – or assumes ant thermal transfer effects are minimal).

    Simply put, one cannot have an adiabatic process (where heat transferred (Q) is equal to zero) and simultaneously have radiative heat transfer (where Q is a fixed value). A fundamental tenet of thermodynamic analysis of both thermal and radiative transfer is that the transfers can be described by the formula Q = hr*A*(Ts1 – Ts2); where Q = the heat transferred, hr is the radiative heat transfer coefficient (a function of temperature that can be derived from the Stefan-Boltzmann equation in the case of radiative transfer), A is the area, and Ts1 & Ts2 are the respective temperatures of given bodies. (See the text “Momentum, Heat, and Mass Transfer”; by Bennet and Myers, McGraw-Hill, 1974, 2nd edition; pages 309 & 435).

    The overused “adiabatic” radiative assumption by the AGW community, via the back radiation argument, leads to a non-physical situation where one has no energy exchange between molecules “heated” by radiative transfer. In other words, in AGW climate science, a heated CO2 molecule is not expected to hit a nearby colder molecule – resulting in a transfer of energy.

    Clearly we don’t live in a thermodynamic world where an isolated volume of gas at a given temperature consists of many molecules all at different temperatures – none of which collide. In short, the entire concept violates the statistical basis upon which the 2nd law of thermodynamics is based – from the perspective of two gas molecules in close proximity existing at different temperatures and not exchanging “heat” thru kinetic impact both up and down stream of the temperature gradient.

    While the simplifying adiabatic “science” assumptions are useful in metrological prediction (where one has measured temperature gradients as a starting point for weather prediction); it is not at all surprising that this “simplified” approach starts to break down in a matter of days. Nor is it surprising that AWG “climate scientist” cannot accurately predict the tropical temperature profile with altitude.

    Simply put, from my view, their highly “simplified” non-physical thermodynamic model quickly falls apart with time – as the impacts of conduction, convection, evaporation, condensation and other effects overwhelm the simplified model.

    I have no problem with you analysis regarding the effect at the boundary points between the earth/atmosphere and atmosphere/space; but I feel your electric blanket analogy is too simplistic and provides an inaccurate description what is likely happening within the atmosphere.

    I’ve struggled to provide a better analogy. Unfortunately I can’t come up with one simply because I don’t feel we understand atmospheric thermodynamics well enough to draw firm conclusions. Having no bases for a conclusion one cannot draw an analogy.

    Given the considerable uncertainty and level of disagreement in this area, might the better course be to simply acknowledge is considerable agreement that GHGs can deliver IR energy to the atmosphere; but, there is considerable debate about how the heat is dissipated within the atmosphere?

    Kindest Regards, Kforestcat (D. A. Kelly)

  224. Oliver Ramsey;
    If you’re irritated by my ridiculous igloo scenario, you will have an idea of how it is to be constantly told “…it’s just basic Physics”.>>>

    Well now I am irritated again. Because time and again my explanations have started with “if there were no other factors”. I’ve repeatedly made it clear that CO2 in the atmosphere is a far more complicated matter than the behaviour of CO2 in isolation. Further, my response was in regard to cold things being able to radiate energy to warm things.

    What purpose does it serve to ridicule a my answer about one thing, and then when your criticism gets slashed to ribbons for being a total piece of garbage, you hit back with “well now you know I feel when” and complain about yet another thing that I never even said?

    If your contention is that I’m wrong, then provide a cogent response.

    If your contention is that any physical process in isolation may not be the same in a real world scenario, I’ll say Oliver is right.

    But I will say this about “basic physics”. If you have any hope of ever understanding climate, then get the basic physics right first. Then move to how the various pieces interact.

    How does a car work? Answer; You put your key in the ignition and turn until it starts. Then you put it in gear and step on the gas to make it go forward. You use the steering wheel to change direction. That whole answer is correct and useless. I just told you how to operate it, not how it works. You haven’t a clue how it works. Open the hood and look inside. You now know what it looks like under the hood, but you have no idea how it works.

    If you want to understand how it works, you’ll have to break it down into its major operating components. Drive train, suspension, steering, ignition system. You still won’t know how it works, but you’ll be able to see what each of those pieces does in relation to the others. Then you can take each of them and break them down into their operating components.

    Eventually you have an entire car reduced to pieces.

    I’m standing there with a piston, explaining that the explosion of the fuel drives the piston downward and you interrupt me with:

    “Don’t be stupid, something that gets pushed straight down can’t make tires rotate in a circle. I’m tired of having the basic physics explained to me, these are all just little pieces lying on the floor, a car is much more complicated than that”

    Yes it is Oliver. But the reason that the car works is that every nut, bolt, piston, ring, axle, crank, every single part was designed by someone who knew the basic physics of that part in isolation to the nth degree. Anyone who thinks that a car can be designed and produced without relying on the basic physics of each and every component to be correct is welcome to try.

    The reason car companies build test models is to see if the basic physics of the parts in combination produces a different result than anticipated.

    What value there is in complaining that a piston in vertical motion can’t cause something to rotate and besides, it is so much more complicated than just that, is beyond me.

    Yes Oliver, it is more complicated. That doesn’t change the fact that pistons go up and down and they drive tires that go around and around, it doesn’t change the fact that cold things radiate energy that is absorbed by warm things but also absorbe more energy from the warm thing itself, it doesn’t change the fact that CO2 absorbs certain wavelengths of LW and re-emitts them in a random direction resulting in the exact same equilibrium transmission of energy to space, but with a different temperature curve from TOA to surface that, IN ISOLATION OF ALL OTHER FACTORS, would be warmer than if the CO2 was not there.

    How does CO2 work in combination with all the other factors? I don’t know. But if you are going to build a working model of a car without understanding how the vertical motion of a piston gets translated into rotational motion, the best your model will ever accomplish is to mimic the operating characteristics of the real car. The moment the real car encounters a situation that your model can’t mimic because it isn’t based on the actual physics of how the car really works, your model will fail.

    Sound like any climate models you may have heard about? The ones that backcast just fine because they mimic the observed behaviour of the climate without understanding all the elements, and then blow it entirely when used to forecast? As in all of them? Not one model in IPCC AR4 got it even close, they had to “average” 20 models to get a result closer than any single model could produce. Which is exactly what one would expect from models that mimic over all behaviour (operating characteristics) without understanding the basic physics of each component.

    I’m going for a drive now. I won’t be worried about how a piston going up and down makes my tires spin. I can observe that it is true. But somewhere in the process there was design expertise that was involved that knew precisely how. If there wasn’t…well I expect then when I start the car, put it in gear, and step on the gas, some rather unexpected may happen.

  225. kforestcat says:

    In my mind, one of the most troubling aspects of the “back radiation” argument is that it ignores two serous statistical thermodynamic problems: 1) that the average direction of re-emission energy flow resulting from a photon hitting a GHG molecule is zero, and 2) that radiative re-emission is not the only avenue with which the GHG molecule can be dissipate the energy.

    With respect to the directional issue, only if one is very close to the earth can one claim any “back radiation” will be remitted by the earth’s surface. The higher one goes the more likely any back radiation will simply the absorbed by the gases below.

    With respect to energy conversion, one must consider the statistical probability that the GHG molecules energy will be simply be absorbed by molecule using alternate energy states (for example by evaporation, sublimation, or adiabatic cooling via expansion). Or that the energy will be transferred to another molecule by kinetic impact – prior to any radiative re-emission event.

    The overused “adiabatic” radiative assumption by the AGW community, via the back radiation argument, leads to a non-physical situation where one has no energy exchange between molecules “heated” by radiative transfer. In other words, in AGW climate science, a heated CO2 molecule is not expected to hit a nearby colder molecule – resulting in a transfer of energy.

    Hans says:

    So yes, in the real world we have the atmosfeer with latent heat, presure, lapse rate, clouds etc and al kinds of changes in time that creates temperature differences everywhere on earth. But GHG theorie solely uses radiation budgets and says it’s equal to heat and uses averages only.

    Where are you guys getting this stuff? You know, it might help to actually read a book on planetary climate and the modeling of the greenhouse effect before actually telling us what such analysis does and does not include. If we put you in a time warp and sent you back a half century or so, SOME of your objections might actually be valid; however, the science has advanced since then. I recommend reading something like “Principles of Planetary Climate” by Ray Pierrehumbert that I am struggling through right now. (It is well-written, but by no means an easy read.)

    Some of your statements are just bizarre and I don’t know where they are coming from. The models consider only radiation budgets and no transfer of heat by convection? Really? The models assume no transfer of energy between the CO2 molecules and other molecules in the atmosphere by collisions? Really? The models don’t take into account that radiation from one level can be absorbed by the levels below it before reaching the ground? Really?

    I am reminded of the quote often attributed to Will Rogers or Mark Twain: “It’s not what he doesn’t know that scares me. It is what he does know that just ain’t so!”

  226. Joel Shore wrote:
    “When I teach my students about the Second Law in a few weeks…”
    and
    “I recommend reading something like “Principles of Planetary Climate” by Ray Pierrehumbert that I am struggling through right now. (It is well-written, but by no means an easy read.)”

    A person who struggles with introductory texts like Ray’s book should not teach and must change profession.

  227. Lots of verbiage on heat magically moving from cold to hot which misses one very simple point. It is true that all objects radiate. It is also true that CO2 will radiate even at -50C. It is also true that the earth at a much higher temperature will also radiate. In fact since the earth is at a much higher temperature than atmospheric CO2, the net heat flux is from the earth to the the upper atmosphere. In other words, the earth’s heat radiation will tend to increase the temperature of the CO2 since more heat is radiated from the earth to the CO2 than from the CO2 to the earth. Note also that the mass of the earth is a trillion times greater than the mass of CO2 and as such has substantially more heat capacity.

  228. Al Tekhasski says:

    A person who struggles with introductory texts like Ray’s book should not teach and must change profession.

    Great…So, since you are such a high and mighty expert on it, perhaps you should give a tutorial on the book or on the subject in general for the WUWT audience. There are clearly a lot of people here who can learn a lot from that book.

    I will add that my profession is teaching physics, not climate science. And, it was perhaps a little bit strong of me to say I was “struggling”. However, when I read “for pleasure” I tend to be a little bit intellectually lazy about really working through stuff in detail…and while I found that such a reading approach was fine for the 1st 3 chapters, the 4th chapter did have some sections where I really needed to put more focus in than what I was initially expecting to have to do. My point was basically just to make clear that Ray’s book is not a “light read” like reading a blog post and would require a fair investment of time and energy to read and appreciate.

  229. Dear Joel Shore

    Per your comment at March 12, 2011 at 11:01 am where you state:

    “You know, it might help to actually read a book on planetary climate and the modeling of the greenhouse effect before actually telling us what such analysis does and does not include.”

    In point of fact I have both read and analyzed both papers and textbooks on GHG theory as well as followed discussion regarding these “science” details via “The Science of Doom” and other blog sites. Furthermore I have a Chemical Engineering degree and roughly 30 years of professional engineering experience as well as experience in managing R&D teams with multi PHDs working for me. So I don’t “struggle” with issues like thermodynamics/mass transfer/heat transfer/fluid dynamics/basic elements of quantum theory/reaction kinetics. Nor do I struggle with science “controversy” or the presentation of controversial science results. Nor do I worry too much about training students. I do worry about the roughly $5.0-7.5 billion in capital equipment investment decisions that I am personlly responsible for. There is a difference between teaching and serious engineering/science.

    In any event I am not “telling” you what “such analysis does and does not include”. I am providing my opinion based on my professional judgment, experience and training. One may accept or reject that view as one chooses. Please note that none of my comments above or below are intended to be an attack on you or sarcasm.

    Regards you comment:

    “If we put you in a time warp and sent you back a half century or so, SOME of your objections might actually be valid; however, the science has advanced since then.”

    No, I’m sorry, but my training wasn’t “half a century ago” and the the basic laws of thermodynamics and fluid flow have not “advanced” much since yesterday. In any event, the application of thermodynamic/fluid theory to complex natural systems is an inherently risky venture; simply because the analysis requires the application of simplifying assumptions whereas inherently complex natural systems, like the Earth’s atmosphere, follows multiple inter-related non-liner chaotic paths – paths that defy our present ability understand, predict, or model. (Noting some planetary system are easier to analyze than others.)

    When one does consider attempts to couple man-made GHG theory to thermodynamic/fluid theory one has to look at the underlying simplifying assumptions used in the SPECIFIC analysis in a particular paper, text book, or model. Where I have looked those assumptions, in detail, I have repeated found the core equations were commonly derived by assuming the absence of convective effect and/or minimizing those effects or used underlying assumptions that render non-physical results.

    Furthermore, as Mr. Willis and other have repeated demonstrated, many of the models take a step further by casting out any relationship to thermo and fluid theory. Modeling, well… the opinion of the modeler.

    Regards your comment:

    “The models consider only radiation budgets and no transfer of heat by convection? Really? The models assume no transfer of energy between the CO2 molecules and other molecules in the atmosphere by collisions? Really? The models don’t take into account that radiation from one level can be absorbed by the levels below it before reaching the ground? Really?”

    My reply it that depends on the individual model. Some do attempt to take convection into account – but not necessarily in a rigorous manner. Others state they do, but, when you look at the underlining equations one finds that the effects of convection are removed or minimized by simplifying assumptions.

    Do some models “assume transfer” of energy to other molecules. Some do; but certainly not rigorously – usually by an opinion based fudge factor – this is a notoriously complex subject in Earths atmospheric where we have condensing/non-condensing gases as well as complex mixtures of GHG and non-GHG gases. In other cases, the equations used were derived from data produced for utility boilers. However, these results are based on the behavior of gas when surrounded by metal walls which serve as close black bodies. The radiate behavior of gas mixtures well away from solid surfaces is not necessarily identical and has not been thoroughly studied. Furthermore, even the models used to design or optimize boilers produce “crap shoot” results – this in situations where the details of the underlying conditions are intimately known.

    Some models don’t take into “radiation from one level can be absorbed by the levels below it”? In point of fact many vertical GHG models do – or at least attempt to. However, many make the assumption that virtually all of the energy transfer is via radiative transfer. Often because the models can’t handle heat transfer/fluid dynamic issues along the horizontal axis.

    Models are only as good as the assumptions. Use of simplifying assumptions to facilitate scientific analysis, or to render modeling results more efficiently, is a time honored tradition in the scientific/engineering community. Particularly when one is looking for clues of POSSIBLE behavior. However, one never assumes any equation or model are accurate representation of fact UNLESS THE RESULTS CAN BE MEASURED AND VALIDATED.

    In my opinion, our current models of Earth’s atmosphere don’t come close to being complete or accurate representations of atmosphere.

    Finally, I have not read “Principles of Planetary Climate” by Ray Pierrehumbert. However, I will put it on my reading list.

    Regards, Kforestcat (D. A. Kelly).

  230. Before getting too overheated about Dr. Pierrehumbert’s book, I would ask you to consider which of the following quotes are the most monumentally stupid.

    Distributed uniformly over the mass of the planet the absorbed energy would raise the Earth’s temperature to nearly 800,000K after a billion years, if Earth had no way of getting rid of it.
    —Raymond T. Pierrehumbert

    People think about geothermal energy—when they think about it at all—in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, ‘cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot…
    —Albert Arnold Gore

  231. Joel Shore says:
    March 12, 2011 at 5:41 am

    “When I teach my students about the Second Law in a few weeks, I will tell them what I always tells them: that the Second Law is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a powerful tool that can easily cut through pseudoscientific nonsense (such as claims of perpetual motion machines). On the other hand, like any powerful tool, it can also be abused to actually spread pseudoscientific nonsense as when incorrect claims are made by creationists that evolution violates the 2nd Law or incorrect claims are made by AGW skeptics that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law.”

    The laws of thermodynamics appear to apply to information as well energy in that:

    1. conservation of information – information cannot be created or destroyed it may only change form

    2. entropy – information cannot spontaneously increase by natural processes

    The stock answer for how the information contained in DNA managed to get there is that the earth is not a closed system and energy from the sun drove the decrease in entropy (increase in information).

    Sounds reasonable but it seems a bit of a leap to exchange energy and information willy nilly like that. There’s a deep relationship between energy and information and particularly with the second law. See link below for more information (pun intended):

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

    The creationist argument is that the decrease in information entropy requires intelligent agency. I’m not sure why science doesn’t consider intelligent agency to be a natural process given most scientists believe the only known intelligent agency in the universe (rational man) arose via natural processes.

    Anyhow one might ask oneself if the Library of Congress could be created by the sun driving natural processes – that the sun became less ordered so that the Library of Congress could become more ordered and thus not be in violation of the second law. Ya think? That seems a bit on the ridiculous side to me.

    One should at least understand what “the creationists” are actually saying before dismissing it.

    Just sayin…

    My friend Granville Sewell, a math professor at the University of Texas (PhD in math from Purdue) wrote a wonderful paper 10 years ago:

    Can ANYTHING Happen in an Open System?

    I mean it’s ridiculous to me on the face of it that an open system doesn’t mean anything can happen. Sewell goes about explaining why it can’t from a mathematician’s point of view. It’s well worth reading. In the interest of giving perspective from “the other side of the debate” to your students you might point them to it. The author’s creds as a math professor are pretty damn good and very likely of higher pedigree than yours so it should be a real treat for them.

  232. Hans says:
    March 12, 2011 at 9:34 am
    wayne says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    “That brings to mind the one case where I have always considered back-radiation literally, and not merely figuratively, real and proper; that is the case when low clouds are actually at a higher temperature that the surface, warmed from condensation. It does happen, but may be somewhat rare.”

    Yes, the problem is that so many things can happen in the atmosfeer. But this is in a much later stage as what I was strictly talking about, and that is the solid surface where LWR is converted in IR and heat, and what will happen in the very next thinkable layer so a micro distance. So this is at the heart of the radiative problem, the source of GHG theory.
    —–
    Thanks Hans for the clarity. I see now, just at the surface interface. I was carrying it to the a more global inter-atmosphere effects and outside of your example.

  233. Anthony Zeeman says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Lots of verbiage on heat magically moving from cold to hot which misses one very simple point. It is true that all objects radiate. It is also true that CO2 will radiate even at -50C. It is also true that the earth at a much higher temperature will also radiate. In fact since the earth is at a much higher temperature than atmospheric CO2, the net heat flux is from the earth to the the upper atmosphere. In other words, the earth’s heat radiation will tend to increase the temperature of the CO2 since more heat is radiated from the earth to the CO2 than from the CO2 to the earth. Note also that the mass of the earth is a trillion times greater than the mass of CO2 and as such has substantially more heat capacity.

    Quite true. I might point out though that rocks are a rather good insulator and very little of the mass of the earth is heated by the sun. The earth’s internal energy (heat of formation, radioactive decay) leaks out at around a milliwatt per square meter but due to the insulation provided by the crust most of what it started with billions of years ago is still there and molten hot. The moon on the other hand lost most its initial heat and is solid to the core with a constant year-round temperature of -23C beginning at about 1 meter deep. Presumably the earth would be the same temperature as the moon if it weren’t for greenhouse gases. Actually the earth would be quite a bit colder because the moon (contrary to what you’d think just by looking at it) has a very low albedo about the same as weathered asphalt at 16%. If the earth had no greenhouse gases it would ostensibly be covered in ice & snow with an albedo over 80%.

  234. davidmhoffer says:
    March 12, 2011 at 1:17 am
    … [point by point rebuttal of Oliver Ramsey] …

    I no more have it all figured out than do the climate “scientists” who spout doom and gloom while deleting anything that might contradict them. But there are certain aspects of how thermodynamics work that are known, they are the foundation upon which the AGW alarmism is built, and assailing a firm foundation with distorted criticisms of a ligitimate explanation wastes your time, my time, and discredits us as skeptics in front of the AGW scientists who happen to have taken the one piece of science they got right and built a house of cards upon it.

    I’m keen to set the record straight with warmists and skeptics alike so that we can move on to discuss order of magnitude, feedback, distribution of change by lattidude and altitude, and all the other issues that make a mockery of the AGW claims. If you want to level a well thought out, valid criticism of my explanation, I’ll either answer with a better explanation or an hmmm never thought of that. But if all your going to do is throw up wild claims about I said as arguments, then I’ll just say this:

    Those AGW dudes are planning on picking your pockets, and I’m keen to get their bullarky discredited before they get around to picking mine.

    I agree with everything you wrote David. The welcome voice of reason. THANKS!

    However, I would have said “CAGW” rather than “AGW” because, strictly speaking, I (and I believe you do as well) accept that GHGs are partially responsible for the fact the average temperature of the globe is warmer than it would be absent those GHGs (the “GW” part) and that the human contribution to GHGs, due to our burning of unprecedented quantities of fossil fuels in recent decades is partially responsible for the warming we have experienced (the “A” part).

    Thus, a proper science-based argument is, yes, there is AGW, but it is dwarfed by natural processes and cycles over which humans have absolutely no control. Whatever minor warming and CO2 rise we are responsible for is probably beneficial for human civilization. There is not now and never has been any “tipping point” or “runaway” risk of CAGW.

  235. Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    Which is nothing to do with the radiation, you can’t tell me what the ‘quality’ of 5μm radiation is for example.”

    It is related to it’s temperature of origin, radiation energy density in J/m^3. So not surprising related to the Stefan-Boltzmann equation (SB times 4/c).
    For the LWR coming from 5777 K resulting in 0.84 J/m^3
    For the SWR from earth surface at 255 K in 0.32 * 10^-5 J/m^3

  236. Ira Glickstein;
    However, I would have said “CAGW” rather than “AGW” because, strictly speaking, I (and I believe you do as well) accept that GHGs are partially responsible for the fact the average temperature of the globe is warmer than it would be absent those GHGs (the “GW” part) and that the human contribution to GHGs, due to our burning of unprecedented quantities of fossil fuels in recent decades is partially responsible for the warming we have experienced (the “A” part).>>>

    Sorry, but I think AGW is the right term. I accept the AGW theory in terms of what a GHG does in isolation, which is warm the planet surface. But the order of magnitude is so teeny that it is just a rounding error next to natural variability. And when someone says AGW they generaly in my experience include things like “water vapour feedback” in addition to GHG’s themselves, and that certainly is a concept riddled with holes. Even those warmists who have backed down from the “C” word still predict ludicrous effects such as increased severe weather and decreased rainfall despite sound science and actual observation suggesting the opposite is true.

    Its like claiming that if I steal $100.00 from Bill Gates, he will be so distraught that he may have a heart attack or else hunt me down and have me flogged. Everyone starts arguing about how distraught he may or may not be, and I’m just thinking… he’d even notice?

    CO2 is a GHG. The planet hasn’t noticed.

  237. Joel Shore wrote:
    “… such a reading approach was fine for the 1st 3 chapters, the 4th chapter did have some sections where I really needed to put more focus in than what I was initially expecting to have to do. My point was basically just to make clear that Ray’s book is not a “light read” like reading a blog post and would require a fair investment of time and energy to read and appreciate.”

    If you had to put “more focus” into effects of GH gases with more realistic spectrum (like Ray’s “oobleck”, or real line spectra), how do you expect “to focus” on real issues with global circulation of atmosphere, where (in Chapter 9) he has a very special introduction into fluid dynamics, right in spherical coordinates, right with condensible substance transport, but recommends to a reader with no corresponding background to skip his musings? Where he talks about “mass streamfunction” without bothering to define what the heck it is? (maybe the final version has it, than I apologize). Skipping over the entire turbulence issues does not make the understanding of planetary atmospheres any better either. Good luck to you in your time investment.

  238. Ira

    I have never believed in an any ‘runaway’ risk of CAGW. Many years ago I could see that was a fiction made up by people who do not understand radiational heat transfer and thermodynamics.

    But, up until a month or so ago, I used to think the same thing as you do, that there was some minor AGW.

    However, as I poured through all the data, the one place I kept returning to is the interior Antarctic data. As a scientist and engineer, I could not disregard the importance of that data. It is the most pristine data on earth. It is even superior to satellite data (satellite data is loaded with assumptions).

    The Amundsen-Scott and Vostok record from 1957 to date requires no assumptions.

    The CO2 data from there confirms the rise in CO2.

    The temperature data, however, shows flat to decreasing temperature over the period.

    To me, as a scientist and engineer, the most pristine data ALWAYS rules. Ergo, even an assumption that there is a tiny amount of AGW is COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTED by the best possible data available.

    That is what I have learned over the past month or so as I delved deeply into any possible reality of AGW.

    The touchy feely stuff is fun to speculate on. But that is all that it is. A figment of the imagination not correlating with reality.

  239. @ davidmhoffer

    It’s feeling a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.
    You come up with a parable or an analogy or an anecdote or lecture on the virtues of reductionism complete with rocker-arm assemblies and imaginary conversations with the idiot that you take me to be, then I or someone else responds and you only address the flippant parts and insist that cold things radiate at hot things.
    WE KNOW THAT!
    The dispute has been about whether cold things HEAT hot things.
    You don’t appear to have grasped that and so, repeatedly bemoan the obtuseness of people that don’t believe that all things radiate in random direction.
    WE DO BELIEVE THAT!
    Tell us about how the absorption of those photons raises the average kinetic energy of the absorbing matter.
    Tell me about the role played by heat in photosynthesis if you’re making the case that heat and energy and radiation are synonyms for one another.
    I don’t quarrel with the existence of a greenhouse effect, I don’t even have a problem with the name. I suspect I am even more charitably disposed towards climate scientists than you are.
    I even understand that, at the scale of a small number of molecules, vibrational modes yield to translational.
    I agree that a thermometer outside your igloo can show a lower temperature than one inside (it could be higher, too), but I don’t believe that when you take a thermometer out of your pocket and put it in your igloo the temperature shown will increase.
    If it all just makes you angry, then why bother?
    ——————
    @ Joel

    I have never said that the greenhouse effect, as I understand it, defies the Second Law, the version of which I offer is from Flanders and Swann c. 1960

    Heat won’t pass from a coola to a hotta,
    You can try it if you’d like but you’d far betta notta
    ‘Cos the cold in the coola will get hotta as a rula
    And that’s a physical law.

    I don’t know if it would be more palatable to you if you imagined Feynman enunciating it.

  240. Dave Springer

    ….”Presumably the earth would be the same temperature as the moon if it weren’t for greenhouse gases. Actually the earth would be quite a bit colder because the moon (contrary to what you’d think just by looking at it) has a very low albedo about the same as weathered asphalt at 16%. If the earth had no greenhouse gases it would ostensibly be covered in ice & snow with an albedo over 80%.”…..

    I just dont buy this artificial construct.
    The Surface of the Earth is 70% water. Why ignore this massive heat store?
    Active volcanoes are also under the sea.
    So no chance of snowball earth.
    The real test of the IPCC position is what would happen to the Earths climate if CO2 did not radiate in the Infra Red.
    I suggest there would be very little difference to the present climate and if anything perhaps a little warmer.

  241. Joel Shore poses the interesting proposition

    …….”If we put you in a time warp and sent you back a half century or so”…….

    Well we would be back in the “Ice Age” that’s right, back then, a new ice age was confidently predicted on the basis of the then recent temperature trend.
    So it appears nothing much has changed!

  242. Hans says:
    March 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm
    Phil. says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    Which is nothing to do with the radiation, you can’t tell me what the ‘quality’ of 5μm radiation is for example.”

    It is related to it’s temperature of origin, radiation energy density in J/m^3.

    So it’s the quality of the source, not the quality of the radiation.
    There’s no difference between a 5μm photon from the earth and one from the sun.

    So not surprising related to the Stefan-Boltzmann equation (SB times 4/c).
    For the LWR coming from 5777 K resulting in 0.84 J/m^3
    For the SWR from earth surface at 255 K in 0.32 * 10^-5 J/m^3

  243. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    @ davidmhoffer

    “The dispute has been about whether cold things HEAT hot things.
    You don’t appear to have grasped that and so, repeatedly bemoan the obtuseness of people that don’t believe that all things radiate in random direction.
    WE DO BELIEVE THAT!
    Tell us about how the absorption of those photons raises the average kinetic energy of the absorbing matter.”

    You are correct I believe. Although cold things can radiate energy into warm things, they can’t raise the temperature of warm things. Since heat flow is proportional to the gain or loss of temperature then ergo, heat from cold things cannot flow into warm things, even by radiation.

    However, this in no way invalidates the GHG idea. First, the Earth is not a closed system as per the definition in the second law, since solar energy is entering continuously. Without the sun, the temperature of the warmer ground would cool down and equilibriate with the colder atmosphere, despite the back radiation. With the sun’s input, the temperature of the Earth stays within a certain range (actually, it varies quite a lot, but the average temperature is more nearly constant). The back radiation does NOT raise the temperature of the Earth’s surface. What it does is slow the rate of heat loss into space. It is the SUN that then raises the Earth’s temperature. Voila!

  244. Ken Coffman says:

    Before getting too overheated about Dr. Pierrehumbert’s book, I would ask you to consider which of the following quotes are the most monumentally stupid.

    This is just a silly game of “gottcha” on your part. It is clear that when Ray Pierrehumbert opened the Physics Today article with that statement, he meant it to be a counter-factual statement that just gave his scientific audience an order-of-magnitude idea of how much accumulated energy from the sun there would be if the earth did not re-radiate the energy that it receives. Obviously, his scientific audience would understand that such temperatures are not physically possible without the entire earth becoming a plasma or something of that sort (and, there is no reason to believe that the specific heat would be constant over such a huge temperature range, etc., etc.)

    If you want to see really silly statements that are not meant as counterfactual order-of-magnitude explanations, I suggest you look no further than the co-authors of the “Slaying the Dragon” book that you link to, as I pointed out to Domenic above.

    Domenic says:

    However, as I poured through all the data, the one place I kept returning to is the interior Antarctic data. As a scientist and engineer, I could not disregard the importance of that data. It is the most pristine data on earth. It is even superior to satellite data (satellite data is loaded with assumptions).

    The Amundsen-Scott and Vostok record from 1957 to date requires no assumptions.

    The CO2 data from there confirms the rise in CO2.

    The temperature data, however, shows flat to decreasing temperature over the period.

    Wow…You really whacked the heck out of a strawman there! Now, could you kindly tell me where it is said that on an earth with a troposphere with huge convective transport mechanisms, it has been stated that the local temperature is determined by the local amount of CO2 at that point? I find it ironic that many skeptics complain that scientists ignore the importance of convection when they do so only when they can (when considering the heat transfer between the earth and space). Yet here, you completely ignore it when you can’t.

    Bryan says:

    I just dont buy this artificial construct.
    The Surface of the Earth is 70% water. Why ignore this massive heat store?
    Active volcanoes are also under the sea.
    So no chance of snowball earth.

    The fact that there is a lot of water does not negate the First Law of Thermodynamics. It can mean that the diurnal and seasonal temperature swings will be smaller on the Earth than on the moon but you still have to have radiative balance.

    As for volcanoes, do you have any evidence that the estimates for the amount of heat due to these are off by the orders-of-magnitude that would be necessary for they to become significant in the radiative balance? (It is also basically irrelevant because the satellite data we have clearly show how the earth is radiating energy and that it is doing so according to our understanding of how greenhouse gases affect the radiative balance.)

    Well we would be back in the “Ice Age” that’s right, back then, a new ice age was confidently predicted on the basis of the then recent temperature trend. So it appears nothing much has changed!

    Ah yes! The “They predicted an Ice Age” myth rears its head!

  245. Oliver Ramsey says:

    you only address the flippant parts and insist that cold things radiate at hot things.
    WE KNOW THAT!
    The dispute has been about whether cold things HEAT hot things.
    You don’t appear to have grasped that and so, repeatedly bemoan the obtuseness of people that don’t believe that all things radiate in random direction. Tell us about how the absorption of those photons raises the average kinetic energy of the absorbing matter.

    First of all, the Second Law is not a statement about whether the heat absorbed causes a temperature change. The Second Law would rule out heat flowing spontaneously (i.e., with no input of work) from a colder to a hotter even if the heat from the colder was being used to melt the hotter object without causing its temperature to change.

    Second of all, in all the cases being talked about, whether it is the greenhouse effect or a person in an igloo, the heat flow IS from the hotter object to the colder object. (Some people would put “net” in front of heat flow, although others argue that this is a bit redundant since heat is a macroscopic concept.)

    The reason you can warm up if you insulate yourself better (with an igloo, a down sleeping bag or what have you) is that you are producing heat and the purpose of the insulating object in question is not to “send you” heat but to reduce your rate of heat loss and thus change the radiative balance that determines what your final temperature is. The reason that reduction of heat loss occurs is due to the so-called “back radiation” but the net effect is that heat is still flowing away from you…just not as quickly as it would without said back-radiation. So, it becomes somewhat of a philosophical argument as to whether the insulating body is causing your temperature to increase…It is in the sense that if one adds the insulating body your temperature can warm up from what it was before the body was there; however, this temperature rise can only occur because your body is generating heat.

    The situation with the greenhouse effect is totally analogous with the one minor difference being that the earth is not producing the energy it receives from the sun itself, but rather is receiving it from the sun.

    I have never said that the greenhouse effect, as I understand it, defies the Second Law, the version of which I offer is from Flanders and Swann c. 1960

    I actually play Flanders and Swann for my students when I teach them about the Second Law. It’s not clear whether they enjoy it that much…but I certainly do!

  246. Phil.

    “What on earth is the ‘quality’ of radiation?”

    You really are trying to get out of a hole you have dug for yourself.

    The radiation arriving from the Sun (Solar radiation) has a higher “quality” than the approximately equal quantity of LWR leaving Earth for space.
    Hans did the efficiency calculation above.

    Now you can also say that the Sun is a source of higher “quality” energy than the radiative “quality” energy produced by the Earth.

    The point is both “quality” statements are just different ways of saying the same thing.

    It makes perfect since for someone for instance who is designing a solar energy capture system to be concerned about the “quality” of the radiation collected.
    It also makes sense for them to write papers for learned journals and use the term “quality” of radiation and expect the readership of the journals to understand what is being said.

    So what point were you trying to make again?

  247. Vince Causey says:

    “The back radiation does NOT raise the temperature of the Earth’s surface. What it does is slow the rate of heat loss into space. It is the SUN that then raises the Earth’s temperature. Voila!”
    ———————–
    I rather hate to do this, seeing the anguish that has arisen around the ‘heat’ business but…
    if you’ll indulge me a little further in my punctilious pursuit of precision….
    I’m not happy with “It is the SUN that then raises…”
    The sun doesn’t do anything different from before, so having it as the subject of the transitive verb “raise” risks the undesired connotation that it, in fact, does.
    It is still akin to the statement “back-radiation heats the Earth”.
    We know that the sun provides all the energy.
    We know, too, that having an atmosphere results in a warmer Earth, just as an atmosphere without an Earth would be a colder atmosphere, but the devil is in the details.
    It’s my contention that loose turn of phrase leads to attempts to justify a premise that never really was. Maybe like the Second Law not applying to radiation!

  248. kforestcat says:

    Nor do I worry too much about training students. I do worry about the roughly $5.0-7.5 billion in capital equipment investment decisions that I am personlly responsible for. There is a difference between teaching and serious engineering/science.

    Been there…Done that…Have the t-shirt. I spent 13 years in industry and only recently have made the shift to the academic world.

    No, I’m sorry, but my training wasn’t “half a century ago” and the the basic laws of thermodynamics and fluid flow have not “advanced” much since yesterday.

    My point is not that your training is out-of-date. My point is that some of your statements might have applied in the early days of the modeling of the heat transfer in the atmosphere but that they don’t apply to how it is done now.

    There are, of course, models at lots of different levels of detail. But, my point was simply that the statements that you made about the handling of heat transfer by the models may be true for some of the simpler models but are not true for the modeling actually used to determine the radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases.

  249. davidmhoffer says:
    March 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm
    Ira Glickstein;
    However, I would have said “CAGW” rather than “AGW” because, strictly speaking, I (and I believe you do as well) accept that GHGs are partially responsible for the fact the average temperature of the globe is warmer than it would be absent those GHGs (the “GW” part) and that the human contribution to GHGs, due to our burning of unprecedented quantities of fossil fuels in recent decades is partially responsible for the warming we have experienced (the “A” part).>>>

    Sorry, but I think AGW is the right term. I accept the AGW theory in terms of what a GHG does in isolation, which is warm the planet surface. But the order of magnitude is so teeny that it is just a rounding error next to natural variability. And when someone says AGW they generaly in my experience include things like “water vapour feedback” in addition to GHG’s themselves, and that certainly is a concept riddled with holes. Even those warmists who have backed down from the “C” word still predict ludicrous effects such as increased severe weather and decreased rainfall despite sound science and actual observation suggesting the opposite is true.

    Its like claiming that if I steal $100.00 from Bill Gates, he will be so distraught that he may have a heart attack or else hunt me down and have me flogged. Everyone starts arguing about how distraught he may or may not be, and I’m just thinking… he’d even notice?

    CO2 is a GHG. The planet hasn’t noticed.

    Well, Dave, this may be the first time we have not agreed!

    In my Tale of the Global Warming Tiger WUWT posting, I estimated that the supposed warming since 1880 of 0.8°C by the official climate Team could be divided into 0.3°C for Data Bias, 0.4°C for Natural Cycles and Processes, and only 0.1°C for AGW.

    WUWT readers were asked to comment and I combined all of their estimates in a spreadsheet at Global Warming is a Pussy Cat and, guess what? The average for all WUWT readers who responded was HIGHER than my estimate and came in at 0.18°C for AGW, nearly twice my original estimate. Therefore, far from being a case where “The planet hasn’t noticed” AGW is most likely to be a substantial percentage of the actual warming since 1880.

    If you stole that percentage of Bill Gate’s fortune, I think he would notice!

    Of course, 130-odd years is a drop in the bucket compared to the age of the Earth or even of human habitation here, but, it is longer than my lifetime, and yours. On the other hand, if we get a couple of decades of cooling, due to natural cycles, as we may if there are a couple of low Sunspot cycles and Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory turns out to be correct, we may well be thankful for the AGW.

  250. Oliver Ramsay,

    “It’s my contention that loose turn of phrase leads to attempts to justify a premise that never really was. Maybe like the Second Law not applying to radiation!”

    I don’t have an argument with that.

    “The sun doesn’t do anything different from before, so having it as the subject of the transitive verb “raise” risks the undesired connotation that it, in fact, does.”

    You have come 90% of the way, yet still missed the conclusion. The sun, of course, radiates just as before, but when you add the back radiation from GHG, you arrive at a figure for radiation at the Earth’s surface which is greater than that without the GHG. As per Stefan-Boltzman, higher radiation flux must lead to a higher temperature.

    Now, you may object that this amounts to the notion that the cooler atmosphere is heating the Earth, which violates the second law and contradicts my previous statement that a cooler object cannot heat a warmer object. But SB is clear – if you increase the radiative flux, the temperature must rise. So what is to be done with this connundrum?

  251. Oliver Ramsay;

    I’m curious Oliver. Do you enjoy being a punching bag? I’m not “angry”, amused is more like it. Just because I keep hitting a punching bag doesn’t mean I’m angry. I have no idea if you are angry or not. I do know that you’ve attempted to discredit my explanation from a number of different angles, and I’ve shown that each of them was invalid. You’ve attributed to me things I never said, and ridiculed me for them. You’ve attacked me with improbable interpretations of what I said presented with dripping sarcasm, and then complain that I’m treating you like you are stupid when I respond in kind. I’ve addressed the flippant remarks with the scorn they deserve, but I’ve answered every technicality you raised also. In fact, your complaint directed at my parable complete with rocker arm assemblies was in answer to your question as to why I felt so compelled to keep debating the matter and your conclusion that it must be because I am lonely. Now you assume the imaginary conversations in my parable suggest I take you for an idiot. This from the man who accused me of building igloos that would cause spontaneous human combustion.

    Frankly Oliver, I think I’ve been rather civil. I can take the gloves off if you want, but am reluctant to do so given your obvious sensitivity to being portrayed as an idiot when I rebutt idiotic statements that you’ve made. I can’t imagine how much your feelings might be hurt if I was actually trying to do that, or what other evidence your retorts might then contain of this malady with which you may be afflicted.

    In your last stinging retort, you admitted that:

    “Cold things radiate a warm things”

    Then you said

    “Tell us about how the absorption of those photons raises the average kinetic energy of the absorbing matter.”

    Well, didn’t you just explain it yourself? The photon carries energy. It has a mass of zero. It gets absorbed by a piece of matter. Since this changes the mass of the matter by zero, but increases the amount of energy by what the photon was carrying, it now contains more energy than if the photon had not been absorbed. The total amount of energy that piece of matter contains may in fact be dropping over the given time period during which that photon was absorbed, but it would have dropped even more if that photon had not been absorbed by exactly the amount of energy the photon was carrying. If the matter in question is you naked on the ice on the floor of the igloo, you will freeze to death slightly slower than you would have otherwise. If you are in a parka and snow pants, you will probably be just fine unless you are enough of an idiot to go sleep outside the igloo where your body heat just goes to waste instead of being absorbed by the igloo and some of it being radiated back to you.

    What photosynthesis and vibrational modes and all the other issues you raised is immaterial. It doesn’t matter HOW the photon got absorbed, only if it did or not. Even idiots would know that.

  252. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    “It’s my contention that loose turn of phrase leads to attempts to justify a premise that never really was. Maybe like the Second Law not applying to radiation!”

    Read that a lot, and it’s very wrong. In this thread we have seen in quotes from papers that the Second Law applies to the photon gas in the Sun.
    Planck could only solve the blackbody problem after applying the Second Law, and Einstein did the same to find the nature of radiation; quanta.

  253. Vince Causey says:
    “But SB is clear – if you increase the radiative flux, the temperature must rise. So what is to be done with this connundrum?”
    ——————–
    Well, I’d flip your S-B and say that hotter radiates more.

  254. Bryan says: March 13, 2011 at 1:50 am
    Well we would be back in the “Ice Age” that’s right, back then, a new ice age was confidently predicted on the basis of the then recent temperature trend.
    So it appears nothing much has changed!”

    Bryan, all the information I have seen suggests that most scientists were still predicting long-term warming (from GHGs) in spite of the cooling of that era (that was attributed to aerosols). http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s-intermediate.htm

    Could you provide citations to multiple scientific papers that “confidently predicted” an imminent ice age? Can you provide references to refute the information in the link? Or is this simply something you heard once?

  255. Just some related stuff regarding the Second Law.

    Cosmological
    and Biological Reproducibility, Limits on the Maximum Entropy Production Principle
    :

    ‘To measure entropy in cosmology we just need to count photons. If the number of photons in a given volume of the universe is N , then the entropy of that volume is S ~ k N where k is Boltzmann’s constant.’

    ‘The maximum entropy is obtained when all the energy E is converted into minimal energy photons with wavelengths as large as the system. This is the maximum entropy condition (Bekenstein 1981): Smax = k Nmax = k E/Emin.’

    And that’s the goal in the universe (Clausius: The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.) So radiation from the Sun uses Earth to create high entropy IR radiation.
    Think of the diagrams of Sun and Earth blackbody curves next to each other, the short wave length spectrum of the Sun on the left and the long wave length of Earth on the right. And clearly that is direction the photons take obeying the Second Law, from left to right.
    If only the First Law ruled, any outgoing spectrum would be possible as long as it had the same total energy. And not only that, it could change position constantly at random.

  256. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    “We know, too, that having an atmosphere results in a warmer Earth, just as an atmosphere without an Earth would be a colder atmosphere, but the devil is in the details.”

    Yes it is, so I imagined earth without atmosphere but with a layer of GHG with a total amount equal to what it is now at any height giving backradiation. Does this heat the surface? More important, what would the temperature be between earth and the GHG layer? That would be 3 K.

  257. Tim Folkerts,

    Skeptical Pseudo-Science is simply cherry-picking what they want to let you see. You need to be more skeptical than to believe what they’re trying to sell.

    It took me all of two minutes to find this information, and if I wanted to waste more time on it no doubt I would find more:

    • In the mid-70’s Dr Murray Mitchell of NOAA stated that temperatures had declined half a degree between 1945 and 1968. That doesn’t sound like global warming, does it?

    • Prof George Kukla of Columbia University noted a large snow increase in 1971 – 1972, and a study released in May 1975 reported a 1.3% decline in solar radiation between 1964 and 1972. That study would suggest global cooling, no?

    • Dr Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin stated that the current decline [by 1975] had already taken the planet one-sixth of the way toward the average Ice Age temperature. Does that sound like a scientist predicting runaway global warming??

    For a balanced overview of the past century, see here.

    Back in the 1970’s scientists could speak out much more freely than they can today. To assume that they were all predicting global warming, when the planet had been steadily cooling, is to be credulous.

    Skeptical Anti-Science is a propaganda blog run by a cartoonist. No doubt that’s how it gets the professional look. But the truth is not in them. That’s why their traffic numbers are so low. SS is just an echo chamber of like-minded, self reinforcing head-nodders. Stick around here. You will get all points of view – uncensored – at the internet’s “Best Science” site, instead of being spoon-fed John Cook’s CAGW agenda.

  258. Tim Folkerts

    Better still about the coming “ice age” as seen in about 1968.
    I was a second year physics student then.

    The cultural revolution in China, the little red book, events in France and the Vietnam War and the coming ice age were all discussed in the coffee bars.
    Nobody mentioned “Global Warming”.

    Ask anyone who was a student then and they will tell you the same story.

    Only recently has there been an attempt to contradict what many people know from personal experience.

    I suppose it all fits in with the elimination of the medieval little ice age and the earlier warm period around 1000AD.
    We will next be told that the advice given by a senior scientist at UEA/CRU that we should take a picture of snow to show our children/grandchildren as snow falling in the UK would become an exceedingly rare event never happened.

    These crude attempts to falsify history are bound to fail.

    Could you provide citations to multiple scientific papers that “confidently predicted Global Warming” in the year 1968?………… – No! …….. – I didn’t think so!

  259. Bryan, Tim, Smokey,
    Paper records are a wonderful thing if you’ve got some hiding in your basement. Jo Nova has a post a while back showing the temp records published in National Geographic some time ago, which prompted me to dig through my 1974 Britannica. A quick look at both explains why the prevailing thought at the time was a coming ice age. In fact, I was in junior high and remember some kids crying because they thought they were going to have to flee the coming ice and abandon their homes.

    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/national-geographic-1976-brittanica-1974/

  260. Ken Coffman says:

    Before getting too overheated about Dr. Pierrehumbert’s book, I would ask you to consider which of the following quotes are the most monumentally stupid.

    This is just a silly game of “gottcha” on your part. It is clear that when Ray Pierrehumbert opened the Physics Today article with that statement, he meant it to be a counter-factual statement that just gave his scientific audience an order-of-magnitude idea of how much accumulated energy from the sun there would be if the earth did not re-radiate the energy that it receives. Obviously, his scientific audience would understand that such temperatures are not physically possible without the entire earth becoming a plasma or something of that sort (and, there is no reason to believe that the specific heat would be constant over such a huge temperature range, etc., etc.)

    If you want to see really silly statements that are not meant as counterfactual order-of-magnitude explanations, I suggest you look no further than the co-authors of the “Slaying the Dragon” book that you link to, as I pointed out to Domenic above.

    Domenic says:

    However, as I poured through all the data, the one place I kept returning to is the interior Antarctic data. As a scientist and engineer, I could not disregard the importance of that data. It is the most pristine data on earth. It is even superior to satellite data (satellite data is loaded with assumptions).

    The Amundsen-Scott and Vostok record from 1957 to date requires no assumptions.

    The CO2 data from there confirms the rise in CO2.

    The temperature data, however, shows flat to decreasing temperature over the period.

    Wow…You really whacked the heck out of a strawman there! Now, could you kindly tell me where it is said that on an earth with a troposphere with huge convective transport mechanisms, it has been stated that the local temperature is determined by the local amount of CO2 at that point? I find it ironic that many skeptics complain that scientists ignore the importance of convection when they do so only when they can (when considering the heat transfer between the earth and space). Yet here, you completely ignore it when you can’t.

    Bryan says:

    I just dont buy this artificial construct.
    The Surface of the Earth is 70% water. Why ignore this massive heat store?
    Active volcanoes are also under the sea.
    So no chance of snowball earth.

    The fact that there is a lot of water does not negate the First Law of Thermodynamics. It can mean that the diurnal and seasonal temperature swings will be smaller on the Earth than on the moon but you still have to have radiative balance.

    As for volcanoes, do you have any evidence that the estimates for the amount of heat due to these are off by the orders-of-magnitude that would be necessary for they to become significant in the radiative balance? (It is also basically irrelevant because the satellite data we have clearly show how the earth is radiating energy and that it is doing so according to our understanding of how greenhouse gases affect the radiative balance.)

  261. Bryan says:
    I just don’t buy this artificial construct.
    The Surface of the Earth is 70% water. Why ignore this massive heat store?
    The earth as a whole is about 0.023% water. On this scale, water is hardly a “massive” heat store.

    Active volcanoes are also under the sea.
    Estimates I have seen suggest that the average upwelling heat from the interior is about 0.1 W/m^w. Even if this number is off by a factor of 10, 1 extra W/m^2 would hardly be a major source of warming for the oceans. Do you have better info on the amount of geothermal energy?

    The real test of the IPCC position is what would happen to the Earths climate if CO2 did not radiate in the Infra Red.
    Looking at the satellite data at the beginning, if CO2 did not radiate, there would not be IR radiation from the cool upper atmosphere around 15 um. Instead, the warmer surface would provide MORE radiation leaving the earth at those wavelengths. The IPCC position is that more IR energy leaving the earth would cool the earth.

    I suggest there would be very little difference to the present climate and if anything perhaps a little warmer.
    Are you suggesting that allowing energy to escape from the surface more easily would RAISE temperatures? Could you provide some calculations to support this conclusion that is the reverse of what the 1st Law of Thermodynamics would predict?

  262. Smokey says:

    For a balanced overview of the past century, see here.

    Balanced?!?! Are you serious? That is a balanced overview? The Business and Media Institute is a balanced organization? What have you been smokin’ there, Smokey?

    That screed doesn’t even address the scientific literature. It simply looks at the popular media (and presumably cherrypicks there too). Here is a study about the scientific literature (with some discussion of the media too): http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1 It is in a respected scientific publication and although a lot of people have tried to argue that it must not be true, that Connolley is biased etc., they have been awful short on actual counter-evidence (to any of the claims actually made in the paper).

    Back in the 1970′s scientists could speak out much more freely than they can today. To assume that they were all predicting global warming, when the planet had been steadily cooling, is to be credulous.

    Nice strawman. Nobody is claiming that EVERYONE was predicting global warming. What is being said is that in the scientific literature, even at a time when there had in fact been a global cooling trend (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), more scientists were expressing concerns about future warming than cooling. However, there was not yet a scientific consensus on climate change and an NAS study in the mid-70s concluded that climate change was a potentially serious issue that merited further study, and correctly identified the various factors influencing future climate, but also concluded that the science could not yet conclude which factor would dominate.

    Hence, claims to the effect of, “How can we believe scientists today when they are predicting warming when 35 years ago they were predicting cooling? What if we had acted on their dire warnings then?” are nonsense. There was not yet any sort of scientific consensus on what the future held in store…and the same scientific bodies who are today in agreement that such a consensus exists…such as the NAS…were very clear in stating that it was premature to predict what was going to happen.

  263. davidmhoffer says:
    March 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm
    Bryan, Tim, Smokey,
    Paper records are a wonderful thing if you’ve got some hiding in your basement. Jo Nova has a post a while back showing the temp records published in National Geographic some time ago, which prompted me to dig through my 1974 Britannica. A quick look at both explains why the prevailing thought at the time was a coming ice age. In fact, I was in junior high and remember some kids crying because they thought they were going to have to flee the coming ice and abandon their homes.

    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/national-geographic-1976-brittanica-1974/

    Thanks Dave for letting us know that people still keep paper records from the 1970’s. How long will it be before all, or nearly all, paper records are considered unnecessary?

    Well, with Google scanning so many books, and providing the results so conveniently via the Internet, I predict that most paper publications will be discarded within a few decades in favor of electronic text versions and scanned copies.

    In my free online novel 2052 The Hawking Plan the lack of paper records is taken advantage of by the flawed heroine. She orders changes to the electronic texts, and then, to cover up those modifications, has those same changes made to the online scanned copies of key documents. To complete the ruse, corresponding changes are ordered to the originals of certain documents stored in museums. The plan is coded-named “máquina del tiempo” which means “time machine” because, while it does not actually involve travel back in time, it achieves the same purpose by altering records from the past. The scheme unravels when an obscure museum document curator notices that changes have been made to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    It seems, from the copies of Britannica and National Geographic on your website, that the CRU [Climategate Research Unit] and other members of the official climate Team have their own máquina del tiempo plan in full operation.

  264. “For a balanced overview of the past century, see here.”
    You are expecting a balanced view on science from an organization whose mission is “to audit the media’s coverage of the free enterprise system. It is our goal to bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media.”?

    The article did seem to do a respectable job of giving an overview of MEDIA portrayals of climate change (although I have no direct confirmation that the articles they quoted were indeed representative of the MEDIA coverage). But the fact remains that this was a media report about media reports — we all know taht media coverage of science is often quite poor.

    “Could you provide citations to multiple scientific papers that “confidently predicted Global Warming” in the year 1968?………… – No! …….. – I didn’t think so!”
    Interesting how you try to turn this around. YOU claimed that scientist confidently predicted cooling. When challenged to support your position, you mis-state my position (I merely claimed that the majority of scientific papers of the time supported warming rather than cooling) and you then ask me to do exactly what you avoided.

    Still, I DID provide a link to appropriate information. The link even listed articles to support your position! if you couldn’t follow the article I linked to, here is a direct link to the actual study: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/131047.pdf

    “Skeptical Anti-Science is a propaganda blog run by a cartoonist. ”
    That might well, be, but ad hominem attacks never make for a strong argument. If you have an issue with a the page I linked to, then state specifically what you disagree with on that page or in the paper it references.

    “It took me all of two minutes to find this information …
    • In the mid-70′s Dr Murray Mitchell …
    • Prof George Kukla of Columbia University …
    • Dr Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin …”
    All three of those quote seem to have come from the same Newsweek article — which is not a scientific journal. What scientific papers did they write? What were they predicting for the future?

    “To assume that they were all predicting global warming, when the planet had been steadily cooling, is to be credulous. ”
    I readily acknowledge that there was a wide variety of opinions among scientists. I linked to a paper that specifically showed a lack of consensus. But to think that there was a consensus for COOLING is also to be credulous, accepting sensationalized reports in Newsweek as an accurate summary of scientific thinking.

    Next time, I’ll have to stick to the science and leave the editorializing to others.

  265. Dear Joel
    Regards your comments @ March 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Glad to hear you have some industrial experience. Hope your experience will better enable you to guide your students.

    On to your other points. Per your comments:

    “My point is that some of your statements might have applied in the early days of the modeling of the heat transfer in the atmosphere but that they don’t apply to how it is done now.”

    “There are, of course, models at lots of different levels of detail. But, my point was simply that the statements that you made about the handling of heat transfer by the models may be true for some of the simpler models but are not true for the modeling actually used to determine the radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases.”

    Sorry I can’t fully agree with you, the details I provided were from fairly recent papers describing GHG modeling. Moreover, looking at the larger picture, part of my duties involve consulting with professional atmospheric modelers regarding pollution deposition (Particulate, SO2, NOx, Hg, etc.). To a man these professionals indicate that the current state-of-the-art models do not accurately model regional/national/world wind flow patterns well enough to accurately predict pollution deposition. Get them to talk about GHG modeling of heat transfer and GHG effects? It hard to get them to quit laughing hard enough to tell you how many ways those models are inaccurate.

    Given the current state of atmospheric modeling – abet much better than in the past – I not convinced of the accuracy of the current model used to: 1) determine radiative forcing or 2) determine their effects on the atmosphere.

    Looks like this is one of those things we’ll just have to agree to disagree – in a friendly way.

    Of course I’m allways open to be proven wrong. If you have additional literature you can recommend, I put it on my reading list.

    Best Regards, Kforestcat

  266. As I have said before there is no need to agree with the AGWarmists’ basic argument, which is that AGW is real, in an attempt to win over the harts and minds of the public. That is no way to convince anyone that your message is the right one. Once it becomes known that that is the way you convey your scientific messages; ‘Your scientific standing is soon lost.’
    Why don’t you instead put the “Global Energy flow Chart” by Kiehl and Trenberth (1997) on the desk in front of you and study it. – Study it well, and you should have no problem at all in dissecting it and then expose it as some kind of juvenile science fiction which has no place among grown ups
    Kiehl and Trenberths’ (1997) energy flow plan does depict the ’greenhouse gases’ as forming a blanket high up in the Troposphere. You do mention this blanket yourself. And Trenberth shows us where it is.
    Below is a bit of help to get you going as I cannot send/post the plan itself, however bear in mind that Kirchhoff’s Law is based on the conservation of energy prinsiple and logically therefore a body cannot emit more energy than it receives or absorbs. And also bear in mind the Law of Thermodynamics which says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
    The plan has an average incoming solar energy amounting to 342 W/m² (or ¼ of “The Solar Constant”) – The proportion of energy, that is initially emitted by the Sun, is partly absorbed by the atmosphere: 67 W/m² + partly by the Surface: 168 W/m² – and to account for all the 342 W/m² there are 107 W/m² which are reflected straight back to space both from clouds and surface which therefore can be ignored, for now at least. (These numbers may vary in other later revised plans but this is the original and the numbers do not really matter as long as energy in equals energy out, which is what, of course they do here: 67 incoming W/m² are directly absorbed by the atmosphere +168 W/m² directly by the surface = 235W/m² emitted into the Earth’s system. From the surface, energy transfer to the atmosphere is as follows; 24 W/m² by thermals and 78 W/m² in the form of evapo-transpiration + 66 W/m² (from the subsequent 390 W/m² total surface radiation) This makes energy escape from surface 168 W/m² and we have surface equilibrium.

    However these 66 W/m² constitute, in my opinion, a mistake as there is an atmospheric window involved that sends 40 W/m² straight – or unhindered by GHGs, back into space. – As all radiation in the form of back radiation from GHGs must logically be at wave-lengths that all can and will be re-absorbed by GHGs, all of those 40 W/m² must thus be from what the surface converts from solar irradiation. Therefore only 26 W/m² and not the full 66 W/m² should pass on into the atmospheric GHGs for absorption & subsequent back radiation. In any case, – think about it, – but in the meantime let’s get back to the plan which ends up showing that all of the 168 W/m² absorbed by the surface + what has been directly absorbed by the atmosphere is in the end emitted back into space as 235 W/m². And we have complete equilibrium.

    If we are to assume thermal equilibrium, the regular features, excluding the greenhouse cycle, all tally up: 342 W/m² incoming solar energy is balanced by 107 W/m² (reflection) + 235 W/m² (emission) = 342 W/m² outgoing radiation. However as the total surface absorption of 168 W/m² can only be balanced by 24 W/m² (thermals) + 78 W/m² evapo-transpiration + 66 W/m² = 168 W/m² emitted by the surface things get a bit mysterious from here on in as Kiehl and Trenberth (1997) go on to supply the surface with an additional 324 W/m² of magical radiation from “GHGs”. I say magical because in this case the surface absorbs all of this radiation instead of reflecting one single Watt (If it did, that would mean that the Earth system gives off more energy than it receives). My question however is still what it has always been: Where do the GHGs get the energy to emit 324 W/m² in the first place? Even if we imagine that this back radiation takes place before equilibrium is reached and the 235 W/m² has not yet been re-emitted back to space 235 W/m² is all we have to play with once the 107 W/m² have been reflected.
    But that’s not all that is magical, The 324 W/m² are all directed towards the surface!!
    But we know, don’t we, that radiation is emitted in straight lines in all directions from it’s source? So that must mean that at least (324 + 107 + 235) W/m² is emitted /reflected away from the “Earth System” while only 342W/m² are coming in.

    Somebody is making a mistake somewhere.

    – But that is not all the magic, no- no, oh-no, on its way towards the surface or space, back-radiation from GHGs never encounters other GHGs which absorbs that radiation and thus are warmed by it. It only happens at the surface.–

    I realise that my writings may be a bit hard to follow unless you have the Energy Flow Plan at hand, but are Kiehl and Trenberth really worth defending Ira?
    It is very likely you will create energy sooner rather than later if you do.

  267. to Phil

    There is a great difference between you and I. I have spent over 20 years designing and testing thermal radiation sensors and temperature sensors out in the field.

    You, I suspect, have no such experience whatsoever with any of that sort of thing.

    I am very much aware of the convective component.

    But, the central Antarctic is the most unique location in the entire world for one simple reason, which you obviously are unaware of.

    It is the coldest.

    Think about that for a moment.

    The reason the temperature from the central Antarctic is so pristine is because of that.

    And that is the reason the temperature data from central Antarctic is so important.

    There is NOTHING on earth that can drive DOWN those temperature readings, EXCEPT radiational heat transfer AND/OR a lessening of the quantity of heat energy in the atmosphere, hence affecting convection. Period.

    It makes NO difference which component it is, radiation or convection.

    The LOW temperatures recorded there are the most accurate data representing the heat content TREND of the components of the atmosphere, REGARDLESS OF THE MECHANISM.

    The key is to track the LOWS in Antarctica. That’s all that is needed. When you do that, the trend is flat to DOWN for Amundsen-Scott and Vostok from 1957 to date.

    The REST of the earth, including the ARCTIC, there are plenty of mechanisms that can locally drive the temperatures both UP and DOWN. Localized effects. And you can chase those to your hearts content, and from now until forever, and you will never get anywhere because of the complexity of the system and the huge error bars of the temperature data methods used. It’s all noise.

    And there are lots of things, noise, ON earth that can drive the temperature temporarily UP in the Antarctic.

    But there is NOTHING on earth that can drive them DOWN.

    That is clean data. ‘Signal to noise ratio’ is highest in the Antarctic, of all the locations on the planet. You only have to realize which part of the signal to pay attention to and which part to ignore.

    Think it through.

    It’s not so hard to understand if you learn to think for yourself a little.

  268. Sorry, minor mistake.

    My previous post should have been:

    to Joel Shore

    not Phil. My apologies to Phil.

  269. Domenic says:
    March 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    “But there is NOTHING on earth that can drive them DOWN.”

    Au contaire. Just off the top of my head the antarctic polar vortex strength can lower atmospheric pressure at the surface which causes the atmosphere to cool by expansion and it can also suck cold air from the stratosphere down to the surface. The PV is persistent in the winter but varies in strength and has not been very well observed for long. No one really knows how much mixing there is across it or at what altitudes any air exchange takes place. Also off the top of my the ozone hole is variable and is known to play a role in stratospheric temperature and if everything else is equal when the stratosphere warms the troposphere cools. Aerosols are also variable as are high altitude clouds. Any of these factors can drive temperatures down or up. The antarctic may have the least in the way of confounding factors but it still doesn’t exist in a black vacuum like the perpetually shaded interior of a crater on the moon.

    http://www.cfm.brown.edu/people/sean/Vortex/

    http://www.theozonehole.com/climate.htm

  270. Domenic, kforestcat, bryan, smokey, et al

    You’re debating with Joel Shore? Scroll back to his first comment in this thread where he “highly recommends” a specific text by a specific author which he finds challenging. When criticized for finding it challenging if he indeed teaches at the level he claims he does, he responds to advise that he’s only up to chapter 3.

    Given that by his own admission he’s barely past the introduction, and yapping at people that they clearly don’t understand certain things and they should read some science for themselves from a text that he “highly recommends”…but hasn’t actually read… admits he doesn’t understand…

    ’nuff said.

  271. CO2 absorbs a portion of upwelling energy from the earth’s surface. Absent CO2 this energy would have proceeded at the speed of light from surface to space. After CO2 absorbs this radiation it transfers it by conduction, not radiation, to surrounding molecules. Energy transfer via conduction doesn’t proceed at the speed of light. In effect this slows down the rate at which energy from the surface can escape to space. The slower rate causes the surface temperature to drop more slowly than it otherwise would at night. When the sun comes along to heat the surface the next day the surface starts from a point a little less cold and thus gets a little warmer during the day than it otherwise would. When the sun goes down the less cool starting temperature allows heat to escape faster than it otherwise would. At some point the less cool surface temperature speeds up the rate of energy loss to exactly balance the slowdown caused by CO2 and a new equilibrium temperature is born.

    For the confused I took some pains to never say the surface heats up but rather used the awkward term “less cool”. It’s really awkward but it’s got to point where the crys of “cooler objects can’t heat warmer objects” is more annoying than it is awkward to phrase it differently.

  272. >>
    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Somebody is making a mistake somewhere.
    <<

    There are problems with Kiehl and Trenberth 1997, but the points you raised aren’t the ones. The 66 W/m² is the net flow from the surface or 390 W/m² – 324 W/m² = 66 W/m². You can’t subtract the 40 W/m² from the 66 W/m² because the amount escaping through the atmospheric window comes from the total surface radiation of 390 W/m² or 390 W/m² – 40 W/m² = 350 W/m². Therefore, the total radiation that the atmosphere receives is that 67 W/m² from the Sun, the 24 W/m² sensible heat flux, the 78 W/m² latent heat flux, and the 350 W/m^2 remainder from the surface or 67 W/m² + 24 W/m² + 78 W/m² + 350 W/m² = 519 W/m². Of the 519 W/m², 324 W/m² radiates back to the surface and the remaining 519 W/m² – 324 W/m² = 195 W/m² radiates to space. Add that to the 40 W/m² escaping through the atmospheric window, and it adds to 235 W/m². That’s the same value as the solar input or 168 W/m² + 67 W/m² = 235 W/m².

    I’ve created a model that runs KT 97, and it stabilizes at those numbers just fine.

    Jim

  273. @DavidHoffer

    “The photon carries energy. It has a mass of zero.”

    It has a rest mass of zero. It is never at rest thus it always has mass.

    “It gets absorbed by a piece of matter. Since this changes the mass of the matter by zero”

    No, it actually does increase the mass by an infinitesimal but non-zero amount. You can calculate the increase by the equivalency E=MC^2.

    “but increases the amount of energy by what the photon was carrying, it now contains more energy than if the photon had not been absorbed.”

    I’d have to think about that a bit. Photons can increase or decrease the momentum of matter which is the same as saying it can increase or decrease its temperature.

    Bose-Einstein condensates are typically formed by laser cooling. A stream of atoms is sent upstream into a laser beam. The photonic and atomic moments are in opposition and cancel out. The atoms slow down which is the same thing as getting colder. Temperatures very close to absolute zero are thus obtained. The energy lost from the atom has to go somewhere though so I reckon the atoms in question are absorbing a photon of one frequency hitting them in the face and spitting a photon out their rear end that’s higher frequency. I could be wrong about that as all I really know for sure is that energy books have to balance at the end of the day and I can’t think of any other way to balance them.

    Light sails work in the same manner only in that case the moments are additive. However a light sail has to be a mirrored surface otherwise it gets hotter instead of moving faster. I once asked a physicist what sort of change happens to the photon when it bounces off the light sail. Since energy must be conserved the momentum imparted to the sail must mean energy is lost from the photon. Since the photon by definition can’t slow down and must necessarily lose energy he gave me the only possible answer I could think of – the reflected photon is of a lower wavelength.

    Anyhow, given the usual physical correctness of your comments I’m surprised hear you say that a photon has no mass and its energy doesn’t increase the mass of something which absorbs it. It may be a miniscule increase but it isn’t non-zero.

  274. Dave Springer says:

    ……”CO2 absorbs a portion of upwelling energy from the earth’s surface. Absent CO2 this energy would have proceeded at the speed of light from surface to space.”…..

    CO2 has a significant absorption wavelength around 4um
    Absence of IR active CO2 would lead to more Solar Radiation reaching Earth Surface =>Higher surface temperatures.

    H2O is a significant absorber in the 15um area so CO2 not absorbing here would be filled in with H2O activity.
    As far as I understand most agree that 15um radiation is absorbed near Earth Surface perhaps most think that it we have rapid saturation near Earth Surface.

    So I repeat in the absence of IR active CO2 I would not expect much change in Earth Surface temperatures certainly not “Snowball Earth”.

  275. Tim Folkerts and Joel Shore make the point

    …….” Active volcanoes are also under the sea.
    Estimates I have seen suggest that the average upwelling heat from the interior is about 0.1 W/m^w. Even if this number is off by a factor of 10, 1 extra W/m^2 would hardly be a major source of warming for the oceans. Do you have better info on the amount of geothermal energy? “…….

    Its not the overall heat supplied to the planet by Active volcanoes under the sea that important here.
    Its the local effect of such heat

    Active volcanoes under the sea => rapid local heating of H2O
    => vaporization of H2O => rapid radiative effects of H2O vapour
    => rapid cloud formation => rapid radiative effects of H2O clouds
    => enhanced greenhouse effect
    => No Snowball Earth because of the forcing effect of vapourisation effect of Active volcanoes under the sea.

    However the volcanoes might not even be necessary see answer to Dave Springer above.

  276. Bryan says:
    March 14, 2011 at 12:21 am

    CO2 has a significant absorption wavelength around 4um
    Absence of IR active CO2 would lead to more Solar Radiation reaching Earth Surface =>Higher surface temperatures

    Sun doesn’t have significant 4um emission but even if it did H2O has very strong absorption lines in the near infrared – much much more than CO2.

    H2O is a significant absorber in the 15um area so CO2 not absorbing here would be filled in with H2O activity.

    H2O doesn’t have a strong absorption band near 15um. There’s a weak one but the overlap is partial.

    As far as I understand most agree that 15um radiation is absorbed near Earth Surface perhaps most think that it we have rapid saturation near Earth Surface.

    Who the hell are “most” and/or what is “near”? The extinction altitude is about 4 kilometers.

    Bryan, you’re just making crap up as you go along. Stop.

    So I repeat in the absence of IR active CO2 I would not expect much change in Earth Surface temperatures certainly not “Snowball Earth”.

  277. Bryan,

    For most undersea volcanoes, your process will stop half way thru

    Active volcanoes under the sea => rapid local heating of H2O
    => vaporization of H2O => rapid radiative effects of H2O vapour
    => rapid cooling as energy is transferred to tons and tons of very cold water.

    Only volcanoes relatively near the surface would create significant amounts of excess vapor. Otherwise the energy will be absorbed by the overall environment.

    Also, less than 1% of the solar energy is above 4 um, so the CO2 absorption bands will have a relatively small affect on incoming radiant energy (absorbing maybe 0.1% of incoming energy). The absorption bands near 2 um and 2.5um would have more significant impact.

    Finally, i agree that H2O is a significant absorber in the 15um. I agree that most upward 15um radiation from her ground is absorbed near Earth. But for energy balance, the energy that is ultimately emitted from the earth is what most matters. In the stratosphere, there is very little H2O, so the big “dip” near 15 um in the first graphic is clearly the result of CO2, and plays a significant role in the global energy balance.

  278. Harry Dale Huffman says:
    March 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    “A proper comparison of the atmospheric temperatures of Venus and Earth”

    The Venusian atmosphere has sulfate aerosol layers and no water vapor. It has a day length of 243 earth days and a axial tilt of 178 degrees. Any competent physical scientist wouldn’t make a comparison which says something about you. A competent physical scientist compares the earth to the moon. The average temperature of moon as measured by two Apollo experiments profiling regolith temperature at various depths is -23C which is the constant year-round temperature of the regolith at a depth of 100 centimeters or greater. Presumably since the earth and moon are made of the same stuff and have similar albedos the earth would be -23C without greenhouse gases.

    Put that in your physically competent pipe and smoke it.

    “my Venus analysis is easily verified by any competent scientist, and should have been confronted and generally accepted nearly 20 years ago”

    It should have been confronted and rejected 20 years ago. But hey, I did that just now. Better late than never.

  279. Tim Folkerts says:
    March 14, 2011 at 3:07 am

    “But for energy balance, the energy that is ultimately emitted from the earth is what most matters. In the stratosphere, there is very little H2O, so the big “dip” near 15 um in the first graphic is clearly the result of CO2, and plays a significant role in the global energy balance.”

    The big dip is evident in the very dry air over the frozen arctic surface. What you’re seeing is the extinction altitude where the CO2 in the air column has absorbed all the available 15um energy and thermalized it so that all you see beyond that point is a continuous blackbody spectrum of the considerably colder air at the extinction altitude. The temperature is 40K lower which corresponds to an altitude above the surface of 4 kilometers using the dry adiabatic lapse rate of 1K per 100 meters.

    The same graph looking down over the tropical pacific shows an extinction altitude of 8 kilometers. This is because the high water vapor content of the atmosphere over the tropical pacific keeps the upwelling 15um radiation well thermalized in the first couple of kilometers or so above the surface where the air eventually dries out due to falling below freezing temperature. So the air still has a continuous blackbody spectrum at that altitude. Then CO2 takes over but since it’s now thinner it takes a greater column length to reach extinction.

    CO2 should therefore be expected to have far less surface warming effect in the tropics because the same H2O that is insulating the surface in the tropics will also insulate the surface against downwelling radiation from the CO2 in the dry air above it. Indeed this is exactly what we observe – far more “global warming” in the high latitudes than the low ones.

    Ironically warming in the high latitudes with little change in the low latitudes is exactly what we’d wish for in the way of beneficial climate change. Longer growing seasons in the places that could use longer growing seasons and no change elsewhere. Then consider that plants grow faster using less water as CO2 levels rise and it becomes clear that increasing atmospheric CO2 is nothing short of a wonderful thing which makes the CAGW position irony cubed. I’d be amused if there weren’t so many people in high places who are taking advantage of the CAGW farce for personal and political gain. The only good thing about CAGW is that it inspires a desire in the unwashed masses to find alternatives to fossil fuel use. I strongly believe there are cheaper ways to supply our growing energy needs and cheaper energy means a higher standard of living for everyone. So alternative energy R&D is ultimately a good thing so long as we don’t prematurely kill the fossil goose laying the golden eggs before we have better goose to replace her. Just for the record (again) I believe direct conversion of sunlight, wastewater, and CO2 into liquid and gaseous fuels (diesel, ethanol, methane) by genetically engineered microrganism that can thrive on land unsuitable for agriculture is that better cheaper source of energy and unlike just about anything else on the table as these fuels fit seamlessly into extant infrastructure.

    The great variability of H2O content in lower latitudes makes it a poor place to try isolating the effect of CO2 although the comparison between wet and dry air is definitely instructive.

  280. Dave Springer

    Check out graphs for CO2 and H2O in Ira Glickstein previous post;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/

    Unless the graphs Ira Glickstein posted are false, they show H2O as a significant absorber around 15um.
    Now there are about 30 H2O molecules to every CO2 molecule on average so I suggest there is some merit in the following inequation;

    30x(medium effect(H2O) > one strong effect(CO2)

    Tim Folkerts above seems to agree with me that most absorption is near the surface but its not a significant point.

    I think you agree with me that on the whole an IR inactive CO2 would lead to more 4um solar reaching the surface but you dispute the quantity.

    Then at the end you appear to agree with me!

    “So I repeat in the absence of IR active CO2 I would not expect much change in Earth Surface temperatures certainly not “Snowball Earth”.”

    So I fail to understand the use of the term “crap”.
    Such expressions are completely inappropriate particularly for someone like yourself who believes in “intelligent design”.
    What would the Great Architect in the sky think!

  281. Tim Folkerts says:

    …..”Only volcanoes relatively near the surface would create significant amounts of excess vapor. Otherwise the energy will be absorbed by the overall environment.”…

    The local effect only requires that the local surface water temperature > zero centigrade or even less (salt water).

    This Snowball Earth scenario is based on a rickety pile of questionable assumptions.
    They often neglected 99% of the atmosphere that does not IR radiate(N2,O2) can return heat to the surface by conduction.
    The massive thermal capacity of the Oceans.
    The daily Earth spin exposing each half of the planet in succession.
    All these and more factors contribute to keep the Earth Surface temperature stable.
    Why then is CO2 demonised and the economic dislocation implied in its elimination as a fuel source contemplated.

  282. to Dave Springer

    you wrote: ((Au contaire. Just off the top of my head the antarctic polar vortex strength can lower atmospheric pressure at the surface which causes the atmosphere to cool by expansion and it can also suck cold air from the stratosphere down to the surface.))

    lol. You still don’t get it!

    You are chasing canards.

    The polar vortex, for example, makes no difference. And the polar vortex does not originate from the surface of the earth (ON earth is the term I used). It is a purely atmospheric effect. It is the energy content of the atmosphere that is important.

    The simple fact of the matter is that CO2 has increased in the atmosphere over the central Antarctic corresponding to CO2 increases throughout the planet and its atmosphere. It has been measured.

    And yet, there is no warming from that increase of CO2 in Antarctica. It has been measured.

    If the atmospheric energy content was going UP, the LOWS recorded at Antarctica would be going UP. But they are not!

    The UV doesn’t matter. The polar vortex doesn’t matter.

    There is no AGW effect whatsoever in the Antarctic temperature data.

    That is the only thing that is important to the discussions at hand.

    If you wish to speculate on chasing canards, that is fine. But until you can provide better data, that is all that your thinking is, figments of your imagination.

    As a scientist, or engineer, you HAVE to learn to separate fact from fiction to make decisions. You have to go with the best data possible. It is the only way that you can make PRACTICAL decisions with any certainty whatsoever.

    I seem to remember that you have written here that you spent many years working in manufacturing for Dell Computers. Have you forgotten the decision making processes you had to use when you worked for Dell Computers?

  283. Domenic says:
    March 14, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I’d appreciate some links to back up your claims that the polar vortex and ozone hole have no effect on antarctic surface temperatures. I gave you links that link them to surface temperatures. You just waved your hands around and denied it. I’m ignoring your hand waving.

  284. O H Dahlsveen says:

    Where do the GHGs get the energy to emit 324 W/m² in the first place? Even if we imagine that this back radiation takes place before equilibrium is reached and the 235 W/m² has not yet been re-emitted back to space 235 W/m² is all we have to play with once the 107 W/m² have been reflected.

    You are getting yourself tied in knots because you don’t understand how radiative balance works. There is no rule that says that the earth can’t emit more than it absorbs from the original solar radiation; an object simply radiates according to its temperature. The rule is that the energy flows must balance in the end. They do…and this is because the surface receives additional radiation (the so-called “back radiation”) from the atmosphere.

    In a more extreme case, because of its thick clouds, the amount of solar radiation actually reaching Venus’s surface is very small (only a few W/m^2 as I vaguely recall), but its surface still radiates a heck of a lot more than this!

    But that’s not all that is magical, The 324 W/m² are all directed towards the surface!!
    But we know, don’t we, that radiation is emitted in straight lines in all directions from it’s source? So that must mean that at least (324 + 107 + 235) W/m² is emitted /reflected away from the “Earth System” while only 342W/m² are coming in.

    The diagram is not following the path of individual photons. It is showing you the net energy flows. In particular, it includes multiple absorptions and emissions from the surface and the atmosphere.

    Somebody is making a mistake somewhere.

    That somebody is you.

    – But that is not all the magic, no- no, oh-no, on its way towards the surface or space, back-radiation from GHGs never encounters other GHGs which absorbs that radiation and thus are warmed by it. It only happens at the surface.–

    Ah…How do you think the atmosphere gets to be at a temperature such that it emits radiation if not by absorbing some too?

    Look, show a little bit of thought here: Don’t you think that if this diagram was so trivially wrong in the ways you think it is, other scientists in the field would notice that? Or do you think they are all in some grand collusion? I wouldn’t mind if you framed your post as, “Clearly, I don’t understand that diagram because…” Try having a little humility when you are trying to comprehend something in the scientific literature rather than immediately jumping to the conclusion that they are mistaken. It will save you a lot of embarrassment.

  285. davidmhuffer says:

    You’re debating with Joel Shore? Scroll back to his first comment in this thread where he “highly recommends” a specific text by a specific author which he finds challenging. When criticized for finding it challenging if he indeed teaches at the level he claims he does, he responds to advise that he’s only up to chapter 3.

    Given that by his own admission he’s barely past the introduction…

    Actually, I said that I was in Chapter 4 (and have skimmed a few other parts). That’s nearly halfway through the book, not “barely past the introduction”.

    Given that by his own admission he’s barely past the introduction, and yapping at people that they clearly don’t understand certain things and they should read some science for themselves from a text that he “highly recommends”…but hasn’t actually read… admits he doesn’t understand…

    I didn’t say that I didn’t understand it. In fact, in a subsequent post, I noted that the word “struggling” that I had used in a previous post was too strong a word. At any rate, I think this is another example of the Dunning-Kruger effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect ) in action…I may not know as much as I’d like to, but I know enough to appreciate what I don’t know, a self-awareness that many people here don’t seem to suffer from.

  286. Domenic says:

    And there are lots of things, noise, ON earth that can drive the temperature temporarily UP in the Antarctic.

    But there is NOTHING on earth that can drive them DOWN.

    Dave Springer already addressed this to some degree but I wanted to add one further point in addition to his: Of course there is something that could drive the temperature down there relative to what it was before, namely less transfer of heat from other parts of the planet. (When you say nothing can drive it down, you are confused about what you mean by “down”, i.e., “down” relative to what. The answer is down relative to how cold things were before CO2 levels increased…but that initial state is very unlikely to have had zero transfer of heat from the warmer climes. In fact, there is a lot of poleward transfer of heat on the earth and a change in circulation that lessens that transfer can indeed cause the temperature there to get colder [or fail to warm very much].)

  287. to Dave Springer

    lol. You still don’t get it!

    Sit still and think it through carefully for a moment instead of chasing your tail.

    “If the atmospheric energy content was going UP, the LOWS recorded at Antarctica would be going UP. But they are not!”

    Regardless of the atmospheric mechanism.

    If you cannot see that, then you are completely lost and will never ‘get it’.

  288. Submarine volcanoes are underwater fissures in the Earth’s surface from which magma can erupt. They are estimated to account for 75% of annual magma output. The vast majority are located near areas of tectonic plate movement, known as ocean ridges. Although most are located in the depths of seas and oceans, some also exist in shallow water, which can spew material into the air during an eruption.

    Bryan,

    My point was that deep sea volcanoes will not produce ‘rapid cloud formation’. The thermal energy will be so diffused by the time it reaches the surface that it will be indistinguishable from any other energy. Sure, it will result in a small amount of extra evaporation where upwelling of deep sea currents occurs, but (barring evidence to the contrary), it is reasonable to assume that the energy from this is a fairly steady (over geological or climate change timeframes). Hence cloud formation will not have any “rapid” change.

    Since “some also exist in shallow water” these volcanoes could produce “rapid cloud formation”, but again, this will be a minuscule part of the evaporation from the ocean and hence play only a small (and, once again, relatively steady) role in H2O in the atmosphere. (Unless you can provide evidence of increased volcanic activity in the last few decades).

  289. Bryan says:

    Now there are about 30 H2O molecules to every CO2 molecule on average so I suggest there is some merit in the following inequation;

    30x(medium effect(H2O) > one strong effect(CO2)

    Tim Folkerts above seems to agree with me that most absorption is near the surface but its not a significant point.

    I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the greenhouse effect works. When radiation gets absorbed, it also ends up being re-emitted. The radiation absorbed very near the ground and then re-emitted will be re-emitted with approximately the same blackbody temperature as the ground and hence there will not be a significant dip in the radiation spectrum at that wavelength as seen from space. However, when radiation is absorbed higher in the atmosphere where it is colder, there is a dip in the radiation seen from space because the re-emission occurs from matter at this colder temperature.

    Thus, when you look at the plots of radiation as seen from satellites that are shown in this post, what you want to interpret it as showing is the temperature associated with the level in the atmosphere where most of the radiation that successfully escapes into space is coming from. (That is why the first figure shows all those blackbody curves for different temperatures.) Radiation from levels lower (and warmer) than this is very unlikely to successfully escape without being absorbed and radiation from levels higher (and colder) than this is less because cold objects radiate less.

    The effect of adding more greenhouse gases is to raise the effective radiating level from which most of the radiation escapes into space. It is not so much an issue of causing more absorption (since radiation can be re-emitted) as it is an issue of where the absorption occurs in the atmosphere.

  290. @Dominec

    The only thing I don’t get is how someone thinks handwaving behind an anonymous internet id will be taken seriously by anyone. You’re in denial. Increases in aerosols, dust, and ice particles over Antarctica are yet another mechanism that can drive temperature down. I don’t think it’s matter of you don’t get it but rather one of you willfully won’t get it.

  291. Dave Springer;
    re photons and mass

    technical omission on my part. Never occurred to me to delve into it as my off the top of my head assumption was that the increase in mass would be completely insignificant. At some point one has to consider that one is splitting hairs already split and split again. E=MC^2 requires that anything travelling at the speed of light have a mass approaching zero for the amount of energy we are talking about on a per photon basis. In fact (now that you jogged my memory) if an object accelerates it gains energy stored as momentum and so its mass must increase accordingly. Any mass of any significance can’t be accelerated to the speed of light without consuming enough energy to build a small galaxy. So the ONLY thing that can achieve the speed of light is a photon because its mass is a limit approaching zero.

    I looked at the light sail a long long time ago and came to the same conclusion. The reflected photon must be at a lower wavelength.

  292. Dave Springer says:
    March 14, 2011 at 4:44 am
    … Ironically warming in the high latitudes with little change in the low latitudes is exactly what we’d wish for in the way of beneficial climate change. Longer growing seasons in the places that could use longer growing seasons and no change elsewhere. Then consider that plants grow faster using less water as CO2 levels rise and it becomes clear that increasing atmospheric CO2 is nothing short of a wonderful thing which makes the CAGW position irony cubed. I’d be amused if there weren’t so many people in high places who are taking advantage of the CAGW farce for personal and political gain. The only good thing about CAGW is that it inspires a desire in the unwashed masses to find alternatives to fossil fuel use. I strongly believe there are cheaper ways to supply our growing energy needs and cheaper energy means a higher standard of living for everyone. So alternative energy R&D is ultimately a good thing so long as we don’t prematurely kill the fossil goose laying the golden eggs before we have better goose to replace her. Just for the record (again) I believe direct conversion of sunlight, wastewater, and CO2 into liquid and gaseous fuels (diesel, ethanol, methane) by genetically engineered microrganism that can thrive on land unsuitable for agriculture is that better cheaper source of energy and unlike just about anything else on the table as these fuels fit seamlessly into extant infrastructure.

    Dave Springer: THANKS. I second all you wrote (except for what I consider an unnecessary swipe at the great majority of our fellow citizens who work at honest jobs and pay their taxes and serve in the military, and so on. Many of them, perhaps most, have more common sense than many of my fellow PhDs. :^)

    Indeed, I hope that our US Ethanol adventure, which, so far, has only raised food prices and reduced the average MPG on my Prius, while saving little actual energy, may set in place an infrastructure for turning waste biomass from food industries and restaurants and, eventually, homes, into usable fuel, along with plants that may be produced on land unsuitable for other agriculture.

  293. Joel Shore;
    Spin it anyway you want Joel. You highly recommended a book which you haven’t read most of, skimmed sections you admit you would need to spend considerable time on to understand, and still want your opinion of the science to be credible with that book as your evidence.

    Are you in the field of climate science? Because then presenting evidence not yet evaluated, nor even understood, as proof of a prior conclusion would be standard procedure. I hope none of your students are going into fields where they might be designing things to life and death standards in the real world.

  294. davidmhoffer: Well, I may recommend books that I have only read part of. (I didn’t know that one wasn’t qualified to judge a book as being worthwhile until one had read every word of it.) But at least I don’t pontificate on things that I apparently know very little about, as you seem to do here: http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/climate-humour-page-the-climatologist-and-follow-the-money-series/the-physicist-and-the-climatologist-follow-the-money/ (Unless the humorous part is supposed to be imagining a physicist with a limited enough knowledge to actually say what that physicist says.) Perhaps you could actually learn something yourself from Ray’s book?

    By the way, since you are so worried about credibility, exactly why are we supposed to believe that your opinion on the science is credible…in fact, more credible than most of the scientists in the field and all the major scientific bodies on the planet? At least I am not making that sort of claim.

    …But, at least we agree on igloos.

  295. Joel Shore;
    You never change much do you.

    1. Which part of “humour” do you not understand? If the punchline didn’t get a laugh out of you, then that’s your problem, a LOT ofother people did. Are you seriously going to try and discredit me by pointing out that a joke I wrote isn’t technicaly accurate?

    2. On credibility, just as I suggested to Oliver, if you have a serious well thought out criticism of anything I’ve presented, then say what it is. No sarcasm, no words in my mouth, no ridiculous exageration, no quotes out of context, just the issues. If my opinion differs from that of the bulk of the people in the field then show me where I’m wrong. That’s the flaw in this ridiculous debate is that when confronted with factual explanations of known science, people like you respond with that most cutting of discrediting remarks “oh yeah? well if you’re smart, how come most of the experts disagree with you?”

    I don’t know Joel, how come? On what do they disagree and provide a scientific explanation showing that I am wrong and they art right on that specific issue. No 3rd hand references to proxy data, no arm waving about the consensus of this or that, no well you should read this book to see how wrong you are…Just the specifics of the issue.

    And no, I don’t think it is credible to recommend a book I’ve only read a portion of and don’t understand. In fact, I don’t even think it is credible to recommend a book I have read and do understand unless I have read several other books on the same topic and have some wider perspective as to how that book lines up with what is generaly available. See Spot Run was the best book I ever read…until I read my second book.

  296. Joel Shore
    You said in an earlier post that you taught your students about the second law.
    What kind of students?
    Physics majors, engineering, climate science or some other background.
    What text book did you advise them to read as back up material?

  297. davidmhoffer,

    Good job skewering Joel Shore as a poseur. I’m enjoying your posts pointing out his appeal to an un-read authority. Joel never has had much credibility here, but I’ll give him one thing, he’s doggedly persistent in the face of contrary evidence that debunks his beliefs. That’s the mark of a True Believer. A Jehovah’s Witness couldn’t do it any better.

    Condolences to his students, though.

  298. Joel thanks for the reply.
    I still find it odd that you would prefer an expression like;

    ‘the walls of the igloo heat the eskimo’
    to
    ‘the walls of the igloo insulate the eskimo’

    I would have failed my physics exam with such confused use of the word HEAT.

    Does this not cause a lot of trouble when you go on to analyse the Carnot Cycle?

  299. Bryan: I don’t think I talked about the igloo problem myself except to say that in that problem the heat flow is still from the hotter object to the colder object. I did endorse davidmhoffer’s basic point about the igloo…i.e., that you would be warmer with the igloo than without it…but that doesn’t mean that I endorsed exactly his phrasing in all of his posts (although, frankly, I couldn’t find the point where he had the phrasing that you claim he had).

    I agree that it is potentially confusing to say that the walls heat the eskimo. It is better to say that the walls keep the eskimo warmer than he would be without them, just as the greenhouse gases cause the earth’s surface to be warmer than it would be without them.

  300. davidmhoffer says:

    1. Which part of “humour” do you not understand? If the punchline didn’t get a laugh out of you, then that’s your problem, a LOT ofother people did. Are you seriously going to try and discredit me by pointing out that a joke I wrote isn’t technicaly accurate?

    Well, I guess I am confused about the humor then. I thought the joke was supposed to be that the physicist defends the correct way of thinking about the problem until it is pointed out that he could get lots of grant money by saying otherwise, as the climatologist has done. Now, you are telling me that the physicist was wrong and the climatologist right all along? I agree that is essentially the case…but I don’t see how it works for you.

    If my opinion differs from that of the bulk of the people in the field then show me where I’m wrong.

    Well, if you are talking about this thread, I think that you have basically been correct (except for the little riff where you talked about why you don’t believe AGW is significant). But, I had no bone to pick with you in this thread until you turned around and attacked me in regards to the comment that I made about Ray’s book. I was simply defending myself from this attack. Why you felt it necessary to attack me in this way, I don’t know.

    If you are asking about where your “physicist” is wrong in the thread that I linked to, then I would say he is wrong in arguing that the surface temperature of the earth does not depend on the atmospheric composition. Clearly, it does…as the earth, and to a much larger degree Venus, have surface temperatures much larger than they would have in the absence of an IR-active atmosphere.

  301. As this is not the first discussion of the role of radiation in heat transfer, it’s clear it’s a topic of interest and the science is not settled for everyone.
    Had this exchange taken place in person, Joel’s minor gaffe would be barely a hiccup.
    Whether or not a dichroic lightbulb reflects IR at itself and thereby increases its temperature and efficiency is more interesting than somebody’s book club choice.

  302. “”””” Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 15, 2011 at 8:41 am
    As this is not the first discussion of the role of radiation in heat transfer, it’s clear it’s a topic of interest and the science is not settled for everyone.
    Had this exchange taken place in person, Joel’s minor gaffe would be barely a hiccup.
    Whether or not a dichroic lightbulb reflects IR at itself and thereby increases its temperature and efficiency is more interesting than somebody’s book club choice. “””””

    Well once again the explanation is quite wrong; just as is the atmospheric case, with GHGs.

    Incandescent light bulbs emit thermal radiation in the visible frequency range, so we can see it, and the higher the Temperature of the filament, the more light it puts out. As a result of all that emitted thermal radiation, the filament would naturally (and rapidly) cool down if you shut off the power to the filament.

    The “Dichroic” coating, that reflects the non visible energy being emitted from the filament, has the effect of slowing the exit of the long wave emissions, and also raising the Temperature of the residual gas in the lamp (a necessary ingredient). Meanwhile the filament is still connected to the electricity source, so it continues to input energy at a high rate, so the Temperature of the filament would increase. The Tungsten filament, has a positive Temperature coefficient of resistance, so the higher filament Temperature raises its resistance further, which will reduce the current in that filament, and hence reduce the electrical input power required to maintain a given filament Temperature.

    It is the hotter filament running off lower electrical power input, that gives the lamp its higher efficiency. In all of these cases, it is the primary source of energy input; the electrical input, or the solar energy input, or your body chemical energy input, that is the source of the increased Temperature; not the return of some energy that was trying to escape, and let things cool down.

    The atmospheric “back radiation” (hate that term) does NOT heat the surface to a higher Temperature; it is the input of solar energy that raises the Temperature of the surface; just as it is your own body heat that keeps you warm when you put a blanket between you and a colder “heat sink”.

  303. Smokey,
    Thanks for the compliment, but…Jehovah’s Witness?

    Not a fair comparison! I’m as avid a student of religous texts (though not religious) as I am of climate. The JW kids who knock on your door are just kids. I’ve several friends who are JW Elders who know their stuff, and while I may disagree with them, I’ve found that their beliefs are tied to specific passages and logic applied to them. I can respect that a lot more than certain ministers in certain houses of worship in my area who just get angry when asked “where in the book does it actually SAY that?” because they often don’t know, or its a trick question because I already know that what I asked isn’t in the book at all. Try that with an Elder and you’ll get an informed response.

  304. Oliver Ramsey;
    Whether or not a dichroic lightbulb reflects IR at itself and thereby increases its temperature and efficiency is more interesting than somebody’s book club choice.>>>

    What has dichroic got to do with it? Or a light bulb?

    Put an object radiating a steady ten watts inside the igloo. Start it off at the ambient temper of the igloo. Over time, the temperature of the radiating object will rise in comparison to an identical object outside the igloo.

  305. “”””” davidmhoffer says:
    March 14, 2011 at 11:19 am
    Dave Springer;
    re photons and mass

    technical omission on my part. Never occurred to me to delve into it as my off the top of my head assumption was that the increase in mass would be completely insignificant. At some point one has to consider that one is splitting hairs already split and split again. E=MC^2 requires that anything travelling at the speed of light have a mass approaching zero for the amount of energy we are talking about on a per photon basis. In fact (now that you jogged my memory) if an object accelerates it gains energy stored as momentum and so its mass must increase accordingly. Any mass of any significance can’t be accelerated to the speed of light without consuming enough energy to build a small galaxy. So the ONLY thing that can achieve the speed of light is a photon because its mass is a limit approaching zero.

    I looked at the light sail a long long time ago and came to the same conclusion. The reflected photon must be at a lower wavelength. “””””

    Well E=mc^2 simply equates mass and energy; it certainly doesn’t imply that something is travelling at the speed of light.

    Remember that the energy of a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has an energy of mv^2 /2 ; NOT mv^2 .

    The (c) is simply the velocity of Maxwellian Electromagnetic waves; = 1/sqrt (mu-naught x epsilon-naught)

    You may recall that particle Physicists like annav use a system of units where c = h-bar = 1 , so she equates energy and mass as simply the same thing in two forms, and since h-bar is also one, then energy and frequency are also the same thing in that system of units.

  306. Thank you Joel Shore for what you say on March 14, 2011 at 6:00 am under the title: “O H Dahlsveen says”
    I notice from your writing that you don’t think I understand much about “how radiative balance works” which means that I am wrong in saying that if the “Energy Flow Plan” shows 324 W/m² of extra “magical” radiation as being radiated towards the Earth’s surface, as is preferred by AGW believers, I am, according to you, automatically wrong in assuming that the same amount of radiation must also be radiated in all other directions. That must mean, whether you and Trenberth’s plan like it or not, that at least 324 W/m² are also directed towards space or in other words 648 W/m² in total must have been generated by GHGs. The plan however does not show that and I think it is very strange that you say ”— if this diagram was so trivially wrong in the ways you think it is, other scientists in the field would notice that?”

    Please tell me Joel, do you know of any other ‘un-shielded’ substance, apart from GHGs, which radiate energy in one direction only? If you do then let me know and I will consider withdrawing the word “magical”.

    You further say; “The rule is that the energy flows must balance in the end.” -I agree with that Joel, but then you go on “They do…and this is because the surface receives additional radiation (the so-called “back radiation”) from the atmosphere.” – Joel, it is ‘at the top of the atmosphere’ where incoming and outgoing radiation must balance. So please tell me where radiation from GHGs are hiding the energy. The plan shows quite clearly that W/m² in = W/m² out. Furthermore it also shows GHG radiation as being in perpetual motion between the surface and the GHGs. – That, Joel is why I do not agree with anyone who agree with AGW theories.

    Since you ask this next question; “Ah…How do you think the atmosphere gets to be at a temperature such that it emits radiation if not by absorbing some too?” – I shall tell you Joel, in a few simple words how I “think the atmosphere gets to be at a temperature such that it emits radiation if not by absorbing some too?”” as you put it. – Radiation to and from GHGs is not necessarily needed at all. As the Sun’s shortwave radiation strikes the Earth some electro magnetic energy is absorbed by the surface-atoms & molecules which respond by increasing their ‘kinetic heat’. I am certain we both know that the atmosphere is held in place by gravity which means the atmosphere and the planet’s surface are in contact which further means that the surface’s kinetic heat is transferred to the atmosphere by conduction. (It must do so according to The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, which is the law that every-one in this debate seems to ignore.) – Subsequently any particular ‘air pocket’ warms up and expands until it becomes lighter than adjacent air, at which time convection takes place. For each 1000 feet of altitude or height the air-pocket gains it looses (on average) 2 °C by adiabatic expansion. Bear in mind that the opposite (heat gain) is applicable to descending air. (Foehn winds or Chinooks)

  307. I’m just curious about something. Do any of the experts here happen to know the average global (direct plus diffuse) clear-sky solat irradiance measured at the surface, or the average clear-sky measured solar reflected? I only ask because it seems to have a direct bearing on the “global energy budget” diagram.

  308. O H Dahlsveen says:

    I notice from your writing that you don’t think I understand much about “how radiative balance works” which means that I am wrong in saying that if the “Energy Flow Plan” shows 324 W/m² of extra “magical” radiation as being radiated towards the Earth’s surface, as is preferred by AGW believers, I am, according to you, automatically wrong in assuming that the same amount of radiation must also be radiated in all other directions.

    Yes…You are wrong although the reason is a bit subtle, so let me explain why. For an individual emission event, the radiation will be isotropic. However, when you consider the sum total of all such events in an “optically-thick atmosphere”, it does not end up being isotropic when the IR radiation initially enters the atmosphere from below. To understand this, let’s take an extreme example and assume that the atmosphere is so optically thick that most of the radiation suffers its first absorption and re-emission in the first 100 meters near the surface. Then, for the subsequent re-emission, many of the photons emitted toward the surface make it back toward the surface without being absorbed again (because they are getting emitted so close to the surface). However, very few that are emitted upwards can make it out of the atmosphere without an additional absorption. After this additional absorption, again some will go down and some up.

    In the end, what you have mathematically has some name like a “random walk first passage problem” and in such a problem the amount of radiation that makes it back to the surface before ever managing to escape from the atmosphere is (in the optically thick limit) much more than half of the radiation emitted by the surface.

    Mind you, it is not surprising that you might not be familiar with this result and I don’t fault you for being confused on the point. However, I do fault you for jumping to the conclusion that you must be right and the scientists who have thought way more about this than you (and have checked it against actual measurements) are wrong. That is not a very mature way to approach a scientific issue.

    Joel, it is ‘at the top of the atmosphere’ where incoming and outgoing radiation must balance. So please tell me where radiation from GHGs are hiding the energy. The plan shows quite clearly that W/m² in = W/m² out. Furthermore it also shows GHG radiation as being in perpetual motion between the surface and the GHGs. – That, Joel is why I do not agree with anyone who agree with AGW theories.

    Yes, radiative balance between the Earth, sun, and space will be maintained even as you ramp up GHGs (although if you ramp them up quickly enough, you can be a little out of balance…on the order of fractions to a few W/m^2…because of the large thermal inertia of the oceans). However, the question is how this radiative balance is maintained and the answer is that it is maintained by an increase in the steady-state surface temperature. So, in the end, after greenhouse gas levels stabilize, the earth is going to be back in radiative balance but at a new higher temperature. After all, even Venus is in radiative balance with the sun and space.

    And, I don’t understand your point about perpetual motion. This is a dynamic system with energy constantly being supplied from the sun. Noone has ever claimed that “perpetual motion” is impossible in an open system where energy is constantly being supplied.

    As the Sun’s shortwave radiation strikes the Earth some electro magnetic energy is absorbed by the surface-atoms & molecules which respond by increasing their ‘kinetic heat’. I am certain we both know that the atmosphere is held in place by gravity which means the atmosphere and the planet’s surface are in contact which further means that the surface’s kinetic heat is transferred to the atmosphere by conduction. (It must do so according to The Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, which is the law that every-one in this debate seems to ignore.) – Subsequently any particular ‘air pocket’ warms up and expands until it becomes lighter than adjacent air, at which time convection takes place. For each 1000 feet of altitude or height the air-pocket gains it looses (on average) 2 °C by adiabatic expansion. Bear in mind that the opposite (heat gain) is applicable to descending air. (Foehn winds or Chinooks)

    Fine…So, you have just explained how the lapse rate gets established in an atmosphere heated from below (because most of the solar energy passes through the atmosphere). However, if you think that somehow proves that you can get a surface temperature higher than radiative balance would imply without invoking greenhouse gases then you will be disappointed. If the atmosphere were transparent to IR radiation, then the average temperature of the surface would, be radiative balance, have to be what the solution of the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation says it has to be for incoming and outgoing radiation to balance. Yes, the temperature might decrease as you move up in the atmosphere…but the boundary condition provided by radiative balance would be on the surface temperature in that case (because that would be where the radiation escaping to space is being emitted from).

    (If the earth’s atmosphere was undergoing gravitational collapse then you could have a constant source of energy but I don’t think you are seriously trying to argue that this is the case?)

  309. George E. Smith says:
    March 15, 2011 at 9:26 am
    It is the hotter filament running off lower electrical power input, that gives the lamp its higher efficiency. In all of these cases, it is the primary source of energy input; the electrical input, or the solar energy input, or your body chemical energy input, that is the source of the increased Temperature; not the return of some energy that was trying to escape, and let things cool down.

    I have to disagree George, it is the presence of the dichroic coating that causes the filament to be hotter, without that coating the filament will be colder.

  310. O H Dahlsveen: If my explanation of the random walk and how it works still confuses you, here is a much simpler random-walk case that you can simulate yourself:

    Consider the x-axis. Start at zero and then jump to 1 (that is analogous to the original emission from the surface and then the first absorption by the atmosphere). On each following step, choose a random number (or flip a coin) and jump backward and forward with equal probability (that corresponds to a photon being emitted up or down in the atmosphere with equal probability). Continue doing this until you either get back to zero or you get to some pre-determined number (such as 10) and then stop (that corresponds to either having the radiation return to earth or having it escape the atmosphere). If you do this many times, you will see that you end up back at 0 much more often than you end up at the pre-determined number, and the larger the pre-determined number that you choose (which corresponds to making the atmosphere optically thicker), the greater will be the imbalance.

  311. George E. Smith says:
    March 15, 2011 at 9:26 am
    “It is the hotter filament running off lower electrical power input, that gives the lamp its higher efficiency. In all of these cases, it is the primary source of energy input; the electrical input, or the solar energy input, or your body chemical energy input, that is the source of the increased Temperature; not the return of some energy that was trying to escape, and let things cool down.”
    ———————-
    Thank you, George.
    It seems one could have the dichroic filter behind or in front of the filament, transmitting visible and reflecting IR, or vice versa.
    Is the principal purpose to reduce heating of the illuminated area and fixture or, indeed, to maintain gas temperature?

  312. “”””” Phil. says:
    March 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    March 15, 2011 at 9:26 am
    It is the hotter filament running off lower electrical power input, that gives the lamp its higher efficiency. In all of these cases, it is the primary source of energy input; the electrical input, or the solar energy input, or your body chemical energy input, that is the source of the increased Temperature; not the return of some energy that was trying to escape, and let things cool down.

    I have to disagree George, it is the presence of the dichroic coating that causes the filament to be hotter, without that coating the filament will be colder. “””””

    Well Phil, I don’t disagree that without the dichroic mirror, the filament will be colder; I think I even said so; but it is so because the dichroic mirror prevents the escape of some radiation, so the filament can’t cool as fast.

    If you were to coat the lamp instead with a broad band high reflectance coating, so that none of the radiation could escape; why not put a vaccum around the whole thing as well so the bulb can’t cool by conduction/convection. The filament would get hotter yet at even lower input current (at the same Voltage).

    Sans the electrical energy input, it isn’t going to get very hot at all.

    I agree that the dichroic coating works to make the lamp more efficient; but it is the elctricity that is being converetd to radiant energy that is visible, the coating simply stops it from unnecessarily cooling by radiation of “useless” non visible frequencies.

    It’s the same as dichroically coated solar thermal collectors. The sun provides the energy to heat the surface and thereby the working fluid (water or whatever inside ); the coating simply stops the emission of energy in the form of LWIR radiation that would allow the surface to cool.

    I think we may have to arm wrestle on this one Phil .

  313. George E Smith;
    Remember that the energy of a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has an energy of mv^2 /2 ; NOT mv^2 .>>>

    George, its been a long time since I worked my way through E=MC^2. Here’s my recollection as it pertains to this discussion:

    The energy E in a given mass is = MC^2
    BUT
    Since we can CHANGE E by accelerating the mass from a velocity of 0 to a velocity of say 1/2 C, the energy in the mass has now increased by 1/2 M V^2 where V= 1/2 C
    Without doing the arithmatic, the point is, E contained in the mass went up a whole big bunch. For the equation to balance, since C is a constant, my understanding was always that Mass increased accordingly.

    Since the mass keeps on increasing, the amount of energy required to accelerate it to the speed of light goes outa sight..so to speak…and thus the only things that can actually GO the speed of light are things like photons which have a mass of near zero in the first place.

    From my copy of Einstein’s theory from which I cannot cut and paste the forumuls just the text:

    “This expression approaches infinity as the velocity v approaches the velocity of light c. The velocity must therefore always remain less than c, however great may be the energies used to produce the acceleration”

  314. Jim Masterson say on March 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm: “There are problems with Kiehl and Trenberth 1997, but the points you raised aren’t the ones. The 66 W/m² is the net flow from the surface or 390 W/m² – 324 W/m² = 66 W/m²”

    I do understand what you are saying as we are both saying the net flow of radiation from the surface is 66 W/m². (390 – 32 4= 66) However you further say: “You can’t subtract the 40 W/m² from the 66 W/m² because the amount escaping through the atmospheric window comes from the total surface radiation of 390 W/m² or 390 W/m² – 40 W/m² = 350 W/m²”

    I cannot see where else it can be subtracted from but from the 66 W/m² surface radiation as that is the only IR long-wave radiation that can possibly contain wave-lengths which GHGs cannot absorb. The term “atmospheric window” means simply “passage through GHGs for IR wave-lengths which cannot be stopped by GHGs” – That must therefore mean that the circuit set up by 324 W/m² from GHG back- radiation is closed in and cannot escape from the earth system.

    However the questions that bug me still remain:
    1) Where do the 324 W/m² of “back radiation come from? – Or in your case
    350 W/m²?
    2) Why does radiation from GHGs (in the Energy Flow Chart) only flow in one direction. (towards the Earth)?

  315. UncertaintyRunAmok says on March 15, 2011 at 11:51 am:
    “I’m just curious about something. Do any of the experts here happen to know the average global (direct plus diffuse) clear-sky solat irradiance measured at the surface, or the average clear-sky measured solar reflected? I only ask because it seems to have a direct bearing on the “global energy budget” diagram.”

    The short answer to your question is; no, – it is all guess-work. The so-called “Solar Constant” is simply divided by 4 as ¼ is all that is left when you take the formula for working out the area of a circular disc and subtract it from the formula for the area of a sphere.

  316. O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    The answer to your questions is contained in the answer to my previous question. However, I doubt that any of the experts posting on this thread can, or will, answer the question I posed. If it has not been answered by tomorrow, perhaps I will have time to provide the answer myself.

  317. Sorry, O H, our replies must have crossed in moderation. However, you must not have understood the question, the values I am referring to ARE known.

  318. UncertaintyRunAmok says on March 15, 2011 at 11:51 am:
    “I’m just curious about something. Do any of the experts here happen to know the average global (direct plus diffuse) clear-sky solat irradiance measured at the surface, or the average clear-sky measured solar reflected? I only ask because it seems to have a direct bearing on the “global energy budget” diagram.”>>>

    You can’t calculate a global average unless you have complete global data. Which we don’t. Polar regions in particular.

  319. Mr Hoffman,

    You are, of course, mistaken. I have the 1991 edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, and it contains a table of total global clear-sky solar irradiance at the surface, and I believe it was first published at about the same time as the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere. It gives an estimated uncertainty of plus or minus ~12.5W, but the average is only 6W different from current measurements. Clouds are the thing which most interferes with the measurements today (satellites, you know – they can’t “see” through them). I didn’t ask the question for my own benefit. But I can’t continue tonight, I have to work very early.
    Later.

  320. A little update to my comment here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/#comment-621292 :

    The simple model that I described is actually called a random-walk with absorbing boundary conditions. Here is a link to one of the only basic discussions that I have found on this (as most modern work has moved on to more complicated scenarios): http://banach.millersville.edu/~bob/book/Brownian/main.pdf The question that I basically addressed is posed on p. 20; on p. 34, the theorem there shows that for the simple model that I have described implementing in that post, the probability of returning to 0 without having gone beyond N is (1 – 1/N) and the probability of getting to N without having returned to 0 is 1/N.

  321. UncertaintyRunAmok

    If the values you are referring to are known then please let me know what they are as all I can find are “estimates” and as there are also estimates around which recons only a few (less than 10) Watts per square meter can mean the difference between ice ages and interglacial eras I would be pleased to know what the real values are

  322. George,

    Not that is really matters here, but you got your relativity wrong when you said “Remember that the energy of a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has an energy of mv^2 /2 ; NOT mv^2 .”

    The energy of a particle is E = (gamma)mc^2
    Doing a binomial expansion on this gives the infinite series
    E = mc^2 + 1/2 mv^2 + 3/8 m v^4/c^2 + ….

    The first term is the rest mass energy
    The second term is the classical kinetic energy
    The higher terms are relativistic corrections to the kinetic energy.

  323. Joel Shore says:
    March 12, 2011 at 6:28 am

    “So, for example, if you model the atmospheric greenhouse effect by two shells ………. In fact, such a simplified model is easy to solve exactly and will have a temperature at the earth’s surface that is higher than the temperature in absence of the shells by a factor of the 4th root of 3. [In general, the model with N blackbody shells has a surface temperature that is higher by a factor of the 4th root of (N+1) from the no-greenhouse case of 0 shells.]”

    Well, you are mixing things up. Yes, in this case the radiant flux = (sigma * A (T1^4 – Tn^4) )/n-1,
    But the surface temperature will not change because of the shells. The outer blackbody shell n is the lowest in temperature and placing extra shells anywhere in between will neither change the temperature of the first nor the last shell, but just reduce Q.
    T1 is fixed by the solar input and Tn by 3K space. All that the shells do is equilibrate with the radiation energy density. And with no shells at all the surface would still be T1.

    Now lets apply above to the real thing; the radiating surface of the Sun the first surface, Earth second and then GHG shells. If your vision would be right, then greenhouse gasses would make the sun warmer and this would also go on to the core of the sun.

  324. O H Dahlsveen says: March 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    However the questions that bug me still remain:
    1) Where do the 324 W/m² of “back radiation come from? – Or in your case
    350 W/m²?
    2) Why does radiation from GHGs (in the Energy Flow Chart) only flow in one direction. (towards the Earth)?

    1) The molecules in the atmosphere are warm. All warm things emit EM radiation. It is pretty much that simple. Calculating the exact value or determining how much comes from CO2 vs H2O vapor vs H2O liquid (clouds) would not be trivial, but the principle of thermal radiation is undeniable.

    2) That is more subtle, but the answer is that it really does emit all directions. The bottom layer of the atmosphere (which is close to the surface temperature) emits ~ 325 W/m^2 downward (which gets absorbed by the ground). This bottom layer also emits > 325 W/m^2 upward, almost all of which is absorbed by a slightly higher layer of the atmosphere.
    This slightly higher layer is cooler than the bottom layer, so it emits less in each direction – perhaps 300 W/m^2 up and 300 W/m^2 down.
    The layer above that is even cooler — emitting perhaps 275 W/m^2 up and 275 W/m^2 down.
    Eventually the “top layer” emits ~ 200 W/m^2 upward (which escapes to outer space) and ~200 W/m^2 downward (which gets absorbed by the penultimate layer).

    The intermediate layers are not shown in the simplified energy transfer diagrams – only the top layer (~200 W/m^2 escaping the atmosphere upward) and bottom layer (~325 W/m^2 escaping the atmosphere downward).

    In reality there are not distinct “layers” of course, but the idea works. As with calculus, you could divide the “layers” as thin as you wanted to get a better approximation to the real situation.

  325. UncertaintyRunAmok says:
    March 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm
    Mr Hoffman,
    You are, of course, mistaken. I have the 1991 edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, and it contains a table of total global clear-sky solar irradiance at the surface, and I believe it was first published at about the same time as the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere. It gives an estimated uncertainty of plus or minus ~12.5W>>>

    Uhm… its Hoffer.
    And uhm…you’ve got a book that “estimates” an error of +/- 12.5 W

    Think, think, think…estimates the error. ESTIMATES the error. Sorry, been doing a lot of ranting tonight, don’t mean to tick you off.

    They don’t give a standard deviation, do they?! They’ve estimated the error because a lot of those values are extrapolated. Further, of what value are measurments of +/- 12.5 degrees in a climate analysis where we are trying to correlate a fraction of a degree of warming to calculated CO2 effects of less than 2 watts?

    Yes, honey, that’s six inches. Plus or minus a yard. errr meter. What ever.

  326. I’ve been away from this thread for a while (grading Mid-Term Exams for my online grad course in System Engineering at U. Maryland) but it seems the discussion has really taken off. THANKS ALL!

    I think the example of the incandescent light bulb is instructive. I think all agree that:

    1) At a given input voltage, but with a clear bulb, the filament would be at temperature T1.

    2) At a the same input voltage, but with a bulb that has an IR-reflective coating on the inside, the filament would be at temperature T2.

    3) T2 is greater than T1.

    4) If the electrical current in case (1) is equal to (or less than in) case (2), the input energy to the filament is the same in both cases (or less in case (2)).

    5) The increase in temperature of the filament is therefore entirely due to the IR-reflective coating on the inside of the bulb. The coating on the inside of the bulb is at a temperature that is less than that of the filament (T1 or T2). Therefore, it is possible for radiation from a cooler surface to raise the temperature of a warmer surface.

    6) The above process involves reflection because the energy is in the shortwave region (visible and near-IR*). It is therefore different from the absorption and re-emission of longwave energy from the Earth to the GHGs near the bottom of the Atmosphere and vice-versa. However, the energy aspects are similar. Just as the IR-reflective coating does not create any additional energy, neither do the GHGs, Nevertheless, just as the filament would be cooler absent the IR-reflective coating, the surface of the Earth would be cooler absent the GHGs.

    If anyone objects to the above, please cite the statement number and detail your objection.

    Discusssion: You could say that the IR-reflective coating “slows” the escape of energy from the filament, thus raising its temperature. But, it seems to me, while it is OK as a shorthand explanation, it is far from complete. My reason is that the filament produces radiation in a broad spectrum, from visual to near-IR (and probably some UV). The visual gets a nearly free pass throught the IR-reflective coating. The near-IR is mostly reflected back to the filament where it is absorbed, and re-emitted in a broad spectrum. Thus, in that transaction, some of the near-IR radiation energy is transformed into visual radiation energy.

    Imagine an ideal case where the IR-reflective coating was perfect, allowing 100% of visual out and reflecting 100% of the near-IR. The reflected IR energy would bounce back and forth between the coating and the filament until all of it was transformed to visual.

    Of course, in the case of the incandescent light bulb, all the energy comes from the electrical voltage and current input. No one claims that the IR-reflective coating contributed any energy to the system at all. All the IR-reflective coating does is reflect near-IR energy back to the filament.

    In the case of the Atmospheric “greenhouse” effect, all the energy comes from the Sun in the form of shortwave light energy. No one claims that the GHGs contribute any energy to the system at all. All the GHGs do is absorb and re-emit longwave energy back to the Earth surface.

    *When I write “near-IR” I mean ~1μ to ~4μ. “Shortwave” is ~0.1μ to ~4μ. “Longwave” is ~4μ to ~50μ.

  327. Hans says: March 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm to Joel Shore
    Well, you are mixing things up.

    Actually, it is you, Hans, who are mixing things up. Joel was talking about CONCENTRIC shells around the earth with specific properties – no any old shells positioned any old place.

    If you completely change the situation, then OF COURSE his conclusion will not apply! (PS even with your situation, I don’t agree with your conclusions!)

  328. Joel Shore;
    But, I had no bone to pick with you in this thread until you turned around and attacked me in regards to the comment that I made about Ray’s book. I was simply defending myself from this attack. Why you felt it necessary to attack me in this way, I don’t know.>>>

    That wasn’t an attack. That was kicking dirt in your face. You’ll be very clear about it when I attack that there is a difference. The why is because your comments have a singular thread that runs through them. You understand stuff, you’ve got a PhD, you teach these subjects at the university level… but actually explain something yourself? Never happens. You refer to a book, or a study, or explain that you teach this stuff, so you know what you’re talking about. Stop telling us how smart you are and what books we should read. George E Smith caught me on an issues, I was wrong, admitted it, and submitted my reasoning as to why I didn’t think it was significant. You start participating like that, and I’ll stop kicking dirt in your face.

    Joel Shore;
    If you are asking about where your “physicist” is wrong in the thread that I linked to, then I would say he is wrong in arguing that the surface temperature of the earth does not depend on the atmospheric composition. >>>

    Boy. You REALLY didn’t get the joke. And no, I didn’t ask, I know why the physicist is wrong. He’s not a very good physicist. That’s why its so easy to get him to sell out and become a climatologist. That reminds me, last time I kicked dirt in your face you said something about getting out of physics and into climate research. How’s that going for you?

  329. @ Ira

    I can’t find a way to agree with 3)
    The radiation from the filament is determined by its temperature.
    Reduce those emissions by reducing the temperature.
    Temperature can be reduced by conduction/convection.
    Or, reduction of input energy.
    Temperature can be increased by increasing input energy.
    If temperature is increased, radiation is increased exponentially. Stefan-Boltzmann.
    If the much cooler filter is capable of heating the filament at all, then it is capable of heating it infinitely unless there is some negative feedback mechanism.
    TE at the filament’s temperature won’t even stop it because, if a cold thing can heat a hot thing and a hot thing can heat a hot thing then surely a same temperature thing can heat a hot thing.

    As far as I know, these bulbs are made for “cool” light or special effects. In a cursory look around lighting sites I didn’t see them in the “energy saving” category.

  330. Joel Shore

    What you appear to miss out in your layer model is the effects of thermalisation.
    Lets start with CO2 the villain of the IPCC.
    At atmospheric temperatures only around 4% are in active ready to emit 15um mode while the other 96% are ready to absorb.(Using MB statistics)
    The plentiful 15um surface up IR is readily absorbed.
    However the relaxation time length indicates that the chances of re-emitting are unlikely compared to loss by collision with N2 and O2 (99% of atmosphere).
    This causes local heating (thermalisation)
    Kirchoff’s Law does not hold strictly for this situation as significant quantities of thermal energy are passed on to non emitters.
    Some of this energy can come back to CO2 by collision but emission of 15um as we get to higher altitudes becomes increasingly unlikely due to temperature drop.
    A more likely radiative outlet path would be H2O which has several wavelengths >15um available.
    This accounts for the large “bite” missing around 15um as shown in the Ian’s satellite “looking down” graphs above.
    So the net result is slightly increased troposphere temperature and shifting the radiating spectrum to longer wavelengths.

  331. >>
    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I cannot see where else it can be subtracted from but from the 66 W/m² surface radiation as that is the only IR long-wave radiation that can possibly contain wave-lengths which GHGs cannot absorb. The term “atmospheric window” means simply “passage through GHGs for IR wave-lengths which cannot be stopped by GHGs” – That must therefore mean that the circuit set up by 324 W/m² from GHG back- radiation is closed in and cannot escape from the earth system.
    <<

    The 66 W/m² is not the surface radiation. The surface radiation is 390 W/m². The 66 W/m² is a result of subtracting 324 W/m² from 390 W/m².

    >>
    However the questions that bug me still remain:
    1) Where do the 324 W/m² of “back radiation come from? – Or in your case
    350 W/m²?
    2) Why does radiation from GHGs (in the Energy Flow Chart) only flow in one direction. (towards the Earth)?
    <<

    I don’t presume to know what your training is, but an electrical engineer would know where the extra energy comes from–it’s stored in the feedback loop. This isn’t creating energy, it’s just reusing energy. Cut off the source (solar input), and this oscillator would quickly decay (exponentially) to zero. Electrical circuits do this feedback thing all the time. (Without bi-stable multivibrators or flip-flops, our modern-day computers wouldn’t be possible. Flip-flops are bi-stable oscillators, and they store energy in the feedback loops.) I could run you through a few cycles of the KT 97 model (that would be a long and boring post), and you would see where the energy builds up in the atmosphere during each cycle.

    The total energy in the atmosphere is 519 W/m² (according to KT 97). It’s not a one-way flow to the surface. 324 W/m² radiates toward the surface, but 195 W/m² radiates out to space. If you model the atmosphere response (using multiple layers), then the lower layers radiate more energy than the upper layers do. This skews the resultant flow towards the surface. It’s nothing Earth-shattering. There’s no violation of the Second Law or the First Law.

    Jim

  332. Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    March 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm
    5) The increase in temperature of the filament is therefore entirely due to the IR-reflective coating on the inside of the bulb. The coating on the inside of the bulb is at a temperature that is less than that of the filament (T1 or T2). Therefore, it is possible for radiation from a cooler surface to raise the temperature of a warmer surface.

    Exactly Ira. George’s mechanism of reduced cooling can’t happen because the dichroic doesn’t effect the ‘cooling’ of the filament, the same photons leave in the presence of the dichroic as in its absence. What is critical is that the dichroic directs the IR photons back towards the filament where they are absorbed thereby increasing the filament temperature.

  333. Bryan says:
    March 16, 2011 at 2:17 am
    Kirchoff’s Law does not hold strictly for this situation as significant quantities of thermal energy are passed on to non emitters.

    Kirchoff’s Law certainly does apply it’s just that you don’t know what it says!
    Emissivity=absorptivity still holds true when collisional deactivation occurs.

    Some of this energy can come back to CO2 by collision but emission of 15um as we get to higher altitudes becomes increasingly unlikely due to temperature drop.

    Wrong it becomes increasingly likely due to the lower collision rate.

    A more likely radiative outlet path would be H2O which has several wavelengths >15um available.
    This accounts for the large “bite” missing around 15um as shown in the Ian’s satellite “looking down” graphs above.

    No that is classic CO2 spectrum, go to MODTRAN and you can reproduce it exactly but not using H2O.

  334. Hans says:

    But the surface temperature will not change because of the shells. The outer blackbody shell n is the lowest in temperature and placing extra shells anywhere in between will neither change the temperature of the first nor the last shell, but just reduce Q.
    T1 is fixed by the solar input and Tn by 3K space. All that the shells do is equilibrate with the radiation energy density. And with no shells at all the surface would still be T1.

    I am not speculating on what the blackbody shell model would show. I am solving the model exactly (which is quite trivial to do). You are just speculating and it is easy to see that you speculation is incorrect because in radiation balance the system has to re-emit all the power it receives back into space and since only radiation from the outer shell goes back out into space, the temperature of this shell is what is set by the amount of radiation that is absorbed from the sun.

    Bryan says:

    What you appear to miss out in your layer model is the effects of thermalisation.

    No…It does not ignore such effects. Each shell radiates according to its temperature. What it does ignore is the spectral behavior of the radiation…because it is a blackbody (or, in the more general case, greybody) model. But, that is of course the whole point of simple models: To get a model that is simple enough to easily solve analytically and to give you good intuition of what is going on, you give up on including some of the details.

    By contrast, when you want to actually make quantitative calculations to determine, for example, what the radiative forcing is from doubling CO2, then you have to solve the full-blown radiative-convective problem. That gives you actual quantative results…but at a price in terms of understanding and ease of solution.

    That is why it is good to have a whole hierarchy of models…But it is meaningless to object that the simple model is too simple when the evidence from the more complicated models show that in fact the simple model is fine for showing the basic qualitative behavior. Sure, it’s simple…That’s the point.

  335. Phil. says:

    “What is critical is that the dichroic directs the IR photons back towards the filament where they are absorbed thereby increasing the filament temperature.”

    ——————————
    Then it does it again and gets even hotter, then again and again.
    It does it at 100 degrees, at 500 degrees, at 1,000 degrees. What stops the process?

  336. davidmhoffer says:

    You refer to a book, or a study, or explain that you teach this stuff, so you know what you’re talking about. Stop telling us how smart you are and what books we should read.

    (1) In this thread, I have in fact been explaining things quite a bit. I have talked about what a simple shell model of the greenhouse effect illustrates. I have explained patiently to O H Dahlsveen where he is confused and even presented a simple random walk model that he could try simulating (even with a coin if he doesn’t want to do it on the computer). Yes, sometimes when people just make a lot of incorrect statements about the state of the science, I suggest that they might want to read a book that discusses the state of the science before making these statements; Is that a crime?

    (2) I think it is ironic that you peg my posts as “telling us how smart you are”. Really, which is the more humble and which is the more arrogant approach? Approach 1: Don’t bother to particularly familiarize yourself with a scientific field but argue that you know more than the scientists who have been working in the field for years, that they are all wrong, actively deceiving people for whatever motivation, or some combination of the two. Approach 2: Read the scientific literature and textbooks to try to familiarize oneself with the science and accept the fact that one can learn a lot from the scientists who have actually dedicated their careers to studying these issues. And, point out to others who seem to think that they are so smart that they can just figure everything out off the top of their head that they could also learn a lot by familiarizing themselves with the science.

    Boy. You REALLY didn’t get the joke. And no, I didn’t ask, I know why the physicist is wrong. He’s not a very good physicist. That’s why its so easy to get him to sell out and become a climatologist.

    You are spinning your joke so bizarrely that I don’t really know what to say. So, you want the readers to realize that the climatologist is correct and the physicist is wrong in his arguments? Do you really think that you have written this in a way that makes readers want to think that?

    That reminds me, last time I kicked dirt in your face you said something about getting out of physics and into climate research. How’s that going for you?/blockquote>

    So far, about as I expected…namely, that it is easier for me to employ myself in areas where I have a proven track record, than to try to sell myself in a totally new field. (Although, admittedly, my attempts to actually make the transition, as opposed to just thinking about it, have been fairly limited.)

  337. davidmhoffer: At the introduction of your “joke” column, you say:

    The fatal flaw in the climate models seems to come from one repeated assumption. The assumption is that positive feedbacks from greenhouse effects can exceed negative feedbacks. While this situation might actually exist over a given time period (and reflect temperature increases during that time period as a result) the average over the long term must net to zero. If it doesn’t, then everything we have learned about physics over the last 1000 years is wrong, and perpetual motion is possible.

    Do you mean this part to be a joke too, because it is not correct? (Admittedly, whether some parts of what you say are correct depends on whether you consider the response implied by the Stefan-Boltzmann to be a feedback or the 0th-order effect and what you mean by the long term. But, your statement is quite clear at the level that you make the claim that climate models are actually making an unphysical assumption…and if you have any evidence to back that up, I certainly haven’t seen it.)

  338. I like most of what Jim said @ March 16, 2011 at 3:00 am, except

    “The total energy in the atmosphere is 519 W/m² ”

    519 W/m^2 is the RATE at which energy is ENTERING the atmosphere. More specifically, 519 W is the average rate at which energy is entering an average column of air 1 m^2 on a side stretching from the ground to the top of the atmosphere. (It is also the rate at which energy is leaving that column — with any long-term imbalance leading to a long-term warming or cooling of the air).

    The total energy in the atmosphere would millions of joules per 1 m^2 column

  339. Ira Glickstein, PhD on March 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm you say: “I think the example of the incandescent light bulb is instructive. I think all agree that:” —And then you make 6 statements (numbered 1 to 6).
    I understand what you are saying but I feel I need a bit more ‘info’ before I can seriously comply with: “If anyone objects to the above, please cite the statement number and detail your objection.”
    1) What do you mean by; “At a given input voltage”? – As far as I know the voltage in The US is 110 V, while in Europe it is 220 V. You of course are the electrical guy and I am the dumb mechanical one but I would have thought wattage would have been more appropriate.

    2) Same voltage problem as above.

    3) T2 is greater than T1. – Do you make that statement because T2 and T1 have been measured, or because you see it as a logical development? – In either case, at what point do T2 or/and T1 stop rising or is there no limit to ‘absoluteT’? Furthermore I feel it would help me to further understand if I get to know if the bulbs are gas filled or vacuous. If they are gas filled equilibrium will continuously be sought, due to conduction between the filament, the gas and the inside of the bulb whether IR- coated or not.

  340. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 16, 2011 at 7:05 am
    Phil. says:

    “What is critical is that the dichroic directs the IR photons back towards the filament where they are absorbed thereby increasing the filament temperature.”

    ——————————
    Then it does it again and gets even hotter, then again and again.
    It does it at 100 degrees, at 500 degrees, at 1,000 degrees. What stops the process?

    It’s a convergent series! A decreasing fraction is recycled as the temperature is increased.

  341. “””””Tim Folkerts says:
    March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm
    George,

    Not that is really matters here, but you got your relativity wrong when you said “Remember that the energy of a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has an energy of mv^2 /2 ; NOT mv^2 .” “””””

    Not that it really matters; but I don’t recall saying anything about relativity. I was talking about a Volkswagen Beetle doing 60 mph (v). And off hand I don’t remember what (m) is for a VW beetle (at 60 mph), the energy is still (1/2) m.v^2 .

  342. “”””” davidmhoffer says:
    March 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm
    George E Smith;
    Remember that the energy of a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has an energy of mv^2 /2 ; NOT mv^2 .>>>

    George, its been a long time since I worked my way through E=MC^2. Here’s my recollection as it pertains to this discussion: “””””

    David, I really wasn’t intending to be nit picky; and I’m sure you would get it correct when you need to use it.

    Only reason, I mentioned that a real particle travelling at a velocity (v) has energy (1/2)m.v^2 as compared to your m.c^2 for the photon, was to make the point that the reason for mc^2 has nothing to do with the quite coincidental factoid that the photon (or EM wave) is travelling at a velocity (c).
    It is certainly true that a high enough energy photon say 1.02 MeV, can be converted into the mass of an Electron, plus that of a Positron, in pair production for example; but they then won’t be travelling anywhere near (c) for example.

    So I wasn’t really calling attention to a missing (1/2); that’s typeo stuff.

  343. Phil. says:
    “It’s a convergent series! A decreasing fraction is recycled as the temperature is increased.”
    ————————–
    With every increase in the filament’s temperature, exponentially more energy is radiated.
    Therefore, there is more to be absorbed by the filter and it gets hotter. (This happens even on my planet!)
    The filter then radiates exponentially more at its new, higher temperature.
    Now, there is more for the filament to absorb.
    It may be a smaller fraction of the total energy radiated but it’s more energy than it was before.
    Looking at it from another angle, the premise has been presented as applying at any and all temperatures, so it winds up sounding like this;
    ” A cold thing will heat a hot thing a finite number of times, but this effect can be observed starting at any temperature.”

    It doesn’t work with conduction, either, which isn’t much different, except that the spatial separation of the two objects is much smaller. The things don’t literally touch one another, because electrons still don’t get along.

  344. So let me see if I can understand this dichroic light bulb; now that Phil has succinctly explained how it works; follow me on this, in case I run out of sand to scratch in, and mess it all up.

    We have this incandescent light bulb filament (aka planet earth), and the surface of the light bulb filament (aka planet earth) is being heated to incandescence (aka LWIR radiation emission) by the continuous input of energy from electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun).

    When the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun) shuts off, the surface of the filament (aka planet earth) gets cold; and when the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun) turns back on, the surface of the filament (aka planet earth) heats up to incandescence. Now due to the latest in terracomputing models, we can say, that if the filament (aka planet earth) doesn’t have any way of getting rid of the energy it receives; it will heat up to a Temperature of 800,000 Kelvins, in a billion years; due (according to said models) to the continuous input of energy from the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun).

    Fortunately for us, the filament (aka planet earth) does have several mechanisms for getting rid of that excess energy, that is heating it towards 800,000 Kelvins. It can radiate thermal (black body like) continuum radiation to space; it can conduct heat to other materials contacting the filament (aka planet earth), such as the residual gas contained in the envelope of the lamp(aka the gas surrounding and in contact with the surface of planet earth), and thereby carry heat away by convection (to some cooler place).

    As a result the residual gas in the envelope (aka the atmospheric gases around the surface of planet earth) also become heated by the filament (aka planet earth). These various processes do provide a means for the filament (aka planet earth) to rid itself of the excessive input energy from the electricity(aka solar spectrum photons from the sun), and as a result, the filament (aka planet earth) does not rise to 800,000 Kelvins; but stops at a mere 3000 Kelvins (aka 288 K, or +15 deg C or +59 deg F).

    Now if we place an intervening dichroic layer (aka trace amounts of various and sundry green house gases, like CO2 (the King) and H2O (the servant) and Ozone) this dichroic layer (aka trace amounts of various and sundry green house gases, like CO2 (the King) and H2O (the servant) and Ozone) stops the exit of some of the previously escaping photon energy, and returns that energy back to the filament (aka planet earth) where it gets absorbed, thereby raising the temperature of the filament (aka planet earth).

    As a direct consequence of this serendipitous extra heating from the back radiation due to the dichroic layer (aka trace amounts of various and sundry green house gases, like CO2 (the King) and H2O (the servant) and Ozone) , the original Temperature of the incandescent filament (aka planet earth) can be maintained indefinitely with LESS input of electrical energy from electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun); so we can turn down the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun), and get EXACTLY the same filament (aka planet earth) Temperature as we had prior to the addition of the dichroic layer (blanket) (aka trace amounts of various and sundry green house gases, like CO2 (the King) and H2O (the servant) and Ozone) .

    So despite this lower input of electricity to the filament (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun); we still have the exact same filament (aka planet earth) Temperature as we had before we added the dichroic layer (aka trace amounts of various and sundry green house gases, like CO2 (the King) and H2O (the servant) and Ozone) .
    But of course, we don’t turn down the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun); THEY ARE NEEDED TO MAINTAIN THE INCREASED TEMPERATURE OF THE FILAMENT (aka planet earth).

    Well I don’t know about you; but it is still quite clear, that you don’t get ANY increase in filament (aka planet earth) Temperature, unless you supply the energy necessary from the electricity (aka solar spectrum photons from the sun.)

  345. Actually George we do turn down the voltage and maintain a higher temperature white light. The reduction in voltage is not the cause of the increase that is the presence and nature of the dichroic.

    Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 16, 2011 at 11:39 am
    With every increase in the filament’s temperature, exponentially more energy is radiated.

    Well T^4 not exponential.

    Therefore, there is more to be absorbed by the filter and it gets hotter. (This happens even on my planet!)
    The filter then radiates exponentially more at its new, higher temperature.
    Now, there is more for the filament to absorb.

    Apparently you don’t understand how a dichroic works, wavelengths below a threshold are transmitted, those above are reflected, there is no absorption/emission.

    It may be a smaller fraction of the total energy radiated but it’s more energy than it was before.

    No, it isn’t what you have forgotten is that as the temperature goes up the blackbody spectrum shifts to shorter wavelengths thereby a progressively smaller fraction is reflected.
    Of course it is possible to set up a condition where the filament is operating near its maximum temperature and then adding a dichroic coating will cause the filament to melt.

  346. George and Phil: Are you two really disagreeing? It seems like you are just emphasizing two sides of the same coin. Yes, it is necessary to have some sort of heat source and yes the dichroic coating (or the greenhouse gases) leave the temperature hotter than it would be in their absence. Now, can we all be friends? ;-)

  347. George,

    Before I contemplate a reply to your last comment, I was hoping you could tell how much of that was sarcasm. You see, I agreed with most of what you said — right up until your conclusions. But along the way you were sounding more and more sarcastic (eg “king” CO2).

    So either I agree with most of your science but am confused by your conclusions, or I missed the sarcasm and need to disagree with much more of what you said.

  348. No, it isn’t what you have forgotten is that as the temperature goes up the blackbody spectrum shifts to shorter wavelengths thereby a progressively smaller fraction is reflected.
    ————————————
    There’s still more emission at any wavelength at the hotter temperature than there was at the lower.
    Are you saying that it’s only reflection that can achieve this heating and not absorption/emission and conduction?

  349. >>
    Tim Folkerts says:
    March 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I like most of what Jim said @ March 16, 2011 at 3:00 am, except

    “The total energy in the atmosphere is 519 W/m² ”

    519 W/m^2 is the RATE at which energy is ENTERING the atmosphere. More specifically, 519 W is the average rate at which energy is entering an average column of air 1 m^2 on a side stretching from the ground to the top of the atmosphere. (It is also the rate at which energy is leaving that column — with any long-term imbalance leading to a long-term warming or cooling of the air).
    <<

    You are right; I was being sloppy with my terms. (As some have been in discussing the rest mass of a photon, I figure I’m in good company.) The correct phrase should have been: “The total energy flux in the atmosphere is 519 W/m2.” (The “per meter squared” unit implies a column.)

    >>
    The total energy in the atmosphere would millions of joules per 1 m^2 column
    <<

    Ahh yes, I disagree, but not enough to worry about it.

    Jim

  350. Tim Folkerts says on March 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm : “The molecules in the atmosphere are warm. All warm things emit EM radiation. It is pretty much that simple. Calculating the exact value or determining how much comes from CO2 vs H2O vapor vs H2O liquid (clouds) would not be trivial, but the principle of thermal radiation is undeniable.”

    I know that Tim but incoming solar irradiation is 342 W/m² of which 107 W/m² is reflected back to space and cannot be counted again. That leaves 235 W/m² which are absorbed by the Earth System or ES i.e. surface and atmosphere. The same 235 W/m² is what is keeping the ES at an average temperature of 14 or say 15 °C. until, as the plan shows 235 W/m² leaves for space at the TOA. The plan shows averages (or 24/7 short & long wave radiation) so there is no need to take into account night and day. In other words a steady stream of 235 W/m² is circulating and keeping the ES steady at the same average temperature. Be that as you say by “Thermal Radiation” or as I would like to call it by “Atmospheric Insulation” In any case the plan shows 324 W/m² of radiation being emitted from GHGs towards the surface which amounts to 89 W/m² more than is being supplied to the ES by the Sun. That is why I ask: Where does that figure of 324 W/m² used for back-radiation come from?

  351. davidmhoffer says:
    March 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Sorry, I sometimes assume people know things that they don’t. Standard deviation IS the estimated uncertainty, this is basic metrology, it HAS to be estimated by definition. If the uncertainty was known, there wouldn’t be any need to statistically calculate the “estimated uncertainty” (usually at a 95% confidence interval), which is usually stated as the 1 sigma standard deviation.

    That aside, I was not trying to offend anyone. I am simply totally frustrated with all of this nonsense that passes for “science” in the name of the CAGW agenda. Just for instance, this constant switching back and forth between “thermal energy” and thermal IR as if they were the same thing. And calling the downwelling long wave “backradiation” is ludicrous. This term is nothing but a combination of backscatter (the term for EM waves that have been REFLECTED by a gas) and radiation. If they told you up front that at least the first 78W of that DLW was actually from the solar absorption by the atmosphere, and then told you that the reason only 40W of surface absorption was able to make it through the “window” is because clouds REFLECT the majority of it straight back down toward the surface, they would probably also have to explain how EM waves are converted to current sheets at the reflection planes.

    Whew. Talk about your run-on sentences. Sorry, if I keep ranting on like this I might blow a gasket.

    Anyway, the average clear-sky solar radiance measured at the surface is ~231W. The datasets I have seen indicate that the clear-sky solar reflected is ~30W, and ~80W of atmospheric absorption (which includes water vapor), or a total clear-sky absorption of ~311W. The only thing missing in clear-sky measurements is clouds. Returning to the bane of these guys, Kirchoff, if clouds emit 30W, they have to have absorbed 30W. Try reconciling that with the global energy flow diagrams if you can. There is an explanation, but it’s late, and I don’t have time to get into it right now.

  352. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 16, 2011 at 7:05 am
    Phil. says:

    “What is critical is that the dichroic directs the IR photons back towards the filament where they are absorbed thereby increasing the filament temperature.”

    ——————————
    Then it does it again and gets even hotter, then again and again.
    It does it at 100 degrees, at 500 degrees, at 1,000 degrees. What stops the process?

    GREAT question, Oliver Ramsay, and I’ve got an excellent answer!

    According to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the radiation from a hot object increases according to the fourth power of the temperature. When expressed in Joules, it is 5.7 x T^4 (where T is temperature in Kelvins)

    So, using your examples, at a tungsten filament temperature of 100ºC, which is 373 Kelvins, the radiation is proportional to 5.67 x 10^-8 x 373 x 373 x 373 x 373 = 3 Joules. When the filament radiates, it releases energy, which tends to cool it down, counteracting the input electrical power and the reflected IR radiation, which tends to warm it up. When the filament is at 100ºC, the electrical input power and reflected IR radiation pumps in much more power than is lost by radiation, so the filament continues to warm up.

    At 500ºC, which is 773 Kelvins, the radiation is proportional to 5.67 x 10^-8 x 773 x 773 x 773 x 773 = 20,000 Joules. Notice how the radiation increases real fast with temperature? As a tungsten filament heats up, its resistance increases, so, at constant input voltage, the electrical current will decrease somewhat, reducing the input electrical power a bit. On the other hand, with a hotter filament, there will be more light and IR produced, so the reflected IR from the coating on the inside of the bulb will increase, tending to heat the filament more. When the filament radiates, it releases energy, which tends to cool it down, counteracting the input electrical power and the reflected IR radiation, which tends to warm it up. When the filament is at 500ºC, the electrical input power and reflected IR radiation pumps in much more power than is lost by radiation, so the filament continues to warm up.

    Incandescent light bulbs are designed such that, at their rated voltage, a balance is reached at a filament temperature of about 3200ºC, which is around 3500 Kelvins. The radiation is proportional to 5.7 x 10^-8 x 3500 x 3500 x 3500 x 3500 = 9,000,000 Joules. WOW, radiation increases real fast with temperature! When the filament radiates, it releases energy, which tends to cool it down, counteracting the input electrical power and the reflected IR radiation, which tends to warm it up. When the filament is at around 3200ºC, the electrical input power and reflected IR radiation pump in about the same amount of power as is lost by radiation, so the filament temperature is stabilized at around 3200ºC (about 6000ºF).

    Incandecent light bulbs are designed to operate that way because temperatures much higher than that will cause the filament to turn from solid to liquid. That is why a light bulb designed for 120 volts will “burn out” if you connect it to a 220 volt circuit.

  353. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm
    No, it isn’t what you have forgotten is that as the temperature goes up the blackbody spectrum shifts to shorter wavelengths thereby a progressively smaller fraction is reflected.
    ————————————
    There’s still more emission at any wavelength at the hotter temperature than there was at the lower.
    Are you saying that it’s only reflection that can achieve this heating and not absorption/emission and conduction?

    No I was telling you how the dichroic works, which is the basis of this practical device.

  354. UncertaintyRunAmok says:
    March 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm
    Returning to the bane of these guys, Kirchoff, if clouds emit 30W, they have to have absorbed 30W.

    No they don’t you misunderstand Kirchoff’s Law.

  355. Phil says:
    “No I was telling you how the dichroic works, which is the basis of this practical device.”
    ————————–
    You didn’t tell me “how the dichroic works”, you mentioned one fact about it, of which I was fully aware and referred to in previous comments. We can spend more time on that if you wish.
    I assume that the word “No” in your reply is the answer to the question “Are you saying that it’s only reflection that can achieve this heating and not absorption/emission and conduction?”.
    If that’s the case then whether it’s a reflector or radiator or conductor should not be the salient point.
    The bulbs I’ve seen of this kind either transmit IR through the rear reflector in order to reduce heating of the illuminated area or they reflect IR from the front of the bulb in order to achieve an effect as it is then reflected from the back having undergone a shift. I’m not aware of any claim being made on their behalf that they will save energy.

  356. Ira says
    “GREAT question, Oliver Ramsay, and I’ve got an excellent answer!”
    ————————————
    I’m sorry. I agree that it was a great question but I disagree that it was an excellent answer.
    I was looking for more than just the statement that reflected IR is a power source.

  357. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    The bulbs I’ve seen of this kind either transmit IR through the rear reflector in order to reduce heating of the illuminated area or they reflect IR from the front of the bulb in order to achieve an effect as it is then reflected from the back having undergone a shift. I’m not aware of any claim being made on their behalf that they will save energy.

    Perhaps you should have read the link that I gave earlier.

    http://www.bulbs.com/blogs/light_source/post/2010/12/03/Cooler-Than-Ever-Halogen-IR-Bulbs.aspx

    Or you could have found many others such as this one:

    http://www.sylvania.com/ConsumerProducts/LightingForHome/Products/BulbType/Halogen/Infrared

    Note the claims like this one:
    “Reduced Energy Costs
    Since halogen IR lamps produce more light with fewer watts than conventional halogen lamps, it is often possible to save energy by using a lower wattage IR lamp to replace a higher wattage lamp.”
    I guess you missed that?

  358. O H Dahlsveen asks “Where does that figure of 324 W/m² used for back-radiation come from?”

    At one level, the answer is simply “IR spectroscopy can measure the EM energy and the result is about 324 W/m^2″

    At another level, the answer is related to a brief side conversation I had with Jim:
    >>The total energy in the atmosphere would millions of joules per 1 m^2 column
    >Ahh yes, I disagree, but not enough to worry about it.

    The specific heat capacity of air is very nearly 1000 J/kg*K. The atmosphere has a mass of about 5E18 kg. The earth has an area of about 5E14 m^2. So the mass above any m^2 is about 10,000 kg. This means that warming a 1 m^2 column of air by 1 K would take ~ 10,000,000 J. Since the air is well above 100 K, then warming it from o K would mean it contains a few Billion J of energy.

    When looked at from that perspective, losing a few hundred J each second via radiation back to the earth doesn’t seem so amazing.

  359. O H Dahlsveen says:

    That is why I ask: Where does that figure of 324 W/m² used for back-radiation come from?

    Just to expand on what Tim says, the point is that this number for the back-radiation is not in any way constrained by the original problem, at least if you assume you don’t know the total energy flows away from the surface. Once you do determine those flows (e.g., the amount radiated by the surface, the amount lost due to convection and evapo-transpiration), then you could determine it by balancing those energy transfers from the surface and the energy transfers to the surface (from the sun and from this back-radiation term).

    How much back-radiation there is depends entirely on the details of the atmospheric composition and the variation of temperature with height in the atmosphere. Experimentally, it is determined by actually measuring it. Theoretically, it is determined by solving the problem of radiative / convective transfer in the atmosphere, given the measured IR absorption spectra of the constituents.

  360. “”””” Tim Folkerts says:
    March 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm
    George,

    Before I contemplate a reply to your last comment, I was hoping you could tell how much of that was sarcasm. You see, I agreed with most of what you said — right up until your conclusions. But along the way you were sounding more and more sarcastic (eg “king” CO2). “””””

    Sorry Tim; that “King” CO2 certainly was an off-stage comment (stage left); an obtuse snark, at those who like to claim that CO2 is THE greenhouse gas and rules the roost, while H2O is NOT a greenhouse gas, and merely the hand maiden of CO2 to appear on demand, and warm the place up; which CO2 by itself is clealry incapable of doing; witness, how cold it gets at night in an arid desert, sans H2O, and with CO2 (presumably) firing on all cylinders.

    I am personally of the opinioin, and believe I ultimately will be proven correct, that this planet, if it had not a molecule of CO2 in its atmosphere, would be about the same Temperature that it is now; it would simply have slightly less global average cloud cover; as in cloud area percentage, cloud optical density, cloud persistence time, and as Stephen Wilde would say some strategic shifting of where the clouds were.
    Yes the loop gain is not infinite, so there would be some slight average Temperature drop; but nothing like the 24 deg C drop that the IPCC would claim with Climate Sensitivity set at 3 deg C per doubling, and eight halvings to get down under 2 ppm of CO2 from today’s 390. It is logarithmic isn’t it ??
    Well we currently have a global temperature range of about 150 degrees C between extremes; a couple of degrees extra here and there will hardly be noticeable. Humans moved around with the climate; and never even realized that they were even going anywhere; it was all totally transparent; and will remain so.

    “”””” Joel Shore says:
    March 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    George and Phil: Are you two really disagreeing? It seems like you are just emphasizing two sides of the same coin. Yes, it is necessary to have some sort of heat source and yes the dichroic coating (or the greenhouse gases) leave the temperature hotter than it would be in their absence. Now, can we all be friends? ;-) “””””

    Joel, I believe that I am about on the same page as Phil; perhaps my emphasis is different.

    My view is simply that the earth surface is NOT warmed by the “Return” (be it reflection, or absorption/re-emission, or re-conduction or re-convection etc) of LWIR radiant energy that originated at the surface in the first place; but it IS warmed by the additional input solar spectrum energy, that enters the system; during the delay time by which the GHG effect SLOWS THE EXIT of the surface emitted radiation.

    I’m already on record, as agreeing, that the GHG effect is real, and that the earth is warmer as a result; the contrary view, is in my opinion a suicidal defense position.

    Where I differ from the AGW catastrophists, is that I also believe that the GHG effect, is also somewhat irrelevent, since I believe the whole system is in stable feedback control as a consequence of the physical properties of H2O.

    If water had a different freezing point, or boiling point, or vapor pressure curve, or specific heat , or latent heat; etc, then the range of Temperatures on earth would be different; BUT THEY AREN’T, so it isn’t.

    Key evidence is that incoming solar spectrum energy goes “mostly” into the deep oceans during daylight, and hasn’t really showed up for work yet, when tomorrow’s sunrise occurs, and maybe won’t show up for weeeks or months.

    Plus there is that little difference of opinion with that person who writes under the pseudonum of ‘Mike’ about whether water molecules in the atmosphere, reduce the amount of incoming solar spectrum energy that reaches the surface. That is irrefutable, incontrovertible, even axiomatic. I’ve also explained many times, that the portion of that incoming energy, that is captured in the atmospehre by H2O, and thereby DOES warm the atmosphere is itself split in half, before it can reach the earth as atmospheric emissions of LWIR radiation (or any re-conduction or other thermal energy transport process to the surface). The other half of the atmospheric H2O captured solar energy is eventually lost to space; so it never reaches the surface either as solar spectrum radiant energy, or any other form of energy, since the atmospheric emissions are isotropic.

    And just for good measure; what I asserted was true for H2O molecules is also tue for some other green house gases; for example CO2 itself (the king) and also ozone. Both of those molecular species in the atmosphere also intercept some solar spectrum energy, before it gets a chance to reach the surface.

    But Joel, I DO consider any difference with Phil to be a caution, that maybe more digging is required, before I cement my view of the reality; and I always thought that we all really were :-}

  361. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 17, 2011 at 12:02 am
    Ira says
    “GREAT question, Oliver Ramsay, and I’ve got an excellent answer!”
    ————————————
    I’m sorry. I agree that it was a great question but I disagree that it was an excellent answer.
    I was looking for more than just the statement that reflected IR is a power source.

    And you got more, including the fact that resistance goes up with temperature and hence the heating effect goes down as temperature goes up (V^2/R).
    You also had it explained to you again that T^4 isn’t exponential.
    Your assertion that you knew what a dichroic is seems unlikely since you appeared to think that it absorbed radiation and heated up thus radiating more!
    “Therefore, there is more to be absorbed by the filter and it gets hotter. (This happens even on my planet!)
    The filter then radiates exponentially more at its new, higher temperature.
    Now, there is more for the filament to absorb.

  362. And an aside to the dichroic lamp coating issue; I am sure some of you folks are too young to know about “photographic film” and “color slides”, and “slide projectors”; they are the sort of vaccuum tubes (valves) of the family picture scene.

    The Typical “slide Projector” had a 500 Watt (electrical) tungsten filament bulb that had a straight ribbon like filament or even a couple. The projector also contained a dichroic “cold mirror”, which was a high reflectance coat for visible wavelengths, but transmissive for non-visible near and IR wavelengths. The mirro was of course outside the lamp bulb and was concave spherical, and placed to the lamp filaments were optically at the center of curvature of the mirror. Well actually they are slightly off center.

    When replacing a burnt out bulb (far too often), a very necessary lamp mirror alignment process was required before returning the projector to service.

    The projector “projection lens” had to be extended so as to form a real image of the lamp filament on the projection screen.

    With any luck, one would also see an image of the mirror reflection of that filament, of course inverted reverted swapped every which way, as happens with an object at the center of curvature of a sphere.

    Once the lamp filament was in sharp focus on the screen, then one had to adjust the position of the mirro to get the image of the filament, also to be in sharp focus on the screen; and the last adjustment, was to turn the mirror slightly off axis, so that the filamen image was displaced sideways, from the filament, creating an extra or extra pair of light souces, that were evenly spaced from the actual filament(s); and NOT laid right on top of those filaments.

    So the “heat” from the lam out the back passed right on through the mirror, to where the cooling fan extracted it, and the light from the back of the filament was added to that from the front, and sent to the optics, and the extra two filaments doubled the area of the illuminations source, which thus gave a wider angle source, so it created a more uniform illumination at the “slide plane” where the “color slide” would go to get projected on the screen.

    So that is the exact opposite of what Phil described, and the projector manufacturer also warned the user to ensure that the filament reflection was NOT placed coincident with the actual filaments, to ensure that any heat that was reflected by the mirror, did not allow the filament temperature to rise; otherwise it would burn out even sooner. But it is till the electricity that heats the filament, and ultimately will burn it out.

  363. Oliver Ramsay says on March 17, 2011 at 12:02 am: “I’m sorry. I agree that it was a great question but I disagree that it was an excellent answer.
    I was looking for more than just the statement that reflected IR is a power source.”

    I think we are looking for the same thing Oliver. I am looking because I am a firm believer in the fact that radiation is a transport system for energy which can no more increase the surface-temperature than a passenger train can increase the worlds population. – If it is a fact that back-radiation from GHGs is warming the surface then why is back radiation from the surface to GHGs not constantly warming say the clouds and the clouds further warming themselves up through “inter-cloud back-radiation”? Now there’s a new word but I like it as clouds must be able to do this, according to AGW and other science data as clouds are made up of individual water droplets and each droplet can therefore emit and absorb radiation from it’s surface.
    There can be no end to radiation and back-radiation within a cloud as long as heat is increasing – and vice-versa. – It is called perpetual motion I believe.

    However I do suspect the fact is that when water evaporates from the surface the resulting vapor is as warm as it ever is going to be unless it later mixes with warmer air rising from below.

  364. O H Dahlsveen says:

    There can be no end to radiation and back-radiation within a cloud as long as heat is increasing – and vice-versa. – It is called perpetual motion I believe.

    Actually, it is called an infinite series. (Besides which, as I noted before, perpetual motion is only impossible if there is no energy source…which alas is not the case for the earth.) That the sum of an infinite series can lead to a finite result may have been a mystery in the days of Xeno’s Paradox but is not a mystery today: Consider the geometric sum 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + …, which, in the infinite limit, converges to the value 2.

  365. Tim Folkerts says on March 17, 2011 at 6:46 am: “At one level, the answer is simply “IR spectroscopy can measure the EM energy and the result is about 324 W/m^2″”

    Yes, OK Tim so 324 W/m² can be measured. – However that does not answer my question which was: “where are these 324 W/m² coming from” I asked because if we assume thermal equilibrium, it cannot be from what is absorbed by the surface and atmosphere as together they receive only: (342 W/m² – 107 W/m² reflected) = 235 W/m² which is 89 W/m² less than 324 W/m², but the same as the 235 W/m² which are leaving at the top of the atmosphere (TOA).

    You go on to say in ending your explanation – (thanks for answering, by the way) – : “When looked at from that perspective, losing a few hundred J each second via radiation back to the earth doesn’t seem so amazing.”

    No Joules are lost each second via radiation back to the earth Tim. That is not the problem. The problem is that at least 89 W/m² or maybe even the full 324 W/m² must have been created to make up that figure of 324 W/m².
    Remember the Kiehl & Trenberth (1997) Energy Flow Plan is the officially accepted explanation for AGW and as long as that is so, it is no good for you, me, Ira or anybody else to attempt to produce a more complicated albeit a much better one. So if you and everybody else accept Kiehl & Trenberth (1997) then ok fair enough. – I may agree with Ira how and why back radiation is done – but something is wrong, and I do not know what – not yet. I have just a few questions for you which I hope you can answer for me, a simple yes or no will do:
    1)Can “EM radiation”(EMR) be described as “electromagnetic power transportation” a bit akin to electric conduction except EMR can be transferred through a vacuum and not solid conductors?
    2)Is the kinetic energy of an object the energy which it possesses due to its motion?
    3)Is Heat a product of work done, say like friction between two or more moving engine components? – Or even friction between moving atoms whether they make up a substance like a gas or even just a single molecule?
    4)Can the temperature of an object be describes as a measure of it’s atoms or molecules’ kinetic energy?

  366. Joel Shore says on March 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm : “Consider the geometric sum 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + …, which, in the infinite limit, converges to the value 2.”

    Seen it – considered it – binned it – infinitely!

  367. @ Phil & Ira
    I apologize for my peremptory response to Ira.
    I appreciate that you and Joel and George are a lot more knowledgeable than I am and I think a lot about what you say.
    I was impatient with the point that resistance increases with temperature because it didn’t exclude a similar situation where the heat source was something other than an electrial current.
    This was the same thing with the reflection, emission business.
    In my thinking I had been exchanging absorbers and conductors for the reflector since I figured they should all do the same thing.

  368. O H Dahlsveen says:

    Yes, OK Tim so 324 W/m² can be measured. – However that does not answer my question which was: “where are these 324 W/m² coming from” I asked because if we assume thermal equilibrium, it cannot be from what is absorbed by the surface and atmosphere as together they receive only: (342 W/m² – 107 W/m² reflected) = 235 W/m² which is 89 W/m² less than 324 W/m², but the same as the 235 W/m² which are leaving at the top of the atmosphere (TOA).

    Your question reminds me of this riddle: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061012174256AAnxwnP

    The answer is that you are just not thinking about it correctly. There is in fact no more reason that the radiative exchanges between the surface and atmosphere have to be smaller than what is received from the sun than there is reason why what each salesman paid plus what the clerk pocketed has to add up to the original $30 price that he quoted. On Earth, this is somewhat less obvious than, say, on Venus because at least for the Earth the violation of the “law” that you seem to think should exist is not that large.

    However, Venus ( http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/venusfact.html ) has a blackbody temperature of 154 K, meaning that it (including its atmosphere) is absorbing only 65 W/m^2 from the sun (and I believe most of that gets absorbed before reaching the surface). This is lower than earth’s despite Venus’s closer distance to the sun because of its higher albedo. However, its surface temperature of 737 K means that it is radiating over 16000 W/m^2 from its surface! If you lived on Venus, the sort of numbers that you are trying to compare wouldn’t even be close enough to make you ever suppose that the incoming solar radiation somehow sets the limit on what radiative transfers could be within the Venetian system.

  369. O H Dahlsveen,

    “Seen it – considered it – binned it – infinitely!”
    It is difficult to want to give a more detailed response when you seem consider basic math concepts as trash!

    “where are these 324 W/m² coming from”
    The air was getting energy several ways from other objects (the surface and the sun)

    + 24 W/m^2 from thermals
    + 78 W/m^2 from evapo-transpiration
    + 350 W/m^2 from IR from the earth
    + 67 W/m^2 from the sun
    ——————————
    = 519 W/m^2

    That leaves plenty of energy to supply the 324 W/m^2 of IR energy radiating toward the surface. (With 195 W/m^2 left over to radiate to space)

    Its a lot like money exchange among 4 people. I could pay you $350 every month for watching my kids and you could pay me $324 every month for mowing your yard. I don’t need to have been paid $350 from someone else in order to do that. I just have to have some money in my back account to cover the expense temporarily. I would eventually run out of money, but I also get a little allowance from Father Sun of $168, so that keeps me afloat (and allows me to pay you $24 and $78 for other jobs, and to pay $40 to Mr Outer Space) .

    You (the atmosphere) get an allowance of $67 from Father Sun. This (plus my $350 + $24 + $78) gives you enough money to pay Mr Outer Space $195 in addition to the $350 you pay me.

    The point is that the $324 you pay me does not need to come directly from the “allowance” from the Sun paid us. It does not need to equal $168 at all!

  370. I noticed a couple numbers were wrong above, but the point is correct.

    (The 3rd line from the end should be “in addition to the $324 you pay me. )
    (The last line should be “It does not need to equal $168 + $67 at all!” )

    PS Joel, I was thinking about that same puzzle too!

  371. Joel Shore

    …….”That is why it is good to have a whole hierarchy of models…But it is meaningless to object that the simple model is too simple when the evidence from the more complicated models show that in fact the simple model is fine for showing the basic qualitative behavior. Sure, it’s simple…That’s the point.”……

    Simple and wrong.

    Joel its a big surprise that you are still punting the discredited radiating layer model.

    I thought the smart IPCC advocates now favour the more “advanced” proposition;

    1. Radiative effects at atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere are small enough to be almost ignored.
    That is R W Wood was correct.

    2. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is set by Gravitational Field modified by Latent Heat of Vapourisation of Water to determine the actual lapse rate.

    3. The real “Greenhouse Effect” happens above the tropopause the so called TOA effect.
    The balance of incoming Solar to outgoing Long Wavelength Radiation driving changes to Earth Surface Temperature.
    This top to surface rather than surface to top process does seem more plausable.

  372. I said
    Kirchoff’s Law does not hold strictly for this situation as significant quantities of thermal energy are passed on to non emitters.

    Phil. says
    Kirchoff’s Law certainly does apply it’s just that you don’t know what it says!
    Emissivity=absorptivity still holds true when collisional deactivation occurs.
    My reply
    This does not explain why the photon energy at 15um “goes missing” being transformed into translational energy of N2 and O2 which may be for instance returned to surface by conduction or turned into PE by upward convection.
    Also much more likely H2O longer wavelengths are now favoured by 30 to 1 numerical ratio and also SB probability consideration.

    I said
    Some of this energy can come back to CO2 by collision but emission of 15um as we get to higher altitudes becomes increasingly unlikely due to temperature drop.

    Phil. says
    Wrong it becomes increasingly likely due to the lower collision rate.
    My comment
    See above and you need to explain yourself in more detail.
    How does lower collision rate lead to more CO2 molecules getting enough collision energy to become “active” enough again to emit 15um photon?

    I said
    A more likely radiative outlet path would be H2O which has several wavelengths >15um available.
    This accounts for the large “bite” missing around 15um as shown in the Ian’s satellite “looking down” graphs above.

    Phil. says
    No that is classic CO2 spectrum, go to MODTRAN and you can reproduce it exactly but not using H2O.

    My comment
    You go to your computer and you exclude H2O and your point is?

  373. Bryan said:

    Joel its a big surprise that you are still punting the discredited radiating layer model.

    In what way is it discredited? Is it a simplified model that neglects some things (like convection)? Sure. However, that doesn’t mean it is not still useful…again as part of a hierarchy of models.

    I thought the smart IPCC advocates now favour the more “advanced” proposition;

    It is not like acceptance of the greenhouse effect makes one an IPCC advocate. Roy Spencer, Willis Eschenbach, and Ira Glickstein are far from “IPCC advocates” but they all accept the basic tenets of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

    1. Radiative effects at atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere are small enough to be almost ignored.
    That is R W Wood was correct.

    I haven’t read Wood personally but my impression is that his contribution was showing that a real greenhouse operates primarily by reducing convection rather than reducing outgoing radiation. That just addresses how good the analogy is between a greenhouse and the “greenhouse effect”, not the reality of the effect.

    2. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is set by Gravitational Field modified by Latent Heat of Vapourisation of Water to determine the actual lapse rate.

    Actually, I would say that these set an upper bound on the lapse rate…I.e., if the lapse rate exceeds these then convection tends to develop and bring the lapse rate back down toward this limiting value. However, I don’t think there is any reason why you can’t have an atmosphere with a lower lapse rate (or even warming with increasing height as in the stratosphere). Why we tend not to have that situation in the troposphere is because it is primarily heated from below (both because solar energy mainly reaches the surface before being absorbed and because greenhouse gases tend to “trap” the terrestrial radiation).

    3. The real “Greenhouse Effect” happens above the tropopause the so called TOA effect.
    The balance of incoming Solar to outgoing Long Wavelength Radiation driving changes to Earth Surface Temperature.
    This top to surface rather than surface to top process does seem more plausable.

    I don’t think that you are correct that the actual action happens above the tropopause. Most of it happens in the mid- and upper-troposphere, e.g., most of the radiation that escapes to space is from that region. The reason for talking about the top-of-the-atmosphere is that looking at the radiative balance there is most fundamental in the sense that the only significant exchange of energy across that boundary is via radiation. Focusing too much, for example, on the radiative effects at the surface misses the fact that convection plays a large role in determining the surface temperature. In that sense, I suppose the radiative shells model can lead to some wrong ideas if taken too far, but that tends to be true of any very simple model. It doesn’t mean the model is not useful for capturing much of the basic physics involved.

  374. Tim Folkerts says on March 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm:

    “O H Dahlsveen,
    “Seen it – considered it – binned it – infinitely!”
    It is difficult to want to give a more detailed response when you seem consider basic math concepts as trash!
    “where are these 324 W/m² coming from”
    The air was getting energy several ways from other objects (the surface and the sun)
    + 24 W/m^2 from thermals
    + 78 W/m^2 from evapo-transpiration
    + 350 W/m^2 from IR from the earth
    + 67 W/m^2 from the sun
    ——————————
    = 519 W/m^2 “

    Look Tim, you think I am stupid just because I binned the old Joel Shore’s “drunken party question” on March 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm where he wrote: “Consider the geometric sum 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + …, which, in the infinite limit, converges to the value 2.”
    For one, yes it converges towards but will not ever get to 2. – That one is as old as the hills. – However the reason for the binning was that it has nothing, as far as I can see, to do with the extra energy created in The Energy Flow Plan. – Enough said?

    Your calculation above however is counting energy twice in as much as the “+ 24 W/m^2 from thermals” and the “+ 78 W/m^2 from evapo-transpiration” are two out of three parts coming from the 168 W/m² which the surface absorbs and uses to create thermals and to evaporate water. What the surface has got left is 66 W/m² which it transfers by other means to the atmosphere. (What those ‘other means’ are, the plan does not disclose)
    If you look at what leaves at the top of the Atmosphere you will find it is 235 W/m² which is exactly the same as the ‘Earth System’ (ES) absorbs from incoming solar irradiation. – 235 W/m² is all the energy which the ES has absorbed from the Sun. – Your 519 W/m² are not mentioned at all, anywhere on the ‘Energy Flow Plan’ – thank goodness.

  375. Joel Shore says:

    “I haven’t read Wood personally but my impression is that his contribution was showing that a real greenhouse operates primarily by reducing convection rather than reducing outgoing radiation. That just addresses how good the analogy is between a greenhouse and the “greenhouse effect”, not the reality of the effect.”

    This is puzzling statement. The so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ assumes that radiation is trapped by IR absorbing gases thus warming the Earth. The very fact that Wood demonstrated that a greenhouse gets warm by trapping air, and that ‘trapping radiation’ had nothing to do with it, shows that the ‘greenhouse effect’ is a complete misnomer. So rather than demonstrating that ‘the analogy is a good one’ it demonstrates quite the opposite.

  376. O H Dahlsveen,

    I think we will have to agree to disagree. I have no problem with the surface gaining 492 W/m^2 from various objects and losing 492 W/m^2 to various objects, thereby maintaining a steady temperature. I have no problem with the atmosphere gaining 519 W/m^2 from various objects and losing 519 W/m^2 to various objects, thereby maintaining a steady temperature. There is no contradiction with either the 1st law or the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  377. Oh Tim, I did not overlook your economics lessen at the end of your last, or previous comment to me but I have needed some more time for that one as when I started to look at it more closely, I began to realize why you think as you do.
    You see you are deluding yourself into thinking you have got a monthly income of $ 350 every month. – Your monthly income I am afraid is only the allowance you get from Father Sun. Of that allowance $ 107 are lost ‘in transaction fees’ to a man called Space. $ 67 goes straight into your Atmos IR (Inland Revenue tax) account where it stays until all tax is due. (Life for grown-ups is hard) However Father Sun also pays you $ 168 as ‘cash in hand’ in order to enable you to do various jobs like distilling (he himself makes moonshine too) and grow corn and sugar-beet and generally keep flapping around disturbing the air until next payday when incidentally taxes are also due. – Some friends of yours, The CO2 and H2O people are trying to delay the IR-man’s action by sending some of your allowance back to you but they cannot send it all and because of inflation the money that comes back is only worth half of what it was in the first place. And anyway the H2O people are quite unreliable as they keep flitting about and never stay together in the same place for very long. But having said that, the little bit they can do does help and you may feel a bit of a warm glow of happiness from them. However beware of “Indian-givers” because only when Father Sun is awake and keeps sending you your allowance can they see ”their way clear” to “Loop part of your allowance back to you”
    During “Dark Times” when Father Sun is around the other side they say: sorry you are getting colder but we have no options but to take all the extra money back because it will easily be detected at times when no hard cash is being delivered.
    So Tim, maybe you will, if you think about it, realizes that some kind of GH Effect (GHE) is possible even if a monthly income of $ 350 every month is not.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    PS. The moderators are getting kind of “slow and tired” on this post now so I may vanish too. BUT I VILL BE BACK! —— Somewhere else on WUWT – I do hope I have not offended any one as that would not have been the intention. If anyone think I am “B—dy” stupid, it could just be because I am, but don’t worry, it’s not contagious (it does not back–radiate. Beauty can, – but stupidity cannot radiate.)

  378. I said
    1. Radiative effects at atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere are small enough to be almost ignored.
    That is R W Wood was correct.

    Joel Shore commented
    I haven’t read Wood personally but my impression is that his contribution was showing that a real greenhouse operates primarily by reducing convection rather than reducing outgoing radiation. That just addresses how good the analogy is between a greenhouse and the “greenhouse effect”, not the reality of the effect.

    My reply
    R W Wood proved as you say “a real greenhouse operates primarily by reducing convection”
    But he also proved that Radiative effects at atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere are small enough to be almost ignored.
    If you are in any doubt about this I can point you to further studies.

    In a discussion with a well read greenhouse effect believer I asked how high would a glasshouse have to be to show a noticeable effect, he replied 10kilometres.
    In effect he had joined the TOA explanation faction making any further discussion of R W Wood redundant.

  379. Oh, how can I leave this place as long as Tim Folkerts and Joel Shore are still about? _
    We may not agree upon things, But I do believe that the one who has won the final argument has lost the excitement of the ongoing journey.

  380. Bryan says:

    My reply R W Wood proved as you say “a real greenhouse operates primarily by reducing convection” But he also proved that Radiative effects at atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere are small enough to be almost ignored.

    Wood proved no such thing. At best he conjectured. Here is what his 1909 paper ( http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/Note_on_the_Theory_of_the_Greenhouse.pdf ) said about the subject (it turns out to be very short):

    Is it therefore necessary to pay attention to trapped radiation in deducing the temperature of a planet as affected by its atmosphere?

    The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere, warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere, remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground, even under the most favourable conditions.

    I do not pretend to have gone very deeply into the matter, and publish this note merely to draw attention to the fact that trapped radiation appears to play but a very small part in the actual cases with which we are familiar.

    A proof, that is not, by a long shot. (It always amuses me when AGW skeptics will call something a proof if it supports what they want to believe…whereas the would certainly deride the same level of speculation in support of AGW as not even science, let alone a proof.) And, of course, the science of radiation transfer has advanced in the last century so that we can now calculate things and understand how Wood was wrong.

    And, yes, the greenhouse effect does depend on the fact that the temperature decreases with height in the troposphere and thus that when the effective emitting layer increases with height as more greenhouse gases are added, this results in the emission occurring from layers that are colder and thus radiate less. (I would say that in a rough sense, the simple shell model does in fact include this, although that model neglects the convective transfers that contribute significantly to determining the vertical temperature structure of the atmosphere.)

  381. >>
    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm
    Your 519 W/m² are not mentioned at all, anywhere on the ‘Energy Flow Plan’ – thank goodness.
    <<

    In mathematics, 1+1 is the same as 2. The sum of the inputs to the atmosphere is 519 W/m², and the sum of the outputs from the atmosphere is 519 W/m². If that isn’t mentioning 519 W/m², then I can see why you’re having trouble determining where the 324 W/m² is coming from. I ran my model where I started from zero atmosphere energy flux and stepped it through several cycles. I was planning on explaining the cycles, but I think we’re wasting our time.

    Jim

  382. Joel Shore
    ……”And, of course, the science of radiation transfer has advanced in the last century so that we can now calculate things and understand how Wood was wrong.”……..

    Joel that is just an assertion give me some proof that as you say “Wood was wrong.”.

  383. Bryan,

    The “proof” (really, absolutely overwhelming evidence since I like to avoid the word “proof” outside of mathematics, since science is inductive not deductive) is most simply in the fact that the surface temperature of the earth is well above the “blackbody” temperature necessary for radiative balance between the sun, earth, and space. Additional evidence is provided by looking at the radiation and its spectral distribution both at the earth’s surface and from satellites.

    And then there is the theoretical understanding, which ranges from simple models that give one a basic intuition of what is going on to detailed radiative-convective transfer calculations using the measured absorption lines for the various atmospheric components and can be compared to the measured data.

    It is totally bizarre that you hang on to a few paragraphs of conjecture from a century-old paper and ignore a century of evidence to the contrary! That’s not science, it is ideological conviction.

  384. Jim Masterson says March 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm:
    “In mathematics, 1+1 is the same as 2. The sum of the inputs to the atmosphere is 519 W/m², and the sum of the outputs from the atmosphere is 519 W/m². If that isn’t mentioning 519 W/m², then I can see why you’re having trouble determining where the 324 W/m² is coming from. I ran my model where I started from zero atmosphere energy flux and stepped it through several cycles. I was planning on explaining the cycles, but I think we’re wasting our time.”

    If you know that 1+1 is the same as 2 Jim, then why is it so difficult to understand that: 67 + 168 = 519 must be wrong?

    The total energy input from the Sun is 342 W/m² of which 107 W/m² is reflected back to space. 342 – 107 = 235 W/m². – If any more than 235 W/m² is returned to space then that must be taken from what is stored in oceans and landmasses and we will have global cooling. That is not only elementary mathematics but elementary science too.

  385. “I began to realize why you think as you do. You see you are deluding yourself into thinking you have got a monthly income of $ 350 every month.”

    I begin to realize why you think the way you do — so perhaps we are making progress.

    I am under absolutely no delusion that my income is $350. In fact, I am quite sure my net income is (almost) exactly $0. It is the net income that matters.

    Returning from the analogy,
    *if the surface layer started at some temperature (and hence some thermal energy stored within the surface layer), and the net energy flow is zero (492 W/m^2 in and 492 W/m^2 out) then the surface layer ends with the same thermal energy and hence the same temperature.
    *if the atmosphere started at some temperature (and hence some thermal energy stored within the atmosphere), and the net energy flow is zero (519W/m^2 in and 519 W/m^2 out) then the atmosphere ends with the same thermal energy and hence the same temperature.

    “The CO2 and H2O people are trying to delay the IR-man’s action by sending some of your allowance back”
    This is a wrong interpretation. The atmosphere has its own energy (millions of Joules in each 1 m^2 column of air). It gives 324 W/m^2 of its own energy to the surface. It also gives 195 W/m^2 of its own energy to outer space. So it gives 324 W/m^2 + 195 W/m^2 = 519 W/m^2 net outward energy flow. It would cool off very quickly unless it also got 519 W/m^2 from elsewhere. Since this is the same amount as it receives (some from the sun; some from the surface), then it will not have a net change in energy.

    (As a slight correction, the premise of global warming is that the net balance is NOT exactly 0 W/m^2, but rather there is a slight net flux into the atmosphere, leading to a slight increase in temperature over the course of years.)

  386. “If you know that 1+1 is the same as 2 Jim, then why is it so difficult to understand that: 67 + 168 = 519 must be wrong?”

    What is this equation?

    67 (W/m^2 from the sun to the atmosphere)
    + 168 (W/m^2 from the sun to the surface)
    —————————————
    = 519 (W/m^2 from the atmosphere to the surface and to outer space)

    You are comparing apples to oranges. Of COURSE it is wrong! We all know that.

    Conservation of energy says that (as long as temperatures remain constant), then the total energy into some system (for example the atmosphere), must equal the energy out of that system.
    You are looking at SOME of the energy into the atmosphere and comparing it to ALL of the energy leaving. (And then throwing in an irrelevant energy flow into some other system.)

    Now, if you want to expand your “system” to be the “whole earth” then 67 W/m^2 + 168 W/m^2 =235 W/m^2 would be the power absorbed into that system. You should compare that to the power leaving that system (40 W/m^2 from the surface through the “atmospheric window” and 195 W/m^2 from the atmosphere). This does indeed balance exactly as it should.

    Focus on one “system” at a time.

  387. My reply to Tim Folkerts March 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm is:

    Tim, I finally think I have worked out how your “defense of The Energy Flow Plan” goes. The order I am doing it in below may not be the same as yours but the principle must be similar.

    Let’s start at the bottom or with the Earth’s surface which has got enough energy stored to maintain a steady temperature. It sends 24 W/m² of energy away via thermals, a further 78 W/m² as latent heat plus 390 W/m² as surface radiation. The surface receives 168 W/m² from the Sun and is in need of 324 W/m² to restore balance.

    All this energy which adds up to 492 W/m² is directed towards the atmosphere as a whole but 350 W/m² are absorbed by GHGs and 40 W/m² are passed straight back to space through the atmospheric window, which means 452 W/m² mixes in with 67 W/m² which makes a grand total of 519 W/m². The atmosphere then radiates 195 W/m² back to space and 324 W/m² down to the surface via the GHGs. Now both the Surface and the Atmosphere are in equilibrium.

    Fine Tim, if what I have written above agrees with you then the plan shows equilibrium and therefore no sign of the dreaded “AGW”. It does however not tell me how the figure of 324 W/m² was arrived at.
    Nor does it tell me why GHGs only radiate in one direction (towards the surface and not back to space.) Incidentally the “Outgoing long-wave radiation” is also one-directional. But that’s another story.

  388. >>
    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    If you know that 1+1 is the same as 2 Jim, then why is it so difficult to understand that: 67 + 168 = 519 must be wrong?
    <<

    I didn’t say that, so you’re deliberately trying to obfuscate this conversation. As I said previously, this is wasting our time.

    I have an inverter that converts 12 VDC to 117 VAC at 60 Hz. I guess you’re going to tell me it doesn’t exist because 12 VDC doesn’t equal 117 VAC. You would be kinda right, because 12 VDC doesn’t equal 117 VAC. Yet I can still use plug-in house-hold items that run on 117 VAC in my 12 VDC based vehicle.

    Jim

  389. O H,

    I think we are on the same page now for the balance of energy.

    As for how the 324 W/m^2 was arrived at, I don’t know exactly. I assume that all the numbers were the primary found from measurements – IR spectroscopy is a well-established technique. Beyond they, I suspect they were affirmed by calculations (eg how much energy should a black body emit; how much energy would it take to evaporate all the rain that falls ….).

    The gas does radiate in both directions. The bottom radiates 324 W/m^2 down and 324 W/m^2 upward (which gets absorbed by intermediate layers). The top (which is much cooler than the bottom) emits 190 W/m^2 upward and (190 W/m^2 downward (which again is absorbed by intermediate layers at intermediate temperatures). The simplified Trenberth diagram skips these energy flows within the atmosphere.

    Finally, the diagram shows an equilibrium situation, where everything is balanced. If anything changed (eg, more clouds, more GHGs, stronger sunlight) then all the flows would need to be re-adjusted until equilibrium was re-established. Even small changes would add up. For example, the heat needed to raise a 1 m^2 column of atmosphere by 1 C is about Q = mc(DeltaT) = 10,000 kg * 1000 J/kg*C * 1 C = 10,000,000 J. An imbalance of only ~ 0.3 W/m^s would provide this much energy in a year. So if any of the numbers for the atmosphere changed by this amount, the results would be way more than the observed rate of change.

  390. Joel Shore says

    ……..”It is totally bizarre that you hang on to a few paragraphs of conjecture from a century-old paper and ignore a century of evidence to the contrary! That’s not science, it is ideological conviction.”…….

    My reply

    Joel you show a remarkable level of ignorance about this topic.

    R W Wood was probably the best experimental physicist that America ever produced.
    The quality of genius is that they quickly get to the point.
    Wood nailed two points in this experiment.
    1. Greenhouses(glasshouses) work by stopping convection.
    2. The radiative effects of CO2 are very weak at atmospheric temperatures.

    G&T did an experiment to confirm the conclusions of Wood.

    However here is a two year study published in 2008 that also confirms Woods conclusions.
    Its is interesting paper especially as it comes from a source with no “spin” on the AGW debate.

    It gives massive support for the conclusions of the famous Woods experiment.

    Basically the project was to find if it made any sense to add Infra Red absorbers to polyethylene plastic for use in large commercial agricultural plastic greenhouses.

    Polyethylene is IR transparent like the Rocksalt used in Woods Experiment.

    The addition of IR absorbers to the plastic made it equivalent to “glass”

    The results of the study show that( Page2 )

    …”IR blocking films may occasionally raise night temperatures” (by less than 1.5C) “the trend does not seem to be consistent over time”

    http://www.hort.cornell.edu/hightunnel/about/research/general/penn_state_plastic_study.pdf

    So Joel, all the experimental evidence shows that the radiative effect of gases at atmospheric temperatures is so small as to be practically irrelevant .

    perhaps you think that having a “nice theory” with some “equations” is superior to experimental results.
    You say ” a century of evidence” but show nothing that contradicts Wood.

    Feynman is shown in a short video clip to be quite intolerant of such nonsense.
    You claim to have a physics background.
    Are you not embarrassed when you support such an anti-scientific position?

  391. Bryan says:

    R W Wood was probably the best experimental physicist that America ever produced.
    The quality of genius is that they quickly get to the point.
    Wood nailed two points in this experiment.
    1. Greenhouses(glasshouses) work by stopping convection.
    2. The radiative effects of CO2 are very weak at atmospheric temperatures.

    Wood’s experiment was great for nailing what happens in greenhouses. For what happens in the atmosphere, not so much! And, to Wood’s credit he admitted that this was a limitation when he said, “I do not pretend to have gone very deeply into the matter, and publish this note merely to draw attention to the fact that trapped radiation appears to play but a very small part in the actual cases with which we are familiar.” In Wood’s day, the theory of radiative transfer was not very well-developed, so he can certainly be forgiven for not understanding something (how the radiative effects work in an atmosphere with a lapse rate) that was not widely understood for another 40 or 50 years (although as Spencer Weart’s “History of Global Warming” discusses, there was at least one person who understood the basic principle already in 1901).

    G&T did an experiment to confirm the conclusions of Wood.

    You really should not take that paper seriously. It is one of the most embarrassing pieces to find its way into (even a second rate) physics journal. That paper can basically be summed up by the statement: Everything that is original is wrong and everything that is wrong is not original. They spent several pages arguing that in a greenhouse the primary effect is blocking convection and not radiation when they could have substituted a reference to the wikipedia article on the greenhouse effect.

    So Joel, all the experimental evidence shows that the radiative effect of gases at atmospheric temperatures is so small as to be practically irrelevant .

    Which part of “And, yes, the greenhouse effect does depend on the fact that the temperature decreases with height in the troposphere and thus that when the effective emitting layer increases with height as more greenhouse gases are added, this results in the emission occurring from layers that are colder and thus radiate less” did you not understand?

    Actually, your article does not even address the radiative effect of gases. The IR blocking film is not a gas…It is a plastic and it is presumably quite good at doing what it does. The reason it doesn’t make much difference in the temperature is presumably because it re-radiates what it absorbs and it is maintained at about the temperature of the surface by convection of air (and then its conduction into the plastic) being that for the heights involved, the effect of lapse rate is negligible.

    Feynman is shown in a short video clip to be quite intolerant of such nonsense.

    As for referencing Feynman, you know he was alive when people were talking about the atmospheric greenhouse effect but I can’t find any quotes where he says the effect is a fiction.

    You claim to have a physics background.
    Are you not embarrassed when you support such an anti-scientific position?

    No, because it is actually the scientific position embraced by anyone whose scientific understanding has advanced to the 1950s when these sort of objections were dealt with (see http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm also here http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm and find “saturated” ). That is why even skeptics like Roy Spencer, Willis Eschenbach, and Richard Lindzen accept the atmospheric greenhouse effect…and, to my knowledge, basically even accept the numbers the IPCC uses for the radiative forcing due to a doubling of CO2.

  392. Jim Masterson says on March 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm: “I didn’t say that, so you’re deliberately trying to obfuscate this conversation. As I said previously, this is wasting our time.”

    It was not my intention to try to “obfuscate this conversation” and I am sorry if you feel I have wasted your time. I can assure you, you haven’t wasted mine though because I have learnt a lot about this particular subject.

    If this “Energy flow Plan” was a stick then you and Tim Folkerts have very patiently tried to make me ‘let go of the wrong end of it’

    Even thou one system at a time was what I thought I had been looking at all along when I concentrated on the plan starting from “Incoming Solar Radiation” through to “Outgoing Longwave Radiation”, – before I looked at the “GHG system” it was not until Tim Folkerts said on March 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm: “Focus on one “system” at a time” that ‘the penny dropped’ and I thought: “What if my problem 324 W/m² figure is measured as coming from the ground? Then, in that case, I must start at the other end”. Which is what I did, and Jim “I love it when a Plan comes together!”

    Thanks to you both.

  393. Joel Shore said

    ………. “G&T did an experiment to confirm the conclusions of Wood.

    You really should not take that paper seriously. It is one of the most embarrassing pieces to find its way into (even a second rate) physics journal. “……..

    My reply

    What was really embarrassing was your signature to the Halpern Gang of Six “comment” on the G&T paper.
    You and your other five et als could not even read the paper you were trying to criticise.
    The main thrust of your “comment” was your apparent belief that G&T said that cold objects could not radiate to warmer objects.

    G&Ts effortless reply was “where in the paper did they say that.”

    Since both paper and comment are available in the public domain anyone can check and verify what must be the most stupid “comment paper in print”.

    It must be personally embarrassing to yourself as I asked you the same question two months before publication.
    If you had heeded my freely given advice you would not have suffered this public humiliation.

  394. >>
    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 20, 2011 at 7:40 am

    It was not my intention to try to “obfuscate this conversation” and I am sorry if you feel I have wasted your time. I can assure you, you haven’t wasted mine though because I have learnt a lot about this particular subject.
    <<

    It seems that these arguments focus on the minutiae points instead of the major problems with the model. The KT 97 paper is rather amateurish for a scientific paper. Their figure 7 is obviously intended for a nonscientific audience. Every number on the diagram should have an error range, and some of those ranges are quite large. The window value is “ad hoc” (their words), and they mess up its calculation. In the end, however, the model fails to demonstrate the GHG GW case which is really what is significant.

    Jim

  395. Bryan says:

    You and your other five et als could not even read the paper you were trying to criticise.
    The main thrust of your “comment” was your apparent belief that G&T said that cold objects could not radiate to warmer objects.

    G&Ts effortless reply was “where in the paper did they say that.”

    Well, with a paper like G&T’s, it is hard to figure out exactly what they are saying! There are lots of ways for people to be wrong and we may have made a tactical error in writing in a way that allowed them to paint our comment as addressing only that one interpretation of where they went off the rails. That allowed them to convince those who wanted to be convinced that we somehow had not addressed their main point and in particular pull this statement in the reply over on people like you:

    The correct question is,whether the colder body that radiates less intensively than the warmer body warms up the warmer one. The answer is: It does not.

    Of course, what all of our examples show is that if they mean that the heat flow has to be from hotter object to the colder object, then the greenhouse effect does not violate that. And, if they mean that the colder IR-active atmosphere cannot cause the surface of the earth to be warmer than it would be in the absence of said IR-active atmosphere, we show with our examples exactly why they are absolutely positively wrong in this claim.

    It is hard to write a comment addressing people who are either actively deceiving or actively deluding even themselves…and those who really want to continue to believe G&T will no doubt do so no matter what evidence is presented to show what nonsense they wrote.

  396. Bryan says:
    March 18, 2011 at 2:38 am
    I said
    Kirchoff’s Law does not hold strictly for this situation as significant quantities of thermal energy are passed on to non emitters.

    Phil. says
    “Kirchoff’s Law certainly does apply it’s just that you don’t know what it says!
    Emissivity=absorptivity still holds true when collisional deactivation occurs.”
    My reply
    This does not explain why the photon energy at 15um “goes missing” being transformed into translational energy of N2 and O2 which may be for instance returned to surface by conduction or turned into PE by upward convection.
    Also much more likely H2O longer wavelengths are now favoured by 30 to 1 numerical ratio and also SB probability consideration.

    Doesn’t make sense, also the H2O spectral lines are very scarce around 15 microns and are a couple of orders of magnitude weaker than CO2 in any case.

    I said
    Some of this energy can come back to CO2 by collision but emission of 15um as we get to higher altitudes becomes increasingly unlikely due to temperature drop.

    Phil. says
    “Wrong it becomes increasingly likely due to the lower collision rate.”
    My comment
    See above and you need to explain yourself in more detail.
    How does lower collision rate lead to more CO2 molecules getting enough collision energy to become “active” enough again to emit 15um photon?

    However the molecule gets activated, radiation or collision, at altitude it is more likely to emit IR because of the longer lifetime.

    I said
    A more likely radiative outlet path would be H2O which has several wavelengths >15um available.
    This accounts for the large “bite” missing around 15um as shown in the Ian’s satellite “looking down” graphs above.

    Phil. says
    “No that is classic CO2 spectrum, go to MODTRAN and you can reproduce it exactly but not using H2O.”

    My comment
    You go to your computer and you exclude H2O and your point is?

    That it is impossible to reproduce that signal using the H2O spectrum, which has a very few weak lines in that region, whereas it is an exact match for the CO2 spectrum!

  397. Joel Shore
    If you cannot even read properly the paper you attempt to criticise then your comments are worthless.
    Halpern and Ho Stuart have some excuse as they are not physicists and perhaps have little grounding in thermodynamics however since you and Arthur Smith claim to be physicists you have no such excuse.
    I suggest that you go back and find one mistake in the paper and then perhaps we can have a grown up exchange of views.

  398. Bryan,

    I’m a physicist…not a sanitation engineer. I read physics papers; I am not so good with garbage like G&T. Your last post was just a bunch of silly grandstanding. You complain because I have not properly decoded G&T’s nonsense and gleaned from it exactly where they got as hopelessly confused as they did (if indeed they really are confused as opposed to deceptive, which is the charitable interpretation that I find increasingly implausible)! Guilty as charged!!!

    You clearly haven’t read one word of my previous post where I explained where G&T made a statement that has two possible interpretations:

    (1) It is a rather poor attempt to say something correct but has zero relevance to the greenhouse effect.

    (2) It is incorrect and says that G&T’s central claim in their non-sensical paper is based on an elementary misunderstanding that can easily be comprehended by any decent student in an introductory physics course.

    You come here and defend a paper that even your fellow AGW skeptics like Willis Eschenbach, Roy Spencer, and Ira Glickstein won’t defend. I have some friendly advice for you: You would be much much wiser to follow their lead. But, hey, if you want to do otherwise, have fun! If I were them I would be hopelessly embarrassed! Sing the praises of G&T’s nonsense from the rooftops! I am sure it will create very positive impressions of the AGW skeptic among serious scientists.

  399. Joel Shore

    You must take the prize for a “brass neck”.
    I’m amazed that you have the nerve to discuss your blatant inability to read the paper you criticize.
    Considering the papers are in the public domain and any interested party can look for themselves and find how much drivel the Halpern et al(Joel Shore included) produced is documented there.

    The G&T paper contains several diagrams showing cold and hot surfaces radiating to each other.
    Even the quote Joel highlights, clearly said “colder body that radiates less intensively”

    …….”The correct question is,whether the colder body that radiates less intensively than the warmer body warms up the warmer one. The answer is: It does not.”….

    The paper that Joel co authored clearly said that G&T had said the colder surface did not radiate to the warmer surface,…..

    Have the good manners to apologise to G&T for this gross reading error or anyone who reads this can regard you as an ideological “hack” with no interest in scientific honesty.
    I have no interest in correcting your many mistakes until it is clear that when you turn up at WUWT you are not here just to blindly push CAGW propaganda.
    The climategate e-mail frauds and the cut and paste hockey stick papers and your own pathetic comment paper give an indication of the quality of scientific work you try to defend,

  400. Moderator
    My last post went missing.
    Do I have to repeat it?

    [ Things that just “disappear” have gone to the SPAM queue. We periodically fish them back out when they are not SPAM. -ModE ]

  401. Phil says

    …”That it is impossible to reproduce that signal using the H2O spectrum, which has a very few weak lines in that region, whereas it is an exact match for the CO2 spectrum!”..

    My reply
    Here we are talking of wavelengths around 15un
    Both CO2 and H2O are represented there (see Ira Glickstein previous post).
    We cannot then ignore the substantial H2O contribution.
    See H2O graph in Ira Glicksteins previous post.
    If you think his graphs are in error then take it up with him directly.

  402. Bryan says:
    March 21, 2011 at 2:41 am
    Phil says

    …”That it is impossible to reproduce that signal using the H2O spectrum, which has a very few weak lines in that region, whereas it is an exact match for the CO2 spectrum!”..

    My reply
    Here we are talking of wavelengths around 15un
    Both CO2 and H2O are represented there (see Ira Glickstein previous post).
    We cannot then ignore the substantial H2O contribution.

    If it were a substantial contribution we couldn’t, since it isn’t we can.

  403. I said about radiation around 15um

    “We cannot then ignore the substantial H2O contribution.”

    Phil. says:
    …..”If it were a substantial contribution we couldn’t, since it isn’t we can.”…..

    Ira Glickstein says above;

    ……”H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region”…. and produces graphs above to show this rather obvious conclusion.

    Further since there are 30 times the number of H2O molecules to each CO2 molecule the net result is that the “bite” around 15um is primarily due to H2O.
    Now why would Phil try to contradict this rather obvious conclusion?
    Is it part of the IPCC proponents attempts to “demonise” CO2 -…. I think we should be told!

  404. Bryan, you have said several things that are worth considering, but you are digging deeper into a hole here …

    “Further since there are 30 times the number of H2O molecules to each CO2 molecule the net result is that the “bite” around 15um is primarily due to H2O.
    Now why would Phil try to contradict this rather obvious conclusion?”

    Because that “obvious conclusion” is obviously wrong! The “shape” of the bite is all wrong. This graph is widely available on the internet (including WUWT for that matter). Water takes out a broad bite, starting ~12 um and gradually getting stronger. CO2 takes a narrower bite centered near ~ 15 um.

    Both “bites” are clearly visible in Ira’s original graphics. The broad dip is H2O, the deep sharp dip is CO2. If H2O caused the absorption near 15 um, it would also have to cause similar absorption farther out from 15 um.

  405. Bryan,

    Truly amazing! G&T are spouting nonsense and you are buying it hook, line, and sinker.

    In our abstract, we say:

    They claim that radiative heat transfer from a colder atmosphere to a warmer surface is forbidden, ignoring the larger transfer in the other direction which makes the complete process allowed.

    G&T say in response that they know that the cold surface can radiate to a hotter surface. Well, great! Then, why did they write a paper in which they say in the first two sentences of the abstract that:

    The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the
    traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which
    is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in
    which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is
    radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist.

    They can’t have it both ways…Either they don’t understand how to apply the Second Law or they don’t understand the atmospheric greenhouse effect, because the effect in no way violates the 2nd Law as we illustrate. This is really basic stuff and it is sad that we even have to argue about it.

    Just out of curiosity, since you think that G&T is not nonsense, can you please explain it to us? Tell us exactly what they mean in regards to the greenhouse effect and the 2nd Law. If we have misunderstood it, then pray tell, tell us what it really said! I’m all ears!

  406. Joel Shore

    ……”G&T say in response that they know that the cold surface can radiate to a hotter surface. Well, great! Then, why did they write a paper”……..

    Well they did!
    Furthermore I told you exactly that here on WUWT two months before publication of your “comment” trash that you were completely wrong on this point.
    Now instead of changing your draft you let it be published and made Halpern et al a complete laughing stock for anyone who can read.
    I get the impression that you did not read the paper before the comment publication and you allowed Halpern to use you name, like signing a petition.
    That’s the most charitable interpretation I can put on it.

  407. Tim Folkerts
    Both graphs are shown in Ira Glicksteins graphs above and he makes it clear when he says above;

    ……”H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region”…

    What is the world coming to when Phil and yourself cannot look at the graphs in the article above.
    If you think Ira is publishing errors then take the matter up with him

  408. Bryan: You didn’t answer my question. Why did G&T write a paper in which they said what I quoted from their abstract if they really understood the way the greenhouse effect worked and that it does not violate the 2nd Law? Please, I am all ears if you can present to me a credible interpretation of what G&T said that is consistent both with what they wrote and with the actual facts then I would be impressed. The fact that you haven’t even tried to do so shows that you probably know that what they wrote was indefensible. Neither you nor G&T have ever presented any sort of credible defense of the paper…All the defense consists of is nitpicking and obfuscation with no attempt to coherently explain what they even meant in their original paper! Pathetic!

  409. Bryan, you seem to have not even read the paragraph you are quoting!

    “H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region, particularly above 20μ, where it reaches 100%. CO2 absorbs at up to 100% in the ~15μ region.

    If H2O absorbs “particularly above 20μ” then the absorption would keep getting stronger as the wavelength gets longer. Instead, there is a chunk taken out is localized in the region where “CO2 absorbs at up to 100%”.

    The graphs clearly show this; the paragraph clearly states this; they both clearly contradict your claim that H2O could take that deep bite at 15 μ.

  410. Bryan says:

    Both graphs are shown in Ira Glicksteins graphs above and he makes it clear when he says above;

    ……”H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region”…

    And what does the “…” hide? Oh, it hides this:

    H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region, particularly above 20μ, where it reaches 100%

    So, what Ira is telling you is that if the bite at seen at 15u is due to H2O, it should continue…and even be larger…above 20um, which is exactly what Tim is pointing out to you: The shape of the “bite” is completely incompatible with its being due primarily to H2O.

    Well, at least you are being consistently intellectually dishonest in dealing with both me and with Phil & Tim.

  411. Tim Folkerts and Joel Shore.

    Readers of the past few exchanges will be wondering about your eyesight and your reading ability.
    It is a challenge to make the position so simple that even you can learn from it.

    Look up at Ira Glicksteins graphs above.

    Lets say you give the CO2 graph amplitude of 100 units in the region of 15um.

    Next look at the H2O graph in the same region.

    I make it out to be about half that of CO2 lets say 50 units.

    Now as you both have poor eyesight and a tendency to exaggerate the problems that CO2 cause I will reduce the H2O magnitude to 30 units.

    Now comes the arithmetic are you ready…..

    There are 30 H2O molecules for every CO2 molecule.
    30 x 30units for total H2O effect = 900 units
    CO2 contribution = 100 units

    So H2O has about 9 times the radiative effect of CO2 around 15um.

  412. Bryan says:
    March 21, 2011 at 4:50 am
    I said about radiation around 15um

    “We cannot then ignore the substantial H2O contribution.”

    Phil. says:
    …..”If it were a substantial contribution we couldn’t, since it isn’t we can.”…..

    Ira Glickstein says above;

    ……”H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region”…. and produces graphs above to show this rather obvious conclusion.

    Further since there are 30 times the number of H2O molecules to each CO2 molecule the net result is that the “bite” around 15um is primarily due to H2O.
    Now why would Phil try to contradict this rather obvious conclusion?
    Is it part of the IPCC proponents attempts to “demonise” CO2 -…. I think we should be told!

    I (Ira) do not agree with the line to which I have added Emphasis, but I think it is great that this cross-discussion is going strong 11 days after my original post. THANKS to ALL. Way to go!

    Bryan, please have another look at the CO2 spectrum in my first graphic above. Notice how it peaks at 100% between ~15μ to ~18μ. H2O does not get up to 100% until ~18μ and it doesn’t stay there until ~20μ and above.

    Now, have a look at the bite taken out of the radiation going out to Space (either in my first graphic or in Petty 6.6 or 8.2, also reproduced above).

    You don’t have to be a dentist to see that the teeth marks match the bite. Therefore, as I wrote:

    What Does This All Mean in Plain Language?

    Well, if a piece of blueberry pie has gone missing, and little Johnny has blueberry juice dripping from his mouth and chin, and that is pretty good circumstantial evidence of who took it.

    Clearly, the GHGs in the Atmosphere are responsible. H2O has taken its toll in the ~7μ and ~15μ regions, while CO2 has taken its bite in its special part of the ~15μ region. Radiation in the ~10μ region has taken a pretty-much free pass through the Atmosphere.

  413. Bryan,

    The challenge instead seems to be to make it so clear that you cannot invent another attack. At least 3 people (including now the original author) in multiple posts have explained that the “bite shape” is all wrong to possibly be water.

    You ignored this and tried looking at the “bite depth” claiming that the greater concentrations of H2O would make it much more important than the CO2. The problem here is that the absorption is ALREADY weighted according to atmospheric concentrations. The common graph found all around the internet is “Absorption spectra for major natural greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. (After J. N. Howard, 1959: Proc. I.R.E. 47, 1459; and R. M. Goody and G.D. Robinson, 1951: Quart. H. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 77, (153)” for example at http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gccourse/forcing/images/image7.gif

    This shows the absorption seen in the atmosphere due to typical concentrations. There is no need to re-adjust the strengths of the absorption due to concentrations. Look at the “total” absorption and you will clearly that it is the combination of the previous lines, not weighted 30 times more for water.

    P.S. Simple arithmetic would be the wrong way to deal with 30x concentration, anyway. In fact, your analysis would destroy the entire “atmospheric window” if you were correct because it would end yup blocking the entire window.
    If some initial concentration absorbed 30% (not “30 units” as you describe it), then increasing by a factor of “n” would lead to an absorption of 1 – (1-0.3)^n. For a 30-fold increase, the absorption would be ~ 100% (not “900 units”). This would be about identical to the ~100% absorption seen for CO2 (not 9 times stronger). (There would actually be important differences between blocking 99.99% and 99.9% , but that would be taking this even farther from the realm of analysis appropriate for a discussion like this.)

  414. Tim Folkerts and Ira Glickstein

    The normal interpretation of the graphs would be each taken as a pure sample at atmospheric pressure and temperature.
    In the 15um region CO2 would absorb 100% of a beam of IR of this wavelength in a particular direction of length L
    A pure sample at atmospheric pressure and temperature and at 15um region H2O would absorb 50% of a beam of IR of this wavelength in a particular direction of length L
    When then combined to form air which contains 30 times as much H2O as CO2 then the logic of my post still stands.

    But this is rather a distraction from the original post which Phil and Joel took exception to.

    …..”What you appear to miss out in your layer model is the effects of thermalisation.
    Lets start with CO2 the villain of the IPCC.
    At atmospheric temperatures only around 4% are in active ready to emit 15um mode while the other 96% are ready to absorb.(Using MB statistics)
    The plentiful 15um surface up IR is readily absorbed.
    However the relaxation time length indicates that the chances of re-emitting are unlikely compared to loss by collision with N2 and O2 (99% of atmosphere).
    This causes local heating (thermalisation)
    Kirchoff’s Law does not hold strictly for this situation as significant quantities of thermal energy are passed on to non emitters.
    Some of this energy can come back to CO2 by collision but emission of 15um as we get to higher altitudes becomes increasingly unlikely due to temperature drop.
    A more likely radiative outlet path would be H2O which has several wavelengths >15um available.
    This accounts for the large “bite” missing around 15um as shown in the Ian’s satellite “looking down” graphs above.
    So the net result is slightly increased local troposphere temperature and shifting the radiating spectrum to longer wavelengths.”…..

  415. Interestingly a similar discusion was happening at Claes Johnstons site

    http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com/2011/03/simple-model-for-radiative-heat.html#comments

    Here ScienceofDoom agrees that radiation has nothing to do with the temperature lapse rate in the troposphere.

    20 mars 2011 06:01
    ScienceofDoom sa…

    Claes, why not read a few climate science textbooks of the last few decades?

    The lapse rate in the troposphere – agreed by all – is determined by the adiabatic cooling as the pressure decreases. (Equally you can rewrite this equation as the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy – i.e., the result of gravitation).

    Nothing to do with radiation.

    So who are you arguing with?

  416. Bryan says:
    March 21, 2011 at 4:50 am
    I said about radiation around 15um

    “We cannot then ignore the substantial H2O contribution.”

    Phil. says:
    …..”If it were a substantial contribution we couldn’t, since it isn’t we can.”…..

    Ira Glickstein says above;

    ……”H2O also absorbs strongly in the ~15μ region”…. and produces graphs above to show this rather obvious conclusion.

    Further since there are 30 times the number of H2O molecules to each CO2 molecule the net result is that the “bite” around 15um is primarily due to H2O.
    Now why would Phil try to contradict this rather obvious conclusion?
    Is it part of the IPCC proponents attempts to “demonise” CO2 -…. I think we should be told!

    Because it isn’t an obvious conclusion to anyone who knows what they are talking about!
    Below I have linked a series of MODTRAN spectra for the atmosphere which corresponds to the ‘Tropics looking down’ graph from Petty shown by Ira. The ‘bite’ in the 15 micron region is clear in the composite graph labelled ‘All’. In the second graph the contribution from H2O has been removed, the radiance on the high frequency side of the strong feature at 15 micron has increased but the ‘bite’ itself is unchanged (even the fine structure such as the spike at the center is still clear). The next graph shows the effect of eliminating CO2, the ‘bite’ is totally removed clearly indicating that CO2 is the cause. If you take my advice from above you can replicate this experiment for yourself using MODTRAN.

  417. Phil
    Only someone from climate” science” could write this;

    ……….”If you take my advice from above you can replicate this experiment for yourself using MODTRAN.”……….

    Do you not see the irony of the above

    Imagine the scenario;
    The teacher says to her pupils:

    …….”Today we are going to do an EXPERIMENT to measure the acceleration due to gravity.”………

    Take out your computers and carefully copy out your results.

    There is no hope for a subject or people who play with a computer program and think they are carrying out an experiment.

  418. I wish I knew more about the lapse rate. From what I have learned, ScienceOfDoom may be oversimplifying. Here is what I understand about 4 different “lapse rates”:

    * the “dry adiabatic lapse rate” is approximately 9.8 C/km. It can be calculated from thermodynamics and appropriate gas laws. By definition, adiabatic means it does not transfer energy, so by definition it has nothing to do with radiation or conduction. This typically is applied to parcels of air that are rising or falling fast enough that conduction or radiation don’t make significant differences.

    * the “saturated adiabatic lapse rate” includes effects of water condensation. When air reaches 100% humidity, condensation of water will have a major impact, This number is more complicated to calculate, but lower than the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Typical numbers are around 5 C/km

    * the “environmental lapse rate” is the change in temperature for still air. This is typically around 6.5 C/km

    * Finally, the actual lapse rate can have a wide variety of values, including inversions where the temperature RISES with rising elevation.

    The fact that the atmosphere does NOT follow either the dry adiabatic lapse rate or the saturated adiabatic lapse rate is evidence that actual lapse rates have other influences. In fact, this quote from wikipedia clearly suggest that radiation is at least ONE factor in actual lapse rates.

    “An inversion is also produced whenever radiation from the surface of the earth exceeds the amount of radiation received from the sun, which commonly occurs at night, or during the winter when the angle of the sun is very low in the sky. ” (from their page on inversions)

    All that said, I DO agree that the actual lapse rate is indeed an important part of the temperature profile of the atmosphere.

    Finally, all of this points to the fact that understanding climate involves considerable knowledge of a wide variety of topics. “Simple arithmetic” will not suffice. “Sound-bite science” will not suffice. Skimming through blogs will not suffice. High school physics will not suffice. To really understand this takes a career worth of work. The rest of us are just “Monday morning quarterbacks”. (And while such Monday morning quarterbacks may occasionally make a better call than the professional coach, that does no mean a Monday morning quarterback should be hired to coach the team.)

  419. Bryan says:

    The lapse rate in the troposphere – agreed by all – is determined by the adiabatic cooling as the pressure decreases. (Equally you can rewrite this equation as the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy – i.e., the result of gravitation).

    Nothing to do with radiation.

    So who are you arguing with?

    Actually, the question is who ***YOU*** are arguing with since I don’t think that anybody here has been saying the lapse rate in the atmosphere is set by radiation (unless I missed it). However, it is technically wrong to say it has nothing to do with radiation…because it does have to do with the fact that the atmosphere is heated primarily from the bottom.

    As I noted in a previous post, some combination of the dry and moist adiabatic lapse rates sets what is essentially the maximum lapse rate (because higher lapse rates than this tend to lead to convection which then lowers the lapse rate until marginal stability is restored). However, one could have an atmosphere where the temperature did not drop with height as fast as the adiabatic lapse rate…or even rose with height (as it does in the stratosphere). The reason, this does not happen on earth is that most of the absorption of solar radiation is at the surface…and most of the absorption of terrestrial radiation by greenhouse gases is also near the surface. (On other sites, I have seen arguments back-and-forth about whether eliminating the greenhouse gases alone would be sufficient to create an isothermal atmosphere…or whether we would still have the troposphere with its lapse rate, but I haven’t thought enough about it to have a strong opinion either way.)

    The normal interpretation of the graphs would be each taken as a pure sample at atmospheric pressure and temperature.

    When then combined to form air which contains 30 times as much H2O as CO2 then the logic of my post still stands.

    If you are using “normal” as some sort of synonym for “incorrect” that first statement would be true. As has been pointed out to you, such an interpretation of the graph is simply wrong. I suppose it is an understandable mistake, although the arrogance with which the original argument was presented and now the unwillingness to acknowledge this error are are not very easy to understand. If you are unwilling to acknowledge when you are wrong, it is basically hopeless to carry on a discussion with you.

    So the net result is slightly increased local troposphere temperature and shifting the radiating spectrum to longer wavelengths.”…..

    So, at this point, are you admitting that the bite out of the spectrum is due to the absorption by CO2? I am honestly not even sure what you are trying to argue anymore.

  420. Bryan says:
    March 22, 2011 at 9:05 am
    Phil
    Only someone from climate” science” could write this;

    ……….”If you take my advice from above you can replicate this experiment for yourself using MODTRAN.”……….

    Do you not see the irony of the above

    No irony whatsoever, a university professor explains to a high school student how he can synthesize the spectrum of the IR radiation leaving the earth from space from the line by line database of the individual components. Then compare that spectrum with the observed one, when the excellent agreement is reached even down to detailed structure, the contributions of the individual components can be determined by repeating the procedure while systematically eliminating the components one by one. The student is too lazy to do this and decides to talk trash to the professor so he gets an F for the assignment, and still knows nothing about the subject!

  421. Phil

    I really think you have no idea what an EXPERIMENT is.
    Perhaps you have never carried out a real experiment!

    If your idea of an experiment is to juggle some predigested formula on a computer then you will only get the predictable result of; garbage in = garbage out, endlessly.
    Perhaps in Climate Science courses there are no real experiments – that would explain why so much rubbish is produced.

    Phil’s EXPERIMENT to verify Mann’s Hockey Stick.

    Get computer, get Mann’s temperature series, plot the graph.
    Surprise surprise a hockey stick!
    Just to be sure Phil repeats the EXPERIMENT the following week.

    Unbelievable!!!…… Phil gets exactly the same result.
    Another triumph for Climate Science.

    Phil wonders why Physics and Chemistry students don’t follow the Climate Science model, just think of the money saved on provision of laboratories.
    A further bonus is that awkward results will ever be produced.

  422. Phil. says:

    The student is too lazy to do this and decides to talk trash to the professor so he gets an F for the assignment, and still knows nothing about the subject!

    That’s a bit generous, Phil. The student isn’t lazy; he is actively trying to not find out things that would make him question what he desperately wants to believe. There’s nothing lazy about it…It is just ideology running rampant over rationality.

  423. Ira Glickstein

    John Marshall says:
    A very complicated and flawed article.
    Sjoerd says:
    Ira,
    Please leave out the “degree” when talking about Kelvin. It’s “degree Fahrenheit” and “degree Celsius”, but it’s “Kelvin” (without the “degree”). Same when abbreviated: It’s 270K, not 270ºK.
    Small mistakes like this distract from the article and undermine your credibility: If one can’t get simple details like proper usage of units correct, …
    I said
    Ira Glickstein
    ..”You seem to think that an ordinary blanket is unlike an electric blanket in effect to radiation, perhaps you think it does not radiate?
    For the record an ordinary blanket is a better radiator than for example the atmosphere.”….

    It seems the only enthusiastic supporters of the article are all rabid CAGW proponents.
    Joel Shore regularly turns up at WUWT as a spoiler.
    In a blog to another CAGW supporter Arthur Smith Joel bragged about his unstinting efforts to disrupt this sceptic platform.
    However Joel is more famous (or infamous) for going into print in attacking Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner(1) in a paper for things they didn’t say.(4)
    Phil thinks you can do EXPERIMENTS on a computer.
    There is little hope for such a level of confusion.

    Ira I would respectfully suggest that before your next article you revise your thermodynamics undergraduate work .
    After that you will appreciate that reference (1), is a traditional critique within the frame Of Physics of some current nonsense underpinning the current IPCC position”

    [1] “Falsification Of the atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effects within the frame Of Physics” by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner; International Journal of Modern Physics B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009) pages 275-364.

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

    [2] “Proof of the atmospheric greenhouse effect” by Arthur P. Smith; arXiv:0802.4324v1 [physics.ao-ph]

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.4324v1.pdf

    In this paper Arthur Smith defends the current IPCC position and has the merit of taking issue with G&T for something that they did say.

    [3] “Comments on the “Proof of the atmospheric greenhouse effect” by Arthur P. Smith” by Gerhard Kramm, Ralph Dlugi, and Michael Zelger; arXiv:0904.2767v3 [physics.ao-ph]

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0904/0904.2767.pdf

    Takes issue with Arthur Smith
    [4] Comment on ‘Falsification Of the atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effects within the frame Of Physics’ by Joshua B. Halpern, Chistopher M. Colose, Chris Ho-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith, Jorg Zimmermann.

    This must be the most embarrassing paper in history as it attacks G&T for things they didn’t say.
    Joel will give you a copy on the other hand I will understand if he doesn’t.

    [5] “Reply to ‘Comment on ‘Falsification Of the atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effects within the frame Of Physics’ by Joshua B. Halpern, Chistopher M. Colose, Chris Ho-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith, Jorg Zimmermann” by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner, International Journal of Modern Physics B, Vol. 24, No. 10 (2010) pages 1333–1359.

    http://www.skyfall.fr/wp-content/gerlich-reply-to-halpern.pdf

    G&Ts reply to the absurd [4]

  424. Bryan says:
    March 23, 2011 at 8:23 am
    Phil

    I really think you have no idea what an EXPERIMENT is.

    By your own statements here it’s obvious you don’t!

    If your idea of an experiment is to juggle some predigested formula on a computer then you will only get the predictable result of; garbage in = garbage out, endlessly.

    Clearly your reading comprehension is lacking, what was described was not the use of a ‘predigested formula’ (whatever that is supposed to mean?) Rather the use of an extremely detailed database of molecular spectra, painstakingly compiled by physical chemists, to identify the source of the features in a measured spectrum. This is something that is done in experiments by chemists all the time, it is the reason that such libraries of data are compiled in the first place. Phil wonders knows why Physics and Chemistry students don’t follow the Climate Science this model, just think of the money saved on provision of laboratories by being able to access libraries of data. You thought it was an acceptable approach when you handwaved using very low resolution spectra, but dropped it when shown using accurate data that your conclusion was wrong!

    Bryan says:
    March 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm
    Look up at Ira Glicksteins graphs above.

    Lets say you give the CO2 graph amplitude of 100 units in the region of 15um.

    Next look at the H2O graph in the same region.

    I make it out to be about half that of CO2 lets say 50 units.

    [personal insults omitted] I will reduce the H2O magnitude to 30 units.

    Now comes the arithmetic are you ready…..

    There are 30 H2O molecules for every CO2 molecule.
    30 x 30units for total H2O effect = 900 units
    CO2 contribution = 100 units

    So H2O has about 9 times the radiative effect of CO2 around 15um.

    Having lost the argument on the point of this thread you then obfuscate by dragging in irrelevant off-point, straw man arguments and personal insults.
    There is of course no point in arguing with such a committed know-nothing since you have no chance of convincing him on the science, however it’s important not to let such rubbish go unrebutted in case other readers might think it has merit.

  425. Phil says

    …..”There is of course no point in arguing with such a committed know-nothing”….

    ………then complains of personal insults!

    He goes on;

    ….”reason that such libraries of data are compiled in the first place.”……

    When you look up data you are not conducting an experiment!
    You are reading!

    An experiment is an open ended investigation and has the possibility of falsifying a conjecture.
    A good example discussed on this thread is the experiment by R W Wood where he showed that contrary to the popular opinion at the time;
    1. A glass “greenhouse” works by stopping convection rather than by a radiative effect.
    2. The radiative effects of atmospheric gases can be ignored for most practical purposes.
    Karl Popper is credited for the “falsification test” for a conjecture by experiment.

    An experiment to prove that the present IPCC global warming is real however cannot be proved one way or another.

    This shows it is a religious belief beyond the powers of experimental falsification.

    IPCC adherents have confidently made predictions only to find exactly the opposite happened in fact.
    Undeterred they then said the opposite conditions also proved AGW.

    This is why Phil has difficulty with the idea of an experiment.
    This is unfortunately no cure for such a mental straitjacket.

  426. Bryan says:

    Joel Shore regularly turns up at WUWT as a spoiler.
    In a blog to another CAGW supporter Arthur Smith Joel bragged about his unstinting efforts to disrupt this sceptic platform.

    Bryan, could you kindly provide me with the link or reference to where I actually said that?

    However Joel is more famous (or infamous) for going into print in attacking Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner(1) in a paper for things they didn’t say.(4)

    You have made this claim repeatedly but have yet to back it up. In particular, please tell us what Gerlich and Tscheuschner did say regarding the atmospheric greenhouse effect and the Second Law. It is easy for you and G&T to make these claims that we have mischaracterized their arguments if you or they are never required to explain what those arguments actually are and how they are still sensible and consistent once one considers the radiative transfers that occur in both directions.

  427. Bryan says:
    March 24, 2011 at 10:32 am
    Phil says

    …..”There is of course no point in arguing with such a committed know-nothing”….

    ………then complains of personal insults!

    “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”, actually the above is a good description of you based on your posts here, you know very little about the subject and obstinately refuse to acknowledge your errors and usually change the subject with an inapt analogy!

    He goes on;

    ….”reason that such libraries of data are compiled in the first place.”……

    When you look up data you are not conducting an experiment!
    You are reading!

    Something you evidently have difficulty with.

    An experiment is an open ended investigation and has the possibility of falsifying a conjecture.

    Exactly, which is what I did to falsify your hypothesis that the ‘bite’ at 15 microns was due to water. I conducted the experiment of constructing a synthetic spectrum from the database of experimentally determined spectra of pure compounds taken under controlled conditions and then compared that with the measured spectrum under discussion and obtained excellent agreement. I then progressively removed the contribution from each compound in turn in order to see which was responsible for the feature at 15 microns, and found that it was CO2 thus falsifying your hypothesis. A combination of synthesis and analysis, I even told you how you could reproduce the experiment but you declined. Had you been correct in your hypothesis my experiment would have showed it to be so.

    Karl Popper is credited for the “falsification test” for a conjecture by experiment.

    Which is what I did!

    This is why Phil has difficulty with the idea of an experiment.
    This is unfortunately no cure for such a mental straitjacket.

    As shown above I have no such difficulty, the one who has the straitjacket is clearly you with your habit of lashing out at any rebuttal of your points and dragging in unrelated issues to obfuscate (as shown above with the irrelevant IPCC reference).
    The cure for your purblindness is to open your eyes and examine the evidence and learn something about the science.

  428. Ira Glickstein
    I kind of like what Bryan says on March 24, 2011 at 2:16 am. However, all the same, I am looking forward to reading your next essay written just as you think it should be written.
    Personally I have by now realized that I may just as well go with the AGW flow as I have no more possibility of disproving it than I have of watching a “Pigs Flying Circus”.
    It seems that people do not know the difference between “Heat, Temperature and Energy, and furthermore do not know what “Advection” is. Nor do they seem to comprehend that there is adiabatic warming of air as well as cooling. One should therefore not be surprised if they accept the claim that “IR-thermometers” show levels of radiation.
    Yes, – as ‘Advection’ happens within the ‘Earth System’ it can therefore only equal zero. True enough but so also does any radiation between the surface and the atmosphere and therefore ‘it’ must also equal zero. Except in the case of the latter, half the energy stored must leave for a life in outer space and therefore, must equal 0.5

    In closing I ask you, as you seem to be very exact in explaining the GHEffect, to explain to me what difference it makes whether the back radiation trick from GHGs is performed by 390 ppm or 1000000 ppm of GHGs.

  429. In other words; If 324 W/m² is emitted from the surface to the atmosphere, (irrespective of solar irradiation) then 324 W/m² must be radiated back to the surface in order for the earth not to cool. But 324 W/m² is all that can be “back radiated” never mind how many CO2 or other GHGs are employed in that particular ‘Post Office’

  430. O H Dahlsveen says:

    In other words; If 324 W/m² is emitted from the surface to the atmosphere, (irrespective of solar irradiation) then 324 W/m² must be radiated back to the surface in order for the earth not to cool. But 324 W/m² is all that can be “back radiated” never mind how many CO2 or other GHGs are employed in that particular ‘Post Office’

    First of all, a correction: As the diagram shows, the earth’s surface emits more than 324 W/m^2…It emits 390 W/m^2. (Not all of that is absorbed by the atmosphere, but 350 W/m^2 is.)

    Secondly, I am not sure where you are getting the idea that 324 W/m^2 is all that can be back-radiated. If there were more GHGs, more would be back-radiated. Perhaps what is confusing you is that you think this would upset the radiative balances that exist. However, that is only true if we try to change the 324 W/m^2 number without changing any of the other numbers. However, in reality, other numbers would change too…the amount radiated fr