Unified Climate Theory May Confuse Cause and Effect

Guest Post by Ira Glickstein

The Unified Theory of Climate post is exciting and could shake the world of Climate Science to its roots. I would love it if the conventional understanding of the Atmospheric “Greenhouse” Effect (GHE) presented by the Official Climate Team could be overturned, and that would be the case if the theory of Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller, both PhDs, turns out to be scientifically correct.

Sadly, it seems to me they have made some basic mistakes that, among other faults, confuse cause and effect. I appreciate that WUWT is open to new ideas, and I support the decision to publish this theory, along with both positive and negative comments by readers.

Correlation does not prove causation. For example, the more policemen directing traffic, the worse the jam is. Yes, when the police and tow trucks first respond to an accident they may slow the traffic down a bit until the disabled automobiles are removed. However, there is no doubt the original cause of the jam was the accident, and the reason police presence is generally proportional to the severity of the jam level is that more or fewer are ordered to respond. Thus, Accident >>CAUSES>> Traffic Jam >>CAUSES>> Police is the correct interpretation.

Al Gore made a similar error when, in his infamous movie An Inconvenient Truth, he made a big deal about the undoubted corrrelation in the Ice Core record between CO2 levels and Temperature without mentioning the equally apparent fact that Temperatures increase and decrease hundreds of years before CO2 levels follow suit.

While it is true that rising CO2 levels do have a positive feedback that contributes to slightly increased Temperatures, the primary direction of causation is Temperature >>CAUSES>> CO2. The proof is in the fact that, in each Glacial cycle, Temperatures begin their rapid decline precisely when CO2 levels are at their highest, and rapid Temperature increase is initiated exactly when CO2 levels are their lowest. Thus, Something Else >>CAUSES>> Temperature>>CAUSES>> CO2. Further proof may be had by placing an open can of carbonated beverage in the refigerator and another on the table, and noting that the “fizz” (CO2) outgasses more rapidly from the can at room temperature.

Moving on to Nikolov, the claim appears to be that the pressure of the Atmosphere is the main cause of temperature changes on Earth. The basic claim is PRESSURE >>CAUSES>>TEMPERATURE.

PV = nRT

Given a gas in a container, the above formula allows us to calculate the effect of changes to the following variables: Pressure (P), Volume (V), Temperature (T, in Kelvins), and Number of molecules (n). (R is a constant.)

The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container, with a Volume, V, of air:

(A) Store that container of air in the ambient cool Temperature Tr of a refrigerator. Then, increase the Number n of molecules in the container by pumping in more air. the Pressure (P) within the container will increase. Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed volume container, the Temperature within the container will also increase from (Tr) to some higher value. But, please note, when we stop increasing n, both P and T in the container will stabilize. Then, as the container, warmed by the work we did compressing the air, radiates, conducts, and convects that heat to the cool interior of the refrigerator, the Temperature slowly decreases back to the original Tr.

(B) We take a similar container from the cool refrigerator at Temperature Tr and place it on a kitchen chair, where the ambient Temperature Tk is higher. The container is warmed by radiation, conduction and convection and the Temperature rises asymptotically towards Tk. The Pressure P rises slowly and stabilizes at some higher level. Please note the pressure remains high forever so long as the temperature remains elevated.

In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure.

I do not believe any reader will disagree with this highly simplified thought experiment. Of course, the Nikolov theory is far more complex, but, I believe it amounts to confusing the cause, namely radiation from the Sun and Downwelling Long-Wave Infrared (LW DWIR) from the so-called “Greenhouse” gases (GHG) in the Atmosphere with the effect, Atmospheric pressure.

Some Red Flags in the Unified Theory

1) According to Nikolov, our Atmosphere

“… boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K!”

If, as Nikolov claims, the Atmosphere boosts the surface temperature by 133K, then, absent the Atmosphere the Earth would be 288K – 133K = 155K. This is contradicted by the fact that the Moon, which has no Atmosphere and is at the same distance from the Sun as our Earth, has an average temperature of about 250K. Yes, the albedo of the Moon is 0.12 and that of the Earth is 0.3, but that difference would make the Moon only about 8K cooler than an Atmosphere-free Earth, not 95K cooler! Impossible!

2) In the following quote from Nikolov, NTE is “Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement” and SPGB is a “Standard Planetary Gray Body”

NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating. [Emphasis added]

This, it seems to me, is an admission that the source of energy for their “Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement” process comes from the Sun, and, therefore, their “Enhancement” is as they admit, not “actual energy”. I would add the energy that would otherwise be lost to space (DW LWIR) to the energy from the Sun, eliminating any need for the “Thermal Enhancement” provided by Atmospheric pressure.

3) As we know when investigating financial misconduct, follow the money. Well, in Climate Science we follow the Energy. We know from actual measurements (see my Visualizing the “Greenhouse” Effect – Emission-Spectra) the radiative energy and spectra of Upwelling Long-Wave Infrared (UW LWIR), from the Surface to the so-called “greenhouse” gases (GHG) in the Atmosphere, and the Downwelling (DW LWIR) from those gases back to the Surface.

The only heed Nikolov seems to give to GHG and those measured radiative energies is that they are insufficient to raise the temperature of the Surface by 133K.

… our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K! This raises the question: Can a handful of trace gases which amount to less than 0.5% of atmospheric mass trap enough radiant heat to cause such a huge thermal enhancement at the surface? Thermodynamics tells us that this not possible.

Of course not! Which is why the conventional explanation of the GHE is that the GHE raises the temperature by only about 33K (or perhaps a bit less -or more- but only a bit and definitely not 100K!).

4) Nikolov notes that, based on “interplanetary data in Table 1″ (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Europe, Titan, Triton):

… we discovered that NTE was strongly related to total surface pressure through a nearly perfect regression fit…

Of course, one would expect planets and moons in our Solar system to have some similarities.

“… the atmosphere does not act as a ‘blanket’ reducing the surface infrared cooling to space as maintained by the current GH theory, but is in and of itself a source of extra energy through pressure. This makes the GH effect a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed!

I just cannot square this assertion with the clear measurements of UW and DW LWIR, and the fact that the wavelengths involved are exactly those of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other GHGs.

Equation (7) allows us to derive a simple yet robust formula for predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure,…”

Yes, TOA solar irradiance would be expected to be important in predicting mean surface temperature, but mean atmospheric surface pressure, it seems to me, would more likely be a result than a cause of temperature. But, I could be wrong.

Conclusion

I, as much as anyone else here at WUWT, would love to see the Official Climate Team put in its proper place. I think climate (CO2) sensitivity is less than the IPCC 2ºC to 4.5ºC, and most likely below 1ºC. The Nikolov Unified Climate Theory goes in the direction of reducing climate sensitivity, apparently even making it negative, but, much as I would like to accept it, I remain unconvinced. Nevertheless, I congratulate Nikolov and Zeller for having the courage and tenacity to put this theory forward. Perhaps it will trigger some other alternative theory that will be more successful.

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UPDATE: This thread is closed – see the newest one “A matter of some Gravity” where the discussion continues.

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About Ira Glickstein, PhD

[Retired] Senior System Engineer (Advanced Avionics and Visionics, Route Planning, Decision Aiding, Five Patents ... at IBM, Lockheed-Martin); Adjunct Associate Professor (System Engineering at University of Maryland, System Science and Computer Science at Binghamton University); PhD in System Science (Binghamton University, 1996); MS in System Science (Binghamton); Bachelors in Electrical Engineering (CCNY)
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1,032 Responses to Unified Climate Theory May Confuse Cause and Effect

  1. Ira says
    The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container, with a Volume, V, of air:

    (A) Store that container of air in the ambient cool Temperature Tr of a refrigerator. Then, increase the Number n of molecules in the container by pumping in more air. the Pressure (P) within the container will increase. Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed volume container, the Temperature within the container will also increase from (Tr) to some higher value. But, please note, when we stop increasing n, both P and T in the container will stabilize. Then, as the container, warmed by the work we did compressing the air, radiates, conducts, and convects that heat to the cool interior of the refrigerator, the Temperature slowly decreases back to the original Tr.

    Ira, the flaw of your analogy is that the atmosphere is not a sealed, closed system. “Packets” of air warmed at the surface rise, expand, and cool and then the process repeats as the “packets” descend, compress, and heat. This is a continuous, infinite process which can entirely account for the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ on the basis of the adiabatic lapse rate alone.

  2. OzWizard says:

    I’m glad Ira included “may” in his title. As it is, I believe Ira may be the one who is mistaken in his reading of this intriguing paper.

    I read the paper to say that PRESSURE >> “Near-surface Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE) defined as a non-dimensional ratio (NTE)”.

    This non-dimensional ratio is NOT Temperature, NOR is it Energy. It seems to be a ‘state variable’ or a ‘condition’ which allows calculation of the effect of incoming radiance in heating whatever atmosphere is present.

    The authors state this ratio is:

    “the non-dimensional ratio of planet actual mean surface air temperature (Ts, K) to the average temperature of a Standard Planetary Gray Body (SPGB) with no atmosphere (Tgb, K) receiving the same solar irradiance, i.e. NTE = Ts /Tgb”

    . [My bold added.]

    This is a theoretical constant for a given body, under given conditions. It allows them to calculate what the “actual mean surface air temperature” will be based on its Grey Body property and the incoming radiance.

    I can’t wait for the 4 papers behind this ‘poster’ edition of the new UTC.

  3. I strongly suspect your are both correct and both miss the mark at the same time. Both are dealing with or using, admittedly, highly oversimplified models. Models that were developed and designed for static or tending toward equilibrium conditions. Make no mistake the gas laws and everything else are just models. The atmospheric density and therefore pressure plus kinetic energy is real, the IR movement in and out is real. The atmosphere is a huge fluid system. Our understanding of fluid dynamics is another one of those closed system models that work very well, only when in that constraint. I think this discussion is valuable and important if for no other reasons then it illustrates or reminds us that we know far less then any of of think we do.

  4. FergalR says:

    I’ve thought a lot about this and it still makes my brain hurt: Jupiter gives out more energy than it receives from the Sun – surely gravity is the source of this energy?

    A couple of things:
    Almost 100W/m^2 is removed from earth’s surface by convection and evaporation – which obviously don’t happen on the moon. Could that explain much of the difference?

    Denis Rancourt calculates from first principles that the GHE is 60K – not 33K. He lays it out here:
    http://climateguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/most-downloaded-free-access-scientific.html

  5. Brian H says:

    The core assertion is that the mass of the atmosphere varies, and this results in temperature change. Add 1 bar of CO2 to the atmosphere, or 1 bar of N2, and the results therefore should be the same. According to C. Jinan’s theory, however, the CO2-rich version would be cooler, as it radiates into space more readily. What say you?

  6. Allan MacRae says:

    Good stuff Ira. You do realize, however, that you views are climate heresy and you will be condemned. I keep saying that CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales, and I keep finding burning crosses on my front lawn.

    In 2002 I co-authored this article at the request of my professional association, with Sallie Baliunas and Tim Patterson:
    http://www.apegga.com/members/Publications/peggs/Web11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Our article takes a strong position on one side of the current mainstream debate on the impact of humanmade global warming.

    This rancorous global warming debate has now lasted more than a decade.

    During this time, our society has squandered a trillion dollars on wasteful “energy nonsense” such as wind power and corn ethanol.

    I expect that we’ll experience some global cooling in the near future that will help focus the scientific debate, but some parties are already saying that increasing humanmade CO2 is causing global cooling – apparently as well as global warming – quelle surprise!

    I further expect that when natural global cooling does arrive, we’ll see a flattening or even a decline in year-to-year atmospheric CO2. I believe that atmospheric CO2 lags temperature rather than leads it, although there could be a significant human component (or not). The only relationship I could find in the (average) temperature-CO2 data was that dCO2/dt varied with atmospheric temperature, and the integral CO2 lagged temperature by about 9 months. I wrote, perhaps too conclusively, about this observation in early 2008:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf

    My observation may be entirely true, but is high-risk, as it is outside the mainstream of the current climate debate, which focuses on the sensitivity of the climate system (aka global temperature) to increasing (humanmade) atmospheric CO2. In my opinion, this mainstream argument would require that CO2 LEADS temperature rather than LAGS it in time. The mainstream says that my observation is correct, but is really a “feedback mechanism” – I think this is essentially a religious argument that is also contrary to Occam’s Razor.

    Fun science, but the odious politics is no fun at all.

    Happy New Year to all!

    Regards, Allan

  7. Paul Westhaver says:

    Terrific Article.

    Well well well It seems that the pseudo scientists at the IPCC are being schooled in the concept of cause and effect. At Last.

    To demonstrate this I suggest a beer study.

    Take 2 bottles of beer. Place one in a cold fridge and leave the other on the counter for an hour or 2.

    Open the cold one. Notice it fizzes just a little bit. Only a little of the 2.75 vol/vol of CO2 comes off.

    Open the warm one. Notice that it boils over onto your counter evolving much of the CO2 that used to be in solution.

    (now drink both beers, waste is a tragedy)

    As ocean temperatures increase, the solubility of CO2 decreases increasing the atmospheric concentration because the CO2 is coming out of the ocean. Warming causes CO2 rise. Not the other way around.

    Because the so-called AGW scientists are busy out there perverting the discipline of science, we need more Ira Glicksteins to re-teach the ideal gas law (Boyle’s law), and the laws of partial pressures Dalton’s Law and Henry’s Law.

    Don’t assume the advocates of AGW understand any of what Ira wrote. They are anti-science and militant social activists.

  8. Bill H says:

    its the assumptions that make or break the issue..

    if constant heat is applied to a pressurized gas the temp will remain constant… The earth however has convection… thus the heat from the sun never remains constant. the pressures are what drive the climate and the sun is what drives the pressure to change through convection.

    i would agree that the trace gasses are a moot issue. they simply do not have the mass to drive that change. but the sun and water do…

    Physics.. is a double edged sword…

  9. PaulR says:

    I endorse this post and deprecate the referenced post.

  10. stumpy says:

    I suspect the correct answer is somewhere in between, the mass of the atmosphere in itself set atmospheric pressure which adds some level of warming over planet with no atmosphere, but the GHG’s work within this framework to further raise the temperature. Also often neglected is the changing thermal emissitivty of the earth and oceans across the sun lit area of the earth, one part of the the circle is always cool from the night and absorbing energy until it reaches equilibrium (if it ever can) so it is not emitting the same amount of energy over all areas at the same rate and the calculated average is wrong as it assumes everything is in equilibrium – this is often overlooked and acts to attenuate the warmth reducing the actual peak versus that calculated which ignores this effect and leads to wrong conclusions as observed and theoretical “fit”. Its the reason is normally coolest at 5am and not around midnight and why the latter part of summer is normally warmer than the summer equinox.

  11. R. Gates says:

    Some excellent points, and I think that this “Unified Climate Theory”, will be fairly quickly placed into the “hmmm…interesting” dustbin of quirky science sidebars. Your desire to see the so-called “Official Climate Team” put into its proper place belies the undercurrcent of thought shared of course by many skeptics, but I fear such desires shall go unfulfilled. Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.

  12. RoHa says:

    eeerr….we’re doomed?

  13. BargHumer says:

    Yes, some good thoughts y Ira. I guess many readers mul over the basic ideas and have questions that need answers, and also comments that can be good or just red herrings. I n the “temporary” heat increase due to pressure, I wonder why Venus doesn’t seem to demonstrate the point and it’s high temperature never seems to dissipate.

  14. gbaikie says:

    With gas, temperature is pressure.
    The KE of the gas is pressure.
    A molecule of gas traveling at 1/2 the speed of light has
    no temperature or pressure.
    Molecules of gas remaining in an area or molecules
    of gas interacting and traveling relative to each other
    at 1/2 the speed of light do have temperature and
    pressure.
    A gravity body has potential of keeping molecules
    of gas in the same area and having them travel
    at maximum speed related to the amount gravity
    of that body.
    If Earth had half the gravity that is has then earth’s
    average surface temperature would lower.
    And/or if Earth had 1/2 it’s atmospheric mass
    it would be cooler.

    Earth with it’s existing gravity could have more atmosphere
    than it does [if it did it would be warmer]. Earth could also
    have less atmosphere [if it did it would be cooler {it being
    the air temperature at the surface measured in little white boxes].

    So if Earth had 1/2 it’s atmosphere, the average air temperature
    at it’s surface would cooler. But the ground would get more energy
    per square meter than it currently does.
    On the Moon and if you direct your solar panel at the sun, you
    would receive solar constant flux for however long you pointed
    the panel at the sun.
    Compare to a 12 hour period on earth with solar panel pointing
    at the sun. So with earth it’s clear day, and one has summer sun-
    Sun directly over head at noon. On the earth you will receive
    less half the solar energy as compare 12 hours of daylight every
    where on the Moon. Moon receives 12 hours times 1361 watt,
    whereas earth receives average of about 1000 watts times 6 hours
    and maybe 500 watts for morning and evening hours- giving a total
    of about 9 kW per square. Moon 12 hours: 16 kW per square meter.

    So if Earth had 1/2 it’s current atmospheric mass it would get closer
    to what the moon receives per square meter of solar flux. Earth would
    closer to 1361 watts per meter and more the sunlight would be closer
    to noon time intensity.
    But despite this the air temperature on average would be cooler, because
    the air pressure would be lower. There is half the number of molecules
    per cubic meter. You could have slighter higher molecule velocity but the
    total energy per cubic meter would be lower. Higher daytime sidewalk
    temperature and lower air temperature.

  15. johnpb says:

    Whatever the eventual merits of the Unified Theory proposed are shown to be, the figures A and B above are less than convincing criticism. Contrasting an uninsulated but leak proof container in the two senarios is bogus. it is obvious that had both been perfectly insulated as well as leak proof, the results would have been identical.

  16. Fraizer says:

    One small quibble:

    Your scenarios A and B are not really comparable.

    Scenario A is really delta n >> Causes Pressure >> Causes Temperature. The temperature would indeed remain elevated if the system were adiabatic. The overall energy of the system is increased by adding molecules.

    Scenario B is just a demonstration of the ideal gas law.

    Regards,
    F

  17. David says:

    Humm?, you folk are way above my pay grade. Some questions and assertions. Our atmosphere has no container, like in the “B” experiment. It is the volume of matter compressed by gravity that appears to create the medium which responds to insolation. Therefore the more masss in the atmosphere, the denser the reactive volume of matter is. (Like fuel and oyegen in a car cylinder, but contained only by gravity)

    A car that revs it engine increases its heat, true that, however it also increases its water and air cooling flow. Can the earth’s heat engine do the same thing? Sure some of the energy goes to heat, but some goes to a more rapid cooling through convection and evaporation, an acceleration of the hydrologic cycle. (A negative feedback if you will)

  18. Frank White says:

    The point of your post is well made. I too found places where I felt the “unified theory” has holes, but skipped over them because the holes do not seem to be fatal and might be resolved by improved presentation.This was after all a poster presentation rather than a fully-developed exposition. One example, the statement of the theory mentions that the atmosphere has little heat capacity, which is true of dry air. However water vapor is one gas in the atmosphere that stores considerable energy as latent heat that is released on condensation. This be a presentation problem because the authors do consider clouds, which are condensed water vapor.

    Your comments have two problematic aspects:
    1) They do not address cooling since the Eocene, which the model does account for.

    2) Your models A and B are completely open systems that are not reasonable analogies for planetary systems, in the sense that planetary atmospheres are subject to gravity which tends to enclose the systems with some degassing into space.

    A model like this might consider drawing inspiration from a different analogy: planetary atmospheres as heat engines that vary in efficiency depending on the pressure gradients within the systems and the temperature differentials at the front and back ends of the engines. Such engines radiate heat from engine bodies and also move heat between front end and back ends. Power input to run the systems tends to heat the systems but heat losses to the environment tend to maintain temperatures constant.

  19. Cherry Pick says:

    Climate is a system which has multiple positive and negative feedbacks with time lags. It is quite hard to separate causes and effects because causation might go to both directions like warming > moisture > clouds > cooling. Instead of simplified cause and effects we should have systems thinking. There are multiple simultaneous equations that work seamlessly together.

    In physics we love simplicity and ignore minors factors and still get great theories to describe Nature. It would be great if we can explain the observations of the climate in our solar system by thermodynamics alone.

  20. erl happ says:

    Ira,
    You say: ‘The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container’.

    The atmosphere is not constrained in the manner that you suggest. The suggestion that density will increase in response to an increase in temperature is erroneous. In the case of a planetary body with an atmosphere that acquires more kinetic energy the density close to the surface will fall while the surface pressure remains unchanged.

    If you double the number of molecules in the atmospheric column (by adding atmosphere) the surface pressure doubles, the energy from the sun that arrives on a daily basis will produce an increase in the temperature of the atmospheric medium close to the planetary surface in direct proportion to its density (via conduction and radiation). Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.

    From the point of view of an object located within the atmospheric medium the chance of acquiring energy from the atmospheric medium is related quite simply to the density of the gaseous medium and its ability to conduct energy.

  21. Theo Goodwin says:

    The word ‘energy’ is ambiguous. Your analysis turns on such an ambiguity. You quote Nikolov:

    “NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating. [Emphasis added]”

    Nikolov is trying to take account of the ambiguity but he does so clumsily. In comparing NTE with the energy from the Sun, he is careful to say that the former is not an actual energy while the latter is actual energy. This is correct, as I will explain.

    In the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance, no energy is created on Earth. All energy comes from the Sun. This presents a problem. What is one to say when talking about energy that is created on Earth? But we do that all the time. We say that windmills create electrical energy and we know perfectly well what we mean. And we know that we are not talking about the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance. If we want to be technical we can present the equations (physical hypotheses) that explain how windmills create energy. Now our problem of ambiguity is solved. We can subscript our words and explain that ‘energy1′ takes its meaning from the physical hypotheses that explain the Earth-Sun system of radiative energy and that ‘energy2′ takes its meaning from the physical hypotheses which explain generation of electricity. Nikolov needs to do the same.

    Nikolov should specify the physical hypotheses, in this case simple equations based on the Ideal Gas Law, and explain that when he claims that energy is created from atmospheric pressure he is referring to these physical hypotheses. Unfortunately, Nikolov’s set of physical hypotheses might not pan out as he had hoped, as Dr. Glickstein explained above. But someday someone just might come up with a set of physical hypotheses which explain how energy is created within Earth’s atmosphere and apart from any consideration having to do with the Earth-Sun system of radiative balance. When that happens, we must not make the error of citing the Earth-Sun system and criticizing them for misunderstanding the concept of energy.

    Warmists insist that energy cannot be created on Earth. Anyone who says otherwise is criticized as misunderstanding physics. This authoritarian insistence on definitions, if taken seriously, rules out the possibility of any system of physical hypotheses which explain creation of energy in Earth’s atmosphere. Of course it also rules out creation of electrical energy on Earth, but they would be unwilling to discuss that matter.

    The lesson here is that when someone asserts that energy is created in Earth’s atmosphere, and apologizes by calling it ‘energy2′, we should not be like the Warmists and jump down his throat. Instead, we should encourage him to explicate his set of physical hypotheses and ask if we find the meaning of “create energy” in those physical hypotheses. The physical hypotheses that make up a science are always the ultimate source of the meaning of terms in that science. The terms are never the source of meaning because terms are subject to ambiguity.

  22. Hoser says:

    Sorry Ira, you are still confusing people. How is a pressure change temporary, but a temperature change permanent? Doesn’t it depend on how you define the system? In other words, is the system insulated against temperature flow or not? Or, can the volume increase and allow the pressure to fall after a temperature rise? There are three variables, assuming the mass is constant, in PV=nRT. Consequently, two variables can respond to a change in one.

    The part I find intriguing is the apparent correlation of temperature, pressure, insolation and so on, of different solar system bodies with and without atmosphere. The post above doesn’t address these observations in any detail. In the UCT, convection was named as the prime driver of heat flow, not radiation. We know weather is a dynamic interplay of P, V and T. There is a lot of heat capacity in the ocean, and lucky we are for that. Given how quickly the surface cools on a clear night, I’m not convinced a change in IR absorption due to a rise in atmospheric CO2 has made any difference at all. My cars still get just as frosty radiating to clear fall and winter night skies as they did 30+ years ago.

    Let’s not forget the dynamics of our system. Rising moist air cools and produces clouds. Rain falls and cools the surface. Wind blows and drives masses of air of different temperatures around the planet. The sunlit side of Earth warms and the night side cools. Too many of us believe we live in a static world. It is easier to think that way. It just isn’t how living systems work, or more generally, how systems work where energy flows.

    I hate to say it, but modeling might help. A first approximation is the rate of heating in the day versus the rate of cooling at night. Or, with somewhat more complexity, energy is absorbed at the surface, and its temperature rises. Subsequently, the atmosphere heats either by contact with the surface or by water vapor leaving the surface (cooling the surface, but heating the air). The dynamically balanced rates of heating and cooling between day and night lead us to think of an average temperature, but the temperature is constantly changing, as are P and V, locally. Day and night, energy from the Earth radiates to space. NZ suggest changes in IR absorption and reradiation may be a virtually insignificant component in the energy flow of our system.

    The part not discussed is gravity. That force sets up the pressure gradient. Until the temperature falls sufficiently to liquefy N2 and O2, insolation, surface area, atmospheric mass, and gravity may very well establish a sort of equilibrium described by the observed curve. Other changes perturb the system like moving weights connected by springs. A centroid of motion would exist, considered the average. Changes in P, V and T deviating from the average could be called weather. If the weight masses change or the spring constants change, or the driving force changes, perhaps call that climate change. The UCT addressed the latter by suggesting atmospheric mass changes over millions of years led to sea level pressure and temperature changes.

    Yes, we all need to think about these ideas further, but it seems NZ are on the right track.

  23. jorgekafkazar says:

    FergalR says: “I’ve thought a lot about this and it still makes my brain hurt: Jupiter gives out more energy than it receives from the Sun – surely gravity is the source of this energy?”

    My astronomy professor said it was likely radioactivity, Fergal. There was a school of thought that Jupiter was approaching the limit of planetary mass. It hasn’t gone stellar on us yet, 2001 A Space Odyssey, notwithstanding.

  24. Brian H says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Theo, your intent is laudable, but I think you get hoist on your own petard. The ‘energy2′ of which you speak is transformation from one form to another, not creation. So would be any possible future on-Earth energy source, even nuclear or fission, etc.

    As for atmospheric temperature changes, I think a fair simplification per N&Z’s POV would be that whatever energy is present in a given mass of air can be concentrated (pressure and density) or diluted (expansion, rarification), resulting in temperature variations locally or globally. But the ‘master forcing variable’ is atmosphere mass.

  25. Brian H says:

    typo: “nuclear (fission) or fusion”

  26. Brian H says:

    other typo: rarefication (rarefaction)

  27. gbaikie says:

    “Nevertheless, I congratulate Nikolov and Zeller for having the courage and tenacity to put this theory forward. Perhaps it will trigger some other alternative theory that will be more successful.”

    What theory is needed and for what?
    I believe it would nice and useful if we had a theory allowing us to predict habitable zones
    for any star system. I think if Nikolov, Zeller, or anyone else wants to apply their theory, I would like their input on modeling at atmosphere of dwarf planet starship:
    http://w11.zetaboards.com/Sky_dragon/index/

    For purpose of climate policy it seems to me we enough knowledge.
    We currently in a warm period. This warm period wasn’t caused by
    human activity. The amount of warming caused by humans is insignificant
    globally. Human activity does cause a significant amount warming
    on local or regional basis. This is loosely called Urban Heat Island affect.
    Human could not cause significant global warming or cooling, if they
    were trying to do this. We lack the technology and wealth to cause
    global warming or cooling by say 10 C. And probably unable to change
    global temperature by a mere 1 C.
    Due to our apparent incompetence we see ourselves in an automobile
    as passenger traveling down a road-having no able to control the car,
    and this causes backseat driverism.
    If we can drive this car, we would not be panicking.
    Fortunately, we don’t actually need to control global temperatures, but
    if we did need to do this, we wouldn’t hire the current crop clowns attempting
    to do this by amateur hour soapboxing.

    To summarize the human species has been existing in ice age period lasting
    million of years. Some theories suggest that this cold period “explains” how we
    evolved as humans. But few deny we have been in this colder period for
    millions of years, or that during this period there been shorter periods of
    warming and cooling, which called glacial and interglacial periods.
    A significant aspect involved with this cold period and it’s cyclical cooling
    and warming is explainable due to the location of land masses. The slow
    movement of plate tectonic relates to the millions of years of colder climate.
    The short cycles are related to orbital variation- specifically earth’s axis
    procession. Those affects due to plate tectonic and procession are not
    wild ideas, rather they are accepted. The amount or scale of these affects
    can be quibbled about, but there general dominates is undeniable scientific
    facts. And one has to start with these as one’s starting point.
    A very relevant fact in regard to 20th and 21st century climate is we recovering
    from cool period which was probably caused by the Sun’s activity, period
    is called the Little Ice Age. The LIA is clearly marked by advancement and retreat
    of glaciers around the world. And generally the present global temperatures
    indicate we have or nearly have recovered globally from this period of cooler
    temperatures.

  28. Bruce Cunningham says:

    As a few others have stated, your analogy with a planetary system is not valid for the ideal gas law. The atmospheres of Earth and Venus are not contained in a fixed volume container. They are open to space. If you raise the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, it merely expands upward into space. The pressure will not go up as it would in a container. This is borne out in the fact that the atmosphere is far taller at the equator than at the poles, due to the increased temperature there, even though the surface pressures are the same. Some mountain climbers know this as there is far less oxygen at 20,000 feet at the top of Mt. McKinley than at 20,000 feet in the Himalayas or Andes nearer the equator..McKinley is a tough climb. Much tougher than a climb to 20,320 feet in the Himalayas.

  29. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think that Ira has misunderstood. The cause of the heating at the surface is gravity constraining molecular kinetic energy most strongly at the bottom of the atmospheric column by creating pressure. Work is done and heat generated due to the kinetic energy fighting to overcome the gravitational and pressure constraint.

    Pressure is a consequence of gravity acting on the mass of molecules and at a specific temperature the kinetic energy manages to defeat the pressure constraint and escape to space.

    Adding GHGs inroduces more kinetic energy by virtue of their higher thermal capacity but if the pressure remains the same that extra kinetic energy just escapes to space faster and temperature (or rather the energy content of the mass of molecules) fails to increase.

    To put that in a more general context:

    i) AGW theory states that the greenhouse effect is caused by gases in the air with a high thermal capacity warming the surface by radiating energy downwards.

    ii) The Nikolov paper describes the greenhouse effect in the way I have always understood it i.e. ALL the molecules near the surface (of whatever thermal capacity) jostle more tightly together under the influence of gravity (and the pressure that it induces) and share kinetic activity (provoked initially by solar irradiation but actually being a consequence of all energy transfer mechanisms combined) amongst one another until that kinetic energy can escape to space by radiative means albeit slightly delayed by all the jostling about.The delay results in a temperature rise because more energy is packed into a smaller space by the effects of gravity and the consequent pressure.

    The beauty of ii) is that it decouples the greenhouse effect from the matter of composition leaving atmospheric density as the controlling factor at any given level of solar irradiation. It is the matter of composition that so distresses AGW proponents but in fact it is irrelevant. ALL molecules at or near the surface are involved whether they be GHGs or not.

    There has been some confusion caused by Harry Huffman, Claes Johnson and others by virtue of their contention that there is no greenhouse effect when actually they mean that i) above is untrue whilst they accept ii) to be true (I think).

    So there is a greenhouse effect but it is not significantly affected by GHGs. In so far as GHGs do have an effect it is negated by faster removal of energy to space by various means (especially evaporation on a water planet) because pressure places a limit on the amount of kinetic energy that can be retained by gases at the surface and as soon as that limit is reached the excess energy immediately leaves the system by whatever means is most readily available.

    .

  30. Roger Knights says:

    However all this shakes out, we’re not dealing with “simple physics.” What an absurdity.

  31. TBear says:

    Sorry, but the suggested logic: Accident >>CAUSES>> Traffic Jam >>CAUSES>> Police is the correct interpretation, is manifestly inadequate.

    Accident >> causes >> traffic Jam A, which traffic jam has theoretical life cycle of its own.

    Accident >> causes >> taffic jam A, Plus Police >> causes >> traffic jam B, which traffic jam has a unique life cycle all of its own and which may be radically different (the police certainly hope so!) than traffic jam A.

    Love the WUWT blog, but have to rush off for a cold beer, as it has finally warmed a little in Sydney!!

    Oh, Happy New Year everyone,

    The Bear

  32. Mark.r says:

    I thought warm air was lighter than cold so how dose wamer air have a higher pressure cold.
    As air warms it get ligher or have i got it wrong?.

  33. Philip Mulholland says:

    Ira
    You say:

    In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
    In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure

    I say:
    In case (A) a PERMANENT increase in Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
    In case (B) a PERMANENT increase in Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure

    Amounts to the same thing? Well of course, but what my statements emphasise is that in a gravitationally bound planetary atmosphere there is a balancing relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy. Note that potential energy (mgh) makes no mention of particle velocity (temperature) whereas kinetic energy (1/2mv^2) makes no mention of particle position.

    Gravitationally bound planetary atmospheres store energy because the lower layers are compressed by the weight of the atmospheric mass bearing down on them from above.

  34. Athelstan says:

    Oh the gates are open, feedbacks, er no, clouds,water vapour – good, next you’ll be on about ‘hotspots’.

  35. Mark.r says:

    The Poles have higher airpressure than the equator.

  36. Tenuc says:

    Sorry, Ira, but you have constructed a straw man refutation of the Nikolov & Zeller paper by erroneously comparing a planetary atmosphere to a bounded container when it is patently not…

    “…It (our atmosphere) is fully contained only at the bottom. At the top, it is partially contained by the ionosphere and then the magnetosphere. And to the sides it is partially contained by the nature of the shell.

    The gas cannot escape to the side, that is, but it can more easily be deflected to the side, since only other gas is resisting it. There are no walls to the side. Unless the gas is very dense, sideways freedom is nearly infinite (as a gravitational curve). Since the atmosphere is not very dense, we may imagine that the gas is nearly unconstrained “to the side,” this “side” being a full 360 degrees no matter where in the gas you are. In this way, the atmosphere is freer to move to the side than up and down. One obvious side-effect of this is winds, which more often move laterally than up and down…”

    If you want a better understanding of how atmosphere works, have a look here…
    http://milesmathis.com/atmo.html

  37. Phil says:

    The most important point about the Unified Climate Theory is that it exposes an assumption in CAGW theory that may not be true: that the mass of the atmosphere is or has been constant over geologic time. The logical source of gases that would increase the mass of the atmosphere is volcanism. About 60 to 65 million years ago, there was apparently a great deal of volcanic activity, as evidenced by the Deccan Traps. If you refer to Figure 8 in the Unified Climate Theory post, the increased volcanism evidenced by the Deccan Traps appears to have happened in the period before global temperatures increased. Whether the volcanic emissions then were sufficiently large to materially increase Earth’s total atmospheric mass is a good question. Just food for thought. Also important is the loss of atmosphere in geologic time proposed in the UCT as influencing cooling in the recent geologic past. However, loss of atmosphere would probably not be relevant at century scales of time.

  38. John Marshall says:

    This ‘new’ theory, in reality a rewrite of old theories forgotten in the route to political correct policies by governments and the scientists in their pockets. It is good to see that courage to reveal what is actually happening has overcome the norm of following everyone else down the road of lies.

    There is so many research papers available pointing the way for this excellent paper to be published. Let us hope that the correct people actually read and understand it to make a difference and change all the policies riding on the back of the GHG lies.

  39. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Man, this kind of nonsense makes my head ache. When I read things like …

    Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a Standard Planetary Gray Body. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

    I defy anyone to tell me what that means. It’s not energy, just a “relative enhancement” but it “manifests itself as an actual energy in the presence of external heating”.

    Say what? Do people just swallow that content-free doubletalk in one big gulp, or is it easier to keep from gagging if you down it a word at a time?

    I was quite depressed to see the Nikolov claims published on WUWT, but I didn’t comment on that thread. Like I said, it makes my head hurt to read this kind of handwaving. Very bad science, no cookies.

    Thanks, Ira,

    w.

  40. Mike McMillan says:

    You’ve missed the point of the Nikolov and Zeller presentation.

    The energy coming into a planetary atmospheric system is a combination of solar proximity and albedo, and is equal to the outgoing. What we and they are concerned with is not the transport of that energy, but the distribution of it within the atmosphere, as thermal energy at the surface, converting to potential energy as we go higher in the atmosphere. Thermometers measure the distribution, not the movement.

    Nikolov and Zeller doesn’t have anything to do with “increased pressure” or “increased temperature” shown in your illustration and experiment. We aren’t increasing anything. Atmospheric temperatures and pressures are stable, arranged according to the lapse rate, or when upset, attempt to return to the lapse rate schedule.

    Nikolov and Zeller have shown that an uncomplicated formula based on surface pressure and adiabatic lapse rates accurately predicts observed temperatures on four planets. Greenhouse gases aren’t needed.

    To really raise temperatures, then, you would need not ghg’s, but either an increase in solar input, or a change in the lapse rate, which is determined by planetary gravity and atmospheric specific heat. Gravity isn’t changing on earth, and it would take much more CO2 than even Dr Hansen is contemplating to change the air’s specific heat to the point where it would make any difference in the lapse rate.

    ——————–

    PV = nRT doesn’t work well with atmospheres because the gradual fade to vacuum at the top makes it impossible to define the volume, and the equation doesn’t take gravity into account. Even in a closed container, the gas pressure at the bottom of the container is higher that at the top due to the weight of the gas.

  41. Sparks says:

    Ira Glickstein,
    I read the “UCT” by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller in terms of a scientific paper explaining long term climatic events not as an explanation of any sort of correlations. As temperature is of consequence incurred between the processes of pressure interactions not as cause or effect, remove the result from the process and the process will still be there, I’m not saying your interpretation is wrong, I understand what your explaining and I agree, just that any measurement (such as temperature) of an on going process does not explain the process, I’d like to see less use of “temperature” in scientific papers as a cause or effect or as part of a conclusion because it is after all just a temporary aperture from the start and end point of measurement, also temperature measurements could be then used as an indicator, but only once a process is understood, but I still believe temperature can not be used an indicator for trends in long term climatic changes as it would be like trying to count all the hairs on a persons head by plucking a random amount at a time, counting them and trending the amount of hairs.

    I’m a bit rushed this morning, very interesting, lots of ideas and counter debate that I could read for hours.

  42. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    I wrote yesterday that this paper re-invents lapse rate heating.

    3/10 for effort.

  43. AusieDan says:

    Dr. Glickstein – you state that the average temperature of the moon is 250 degrees absolute.
    Dr. Nikolov and Dr. Zeller – you state that it is 150 degrees absolute.
    Which is correct?

  44. Edward Bancroft says:

    Fraizer says:
    “Your scenarios A and B are not really comparable.
    Scenario A is really delta n >> Causes Pressure >> Causes Temperature. The temperature would indeed remain elevated if the system were adiabatic. The overall energy of the system is increased by adding molecules.
    Scenario B is just a demonstration of the ideal gas law.”

    There is also another issue with the scenario A, in the way that you increase the pressure of the container. The pressure source will be at a higher pressure than the container and if it is at the same temperature as the container gas, it will lose temperature on expansion into the container. The net result is a container with higher pressure, but lower temperature.

    For the sake of your argument, it would be better if scenario A increases its pressure and temperature by reducing the volume, for example a piston in a cylinder. It would also have the advantage of also keeping ‘n’ the same for scenarios A and B.

  45. Stephen Wilde says:

    I am puzzled by the debate here about ‘creation’ of energy within the Earth system.

    Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that energy to heat.?

    The proportions are pressure dependent.

    In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.

    The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.

    At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.

    That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.

    If the gas molecules have a higher thermal capacity then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining their exit to space.

    However if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.

    As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out.

    One does however observe that faster outflow of energy from the watery Earth due to GHGs in the form of a larger or faster water cycle which brings me to my broader work available elsewhere.

    Nonetheless that faster outflow of energy from more GHGs is infinitesimal compared to the consequences of solar and oceanic variability as I have explained in detail previously.

  46. thetempestspark says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    “Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.”

    If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?

  47. AusieDan says:

    Dr. Glickstein – when a gas is heated, it tends to rise.
    Gravity exerts a counter force, trying to pull it down.
    In so rising, work is done.
    The temperature of the gas increases.
    As the gas rises, it has more room, as each succeding layer of the atmosphere has a larger dimaeter.
    An expanding gas gives up heat.
    Half of this is radiated out to space, half reflected back down (to simplify).
    The cooled air declines and is replaced by warmer air which in turn etc etc.

    Is this not why the atmosphere is warmer nearer the surface than higher up.
    The circulation is a perpetual motion maching, fuelled by the incoming radiation from the sun.

    So in a laboratory, a gas that has been pressured and left, will cool down again, because the work done in compressing it is ended.
    In the atmosphere the process never ends.
    That is why it is hotter lower down in a real world atmosphere.

  48. gbaikie says:

    Frank White says: “One example, the statement of the theory mentions that the atmosphere has little heat capacity, which is true of dry air. However water vapor is one gas in the atmosphere that stores considerable energy as latent heat that is released on condensation. ”

    The atmospheric mass of earth is 5.1 x 10^18 kg with air molecules traveling at around
    500 meters per second [1000 mph- each molecule travels very short distance and time before hitting another molecule. http://www.ems.psu.edu/~bannon/moledyn.html ].
    Or the heat or energy required to cause 5.1 x 10^18 kg mass traveling at 500 meters per second is 1/2 mass times velocity squared.
    6.3 x 10^23 joules.
    So this being roughly amount energy needed to raise that much quantity of oxygen or nitrogen gas from near absolute zero to 270 K. [from gas molecules moving slow, up to speeds they are currently moving at]
    In comparison the Sun’s total energy is 174 petawatts [wiki]. Petawatt (10^15 watts) and
    so 1.74 x 10^17 watts. So energy needed would be 3.6 x 10^6 seconds [1000 hrs- 41 days].

    So if sun defying physic become a blackhole or simply disappears, the atmosphere without considering heat capacity of land, ocean, and water vapor, and so just the air capacity would remain somewhat warm for about week- average temperature would drop at most by 49 K. So basically you have at least week before things got really interesting- by interesting I mean winter polar region having the sky collapse and liquifying and possibility of snowfall in the tropics.

  49. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    erl happ says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    “Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.”

    The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.

    What’s up with that, Erl?

    PLEASE do not make stuff up as you go along. THINK McFly!

  50. tallbloke says:

    Ah, the big guns of the lukewarmer camp are out in force today. :)

    More work and more clarification of terms is definitely needed, but I sense value in the work of Nikolov and Zeller.

    I wonder if we might find yet another mechanism amplifying solar variation lurking in this somewhere…

    “Of course, one would expect planets and moons in our Solar system to have some similarities.”

    Indeed, despite the large variation in their atmospheric compositions.
    The observations of late C20th changes on Mars got the ‘we have to get rid of the medieval warm period’ treatment, but this shouldn’t be allowed to deter investigators. Neither should statements such as:

    “Do people just swallow that content-free doubletalk in one big gulp, or is it easier to keep from gagging if you down it a word at a time?”

    Content free condemnation has little value. I don’t have a problem understanding what Nikolov and Zeller are saying in the passage quoted by Willis. They are simply explaining why it is that in a gravity well supplied with external power, the more highly compressed gas near the surface will be warmer than expected by a gray body calc which doesn’t take atmospheric pressure gradients into account. Simples.

  51. wayne says:

    Ok Ira, I have noticed that you have a bit of trouble reading “between-the-lines” of another person’s written words, especially when their words gets in the area of physics. So here is what I read within their text after applying everything in context.

    You read it as:

    According to Nikolov, our Atmosphere
    “… boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K!”

    I read it as:

    According to Nikolov, the pressure of our Atmosphere at the surface

    “… is the sole factor, in conjunction with limited volume by the gravitational field, that allows a higher level of stored static (constant) kinetic energy in the air at the Earth’s surface (P•V is energy as joules) and this higher static level in the stored kinetic energy also likewise manifests, by the ideal gas law, as a corresponding increase in temperature at Earth’s surface, not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K! This increase in the stored static kinetic energy is maintained by the constant radiative field flowing through this matter from both the sun and from the surface.”

    Something close to that.

    Maybe you should take a course in how to apply context when you read such deep material. I saw the same flaw in your understanding in radiative energy transfer within our atmosphere in your previous posts months ago.

  52. Robert of Ottawa says:

    The gas cannister example is just wrong. The “unified” theory may have holes but I’d be careful of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

  53. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 30, 2011 at 1:03 am

    “I think that Ira has misunderstood. The cause of the heating at the surface is gravity constraining molecular kinetic energy most strongly at the bottom of the atmospheric column by creating pressure. Work is done and heat generated due to the kinetic energy fighting to overcome the gravitational and pressure constraint.”

    I think you misunderstand what “work” is, Stephen. If work can be accomplished merely by being located within a static gravity field at a constant location we’re talking abouty a perpetual motion machine. Ding ding ding. Red flag! No free lunches. The only way to get useful energy from gravity is to move through the field towards the center of mass. It takes energy to move away from the center of mass. If you think you’ve found a way to get around that then you’re wrong and need to think again. Think again, Stephen. You’re smarter than that.

  54. Jordan says:

    I’m not too convinced by the thought experiment in the above post.

    PV = nRT

    After you have compressed the air in the container, n is constant. Therefore n, R and V can form a constant of proportionality, k = nR/V, and

    P = kT

    When you allow the container to cool in the fridge, there is an energy transfer which drops T (proxy for kinetic energy in the molecules) and therefore P will reduce. The latter point seems to be overlooked and the analogy may be misleading.

    A different thought experiment is to start with n molecules of air just above the atmosphere, at a place where P and T are small, but not zero (avoid the singularity). R and n are fixed, so the constant of proportionality is K=nR, and

    PV = KT

    Assume the molecules are thermally insulated (no heat transfer from surrounding gas). Move the parcel of molecules down to the surface with minimum work on the molecules (there has to be work because their kinetic energy is increasing as pressure increases and volume reduces). At the surface, P = 10^5 Pa, so there is considerable energy in the parcel. T must have increased because specific volume of the parcel at the surface must be consistent with ambient pressure (the reduction in V is not enough to hold T at its starting value).

    When the parcel reaches the surface, it is at the same pressure as the rest of the atmosphere, but that should also mean the same temperature, if the air is close enough to an ideal gas. Further changes in temperature or pressure as this would involve further work or heat transfer, but there is no analogy for these.

    Isn’t the second thought experiment more closely aligned to the arguments in the original post?

    This does not resolve why T is where it presently sits at the surface (there are different reasons for surface temperature – not limited to radiative physics). But it should be possible to postulate a relationship between P and T so that some general trend in surface T ought to br confirmed by a trend in P if surface air behaves approximately as an ideal gas.

  55. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    tallbloke says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am

    “Ah, the big guns of the lukewarmer camp are out in force today. :)”

    Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.

    “More work and more clarification of terms is definitely needed, but I sense value in the work of Nikolov and Zeller.”

    Well isn’t that just special. Is that like sensing a disturbance in the force, Obi Wan?

    Or maybe it’s like the bobbies sensed clues in your router.

    For crying out loud. Just because you like the conclusion doesn’t mean you need to agree with the source. Even Willis called it the right way this time.

  56. gbaikie says:

    Man, this kind of nonsense makes my head ache. When I read things like …

    Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a Standard Planetary Gray Body. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! …

    It is saying, pressure is not source of energy.
    Which is obvious as is higher pressure will be higher temperature, but doesn’t add energy.
    You pump up a tire [and this is different cause you are adding energy and atmosphere isn't like a container or tire] it cools off but is under higher pressure [once cooled off]
    That pressurized air will higher density but molecules will be going slower [it's same temperature
    as room temperature but in terms molecule speed it's colder- it's lost energy.
    Higher pressure gas at room temperature is colder, it's what makes a refrigerator able to cool.

    To continue the quote:
    "....Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating."
    Not saying much. Another way say it differently: the higher pressure gas [it's not like a container but is "contained" by an atmospheric gravity gradient is "amplified" due to increased density.
    Or all the gases are going roughly the same velocity- one has a biggest traffic jam nearer the surface of planet. [and traffic jams don't in any way, slow down gas molecules].

  57. Doug Cotton says:

    The article states “While it is true that rising CO2 levels do have a positive feedback that contributes to slightly increased Temperatures” – but it is not true and we have now moved beyond this. Back radiation has been proven to have no warming effect. See: http://climate-change-theory.com/RadiationAbsorption.html

    Hence, since both your theory and the “Unified Climate Theory” incorporate a false concept, the remaining logical fails.

    One of the best examples of the failure of carbon dioxide to have any effect can be seen in Arctic temperature records which show (a) higher temperatures in the 1930′s and early 1940′s than at present and (b) a huge rise prior to 1930. Yet carbon dioxide is supposed to have its greatest effect in the Arctic. Also Northern Ireland records from 1790 show a long term linear trend of 0.6 deg.C per century with absolutely no hint of a hockey stick. (See links and plots at http://climate-change-theory.com )

    So we know that carbon dioxide is not the cause of any warming. But in addition, we now have Prof.Claes Johnson’s proof that backradiation cannot warm the surface and Prof Nasif Nahle’s experiment (soon to be plural) confirming it..

    So, without any warming effect at all for any trace atmospheric gas, or water vapour (a bit of a mouthful now that we need to refrain from using the term GH) the power source is switched off and those “models” grind to a halt, while the so-called “greenhouse effect” crumbles into tiny little pieces. I never knew I was so sadistic.

  58. commieBob says:

    The average temperature of an airless Earth is a big deal. We can look at the average temperature of the Moon to get some idea of what it would be.

    Temperatures on the Lunar surface vary widely on location. Although beyond the first few centimeters of the regolith the temperature is a nearly constant -35 C (at a depth of 1 meter), the surface is influenced widely by the day-night cycle. The average temperature on the surface is about 40-45 C lower than it is just below the surface. (http://www.asi.org/adb/m/03/05/average-temperatures.html)

    The above quote has the average surface temperature of the moon as -75 to -80 deg. C. So, what is the average temperature of the Earth?

    The average temperature of Earth according to NASA figures is 15°C. (http://www.universetoday.com/14516/temperature-of-earth/)

    If we assume that the Moon is not generating its own heat, we could argue that its average temperature is -35° C. (We can’t make that assumption about Earth because it does generate its own heat.) That implies that the Earth is at least 50° C above what it would be without an atmosphere. If we look at the surface temperature, based on the above quote, the average temperature of the Moon could be 90° C below the surface of the Earth.

    There is good reason to believe that the temperature increase due to the Earth’s atmosphere is greater (perhaps much greater) than the value usually given. Proving the 133° figure is probably worth a PhD thesis though. ;-)

  59. DEEBEE says:

    The causation chain B makes sense, but the causation chain A seems contrived (Frazier above touched on this). Work has to be expended to add delta n moles to the cylinder. The pressure and temperature do not wait for each other as to who goes first. To shoe-horn it into a linear causation chain with ione branch is a bit much.

    And Willis, please do write a response to the original post of “Unified” theory. I usually enjoy your insight. But your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.

  60. wayne says:

    They now exit the woodwork while too close fails to describe
    ==============================================
    (how’s that kim?☺)

  61. Stephen Wilde says:

    “I think you misunderstand what “work” is, Stephen. If work can be accomplished merely by being located within a static gravity field at a constant location we’re talking abouty a perpetual motion machine.”

    The molecule is not static. It is constantly in motion as it vibrates with kinetic energy. The gravitational field is constraining that energy so work is being done via the constant interaction between the two forces involved.

  62. Joe Zeise says:

    Ira, did you unplug the refrigerator in trial A and if the refrig is perfectly insulated would Tr not increase permanently to Tr+?

  63. Steve Keohane says:

    A couple of questions regarding pressure. Will a faster rotating planet have less atmospheric pressure than identical one spinning more slowly? Centrifugal vs gravitational forces. What effect does solar wind fluctuations have on atmospheric pressure?

  64. Bill Illis says:

    Let’s take the example of a lone Brown Dwarf star – a star too small to initiate hydrogen fusion – a star light-years away from the nearest fusion star – generally less than 5% of the Sun’s mass.

    These lone stars/objects will still heat up so that their cores get up to 7 million Kelvin. Surface temperatures can be up to 2000K. The lone Brown dwarf will still emit 90,000 W/m2 of near-infrared light – that’s without receiving energy from a fusion Star.

    Now over billions of years, the dwarf will cool off but it will never reach the cosmic background radiation temperature of 3K.

    Particle physics has some unusual characteristics when it comes to mass, energy and gravity.

  65. Paul Bahlin says:

    I propose an experiment…

    Go outside, place several 1 meter tall closed glass cylinders on a black surface. Start with the following contents:

    Nitrogen at 1 bar
    Nitrogen at 2 bars
    CO2 at 1 bar
    CO2 at 2 bars

    Measure the gas temperatures. Refine the experiment based on what you learn. Repeat.

    When you learn something, write a paper.

  66. JeffC says:

    This may be one of the poorest articles I have ever seen at WUWT. I am shocked it was posted with such obvious flaws in logic as demonstrated in figures A and B. I realize that there is not alot of editorial oversight but this article screams out for an editor.

  67. TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit ...) says:

    OMG, sharing a blog with `Tallbloke’.

    What an honour!

    And nice to be able to deduce the British constabulary did not take all of his computers!

    Cheers,

    The Bear

  68. Ed_B says:

    Willis, I have huge respect for your “Earths Thermostat” hypothesis. It actually provided me with a clear mechanism for how the atmosphere is not static as per the GHG hypothesis, but dynamic. That alone convinced me that the enhanced warming due to CO2 would likely be so small as to not be measurable. Now the”unified” hypothesis adds classical fuild dynamics.(Boyles Law). The proof is its ability to explain temperatures on other solar planets.

    Together with your hypothesis I get sweet music. Finally!

    Please don’t get put off by the very confusing fluid dynamics concepts. During my university time, It was very very tricky stuff for me to grasp. You are much brighter than I am, so I expect you will make quicker work of it.

    I don’t expect you to play every instrument in the orchestra, but knowing you, I suspect that you will end up doing just that.

    I sure am enjoying the music!

  69. DirkH says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:21 am
    “Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.”

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, for all I know, you have just popped into existence – I would remember a person or thing called Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along had I encountered it before. So, Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, you have NO reputation by now. And, may I say that, Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, somebody who calls himself Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along goes right into the “obnoxious” bin for me.

  70. JPS says:

    “In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
    In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure.

    I do not believe any reader will disagree with this highly simplified thought experiment.”

    On the contrary, I would strongly disagree with it. At least the way you have set it up- In case A you are talking about the state of the gas in the cylinder (Tc, Pc) with a constant ambient temp (Ta). In case B you are talking about the pressure in the cylinder, but you are changing the ambient temperature. In other words, if you just changed the temperature in the cylinder (with a fire perhaps) but left the ambient the same the plots would look identical.

  71. peter2108 says:

    Ira says:
    “The only heed Nikolov seems to give to GHG and those measured radiative energies is that they are insufficient to raise the temperature of the Surface by 133K.”

    This is not right. They don’t deny the radiative heating of the surface due to heat trapped and re-emitted by greenhouse gases. In fact their equation (3) describes the effect for the one layer model they start with. However they claim that this radiative heating of the surface is entirely offset by convective cooling – and they give a pair of equations (4) modifying (3) to include an additional term for convective cooling. They also claim: “This decoupling of heat transports is the
    core reason for the projected surface warming by GCMs in response to rising atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations. Hence, the predicted CO2-driven global temperature change is a model artifact!” That is the GCM’s solve equation 3 and then (I assume) handle convection separately instead of using their equation (4). This is actually a pretty extraordinary claim!

    My own concern with this is that the extra term introduced into equation (4) is hardly explained at all. The term it looks like cp * rho * (Ts – Ta) * gbh and the value of ‘cp’ is not given and gbh=0.075m/s is not supported. Still it’s only a poster so work in progress and quite likely the interpretation is well-known!

    Another thing is that the one layer model is an approximation – to overthrow the existing theory you would certaily need to work it though using a continuous thick model of the atmosphere.

    I’ll study it some more because it is the first thing I have seen since Svensmark to offer a different view of long term climate change. And it is pretty accessible too. They should not call it UTC though because those letters are taken for Universal Coordinated Time!

    In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.

  72. gnarf says:

    This integral giving 133K is wrong. If you create a spreadsheet under excel to approximate this integral, in which you cut the earth surface in parts, and calculate temperature for each part using the black body…the average is about 250K and is consistant with average temp of the moon.

  73. JPS says:

    Another way to look at it is that if you change the ambient pressure, the temperature rise in the cylinder would be permanent, similar to case B.

  74. Jeremy says:

    Glad to see Ira debunk the UTC proposed. FWIW, radiative physics as describes our atmosphere over long time periods (millions of years) is CORRECT. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the climate theory or basic models. The error is the application of these oversimplistic climate models to shorter time periods (decades) and, given such broadbrush assumptions, to a ridiculous degree of accuracy (a few degrees) and without any proper way to account for albedo changes (clouds) and the completely childish assumption that there is such a thing as a global mean temperature when the water cycle, ocean currents and winds are creating havoc with regional surface temperatures as heat is moved around continuously.

    Anyone who is real scientist or a real engineer can see that the whole global climate Modelling effort to a is just childish STUPIDITY. It is akin to studying “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, there simply is no answer…

  75. Chris B says:

    Generalizing, it sounds like in addition to cause and effect juxtaposition, the argument is between atmospheric pressure/heat generation in the UTC paper versus atmospheric density/heat retention in the Glickstein paper.

    There are still so many variables and interpretations preventing “settled science” from breaking out.

    In our area the ground temperature 2 or 3 meters below the surface stays at a fairly constant 10 degrees Celsius, and rises as the measurement goes deeper ( to a few thousands of degrees below the crust, not millions as Algore estimates. LOL ). This in spite of atmospheric temperatures of +35 or -15 degrees C.

    Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.

  76. AnonyMoose says:

    “predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure”

    But is the mass (and density) of the covering blanket more important than its composition? The alarmist industry is based upon a specific gas in the mix, while this formula is less sensitive to the composition of the atmosphere. However, a blanket of wool may behave differently than a blanket of aluminum with the same mass and density.

  77. JPS says:

    sorry for all of the posts but now that I look closer your case A cannot satisfy the ideal gas equation and therefore must be false- assumming n,V and R are constant, T and P simply MUST be proportional or you are not in a gaseous system. or, you have disproven the IGE which would be quite remarkable.

    the exception here would be for a liquid-gas system, like in a propane tank, where the IGE does not apply.

  78. Chris B says:

    I guess I answered my own question. Latent and Radioactive heat dissipation is 1/10,000 of solar irradiation.

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

    Heat flow

    Heat flows constantly from its sources within the Earth to the surface. Total heat loss from the earth is 44.2 TW (4.42 × 1013 watts).[12] Mean heat flow is 65 mW/m2 over continental crust and 101 mW/m2 over oceanic crust.[12] This is approximately 1/10 watt/square meter on average, (about 1/10,000 of solar irradiation,) but is much more concentrated in areas where thermal energy is transported toward the crust by convection such as along mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes.[13] The Earth’s crust effectively acts as a thick insulating blanket which must be pierced by fluid conduits (of magma, water or other) in order to release the heat underneath. More of the heat in the Earth is lost through plate tectonics, by mantle upwelling associated with mid-ocean ridges. The final major mode of heat loss is by conduction through the lithosphere, the majority of which occurs in the oceans due to the crust there being much thinner and younger than under the continents.[12][14]

    The heat of the earth is replenished by radioactive decay at a rate of 30 TW.[15] The global geothermal flow rates are more than twice the rate of human energy consumption from all primary sources.

  79. AJStrata says:

    Excellent intro (will go back and finish reading in a bit, but had to get this thought down). “Something”>>>Temp>>>CO2. And that “Something”=Energy.

    I mean duh. The problem with the green house gas theory (if you want to turn it on its head) is that GHG is similar to H20, in other words they both play temporary heat sink. The GHG does not for-all-time trap thermal energy, any more than H2O does. It holds it up for a while.

    As I noted in the unified climate theory, you have to look at:

    (1) the different mechanism and surface area for energy loss (and please don’t forget ‘work’)
    (2) the actual total solar and core energy flux value (the solar is only coming in on a fraction of the hemisphere at full strength, the rest attenuated by the angle of incidence)
    (3) the physical structures doing the absorbing and emitting in layers (beginning with oceans and land, going to atmosphere and finally dealing with the radiation and plasma belts).

    All of these factors hold some solar energy from direct re-emission into space and provide a Tc baseline (temp of core) that gives us our balanced climate.

    This is so obviously the case given the seasons! While all the factors on the Earth are the same (core temp, ocean volume, air mass, radiation and plasma belts) what happens is the solar flux is reduced as the angle of incidence increases in the NH winter, and increases at the same time as the solar angle of incidence increases in the SH. What drives this change in basic atmospheric. SST and land temps?

    Solar flux. If there was going to be a heat trap that effected temp it would be the oceans first, by a couple billion tons. CO2 – by mass – cannot compare to the Earth’s water in terms of trapping energy. It is so obvious it is still hard to believe people have not worked it out.

    Look at the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere and compare it to the mass of H2O in the atmosphere and the oceans, and then do some computations on how much stronger a heat sink CO2 would have to be to overwhelm the mass of Earth’s water. You will quickly find yourself in science fiction land.

    Your relationship goes Solar Flux>>Regional Temperature>>CO2, which when integrated over many years and significant changes in the solar flux being emitted at the source (or getting through the barriers of Earth’s atmosphere) you will see global changes on long time scales.

  80. jjthoms says:

    Best laugh for ages!
    The comments here and the whole of
    Unified Theory of Climate

    There is just too much non science to even go about debunking in a comment!

    Still, it can always be turned into a learning exercise

    Damn it, I even agree with Willis!!!

  81. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    I was looking for more of what Nikolov and Keller had done in the past and ran into something odd.

    Google nikolov keller and check out the 3rd link from the bottom of the second page of hits.

  82. Leonard Weinstein says:

    There have been many interesting blogs and comments on this issue. However, the physics is actually fairly straightforward for the basics of the so called planetary greenhouse effect, and Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller and Ira got it part right and part wrong. The actual uncertainty in the whole issue of importance is not the basic greenhouse effect, but on the cause of the albedo variation, and on effects of storage and movement of surface energy (cosmic rays, clouds, aerosols, wind and ocean currents). Some of these may be part of a feedback to increased greenhouse gas levels, and this feedback may modify simple analysis.Those are not discussed here and so the present discussions are off base.

    Lord Monckton had the basic greenhouse discussion basically correct even though he uses overly simplified models. Long wave absorbing gases and aerosols and clouds move the average location of outgoing thermal radiation to a greater altitude above the surface. The lapse rate does the rest. Increasing the altitude of average outgoing radiation with more “so called” greenhouse gases (this is a misleading term, and just refers to the absorbing gases, but it is used commonly) increases the temperature by simple virtue of setting a temperature on the lapse rate gradient at a higher altitude. Thus total atmosphere pressure (which is a measure of total mass) does affect possible temperature, in that it allows the level of outgoing radiation to be at a higher altitude due to a taller atmosphere, but the absorbing gas is necessary to move this level up. An example is Venus, where the high mass of its atmosphere AND presence of greenhouse gas and aerosols make the altitude of outgoing radiation very high (about 50 km). The lapse rate than results in the high temperature.

    Please look up in google what the lapse rate is and where it comes from. It is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The gradient is only dependent on gravity and the specific heat of the atmospheric gas (but can be modified by a condensable gas such as water vapor to give a wet lapse rate rather than dry lapse rate). Locking any point on the gradient to a particular temperature then defines the entire temperature variation. With no absorbing gas or aerosols or clouds, the curve is locked to the ground. With absorbing gases or aerosols or clouds, it is raised up in altitude. The average level where outgoing radiation equals incoming absorbed solar radiation defines the temperature at that point. It is true that actual radiation leaves from many altitudes (including some directly from the ground), but an average level can be obtained.

  83. The processes of evaporation/condensation/freezing/melting control temperature and the rate of loss of energy to space. Water vapor does not behave as a perfect gas. Think wet adiabatic laps rate. Water vapor is lighter than air and transports the energy gained in evaporation upward to condense into clouds, further transported upwards to freeze near the TOA where the energy radiates to space. Also, these processes transport CO2 up to the TOA by absorption in clouds and being released as the water freezes. Think about radiation as “line of sight and speed of light”. These other processes are slowing down the rate of energy loss.

  84. erl happ says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am

    What are you? Shy? Or have you forgotten the name that you posted under last time?
    If you can’t engage in the discussion why not entertain yourself somewhere else where your magisterial pretensions might be, (hard to imagine) less of a burden.

    You say: “The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.”

    The thermosphere is energized by very short wave radiation from the sun. The lower atmosphere is energized by long wave radiation from the Earth, contact with a warm surface or release of latent heat. Are you suggesting that long wave radiation from the Earth (or its atmosphere) is responsible for the temperature of the thermosphere?

    Willis…..”your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.”

    I don’t think of it as hit and run. You are avoiding the issue. Does the relationship between planetary surface temperature and atmospheric pressure hold up or not?

    Is your conviction that GHG influence surface temperature just too hard to shake?

    Now, where are the rest of the lukewarmers?

  85. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    Chris B says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:50 am

    “Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”

    Rocks are such good insulators the rate at which internal heat leaks out to the surface and the rate at which it dissipates once it reaches the surface makes it negligible for most purposes. It averages 65 milliwatts/m2 for continental crust and 100 mw/m2 for oceanic crust.

    On Venus it’s a different story. The top of the rocks there are blanketed with CO2 at 1400psi surrface pressure. CO2 has a strong absorption band at 4um and the surface temperature of Venus happens to be 900F which has a peak thermal emission frequency of 4um. The high insulation coefficient of rock doesn’t end at the surface on Venus. 90 bar of CO2 with thermal emission right in its absorption sweet spot makes it a highly effective insulator. This is why the surface temperature of Venus is so high. The temperature gradient from molten core of the planet to top of the crust isn’t as steep as it is on the earth because there’s a continuing layer of very effective insulation on top of the rocks on Venus where on earth the insulation is very poor after the rocks stop.

  86. Birdieshooter says:

    Dennis Nikols said …..”I think this discussion is valuable and important if for no other reasons then it illustrates or reminds us that we know far less then any of of think we do.” And I hope that all such work in the future keeps reminding us of this fundamental point and the need for humility. I wonder what the scientists in the year 2222 will be saying about us all/

  87. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    peter2108 says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:38 am

    “In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.”

    There’s a fixed number of molecules (or atoms) in a mole called Avagadro’s Number which is something you learn in the first week of chemistry class in high school. So N actually is the number of molecules but the units are, as you said, in moles. The distinction is pedantic in nature IMO.

  88. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:

    [SNIP: Someone who posts under an anonymous handle and who supplies a false e-mail address has no right to belittle other commenters. Supply a valid e-mail address and maintain civility or you will not be permitted to post again. -REP]

  89. tallbloke says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:21 am
    Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.

    Ah, another badmouther who doesn’t address the scientific content.

    Next!

  90. Scott Covert says:

    The theory might be wrong but not for the reasons stated in the post. I think Ira misunderstood the basic logic of the paper as did about half of the commenters.

    The use of the word pressure is the key to this misunderstanding. The change in mass of the atmosphere which changes the surface pressure is the effect that causes the new equilibrium temperature at the specified energy input from all sources.

    It’s simple to understand this premise. A low mass atmosphere with trace pressure has no greenhouse effect. The higher the pressure (gravity vs mass) the stronger the greenhouse effect. An infinite mass atmosphere would capture 100% of the energy and never release it. Think of the entropy on the moon vs a black hole.

    I’m not endorsing the paper but using fixed volume gas calculations on an open top container does not debunk this paper.

  91. FergalR says:

    jorgekafkazar,

    I’ve never seen Jupiter’s excess heat being attributed to radioactivity before – there’s an awful lot of it. It’s commonly blamed on “contraction” which I assume is fuelled by gravity and the same process that gives birth to stars.

  92. palindrom says:

    Good work, Ira.

    I’ve been teaching physics for 30 years, and have taught thermodynamics many times. It is just about the easiest subject to get confused about, and as I looked through the Unified Theory paper I found it hard to trace any valid argument — the authors are just deeply confused about what causes what. The authors have PhDs, but don’t have the relevant expertise to be making the arguments they are making. It actually reads like the work of cranks. You’ve been very diplomatic.

  93. vigilantfish says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am

    erl happ says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm
    “Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.”
    The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.
    What’s up with that, Erl?
    PLEASE do not make stuff up as you go along. THINK McFly!

    ——————

    Please tell the rest of the story. One would not experience temperatures at this level in the thermosphere because there is virtually no gas pressure thanks to the rarified atmosphere (presumably the medium to whih erl happ is referring). From Wikipedia (sorry)

    “The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would not feel warm in the thermosphere, because it is so near vacuum that there is not enough contact with the few atoms of gas to transfer much heat. A normal thermometer would read significantly below 0 °C (32 °F), due to the energy lost by thermal radiation overtaking the energy acquired from the atmospheric gas by direct contact.”

    Interesting that you would borrow a line from a famous fictional bully to end your missive.

  94. pochas says:

    PV = nRT is not the whole story. There are three different types of expansion. They are isothermal, adiabatic, and polytropic. An isothermal expansion happens when the work of compression is wasted, as when you let air out of a tire. For an ideal gas this takes place at constant temperature. At pressures less than atmospheric for most purposes air can be considered an ideal gas.

    An adiabatic expansion takes place at constant entropy. That is, the ability to do work is somehow recovered (a “reversible process”). This is what happens during convection when a parcel of atmosphere rises. Because the work that is done against the surrounding atmosphere will be recovered when the parcel descends again, convection is a reversible process, and is accompanied by cooling. A polytropic expansion is an intermediate case. Work is recovered but there is some loss of ability to do work (waste heat), as in an automobile engine.

    This is the equation that describes the temperature change for an adiabatic expansion, and also defines the temperature profile for a planetary atmosphere.

    T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ)

    For details and definition of gamma, etc., please visit

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

    Thermodynamics is a difficult subject as I can relate from my own experience. Until you understand it you are doomed to spout nonsense and you cannot be a genuine climate scientist.

    Sorry for the boring tutorial, but it seems to be needed here.

  95. Paul Bahlin says: December 30, 2011 at 5:10 am
    I propose an experiment…
    Go outside, place several 1 meter tall closed glass cylinders on a black surface. Start with the following contents:

    Nitrogen at 1 bar
    Nitrogen at 2 bars
    CO2 at 1 bar
    CO2 at 2 bars

    Measure the gas temperatures. Refine the experiment based on what you learn. Repeat.

    OK, I look forward to your comments, Paul Bahlin, but here is my take.

    (1) Assume the glass is thick enough such that it does not pass LWIR.

    (2) Sunlight passes through the glass cylinder and the enclosed gas and is absorbed by the black surface, heating it.

    (3) The warmed black surface radiates LWIR, but that radiated energy is absorbed by the glass bottom of the cylinder, heating the glass. The warm black surface also heats the bottom of the glass cylinder by conduction.

    (4) The warmed glass bottom radiates LWIR into the gas in the cylinder. It also warms the gas within the cylinder by conduction and that gas rises and by convection mixes with and warms the gas in the cylinder.

    (4-CO2) The CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR, and warms. The 2 bar CO2 absorbs more of the CO2 than the 1 bar CO2. Any radiation not absorbed by the CO2 is absorbed by the glass walls. The warmed CO2 radiates LWIR in all directions, which is absorbed by the glass walls. It also conducts heat to the glass walls.

    (4-N2) The N2 passes the LWIR. All the radiation thus is absorbed by the glass walls.

    (5) At this point, it seems that, in the steady state, the glass walls of all the cylinders, including the 1 and 2 bar CO2 and N2 are equally heated. The reason for this conclusion is that all the radiation absorbed by the CO2 is eventually re-radiated and/or conducted to the glass walls of the cylinder. Thus, all four glass cylinders would end up with approximately equal temperatures in the steady state. If the sides and tops of all cylinders are equally heated, they will equally radiate and conduct, and the heat will thus be lost to the to the air outside the cylinders.

    (6) However, the bottoms of the glass cylinders holding CO2, and particularly the one with 2 bar CO2, as compared to the N2 cylinders, may be warmed more by the re-radiation from the CO2. If this is true, and I think it is, the slightly warmer bottoms of the CO2 cylinders will radiate a bit more into the black surface than the N2 cylinders, and thus cause the black surface to re-radiate more. In other words, in the CO2 cylinders, relatively more of the initial heat energy from the black surface will be re-cycled back to that black surface, and relatively less will be lost to the air outside the cylinders. That delay will cause the CO2 cylinders to be slightly warmer than the N2 cylinders, and the 2 bar CO2 to be slightly warmer than the 1 bar.

    Please comment on this Paul Bahlin and others. Although, as an engineer I did study physics and in my work I did learn about optical devices that work in the infrared, I do not claim more expertise that some others here at WUWT. So, I would like to read your take on these interesting thought experiments. Indeed, if anyone out there has access to a laboratory, please do these experiments and report the results here.

    Then, try the same experiment with the following changes:

    a) The black surfaces inside the glass cylinders.
    b) Rock salt or plastic cylinders that pass LWIR.

  96. TomB says:

    Actually, that helps explain one of the things about the original post that confused me. I roadrace motorcycles and tire pressure is a ~very important~ performance parameter. Tire pressures are checked and adjusted religiously. Pressures are always checked both cold and hot. Setting front tire to 29psi cold (say ambient 80F) gives a tire pressure of 34.5 to 35psi hot when you first get off the track (depending on how hot you got the tire, in the 190-200F range). As the tire cools, the pressure will drop back to its originally set 29 (a way to check for leaks, which would be bad). So in my own experience, temperature effects pressure.

  97. kim says:

    Foundations tremble,
    Collapsing superstructure,
    Dust blows all about.
    ==================

  98. dp says:

    Many months ago in guest posts here Steven Goddard was pounding this atmospheric pressure drum using Venus as an example. It didn’t make a lick of sense then, either.

    Tanks used for SCUBA diving become very hot as they are filled. They do not remain hot once the filling has stopped – they assume ambient temperature. If you open the valve wide open and quickly release the air the tank becomes too cold to touch. These temperature excursions are in energy balance depending and the heating/cooling depends on changing pressure, not static pressure. More specifically, it depends on the instantaneous energy state of the molecules being acted on by the creation and release of compression by energy entering and leaving the system. Energy, the compressor = cause. Heating = effect while the compressor is running.

    In the atmosphere, air that is descending is warmed by compression – but the place it left is immediately replaced by displaced air that is rising and so cooling. It is in balance for pressure and energy. This is independent of the initial energy state of the affected air masses which may be, and in fact certainly are different owing to solar heating near the surface. This difference is one way the vertical movement of air happens in the first place, but that energy imbalance is caused by external radiative heating, or by mechanical transfer – convection.

  99. Don K says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    “The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels,”

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

    An important issue to be sure, but hardly the only one. Some other questions one should probably think worthy of attention.

    1. What is the complete list of factors (“forcings” in climate-speak) that affect global climate?
    2. What is the approximate magnitude of each?
    3. What causes glaciations?
    4. What causes glaciations to end?
    5. Why does the behavior of the “Offical Climate Team” more closely resemble that of a doomsday cult than that of a scientific community?
    6. What will a warmer (or cooler) world actually look like?
    7. Given the need later in this century to support some 9 or 10 billion humans — (hopefully in reasonable comfort), what is the optimum global temperature?

  100. alex says:

    Both Glickstein and Nikolov & Zeller seem to be amateurs.

    Of course, the planet surface temperature is defined by the gas pressure.
    This is trivial. We live in the TROPOSPHERE = mixed (and continously being mixed!) layer of the atmosphere. For this reason the example of a gas container of Ira is IRRELEVANT. The troposphere is always being compressed continously. That is why the temperature in the troposphere follows the adiabate ds/dz = 0, where s is the entropy density (wet adiabate!): the larger the pressure, the higher the temperature.

    Of course, it is stupid to calculate the surface temperature by the “radiation balance” or “disbalance”. The earth surface is well isolated by the GHG and clouds. The RADIATING surface is much higher. It is defined either by the clouds level or by the IR transparency level – wavelength dependent.

    For this reason, Venus has extremely high surface temperature: the pressure there is very high.
    And Mars has low temperature, although it has 20x more CO2 than the Earth.

    And Jupiter and Saturn have the same 20 degrees C at the atmospheric level of a few bars.

    And if you go to a deep coal mine, the temperature rises as well> not because of the “Earth warmth”, but just because you go deeper and you have the same lapse of about 1 degree C per 100 meters.

  101. Joe says:

    Ira,

    I think you have missed a bit here, or are looking at the same phenomenon in a different direction. When solar radiation introduces energy into the atmosphere, in an open system, the natural desire of the gas is to expand. If there is no other force operating on the gas then all it would do is expand, and not heat.

    Gravity is, for all intense and purposes an elastic restraint on the expansion of that gas. It isn’t as final as a piston or sealed jar, it does allow some expansion, but it all restricts free expansion and forces the atmospheric pressure to rise in comparison to a free state.

    The increase in temperature can indeed be categorized as temporary as you say, but that is no different than the temporary heating provided by the GHE. Absent solar radiation the Earth would cool off rather quickly. It’s Gravity, in effect, that amplifies the effect of solar radiation on climate in this Unified Theory.

  102. Im Dating A One-Percenter says:

    this is a lot of information for non-science girl like me, but appreciate the post very much!! the nerd inside me got excited to read this.

  103. Doug Burr says:

    Ira, Thank you for your enlightening post. I appreciate the thought and polite open discourse of all participants.
    I know just enough science to follow the arguments, but not enough to predict. I do think the example is slightly off, where A is an open system (or more open) by allowing heat to leave the tank, and B is a closed system, even though in the example it is obviously a larger, but still a closed system because the pressure increase remains constant. Can you comment?

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  104. aaron says:

    Peter 2108 says:
    In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.

    A mole is fixed number of molecules known as Avagadro’number which is 6.023 X 10 to the 23rd Ira is not wrong in the sense that n is in fact a finite number of molecules.

  105. Tim Folkerts says:

    I tend to agree with Ira & Willis. Let me propose a few scenarios that get to the core issues and see what conclusions people reach …

    1) Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be ~ 255 K, as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations.

    2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).

    2) Earth with a NEARLY pure N2 atmosphere but with 390 ppm CO2, with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be pretty close to the current average of 288 K.

    (NOTE: “average surface temperature” is not a simple concept – either experimentally or theoretically, but I don’t want to get bogged down in that right now in this discussion. I’m looking at the general temperature ranges: Scenario 1 Temp ≈ Scenario 2 Temp < Scenario 3 Temp).

  106. Scott Covert says: December 30, 2011 at 6:54 am
    The theory might be wrong but not for the reasons stated in the post. I think Ira misunderstood the basic logic of the paper as did about half of the commenters.

    The use of the word pressure is the key to this misunderstanding. The change in mass of the atmosphere which changes the surface pressure is the effect that causes the new equilibrium temperature at the specified energy input from all sources.

    It’s simple to understand this premise. A low mass atmosphere with trace pressure has no greenhouse effect. The higher the pressure (gravity vs mass) the stronger the greenhouse effect. An infinite mass atmosphere would capture 100% of the energy and never release it. Think of the entropy on the moon vs a black hole.

    I’m not endorsing the paper but using fixed volume gas calculations on an open top container does not debunk this paper.

    OK, Scott Covert, consider the following. Say someone dumped a load of pure O2 and N2 into our Atmosphere, doubling its [Updated 30 Dec 6:20PM EST] volume WEIGHT but not increasing the GHGs (water vapor, CO2 , CH4, etc.) I know that O2 absorbs LWIR in a small portion of the spectrum near 10μ, so remove a bit of the CO2 to compensate for that such that the effect of GHGs remains constant.

    [NOTE: In the paragraph above, I meant to add pure O2 and N2 to double the WEIGHT of the Atmosphere, not its "volume". Since gas is, of course, compressible, doubling the WEIGHT will not double the volume. I am sorry for the confusion I added by my poor choice of words. Ira]

    The Atmospheric pressure would approximately double, and things would get warmer for a while (as in case A of my simple thought experiments where more air is pumped into the container). After time to for steady state to settle in, and the warming from the work we did dumping the extra pure air to dissipate, I think the Atmospheric pressure would remain double, but the temperatures would return to about the same levels as before.

    The albedo of the Earth would remain about the same so the same amount of SWIR would penetrate the doubled Atmosphere and be absorbed by the Surface. The UW LWIR radiation from the Surface and the DW LWIR from the GHGs would be about the same. Convection and conduction would have thicker air to work with and the TOA would be somewhat higher, but not double.

    Any comments on how the Nikolov theory would predict the results? Would the "Enhanced" effect due to double Atmospheric pressure cause great permanent warming? Perhaps a "tipping point" even? I do not think so but I would like your opinions.

  107. Barefoot boy from Brooklyn says:

    I’ve never seen such a confused welter of comments, brought on by the confusing presentation by Nikolov & Zeller, but not helped very much by Glickstein, who I am sure knows his thermodynamics, but who hasn’t made his central point(s) stand out either while losing track of what may be correct in the Nikolov & Zeller article. One of their points–again, it is their bad for not making more clear what their main points ARE– may have something to do with the response of an atmosphere at density to insolation and other “forcings,” –gad, I hate that term– rather than to the forces which have put the atmosphere under pressure in the first place. Hope that it gets straightened out before the RC crowd pile on in an attempt to bury the good with the bad.

  108. R. Gates says:

    thetempestspark says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
    R. Gates says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    “Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.”

    If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
    ——-
    What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.

  109. Luther Wu says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Some excellent points, and I think that this “Unified Climate Theory”, will be fairly quickly placed into the “hmmm…interesting” dustbin of quirky science sidebars. Your desire to see the so-called “Official Climate Team” put into its proper place belies the undercurrcent of thought shared of course by many skeptics, but I fear such desires shall go unfulfilled. Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.
    ____________________________
    Pardon, R. Gates, but the effects of a doubling of CO2 is not the only issue, but is merely a question on the way to the only issue.
    The issue becomes: are any effects from a doubling of CO2 actually harmful and if so, what do we do about it?
    In the freely- accessible dialogue and literature of the CAGW advocates, there is a continuous undercurrent of and calling for a rush to tyranny and attendant death to many millions, if not billions of human beings. Indeed, the desire to implement the loss of individual freedoms and willful depopulation of the planet is often explicitly and boldly stated, as if the rest of us should willingly acquiesce and thus relinquish our lives and freedoms to make life better for a self- aggrandizing class of elites who would (in their vision) remain untouched and without need of remorse.

    Using your terms, “Your Desire” to implement dark days for mankind becomes the only issue.

  110. Dan in Nevada says:

    I think a better simple example would be a pressure cooker. They work by causing the pressure in the vessel to rise which results in a higher cooking temperature, which is essentially what Nikolov is suggesting a change in atmospheric pressure does on earth. The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature and without any change in energy input (stovetop burner remains at same setting). Once equilibrium is reached, there will be as much energy leaving the “system” as is being input. Some of that will be radiative, but most will be through the pressure relief valve in the form of steam (not sure if that qualifies as convective). Nobody would argue that the extra pressure is creating energy, but it does allow the temperature to be a lot higher than would be the case at a lower pressure. It’s not important that the pressure rise is caused by the energy input by your stove, you see the same thing cooking at various elevations.

    I believe the major reason a pressure cooker works is that the higher pressure increases the boiling point of the water in your polar bear stew. What I’m wondering is whether the same thing applies to, say, air. Will air heated in a pressure cooker reach a higher temperature at higher pressures? Or does the whole effect rely on increasing the temperature at which a phase change takes place? Can any of this be related to the mechanism Nikolov is trying to describe?

    Finally, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody verify/falsify Nikolov’s primary assertion that the greenhouse effect has been underestimated by about 100 degrees K. They offer their equation (2) as a better way of doing things. I know most WUWT readers drift off to sleep contemplating Hölder’s inequality between non-linear integrals, but I don’t have a clue what that means. Is there any merit to their argument?.

    Thanks as always for the entertaining discussion.

  111. James Sexton says:

    This is just silly. Temperature and Pressure are just ways of expressing things. They are not things in and of themselves. For instance pressure is simply an expression of force over an area. It doesn’t say what the force is or what caused the force. Temperature is simply an expression of heat transfer. It doesn’t say what’s causing the transfer. Temperature is a measure of the average translational kinetic energy associated with microscopic motion of atoms and molecules. The flow of heat is from a high temperature region toward a lower temperature region. Temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of each atom….

    The argument of pressure causing or not causing temp change is vapid. Look at the force, look at what is being transferred and look as to why. Temp and pressure is just shorthand for expressing other things.

    Next up in the argument, Amps and volts! Which is more important to watts!?!

  112. R. Gates says:

    Don K says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:27 am
    R. Gates says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    “The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels,”

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

    An important issue to be sure, but hardly the only one. Some other questions one should probably think worthy of attention.

    1. What is the complete list of factors (“forcings” in climate-speak) that affect global climate?
    2. What is the approximate magnitude of each?
    3. What causes glaciations?
    4. What causes glaciations to end?
    5. Why does the behavior of the “Offical Climate Team” more closely resemble that of a doomsday cult than that of a scientific community?
    6. What will a warmer (or cooler) world actually look like?
    7. Given the need later in this century to support some 9 or 10 billion humans — (hopefully in reasonable comfort), what is the optimum global temperature?
    ————
    I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science, and answering 1 through 4 should answer 6 & 7.

  113. Jim G says:

    “Correlation does not prove causation.” Keep repeating this over and over.

    How very true. How many times have various posts pointed this out? In addition, multivariate analyses suffer from so much multicolinearity (as in the accident, traffic jam, police example) because there are sooooo many variables impacting upon climate, and simultaneously upon one and other, that predicting climate is, at the present time, with present data and technology, pretty much a fools errand. This applies to both AGW fanatics and all of the various theories proposed here by skeptics.

    The real answer is that climate is changing but the causes are presently undefined and not predictable. Time series cyclicality can be somewhat interesting but since even the dependent variable measurements are suspect, such are not extremely enlightening.

    The crime is basing public policy which negatively impacts real people and the world economy upon fantasy science.

  114. Roger Longstaff says:

    The Nikolov and Zeller paper is badly writen in parts, but the basic message is that the “climate” of a planet is determined by the mass of its atmosphere, insolation, gravity, rotation and nothing else – NOT chemical composition. This hypothesis has been under consideration for several years, but “climatologists” choose to ignore it. For example, if Earth’s atmosphere was primarily composed of carbon dioxide (molecular weight = 44) rather than nitrogen (atomic weight = 14) and oxygen (atomic weight = 16) the atmosphere would be about two orders of magnitude more massive, and the surface temperature much hotter, according to the gas laws.

    The bottom line is that if we doubled the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 content from 0.04% to 0.08% ppmv (for example) it would haver no measurable effect upon the Earth’s climate.

  115. niteowl says:

    @Joe Zeise December 30, 2011 at 4:59 am

    That’s the first thing that hit me about Ira’s experiment as well. The inside of the refrigerator is not a system at equilibrium, as it uses external energy (probably from Evil Coal) to remove the additional heat from pressure increase and vent it to the outside. Of course the temperature is going to revert to whatever the refrigerator is set to.

  116. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    Is a solar wind from the north (?) of earth colder than a solar wind from the south (?) of earth, how does that affect glaciers?
    Does the pressure increase from said solar winds cause the clouds to disburse water vapors faster thus causeing cooling of the earth.

    (sarc)

  117. ChE says:

    Here’s the spherical cow model that I think N&Z are roughly trying to present:

    1) Draw an envelope that coincides with the tropopause.
    2) Greenhouse radiative physics govern above the envelope (tropopause).
    3) Below the tropopause, convection governs transport, and adiabatic compression governs temperature.

    In this model, you determine the tropopause temperature by greenhouse calculations, and then you determine surface temperature by adiabatic compression. So while you don’t get any heat out of raising the pressure, you do increase the temperature.

    At least that’s what I think N&Z were trying to say. If so, it’s plausible, but needs more work to be sure. But the increase in temperature as you go down doesn’t require addition of heat.

  118. John Mason says:

    Paraphrasing the new theory is it’s not the reflection of radiation that increases the temp at the surface but the simple partial rebound of kinetic energy at the atomic/molecular level the allows the heat energy to be higher. So the compressor analogy that IRA is posting is irrelevant. I also think of the BB gun where you compress the air in it which makes the chamber hotter which if you shoot right away the BB will go through much more of the phone book. But let the temp in the chamber go down, the amount of air is still in there and compressed but not with as much pressure and the BB won’t go through as much of the phone book.

    In other words the BB gun and the compressor example IRA is using the temp rise is a one time event caused by forcing more air into a closed chamber than the surrounding air.

    None of this is relevant to the new climate theory. The new climate theory is more like this: the air is transparent to much of the radiant energy but is going to delay return of that energy back to outer space. Anything that creates a delay be it the radiative feedback of classical CO2 theory or the simple delay in a return from a mostly transparent convective gas under pressure will delay the energy return increasing the temperature at the surface.

    We generate heat and use a blanket to delay the rate of return so we are warmer at our surface. The surface of the earth has a blanket of air covering the surface that is being heated so it’s warmer. Anything creating a delay increases the temperature equilibrium point.

    Think blanket, not bottom of a bike pump getting heated when used and you’ll see the difference between what IRA thinks they are saying and what they are actually saying.

  119. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    Willis:
    In a word: Synergy?

  120. JPS says:

    Ira said:
    “OK, Scott Covert, consider the following. Say someone dumped a load of pure O2 and N2 into our Atmosphere, doubling its volume but not increasing the GHGs (water vapor, CO2 , CH4, etc.) I know that O2 absorbs LWIR in a small portion of the spectrum near 10μ, so remove a bit of the CO2 to compensate for that such that the effect of GHGs remains constant.

    The Atmospheric pressure would approximately double, and things would get warmer for a while (as in case A of my simple thought experiments where more air is pumped into the container). After time to for steady state to settle in, and the warming from the work we did dumping the extra pure air to dissipate, I think the Atmospheric pressure would remain double, but the temperatures would return to about the same levels as before.”

    THis simply isnt true- if you double V and the number of air molecules the pressure and tempeature will remain the same

    PV = nRT
    P 2V = 2n RT

    the IDeal Gas Law is a state equation- it will be true at any time for your model assuming it applies

    the problem is your model is wrong but plenty of people have already said that

  121. Mark Hladik says:

    Still working my way through the original paper. There are many good comments here.

    Perhaps our focus should be a form of “peer-review” which will work to improve/correct that which is lacking, and reinforce that which is good. We have the expertise, in this blog, to accomplish this goal. Once we have thrashed it all out, the authors can present a ‘revised’ version, taking into account the comments, and making corrections to that which we find inconsistent.

    Let us recall that Wegener was ridiculed for not having a mechanism for “mobile” continents, but in the end, his basic premise was found to be correct. We might be in a similar situation here; let us work together to improve, and if the original hypothesis is eventually found to be incorrect, we can discard it, and chalk it up to experience.

    Best regards to all, and thanks to the mods and Anthony, and the purveyors of thoughtful comments,

    Mark H.

  122. Gary Pearse says:

    ‘This makes the GH effect a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed!’ (Nikolov)

    “I just cannot square this assertion with the clear measurements of UW and DW LWIR, and…”

    Ira- good experiments you did, but I like their assertion (noted by many others in other posts) that a locale heated by whatever will then rise as a convection current to upper troposphere where it will then dump more energy back into space. Also, it seems to me your experiment has a flaw. The refrigerator in the actual earth case is the surrounding air. I think this takes the container of gas out of the refrigerator to the ambient (elevated temp) of the close to earth warmth (ATE?). I believe all they are appealing to is the average density of the close to earth layer presents a higher mass (higher heat capacity).

  123. mkelly says:

    Definition: STP corresponds to 273 K (0° Celsius) and 1 atm pressure. STP is often used for measuring gas density and volume.

    If you take the time and use PV=nRT with standard P (14.73psi), a V up 62 miles, figure n and plug in R you get a T of 273 K. Although Ned and Karl may or may not be correct in the figure they use there is some level of internal energy in the atmosphere caused by gravity/pressure, work. So the GHE maybe only 15 K not 33.

    Ira says:”Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed…”
    “Downwelling Long-Wave Infrared (LW DWIR) from the so-called “Greenhouse” gases (GHG)..”

    Ira you use the word work when talking about Ned and Kar’sl post, but have not recognized what many have said when talking of DWLWIR that it has no ability to do work. Mr. MyDog….Nose, several PE’s and myself have mentioned this before.

    To me the atmosphere seems to look like a Carnot cycle.

  124. J Martin says:

    Ira, I think you’ve not addressed the central issue. You should look at Dale Huffman’s clearer, though more basic explanation of what is going on at;

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

    Comparing the known science of a sealed container of even pressure and density, to the open system of the atmosphere with gravity, higher pressure and temperature at the surface, which decline with altitude is in no way valid. Sorry.

    You need to falsify / invalidate the Huffman Venus paper first, then re-address yourself to the Niklov Zeller paper.

  125. tallbloke says:

    James Sexton says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:31 am
    Temp and pressure is just shorthand for expressing other things.
    Next up in the argument, Amps and volts! Which is more important to watts!?!

    Lol! Class – Thanks James.

  126. davidmhoffer says:

    R. Gates;
    I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science,>>>

    Unimportant? The behaviour of “the team” is unimportant to the actual science? Tell that to the researchers whose actual science never got funded because of “the team”, tell that to the editors of academic journals that lost their jobs because of “the team” and tell that to the next generation of scientists who will begin their careers based on a completely false premise.

  127. Marc77 says:

    The black body temperature of a planet is not necessarily its temperature at ground level. Some planets do not have a ground. I would guess it is the temperature at the “average altitude” of emissions to space. I don’t know how the “average altitude” is calculated, but it is probably somewhere over the ground. Now, under this “average altitude”, you expect to find an adiabatic lapse rate. So the ground will automatically be warmer than the black body temperature.

    Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s say we build an opaque membrane at the top of our atmosphere. The temperature of this membrane would be calculated like the temperature of a planet without an atmosphere because there is no atmosphere on top of the membrane. But you would still have an adiabatic lapse rate under the membrane. So the ground would be warmer than the membrane.

    The pressure and the temperature of a given gas are in fact a single quantity. The bottom of the atmosphere is warmer just like it has a higher pressure. This higher temperature cannot be used to produce energy just like its higher pressure. In fact, the pressure/temperature by molecule(momentum) is higher at a higher altitude. It is only the sum of pressure/temperature that is higher at the bottom. If you could build a huge tower containing a gas with a different adiabatic lapse, there would be heights where the temperature inside the tower would be different than the temperature outside. So it would be possible to create energy. But this is only because the adiabatic lapse represent an insulation and you can create energy between two points that are insulated differently from a hot body. This insulation might be explained by the fact that pressure/temperature of a gas is a property of single molecules that are attracted by gravity, therefore pressure/temperature is attracted by gravity. Just like the spin of a particle is a property of that particle. So it is more probable to detected the spin of a particle near a massive object than midway to the moon.

    In conclusion, it is not surprising for a planet with an atmosphere to be warmer. The exact explanation and how much warming you should expect seems to be a subject of debate to this day.

  128. Tim Folkerts says: December 30, 2011 at 8:00 am
    I tend to agree with Ira & Willis.

    Tim, GREAT to hear from you and thanks for your support.

    Let me propose a few scenarios that get to the core issues and see what conclusions people reach …

    1) Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be ~ 255 K, as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations.

    Agreed, but only if you also REMOVE THE WATER. 255K is below freezing, so water would turn to ice and thus increase the albedo over 0.3. On the other hand, I think that at an average temperature of 255K, the Equatorial oceans would be liquid and therefore the heat of the Sun would cause evaporation and thus water vapor, a “greenhouse” gas, so you would get some GHE warming.

    2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).

    Agreed again, and again with NO WATER.

    [3]) Earth with a NEARLY pure N2 atmosphere but with 390 ppm CO2, with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be pretty close to the current average of 288 K.

    Agreed again, but only WITH WATER because you need the GHE effect of water vapor to get the 288K. I do not believe that 390 ppm of CO2 in an otherwise pure N2 Atmosphere would generate much GHE unless you add water vapor comparable to current levels.

    (NOTE: “average surface temperature” is not a simple concept – either experimentally or theoretically, but I don’t want to get bogged down in that right now in this discussion. I’m looking at the general temperature ranges: Scenario 1 Temp ≈ Scenario 2 Temp < Scenario 3 Temp).

    Absolutely! As an engineer I try to focus on the “heavy hitters” in any complex system and ignore the relatively minor effects. Yes, T^4 is the right way to do precise averaging, but, at our current state of lack of knowledge, just averaging T is “good enough for Climate Science work”.

    Any other comments, Tim (or others)?

  129. Dan in Nevada says:

    JPS says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

    JPS, I’m sure you are wrong here. As the number of air molecules increase, the weight (gravity’s pull on the mass of molecules) would compress them, resulting in higher pressures. To get Ira’s theoretical doubling of volume would take much more than twice the number of molecules due to this compression. Ira’s assertion that temperatures would ultimately equilibrate back to what they formerly were is the real question.

    [JPS, I meant to double the WEIGHT by doubling the number of molecules. You are correct that doubling the volume would require adding more than twice the number of molecules. I am sorry that my poor choice of words caused confusion, Thanks for the correction. Ira]

  130. R. Gates says:

    Theo Godwin says:

    “In the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance, no energy is created on Earth. All energy comes from the Sun.”

    ——–
    This is simply not true. The earth’s surface radiates LW radiation that has nothing to do with energy that originated on the sun. All objects in the universe above 0 degrees Kelvin generate radiation, and certainly the earth is no different. Even if the earth were suddenly ejected from the solar system into interstellar space it would still continue to emit its own radiation, but of course at at much different wavelength than it does now.

  131. JPS says:

    Dan:

    unwittingly you have rebutted your own rebuttal- I dont see a gravitation term in the IGL- the way it is being applied here is for is for a CLOSED, HOMOGENEOUS system. the atmosphere is clearly not that. Im not arguing the practical result of what he proposes, I am saying his model is wrong.

  132. Theo Goodwin says:

    Brian H says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:29 am
    Theo Goodwin says:
    December 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    “Theo, your intent is laudable, but I think you get hoist on your own petard. The ‘energy2′ of which you speak is transformation from one form to another, not creation. So would be any possible future on-Earth energy source, even nuclear or fission, etc.”

    All talk about energy is ultimately talk about energy transformation because energy is neither created nor destroyed. My point is that people will want to say that energy is created in our atmosphere, just as we say it is created in our windmills or when we build the right kind of battery, and that we should not slap them down with the Warmist definition.

  133. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    Old one on this thing of grinding down the point of needles to two or less atoms.

    Visual:

    Clean 8 1/2″ X 11″ blanch white paper.
    100,000 grains of black pepper.
    100,000 grains of house fly dung.

    Sort by size and report the size distribution.

  134. shawnhet says:

    I have a thought experiment that I have been working through to see if I can understand this properly (at least in a nonquantitative manner). Let’s say that a comet hits the Earth and vaporizes in the atmosphere which raises the temperature of the atmosphere as a whole by 1C(due to increased compression of the atmosphere). By my understanding of the S-B law, the Earth still would only need to radiate the 235 w/m2 it receives from the sun, even though the *total* kinetic energy in the atmosphere is now much higher than before the comet hit. This on its face does seem to suggest that that the UCT is on to something.

    However, as others have mentioned, adding mass to the atmosphere doesn’t just increase pressure it also raises the height of the atmosphere (which will tend to decrease pressure and temperature) subject to the constraints of gravity.

    Finally, there is the issue of condensation. If the comet entered the atmosphere as water vapor, it would quickly condense out of the atmosphere lowering the atmospheric pressure to the pre-comet levels.

    WHat do people think of this thought experiment? Am I missing any important factors? Does anyone have any idea how we would go about quantifying the relative strength of the these factors?

    Cheers, :)

  135. Philip Peake says:

    My initial thoughts were along the same lines as Ira. Its absolutely true that pressure is not temperature. In the gas phase, they are related, but that’s all, one is driven by the other, not *caused* by the other.

    Let me give my interpretation of what I think the original paper was saying:

    I will start by trying to remove what I see as some red-herrings. First talk of heat when pumping up a tire, warmth from rapidly descending air masses etc. These are temporary imbalances, they are the result of work being done. Work being done implies that energy is coming from somewhere else to perform that work. On the macro scale, there is only one source of energy for the Earth (the sun), and for our purposes, I think we can regard it as constant.

    The other red-herring is convection vs radiation vs conduction.

    I think there has been enough discussion in the past for most to agree that at the wavelengths at which the Earth (re-)radiates, the atmosphere is opaque. Radiation from the Earth itself doesn’t make it directly into space, it is transferred from the earth, via the atmosphere, and radiated from the atmospheric gasses into space.

    Effectively, the atmosphere conducts the heat away. When thinking about conduction here, there are three methods of moving the energy, one is plain old molecular conduction, excitation of a molecule being passed on to adjacent molecules. Its not a super-efficient mechanism in gasses, especially at lower pressures. Convection is much more efficient, it moves the excited molecules to an area of less excited molecules to allow the faster transfer of energy. Given the depth of the atmosphere, and the relatively small convection cells, I think we can ignore the actual mechanism (moving gas) and simply regard this as an enhancement of conduction — as a black box, (internal) convection will simply make the black box appear to conduct better. Finally, there is “radiation” (as in downwelling radiation) which actually radiates in all directions, not just down — this may actually be the same thing as conduction in a gas. For our purposes, I don’t think it matters if it is or not. The point is, in a black box containing gas, apply heat at one end, and it will be transferred at some rate to the other end.

    So back to the plot …

    What we have is a solid body (the Earth), with a layer of gas around it.
    If there is no energy input, the gas undergoes a couple of phase changes and ends up as a crust of solid material on the surface of the planet. At the other extreme, apply enough energy, and for a planet of the size and density of the Earth, the gas will achieve enough kinetic energy to escape the gravity well and “boil off” into space.

    We are interested in what happens between these two extremes.

    As energy is applied, the solid gas becomes gaseous gas and forms an atmosphere.
    The atmosphere will have a depth and (surface-level) pressure which is determined by the total volume of gas, the gravitational constant and the temperature of the surface of the planet. The gravitational constant and the volume of gas are fixed, so temperature alone determines the pressure of the gas.

    Now, its tempting to think that we can apply PV=nRT to determine the relationship between pressure and temperature, but since the gas is not contained in a fixed volume (V) it doesn’t apply. There is also the small issue of the different gas temperatures at the outside and bottom of the atmosphere, and the fact that we have a pressure gradient, not a fixed pressure.

    However, if we look at a small enough portion of the atmosphere, say the first few feet, given the weight of the atmosphere above it (think of a solid sphere contained within a spherical shell, with gas filling the space between the two), we can consider that it is approaching a fixed volume, and so its pressure will be closely related to temperature, and PV=nRT will (almost) apply.

    The same principle can be applied to the next “layer” of atmosphere. In this case the “base” of the (spherical) container) is the underlying layer of atmosphere, and the “container” is all the atmosphere above. From PV=nRT, since this layer of gas is at a lower pressure, its temperature will be lower.

    Continuing this process, we begin to see why there is a temperature gradient between the bottom of the atmosphere and the top.

    For ANY planet with ANY gas as an atmosphere, there has to be a higher temperature at the surface than higher up in the atmosphere. You physically can’t have a uniform temperature, because the pressure is different.

    The temperature/pressure is determined by the amount of energy being put into the system (sun) and the rate at which heat is conducted away away from the surface and into space.

    So surface temperature is going to depend on how much gas is in the atmosphere (fixed), how much energy is put into the system (fixed — according to AGW theory) and the conductivity of the atmosphere.

    Conductivity of gasses varies depending upon the gas and its density. Denser gasses tend to be better conductors.

    I would argue that adding CO2 to the atmosphere improves its conductivity. It is a denser gas, and its property of absorbing radiated energy means that it will warm, and so begin convection, which will improve the conductivity (in the black box sense). Now, a denser gas will lead to higher pressure, and hence higher temperature, but this is offset by improved conductivity, which will lower temperature (and pressure).

  136. Wow, I went to bed with no comments having cleared moderation and now all of this. It is great stuff too. This is all very much like the continental drift discussions in the late 50′s and early 60′s or perhaps the Hoyle-Hawking and others of about the same time. In this case we are more like the drift business but seem to be trying to make it into cosmology. Unified theories of anything are nothing more then computerizes that satisfies no one. The drift thing got more or less solved as soon as we realized how continents move. That took a discovery based on empirical measurements. The key was the age/magnetic reversal/geographic distribution of ocean crust to show the way.

    In climate, I suspect we know what to measure and we know where to measure it now we need to put a lid the predictive models and focus on the geoscience relationships and making those measure. If we are diligent about it we will some day understand the relationships of all the components that make up what we all love and live with our climate.

  137. pochas says:

    “Paul Bahlin says: December 30, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I propose an experiment…
    Go outside, place several 1 meter tall closed glass cylinders on a black surface. Start with the following contents:”

    The thing that dooms all of these Woods – type experiments is Local Thermal Equilibrium.
    Whatever apparatus you assemble, it comes to LTE with its immediate surroundings. If you have a box with a plate glass cover opaque to IR, the sun heats the plate and the plate heats the inside of the box and the enclosed air. If you have a box with a salt plate cover (transparent to IR) the sun heats the inside of the box and the box heats the air inside and the air heats the plate which radiates the same as the plate glass. The experimenter becomes confused thinking that he has disproven the Greenhouse Effect. Yes, Virginia, Greenhouse Gases do radiate downward, but this is important only at night when convection ceases so that cooling rates are reduced in certain regions of the globe.

  138. Richard M says:

    Brian H says:
    December 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    The core assertion is that the mass of the atmosphere varies, and this results in temperature change. Add 1 bar of CO2 to the atmosphere, or 1 bar of N2, and the results therefore should be the same. According to C. Jinan’s theory, however, the CO2-rich version would be cooler, as it radiates into space more readily. What say you?

    Very interesting. This is essentially a formalization of the concept I have putting forth for almost a year. My idea that GHGs must have a “cooling effect” has also been put forward by others. I will have to look at this closer, but I think, if valid, this paper is even a bigger dagger in the heart of AGW than the UTC. It removes the physical cause for warming that warmists are so quick to claim.

    It is nice to have the UTC at this time so when warmists try to complain that something must be causing the warming and hence Coa’s paper must be wrong, we have an answer.

  139. gnomish says:

    Thanks, Ira – the venusian gasball stuff is hansen’s leftovers with sagan backwash.
    temperature and pressure have this relationship: PVT = PVT
    heat is nowhere in that formula mmk?
    you can’t convert watts to degrees, mmk?
    pressure in an enclosed space is determined by temperature. pressure without enclosure is determined by gravity.
    so the venus freaks who believe in post normal reversals of cause and effect have gravity creating heat (heat isn’t created, either – it comes from somewhere it was previously).
    this kind of very fundamental error in the ability to think (disregarding the temporal relationship of cause and effect – nothing more basic than that) is a property of a very broken brain – so badly broken that it can be said to be reliable – reliably insane.

  140. Joe says:

    Ok, tell me where I have this wrong, because the N&Z simplification of the system makes prefect sense:

    When energy is introduced into the atmosphere the sum total of gasses in the atmosphere want to expand rather than heat up. Gravity resists expansion at a constant rate, and the atmosphere heats to the extent that it can not expand.

    CO2 has a greater expansion potential than other gasses in the atmosphere, but it isn’t subjected to more gravity than other gasses are so the end result of heating CO2 in the atmosphere is the greater expansion of the CO2 compared to these other gasses, not more heat.

  141. Stephen Wilde says:

    A few , perhaps 3 or 4 contributors here have got the point. The rest are thrashing about in the dark.

    I here repeat an earlier post that has got lost in the ‘noise’ I have amended it slightly for,I hope, greater clarity.

    If it is flawed would someone please say why or how because the issue is integral to the entire AGW hypothesis.

    “Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that solar irradiation to heat.in the form of more longwave radiation passing between those molecules and the larger environment.?

    The proportions are pressure dependent.

    In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.

    The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus the molecules can carry more kinetic energy in a hotter environment without flying off to space and so one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.

    At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.

    That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.

    If some of the gas molecules have a higher thermal capacity than other molecules then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining the exit of the kinetic energy to space.

    However, if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.

    As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out.

    One does however observe that faster outflow of energy from the watery Earth due to GHGs in the form of a larger or faster water cycle which brings me to my broader work available elsewhere.

    Nonetheless that faster outflow of energy from more GHGs is infinitesimal compared to the consequences of solar and oceanic variability as I have explained in detail previously.”

  142. Scott Covert says:

    Thanks Ira. What you said makes sense. Like I said, I don’t endorse the paper. I don’t get the connection they claim about pressure causing temperature without GHGs. And the discussion about IGL on fixed volumes is just a distraction.
    The connection between equilibrium temperature, atmospheric mass, and water vapor, seems clear and must be a first order influence completely outweighing all non-condensable GHGs.
    It is easy to visualize a trend in atmospheric mass causing a trend in the water cycle which is the strongest atmospheric energy transport mechanism.

  143. Luther Wu says:

    Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:35 am
    In climate, I suspect we know what to measure and we know where to measure it… If we are diligent about it we will some day understand the relationships of all the components that make up what we all love and live with our climate.
    ____________________________________
    If modern climate research was directed at finding what role the various components actually play, rather than trying to reach an apparent goal of securing more funding by reaching predetermined conclusions, then your comment would be more than just wishful thinking.

    Take heart! The young turks are beginning to make their presence felt.

  144. Joe says:

    As as analogy, regarding the N&Z theory, there is a sort of escape velocity in atmospheric heating that is related to the planetary gravitational pull. If the energy is insufficient to overcome gravitational force, the added energy simply raises atmospheric temperature, but at some point the pressure to expand is greater than the gravitational counterbalance and from that point on added energy results in expansion, not heat.

    This is a rather elegant explanation with many examples in the physical world. If you turn the heat up on a pot of water the water will heat so long as the vapor pressure doesn’t exceed the surrounding environment. However, when the heat reaches a specific level,100° C at sea level, the water starts to release steam (expand to a gas) and the water stays at 100° C. The more energy you add to the system at that point only accelerates the rate at which the water turns to steam.

    In the N&Z theory the same general process is taking place in the atmosphere, except that gravity is applying pressure on atmospheric gasses that, once overcome, result strictly in expansion, rather than heat.

  145. Grey lensman says:

    Strewth, am i the only one that gets it. It is as they said nothing to do with energy or work.

    Analogy. A lens provides neither work nor energy but use it to focus light and you raise the local temperature to cause a fire to ignite.

    Second analogy, in your microwave, the power passes through the air, leaving it cool but heats the denser molecules of water in the food such that it cooks.

    This is all that they are saying, a denser air at ground level causes increased temperature from the same heat radiation passing through it. Matters not it constituent gas parts.

    We know from the time of the dinosaurs that it was warmer and they air must have been denser because of the huge insects and flying reptiles. Both of which needed denser air to perform.

  146. Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along said @ December 30, 2011 at 6:27 am

    “I was looking for more of what Nikolov and Keller had done in the past and ran into something odd.

    Google nikolov keller and check out the 3rd link from the bottom of the second page of hits.”

    I did:

    “Lazar Nikolov on Yahoo! Music
    music.yahoo.com/lazar-nikolov/
    Lazar Nikolov music profile on Yahoo! Music. Find lyrics, free streaming MP3s, music videos and photos of Lazar Nikolov on Yahoo! Music.”

    WTF has this to do with the discussion?

  147. R. Gates says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:05 am
    R. Gates;
    I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science,>>>

    Unimportant? The behaviour of “the team” is unimportant to the actual science? Tell that to the researchers whose actual science never got funded because of “the team”, tell that to the editors of academic journals that lost their jobs because of “the team” and tell that to the next generation of scientists who will begin their careers based on a completely false premise.
    ———-
    The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.

  148. richard verney says:

    I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature. That seems wholly illogical to me since it affects the surface area over which heat is lost and absorbed and acts as a transport medium which will distribute heat both laterally and vertically.

    If we accept that pressurising a gas causes the gas to gain temperature, it seems to me that the starting point is to consider why having gained temperature is the temperature lost? The obvious answer is heat loss from the system which in turn begs the question as to how is the heat lost?

    Obviously in the case of IRA’s illustration A, of the gas cylinder placed in the fridge, this is due to conduction and radiation (the metal cylinder being able to both radiate and conduct heat).

    Reverting to a planetary atmosphere, if the atmosphere is composed entirely of non GHGs (ie., gases which the warmist maintain cannot radiate), how would such a planetary atmosphere lose heat? Ie., how would this planetary atmosphere lose the heat that it acquired when it was compressed by gravity?

    If we were to add GHGs to such an atmosphere (and remove an equivalent mass of non GHGs) would this speed up the cooling process since the atmosphere now has limited capacity to radiate away its heat, or would it slow the heat loss since GHGs ‘trap’ heat?

    Reverting to the planetary atmosphere devoid of all GHGs and assuming that the planet surface was not smooth but instead consisted of mountains and valleys of various and different gradients such that the sunlight hit the surface at many different angles and the surface was a mixture of jet matt black rock and white rock with high iridescent sheen (perhaps much like a chess board), would not the atmosphere be heated by conduction and convection? Indeed, would there not be swirling air currents which would aid the heating of the atmosphere?

    Now if the daily heat loss from the atmosphere to space (however that may occur) is entirely balanced by the daily heat gain received by the atmosphere from conduction and convection of some part of the solar input being received by the planetary surface, the temperature of the atmosphere will never be lost and will at all times equal the temperature that was brought about by gravitational compression of the atmosphere. Obviously, if there is an imbalance between the heat loss and heat gain there will be a change to the temperature of the atmosphere (as inevitably would be the case).

    I have issues with the N&Z paper and do not fully understand what they are saying. However my understanding is that they claim PRESSURE >>CAUSES>>TEMPERATURE such that in broad terms this sets the ‘planetary atmospheric base temperature’ (my expression) which temperature is then subject to changes from heat loss and/or heat gains. My understanding is that they claim that if the heat gains (whatever be their source) equal the heat loss from the system then the planetary atmospheric base temperature will be maintained indefinitely. On the other hand, if the heat loss is more than the heat gain then the planetary atmospheric base temperature will decrease, alternatively the planetary atmospheric base temperature will increase if the heat gains exceed the heat losses. My understanding is that they postulate that that solar energy is sufficient to make good the heat loss and that being the case the planetary atmospheric base temperature is maintained. They suggest that changes in cloud cover for example result in a change to the amount of solar irradiance received by the Earth system and this accounts (or largely accounts) for temperature variations to the planetary atmospheric base temperature seen in recent times.

    In principle, I can see the merit in such an argument.

    Ira I do not consider your illustration to be analogous to the planetary condition and it is missing a vital component, namely the equivalent of the sun. It has the coldness of space without the warmth of the sun. Accordingly, Ira, in your illustration A, the cylinder should in its base be fitted with a heater. The fridge represents space (which is <3K) and the warm cylinder will tend to lose heat to the fridge and cool. The heater in the base of the cylinder represents the sun. This inputs some extra heat into the system. When the heat from the sun (the heater in the base of the cylinder) equals the heat being lost from the cylinder to the fridge, the gas in the cylinder maintains its temperature (which was brought about by pressure) indefinitely.

    Thereafter, slight changes to the amount of heat being inputted by the heater in the base (changes in solar irradiance for example due to changes in TSI, cloudiness or a slight temporary reduction in power due to a volcano or what have you) will cause the temperature of the gas within the cylinder to rise slightly or fall slightly.

    This is certainly a planetary model that requires consideration. Whilst I have little doubt that the title to the N & Z paper overstates the case, I think that it was entirely appropriate to publish the paper on WUWT so that it can be disseminated by a wide audience who hold different views and different specialities, and so that the authors may reflect upon points raised by the readers of WUWT and incorporate changes that may appear appropriate in the light of those comments.

  149. Joe says:


    richard verney says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature.

    Can you explain away my example? Gravity is a constraint on the free expansion of atmospheric gasses, without gravity would the planet even have an atmosphere? Of course not.

    As such, gravity, in resisting free expansion, is responsible for solar energy turning to heat, otherwise the atmosphere, absent a planet, would simply expand. This is a more elastic version of the closed jar CO2 example so misused by warmists where CO2 heats more rapidly than air simply because CO2 has a great expansion pressure when energized.

    But at some point gravity is insufficient to hold back the expansion of atmospheric gasses, and at that point (like water at 100° C) added energy doesn’t contribute to heat, it contributes to expansion. As such, CO2, Nitrogen, and any other gas in existence has a set ability to be heated under normal atmospheric conditions before it breaks the surly bonds of gravity and simply expands instead.

    In some way, however, there is room for AGW in this theory, but only if humanity is releasing enough CO2 (or any gas) into the atmosphere to increase to atmospheric mass in a non-negligible way.

  150. davidmhoffer says:

    R. Gates;
    The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.>>>

    But it does change the science, because the science isn’t reality. Science is the study of reality. If the science becomes corrupted, reality doesn’t change, but the science upon which our society rests does. Muzzling Galileo didn’t change the reality that the earth circles the sun, but it set science backwards by a considerable amount.

  151. Ira, nice effort, but does not apply exactly nor correctly.

    Not to insult your intelligence, or the others here who are brilliant thinkers, however; as a pilot with advanced degrees in aeronautics the following is partially why I disagree with your container example through simple observations.

    Death Valley vs. surrounding mountains. I ask why it is warmer in the basin than the hill tops that surround. The atmosphere is thicker, deeper and more dense. Correct?

    Gravity pulls atmospheric high pressure air downward, compressing it. It warms on the way down. As it descends it causes low pressure areas to form through the Coriolis effect. Cause and effect. Correct?

    Thunderstorm are produced by an accelerating column of rising air that does not cool relative to the temperature of surrounding air that the rising air passes through, as that air returns to the surface, it compresses and forms a hot spot leading the storm, which helps feed the system. Correct?

    Consider the SCUBA tank being filled and vented; the air heats through compression and cools when decompressed. Gravity is the atmosphere’s compressor, the sun heats the surface inconsistency causing different rates of heating. Correct?

    Across the planet valleys are warmer than hill tops, across the planet high pressure areas are descending air masses that compress. The atmosphere is thicker and thus warmer at the equator adding to the warmth in that band. Correct?

    Venus has a thicker atmosphere than earth: warm place. Earth has less atmosphere, cooler than Venus. Mars has even less atmosphere, much colder than both Venus and Earth. Both Venus and Mars have greater than 90% CO2 atmosphere, yet one is hot, one is cold due atmosphere density. Correct?

    Jupiter has massive atmosphere, hot. In all instances, the atmospheres are warmer at lower altitudes. Correct? It might be colder way out at Neptune, but the same applies. Correct?

    We are not in a closed canister. We are in a system of chaos with unforeseeable variables.

  152. Stephen Wilde says:

    richard verney says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

    “I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature.”

    Even without non condensing GHGs (those are the ones we are concerned about) the molecules of Oxygen and Nitrogen despite their low thermal capacity would still warm up to match the surface temperature (or close to it) not because of direct radiative heating but from gravitational compression, conduction and convection from water vapour and portions of the surface that ARE heated by insolation such as the land and the oceans. They then lose that energy to space not primarily by radiation but by conduction, convection and especially the phase changes of water.

    Non condensing GHGs do not affect ocean heat content but they do affect atmosphere heat content though mostly in latent form because of the water cycle since their energy in the air causes more evaporation. However the atmospheric temperature is controlled by the oceans on Earth so a balance between sea surface and surface air temperatures must be maintained.

    If the air cannot heat the oceans then it is the atmosphere that has to shift in order to maintain sea surface and surface air energy balance.

    It does so by way of a shift in the surface pressure distribution involving a change to the speed of the water cycle and a shift of the permanent climate zones.

    System energy content varies barely at all but the faster throughput of energy from surface to space manifests itself in a surface redistribution of energy which is perceived as regional climate change.

    So non condensing GHGs have no significant bearing on the planet’s temperature (which must include the oceans) but they do have a bearing on temperatures at the surface where specific locations experience changes in the air flow across them.

    But the effects from CO2 are infinitesimal compared to the natural variations caused by sun and oceans which is another story.

    That is what I call a Unified Climate Theory especially when one goes on to link it to solar and oceanic variability which this paper does not do and which I have already tried to do.

  153. Luther Wu says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

    The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.
    ______________________

    The ‘Laws of Physics’ have nothing to do with your post. Instead, you’ve fashioned the phrase into another of your typical red herrings. Your post is just one more of your attempts to denigrate skeptics and downplay the legitimacy of their concerns, while you try to deflect criticism of “the team”.
    While you have repeate4dly demonstrated a remarkable talent as a rhetorician, the thrust of your efforts has unmasked you and revealed you as nothing more than a shill.

  154. gbaikie says:

    “1) Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be ~ 255 K, as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations.”

    Question suppose had a blackbody- 1 meter diameter sphere in space.
    Is it warmer or cooler in average temperature than compare to say solid steel 1 meter sphere?

    “2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).”

    First radiation to the surface would less. Second surface would warm the air and therefore preventing surface from reaching as high of a temperature. But unless you have a surface which has a heat capacity- such as surface being a solid metal or even solid rock [which is more conductive than, say sand] and therefore in similar way is slow or never reaching hottest temperature because it’s losing energy via conduction [really isn't actually losing but is storing heat]. So if your surface doesn’t store much heat, and since atmosphere could store weeks or months worth of heat, despite getting less energy to surface, it could have higher average temperature.

    It should also to be noted that you might measuring two different things- first example there is no air to measure average air temperature [which how earth temperature is normally measured- average of 15 C is not ground temperature it's air temperature. And if you continued to measure surface temperature in second example- the surface temperature would be higher [always] than the air temperature. It would always higher because during sunlight [with no moisture] it will be considerably warmer and at nite the surface will be same temperature as air temperature.

  155. Erinome says:

    I’m glad Ira’s response was posted, and it seems he has some solid objections. But it worries me when he writes, “I would love it if the conventional understanding of the Atmospheric “Greenhouse” Effect…could be overturned.”

    What he ought to love, like everyone, is that the science be correct, regardless of its implications. Climatologists just didn’t glom onto the GH effect for the fun of it — it’s the result of nearly 200 years of scientific investigation, going back to Fourier. A LOT of very smart people have spent a LOT of time thinking about it, and it has experimental support in the observed outgoing spectrum and the changes in that radiation over time (Harries et al, Nature, 2001, and follow-ups).

    Any alternative theory has to pass such standards. It was dismaying yesterday to see so many people write comments like ‘I can’t follow all the math, but it sounds right to me.’ If you can’t follow the math you don’t get an opinion on the science, period. Science doesn’t need cheerleaders, it needs people who understand it.

  156. Willis Eschenbach says:

    DEEBEE says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:25 am

    … And Willis, please do write a response to the original post of “Unified” theory. I usually enjoy your insight. But your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.

    I started out to do so, but it is all of a piece with the bit that I quoted. I can’t make enough sense of it enough to even comment. Take just this small part of what I quoted above:

    Instead, [pressure] enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

    So he’s saying that pressure is either enhancing or amplifying solar energy through the rate of molecular collision … and while that is indeed good to know, what does it mean? Here were my questions on reading those two sentences:

    • How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?

    • Why do the “molecular collisions” only “relatively enhance” energy?

    • How does “relatively enhanced” energy differ from “actually enhanced” energy, or from plain-vanilla garden variety “enhanced energy”?

    • How does “relatively enhanced” energy “manifest as an actual energy”?

    • Why does it only manifest itself when there is “external heating”?

    • Why does anyone pay the slightest attention to this pseudo-science?

    DEEBEE, that’s why I don’t review this kind of carpola. It makes my head hurt, but more to the point, IT DOESN’T MAKE A LICK OF FREAKIN’ SENSE … how can I comment sensibly on something that makes no sense at all? When a guy starts raving about “relatively enhanced energy”, I tune out and go read some actual science.

    w.

  157. thetempestspark says:

    @R. Gates
    thetempestspark says:

    December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
    If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
    ——-
    R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:14 am

    What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.
    ——-

    “Did you force one into the volume of the other?”
    Under earths physical condition, mix the two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, no compression of gases, just an normal atmospheric factor of displacement.

    “If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.”
    Is your answer that There would be no temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 of equal volume under equal conditions?

    Good to hear!

  158. Marc77 says:

    I don’t have a great English, so my first comment might not be very clear. I will try to make it clearer. Let’s look at the phenomenons of temperature and pressure of a gas at the molecular level. In a gas, a high temperature means that a lot of heat transfer events happen in a short time. A high pressure means that a lot of pressure transfer events happen in a short time. Your skin would not feel the heat or pressure without theses events. Nobody is surprised to find that pressure transfer events are more frequent at the bottom of a heavy atmosphere of a heavy planet. But, a lot of people are surprised to find that heat transfer events could be more frequent in the same condition. The problem is that every pressure transfer event in a gas is also a heat transfer event.

    Does it mean that we can make free energy from gravity? No, it is much easier to make energy from pressure than from heat and nobody run their car from atmospheric pressure. On the other side, it is possible to make energy from nuclear fission and this form of energy is more frequent near of massive object. Does it mean that gravity enhances nuclear fission? No, not directly at least. So, even if gravity was able to indirectly increase the amount of potential energy, it would not mean that some basic law of physics is violated.

    In practical terms, in an atmosphere of a planet, the temperature varies with altitude, and there’s an altitude where the temperature is equal to what the black body theory predicts. Jupiter might not have a ground, so it is not necessarily ground level. And then, everything under this altitude has to be warmer. In the piston example, the temperature of the air in the piston that is allowed to exchange heat with the material of the piston will get to the same temperature as the piston.

  159. Willis, refer to an appendix that defines the terms in terms presently accepted as common to relatively enhanced vernacular amplifications, actual to external dependence with internal manifestations. :)

  160. Bart says:

    There is a conceptual error in scenario A. If temperature of a constant volume of gas decreases, the pressure must perforce also decrease. Or, more rigorously, if energy dissipates from the gas, then whatever that energy was maintaining must also go away. Pressure is caused by the energetic collisions of atoms or molecules with the walls of the container. Make the particles less energetic, and you get less pressure.

  161. davidmhoffer says:

    Ira Glickstein;

    I agree with your article for the most part though the analogy is limited in that, as others have discussed, there’s no lid on the earth’s atmosphere. So, while the relationship between T and P is as you explained it, the earth’s atmosphere can expand and contract as it is not constrained to a finite volume which makes calculating the actual end result of any given combination of T and P rather complicated.

    But two other points, first to your comment on average T vs T^4, I think this is much more significant because without proper explanation it distorts the perception the public has of the science. For example, the IPCC claims a sensivity of 2 to 4 degrees for CO2 doubling, based on 1 degree coming directly from CO2 doubling = 3.7 w/m2. To get to two degrees, they assume a minimum of an additional 3.7 w/m2 from positive feedback. What they are vague about is at what temperature they are calculating this, the average reader assuming they mean relative to earth surface. They do not. Their calculation is versus the “effective black body temperature of earth” which is about -20C. So using their numbers we can demonstrate how misleading T versus T^4 actually is by calculating the effect of an extra 7.4 w/m2 (the lower limit of their estimate) on various temperatures using SB Law:

    T = -20C = 253K
    +7.4 w/m2 = +1.99 degrees

    T = +30C = 303K
    +7.4 w/m2 = +1.17 degrees

    t = -40C = 233K
    +7.4 w/m2 = +2.54 degrees

    In other words, sensitivity on a nice hot day is (+30) is less than half of the sensitivity on a bitterly cold day. I think that is significant.

    Switching gears and going back to energy balance, there’s another way of looking at things that I’ve always advocated. If we assume that increases in CO2 affect upward bound LW radiation from earth, but that the amount of energy abosrbed by the earth system from the sun remains unchanged, then once a new equilibrium is established, the “temperature” of the earth as an “everage” remains UNCHANGED.

    Suppose earth is in energy balance recieving about 235 w/m2 “on average” from the sun and radiating the same, 235 w/m2. Then CO2 doubles, throwing the energy balance out of whack temporarily. Provided that the energy being received doesn’t change as a result (which is debatable) and that pressure and volume of the atmosphere alse stay the same (even more debatable) what would be the before and after equilibrium radiance of the earth?

    Before => 235 w/m2
    After => 235 w/m2

    Provided we assume no change in the amount of energy absorbed in the first place, no change in pressure, and no change in the over all thickness of the atmosphere, there would be (at equilibrium) a change in the “effective black body temperature of earth” of precisely zero. What WOULD change is the altitude at which the “effective black body temperature of earth” occurs (currently roughly 14,000 feet above sea level). This in turn would affect the temperature gradient from earth surface to TOA, but not the “average” temperature of earth as seen from space.

    Of course, pressure DOES change, thickness of earth atmosphere DOES change and absorption of downward LW originating from the sun DOES change. But calculating those changes is a couple of degree levels above my skill set.

  162. Bart says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?”

    Coming in cold here, so I may be OT, but the answer to this specific question should be: by maintaining the energetic particles in a bounded volume. That volume will then store more energy than it would if the energetic particles were allowed to escape. It’s not creating energy, it is merely impeding its outward path to freedom.

    I’m not endorsing nor dismissing the UCT – with gravity gradients, an expandable container, and diurnal forcing and mixing, it’s all a lot more complicated than PV = nRT.

  163. Dan in Nevada says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Willis, I really appreciate your analyses, but here you’re just throwing up your hands. You are probably right, but it would help folks like me to know why. I asked a while ago why a pressure cooker might not kinda sorta be a way to look at what they are talking about. It seems to me that, at least in the case of pressure cookers, pressure “enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source” (i.e. by causing the temperature to be higher, which is what I think they are saying).

    This addresses all of your bullet list:

    • How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”? I’m assuming they mean that at higher pressures, the higher densities retain more heat. For a given volume, this is expressed as a higher temperature. (In the case of a planetary body, the volume is somewhat constrained by gravity).

    • Why do the “molecular collisions” only “relatively enhance” energy? I’m guessing (literally) that they mean a larger input will result in a larger output. The temperature gain from the higher pressure is relative to the energy being input.

    • How does “relatively enhanced” energy differ from “actually enhanced” energy, or from plain-vanilla garden variety “enhanced energy”? It’s actually enhanced, but relative to the input energy?

    • How does “relatively enhanced” energy “manifest as an actual energy”? I think they meant to say it manifests as a higher temperature.

    • Why does it only manifest itself when there is “external heating”? With a pressure cooker, if you turn the stove off, the whole process stops and the pot cools down to ambient temperature.

    • Why does anyone pay the slightest attention to this pseudo-science? Because this is fascinating and interesting to me and others, even if Erinome says we should just trust Phil, Michael, Gavin, and the rest of the team that can follow the math.

  164. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Bart says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:55 am
    Willis Eschenbach says:

    December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?”

    Coming in cold here, so I may be OT, but the answer to this specific question should be: by maintaining the energetic particles in a bounded volume. That volume will then store more energy than it would if the energetic particles were allowed to escape. It’s not creating energy, it is merely impeding its outward path to freedom.

    Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?

    w.

  165. Ira says: “The warm black surface also heats the bottom of the glass cylinder by conduction.” I do not agree with this statement because I recall that glass is not much of a conductor of heat, therefore the bottom of the glass warms via the gas being in contact with it. Example: molding glass parts in laboratory work with the old gas burners along with a few burnt fingers from not remembering which end was hot. :)

    Ira says: “Would the “Enhanced” effect due to double Atmospheric pressure cause great permanent warming? Answer: we already know that increasing the size of the atmosphere increases the surface temperature all else being equal. We have both Venus and Mars as example. We have variations in our atmospheric pressure that exhibit the change in temperature based on altitude.

    Ira says: “Perhaps a “tipping point” even? I do not think so but I would like your opinions.Answer: I agree, there is not a run-away “tipping point” as suggested by AGW advocates. however an increase in atmosphere mass will cause warming, all else equal. If there was this tipping point issue, Venus would exhibit an accelerating warming, which it is not. Thus an equilibrium is presently the case, all else equal.

  166. R. Gates says:

    thetempestspark says:

    December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
    If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
    ——-
    R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:14 am

    What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.
    ——-

    “Did you force one into the volume of the other?”
    Under earths physical condition, mix the two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, no compression of gases, just an normal atmospheric factor of displacement.

    “If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.”
    Is your answer that There would be no temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 of equal volume under equal conditions?

    Good to hear!

    _____
    Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.

  167. Luther Wu says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm
    Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.
    ________________________________
    Would you care to prove that assertion (3C globe temperature rise)?

  168. davidmhoffer says:

    R. Gates;
    Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.>>>

    1. Best estimate according to who? You?
    2. The temperature record combined with the CO2 records falsify this as they indicate a sensitivity well below 1 degree.
    3. If you mention “amplification” at the poles, then one must also mention that the opposite (whatever the oppsite of “amplification” is) is also true in the tropics.
    4. Since the direct effects of CO2 doubling is only one degree, you cannot claim an over all sensitivity estimate of 3 degrees without including feedback effects. Are you suggesting that changes in atmospheric pressure and volume are zero? Or that they should be left out of the feedback calculation?

    That’s an awful lot of total bunk to wrap up in just two sentences. I’m very impressed.

  169. Oh for word parsing. If I have a light bulb cooking at some given voltage amperes (watts) and I increase the er ah I mean enhance the voltage, then does the wattage increase and it become brighter, warmer? What voltage increase, I mean, enhancement is significant? And what is significant?

    I might be inclined to copy / paste to a word doc, then replace the words enhance and enhanced with increase and increased or whatever word makes us happy campers. Same with other word choices that help with understanding the writer. Best of all, it is the responsibility of the writer to take care to be clear, as Willis is making point of.

  170. Colin in BC says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 6:47 am

    [SNIP: Someone who posts under an anonymous handle and who supplies a false e-mail address has no right to belittle other commenters. Supply a valid e-mail address and maintain civility or you will not be permitted to post again. -REP]

    Thank you REP. As a layman, it’s difficult enough sifting through the concepts being presented in the original article, and the following comments. Having to deal with bomb-throwing trolls adds unneeded difficulty.

  171. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    So, earth 4.5 billion years old or so, so sun shine on earth said 4.5 billion years.
    So, how much sun transfered energy remains stored in/on/within said 4.5 bilion year old earth.
    So, how does this amount of 4.5 billion years of stored energy get free of taxes and the earth?
    This energy lust to be free for sure.

  172. Frank White says:

    One other commentator mentioned the Carnot cycle, which I think needs to be considered for inspiration concerning the physics of the climate system.

    The following web site has a lot of interesting stuff related to this discussion; http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/theta/

  173. davidmhoffer says:

    highflight56433;
    Death Valley vs. surrounding mountains. I ask why it is warmer in the basin than the hill tops that surround.>>>

    There are most likely multiple factors but I would guess the big one would be lack of convection. Death Valley being encircled by steep mountains, convection is supressed. Cool air that would normally flow sideways across the ground from elsewhere and cause the hot air to rise just has no entry point like it would on a prairie or seaside landscape. “Wind” is just air moving from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone, with convection causing a low pressure zone at the bottom that ought to pull surrounding (cooler) air into it which in turn allows the hot air to rise. No source of cool air to come in at the bottom, and the low pressure zone in turn inhibits the rise of the hot air.

    Less convection = less cooling = hot hot hot temps. Same effect can be observed at, for example, the Dead Sea.

  174. Stephen Wilde says:

    Will says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12

    “You have repeated in almost every one of your posts that CO2 has a higher “thermal capacity” than O2 and N2. By this I assume you mean specific heat capacity. If so then I’m afraid that as usual, you have things arse about face.”

    Thank you for correcting me on that bit of incorrect terminology. I seem to have picked it up from somewhere without realising.

    The correct term should have been radiative forcing capability or something similar but I think that is apparent from the context and makes no difference to the scenarios set out in my posts.

    I am concerned about the phrase ‘as usual’. What else do you consider to be incorrect?

  175. R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm
    “Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.”

    …and Zig Zags are doubling the CO enhancement effect, raising the global polar lunar amplification pressure gradient by a thermal factor quantifier base modifier.

  176. Theo Goodwin says:

    I will use a simple and obvious example to explain “enhanced energy” or whatever you want to call it.

    Start with the physical hypotheses that govern the Earth-Sun radiative system. Notice that the Sun cannot ignite ordinary paper. Buy yourself a good quality microscope, take it outside, and focus it on some crumpled computer paper. The focused sunlight will burn the paper.

    If you tell a Warmist that you have a method for focusing sunlight that causes it to burn paper, being always in attack dog mode they will tell you that this is impossible. They might cite the physical hypotheses governing the Earth-Sun system and explain the impossibility.

    You respond by pointing out that the focused sunlight has nothing to do with those hypotheses but requires introduction of an additional set of hypotheses that govern the effects of sunlight traveling through a magnifying glass. The important thing here is the reference to the additional set of hypotheses.

    When Warmists tell you that ENSO cannot cause heating or cooling or that clouds cannot cause heating or cooling, they are doing the same thing as ignoring the physical hypotheses governing the magnifying glass. They are making the mistake of thinking that your additional hypotheses must substitute for part of the Earth-Sun system rather than adding to that system.

    We all know that there must be additional physical hypotheses to explain how ENSO causes heating or cooling and how clouds cause heating or cooling. At this time, there are no such well confirmed physical hypotheses.

    People who talk about “enhanced energy” are struggling to articulate hypotheses that will be additional to the Earth-Sun radiative system of energy but not a replacement for part of it.

    None of this is to say that I agree with Nikolov’s article. However, I understand his struggle to shift the focus to additional physical hypotheses and avoid the Warmist smackdown.

  177. Bomber_the_Cat says:

    Well, Ira, you have been much kinder to this article than I would have been. Someone on the Judith Curry site once said
    “Actually, the Gerlich and Tscheuschner, Claes Johnson, and Miskolczi papers are a good test to evaluate one’s understanding of radiative transfer. If you looked through these papers and did not immediately realize that they were nonsense, then it is very likely that you are simply not up to speed ”

    And I must confess, this was my reaction to this article. I lost count of the posts that say something like ” I don’t understand the maths (or I haven’t bothered to read it) but I think this is a ground-breaker (or deserves a nobel prize). It is disappointing to see that such posts vastly outnumber those that point out that the article is simple nonsense.
    So, what’s wrong with it? First we get a diagram of the Idealized Greenhouse Model, which is not explained and seems to play no further part in the discussion [Maybe it is there to give a bit of scientific credibility]. Then we get to calculate the Earth temperature without an atmosphere. It is pointed out that using average insolation is not accurate (correct) and uses the rather pretentious term of Hölder’s inequality, no doubt to impress the scientifically illiterate who are lost already.Given that, it is not clear how we got from equation(1) to equation(2). An extra pi seems to have crept in without explanation and the denominator 4 has moved outside the fourth power term. There is a double integral but only one parameter Mu to integrate over, although it indicates a phi term should be included as well. So I have to unpick this myself. One integral is over the range 0 to 1, it doesn’t say what this is so I assume it to be the range of cosine values. The first integral is over 0 to 2pi. What is this? Perhaps rotation in the plane of the surface of the incident radiation? But is this valid anyway? Are all angles of incident radiation equally likely? What is the angle of incidence on the dark side of the planet? Does not the albedo vary with the angle of incidence as well – seeing that we are doing it ‘properly’? This whole section needs to be clarified, otherwise it looks likes a smoke and mirrors exercise.
    Never mind, after all that we end up with the ‘wrong’ answer 133K instead of 255K. I say wrong because no other textbook on physics agrees with this. But now comes the amazing bit. Based on this wrong answer Nickalov and Teller resort to the argument of inconceivability, “Can a handful of trace gases which amount to less than 0.5% of atmospheric mass trap enough radiant heat to cause such a huge thermal enhancement at the surface? Apparently Nickolov and Teller cannot conceive this so they announce that Greenhouse Gas Theory must be wrong (although that came to the correct answer).
    There may be valid objections to the theory of catastrophic run-away global warming, but this is not one of them.

    So what do you think the reaction to this ground-breaking, nobel prize post will be on ‘realclimate’, for example? Do you think they will be trembling in their boots or rolling in the aisles with laughter?

    I do not think the sceptic argument is in anyway advanced by proving that most of those who espouse it do not understand basic physics.

  178. Ira,
    I enjoyed your comments on the “Mythical Man-Month” and on the “Nikolov & Zeller” poster too.

    Some time ago I participated in a discussion on “Science of Doom”:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/12/venusian-mysteries/

    Back then it seemed that the surface temperature of Venus could be explained in terms of the adiabatic lapse rate in the convective part of the atmosphere (from the cloud tops to the surface). Leonard Weinstein calculated that replacing the if the CO2 in the atmosphere with Nitrogen would have a minimal effect on the surface temperature and I came to the same conclusion using Helium.

    Several other people have made similar calculations including:
    Harry Dale Huffman: http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/
    Steve Goddard: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/
    Counting Cats: http://www.countingcats.com/?p=4745

    Nikolov & Zeller have improved the mathematics and extended the analysis to other planets. I was pleased to find that my “back of the envelope” calculations based on adiabatic lapse rates came pretty close to N&K’s numbers.

  179. davidmhoffer says:

    highflight56433;
    Oh for word parsing. If I have a light bulb cooking at some given voltage amperes (watts) and I increase the er ah I mean enhance the voltage, then does the wattage increase and it become brighter, warmer? What voltage increase, I mean, enhancement is significant? And what is significant?>>>

    Good question. You’ll hate the answer….

    E (volts) = I (current in amps) * R (resistance in ohms)
    P (watts) = E * I
    given that E=IR
    P = IR * I
    P = I^2*R

    If we double E, then I doubles, and if I doubles, then P increases by a factor of 4. Right? Nope.

    When E doubles the insantaneous power would rise by a factor of 4, but then would fall off. As the temperature of the filament increases, R of the filament also increases, reducing I until some new equilibrium is reached. You can demonstrate this to yourself with a cheap ohm meter and an incandescent bulb. A 100 watt bulb ought to draw just under 1 amp at 120 volts giving it a resistance of a bit over 100 ohms. Measure the actual resistance of the bulb “cold” and you’ll find it is a fraction of that. When you flip on the power switch, the initial current is enormous until the filament heats up and increased resistance reduces the current. This is the reason that incandescent bulbs almost always burn out right when you turn them on. The stress on the filament of the sudden heating eventually snaps the filament.

    Now, if you increase the voltage to say double, does it become brighter and warmer? Of course it does. But not as brighter and warmer as one might think. Plus, define “brighter” and “warmer”. Since all frequencies contribute to “warmer” any additional watts are by definition included in “warmer”. But is you are relying on LW to do the cooking and classing visible light (SW) as “brighter” one gets a slightly different answer. At higher temperatures, the filament would emitt in a spectrum biased more toward SW than at lower temps.

  180. R. Gates says:

    davidmhoffer says: (to R. Gates)

    “Since the direct effects of CO2 doubling is only one degree, you cannot claim an over all sensitivity estimate of 3 degrees without including feedback effects. Are you suggesting that changes in atmospheric pressure and volume are zero? Or that they should be left out of the feedback calculation?”
    _____
    They are likely not zero, but more likely not as important as other feedbacks effects in the overall sensitivity mix. If, as I believe, 3C is a pretty good estimate for the effects on global temperatures for a doubling of CO2, then the effects from pressure and volume are probably so small as to be a nearly non-measurable part of the 3C.

  181. Dr Burns says:

    Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate. Any atmosphere will warm a planet. What is not clear is the relative impact of GHGs. Nikolov’s paper suggests the impact is zero, which to me doesn’t ring true.

  182. DanDaly says:

    I am encouraged to see that atmospheric pressure is being considered with regard to modeling climate. So, now we have two out of three factors of the ideal gas law. I do hope someone starts to think about changes in atmospheric “volume” as it is influenced by fluctuations in solar wind and gravitational influences, among others.
    Keep up the good work!

  183. Gary Pearse says:

    I’m impressed how intensive the criticism is of the central issue of Nikolov paper (people will always be complaining about peripheral aspects). Many of us are prepared to go to war over 350ppm CO2 and its affect now the Ideal Gas Law applied to our gaseous atmosphere is a heresy! Surely someone considered the Ideal Gas Law to have some relevance in climatology. Where would we stand if the equation were to predict the temperature (as accurately as is done for Mars, Venus, Triton…) of an as yet unmeasured planetary body with an atmosphere. And exactly what is wrong with the equation and the results they did get? AGW scientists are happy with R^2 of more than about 30.

  184. SidViscous says:

    The police analogy falls apart, because when a Police officer is directing traffic and there is no accident or construction or increased traffic quantity, they still foul up the traffic.

    So I think it is fair to say that a police officer makes traffic worse, that is not to say an accident doesn’t make traffic worse. Many things make traffic worse and a policemen is just one of them.

  185. Stephen Wilde says:

    Will says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Hmmm. I must be getting something right to attract an ad hominem of that intensity.

  186. davidmhoffer says:

    R. Gates;
    They are likely not zero, but more likely not as important as other feedbacks effects in the overall sensitivity mix. If, as I believe, 3C is a pretty good estimate for the effects on global temperatures for a doubling of CO2, then the effects from pressure and volume are probably so small as to be a nearly non-measurable part of the 3C.>>>

    As I pointed out earlier, the temperature and CO2 records falsify your belief. As to pressure and volume being insignificant, coming from someone who suggested that the globes in Al Gore’s on air experiment were “superfluous”, I am reluctant to rely on your “belief” alone. Can you justify your position on the matter with anything other than your “belief”?

  187. gnomish says:

    The thermosphere is the biggest of all the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere directly above the mesosphere and directly below the exosphere.
    The temperature of this layer can rise to 1,500 °C (2,700 °F)
    the pressure of this layer is virtually zero.
    hot – but no pressure…

    how about the ideas of thermal conductivity and thermal mass. so what if there are no thermometers, just joules and watts? heat is heat. temperature is not.

  188. Will says:

    [SNIP: Once was enough, Will. Making it personal over several comments is not productive. -REP]

  189. LazyTeenager says:

    I defy anyone to tell me what that means. It’s not energy, just a “relative enhancement” but it “manifests itself as an actual energy in the presence of external heating”.
    ———-
    I’m with you on this Willis. This kind of hand waving sets off my crank detector.

    The assertion that increased molecular collision rates allow an extenal energy source to provide an enhanced temperate is at odds with simple molecular physics and the kinetic theory of gases.

    The claim that thermodynamics explains things is just put out there with no explanation.

    Elementary mistakes like Jules and degrees Kelvin speak of people whose background in physics is weak.

  190. Stephen Wilde says:

    ““radiative forcing capability”. Perhaps you are unaware Stephen but this claim is still at the unproven hypothesis stage.”

    I’m happy to use the term ‘alleged radiative forcing capability’.

    My point was not that I necessarily accepted CO2 to be a more powerful GHG than Oxygen and Nitrogen but rather that even if it were it would have little effect on anything other than the rate of energy flow through the system for little of no effect on total system energy content.

    And even that effect would be miniscule compared to natural changes in the rate of flow induced by solar and oceanic variations.

    I take it, Will, that you are a member of the so called ‘Slayer’ group which does not accept the existence of a greenhouse effect at all ?

  191. UncertaintyRunAmok says:

    Ira,
    Because I work with spectrometers on a daily basis, I have to say that phrases such as the following;

    “(4-CO2) The CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR, and warms.”

    constantly appearing in blogs on both sides of this “debate”, not to mention the Wiki article on the “greenhouse effect”, are REALLY starting to tick me off.

    So here is a little challenge for ALL of you savants. Nearly 150 years ago, the likes of Kirchhoff, Stokes, Bunsen, Maxwell, and others realized and confirmed experimentally certain characteristics of the interactions of EM waves with particles. First was that resonance lines are particle specific, for instance, CO2 CANNOT absorb the resonance line emissions of an H2O molecule. Second was the equivalence of emission/absorption resonance lines. If you identify an absorption line of a particular species of particles, you have also found an emission line. These apply to ALL ranges of the EM spectrum, INCLUDING the thermal infrared, but, to be clear, NOT to the acquisition of INTERNAL “thermal” energy by means other than radiatively. This is only about EM RADIATION.

    So here is the challenge, to ANYONE. Please give the name of the person(s), the year, the specific particles, and the specific wavelengths involved, which were found to violate these principles, along with the name of the journal(s) in which this proof was published.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  192. Kevin Kilty says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    December 30, 2011 at 6:38 am
    Chris B says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:50 am

    “Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”

    Not gravitational pressure/friction (pressure is force per area, and fraction is a force–neither of which are energy), but gravitational work. This work could have left the young Earth nearly completely molten. Most of the heat remaining from this original work is probably still below the mantle because It is such a far distance from the lower mantle to the surface and heat conduction is a very slow process. However heat flow out the Earth’s surface is exceedingly small in comparison to solar irradiance.

    …On Venus it’s a different story. The top of the rocks there are blanketed with CO2 at 1400psi surrface pressure. CO2 has a strong absorption band at 4um and the surface temperature of Venus happens to be 900F which has a peak thermal emission frequency of 4um. The high insulation coefficient of rock doesn’t end at the surface on Venus. 90 bar of CO2 with thermal emission right in its absorption sweet spot makes it a highly effective insulator. This is why the surface temperature of Venus is so high….

    Mike McMillan and I have both commented on this point of runaway greenhouse effect on Venus. If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height. This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.

  193. LazyTeenager says:

    Dr Burns says
    Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate.
    ———–
    Ira is correct but I think there is some general confusion between two separate issues.
    1. The surface temperature of the planet determined by the planet’s energy balance.
    2. The temperature profile between the surface and top-of-atmosphere, determined by, as you say, the lapse rate and which in turn is determined by atmospheric convection.

    I think it would be useful if people toddled over to Wikipedia and picked up the lapse rate formula, plugged it into a spread sheet and graphed the temperature profile for different surface temperatures T0 and atmospheric densities.

  194. Stephen Wilde says:

    Lazy Teenager said:

    “The claim that thermodynamics explains things is just put out there with no explanation. ”

    The explanation has been supplied several times over, first in the Nikolov paper, then in perfectly acceptable paraphrasing by several other contributors and by me twice before as follows:

    “Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that solar irradiation to heat.in the form of more longwave radiation passing between those molecules and the larger environment.?

    The proportions are pressure dependent.

    In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.

    The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus the molecules can carry more kinetic energy in a hotter environment without flying off to space and so one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.

    At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.

    That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.

    IF some of the gas molecules have a higher radiative forcing capability than other molecules (that possibilty is disputed by some) then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining the exit of the kinetic energy to space.

    However, if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.

    As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out

  195. DirkH says:

    UncertaintyRunAmok says:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm
    “So here is a little challenge for ALL of you savants. Nearly 150 years ago, the likes of Kirchhoff, Stokes, Bunsen, Maxwell, and others realized and confirmed experimentally certain characteristics of the interactions of EM waves with particles. First was that resonance lines are particle specific, for instance, CO2 CANNOT absorb the resonance line emissions of an H2O molecule. Second was the equivalence of emission/absorption resonance lines.”

    You are right and WUWT has addressed Kirchhoff’s Law here.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/

    When Ira says “CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR” he conveniently forget the near-instantaneous and COMPLETE re-emission of the energy. CO2 is not a heat-trapping gas.

  196. Don K says:

    R. Gates says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science, and answering 1 through 4 should answer 6 & 7.

    ========

    OK. To sum it up, you don’t actually know anything useful about climate. Or if you do, you prefer to keep your knowledge secret. Do I have that about right?

    And actually, if you think about it, answering questions 1 thru 4 will not necessarily answer question 6 — what would a warmer or cooler world look like? although it would quite likely help. Neither will it answer question 7 — optimum temperature — as that probably involves a lot of land use issues and maybe some trade offs.

    But thanks for confirming that in your opinion “settled” climate science can not currently answer even very basic questions.

  197. LazyTeenager says:

    UncertaintyRunAmok says
    “(4-CO2) The CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR, and warms.”
    ———-
    Unfortunately I don’t understand your point.

    The statement about CO2 is good enough.

    Your claim about resonance lines is not quite correct. It would be correct if absorption/emission lines had zero width, but they don’t. Zero width emission lines is an approximation for atomic spectra and by the time you deal with molecular species you have to deal with significant band overlap.

    Given the gas kinetic collision rates and vibrational state lifetimes it’s fair to say that CO2 molecules absorb IR, transfer that energy to the air via collisions, pick up that energy again via random collissions and remit that energy again as IR. In short it’s a soup of molecules and radiation.

  198. Konrad says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:18 am
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////
    I believe you and Paul are correct in proposing empirical experiments. However the experiments proposed will not answer the questions raised by the Nikolov & Zeller claims. What is first needed is a clear understanding of what they were claiming. Few people on this thread or the previous one seem to understand.

    Tallbloke does -
    “I don’t have a problem understanding what Nikolov and Zeller are saying in the passage quoted by Willis. They are simply explaining why it is that in a gravity well supplied with external power, the more highly compressed gas near the surface will be warmer than expected by a grey body calc which doesn’t take atmospheric pressure gradients into account. Simples.”

    An experiment designed to test this is not too difficult. All that is needed is to simulate a column of atmosphere.
    1. A tall (2m tall x 200mm diameter) pressure cylinder internally insulated with 5mm of white EPS foam with ultra thin reflective foil covering. All surfaces insulated except on underside of matt black alloy top cap.
    2. A second internal cylinder of 5mm foil coated EPS foam 1945mm long 140mm external diameter suspended inside the foam lining of the pressure cylinder 25mm away from all walls and end caps.
    3. A matt black grey cast iron target disk 125mm diameter 5mm thick placed internally in the centre of the pressure cylinder base.
    4. A pressure tight glass window 20mm diameter in the top cap of the pressure cylinder.
    5. Peltier or cryogenic cooling for the top cap of the cylinder.
    6. High intensity external light source focused through the window in the top cap to illuminate only the cast iron target disk in the base of the cylinder.
    7. Valves for the input of various dry gasses
    8. temperature sensors for the target disk and various points up the atmospheric column.
    9. Air speed sensor for the convection loop

    How it works -
    1. the external light source is intermittently switched on and off to simulate the planets rotation.
    2. The target disk heats up and thereby heats the gasses in contact with it and also emits LWIR.
    3. Heated gasses rise up the centre of the internal cylinder, are cooled by the top cap and descend outside the internal cylinder in a convection loop.
    4. The foil covered insulation also bounces LWIR until it impacts the cooling cap and is absorbed.

    If a higher internal pressure of dry nitrogen yields higher internal temperatures with the same external light source then Nikolov and Zellers claims are proved correct. A further slightly expensive variation on the experiment would be to mount the cylinder on a centrifuge arm an spin it to such speed that a significant pressure gradient were created along the length of the cylinder, with the light source and cooling cap being at the low pressure end.

  199. LazyTeenager says:

    Kevin Kilty says
    This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate.
    ———-
    I have puzzled about this myself. My provisional answer is that the IR and atmosphere are strongly coupled to each other. While the IR could in principle determine the temperature profile, it is coupled to the atmosphere and the atmosphere simply undergoes convection to remove to perturbations caused by IR absorption and emission.

    This is consistent with the idea that in the lower atmosphere the air is able to transfer heat more rapidly than radiation. I should probably verify that last statement.

    Currently I am at the point where I need to write some computer code with some actual physics to completely understand all of the factors and I don’t have the time.

  200. DirkH says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    “I think it would be useful if people toddled over to Wikipedia and picked up the lapse rate formula, plugged it into a spread sheet and graphed the temperature profile for different surface temperatures T0 and atmospheric densities.”

    You’re interested in the lapse rate? Joseph E. Postma:
    http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/Understanding_the_Atmosphere_Effect.pdf

  201. Willis Eschenbach says:

    highflight56433 says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    … I might be inclined to copy / paste to a word doc, then replace the words enhance and enhanced with increase and increased or whatever word makes us happy campers.

    Sure, you could do that, replace “enhances” with “increases”. But that just leaves you with a new problem, which is explaining what the new sentence means:

    Instead, [pressure] increases (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative increase only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

    It doesn’t make any more sense with your suggested replacement than it did without it. How does pressure increase solar energy? What is a “relative increase” in energy, that is not actual energy, but only manifests itself as energy when it is externally heated?

    This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.

    w.

  202. Bart says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    “Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?”

    I agree it is sloppy terminology. Enhanced energy retention might be better. But, if you get the gist of it, you can criticize the terminology separately, without throwing the entire argument out the window.

  203. u.k.(us) says:

    Is there a Unified Theory as to the definition of “heat” ?
    Last I heard, it seemed rather unsettled ?
    I must say that the comments on this thread seem to confirm its fleeting qualities :)
    Good stuff everyone.

  204. Erinome says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
    Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”

    The flux of this internal heat is only 80 milliW/m2 at the Earth’s surface — about 0.02% of that received from above, or only 1/5th of solar irradiance variability. It’s a negligible factor — and, in any case, does not vary (as far as I know).

  205. Kevin Kilty says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm …

    Elementary mistakes like Jules and degrees Kelvin speak of people whose background in physics is weak.

    You know, I still use the term “degrees Kelvin” because it was what we said way back when I was going to school. Now we are supposed to simply say Kelvins–old habits never die. And jules rather than joules might be just a typo, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into those “mistakes” meaning all that much. However, these two posts, one yesterday and one today, have set off a storm of criticism for good reason. I don’t see this as a bad thing, though, because they do cause lots of discussion and there is probably more learning that goes on than you might imagine. I, for one, got a bit of insight into how people view the ideal gas law that might help me teach thermodynamics this coming semester.

  206. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Bart says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    “Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?”

    I agree it is sloppy terminology. Enhanced energy retention might be better. But, if you get the gist of it, you can criticize the terminology separately, without throwing the entire argument out the window.

    My problem is that I don’t get the the gist of it. And I fear your suggestion doesn’t help. Suppose we do call it “enhanced energy retention”. Then his idea is as follows:

    Instead, [pressure] enhances (amplifies) the retention of energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This enhanced retained energy only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

    Now you have a new problem. Why does the retained energy only manifest itself as “actual energy” when it is externally heated? How can there be energy that doesn’t manifest itself as energy? How does pressure increase the unmanifested “retained energy”?

    Finally, what does “… retained energy only manifests itself as actual energy …” mean? What would be an example of “unmanifested energy”

    I’m not trying to be picky here, Bart. I’m pointing out the incoherency and lack of sense of his statement. Even with your changes it still makes no sense.

    w.

  207. Erinome says:

    Kevin Kilty says:
    If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height.

    Uh, no:
    http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm

  208. gbaikie says:

    “If, as Nikolov claims, the Atmosphere boosts the surface temperature by 133K, then, absent the Atmosphere the Earth would be 288K – 133K = 155K. This is contradicted by the fact that the Moon, which has no Atmosphere and is at the same distance from the Sun as our Earth, has an average temperature of about 250K. Yes, the albedo of the Moon is 0.12 and that of the Earth is 0.3, but that difference would make the Moon only about 8K cooler than an Atmosphere-free Earth, not 95K cooler! Impossible!”

    Maybe not correct. But you missing a few factors.
    Have our airless moon same size as Earth. It will receive more solar energy than Earth,
    because the Earth’s atmosphere stops sun energy from getting to Earth surface.
    On airless world at earth distance from sun, you get the solar constant of 1321 Watts per square meter. The atmosphere of earth on a clear day blocks about 300 of the 1321 watts.
    So the sun directly overhead on Moon and Earth with clear sky on Earth and the Moon surface gets 30% more energy than earth surface.
    When the sun is at angle in the sky, there is more atmosphere from sunlight to go thru and more energy is prevented from reaching the Earth’s surface.
    So our earth size Moon on the sun facing side would receive *more* than 30% more sunlight on it’s surface as compare Earth. How much more:
    Earth receives it’s radius squared times pi and this spread over a hemisphere: radius squared time p times 2. So the energy is spread over twice the area, but it’s not spread over the area evenly.
    Both with airless world and with world with 1 atm of atmosphere it’s not spread evenly- evenly meaning, with regards to watts of energy per square meter of surface.
    So regarding this hemisphere facing the sun, the middle part receives about 1/2 of of the Sun’s
    energy. This middle part east to west is 45 degrees longitude both east and west from noon. Or in terms of time 9am to 4 pm. 3 hr before noon and 3 hrs after noon would the period when you get most of solar energy for solar panels.
    So at equator at noon, 45 degree longitude east it’s 9 am and 45 degrees west it’s 4 pm. And 180 degrees is half the world. So the diameter of “middle” is 1/4 of earth circumference, or about 10,000 km. And it’s circular extend 5000 km north and 5000 km south. With area of about 78 million sq km. The surface of earth’s sphere is 510 million sq million and one hemisphere would be 255 million sq km. 255 minus 78 is 177 square km.
    So you 78 million sq miles in the middle receiving a nearly full portion of the sun, and remaining
    177 sq km “sharing the remainder”. Or the disc is half of 255 million sq km, which 127.5 million sq km. Very roughly “the middle” gets 78 million sq miles of the 127.5 million sq km. Or easily “gets more than half”. While in daylight and the further you from the middle solar energy is spread over
    more land area.
    So that is true of airless world and one with atmosphere, except the one with atmosphere has more atmosphere to travel thru before it hits the surface in the “outer area”.
    This additional “atmospheric loss” is less at 8:30 or 4:30 pm but progressively getting worst thereafter. So roughly 25% of total sunlight getting 50% or more in atmospheric losses.
    Resulting in earth size airless moon getting around 40% more solar energy than earth.
    Another factor I didn’t include is at lower angle the sunlight would also be more reflected/refracted away from earth surface.

    Oh other thing is with Moon you using surface temperature and comparing to Earth which
    is a air temperature in the shade temperature.

  209. astonerii says:

    Lets be 100% honest here. Who fell for this moronic argument that increased temperature causes increased pressure? Seriously? The Earths atmosphere is contained in a non flexible fixed volume container? I missed that part of my science lessons.

    My science tells me that high pressure systems are generally cold air. When air cools, more particles fit in a specified space at a specified pressure. When air warms up, fewer particles fit in a specified space at a specified pressure. If it is contained in a fixed volume, it will exert more pressure, but its mass will not increase but an infinitesimally small amount from the mass of the energy to increase its temperature. So, looking at the Earth Atmosphere, what happens when something gets further from the center of the planet? If you answered that its weight is reduced, your right. What happens to the Earths Atmosphere as it warms? It expands to fill a larger volume. The only direction that the atmosphere has to expand is to increase out towards space. But since the actual mass of the atmosphere did not increase simply because of the temperature increase, the actual weight of the air (pressure) at ground level will decrease, not increase.

    Now, maybe I read what I wanted to in the unified theory page, but what I got from the unified theory page is that it is not changes in pressure of the whole atmosphere that causes there to be a true black-body surface temperature of the Earth with an Atmosphere with no greenhouse gasses that is higher than the supposed 254.6k. That effect is due to the fact that the full radiating surface of the Earth includes the entirety of the volume of the atmosphere. Thus raising the true black-body surface above the surface of the Earth by 5 KM and placing that as the location where where the 254.6k black-body calculated temperature forms. Using adiabatic lapse for 5KM and increasing the 254.6K by this amount gives the no greenhouse gas black-body earth with Atmosphere surface temperature.

    It all makes absolute perfect sense. The argument presented on this sheet seems to be trying to poke holes in that perfect sense by throwing straw men at the problem. They never claimed that pressure is what causes the temperature, they argued that the atmosphere all on its own with no need for greenhouse gas effect changes the location of where the black-body calculated temperature will be found.

  210. James Sexton says:

    lol, still at it? Questions: Can force cause work? And, does work cause heat exchange? Even in the microscopic?

  211. Kevin Kilty says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm
    Dr Burns says
    Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate.
    ———–
    Ira is correct but I think there is some general confusion between two separate issues.
    1. The surface temperature of the planet determined by the planet’s energy balance.
    2. The temperature profile between the surface and top-of-atmosphere, determined by, as you say, the lapse rate and which in turn is determined by atmospheric convection.

    What is this “pressure” effect on lapse rate? Lapse rate in an ideal gas atmosphere is determined by gravitational acceleration, and specific heat of gas at constant pressure…pressure does not enter directly. Proof of this that the lapse rate remains essentially constant with elevation even as pressure constantly declines.

    Point number 1: Lets go a bit farther. Temperature everywhere on a planet is determined by energy balance. Pressure does not determine temperature, temperature results from considerations of energy in versus energy out.

    Point number 2. The lapse rate might be principally the result of convection, but there are other influences too. Near the surface even conduction becomes important, and radiation is always present, there is absorption of some portions of solar irradiance and IR, and here and there is the release or absorption of latent heat . An interesting complication in a planetary atmosphere is that vertical convection transfers not only some heat, but does quite a lot of work as well. In the case of the adiabatic lapse rate, work explains the entire picture as “adiabatic” means no heat transfer.

  212. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm [and previous comments in this thread]

    THANKS, Willis, for joining this thread as a patient, well-informed, science-based critic of the N&K theory. You have a unique ability to state your objections and questions succinctly and with courtesy. I appreciate your helpful and productive efforts. I also read your main WUWT Posts with great interest and always learn something new.

  213. UncertaintyRunAmok says:

    DirkH,

    Sorry I somehow missed that thread, but the paper you linked to further down is also incorrect.
    We have been using a very simple method in molecular IR spectroscopy for many decades which does exactly one of the things that the paper claims is impossible. The radiative output of molecules CAN be increased ABOVE the level of the input energy without increasing the relative concentration of the species AND without increasing the input energy. It’s not theory, it is done on a daily basis in labs all over the world.

  214. Kevin Kilty says:

    pochas says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:12 am
    PV = nRT is not the whole story. There are three different types of expansion. They are isothermal, adiabatic, and polytropic. An isothermal expansion happens when the work of compression is wasted, as when you let air out of a tire. For an ideal gas this takes place at constant temperature. At pressures less than atmospheric for most purposes air can be considered an ideal gas….

    This is the equation that describes the temperature change for an adiabatic expansion, and also defines the temperature profile for a planetary atmosphere.

    T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ)

    True what you say about the ideal gas law. I’d just want to point out that PV=nrT and T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ) are very different things. The Ideal Gas Law is an equation of state. It relates the variables P,V,n, and T to one another in all instances (as long as the gas is ideal). The relationship of temperature to pressure in an adiabatic expansion that you cite is not an equation of state, but rather a path on a curve in P,T space–a path on a curve, or, if you wish, a process. An example of an adiabatic process that would obey the equation you give is the compression stroke of a diesel engine. It is important to keep in mind that a path or process and an equation of state are not at all similar things, and I think some of the confusion on this thread stems from this. For instance, temperature is the result of a process (energy balance), and at equilibrium it is also a state variable related to others through the IGL. But the ideal gas law does not describe a process.

    By the way, a number of people have commented on when is a gas “ideal”. There are two things to avoid if a gas is to be ideal. One has to avoid instances where the gas condenses, which is very non-ideal behavior; so saturated water vapor is not ideal. The other is among states close to the critical point. For air the critical temperature is -140C and critical pressure is 39 atmospheres. Obviously dry air in the earth’s atmosphere is always ideal because the pressure is so much below critical.

  215. Drs Nikolov and Zeller have discovered a tight correlation from the pressure at a planetary body’s surface to this body’s Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE). Does the exisence of this correlation imply that the level of the pressure causes the level of the ATE?

    In response, Dr. Glickman recites the familiar rule that correlation does not imply causation. One could recite the same rule in reference to the conjecture that the CO2 concentration causes the equilibrium global surface air temperature. There is a relation from one of the variables to the other but not necessarily a cause and effect relation.

    If the correlation from the pressure to the temperature were to imply a cause and effect relationship then we would have the basis for making public policy; the appropriate policy would be to deregulate CO2 emissions. If the correlation from the CO2 level to the temperature were to imply a cause and effect relationship, then we would have the basis for making a different public policy. However as Glickman points out, correlation does not imply causation. How then can a basis be created for making public policy on CO2 emissions?

    A basis can be created through recognition of the fact that each of the two relations is an example of an idea that plays a central role in logic. This idea is called an “inference.”

    A scientific model (aka scientific theory) is a procedure for making inferences. On each occasion in which an inference is made, there are alteratives a, b,… for being made. Logic is the science of the rules under which the one correct inference may be discriminated from the many incorrect inferences. These rules are called “the principles of reasoning.”

    Very few researchers know anything about the principles of reasoning. The ignorance of climatological researchers regarding the principles of reasoning leaves them unable to discriminate correct from incorrect inferences in the construction of their models. Thus, they are unable to provide us with a logical basis for the formation of public policy. The US$100 billion or so which the taxpayers of the world have spent on the inquiry of climatological researchers into the AGW conjecture has not provided us with such a basis. Before providing us with such a basis, climatological reseachers must learn about the principles of reasoning. It seems to me that it is high time they did so.

  216. Bart says:

    Well, yeah Willis, that’s kind of muddled. I assume the idea is that, by confining the atmosphere into a thin shell about the Earth and inducing pressure in it, gravity induces retention of heat near the Earth, with the heat being derived from an external source. Basically, it would work in the same way GHGs are believed to heat the Earth – by impeding the outflow of energy.

    That’s my interpretation, and it seems reasonable to me, at least on the surface (no pun intended).

  217. Bill Illis says:

    The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression.

    If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

    Take your pick,

    - back-radiation varies by atmospheric pressure/altitude; or
    - the basic weight of the atmosphere/the density varies the rate by which longwave radiation escapes from the surface.

  218. jae says:

    Heh, Ira:

    The honest commenters have said it all. Those with vested interested (including ego) are repeating their noise (trouble is, they are toast and they know it). You are again “in over your head” on this, Ira!

  219. Joel Shore says:

    Kevin Keity says:

    This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.

    Your first statement is correct and your second is wrong. In the lower part of an atmosphere that is strongly heated from below and cooled from above, the lapse rate will assume the adiabatic lapse rate. This is due to the fact that the lapse rate in the absence of convection would even be higher but a lapse rate higher than the adiabatic lapse rate is unstable to convection, which then transports heat upward until the lapse rate is brought back down to the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Your second statement is wrong because the lapse rate alone does not determine the surface temperature. If I tell you that a line has a slope of m and then ask you what the value of y is at x=0, you can’t tell me: You also have to know the value of y at one particular x. This is true of temperature vs height: The fact that you know the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. If you know two things, such as the lapse rate and the “effective radiating height” in the atmosphere (where the temperature is equal to the ideal blackbody temperature) then you can determine the surface temperature; however, the effective radiating height is determined by the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the Venusian surface…Or, in other words, by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  220. jae says:

    Fact is: heat storage by the oceans and atmosphere, plus the lapse rate, can easily explain the extant temperatures on this planet. We don’t need some silly radiation diagrams with magic back-radiation to explain anything. (BTW, Willis, et. al., I am NOT denying that the back-raidiation exists; I simply maintain that it means nothing)

    IF the back-radiation from greenhouse gases actually causes some kind of “radiative greenhouse effect,” then just where is this magic effect for the last 15 years?? OCO levels are ever increasing….

    Just where the hell is that warming at about 10 km in the tropical atmosphere? Where is the Artic and Antartic warming?

    Oh, maybe the volcanoes are messing with the theory? soot? the Sun?

    Need some explanation, Willis and all you backradiation-enhanced-blanket-insulation freaks. It looks to me like the scientists that offered an alternative explanation have WAY, WAY more evidence on their side!!

  221. Phil's Dad says:

    In the original poster “case A” would be that the ongoing work done (by gravity) to maintain a given pressure in an open ended container (such as is the outer surface of our sphere) results in a higher temperature than would be the case at a (permanently) lower pressure for a given energy balance. “Case B”, that at an increased temperature equilibrium and a given mass of atmosphere in our open but gravitationally constrained system; pressure would temporarily rise and then fall back while volume increased to a higher “permanent level”. I see no confusion in cause and effect here. The cause, according, to the original poster, of temperature fluctuations at the surface for a given energy balance over the long term is changes in mass.

    PS I still can’t see why people object to the 133k of GHG warming. It does not mean the atmosphere free world would fall to -118C. It means there are other factors (such as the water cycle and more) currently keeping our temperature as low as 15C – which factors, in the absence of atmosphere, would also disappear.

  222. Phil's Dad says:

    Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along (AKA Chesty Puller) says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am

    The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is(sic) reaches into the thousands of degrees.

    In fact the individual molecules of the thermosphere reach into the thousands of degrees (and are in themselves relativly dense). On average the thermosphere is pretty chilly.

    PS Ned Nikolov is commenting over on the original thread.

  223. Kevin Kilty says:

    Joel Shore says:
    December 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm
    Kevin Keity says:

    This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.

    Your first statement is correct and your second is wrong. In the lower part of an atmosphere that is strongly heated from below and cooled from above, the lapse rate will assume the adiabatic lapse rate. This is due to the fact that the lapse rate in the absence of convection would even be higher but a lapse rate higher than the adiabatic lapse rate is unstable to convection, which then transports heat upward until the lapse rate is brought back down to the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Your second statement is wrong because the lapse rate alone does not determine the surface temperature. If I tell you that a line has a slope of m and then ask you what the value of y is at x=0, you can’t tell me: You also have to know the value of y at one particular x. This is true of temperature vs height: The fact that you know the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. If you know two things, such as the lapse rate and the “effective radiating height” in the atmosphere (where the temperature is equal to the ideal blackbody temperature) then you can determine the surface temperature; however, the effective radiating height is determined by the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the Venusian surface…Or, in other words, by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    Read your second paragraph carefully, Mr. Shore. 1) I stated that there was a small irradiance reaching the surface to run the convection. So, it is you saying that lapse rate alone determines surface temperature, not me. 2) You can determine surface temperature from the temperature high in the atmosphere plus lapse rate to the surface. One point and one slope is a straight line. 3) I didn’t say the “greenhouse” effect isn’t important on Venus, I am pointing out that it doesn’t operate as it does on Earth, and implying that there is not much danger of Earth becoming like Venus. You are so determined to make the greenhouse on Venus an analogy to that on Earth, that don’t pay attention to what I say. Your second paragraph, more or less, says exactly what I was saying.

    BTW, the name is Kilty…use cntrl-C.

  224. Bill H says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I think it would be easier to understand if you used density of the atmosphere as and example.

    IE: at 50,000 feet the density of molecules is very sparse. thus the heating (vibration) energy they transfer has long travel times and is easily lost to the coldness of space. At sea level that same mix of gases is very compacted and close together (dense) thus the same level of heating would be retained longer as adjacent molecules will react to the energy transfer.

    The pressure (and thus the density) of gases at seal level will hold, retain, and reflect heat in direct proportion. As the gas pressure decreases so does the density. Thus proportionally less heat will be retained.

    This is how I understand the N&K theory. The mix of gases is relatively irrelevant to the calculations as in a convecting atmosphere the weight (density) will not significantly change given dispersion. Even dumping of huge amounts of CO2 will not increase the temp as the Black Body LWIR heat escape is increased. While warming might increase initially during day time hours the loss will counter balance at night. The convection process and water transfer will simply self correct.

    just a layman’s take on the problem..

    Bill

  225. ferd berple says:

    Bill Illis says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
    The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

    BINGO!!!

  226. Erinome says:

    jae says:
    IF the back-radiation from greenhouse gases actually causes some kind of “radiative greenhouse effect,” then just where is this magic effect for the last 15 years?? OCO levels are ever increasing….

    And temperature is increasing too. UAH LT temperatures have a trend of 0.072 +/- 0.033 C/decade from Dec 1996 to Nov 2011.

  227. Terry Oldberg said @ December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    “A scientific model (aka scientific theory) is a procedure for making inferences.
    ….
    Very few researchers know anything about the principles of reasoning.”

    While I agree with the second statement, the first is clearly incorrect.

    A scientific model is not a scientific theory. Consider the following statement by Stephen Hawking: “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” Note the words “on the basis of a model”.

    Consider the first scientific model most of us are presented with in school: a stick in the ground casting a shadow. The model of this, drawn on paper, or blackboard, shows a straight line from the end of the shadow furthest from the sun directly towards the sun and grazing the top of the stick. The various parts are labelled in order to facilitate talking about the model. To describe this drawing as a theory makes no sense whatsoever. The theory is: Just because light always travels in a straight line (a law of optics), we can calculate the height of any arbitrary vertical object by measuring the length of the shadow, the angle between the light ray and the ground using the mathematical laws of trigonometry.

    This is pedantic I know, but it’s a little frustrating at times when the word “theory” is so often misused. A “model” is usually a diagram, or set of mathematical statements along with simplifying assumptions such that the “theory” can be adequately explained.

  228. ferd berple says:

    Ira, your compressed gas cylinder fails to model the situation because of heat exchange between the walls the cylinder and the air. There is no such convective loss on a planetary scale.

    To model a planet correctly, your cylinder walls need to be perfectly insulating so they do not model a situation that does not exist.

    What is missing from your model is the effects of convection, which duplicates continuous pumping.

  229. Kevin Kilty says:

    Erinome says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm
    Kevin Kilty says:
    If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height.

    Uh, no:….

    Uh, yes. And thank you for the graph reference, it looks very linear right up to 60km above the surface.

  230. Kevin Kilty says:

    ferd berple says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    Bill Illis says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
    The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

    BINGO!!!

    You might note that these places are in the subtropics and have sun at near zenith practically the whole year. Also, since these are the very lowest of places on the planet, the air that reaches here was hot to begin with in the neighboring land, and then has been subject to gravitational work during its descent–6F per thousand feet.

  231. Bill H says:

    ferd berple says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Bill Illis says:
    December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
    The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

    ____________________________________________________

    they are also the coldest at night and the area has one of the highest High to Low temp ratios. the gain is lost at night… Dont you just love a self correcting planet… the mean temp remains the same….

  232. Joel Shore says:

    Bill Illis says:

    The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression.

    If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

    You have created a strawman. Nobody is disputing the existence of the lapse rate. The point is, however, that the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. You also need the temperature at some other point in the atmosphere, such as the effective radiating level, which is, in turn, dependent on atmospheric composition…in particular, the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the surface …i.e., the greenhouse effect.

  233. Ned Nikolov says:

    Ira,

    Your comments regarding our paper contain so much misunderstanding and conceptual errors that I could not explain them all in a simple reply. You seems to have been unable to follow consistently our arguments and the logic behind it. That’s OK, because, as I commented in my reply to the other thread, this is a NEW paradigm that requires a cognitive SHIFT in order to grasp it. We are committed to do our best in helping scientists in this regard… Watch for an formal ‘reply paper’ from us sometime next week.

    I’d like to make only one comment here in regard to your main premise – ‘confusing cause with effect’. Towards the end of your paper you state:

    Yes, TOA solar irradiance would be expected to be important in predicting mean surface temperature, but mean atmospheric surface pressure, it seems to me, would more likely be a result than a cause of temperature. But, I could be wrong.

    Unfortunately, you are wrong! On a planetary level, the mean surface pressure is completely INDEPENDENT of temperature or solar heating. It is only a function of total atmospheric mass, the planet surface area, and gravity. That is why, the average thermodynamic process at the surface is isobaric in nature (meaning it operates under nearly constant pressure) … Read carefully Section 3.1 (on p. 6) of our paper. Most of your arguments fall apart from there … This is really a high-school level physics … :-)

    Cheers!

  234. Joel Shore says:

    Kevin Kilty says:

    Your second paragraph, more or less, says exactly what I was saying.

    Sorry, Kevin. I seem to have misinterpreted what you are saying as trying to make the argument of those who believe that the “greenhouse effect” is unnecessary to explain why the Earth’s average surface temperature is at 288 K rather than 255 K. If you were just saying basically what I am saying, then I misinterpreted what you said.

  235. Willis says: “This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.”

    There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. I just try to make it a bit lighter and simpler: As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point. The point is from the FACT that denser atmosphere increases the temperatures that was point out in the example of Venus compared to counterparts.

    So much for poor examples on my part. :)

    Happy New Year to all of you!

  236. davidmhoffer says:

    highflight56433hi;
    There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. >>>

    Welcome to WUWT!

    highflight56433hi;
    As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point.>>>

    Ah, but it is! One of the things the alarmawarmists rely on is presenting only part of the story in order to support their conclusions. Should a skeptic get the answer to a highly complex matter 99.9% correct, they will be shredded on this site for their egregious error. Were the alarmawarmists held to the same standard, their arguments would wilt in the face of an encyclopaedia of refutation for every page they write. The more rigorous the standards we apply to ourselves, the stronger our collective voice becomes in presenting actual science versus their puffed up pretentious magic disguised as science.

    In this case, the temps in Death Valley are in part driven by altitude, and in part by terrain. The more complete the answer, the better, else we succomb to the inverse of Arthur C Clarke’s famous statement, which would have to be reworded to say:

    Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.

  237. Willis Eschenbach says:

    highflight56433hi says:
    December 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Willis says:

    “This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.”

    There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. I just try to make it a bit lighter and simpler: As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point. The point is from the FACT that denser atmosphere increases the temperatures that was point out in the example of Venus compared to counterparts.

    Since neither you nor anyone else has been able to explain the paragraph I highlighted, it’s hardly “nicky picky”.

    Regarding lower altitudes being warmer than higher altitudes … that’s always been true. It’s called the “lapse rate”. Surely you don’t think the fact that that mountains are cooler than foothills proves anything about what heats them?

    w.

  238. Happy New Year Anthony, Contributors, Mods, Rockers, Trolls and Ne’er-do-wells. Remember, it’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”, or “Would you like a nice cold beer?”

  239. Erinome says:

    Kevin Kilty says:
    Uh, yes. And thank you for the graph reference, it looks very linear right up to 60km above the surface.

    It’s a linear *decrease* in temperature, not an increase.

  240. pochas says:

    Kevin Kilty says:
    December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    “The Ideal Gas Law is an equation of state. It relates the variables P,V,n, and T to one another in all instances (as long as the gas is ideal). The relationship of temperature to pressure in an adiabatic expansion that you cite is not an equation of state, but rather a path on a curve in P,T space–a path on a curve, or, if you wish, a process.”

    Good point.

  241. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Ned Nikolov says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Ira,

    Your comments regarding our paper contain so much misunderstanding and conceptual errors that I could not explain them all in a simple reply. You seems to have been unable to follow consistently our arguments and the logic behind it. That’s OK, because, as I commented in my reply to the other thread, this is a NEW paradigm that requires a cognitive SHIFT in order to grasp it. We are committed to do our best in helping scientists in this regard… Watch for an formal ‘reply paper’ from us sometime next week.

    Dr. Nikolov, like Ira I can’t understand what you are doing. Could you give us a very, very short (a few sentences) explanation of the core idea of your work? Because as I indicated upstream, I find your descriptions totally impenetrable. What is your main point in brief?

    Many thanks,

    w.

  242. thepompousgit (Dec. 30, 2001 at 7:32 PM):Thanks for taking the time to reply and for giving me an opportunity to clarify! There are contexts in which it is important for one to distinguish between a theory and a model. However, logic is not one of these contexts.

    In both cases, there is the need for the one inference that is correct to be distinguished from the many inferences that are incorrect. It can be shown that the principles which distinguish the correct inference from the incorrect ones are identical with respect to a theory and a model.

    As it turns out, an inference has the unique measure that is called its “entropy.” The entropy of an inference is the information that is missing in it for a deductive conclusion. Its “entropy” is the missing information in this inference for a deductive conclusion.

    In view of the existence and uniqueness of the measure of an inference, the correct inference can be identified by an optimization in which the correct inference minimizes the entropy or maximizes it under constraints expressing the available information. That was a briefing on a more complicated topic.

  243. Grey lensman says:

    Theo gets it, the rest still like watermelons not opening their eyes. Authors response sheds some more light for those that wish to see.

    A column of air at one bar. heat it, the column height increase but its mass and hence pressure stays the same.

    But if you mix in heavier gases, the pressure increases and for a given input of heat, the temperature rises.

  244. davidmhoffer says:

    Willis Eschenbach;
    Since neither you nor anyone else has been able to explain the paragraph I highlighted, it’s hardly “nicky picky”.>>>

    The paragraph as written is meaningless.

    Now…if we put aside what they said and try and figure out what they meant…

    Seems to me that the gist of it is that the higher the pressure, the more temperature increase to be expected from a given energy input. Now me and gas don’t much get along, I try and avoid gas as much as possible, despite which I am frequently accused of being full of hot air. I’m also accused from time to time of being full of “it” and I surmise from the comments that “it” and “hot air” are not the same thing, but may share a similar cause…

    That said, at the highest level, does what they meant (or at least what I think they meant) not make a certain amount of sense? The higher the pressure, the more densely packed the molecules are. So…for low pressure gases, a given energy input would not raise temperatures as measured by conductance because while the molecules increase their vibrational states, the number of collisions doesn’t increase much. But under high pressure, the exact same energy input to a given volume would raise the chances of collisions and therefor temperature as measured through conducatance (such as a thermometer).

    The mesosphere would be a good example of a very low pressure gas. Technically, the “temperature” of the mesosphere is very high. Stick your average thermometer into it though, and you won’t get a very high temperature. There simply aren’t enough molecules colliding with the thermometer to raise the thermometer’s temperature to the average temperature of the molecules. Hence the thermometer says it is “cold” even though the individual molecules in the mesosphere are seriously hot. Double the amount of energy flowing into the low pressure mesosphere and the thermometer reading just won’t change a lot. But compress that mesosphere to the same density as air at earth surface, and then stick the thermometer into it. Ooops, melted thermometer. OK, get a new thermometer made for ugly high temps. Now double the energy input. I’d expect to see the thermometer record a rather large jump in temperature.

  245. gnomish says:

    ah- quantum misinformation theory, eh?
    wherein the atom of misinformation is discovered to be made of subinformative particles called morons… this is vital to artificial stupidity research. the supercomputer designed for the purpose has a petabye of write only memory and code runs in base 1.
    it may be that if fuzzy logic can be made wooly enough it will be worth harvesting

  246. Terry Oldberg said @ December 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    “thepompousgit (Dec. 30, 2001 at 7:32 PM):Thanks for taking the time to reply and for giving me an opportunity to clarify! There are contexts in which it is important for one to distinguish between a theory and a model. However, logic is not one of these contexts.”

    Thank you Terry. I hope to respond to this as time permits (it’s New Year’s Eve here in the Land of Under). I suspect there is much to learn from you. I have preserved a link to your website.

    Cheers

  247. Tim Folkerts says:

    Lord Kelvin once said

    “In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”

    I apply this idea to the oft quoted paragraph

    NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

    I like to see definitions, measurements and equations when new ideas are introduced. What equation defines, and what experiments could be performed to measure:
    * NTE
    * “enhancement” of the energy supplied by an external source, as a function of density, rates of molecular collisions, and external heating.

  248. gallopingcamel says:

    Ned Nikolov,
    Don’t get me wrong, I liked your poster but you are being a little hard on Ira Glickstein.

    I got results comparable to yours for the planet Venus with its actual atmospheric composition and when CO2 was replaced by a gas that was more transparent in the IR (Helium or Nitrogen). The only problem was that if one used the “Dry Adiabat” the surface temperature came out too high so I assumed a lapse rate intermediate between the wet and dry rates as works on planet Earth.

    While your analysis is superior to mine it still does not deal properly with planets that have vapours present.

  249. Tim Folkerts says:

    After all the worrying about minutia, I come back to the simple question.

    Suppose you have a planet similar to the earth in terms of mass and orbit. This planet has no water and an albedo at the surface of 0.3 (ie 70% of the sunlight is absorbed by the surface). What would the average surface temperature be (at equilibrium) if
    1) there was absolutely no atmosphere
    2) an atmosphere with 1x the mass of earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2
    3) an atmosphere with 2x the mass as earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2
    4) an atmosphere with 10x the mass as earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2
    (Bonus: would the answer matter if I added liquid N2, thereby cooling the atmosphere as it evaporated, or if I added hot N2, thereby warming the atmosphere as it was released?)

    I maintain these would all have very nearly the same average surface temperature, because the radiative energy balance at the surface is the same. If anyone disagrees, then I ask what mechanism warms/cools the gas molecules near the surface above/below 255 K? Specifically, I am interested in the predictions that would be made by Nikolov and Zeller’s Unified Climate Model.

  250. Tim Folkerts says:

    Ira says: “Agreed again, but only WITH WATER because you need the GHE effect of water vapor to get the 288K. I do not believe that 390 ppm of CO2 in an otherwise pure N2 Atmosphere would generate much GHE unless you add water vapor comparable to current levels. ”

    Good catch. The CO2 by it self would only provide a fraction of the total warming. My guess would be 1/4 to 1/2 of the warming (about 8-16 K) but that is just an educated guess. O3, CH4 and H2O would be needed to get up to 33 K.

  251. Dr Burns says:

    Kevin Kilty says:
    >>What is this “pressure” effect on lapse rate?

    Have a look at the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

  252. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Seems to me that the gist of it is that the higher the pressure, the more temperature increase to be expected from a given energy input..”

    That seems to be about it.
    That also resolves an inadequacy in my previous and more wordy contribution but enough contributors are now seeing Nikolov’s point that I don’t need to revisit it.

    There is a good analogy though.Note that all energy has mass and all mass is energy as per Einstein’s equations. If a specific package of energy with any mass at all passes through empty space without encountering a gravitational field then no heat will be generated from it. If that same package of energy/mass falls into a black hole then 100% will be converted into heat and if it becomes hot enought it will come out as light.

    Thus the amount of heat generated as the package of energy/mass passes through a gravitational field will depend on the strength of that gravitational field and the pressure that the field induces.

    The interaction is dependent on the amount of mass and the strength of the gravitational field and NOT on the atomic structure of the mass. It is the atomic structure of GHGs that are alleged to make them more capable of responding to irradiation in the infra red but as can be seen from Ninolov’s paper and the example above the atomic structure is irrelevant to the quantity of energy released from that mass within a gravitational field.

    So unless someone better at physics than me can point out a flaw it seems logical that the greenhouse effect results from density and not composition of the atmosphere around a planet for a gravitational field of a given strength.

  253. Viv Evans says:

    One thing has become crystal clear to me, reading the Nikolov/Zeller post, and the ensuing comments as well as this post:
    the original contribution has been written in such a way that the actual meaning has become so obscure that one would need a phrase book to make any sense out of it.
    Hence the misunderstandings, hence the need for Dr Glickstein’s post here, hence the frustration expressed by Willis, whose essays provide the best examples of how to convey difficult concepts in accessible language.

    For the sake of clarity, may I suggest that Drs Nikolov and Zeller work hard on expressing themselves in plain English?
    That goes for some of the comment posts as well.

  254. Stephen Wilde says:

    Joel Shore said:

    “the temperature at some other point in the atmosphere, such as the effective radiating level, which is, in turn, dependent on atmospheric composition…in particular, the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the surface …i.e., the greenhouse effect.”

    There is the nub of the problem. No mention of gravity, pressure or mass at all and therefore utterly wrong.

    Joel and all other alarmists put the greenhouse effect down to atmospheric composition alone whereas Nikolov, myself and a few others here see that it is atmospheric mass plus gravitationally induced pressure alone.

    It comes back to my two descriptions of the greenhouse effect above namely:

    i) AGW theory states that the greenhouse effect is caused by gases in the air with a high thermal capacity warming the surface by radiating energy downwards.

    ii) The Nikolov paper describes the greenhouse effect in the way I have always understood it i.e. ALL the molecules near the surface (of whatever thermal capacity) jostle more tightly together under the influence of gravity (and the pressure that it induces) and share kinetic activity (provoked initially by solar irradiation but actually being a consequence of all energy transfer mechanisms combined) amongst one another until that kinetic energy can escape to space by radiative means albeit slightly delayed by all the jostling about.The delay results in a temperature rise because more energy is packed into a smaller space by the effects of gravity and the consequent pressure.

    You takes your pick :)

    This is a paradigm shift for some but to me it is simply a return to the classical physics of 50 years ago which seems to have been thrown out of the window when someone (who?) in a position of authority within the climate establishment suddenly announced that atmospheric composition rather than quantity was the determining factor for the power of the greenhouse effect.

    How is it that nobody challenged that ?

  255. Tim Folkerts says:

    Stephen Wilde says: “Thus the amount of heat generated as the package of energy/mass passes through a gravitational field will depend on the strength of that gravitational field ”

    I agree completely. This is what heats a collapsing nebula to get it hot enough to become a star. This also heats planets as they form (along with radioactive decay), causing the early earth to be molten on the surface.

    But this is not all there is too it. The surface of the earth did not STAY molten. As the bombardment of asteroids/meteors tapered off, this source of energy also tapered off. The warm surface radiated MUCH more energy than it received from the sun. This high temperature was NOT an equilibrium condition. Eventually, the earth cooled off until it was indeed radiating as much as it received from the sun.

    Similarly, any atmosphere that collected would have warmed by compression INITIALLY. However, over eons, it, like the hot magma, would have had to reach a radiative equilibrium.

  256. Bart says:

    Erinome says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    “And temperature is increasing too. UAH LT temperatures have a trend of 0.072 +/- 0.033 C/decade from Dec 1996 to Nov 2011.”

    And, almost all of it from the 1998 El Nino. Cherry picking a wee bit early in the season, aren’t we? Probably nobody else has commented on your post because it is so glaringly preposterous.

  257. Richard S Courtney says:

    Friends:

    Firstly, I write to say what I said in the other thread; i.e.
    “In the abstract to their paper Nikolov & Zeller wrongly claim;

    “We show via a novel analysis of planetary climates in the solar system that the physical nature of the so-called GH effect is a Pressure-induced Thermal Enhancement (PTE), which is independent of the atmospheric chemical composition.”

    Their analysis is NOT novel.
    It is a repeat of the Jelbring Hypothesis
    (ref. Jelbring H, ‘The Greenhouse Effect as a function of atmospheric Mass’, Energy & Environment,• Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, (2003)).

    Jelbring’s 2003 paper can be read at
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf”

    Secondly, the Jelbring Hypothesis does NOT confuse cause and effect. At December 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm, Phill’s Dad gives a good explanation of why it does not provide such a confusion.

    The Jelbring Hypothesis (now also presented by Nikolov & Zeller) amounts to the following.

    ‘All the radiative, convective and evaporative effects in a planet’s atmosphere adjust such that the atmosphere obtains a temperature lapse rate close to that defined by –g/cp, and this lapse rate defines the planet’s average surface temperature. The average surface temperature is observed to agree with the Jelbring Hypothesis on each planet with a substantial atmosphere that has a mass which varies little through the year.’

    Clearly, some atmospheric effects (e.g. convection) do adjust in response to gravity. At issue is whether the interaction of all the radiative, convective and evaporative effects provides the suggested adjustment.

    Happy New Year

    Richard

    PS
    At December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm itemises some basic clarifications that several commentators in this thread would benefit from reading.

  258. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Similarly, any atmosphere that collected would have warmed by compression INITIALLY. However, over eons, it, like the hot magma, would have had to reach a radiative equilibrium.”

    To this day the wamth of the atmosphere (which I define to include the oceans) remains derived from the Earth’s gravitational field acting on the moving molecules in that atmosphere.

    Not the movement as they drift around but the kinetic movement induced by solar irradiation.

    It is the interaction between the kinetic activity of the molecules and the gravitational field of the Earth that sets and maintains the level of the misnamed greenhouse effect.

    (I have explained seperately why the gravitationally induced pressure at the Earth’s surface controls the energy cost of evaporation and thus the rate at which energy can flow from oceans to air.)

    More solar irradiation, more kinetic activity and a higher temperature.

    More mass, more kinetic activity and a higher temperature.

    Gravity is blind to the atomic structure of molecules because mass is all it cares about. Thus for a greenhouse effect derived from this phenomenon the composition of the mass in the atmosphere is not relevant and the proportion of so called GHGs has no contribution to make.

    Where GHGs DO have an effect is in influencing the speed of throughput of energy( through the air alone, not the oceans) in order to help to maintain thermal stability for the system as a whole.

    On the surface of Earth changes in speed of throughput are reflected in the climate regionally because we experience such changes in throughput of energy as warmer or colder winds crossing a point on the surface. Shifts in the permanent climate zones reflect such changes.

    However the system energy content does not change unless solar input or the strength of the gravitational field change. Therefore in the absence of a change in solar input, the mass of the atmosphere (or the mass of something else within the system) must change in order to raise the system energy content. GHGs do not make a significant difference to mass.

    The limited effect of GHGs which I do concede as regards the speed of energy throughput is infinitesimally small compared to the changes in speed of energy throughput from other causes which are induced by variability in sun and oceans.

    I have dealt with that elsewhere.

  259. Jasper |Gee says:

    Grey lensman says:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm:

    “A column of air at one bar. heat it, the column height increase but its mass and hence pressure stays the same.”

    This seems wrong to me. Instead, I think it should say “A column of air at one bar. Heat it, the column height increases but its mass stays the same. Its weight however decreases, due to less gravity further out. Hence pressure decreases.”

  260. The iceman cometh says:

    I was very stirred by the new theory, but had great pause for thought when Ira Glickstein said
    “This is contradicted by the fact that the Moon, which has no Atmosphere and is at the same distance from the Sun as our Earth, has an average temperature of about 250K. ”
    However, there was some relief when commieBob said: December 30, 2011 at 4:24 am
    “Temperatures on the Lunar surface vary widely on location. Although beyond the first few centimeters of the regolith the temperature is a nearly constant -35 C (at a depth of 1 meter), the surface is influenced widely by the day-night cycle. The average temperature on the surface is about 40-45 C lower than it is just below the surface. (http://www.asi.org/adb/m/03/05/average-temperatures.html)”
    This would make the surface of the moon about 193-198 deg K, somewhat closer to the new theory than Ira believed – so perhaps it is worth more exploration than the outright rejection Ira recommends.

  261. gbaikie says:

    “Suppose you have a planet similar to the earth in terms of mass and orbit. This planet has no water and an albedo at the surface of 0.3 (ie 70% of the sunlight is absorbed by the surface). What would the average surface temperature be (at equilibrium) if
    1) there was absolutely no atmosphere”
    Mars has albedo of .24
    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/marsfact.html
    It seems like it’s world like Mars. And won’t like the Moon because it will have
    plate tectonic and active volcanic activity. So it won’t a world covered in regolith
    though it have fair amount regolith in some areas. Won’t millions of year overly
    oxided surface.
    So tropical zones one will temperature similar to the Moon, and one should have
    generally more thermal capacity of the ground.
    Daytime highs of temperature 400 K
    and an hour after sunset it will be about 300 K
    And nite low of 200-250 K
    Polar winter temperatures: 100 K
    Temperate and polar average temperature: 300 K to 150 K

    “2) an atmosphere with 1x the mass of earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2″
    Tropics, daytime high surface temperature: 340 to 350 K
    Air temperature 320 K
    an hour after sunset it will be about: 320 K
    Night time low: 300 K
    Polar winter temperatures: 150 K
    Temperate and polar average temperature: 300 K to 250 K

    “3) an atmosphere with 2x the mass as earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2″

    Tropics, daytime high surface temperature: 330 K
    Air temperature: 325 K
    an hour after sunset it will be about:325 K
    Night time low: 325 K
    Polar winter temperatures: 175 K
    Temperate and polar average temperature: 290 K
    “4) an atmosphere with 10x the mass as earth’s atmosphere, but 100% pure N2″
    Tropic surface and air temperature: 310
    Polar winter temperatures: 200 K
    Temperate and polar average temperature: 250 K

    I think highest average temperature would be
    about 1/2 an earth atmosphere
    Tropics, daytime high surface temperature: 350K to 370K
    Air temperature 330 K
    an hour after sunset it will be about: 340
    Night time low: 320 K
    Polar winter temperatures: 150 K
    Temperate and polar average temperature: 320 K to 260 K

  262. Stephen Wilde says:

    A small but important addition to my previous post is necessary.

    GHGs cause a faster throughput of ‘processed’ solar energy IN THE AIR ALONE. They first absorb more solar energy than other non GHG gases then re radiate within the air to cause more evaporation of surface water or soil moisture and convection resulting in a faster or larger water cycle. Thus they first slow down the rate of solar energy loss back to space but the increased size or speed of the water cycle speeds it up again for a zero net effect.

    The important point though is that in so far as GHGs produce a faster processing of incoming solar energy IN THE AIR that energy is then denied to the oceans which are therefore a fraction cooler than they otherwise would have been.

    GHGs therefore reduce total energy content in the oceans but increase it in the air (mostly in latent form) for a zero net effect on total system energy content.

    The whole thing gets balanced out as necessary by changing surface air pressure distribution for a shift in the permanent climate zones.

    That is a Unified Theory.

  263. kwik says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Richard, thank you for the hint of the Jelbring paper. It is fantastic to read about this.
    This plus the Nikolov & Zeller paper is very interesting.

    I see that someone (N.Shore was it?) says it is “rejected by the scientific community”, and I wonder who that community is. Could it possibly be …..The Team?

    But it will not go away that easily. The cat is out of the sack?

  264. wayne says:

    I always knew some defining moment would soon occur in “climate science”, though taking years to occur. It’s seems we now may be there. Time for everyone, even Willis (hint), to decide if you really have a proper scientific mind, or are you going to allow your ego to get in the way.

  265. Stuff says:

    Well, I suggest a little experiment:

    Bottle A is a Dewar bottle, witch is closed with a movable but gas tight piston, it is _thermal_ isolated.
    Bottle B is a very stiff bottle witch is isolated from the outside pressure, it should be made from a well thermal conducting material, f.e. aluminiumoxide. This bottle is _pressure_ isolated.

    Inside both bottles are pressure and temperature measurement equipment and of course a third set is outside, this testbed is situated onto a cage, similar to the meteorologigical observation points.

    Now, we go up to sea level over a depression (let’s say above Jericho), with a heli. We fill both bottles with the air in that level, seal them accordingly and fly down to ground. We fly to ground and measure pressure and temperature, the thermal conducting bottle we must let settle until the gas inside has the same temperature as the air on the ground.
    This different times to settle (pressure==immidiate, temperature==counduction dependent) would be an extra term in our (we hope to create) world-climate-formula.

    And we should keep the walls of Jericho in our eyes too… ;-)

    Funny experiment, see You in Israel/Palestine…

  266. This post and the recent Unified Climate theory post have sharpened my thinking. Thanks all round.

    Current conclusion is, BOTH pressure AND greenhouse-gas effects matter. And you have to look at the temperature profiles of Earth, Venus, Jupiter and Mars to see this.

    Venus, Jupiter and Mars clearly show the lapse-rate phenomenon of temperature increase due to increasing pressure. At this point, Huffman is correct.

    Mars also shows something else that’s important: IMO, the effect of conduction of heat from the surface, on atmospheric temperatures close to the surface.

    But Earth shows something else again that is, to me, strong evidence of at least one greenhouse gas effect: ozone. Our atmospheric temperature profile is a “W”, each leg of which denotes a different layer:

    * Troposphere up to 0.1 bar: temperature decreases with pressure, comparable to Venus & Jupiter. Inherently unstable.
    * Stratosphere up to 0.001 bar: temperature increases with height, owing to the formation of ozone – most strongly at the highest levels where incoming solar radiation is least blocked by the ozone’s effect. Inherently stable.
    * Mesosphere up to 0.001 bar: temperature again decreases with height, layer therefore inherently unstable and open to cloud formation again (noctilucent clouds).
    * Thermosphere: temperature again increases with height, due to absorption of the strongest incoming radiation, causing ionization (the old name, ionosphere) and providing a radio-wave reflection layer.

    It’s the stratosphere that shows GHG activity predominating, IMHO. But please, feel free to show me wrong.

  267. richard verney says:

    Forgive me for raising what is probably a stupid point, but how do we know the temperature of the moon?

    How confident should we be in the 250K figure and that that figure is truly representative of the temperature of the Moon as a whole.? I have always assumed this figure to be correct without questioning it , but now I consider that I should at least ask myself whether the assessment is correct and reliable.

    Is the 250K an equitorial figure, a polar figure etc. I am aware that not having an atmosphere will mean that there is no atmosphere absorption on sunlight such that there will not be the same variation in solar irradiance as experienced on Earth. I presume that there is no such thing as a half shaddow on the Moon and it is either in full sunlight or in complete darkness

    How many reference points of measurement are taken and what is their distribution? Is this eneough to have a proper handle on the lunar temperature or is it that we merely have an indication of possible highs and possible lows which we then average out and assume that this is representative of the temperature of the Moon as a whole.

    Of course, it is easier to get an idea of temperature of a body like the Moon compared to the problems in assessing the temperature of the Earth given the very much more variable nature of the Earth, its axis, and, of course, the fact that the Earth has an atmosphere.

    I am just curious, how do we know accurately the temperature of the Moon. I welcome feedback on this.

  268. Joel Shore says:

    Stephen Wilde says:

    There is the nub of the problem. No mention of gravity, pressure or mass at all and therefore utterly wrong.

    Joel and all other alarmists put the greenhouse effect down to atmospheric composition alone whereas Nikolov, myself and a few others here see that it is atmospheric mass plus gravitationally induced pressure alone.

    I am not sure what you mean by “composition” alone. The amount of each substance that absorbs IR is important and perhaps even the amount of non-IR absorbing substances because they could determine the lapse rate.

    This is a paradigm shift for some but to me it is simply a return to the classical physics of 50 years ago which seems to have been thrown out of the window when someone (who?) in a position of authority within the climate establishment suddenly announced that atmospheric composition rather than quantity was the determining factor for the power of the greenhouse effect.

    Since such a paradigm shift would seem to involve throwing out the First Law of Thermodynamics, I don’t think it is a return to anything but nonsense.

    To this day the wamth of the atmosphere (which I define to include the oceans) remains derived from the Earth’s gravitational field acting on the moving molecules in that atmosphere.

    Not the movement as they drift around but the kinetic movement induced by solar irradiation.

    It is the interaction between the kinetic activity of the molecules and the gravitational field of the Earth that sets and maintains the level of the misnamed greenhouse effect.

    (I have explained seperately why the gravitationally induced pressure at the Earth’s surface controls the energy cost of evaporation and thus the rate at which energy can flow from oceans to air.)

    This all sounds so groovy and wonderful…but can you explain how it satisfies the First Law of Thermodynamics? I.e., how does a surface without an atmosphere that absorbs radiation from its surface maintain a temperature higher than the temperature at which the surface would be emitting back into space as much energy as it is receiving from the sun? Are you maintaining the gravitational field is a continual source of energy…i.e., that the earth and its atmosphere are undergoing gravitational collapse?

  269. richard verney says:

    Further to my last post about the assessment of the temperature of the Moon, presumably I should have added a query about the uniformity of albedo. If there are variations in the uniformity of albedo then unless we have temperature measurements taken at places that properly represent that variation in albedo, night not an error creep in as to the assessment of temperature. Further it is conceivable that some rocks (possibly due to their mineral content) although having the same albedo may have exhibit differences in latent heat capacity.

    Just throwing some thoughts into the mix since although my question is very probably a stupid one, it is important in the context of the present discussion..

  270. The iceman cometh says:

    I can’t show Lucy wrong, but I can raise a question that has long puzzled me (and a few others). She says “temperature increases with height, owing to the formation of ozone”. This is the received wisdom. However, the usual photolysis of oxygen to make an oxygen atom that then, in a three body collision with another oxygen molecule produces ozone and a recoiling third body doesn’t work – the photolysis requires shorter than 241nm uv, and there are essentially no photons of these wavelengths below about 0.000 01bar, i.e well above the stratopause. So what is the process that makes ozone (and heats the stratosphere)?
    Incidentally, I think the pressure at the mesopause is more like 0.000 001bar

  271. Richard M says:

    I think one problem a few people may be having is they have studied and accept the warming effect of GHGs. As such they cannot accept another theory until someone points out why the warming effect is wrong. IMO it is not wrong, it is just not complete. That is, there is a complimentary cooling effect that has long been downplayed or ignored. I believe that once people look harder at the cooling effect they will have less problem accepting the UCT.

  272. Ken Coffman says:

    I’m often surprised by the Eschenbach/Watts/Shore/Glickstein/Mosher lovefest. Modulation of the rate of cooling is not heating. Atmospheric feedback creates a Finite Impulse Response system, not an Infinite Impulse Response system. Our climate system response to solar input is not under damped or critically damped. Of course, its over damped.

  273. Richard M says:

    My view of the cooling effect of GHGs has always been to look at the emission of radiation of energy from the atmosphere that came from sources other than surface radiation. I had difficulty quantifying it’s strength. However, Brian H provided a link to an essay that combines both the warming effect and the cooling effect into one simple idea based on first principles:

    http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/JCao_N2O2GreenGases_Blog.pdf

    With this in mind it appears that CO2 will favor emitting over absorbing radiation at temperatures over -78C and overall CO2 provides a mild cooling effect in the atmosphere. I’m sure the same exercise could be done for any GHG.

  274. Joel Shore says:

    wayne says:

    Time for everyone, even Willis (hint), to decide if you really have a proper scientific mind, or are you going to allow your ego to get in the way.

    Yes, because it surely is our egos that are the problem and not the fact that we are being asked to uncritically embrace a “theory” that does not even obey the First Law of Thermodynamics!

  275. Richard S Courtney says:

    Lucy Skywalker:

    I am not disputing the bulk of your post at December 31, 2011 at 3:38 am but I write to point out that the hypothesis under discussion does not apply to Mars.

    The hypothesis suggests a planet’s atmosphere adjusts to form a lapse rate according to the mass of that atmosphere. Such an adjustment is not possible to achieve on Mars because the mass of that atmosphere is constantly changing.

    The Mars atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide which freezes on the winter pole. The frozen gas is not part of the atmosphere. The frozen carbon dioxide sublimes in the Spring so becomes part of the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide then freezes on the other pole as the Martian year progresses.

    Hence, drawing conclusions pertinent to the discussed hypothesis is not possible by comparisons of the atmosphere of Mars to the atmosphere of other planets. It would be like drawing a conclusion by comparison to the atmosphere of the Moon (yes, the Moon does have an atmosphere but with a mass so small that it is usually ignored).

    Richard

  276. Paul Bahlin says:

    @Ira:

    The intent of my (admittedly rather snarky) posting on doing an experiment with glass cylinders was to simply make the observation that this new theory has (at least so it seems) the potential for some experimental work that would further its hypotheses. You already picked up the torch in your reply by refining my hypothetical experiment.

    Their (the authors) premise seems to be that gaseous environments delay vertical heat transport (mainly) as a function of their pressure, independent (relatively) of their molecular mix. Whether or not that is true is way beyond my capabilities to determine but I love the refocus towards energy analysis and away from temperature. It seems to me that temperature focus is a trap for those who mistake temp for heat.

    The authors have taken a stab at an ‘experiment’ by analyzing other planetary bodies. I’d like to see more experimenting and less jawboning I guess.

    BTW: I’ve never seen a kinetic energy ‘budget’ for the atmosphere. One of the things I’ve never seen discussed is the energy in things like hurricanes, tropical storms, or just general weather systems that would seem to contain huge amounts of both potential and kinetic energy. Aren’t these also important mechanisms of vertical heat transport delay? What about the kinetic energy in the gulf stream? Any incoming radiation that is converted to horizontal energy flow constitutes a diversion of vertical transport doesn’t it?

  277. Stephen Wilde says:

    At some point someoe seems to have decided that atmospheric composition involving radiative processes makes a significant difference to the temperature set by thermodynamic and gravitational influences.

    I think one can deal with the resulting confusion by accepting BOTH scenarios but putting them in proper proportions.

    As I see it the GHG aspect is in the air only and the gravitational pressure aspect is in air and ocean but mostly in ocean.

    Gravity is blind to anything other than mass so the thermal characteristics of GHGs are an irrelevance to that portion of the story.

    Since downwelling IR from GHGs cannot get into the oceans it is limited in its effects to the air but the oceans control air temperaure.

    The only way the system could deal with the GHG portion of the effect is to alter the rate of energy flow from surface to space.

    In other words the GHGs fractionally alter the balance between sea surface and surface air temperatures by increasing the energy content of the air (mostly in the form of latent heat) and reducing the energy content of the oceans by converting incoming solar energy to longwave before it can get into the oceans.

    The system then has to correct that GHG induced imbalance between sea surface and surface air temperatures and must do so by shifting the surface air pressure distribution and the positions of the permanent climate zones.

    I think that tops and tails it very effectively.

    But the GHG effect remains miniscule compared to what sun and oceans achieve on multicentennial timescales.

  278. ferd berple says:

    astonerii says:
    December 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm
    The Earths atmosphere is contained in a non flexible fixed volume container? I missed that part of my science lessons. …. That effect is due to the fact that the full radiating surface of the Earth includes the entirety of the volume of the atmosphere. Thus raising the true black-body surface above the surface of the Earth by 5 KM and placing that as the location where where the 254.6k black-body calculated temperature forms. Using adiabatic lapse for 5KM and increasing the 254.6K by this amount gives the no greenhouse gas black-body earth with Atmosphere surface temperature.

    It all makes absolute perfect sense.

    Agreed!! It also explains why the lowest spots on earth are the warmest, and the highest are the coldest. Something the radiation model does not explain.

  279. richard verney says:

    I am one of those who think that the jury is out on whether CO2 actually cools the atmoshere. I consider that there is insufficient evidence to draw a firm conclusion one way or the other. In my first comment on this article I suggested that if you had an atmosphere with no GHGs that atmosphere would be unable to radiate away any heat and if you were then to add CO2 to that atmosphere this would allow the atmosphere to radiate some of its heat. This would suggest that CO2 can have cooling properties (depending upon the make up of the atmosphere).

    It seems to me that CO2 blocks incoming solar light (at three wave lengths) and this reduces slightly the amount of solar energy reaching the oceans and being absorbed by them. This leads to a cooling. CO2 may block outgoing LWR thus slowing down it’s path leading to a warming but CO2 also helps radiate away some energy in the atmosphere that would otherwise find it difficult to radiate away thereby promoting/facilitating cooling. It seems to me that CO2 operates in three different ways and whether these in totality result in a net plus or a net negative is presently not established.

    Water vapour is, of cours, very different to CO2 in that it has a high latent heat content and therefore holds a lot of energy.

  280. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Are you maintaining the gravitational field is a continual source of energy…i.e., that the earth and its atmosphere are undergoing gravitational collapse?”

    The gravitational field interacting with the kinetic movement of molecules is a constant source of heat for so long as energy is supplied to the molecules. If no energy s supplied to the molecules they cool to absolute zero, all kinetic activity stops and no heat is generated.

    It is an energy conversion process not an energy creation process so the Laws of Thermodynamics are complied with.

  281. richard verney says:

    Joel Shore says:
    December 31, 2011 at 5:25 am
    /////////////////////////////////
    Joel

    You do not need gravitational collapse to create heat, just gravitational interaction. Look at Io which is heated by gravitational interaction.

    On Earth both the Sun and the Moon are pulling the oceans creating tides. They do the the same but with less noticeable effect to the atmosphere. All of this is work and as a by product creates heat.

  282. erl happ says:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    December 31, 2011 at 3:38 am
    ‘It’s the stratosphere that shows GHG activity predominating’

    I like to see someone stick their neck out as you regularly do.

    As I see it ozone responds to radiation at about 10 micrometers and emits at a wave length readily absorbed by CO2 which absorbs at shorter and longer wave lengths than ozone. The presence of ozone at up to 10ppm in the stratosphere accounts for the reversal of temperature at the tropopause but it achieves this in large part because it is partnered by CO2 at 400ppm. Ozone traps a portion of the radiation that would be otherwise freely transmitted and emits at a wave length that energizes CO2. So, above the tropopause the composition of the long wave radiation is altered to favor atmospheric heating. The reversal of the lapse rate above the tropopause is a spectacular demonstration of the capacity of radiation at various wave lengths to energize atmospheric gases.

    Below the tropopause convection counters the downward propagation of that energy and according to Nikolov and Zeller the ‘countering’ is complete. Hence via mathematical calculation surface temperature relates to energy intake and atmospheric pressure alone. There is no radiative effect from above, neither from the troposphere or the stratosphere. Incidentally, the lack of a radiative effect from the stratosphere on the troposphere is discernible from the temperature profile in the near tropical southern atmosphere where the stratosphere experiences a peak temperature in winter while at the surface and all the way up into the troposphere the peak is in summer. The heating of the stratosphere in winter relates to a strengthening of the high pressure cells in winter. More radiation emanates from below as the air descends and is compressed.

    What is not generally realized is that ozone is driven into the troposphere, particularly in the winter circulation at high latitudes where the entire atmospheric column is coupled in convection. The coming and going of ozone in the upper troposphere affects atmospheric temperature, relative humidity and cloud cover, changing on interannual and longer time scales in accordance with geomagnetic activity. This is a feature of the Nikolov and Zeller analysis that has been ignored by all those who have commented here and at the talkshop. It is this mechanism that accounts for the changes in surface temperature experienced on solar cycle and 100 year time scales. It appears in figure 10 above. It is this process that must be understood if we wish to understand the climate change that has been of concern.

    Its just nice to know that we can cross the GHG idea of the list as completely inoperative. Man is off the hook. More CO2 will help to green the planet. The planet can sustain more people. We can all stop worrying about our carbon footprint. It’s wholly desirable.

  283. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    The GHG effect has always troubled me because like many aspects of AGW it is a half-truth, distorted to support the cause. This discussion has helped my understanding to crystallize, so thank you all for that. I guess that Stephen Wilde’s comment above is about right.

    The spectroscopic and black body aspects of the concept are true. The AGW interpretation of the consequences is wrong.

  284. thepompousgit Dec. 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm):

    The article at http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/ might interest you. In it, I examine the relationship between logic and the methodology of the inquiry into AGW. I conclude that this methodology is neither logical nor scientific but that the ambiguity of reference of terms in the language of climatology can create the appearance that it is both logical and scientific.

  285. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The coming and going of ozone in the upper troposphere affects atmospheric temperature, relative humidity and cloud cover, changing on interannual and longer time scales in accordance with geomagnetic activity.”

    I think the effects of ozone might be more extensive than that given the recent finding that ozone quatities above the stratopause (around 45km) vary in response to solar variabiliy oppositely to below the stratopause.The entire vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere seems likely to be affected with consequential effects on the height of the tropopause and the surface pressure distribution throughout the troposphere.

    Also I think the level of geomagnetic activity and the amount of cosmic rays may just be proxies for different solar causation.

    But that is for another day. AGW theory is dead once one puts the radiative effects of GHGs in their proper place (in the air alone) and in their proper proportion (miniscule compared to natural solar and ocean induced changes).

    Good progress made in the past few days due to Nikolov’s paper giving the issue a kick start even if it might be ‘old’ science at least in part.

    I’m sure I learned about the gravitational field effects interacting with the kinetic energy of vibrating molecules around planets to produce heat in the form of a greenhouse effect some 50 years ago.

    Yet of late many have been brainwashed into thinking it is all or mostly a radiative phenomenon occurring only in the atmosphere.

    Someone took a very sharp wrong turn at some point and it was never challenged at the time.

  286. davidmhoffer says:

    Richard S Courtney;
    The hypothesis suggests a planet’s atmosphere adjusts to form a lapse rate according to the mass of that atmosphere. Such an adjustment is not possible to achieve on Mars because the mass of that atmosphere is constantly changing.
    The Mars atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide which freezes on the winter pole. The frozen gas is not part of the atmosphere. The frozen carbon dioxide sublimes in the Spring so becomes part of the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide then freezes on the other pole as the Martian year progresses.
    Hence, drawing conclusions pertinent to the discussed hypothesis is not possible by comparisons of the atmosphere of Mars to the atmosphere of other planets.>>>>

    This would still result in an “average” over the course of the Martion year. The mass of the atmosphere would simply fluctuate in a given band with a max and min. If the theory is correct, then the Martian temperature would also fluctuate within a given band, and around the annual average. Further, I would expect that band to be fairly narrow. Even with the longer Martian year, the heat capacity of the planet would easily reduce the fluctuations to a rather narrow band.

  287. Bill Illis says:

    Obviously, the non-GHGs (N2, O2 and Argon) have energy in the atmosphere – the temperature of the atmosphere is the temperature of the non-GHG molecules because they are 99% of it. They are not at Absolute Zero, they are, on average, at the temperature that our thermometres measure. So, non-GHG molecules absorb energy; at the very least, through collisional energy exchanges.

    So the question becomes, without GHGs absorbing certain long-wave frequencies, what would the atmospheric temperature / the lapse rate be.

    Without GHGs, the N2, O2 and Argon molecules would be thermalized by contact with the surface (they are colliding with the surface at something on the order of billions of times per second). The non-GHGs apparently have no way to emit that energy away except through further collisional energy exchanges with other non-excited non-GHG molecules. So the energy gradually builds up from the immediate surface to the higher levels of the atmosphere over a given short period of time.

    The atmosphere continues heating until there is some method for the thermalized non-GHG molecules to release their energy to space.

    N2, O2 and Argon have a few emission lines but these are weak and are not at the temperatures that would be expected in such a thermalized atmosphere. [Perhaps blackbody radiation, but physics seems to think that these "diatomic gas molecules" don't exhibit blackbody radiation].

    The atmosphere would continue heating up, perhaps expand far into space, and it wouldn’t stop. The surface might be emitting large quantities of long-wave energy through the large atmospheric windows that exist now without GHGs, but the atmosphere is constantly warming up by the thermalization. A large fraction of the photons from the Sun would eventually get permanently thermalized into the emmissionally-inert diatomic gas atmosphere.

    The GHGs, therefore, cool the atmosphere by allowing stong emission of the energy at certain long-wave frequencies. It is the opposite of the theory. The lapse rate is a function of how efficient the GHGs are at emitting long-wave energy to space (which depends on the density of the atmosphere – at 10 kms high, CO2 is 60% efficient at emitting energy directly to space).

  288. davidmhoffer says:

    Stephen Wilde;
    I think one can deal with the resulting confusion by accepting BOTH scenarios but putting them in proper proportions.>>>

    BINGO!

    EXACTLY!!!!!

    There are many threads on this site about sensitivity, and the data is increasingly indicating that sensitivity to changes in CO2 concentration is very low. It isn’t that the concept of CO2 as a GHG is wrong, but that in the context of the earth system as a whole, the exact components of the atmosphere and their ratios in regard to each other are not nearly as significant as the total mass of the atmosphere.

  289. ferd berple says: December 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    Ira, your compressed gas cylinder fails to model the situation because of heat exchange between the walls the cylinder and the air. There is no such convective loss on a planetary scale.

    To model a planet correctly, your cylinder walls need to be perfectly insulating so they do not model a situation that does not exist.

    What is missing from your model is the effects of convection, which duplicates continuous pumping.

    OK, ferd berple, place the air containers within an insulating foam that prevents convection and conduction to the cool refrigerator or the warm kitchen. However, make that foam out of a plastic material that passes LWIR. If we do that, it seems to me that the same graphic applies, albeit with an extended time scale.

    Face the facts.

    In case (A), increasing the pressure within the container, and holding it at a constant high setting will cause only a TEMPORARY increase in the temperature within the container. Even if the only means that energy can be lost is via radiation from the walls of the container, the temperature will asymptotically drop. over time, to equal the temperature of the inside of the refrigerator.

    In case (B), increasing the outside temperature of the container, by removing it from the cool refrigerator and placing it in the warm kitchen, will, over time, cause a PERMANENT increase in the pressure and temperature of the container. Even if the only means that energy can be gained is via radiation from the kitchen to the walls of the container, the temperature will asymptotically rise,. over time, to equal the temperature of the kitchen.

    Of course, the only* way the Earth System can gain or lose energy to Space is via radiation.

    *Other than the heat from the molten core, but that amounts to 1/10000 of the incoming radiation from the Sun, or incoming asteroids or outgoing space ships that amount to even less than 1/10000 of the energy budget :^)

  290. davidmhoffer says:

    Richard M says:
    December 31, 2011 at 5:38 am
    I think one problem a few people may be having is they have studied and accept the warming effect of GHGs. As such they cannot accept another theory until someone points out why the warming effect is wrong. IMO it is not wrong, it is just not complete>>>

    Another BINGO!

    The alarmist view of GHG’s is very one dimensional. At best, they allow for secondary effects only in terms of estimating positive feedbacks. What real world system has positive feedbacks!?!!?

    The effect of GHG’s cannot possibly be a straight forward direct relationship to concentration. Secondary effects of convection alone would cancel most of the warming from the GHG effects. The system is chaotic in that we don’t even know what all the variables ARE let alone how they are interelated!

  291. Stephen Wilde says:

    “It is the opposite of the theory. The lapse rate is a function of how efficient the GHGs are at emitting long-wave energy to space (which depends on the density of the atmosphere – at 10 kms high, CO2 is 60% efficient at emitting energy directly to space).”

    Nice one Bill.

    And remember that most GHGs are condensing water vapour which makes the cooling effect highly efficient.

    That would go on perfectly well without any non condensing GHGs at all because the gravitationally induced portion of the greenhouse heating PLUS the entry of solar shortwave into the oceans would keep the oceans liquid just as they are now.

    Without water on our world the heat build up would have blown the atmosphere off into space and Earth would just be a rock with a very thin residual atmosphere like Mars.

    Venus is a different case in some way but I’m not sure why. I’d guess it is because the average weight of the molecules forming the Venusian atmosphere is much greater than our preponderance of Oxygen and Nitrogen so it hasn’t been blown out to space despite the high temperature that has developed.

    Unless AGW proponents can find a substantial flaw it is just a mopping up exercise from now on.

  292. Richard S Courtney says:

    davidmhoffer:

    Thank you for the response to me that you provide at December 31, 2011 at 9:00 am. I had pointed out how and why the mass of the Martian atmosphere varies by more than 50% over the course of a year and, I said, this would preclude the effect of atmospheric mass determining an average global temperature on Mars.

    You have replied;
    “This would still result in an “average” over the course of the Martian year. The mass of the atmosphere would simply fluctuate in a given band with a max and min. If the theory is correct, then the Martian temperature would also fluctuate within a given band, and around the annual average. Further, I would expect that band to be fairly narrow. Even with the longer Martian year, the heat capacity of the planet would easily reduce the fluctuations to a rather narrow band.”

    You may be right. I am not an astronomer and, therefore, I am not adequately knowledgeable of variations in the mean global temperature of Mars over a year. Perhaps somebody here can provide a link to a reliable source of the pertinent data.

    However, we do know that the mean global temperature of the Earth rises by 3.8 K from June to January and falls by 3.8 K from January to June each year. This variation results from the different coverage by land of the northern and southern hemispheres.

    In my opinion, this seasonal variation of the Earth’s mean global temperature is the main reason to doubt the hypothesis which is the subject of this thread.

    Richard

  293. davidmhoffer says:

    Richard S Courtney;
    Their analysis is NOT novel.
    It is a repeat of the Jelbring Hypothesis
    (ref. Jelbring H, ‘The Greenhouse Effect as a function of atmospheric Mass’, Energy & Environment,• Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, (2003)).>>>

    I was originaly rather negative about Nikolov and Zellar, but I’m starting to warm up to it ;-)

    If they arrived at a nearly identical hypothesis to Jelbring via a completely independant thought process, does that not lend credence to BOTH papers?

  294. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Black body radiation is a function of temperature so the different gases in the atmosphere radiate depending on how hot they are, regardless of composition or whether they are GHG or not. Of course, the GHG component may have higher energy due to absorbed IR. Collisions between all molecules will spread the kinetic energy around more evenly.

    So, most of the GHG effect warms up the atmosphere, getting more convection going. The downward component cannot penetrate the oceans since it is absorbed by the surface molecules of water resulting in faster evaporation.

    Basically, the GHG effect gives some heating but also initiates a range of negative feedbacks which result in the global temperature stability that has made life viable.

  295. Ned Nikolov says: December 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm
    Ira,

    Your comments regarding our paper contain so much misunderstanding and conceptual errors that I could not explain them all in a simple reply. … Watch for an formal ‘reply paper’ from us sometime next week. …

    THANKS Ned for joining the discussion in my Posting thread. I look forward to reading your ‘reply paper’. As I stated above, I would love it if your theory, or some other theory, overturns the doctrine of the Official Climate Team. Unlike some others here at WUWT, I applaud the fact that your theory was published and is being discussed with the interest and courtesy due to serious and well credentialed scientists.

    In particular, I await your explanation of how an Atmosphere-free (and water-free) Earth would be about 100K cooler than the similarly situated Moon. That was my first, simplest, and most critical “red flag” on your theory. advTHANKSance.

    On a planetary level, the mean surface pressure is completely INDEPENDENT of temperature or solar heating. It is only a function of total atmospheric mass, the planet surface area, and gravity. …

    I agree completely with the above statement. Clearly, Surface pressure is the sum of the weight of the column of air above the Surface, and, thus, the mean Surface pressure would be constant so long as the Atmosphere does not lose or gain mass. [Added 1:30PM EST: During maximum glaciation, much of the water vapor condenses out of the Atmosphere to form ice, which would reduce its total mass as compared to periods of minimum glaciation. I do not know how much that changes the mass of the Atmosphere, and therefore the mean surface pressure. Anyone know?]

    I was thrown off when, in the posted topic, you wrote “a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure,” [Emphasis added]. That led me to believe that you considered mean atmospheric surface pressure a variable in your theory, or perhaps you were referring to the variability of the pressures at various altitudes above different geographic areas of the Surface. I am sorry for my misunderstanding and I look forward to further discussion. Happy New Year! Ira

  296. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Warmed gases rise due to convection and the blackbody radiation from these gases will diminish as they lose temperature. The proportion of that radiation which is downwards will increasingly encounter more atmospheric molecules as opposed to land and sea. The land/sea target area will also effecively decrease with the altitude of the gas.

    If the gas happens to be water vapour it wll condense at some stage, releasing latent heat.

  297. shawnhet says:

    If I am understanding the issues here at all, the crux of the issue seems to how changes in atmospheric pressure(mass of the atmosphere) affect the radiation of heat to space.

    I am having a hard time understanding why an injection of matter into the atmosphere causing higher pressures and temperatures would not also cause more energy to be lost to space and, thus, ultimately, a return to lower temperatures.

    Can anyone help me out here?

    Cheers, :)

  298. Richard S Courtney says:

    davidmhoffer:

    At December 31, 2011 at 9:32 am you ask me:

    “I was originaly rather negative about Nikolov and Zellar, but I’m starting to warm up to it ;-)

    If they arrived at a nearly identical hypothesis to Jelbring via a completely independant thought process, does that not lend credence to BOTH papers?”

    In my opinion, yes, it does. But we should always keep in mind that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’.

    I again stress that I do not know if the hypothesis is right or wrong, but I am certain that it deserves much more – and more proper – evaluation than it has obtained since it was first published in 2003.

    Happy New Year.

    Richard

  299. davidmhoffer says:

    Oh
    My
    GOSH!

    Did Miloszcki (sp?) get it wrong?

    I just went hunting for his paper and couldn’t find it, if someone has a link?

    My recollection though is that he accurately predicted the temps of both Venus and Earth based on optical depth of the atmosphere. Is it possible that he got cause and effect reversed? After all, my expectation would be that mass of the atmosphere and optical depth would vary in a nearly 1:1 relationship?

  300. mkelly says:

    Mr. Shore please state the first law as you understand it and the violation of which you spoke. Please add the equation and where in the equation the violation takes place. I trust this is a simple request.

  301. Richard S Courtney says:

    shawnhet:

    At December 31, 2011 at 9:49 am you ask;

    “If I am understanding the issues here at all, the crux of the issue seems to how changes in atmospheric pressure(mass of the atmosphere) affect the radiation of heat to space.

    I am having a hard time understanding why an injection of matter into the atmosphere causing higher pressures and temperatures would not also cause more energy to be lost to space and, thus, ultimately, a return to lower temperatures.

    Can anyone help me out here?”

    I will try to help.

    The hypothesis is that the mass of the atmosphere affects the rate of change of temperature with altitude (i.e. the lapse rate). Thus, the altitude at which the emission to space effectively occurs is altered. The amount of the emission is not changed (it equals the amount of heat the planet gets from the Sun).

    But if the effective emission height changes then the distance from that height to the surface changes. And temperature increases with distance below the effective emission height (i.e. temperature decreases with distance from the surface in the lower atmosphere).

    I hope this helps.

    Happy New Year.

    Richard

  302. ferd berple says:

    The compressed gas cylinder model does not match the earth. Heat is lost from the gas cylinder through the metal walls. On earth the walls of the cylinder are formed by the air and the surface of the planet. The heat lost from the air to the air has no effect on temperature. Heat lost from the air to the surface would warm the surface.

  303. Jasper |Gee says: December 31, 2011 at 1:53 am
    Grey lensman says: December 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm:

    “A column of air at one bar. heat it, the column height increase but its mass and hence pressure stays the same.”

    This seems wrong to me. Instead, I think it should say “A column of air at one bar. Heat it, the column height increases but its mass stays the same. Its weight however decreases, due to less gravity further out. Hence pressure decreases.”

    Yes, Jasper |Gee, there is less gravity as you go further from the center of the Earth, so, strictly speaking, you are correct, the Surface pressure at the bottom of the column of air would go down a teeny-weeny bit as you heat it.

    However, it seems to me that yours, and a couple others in this thread, is kind of picking at nits. Imagine we were comparing the weight of an elephant and a rhinoceros, noted that the elephant was heavier, and someone said, “Yeah, that’s because the elephant has fleas.” (Along those lines, a joke told at water aerobics this morning: “What do you get if you cross an elephant with a rhinoceros?” Answer: “Elephino”)

  304. davidmhoffer says:

    Richard S Courtney;
    However, we do know that the mean global temperature of the Earth rises by 3.8 K from June to January and falls by 3.8 K from January to June each year. This variation results from the different coverage by land of the northern and southern hemispheres.>>>

    I’m not an astronomer either, but you are effectively making my point.

    The earth’s temp is X… +/- 1.9 degrees. The orbit is elliptical, the hemisphere’s have different land/ocean ratios, and the Gore effect moves from one hemisphere to the other depending on where he’s spending his time.

    But the temperature of the earth is on average X and varies in a narrow band by plus or minus 1.9 degrees.

    I would expect Mars to also have a temperature of X that varies within a narrow band, and that if Nikolov and Zellar are correct, that they would be able to predict the average. In fact, might that no make a rather interesting method of verification? If one can quantify in a meaningful manner the fluctuation in the mass of the Mars atmosphere, then that should correlate to the fluctuation in temperature (with orbital parameters etc layered on top of course).

    dmh

    PS – If we could stuff Al Gore into a spaceship and send him off to Mars, we could then also quantify the Gore Effect by observing the changes induced by removing him from Earth and also the changes induced by adding him to Mars!

  305. ferd berple says:

    “Richard S Courtney says:
    December 31, 2011 at 10:02 am
    The hypothesis is that the mass of the atmosphere affects the rate of change of temperature with altitude (i.e. the lapse rate). Thus, the altitude at which the emission to space effectively occurs is altered. The amount of the emission is not changed (it equals the amount of heat the planet gets from the Sun). But if the effective emission height changes then the distance from that height to the surface changes. And temperature increases with distance below the effective emission height (i.e. temperature decreases with distance from the surface in the lower atmosphere).”

    Agreed. The atmosphere affects the surface temperature by moving the point at which incoming and outgoing radiation are in balance. On a planet with no atmosphere, this point is at the surface. But on a planet with and atmosphere that point is higher up, in the atmosphere.

    The point at which incoming and outgoing radiation are balanced is the black-body temperature. Something like 285K depending on which formula you use. The additional 33K of warming observed at the surface (at sea level) is a result of the lapse rate, which is a function of gravity not radiation. If you are on a mountain top, the increase is less. If you are below sea level, the increase is more.

  306. Steve Garcia says:

    @davidmhoffer December 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

    “Did Miloszcki (sp?) get it wrong?”

    You should find it at
    http://miskolczi.webs.com/

  307. ferd berple says:

    The radiation model of surface temperature proposes that radiation determines surface temperature. However, this is a result of the radiation model ignoring convection. When radiation tries to increase the surface temperature above the lapse rate, convection increases to balance the temperature at the lapse rate. When radiation is less than what is require to maintain the lapse rate, convection decreases to balance the temperature at the lapse rate.

    Thus, surface radiation cannot change the surface temperature beyond what is provided for by the lapse rate, except temporarily, as it will lead to an increase/decrease in vertical circulation, which will re-establish the lapse rate.

    So, for example, when the sun shines on the earth in the morning, this creates a vertical movement of warm air, and a corresponding down-flow of cool air, which bring the surface temperature back into line with the lapse rate.

    By decoupling convection, the radiation model has overstated the role of radiation in determining surface temperature and ignored the role of gravity in establishing the lapse rate.

  308. ferd berple says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:22 am
    Venus is a different case in some way but I’m not sure why.

    The magnetic fields of earth and venus slow the rate at which the atmosphere is lost to space due to solar radiation. Otherwise as you correctly point out, the atmosphere of both planets would have been blasted into space by the solar wind. Out-gassing from the molten interior of both planets helps replenish atmosphere that is lost, but even then earth is losing its atmosphere. Current oxygen levels are 21% as compared to 35% a couple of hundred million years ago. It is unlikely the giant insects of the past for example could survive in the present atmosphere.

  309. Bart says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2011 at 1:48 am

    “I have explained seperately why the gravitationally induced pressure at the Earth’s surface controls the energy cost of evaporation and thus the rate at which energy can flow from oceans to air.”

    I must have missed it the first time around. But, I thank you for clearly elucidating the “why” of my inchoate thoughts as to why this matters.

    “However the system energy content does not change unless solar input or the strength of the gravitational field change.”

    You pricked something in the back of my mind with that. What we call gravity at the surface is not just mass attraction alone. It also includes the “centrifugal force” from the spinning Earth. With Earth rate of 15 deg/hour and radius of 6378 km, that subtracts 6378e3*(15*pi/180/3600)^2 = 0.033 m/s^2 from the gravity effect, resulting in the 9.81 m/s^2 value which we call 1g at the surface. I’m wondering – the difference is small, but might this tie in with observations such as here which suggest a correlation between climate cycles and length of day? The variations in length of day are also really small, so probably not. But, I thought I’d toss it out there.

    Joel Shore says:
    December 31, 2011 at 5:25 am

    “I.e., how does a surface without an atmosphere that absorbs radiation from its surface maintain a temperature higher than the temperature at which the surface would be emitting back into space as much energy as it is receiving from the sun?”

    You are confusing energy with power. In steady state, the energy reradiated over a lengthy interval has to equal the incoming, or the planet would eventually burn to a crisp. The average temperature is related to the average amount of energy retained.

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

    “In case (A), increasing the pressure within the container, and holding it at a constant high setting will cause only a TEMPORARY increase in the temperature within the container.”

    And, therefore, a TEMPORARY increase in the pressure as well! I explained this at December 30, 2011 at 11:44 am.

  310. Willis: Sorry I did not make my contention clear. I am merely making the point that atmosphere mass and density altitude allow for warmer temperatures at the surface relative to altitude, all things equal. I am supporting the UTC paper because the cause and effect is great in scope, broader than the AGW CO2 fanatical drum beating; putting them at risk of extinction. The nick picking is around my observation that when ever a new theory hits the street, right away there is a rash of nay saying to bring out from others a response. Thus doing a off handed method of peer review via stirring the bees. Just like the cloud theory and others before it.

    Veuve Clicquot Brut for the masses!

    Or this vesper delight:

    3 parts gin
    1 part vodka
    1/2 part Lillet
    drop of range bitters
    wedge of orange

    Cheers!

  311. davidmhoffer says:

    Ira Glickstein;
    In particular, I await your explanation of how an Atmosphere-free (and water-free) Earth would be about 100K cooler than the similarly situated Moon. That was my first, simplest, and most critical “red flag” on your theory.>>>

    Ira!

    They got it right!
    I made the exact same mistake as you and very nearly dismissed this paper out of hand for the very same reason. A quick SB Law calc falsifies the -100K number. NOT!

    P doesn’t vary with T!
    P varies with T raised to the power of 4!

    SB Law is:

    P = 5.67*10^-8*T^4

    To illustrate why -100K is probably far more accurate than -33K, let’s demonstrate by using SB Law on a “two grid point” model using an “average” of 230 w/m2.

    Scenario One

    Grid Point A
    P = 230 w/m2
    Via SB Law
    T(GP.A) = -20.6 Deg C

    Grid Point B
    P = 230 w/m2
    Via SB Law
    T (GP.B) = -20.6 Deg C

    P(average) = 230 w/m2
    T(average) = -20.6 Deg c

    Now let’s run the exact same calcs but for a very hot grid point and a very cold grid point:

    Scenario Two

    Grid Point A
    P = 380 w/m2
    Via SB Law
    T (GP.A) = +13.1 Deg C

    Grid Point B
    P = 80 w/m2
    Via SB Law
    T (GP.B) = -79.2 Deg C

    P(average) = (380 + 80)/2 = 230
    T(average) = (13.1 + (-79.2))/2 = -33.1

    By averaging T instead of T^4, WE HAVE BEEN MESSING UP THE TOTAL ATMOSPHERIC EFFECT FROM DAY ONE! THIS IS THE MOST COLLOSAL MATH ERROR IN HUMAN HISTORY!

    I have neither the math skills nor the data to arrive at a mathematical analysis of what the total effect should be. But I do know that incoming radiance varies from nearly 500 w/m2 in the tropics to ZERO at he poles (for months at a time!). Solve for average T^4 from pole to pole and season to season and from day time high to day time low and THEN convert to T!

    I’m betting that is what Nikolov and Zellar have done…

    And I’m betting they got it right.

    -100K is the number.

  312. Bart says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    December 31, 2011 at 10:16 am

    “If we could stuff Al Gore into a spaceship and send him off to Mars, we could then also quantify the Gore Effect by observing the changes induced by removing him from Earth and also the changes induced by adding him to Mars!”

    Finally, a compelling reason to develop a manned mission to Mars! You may have single-handedly saved the US space program from its aimless wandering.

  313. ferd berple (Dec. 31, 2011 at 10:28 am):

    When you say “lapse rate” I think you mean “adiabatic lapse rate.” It’s the adiabatic lapse rate that is maintained by convection.

  314. davidmhoffer says:

    In fact my 500 w/m2 at the tropic vs 0 at the poles isn’t even a big enough range!

    The right range is 1365 * 0.7 ~ 1000 watts.

    Solve for day time high at the tropics of 1000 watts/m2 cycled with night time average of 0 watts/m2. Then solve for increasingly high latitudes until you get to a daily fluctuation at the poles from a high of 0 w/m2 to a low of 0 w/m2 for six months at a crack!

    Suddenly, -100K looks VERY reasonable!

  315. Richard M says:

    Bill Illis says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Bill, your description is very close to what I getting at on the GHG-less atmosphere thread. I wondered if the heat would build and build without GHGs or whether the heat would build to a certain point and then the surface also warm and hence radiate to a higher level bringing the system into equilibrium.

    I think the whole issue of conduction between the surface and the atmosphere has been successfully hidden by the team. If you look at what they did they provide only the NET energy flow in the KT papers. However, for GHGs they use the GROSS energy flow.

    The GROSS flow of energy is probably even higher for conduction but it mostly evens out. Same is true for the radiation if you compute the NET flow.

  316. Richard M says:

    As for Miskolczi … I think he had a couple of items of interest. One was that the atmosphere maintained a constant GHE. He thought that as CO2 increased that H2O would decrease to maintain a constant optical depth (1.87 IIRC).

    He may have been right about the constant optical depth and there may have been no need to go any further. With the UTC I would expect a constant optical depth as he had found experimentally. One more piece of evidence supporting the UTC.

  317. Bart says: December 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

    “In case (A), increasing the pressure within the container, and holding it at a constant high setting will cause only a TEMPORARY increase in the temperature within the container.”

    And, therefore, a TEMPORARY increase in the pressure as well! I explained this at December 30, 2011 at 11:44 am.

    Have another look at my graphic. Notice the pump and meter on BOTH illustrations in case (A)? That was my way of indicating that we first pump the container up to some given high pressure. During the time we are pumping, as the Pressure rises the Temperature also rises due to the work that we have done. When we reach the given Pressure, we stop pumping. At that point, the Temperature begins to drop slowly, and with it, as you have noted, a bit of the Pressure. That is why the second illustration in case (A) shows the pump and meter still attached, which we use to maintain the Pressure at the given high pressure. The Temperature asymptotically drops to that of the cool refrigerator. At that point, we could remove the pump and meter and the Pressure will remain forever fixed at the given high level and the Temperature will remain forever fixed at the cool level of the refrigerator. Thus, the pumping up to a high Pressure level results in a TEMPORARY change in Temperature – first up, then back down.

    In case (B), in contrast, a rise in Temperature, by moving the container from the cool refrigerator to the warm kitchen, results in a PERMANENT rise in the Pressure within the container.

    Do you agree:
    Case (A): If we do nothing more, the Temperature will be low forever and the Pressure will remain high forever?
    Case (B): if we do nothing more, the Temperature will be high forever and the Pressure will also remain high forever?

    Please notice the difference between raising Pressure (case A) vs raising Temperature (case B).

  318. Terry Oldberg said @ December 31, 2011 at 8:51 am

    “The article at http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/ might interest you. In it, I examine the relationship between logic and the methodology of the inquiry into AGW. I conclude that this methodology is neither logical nor scientific but that the ambiguity of reference of terms in the language of climatology can create the appearance that it is both logical and scientific.”

    Many, many thanks Terry. It’s amazing what comes from Aristotle’s three laws of thought :-)

  319. Willis Eschenbach says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Willis Eschenbach;

    Since neither you nor anyone else has been able to explain the paragraph I highlighted, it’s hardly “nicky picky”.

    The paragraph as written is meaningless.

    Now…if we put aside what they said and try and figure out what they meant. …

    Not me. Not for an instant. I’ve played that “let’s guess what they mean” game before, it’s nothing but wasted time. Unless he can tell us what he means, I’m not chasing his ideas around to try to pin them down.

    w.

  320. Bart says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 31, 2011 at 11:51 am

    “That is why the second illustration in case (A) shows the pump and meter still attached, which we use to maintain the Pressure at the given high pressure.”

    The number one rule of physics is you can’t get something for nothing. To maintain the pressure, you are going to have to keep pumping, imparting as much energy as that fleeing due to the heat dissipation. And, that extra pumping will keep you at the same temperature.

  321. Bart says:

    Of course, in a realistic system, there will be a limit cycle of pressure and temperature about the induced equilibrium. Temperature will drop. That results in a pressure drop. You sense the pressure drop and pump it back up. As a result, the temperature rises, and the cycle repeats.

    But, won’t you eventually pump an infinite amount of gas in? No. Because the pumping action is not adding to the volume of gas, just exchanging it with more energetic gas molecules.

    [Bart, I am sorry to say that you simply do not understand. Keep pumping those "more energetic gas molecules" to replace the ones that got less energetic? If you pump a container up to some pressure and maintain that pressure by pumping a bit more until the temperature stabilizes to that of your kitchen, you can disconnect the pump and the pressure will stay exactly the same unless there is a leak in the container or unless you change the ambient temperature in your kitchen. You can take that to the bank. - Ira]

  322. gbaikie says:

    “A small but important addition to my previous post is necessary.

    GHGs cause a faster throughput of ‘processed’ solar energy IN THE AIR ALONE. ”

    Yes but needs more emphasis. GHG are all about radiant energy- as in the Sun.
    Sun is huge huge blazing ball of very hot gas. Huge blazing ball of very hot gas
    can transfer a fair amount of energy, and GHG are very faint echo of something
    important. Photons aren’t “naturally” a good way to heat things- you make a
    laser and that’s impressive. But room temperature radiant energy isn’t impressive.

    The blazing ball of intense energy, does not warm gases. It causes none of them
    to increase their velocity- and their velocity is what makes them warm. For gas
    you need fast moving molecules and you need them confined [you need pressure].
    A zillion gas molecule going light speed, all in same direction is not warm gas.
    Though very hot if hits something. A zillion gas molecule traveling fast and gravitation
    held together is to some extent warm. Heat when talking about gas is velocity and pressure- and that is all.
    You can excite a gas molecule with photons- but that isn’t warming the gas.
    Such excited gas will not warm your device that measures temperature- direct their
    excitement and you have laser- which will warm your device that measures
    temperature.
    But a small amount [size of house and 1 atm of gas] randomly being
    excited doesn’t add much if any heat. The speed these zillions of gas molecules
    are traveling is the heat.
    The Sun’s radiation [photons] does heat up solid or liquid matter- makes this matter excited
    and if excited enough gas molecules fly away from it- generally at very fast speed and
    if enough them do this it’s hot gas [immediately crashing into zillions of other gases molecules or other matter].

    “They first absorb more solar energy than other non GHG gases then re radiate within the air to cause more evaporation of surface water or soil moisture and convection resulting in a faster or larger water cycle. Thus they first slow down the rate of solar energy loss back to space but the increased size or speed of the water cycle speeds it up again for a zero net effect.”
    The GHG are going radiate [send photon] to other GHG in random directions. The total sum of this randomness isn’t going to get much work done- cause evaporation. I think it’s biggest affect could be slowing heat radiation of surface and it’s radiating energy into the universe.
    My biggest question is how much photon energy can GHG rob from other gas molecule velocity
    and thereby actually cool the gas. But seems to me a sizable amount surface energy is radiated directly to space- it’s mostly microwave and microwaves generally punch thru any atmosphere fairly easily. You use radio/microwave to see thru Venus thick atmosphere.
    Or in other words, I have doubts of whether CO2 warms or cools a planet. And bigger doubts about CO2 as trace gas is going to much any significance.

    “The important point though is that in so far as GHGs produce a faster processing of incoming solar energy IN THE AIR that energy is then denied to the oceans which are therefore a fraction cooler than they otherwise would have been.

    GHGs therefore reduce total energy content in the oceans but increase it in the air (mostly in latent form) for a zero net effect on total system energy content.

    The whole thing gets balanced out as necessary by changing surface air pressure distribution for a shift in the permanent climate zones.

    That is a Unified Theory.”
    Yes.

  323. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:56 am

    … Their analysis is NOT novel.
    It is a repeat of the Jelbring Hypothesis
    (ref. Jelbring H, ‘The Greenhouse Effect as a function of atmospheric Mass’, Energy & Environment,• Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, (2003)).

    Jelbring’s 2003 paper can be read at
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf”

    Thanks, Richard. I hesitated to bring Jelbrings name into this, because of my extensive discussions with him about his mistaken ideas.

    The clearest I can put it is that Jelbring (and the current authors) have the following theory:

    1. The bottom of the atmosphere is warmer than the top of the atmosphere.

    2. The top of the atmosphere is at the temperature of space, call it a few Kelvin. The bottom of the atmosphere is heated well above that temperature by gravitational compression (PV=nRT). This means the planetary surface has to be a certain amount warmer than the top of the atmosphere.

    3. The final temperature of a planet is a combination of direct heating and atmospheric heating.

    4. For a given thickness of atmosphere, the larger the planet, the greater the difference in temperature between the top and the bottom of the atmosphere.

    Let’s call this greater temperature the “relatively enhanced gravitational pressure energy”. Because there is more pressure from increased gravity, it increases the rate of … hang on, what did he call it … oh, right, it increases the density-dependent rates of molecular collision, which in turn leads to …

    Just kidding, that’s how they’re misdirecting your attention from the great reveal, which is …

    THEREFORE

    5. Gravity is heating the earth. You can tell by looking at the bigger planets, more gravity = more heat.

    Me, I always get stuck at the “therefore” part. As I commented to Hans Jelbring at the time, if his theory were true, then the surface of a dead planet with an atmosphere and no sun near it should be warmer than the empty space around it … and that sounds like perpetual motion to me.

    He had no answer.

    w.

  324. Bart says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    “Unless he can tell us what he means, I’m not chasing his ideas around to try to pin them down.”

    Then, take what he said, interpret it in a way that makes sense to you, and put that forward as your own working hypothesis. You are being counterproductively punctilious.

  325. Bart says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “… if his theory were true, then the surface of a dead planet with an atmosphere and no sun near it should be warmer than the empty space around it”

    There has to be a source for the heat. This is like saying a capacitor should build up a charge of its own even when not connected to an electrical circuit.

    And, this is an appropriate analogy. A larger capacitor in a series RC circuit connected to a constant voltage will build up a greater charge than a smaller one. Short the voltage to ground, and the charge will dissipate.

  326. Dan in Nevada says:

    Dr. Glickstein: PLEASE HELP!

    I have what I hope is a very simple question for a physicist and the answer will really help me understand what is being talked about here. First, a little setup, then the question.

    I earlier suggested that a pressure cooker might be a more appropriate analogy than your pressure vessel thought experiment. The reason is that your analogy would only be good if we were talking about an earth that had no sun (or some other external source of heat). Of course the planet would cool down to close to space temperatures regardless of the the amount of atmospheric pressure or even the existence of an atmosphere. The pressure cooker example provides an external heat source (sun) that provides energy that is absorbed a lot by the vessel, but very little by the surrounding air (which anyway is convected off), much in the same way that the earth absorbs solar radiation and space does not.

    OK, here’s the question: create a pressure-cooker-like vessel with a relief valve that keeps the pressure at whatever pressure you choose. You have a way of measuring the temperature in the middle of the vessel. Put the vessel over a constant heat source and inject, say, N2 into the vessel at various pressures. Each time, allow the vessel to reach a steady-state outflow of heat. Meaning the vessel has reached a thermal equilibrium. (If I’m not stating this correctly, I think you still get what I mean). Will the internal temperature at steady-state conditions be the same or different depending on the pressure of the N2 in the vessel?

    I really don’t know the answer to that. It seems obvious that there would be more retained heat owing to the higher density of the gas at the higher pressures. Does this manifest as a higher temperature?

    Yes or no would be fine, but if you’d like to explain your answer, please pretend you are talking to an eight-year-old so there’s some chance I might understand.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  327. Joe Zeise says:

    Willis, you are missing the point. The more mass and pressure that the planet’s atmosphere has the greater potential for heating compared to a planet with a less massive atmosphere given an equal source of solar energy.

  328. Erinome says:

    Bart says:
    <>

    And, almost all of it from the 1998 El Nino. Cherry picking a wee bit early in the season, aren’t we?

    I’m not cherry picking — the time interval, 13 years, was set by the original commenter, not me.

    Of course there was a strong El Nino in 1998 — there was also a strong La Nina in 2010. This is precisely why climate scientists calculate trends over a few decades (usually 3) instead of just one — there are too many short-term fluctuations in a decade that can mask the long-term trend.

  329. kwik says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “Me, I always get stuck at the “therefore” part. As I commented to Hans Jelbring at the time, if his theory were true, then the surface of a dead planet with an atmosphere and no sun near it should be warmer than the empty space around it … and that sounds like perpetual motion to me.”

    Well, I think they answered that. If I am not mistaken, they say the sun’s input is enough to keep the energy “at bay”. If there is no sun, its energy will “die out”, if you wait long enough. Dont kknow how long you must wait, though.

    So, in your test-setup, how long did you wait? Before measuring?

  330. Willis Eschenbach (Dec. 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm):

    From your description of the two papers, I gather that you’ve overlooked the key idea in them. The idea is that the possibility of free convection heat transfer sets up a feedback mechanism which persistently forces the lapse rate toward the adiabatic lapse rate. As the adiabatic lapse rate is insensitive to the composition of the atmosphere, the atmospheric temperature profile is insensitive to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. As the adiabatic lapse rate is sensitive to the pressure at Earth’s surface, the temperature profile is sensitive to this pressure.

  331. gbaikie says:

    “Willis, you are missing the point. The more mass and pressure that the planet’s atmosphere has the greater potential for heating compared to a planet with a less massive atmosphere given an equal source of solar energy.”

    If Earth had twice it’s gravity it would warmer.
    How much warmer?
    You would have 14.7 times 2 = 29.4 psi
    double temperature. But increases amount radiated
    Wild guess adds more than 20 C
    [there change laspe also]
    If Earth had 1/2 it’s gravity, the pressure would 7.3
    increases laspe rate
    pressure halves temperature
    would radiate less.
    Hmm, wouldn’t be likely earth could keep such a high elevation atmosphere.
    Assuming it did, I think it reduce temperatures by less than doubling gravity
    increases, so around 5-10 C less??

  332. shawnhet says:

    Thanks for getting back to me Richard!

    “Richard S Courtney says:
    The hypothesis is that the mass of the atmosphere affects the rate of change of temperature with altitude (i.e. the lapse rate). Thus, the altitude at which the emission to space effectively occurs is altered. The amount of the emission is not changed (it equals the amount of heat the planet gets from the Sun).

    But if the effective emission height changes then the distance from that height to the surface changes. And temperature increases with distance below the effective emission height (i.e. temperature decreases with distance from the surface in the lower atmosphere).”

    Ok. That makes sense so far as it goes. However, it raises some more questions to my mind. Going back to the calculation of the lapse rate, I find that the dry adabiatic lapse rate can be calculated by dividing the specific gravity (g) by the specific heat of the air at constant pressure.

    Since g is a constant, a lower lapse rate necessitates then that the specific heat of the air goes up as the air pressure goes up, right? And that changes in specific heat of the atmosphere will be directly proportional to changes in temperature at the surface? Couldn’t we then use measured changes in the specific heat capacity of air under different pressures to calculate the changes in the lapse rate directly as an alternative to the authors ATE/NTE approach?

    To me, this puts the authors’ equations 7 & 8 in serious doubt. If we know that changes in atmospheric specific heat capacity are what (predominantly) determine the surface temperature of a planet, then a model or expression that does not refer to that property will only appear right accidentally.

    Happy New Year to you as well!

    Cheers, :)

  333. Joel Shore says:

    Stephen Wilde says:

    The gravitational field interacting with the kinetic movement of molecules is a constant source of heat for so long as energy is supplied to the molecules. If no energy s supplied to the molecules they cool to absolute zero, all kinetic activity stops and no heat is generated.

    It is an energy conversion process not an energy creation process so the Laws of Thermodynamics are complied with.

    What does “…so long as energy is supplied to the molecules” means? A miracle occurs? Look, you have 240 W/m^2 of energy coming in and 390 W/m^2 going out. Where is the extra 150 W/m^2 coming from? Be specific.

    Unless AGW proponents can find a substantial flaw it is just a mopping up exercise from now on.

    Apparently, violating the Law of Conservation of Energy is not a substantial enough flaw for you guys! The worship of complete nonsense by many on this website, including some who really should know better, has gone from silly to pathetic.

  334. Joel Shore says:

    Just to add a bit more specificity to my last comment: If you propose that energy is coming from the gravitational field, that means that the gravitational potential energy is decreasing (at some rate like 150 W/m^2 of earth’s surface). What is causing this large decrease in gravitational potential energy?

  335. Paul says:

    PV=nRT, implies that heat or energy doesn’t change, and unfortunately that thing called weather is pretty much about how heat, P, V and T change spontaneously and continuously in the atmosphere.

  336. Jordan says:

    Ira said “Case (A): If we do nothing more, the Temperature will be low forever and the Pressure will remain high forever
    Case (B): if we do nothing more, the Temperature will be high forever and the Pressure will also remain high forever
    Please notice the difference between raising Pressure vs raising Temperature”

    I really think this is a such a red herring Ira.

    Consider the molecular interpretation of both temperature and pressure. They are a consequence of the kinetic theory. If we could take away all of the energy, molecular motion would drop to zero ( no internal energy) and both P and T would reach an absolute zero. As soon as there is either a temperature or pressure, there would be molecular motion and both would be greater than zero.

    In your example, temperature is a transitory phenomenon because you created a potential difference and then allowed heat to flow from the pressurised gas to the surroundings. This illustrates the first law of thermodynamics, but the additional cooling process has no analogy in a uniform atmosphere at equilibrium.

    Please have a look at my earlier post where the gas is pressurised, but there is no potential difference and therefore no further transfer of energy. Would be good to get your views on what that means for the original post you were responding to.

  337. Konrad says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 30, 2011 at 7:18 am
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////
    I believe you and Paul are correct in proposing empirical experiments. However the experiments proposed will not answer the questions raised by the Nikolov & Zeller claims. What is first needed is a clear understanding of what they were claiming. Few people on this thread or the previous one seem to understand.

    Tallbloke does -
    “I don’t have a problem understanding what Nikolov and Zeller are saying in the passage quoted by Willis. They are simply explaining why it is that in a gravity well supplied with external power, the more highly compressed gas near the surface will be warmer than expected by a grey body calc which doesn’t take atmospheric pressure gradients into account. Simples.”

    An experiment designed to test this is not too difficult. All that is needed is to simulate a column of atmosphere.
    1. A tall (2m tall x 200mm diameter) pressure cylinder internally insulated with 5mm of white EPS foam with ultra thin reflective foil covering. All surfaces insulated except on underside of matt black alloy top cap.
    2. A second internal cylinder of 5mm foil coated EPS foam 1945mm long 140mm external diameter suspended inside the foam lining of the pressure cylinder 25mm away from all walls and end caps.
    3. A matt black grey cast iron target disk 125mm diameter 5mm thick placed internally in the centre of the pressure cylinder base.
    4. A pressure tight glass window 20mm diameter in the top cap of the pressure cylinder.
    5. Peltier or cryogenic cooling for the top cap of the cylinder (~ -50c).
    6. High intensity external light source focused through the window in the top cap to illuminate only the cast iron target disk in the base of the cylinder.
    7. Valves for the input of various dry gasses
    8. temperature sensors for the target disk and various points up the atmospheric column.
    9. Air speed sensor for the convection loop

    How it works -
    1. the external light source is intermittently switched on and off to simulate a planets rotation.
    2. The target disk heats up and thereby heats the gasses in contact with it and also emits LWIR.
    3. Heated gasses rise up the centre of the internal cylinder, are cooled by the top cap and descend outside the internal cylinder in a convection loop.
    4. The foil covered insulation also bounces most LWIR until it impacts the cooling cap and is absorbed.

    If a higher internal pressure of dry nitrogen yields higher internal temperatures with the same external light source then Nikolov and Zellers claims are proved correct. A further slightly expensive variation on the experiment would be to mount the cylinder on a centrifuge arm and spin it to such speed that a significant pressure gradient were created along the length of the cylinder, with the light source and cooling cap being at the low pressure end.

    This topic has generated over 700 comments at WUWT, yet no one has sought out conclusive empirical data. This illustrates the problem with climate science quite well, too many try to do science from their keyboard , not in the lab or the field. Now get Mum or Dad to help with the scissors and do the experiment.

  338. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    December 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    “…you have 240 W/m^2 of energy coming in and 390 W/m^2 going out.”

    I don’t know where you pulled these numbers from. I do not know why you are having trouble with the concept, when it is the same deal with GHGs, but just a different hypothesized mechanism for increased energy retention by the atmosphere.

    I do know that Watts is a measure of power, though, and it is making me grit my teeth when you use such imprecise language, and I suspect it may be the root of your confusion.

  339. Bart says:

    Erinome says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    “This is precisely why climate scientists calculate trends over a few decades (usually 3) instead of just one — there are too many short-term fluctuations in a decade that can mask the long-term trend.”

    And, there are long term fluctuations which can mask it in three decades, particularly when that is very close to the half period of the obvious ~60 year quasi-cyclical component in global average temperature readily evident to the naked eye in plots of yearly averages. Thirty years is almost precisely the interval guaranteed to give you the maximum indicated warming during the upswing of this component. Is that an accident? I suspect not.

    Linear regressions are not truth. They are not magic. They do not reveal something which cannot be seen with the naked eye with proper filtering and perspective. But, the naked eye can discern patterns which such elementary canned routines cannot. And, it is quite apparent that we have recently simply reached the peak for the ~60 year period, and are now poised for the next ~30 year decline.

    I would hardly be surprised if you disagree. Indeed, I would be astounded if you did not. But five, maybe ten years from now, you will look back and wonder why you failed to allow yourself to admit the obvious, painful truth – there is no anthropogenic global warming of any significance.

  340. davidmhoffer says: December 31, 2011 at 11:03 am
    Ira Glickstein;
    In particular, I await your explanation of how an Atmosphere-free (and water-free) Earth would be about 100K cooler than the similarly situated Moon. That was my first, simplest, and most critical “red flag” on your theory.>>>

    Ira!

    They got it right!
    I made the exact same mistake as you and very nearly dismissed this paper out of hand for the very same reason. A quick SB Law calc falsifies the -100K number. NOT!

    P doesn’t vary with T!
    P varies with T raised to the power of 4! …

    OK Dave, as you know from our personal emails some months ago, I agree with your point that the mean temperature should always be calculated by converting each and every ºC data point to K, then raising each and every K^4, taking the average, doing a K^-4 on that average, and converting the result back to ºC.

    I checked your Grid point examples, and you got the math right. However, your delta in T(avg) is -20.6ºC vs -33ºC which is only -12.4ºC/K, so the mean temperature of Earth (288K) could be off by around 4%, not a big deal when Climate Science is so far off in other areas.

    By averaging T instead of T^4, WE HAVE BEEN MESSING UP THE TOTAL ATMOSPHERIC EFFECT FROM DAY ONE! THIS IS THE MOST COLLOSAL MATH ERROR IN HUMAN HISTORY!

    I have neither the math skills nor the data to arrive at a mathematical analysis of what the total effect should be. But I do know that incoming radiance varies from nearly 500 w/m2 in the tropics to ZERO at he poles (for months at a time!). Solve for average T^4 from pole to pole and season to season and from day time high to day time low and THEN convert to T!

    The radiance at the poles does go down to zero, but, using the SB Law, that would correspond to a temperature of 0 K or -273ºC, and, due to conduction and convection, the poles never get down that low. The lowest recorded temperature was “−89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K) at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica July 21, 1983″ [Wikipedia].

    OK, 500 w/m2 corresponds to around 307K, and averaging that with 184K, we get 245.5K. 184K corresponds to an effective “radiance” of 64 w/m2. Average of 64 and 500 is 282 w/m2, which corresponds to 266K, a difference of 266-245 = 21ºC/K. Significant, but very far from the -100K that L&K claim the Moon and Atmosphere/water-free Earth would be if their theory is correct.

    So, if your extreme case, comparing an average of a polar point with a tropical point, gives an error of only 21/288 = 7%, then I do not see how doing an average of thousands of data points, using only T rather than T^4, can amount to the 100K claimed by L&K which would be 100/288 = 35%.

    I’m betting that is what Nikolov and Zellar have done… And I’m betting they got it right.

    Sorry Dave, but I am not a betting man.

  341. Joel Shore says:

    Bart:

    (1) The numbers come from Trenberth and Kiehl ( http://chriscolose.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/kiehl4.jpg?w=480&h=350 ) and are good to within several W/m^2. The 390 W/m^2 can also be estimated from the average surface temperature. The greenhouse effect mechanism presents a very clear explanation of what happens: Some of the ~390W/m^2 from the Earth’s surface is absorbed by the atmosphere; hence, not all of it escapes to space. (The atmosphere emits too, but since it is at a colder temperature, it emits at a lower intensity.) All of the alternative mechanisms seems to rely on some vague magic involving things like “the gravitational field interacting with the kinetic movement of molecules” with no quantitative calculations to accompany it and, in fact, no quantitative accounting of energy at all. Do you see the difference?

    (2) Sorry…Would you be happier with “…you have energy coming in at a RATE of 240 W/m^2 (or really an INTENSITY of 240 W/m^2…”? And, while I may be a bit sloppy with the terminology (as nearly everyone is), I don’t think I am the one getting confused.

  342. Joel Shore says:

    …I should also add to (1) that for the greenhouse effect, we have detailed empirical evidence like actual spectra both of “back-radiation” and of the radiation from the Earth as seen from space, with the “bites” taken out of it at the known absorptions wavelengths of the various greenhouse gases.

  343. davidmhoffer says: December 31, 2011 at 11:15 am
    In fact my 500 w/m2 at the tropic vs 0 at the poles isn’t even a big enough range!

    The right range is 1365 * 0.7 ~ 1000 watts. …

    OK Dave, OK, 1000 w/m2 corresponds to around 366K, and averaging that with 184K, we get 275K. 184K corresponds to an effective “radiance” of 64 w/m2. Average of 64 and 1000 is 532 w/m2, which corresponds to 312K, a difference of 312-275 = 37ºC/K. Significant, but still far from the -100K that L&K claim the Moon and Atmosphere/water-free Earth would be if their theory is correct.

    By the way, as a System Engineer I used to test the estimates provided by vendors and our analysis department by using the same technique you are using, which we called “worst-case analysis”. I would take what I considered the most extreme bad case (such as Dave’s assumption of averaging a polar and a tropical temperature) and do a “back of the envelope calculation” (and, in those days all I had was an envelope and a slide rule :^). If my “worst case” was in the range of the parameters submitted by the real analysts, I would accept their values as correct. If not, I would recheck my approximate calculation and if I could find no error, I would ask them to justify their number.

    Now, please L&K, justify that 100K difference. advTHANKSance

  344. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Bart says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    “Unless he can tell us what he means, I’m not chasing his ideas around to try to pin them down.”

    Then, take what he said, interpret it in a way that makes sense to you, and put that forward as your own working hypothesis. You are being counterproductively punctilious.

    That sounds fine, but there’s no way I’ve found to twist it so that it makes sense. Nor am I being counterproductive. We have something called “enhanced energy” which supposedly is activated by “external heat”. If that makes sense to you, run with it. Me, I need definitions and examples of those concepts before I go further.

    w.

  345. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Joe Zeise says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Willis, you are missing the point. The more mass and pressure that the planet’s atmosphere has the greater potential for heating compared to a planet with a less massive atmosphere given an equal source of solar energy.

    That also makes no sense. Please define “potential for heating”. If you mean “thermal mass” … so what?

    w.

  346. Willis Eschenbach says:

    kwik says:
    December 31, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “Me, I always get stuck at the “therefore” part. As I commented to Hans Jelbring at the time, if his theory were true, then the surface of a dead planet with an atmosphere and no sun near it should be warmer than the empty space around it … and that sounds like perpetual motion to me.”

    Well, I think they answered that. If I am not mistaken, they say the sun’s input is enough to keep the energy “at bay”. If there is no sun, its energy will “die out”, if you wait long enough. Dont kknow how long you must wait, though.

    Have I wandered into another dimension? How on earth does one keep energy at bay? Where does energy go when it “dies out”?

    w.

  347. Erinome says:

    Bart, of course linear regressions aren’t truth. But it disproves the original commenter’s contention that there has been no warming for the last 13 years, which was all I was doing.

    There is no obvious 60-year cycle in global average temperature — when I look at the HadCRUT3 data starting in 1850, my naked eye does not see an obvious 60-year cycle.. Because it might appear in spectral analysis does not make it real — any Fourier analysis of data over a finite range will find frequencies that stick out simply due to the boundaries. What is the physical mechanism?

    I would hardly be surprised if you disagree. Indeed, I would be astounded if you did not. But five, maybe ten years from now, you will look back and wonder why you failed to allow yourself to admit the obvious, painful truth – there is no anthropogenic global warming of any significance.

    Now there’s a novel way to win an argument — assume the future does what you predict, and then blame me today. Brilliant!

  348. jae says:

    Hey, Willis, and ilk, are you really being objective here?

    “Let’s call this greater temperature the “relatively enhanced gravitational pressure energy”. Because there is more pressure from increased gravity, it increases the rate of … hang on, what did he call it … oh, right, it increases the density-dependent rates of molecular collision, which in turn leads to …”

    Is it not possible that you do not understand this statement? Is it wrong, if you don’t understand it?. But, of course, I don’t quite understand it, either, and the authors should come forth and explain it. But…you tread on a very unscientific Pravada style theme here, wherein you slam a whole concept because of some verbiage about which you have some QUESTION.

    And I find it fascinating for such a brilliant person to challenge ONLY one little part of the treatise! How about all the empirical stuff, Willis???

    Facts are, at this point, there is still NO frigging empirical evidence for some silly “radiative atmospheric greenhouse effect.” Period.

    And Ira is totally ignoring all evidence contrary to his “science.,” as far as I can tell. He is presenting the same old tired idea of energy stored up in a “bomb.” You have pressure, temperature, or some combination. It has absolutely no connection with the Planet Earth. The FACT is that the atmosphere and the oceans STORE energy, and that is ALL there is to the “greenhouse effect.” That is being demonstrated to be true with each passing year, as the quantity of “greenhouse gases” keeps increasing, while the World does not seem to care or express any change!

    The heat stored by the planet, replenished each day by our Sun, is sufficient to keep the gases at the magic temperature at which we live, thanks to the Great Almighty. GHG radiation has absolutely nothing to do with this, which is EXACTLY what the subject article demonstrates!

  349. shawnhet says:

    After doing a bit more research, I don’t think substantial variations in the lapse rate are possible with realistic changes in atmospheric pressure. The variations in specific heat listed here:

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-specific-heat-various-pressures-d_1535.html

    imply a lapse rate(and hence, a surface temperature) that only changes trivially with changes in atmospheric pressure (the lapse rate is defined as the acceleration due to gravity divided by the specific heat of air).

    Unless there is some novel way of calculating the lapse rate that I am unaware of, the heating proposed by this theory cannot be due to changes in the lapse rate. IMO, unless it can lay out specifically the means by which a temperature increase due to an injection of atmosphere can *persist*, I think this is a dead end.

    Cheers, :)

  350. gbaikie says:

    “…you have 240 W/m^2 of energy coming in and 390 W/m^2 going out.”

    I don’t know where you pulled these numbers from.

    I think they standard numbers from the team.
    Something solar energy per meter of diameter of earth divided.
    Hmm try 1321 W per meter before the atmosphere.
    1.74 x 10^17 watts
    12,756 6378 km 1.27 x 10^8 km 1.27 x 10^14 sq meters
    So total solar power: 1.74 x 10^17 watts divided by area: 1.27 x 10^14 sq meters
    gives: 1370 divide 4 [so whole globe] gives 342.5 W then times .7 gives 239.7 W
    And times by .7 because 30% cloud cover [or some other idiocy].

    Anyways it makes no sense.

    Suppose you had planet like Mars at Mars distance [solar flux around 600 W per sq meter] from
    equal two stars which some keep on opposite side- giving Mars constant day globally.
    How warm is Mars going to get? No doubt it will be warmer.
    My guess is you will still a frozen polar cap- or maybe both poles would summer- so maybe if it would wouldn’t case. But I would say you could have surface temperature of 27 C [80 F]. Or you are never going to get close frying eggs on a sidewalk.
    Earth with this Mars. It should even cooler sidewalks.
    Lets go wild and have four suns surrounding the Mars or Earth and the fours are giving
    250 W per sq and shining there isn’t any nite anywhere- and there overlap so you would see two stars in the sky at various times and/or locations. Would this be warmer?
    Jupiter distance is 50 watts per square meter. So it’s at some distance between Mars and Jupiter.
    Hmm. here: Ceres: The solar irradiance of 150 W/m2 (in aphelion). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_Ceres
    According wiki the highest surface temperature on Cere is 235 K
    And aphelion is 2.9 AU and perihelion is 2.5 AU. Perihelion would be close to 250 W.
    “The Cererian surface is relatively warm. The maximum temperature with the Sun overhead was estimated from measurements to be 235 K (about −38 °C, −36 °F) on 5 May 1991″

    So I would guess four suns the sidewalk would never get above freezing and a Mars like planet would get warmer than earth like planet.

  351. Dan in Nevada says: December 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm
    Dr. Glickstein: PLEASE HELP!
    … [Pressure Cooker] …

    Dan, if you put water in a pot on your stove, the maximum temperature it can reach is that of the boiling point of water at normal Atmospheric pressure, where water boils (nominally) at 100ºC or 212ºF. If you live at the top of a mountain where the Atmospheric pressure is less, the water will boil at a somewhat lower temperature, and you will have to, for example, boil your pasta for a few more minutes.

    The source of heat is the burner on the stove, and that heat energy goes into the bottom of the pot, warming the water. Once the water reaches a steady state temperature, an equal amount of energy enters the pot through the bottom, and leaves the pot as radiation and convection from the sides and as steam out the top. If you raise the setting of the burner, more energy will enter the bottom of the pot and the water will reach a higher steady state temperature. However, once the water reaches boiling temperature, all further increases of burner setting will not increase its temperature at all, and the additional energy entering the bottom of the pot will be dissipated into the room as radiation, convection, and steam. (Of course, on an actual stove, the hot pot will radiate back towards the burner and dissipate some energy that way. For our thought experiment, let us seal the burner and insulate it such that all energy must pass through the bottom of the pot.)

    A pressure cooker works by increasing the pressure within the pot which will raise the boiling point of water in the pot to a higher temperature. That will cook the food more quickly. The pressure cooker has a relief valve that prevents the internal pressure from exceeding the safe limits of the container. (As a kid, I once put a sealed can of soup directly on the lit stove and forgot about it until I heard a real big BANG. The can blew its contents up to the ceiling and all over the kitchen. Quite a cleanup job and my mother never found out about it.)

    So we know that if we use H2O in the pressure cooker, higher settings for the relief valve will result in both higher pressures and higher temperatures inside the pot. This will work so long as there is liquid H2O in the pot.

    Your question substitutes N2 for H2O with the pressure relief valve set at various pressures. N2 is a gas at all reasonable temperatures. At nominal Atmospheric pressure, it boils at 77K (-196 °C; -321 °F). So, unless you do this pressure cooker experiment in an ultra-low temperature laboratory, the N2 will be in the gas state and, IMHO, the pressure cooker will not appreciably increase its temperature as you change the relief valve settings.

    Sorry Dan.

  352. davidmhoffer says:

    Ira,
    My back of the envelope calc was for the tropics ONLY and would not be valid for the earth as a whole. My discussion of the temperate and arctic zones was to illustrate how much more complex doing the same for areas outside the tropics would be. I did NOT average the poles with the equatorial regions as you assumed! I arrived at an equilibrium temp of 150K for the tropics ONLY based on a simple SB model solved across a 24 hour period of the insolation rising from 0 at dawn to 1000 w/m2 at noon and falling back to 0 at sunset. That would in fact, be roughly the equilibrium temperature of the tropics via SB Law under those circumstances.

    As to your statement:

    “The radiance at the poles does go down to zero, but, using the SB Law, that would correspond to a temperature of 0 K or -273ºC, and, due to conduction and convection, the poles never get down that low”>>>>

    EXACTLY! But WITHOUT the atmosphere conducting, convecting, absorbing and re-radiating, what would the equilibrium temperature of the poles be if they were at zero insolation for months ata time? Answer: -273! Calculating the “base” temperature of the earth exclusively on SB Law and a uniform 235 w/m2 yields a temperarure of about 253K. That calculation IGNORES conduction, convection as well. To have an apples to apples comparison, one either ignores those factors in Both calcs, or INCLUDES them in both calcs.

    By ignoring them, and using a uniform 235 w/m2 24x7x365 insolation, we get about 253 degrees which compared to 288 yields around 35 degrees for warming from the atmosphere.

    BUT, if we treat insolation as 12x7x365, rising from 0 to 1000 w/m2 over the day light hours, the tropics yield a base temperature of about 150K. The temperate and arctic zones would be WAY more complicated to calculate via a back of the envelope calc because AVERAGE insolation declines as latitude increases, but VARIANCE of the insolation INCREASES. Add to that the fact that “day” is sometimes much longer than night, and sometimes the reverse. Plus albedo changes dramaticaly as well.

    So what’s the “right” number? Well, if the whole earth was just like the tropics, the “right” number would be in the area of 138 degrees K attributed to the atmosphere. My rough guess being that the temperate and arctic zones would yield a lower number than that, but still far higher than the currently accepted 35 degrees, it seems to me that N&Z’s calculation of 100 degrees due to atmospheric warming is FAR more realistic than 35 degrees.

  353. Bart says:

    Bart says:
    December 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Ira says:

    “If you pump a container up to some pressure and maintain that pressure by pumping a bit more until the temperature stabilizes to that of your kitchen…”

    Ira, forgive me, I must be harsh. This is a nonsensical statement. Pressure is created by molecular motion. Molecular motion is temperature. Boyle’s law is a statement of equivalence. You have made a conceptual error. You cannot separate these variables so. They are intimately intertwined in a 1-1 relationship. You simply cannot have an arbitrary temperature with an arbitrary pressure. It cannot be done.

  354. jae says: December 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm
    Hey, Willis, and ilk, are you really being objective here? …

    I stopped reading at this sentence about Willis and his “ilk”. There is no one at WUWT who is more objective than Willis.

    There are a few people in this thread who have contributed far, far more heat than light. They are welcome to continue posting here if they meet the Moderator’s criteria, but I do not have to, nor do I intend to read beyond their display names. That is my New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year.

  355. Bart says:

    Erinome says:
    December 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    “But it disproves the original commenter’s contention that there has been no warming for the last 13 years, which was all I was doing.”

    He said 13 years. Thirteen years ago right now was December 30, 1998. So, no, you did not disprove it.

    There is no obvious 60-year cycle in global average temperature…”

    There is to my eyes. But, I have had a LOT of experience in such data analysis.

    “…any Fourier analysis of data over a finite range will find frequencies that stick out simply due to the boundaries.”

    Ah, no. Or, at least, not without predictable structure.

    “What is the physical mechanism?”

    Random excitation of a modal response of the Ocean-Atmospheric-Solar system. Such processes are very common, nay expected, in a system described by elliptical partial differential equations with regular boundary conditions and random forcing.

  356. Konrad says:

    Ok, we have had a perfect cloudless sunny day and I have just conducted my first very basic empirical experiment to check Nikolov and Zellers claims. Initial results indicate they may be correct.

    What was done -
    - 2 identical 1.25L PETG drink bottles recovered from the new years party detritus had one side spray painted black.
    - One bottle had a input port with tap attached though it’s lid
    - Both bottles had small holes drilled in their base and probe thermometers force fitted (0.1 degree resolution)
    - The lower ends of both bottles were shielded with foam and foil to prevent solar heating of the thermometer probes.
    - A fish tank pump capable of aprox 0.1 bar was attached to the input port of one bottle with 1m of pvc tubing coiled though a tub of ice water.
    - The bottle without the pump was squeezed slightly be fore the cap was attached firmly
    - The bottle with the pump was pumped up until rigid and the tap closed
    - Both bottles were left to equalise with indoor room temperature
    - Both bottles were placed in full sun on a sheet of EPS foam with their dark side down
    - Temperature rise in both bottles was observed
    - The experiment was repeated several times, swapping bottles, caps and thermometers to eliminate rig or instrument bias

    What was observed -
    - Both bottles internal temperature quickly rose around 25C above ambient air temperature reaching around 50C
    - The bottle with the higher internal pressure exceeded that of the low pressure bottle by around 1.5 degrees (typical readings 50.5C verse 49C)
    - When bottles were warmed then shielded from the sunlight with a sheet of EPS foam, the high pressure bottle appeared to initially cool quicker

    I was surprised to see such a small pressure differential created by a fish tank pump actually cause a measurable temperature differential. While the partial pressure of radiative greenhouse gasses would be raised in the higher pressure bottle, this could not account for the observed temperature difference between the bottles. This experiment, while crude, indicates that if the Earth had a higher pressure nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere, the surface air temperature may be higher for the same amount of solar input. Nikolov and Zeller may well be correct. I believe that it would now be appropriate for those disputing the Nikolov and Zeller claims to back their arguments with empirical evidence.

  357. Grey lensman says:

    How does a microwave cooker work?

    It heats the dense water molecules in the food but not the low density air surrounding the food.
    Q.E.D.

    It is so simple

  358. Richard M says:

    Here’s another way to look at “enhanced energy”. Compare 3 identical sized planets with different mass. Assume one is Earth, the second has 2x Earth’s mass and the other 1/2 the mass (yeah, it’s a thinking experiment). One would expect the atmosphere on the 1/2 mass planet to cool more by expansion of the atmosphere while the atmosphere on the 2x mass planet would not be able to expand near as much and hence would be unable to cool as much.

    If all the planets were receiving the same solar heat then why wouldn’t they have the same temperature? Gravity. The “enhanced energy” is really a suppression of cooling by reducing the volume of atmosphere that contains the energy. There’s no more energy, it’s just contained in a smaller volume which raises the temperature.

    OK, I’m a math guy so I could be completely wrong.

  359. jae says:

    Ira:

    I think you are being very obtuse:

    “There are a few people in this thread who have contributed far, far more heat than light. They are welcome to continue posting here if they meet the Moderator’s criteria, but I do not have to, nor do I intend to read beyond their display names. That is my New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year.”

    Dear Ira, PhD: I hope you are smart enough to realize that your statement added nothing at all toward this thread. Sorry, Doktor!

    I would suggest that you have some serious learning problem if you “stop reading” posts/articles/etc. when you get nervous/anxious/disgusted/mad about some comments. Could it be a sign of immaturity/doubt/religion? DEFINITELY NOT a sign of SCIENCE, for sure! You really should know, if you really have that PhD that the science has absolutely nothing to do with your “feelings” here. Were you a graduate student of Michael Mann? Do you quit reading literature in your field (which is what??) that “bugs you?”

    You DO need to read things that you don’t agree with, right? Anyone who says he/she “stops reading” at some point suggests to me that he/she is scared or very, very unscientific. You can have your opinions, but you cannot have your own facts, sir!

    However, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, TOO!!!

    PS: I have a very high regard for Willis, but I think his ego is on the line here, also. There is NO empirical proof of any “atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect.” AND, UNTIL THERE IS SOME EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR SUCH, THERE IS NO SCIENCE.

    All the empirical evidence points in the OPPOSITE direction. Sorry, but you have failed to refute this elementary proposition, so you don’t have ANY science! BUMMER, HEY?

  360. erl happ says:

    Konrad says:
    “This experiment, while crude, indicates that if the Earth had a higher pressure nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere, the surface air temperature may be higher for the same amount of solar input. Nikolov and Zeller may well be correct. ”

    Good to have someone here with a practical rather than a simply theoretical habit of mind.

  361. Bart says:

    Bart says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I should caveat that I am talking about the regime in which pressures and temperatures are relatively low, as in the Earth’s atmosphere. In other situations, the pressure/temperature relationship becomes affine. But, the variables are still not arbitrarily decoupled.

  362. wayne says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    jae @ December 31, 6:36 pm
    Nicely put JAE!
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-climate-theory-may-confuse-cause-and-effect/#comment-849278
    >>
    Agree. Thank JAE for being able to understand. Bob, you do see deep enough in this matter to see what it means don’t you. It means that, as JAE was implying, that the lapse rate is anchored at the surface, not at the TOA as Joel Shores et al have been preaching. Exaggerate to get some insight. Let’s say the sun was suddenly twice as bright, what would that mean? One, what would be the temperature at the surface and two, what would be the lapse rate and three, where would then be the TOA? Look at the units of the terms in the equations to shout at you.

    As far as the temperature you can see by my chart above it is computed by parameters that have nothing to do with radiation, none, period.

    As Richard S Courtney was saying, the natural lapse rate is –g/cp and neither, gravitational acceleration and the specific heat, have nothing to due with radiation, none, period.

    Those two mean the TOA would be higher, much higher but the surface temperature would remain the same. This is not saying temporary shifts in albedo would not put the earth system away from this natural point but if pushed it would return as fast as additional energy was either accumulated or dispersed by rates such as conductivity of the ocean water or soil, or additional or reduced radiation to space to return it to equilibrium.

    And I’m not taking about short lived weather events as the energy here in the system fluxes from point to point. In fact, I can find no factor that could possibly cause ANY permanent movement of this equilibrium point but variances in the atmosphere’s mass. Do you?

    Keep your eyes on the units of these terms tossed about. That where the truth lies.

    ( I spent almost a year on dimensional analysis and if you don’t know exactly what that is, review this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimensional_analysis )

    Good to see you around Bob_FJ. Want hear how your efforts on the science shows is coming. And on horizontal radiation, hand on to that thought, that is key in explaining just why the above occurs, how it works.

    So, yes if you question, I am drawn to Dr. Nikolov & Zeller’s work. They have already shown real, absolutely real physics sense in the first part of their theory (I haven’t gotten all of the way through yet). But, it does mean hundreds or even thousands of ship-shod climate science theories and hypotheses just bit the dust and their flaws were all in simple, flawed logic, had a feeling it was there. That is undeniable and the screams are going to get loud!

    Let me know if you can see what I laid out above.

  363. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Konrad says:
    December 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Ok, we have had a perfect cloudless sunny day and I have just conducted my first very basic empirical experiment to check Nikolov and Zellers claims. Initial results indicate they may be correct. …

    First, my congratulations, gotta love a man who actually does some experiments.

    I’d be cautious in the interpretation of this one. I suspect that a slight pressure would expand the sides of the bottles slightly. It wouldn’t take much to change the temperature, for two reasons. One is that the more swollen bottle will intersect more sun. The second is that the rate of heat loss is proportional to the ratio of surface to volume. So in the pressurized bottle the expanded volume with the same surface area would lose heat more slowly.

    Bear in mind that at 50°C, one degree of temperature difference is a change of only 0.3% (three tenths of one percent). The calculation is (273.15 + 51) / (273.15 + 50) – 1, you have to use Kelvin.

    So a change in cross sectional area of the bottle of only 0.3% could be at the root of the problem. I’d try it again with glass containers before declaring victory.

    Keep us posted if you continue, and well done.

    w.

  364. gbaikie says:

    “What was observed -
    - Both bottles internal temperature quickly rose around 25C above ambient air temperature reaching around 50C
    - The bottle with the higher internal pressure exceeded that of the low pressure bottle by around 1.5 degrees (typical readings 50.5C verse 49C)
    - When bottles were warmed then shielded from the sunlight with a sheet of EPS foam, the high pressure bottle appeared to initially cool quicker”

    The bottle squeezed after heating was also higher pressure than ambient, due to heating?
    I think you create more vacuum by squeezing bottle than most people would expect- of course
    it depends on structural strength of container- but I say easily more than 1 psi, and wouldn’t too surprise if got 4-5 psi reduction.
    So went up 25 K, got to 50 C. so started from 25 C or 298 K to 323K which is 11-12% increase
    so heat would pressurize by about 1.6 psi.
    So removed pressure by squeezing and didn’t have pressured after heat, you removed more
    than 1.5 psi.

  365. Konrad says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:37 pm
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    It would indeed be prudent to be cautious about the interpretation of such a basic test. The point you raise about the expansion of the bottles is relevant as PETG bottles are elastic, especially at elevated temperatures.

    Previously on the thread I did describe a more involved experiment with apparatus that would eliminate some of the issues with the crude experiment just conducted. However the “atmospheric column simulator” would be expensive to build. In particular the desire for a centrifuge to create a pressure gradient along the test chamber would be rather costly. Where are those “Big Oil” dollars when you need them? ;)

    Unfortunately I will be unable to progress any refinements to the basic test for a week or so due to work commitments. However the results from the test conducted were interesting enough that I will try to build a further test chamber, more like the test chamber I proposed earlier on the thread. I would maintain that I now see the Nikolov and Zeller claim as plausible and would be unwilling to dismiss it without firm empirical evidence disproving it.

    One other point I would raise is that Nikolov and Zeller are proposing several papers about this theory. Given the simplicity (but not necessarily low cost) of possible empirical experiments in this area of study, it is possible they have already conducted some.

  366. wayne says:

    @Bob Fernley-Jones: I forgot I posted to you on this thread without my simple Venus, Earth, Mars table that I referenced. If you have not seen it already check either link:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/30/feedback-about-feedbacks-and-suchlike-fooleries/#comment-848012 or
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/#comment-847256
    (both have some explanations above)

  367. Richard S Courtney says:

    Joel Shore:

    It is reasonable for you to evangelise your faith in the AGW hypothesis.
    And it is reasonable for you to dispute the Jelbring Hypothesis.
    But it is NOT reasonable for you to defend your faith by misrepresenting anything – including the Jelbring Hypothesis – which challenges your faith. And that is what you are doing in this thread.

    Firstly, at December 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm and again at December 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm, you attempt to refute the hypothesis by asking:
    “Look, you have 240 W/m^2 of energy coming in and 390 W/m^2 going out. Where is the extra 150 W/m^2 coming from? Be specific.”

    And you compound that at December 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm saying;
    “Just to add a bit more specificity to my last comment: If you propose that energy is coming from the gravitational field, that means that the gravitational potential energy is decreasing (at some rate like 150 W/m^2 of earth’s surface). What is causing this large decrease in gravitational potential energy?”

    Only you has mentioned the radiative energy imbalance of 150 W/m^2 suggested by Kiehl & Trenberth, and only you has suggested that the imballance “is coming from the gravitational field”.

    The answer to your question, of course, is that the radiative energy imbalance of 150 W/m^2 results from back radiation. But so what?
    I remind that I wrote at December 31, 2011 at 12:56 am

    “The Jelbring Hypothesis (now also presented by Nikolov & Zeller) amounts to the following.

    ‘All the radiative, convective and evaporative effects in a planet’s atmosphere adjust such that the atmosphere obtains a temperature lapse rate close to that defined by –g/cp, and this lapse rate defines the planet’s average surface temperature. The average surface temperature is observed to agree with the Jelbring Hypothesis on each planet with a substantial atmosphere that has a mass which varies little through the year.’

    Clearly, some atmospheric effects (e.g. convection) do adjust in response to gravity. At issue is whether the interaction of all the radiative, convective and evaporative effects provides the suggested adjustment.”

    So, the hypothesis says that any effect of your asserted very, very disputable “extra 150 W/m^2” is to increase evaporation and conduction that cool the surface such that –g/cp is maintained.

    So, what relevance of any kind does your question have to any consideration of the hypothesis? Be specific.

    Secondly, at December 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm you assert:

    “Apparently, violating the Law of Conservation of Energy is not a substantial enough flaw for you guys!”

    Where have we guys who support and adhere to the scientific method violated the Law of Conservation of Energy? Be specific.

    Richard

    PS I again remind that I do not know if the Jelbring Hypothesis is right or wrong. I am writing to object to your behaviour that is very wrong.

  368. shawnhet says:

    Wayne,

    “As Richard S Courtney was saying, the natural lapse rate is –g/cp and neither, gravitational acceleration and the specific heat, have nothing to due with radiation, none, period.”

    You are right about this, however, I think you are barking up the wrong tree(I just finished doing that myself). It turns out that even large changes in atmospheric pressure cause very small changes in specific heat(less than twenty 20% increase in cp for a change from 0.01 atm to 100 atm for air) . As such, for all intents and purposes lapse rate can be treated as constant.

    Cheers, :)

  369. wayne says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD shouts to jae (and he very well knows many others):
    December 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    “They [who dare disagree with IRA's view of 'science'] are welcome to continue posting here if they meet the Moderator’s criteria, but I do not have to, nor do I intend to read beyond their display names. That is my New Year’s resolution.”

    There you go Ira, keep them shut good and tight, it is your personal right after all. Anyway, seems you will need that ignorance very soon (then of course, you really should remove that PEE ACH DEE, a keeper of science, from behind your name). But, I don’t think you have the right to play God projecting your power to all of the commenters here on your posts. Yes, many have been watching your sly tactics.

    [Wayne, your comment above misrepresents my reason for ignoring further comments by jae. As I make clear in my comment (December 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm) I object to jae's charge that "Hey, Willis, and ilk, are you really being objective here?" That is a personal attack on Willis, one of the most informed and objective Guest Contributors at WUWT. In the above comment, you misrepresent my willingness to read and rationally consider postings of those who disagree with my view of science. I do read every comment on my threads and many on other threads, and, you may notice, I reply to many who disagree with my views. And, I try to do so courteously and without questioning motives. I accept that I may be wrong on some scientific issues, which is far from playing God. Have a Happy New Year! - Ira]

  370. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Tim Folkerts @ December 30, 8:00 am
    Hi Tim, it’s good to see a real physicist join in here, but please let me ask a few questions upon your assertions, in which you start with:

    I tend to agree with Ira & Willis. Let me propose a few scenarios that get to the core issues and see what conclusions people reach …

    AND then in part:

    2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).

    A) You assert that if all GHG’s, [and by implication all surface water?], are removed from the atmosphere, the surface temperature would be 255K. However, when I do an S-B calculation for outgoing radiation at 255K, I get about 240 W/m^2, and of course, this must ALL escape directly to space in a transparent atmosphere. (the alleged net radiative heat transfer from the surface is 240 W/m^2.) BUT; according to Trenberth et al, this greatly exceeds the incoming surface absorbed energy from the Sun, given as ~161 W/m^2. Would you please answer on what seems to be a major paradox?

    B) So you agree that there is a lapse rate, regardless of GHG’s?

  371. Grey lensman says:

    Perhaps the basic experimental proof is simple. Arrange some glass cylinders around an IR lamp, equidistant from the lamp. Fill each with a different gas, heavier than air. Thus the density of each will be different.

    then measure the equilibrium temperature in each.

  372. AusieDan says:

    Ira,
    we all seem to be getting bogged down with words (both pro and con).
    I suggest that you settle down and work your way through the maths, summarised in Table 1 and equations 2, 7 and 8.
    You will then see what N&Z did not highlight.
    They have created a set of interlocking equations which agree with the data.

    They may be right or wrong, I am not an expert on atmospheric physics.
    But any critism or modifications must also balance in the way that N&Z have done.

    Hi Willis as well.
    I also suggest that you go beyond the (perhaps) loosely or incorrect termonolgy.
    Do the maths.
    Then comment.
    That’s why we always look forward to your contributions.
    This paper deserves either confirmation or destruction.

    Regards and a Happy New Year

  373. gbaikie says:

    “Previously on the thread I did describe a more involved experiment with apparatus that would eliminate some of the issues with the crude experiment just conducted. However the “atmospheric column simulator” would be expensive to build. In particular the desire for a centrifuge to create a pressure gradient along the test chamber would be rather costly. Where are those “Big Oil” dollars when you need them? ;)”
    You don’t need many gees- 4 or say 10 gees.
    Spin cycle on washing machine does 114.6 gees:
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2028/how-many-gs-does-my-laundry-pull-during-the-spin-cycle
    And bicycle tire at around 100 rpm could give about 5-6 gee – equal to tire speed when riding
    at 10 mph. But is maybe overly complicated. How about A 24″ box fan motor, with a stick, hmm would have remove fan motor from box. Or a drill, secured- making secure could hard). A threaded bolt with 4 nuts and two washers. A short stick- say less than 2′. 2 Somethings that attach to each end of stick and can balanced some way. Balance stick first, Then two of something which will be the test chambers- a short piece of PVC pipe?
    So jam PVC pipe on end of stick, then bolt, clamp, glue, whatever. Balance that. Then you can glue a PVC adapter to this. Use strong and light material. And I assume you want to spin horizontally rather vertically..
    Hmm, I say rather than try to heat it while spinning, cool it, and allow to warm??
    Here’s paint gun using PVC and coke bottle:
    http://www.advancedspuds.com/coke.htm
    Guy says coke bottle can have up to 160 psi .
    Come to think about all need to do is pressurize and spin it. And measure temperature.
    If you don’t pressure it, it will create vacuum at one end of bottle.

  374. J Martin says:

    Konrad,

    Would there be any extra benefit in carrying out a matching experiment on the Moon as well as Earth ? Perhaps Mars as well.

    OK it would add some cost, but we have spent $100b on climate science for precious little benefit. A suitable experiment could help to answer some pretty fundamental questions. It would either reinforce conventional wisdom or broaden our understanding of something we thought was done and dusted. NASA may not be up for it though, which could be a problem.

    It’s time we reduced wasteful spending on simplistic climate models that never come close to reality and spent some money on actual boundary pushing research.

    There is nothing wrong with questioning established science, that’s one way progress is made; flat Earth, Sun goes round the Earth, Newton, Einstein, etc etc.

    Today we even have orbital maths that we thought was correct but now we find that there is a difference between theory and measurement. There is always room for new theories and advancement of our understanding of the complexities of life.

  375. Stephen Wilde says:

    Why do I still hold a conviction that the N&Z / Selbring descriptions of the greenhouse effect as being gravity / pressure dependent were well known 50 years ago ?

    Certainly it is the impression I had held since my schooldays until AGW introduced the issue of atmospheric composition as being relevant some 20 years ago.

    The widespread apparent ignorance over this critical issue also reminds me of many heated discussions with AGW proponents over the past few years which hinged upon their apparent ignorance as regards the thermal effects of the phase changes of water and especially the peculiar nature of latent heat and of evaporation as a powerful net cooling process.

    Taking just those two points together as lapses into ignorance due to past knowledge having been forgotten explains the entire AGW kerfuffle as a sad decline in scientific education over the past half century.

    We have too many people knowing a lot about very little and not enough people knowing a little about a lot. The advantage of the latter group is the ability to put varied scientific concepts into a wider picture which is exactly what we need to do in order to get a grip on climate variability and to avoid daft misapprehensions such as AGW.

  376. kwik says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “When a guy starts raving about “relatively enhanced energy”, I tune out and go read some actual science.”

    Now why being so hostile, Eschenbach?

    It is funny how certain groups of scientists refuse to understand what others write, just because they arent using the exact wording of the other “camp”. A human trait, I suspect.

    Maybe you need some more time to ponder on it.

  377. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    Ira, forgive me, I must be harsh. This is a nonsensical statement. Pressure is created by molecular motion. Molecular motion is temperature. Boyle’s law is a statement of equivalence. You have made a conceptual error. You cannot separate these variables so. They are intimately intertwined in a 1-1 relationship. You simply cannot have an arbitrary temperature with an arbitrary pressure. It cannot be done.

    Your statement is completely wrong. The ideal gas law contains pressure, temperature, and number density of molecules. So, in fact, the pressure does not uniquely determine the temperature.

  378. Joel Shore says:

    jae says:

    And I find it fascinating for such a brilliant person to challenge ONLY one little part of the treatise! How about all the empirical stuff, Willis???

    Yeah, Willis! Are you going to let some minor little thing like the fact that their theory violates conservation of energy stand in the way of the fact that they can do a 4-free-parameter fit (which they never actually show) to what essentially amounts to 4 significantly-different-than-zero data points for data wrongly calculated? ;)

    Facts are, at this point, there is still NO frigging empirical evidence for some silly “radiative atmospheric greenhouse effect.” Period.

    Yeah…Once you take away the fact that the surface emits 390 W/m^2 while the Earth and its atmosphere absorb only 240 W/m^2, the measured absorption spectra of the various greenhouse gases, the measured radiation from the atmosphere at the earth’s surface, and the measured spectra of the Earth’s emissions as seen from space with “bites” taken out of them at just the wavelengths that are expected, there is hardly any empirical evidence left for the radiative atmospheric greenhouse effect!

    Man, Willis is clearly one biased dude! It’s good we have clear, unbiased thinkers like jae here to put things in perspective!

  379. Paul Bahlin says:

    @Konrad:

    Thank you and well done. Should you get flamed for your crude apparatus, take comfort in the knowledge that you’re the first on the scene with actual scientific discovery. It doesn’t matter whether you prove or disprove anything at all. What matters is that the result contributes knowledge and is therefore a sign as to a way forward.

    Here’s a conjecture to work with. Take two containers and fill them with different quantities of dry nitrogen. Put them in the sun hanging from strings. Let them both reach a steady state temperature. My conjecture is that the container with the most molecules is the one that reaches the highest steady state temperature differential over ambient.

    More collisions (in higher density container) for same energy content (of each molecule) leads to higher pressure doesn’t it? With higher pressure induced by the dynamic energy environment out there in your back yard the temperature has to be higher in the container with the most critters.

  380. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:20 am

    “So, in fact, the pressure does not uniquely determine the temperature.”

    You are right. In Ira’s artificial setup, there is a reservoir of additional gas molecules upon which to draw from the outside. I was sloppy in not pointing out that, in a planetary system, there is no such reservoir.

  381. Peter Czerna says:

    @Willis Eschenbach, passim

    Everything you have written about the nonsensical ‘Unified Theory of Climate’ is spot on.
    Anyone with any sense would not even bother to get beyond the ridiculously pompous title.

    For all those jumping in demanding a chapter and verse refutation, it is just not worth it. This post is pure snake oil. You don’t need a mathematical analysis of this ‘paper’ – there is no sense there to analyze in the first place.

    Considering all the real good that WUWT has done over the years it is such a pity that arrant nonsense like this post gets published here. Having this stuff kicking around just harms the reputation of the site.

    Please, Mr Watts, do not publish any more contributions from Nikolov and Zeller.

  382. pochas says:

    jae says:
    December 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    “Facts are, at this point, there is still NO frigging empirical evidence for some silly “radiative atmospheric greenhouse effect.” Period.”

    There is, but don’t look for it in daytime when convection is active. I have two thermometers (really), one at the 1 foot level and 1 at the 6 foot level. At night the 1 foot thermometer reads several degrees lower than the 6 foot thermometer, especially under clear skies. In daylight that difference goes away and the 1 foot thermometer tends to read higher.

    This new paradigm will be resisted furiously by anybody who thinks they know what they are talking about vis a vis climate, even skeptics. The simple truth is that in daylight hours convection limits maximum temperatures, and at night greenhouse effect limits cooling rates. CO2 has nothing to do with maximum temperatures, but will limit cooling rates in cold, dry climates, so can contribute a small amount of warming in certain regions of the globe.

    I will now look at weather charts with a new appreciation. Low pressure, cooler and wetter. High pressure, warmer and dryer. They say that correlation does not prove causation. This statement gives me heartburn every time I see it, but I will save that rant for another time.

  383. shawnhet says:

    For those who are interested – Roy Spencer has a good (IMO) takedown of this theory on his website.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/12/why-atmospheric-pressure-cannot-explain-the-elevated-surface-temperature-of-the-earth/#comment-32626

    Cheers, :)

  384. Baa Humbug says:

    From Iras article..

    In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
    In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure.

    The above is absolutely true in a situation where the variable, Volume (V) in the equation PV = nRT is kept constant by the gas cylinder.
    For this to apply to the Earth Atmosphere system, it has to be shown that V is or can be considered to be a constant.

    Furthermore, in case (A), P is increased artificially by way of introducing more mass (n), but in our equation PV = nRT as it applies to the Earth Atmosphere system, we assume n is close enough to be a constant. In other words, it is NOT POSSIBLE to increase P in the real world without FIRST changing T.
    I think that means case (A) is irrelevant.

    Case (B) is mathematically identical to case (A) in that we need to introduce an artificial influence i.e. we are adding value to the equation which results in T staying high, instead of falling as in case (A)

    Take the Earth with an atmosphere so whispy thin that whatever influence it has on Earths energy budget can be taken as a constant.
    This Earth will reach equilibrium temperature when the out going radiation is equal to the incoming radiation.

    Now add enough atmosphere to match that of current Earth. In relation to PV = nRT, we have increased n, we have increased P, R is a constant and according to the authors of the ‘unified theory’, T also increases.
    How much it increases depends on how much V changes.
    The Earth still reaches thermal equilibrium when the outgoing radiation is equal to incoming radiation. No different to when it had a whispy thin atmosphere. Though now either V or T or both are a higher value.

    We know that adding more atmosphere will lead to higher P and higher n in PV = nRT. Since R is a constant, we need to know if V is a constant or close enough to be considered a constant.
    If the variability of V is too small (say due to gravity limitations), then T may rise even though both incoming and outgoing radiation hasn’t altered.

    If the variance in V is big enough to balance the equation, there is no need for T to rise. According to some, volume V DOES vary enough to keep Ts relatively constant.

    In the real Earth Atmosphere system, we know n doesn’t change in the time frames we are interested. And because gravity is constant, V can’t change unless P or T changes. We also know that P can’t change whilst n, V and gravity are constant unless T changes.
    This means in the real world, temperature must change first. Whether temperature changes due to changes in solar influx, or changes to the composition of the atmosphere, or changes to the amount of energy released by the oceans during a given time frame, whilst this change is taking place, either P or V or both MUST CHANGE since n and R are constant.

    In a closed system such as that in a gas tank, increasing T by however means will increase pressure only, due to V being constant. If the container was flexible and allowed some expansion (like a balloon), then P will still rise but not as much since V also rises to a new limit.
    In an open system like that of the Earth, V only has gravity as a restriction, this means gravity and n (the numbers of molecules) are the key variables in the equation PV = nRT as applied to the Earth Atmosphere system.
    .

  385. ferd berple says:

    There was an Israeli paper awhile back using unit root statistical analysis, as developed for economic forecasting, that analyzed temperature data and CO2 . What it showed was that increasing CO2 increased temperatures, but the increase was not permanent.

    At the time there was no mechanism by which a temperature increase from increased CO2 could be temporary. By linking surface temperature gravitationally to the black-body temperature at top of atmosphere, such a mechanism is now provided.

    The unit root analysis of CO2 provides confirmation that gravity and pressure controls surface temperatures, while increasing GHG leads to increasing convection.

  386. Dan in Nevada says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Dr. Glickstein (can I call you Ira?), After your lengthy and polite response, you say “Sorry Dan”. I don’t have a dog in this fight – I just want to understand and I appreciate your helping me so please don’t apologize.

    So, while I appreciate your opinion, what I was hoping for was a more definitive answer. I think this is probably basic thermodynamics but I’ve retained very little. I think my old textbook is out in the shed somewhere with my disco shoes and I doubt it would do me much good anyway.

    Intuitively, it seems reasonable that any gas’s specific heat is higher at higher pressures, simply because you are heating more mass. From what I remember of thermodynamics, when heat is added the temperature goes up, work is done, or (more commonly) a combination. So it seems reasonable to me that a denser gas (higher pressure) will absorb more heat than a less dense gas and hence do more work and/or reach a higher temperature. Konrad’s experimentation seems to imply that this is the case.

    But the most important thing is that I believe this is the crux of Drs. Nikolov’s and Zeller’s argument. If it’s not true, then they don’t have a case.

    Dan

  387. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    You are right. In Ira’s artificial setup, there is a reservoir of additional gas molecules upon which to draw from the outside. I was sloppy in not pointing out that, in a planetary system, there is no such reservoir.

    Bart: You are talking nonsense. If you think you can uniquely determine the temperature from the pressure by using the ideal gas law, then by all means, demonstrate this.

  388. davidmhoffer says:

    Joel Shore;
    Yeah…Once you take away the fact that the surface emits 390 W/m^2 while the Earth and its atmosphere absorb only 240 W/m^2>>>

    But Joel…

    The whole point is that 390 w/m2 is WRONG!

    Demonstrably WRONG!

    P = 390 w/m2 is arrived at by taking the “average” temperature T of earth surface of 15 C and calculating P via SB Law. THAT IS A COLOSSAL MATHEMATICAL MISTAKE!

    Yes, I’m yelling! With just cause!

    P = 5.67 * 10^-8 * T^4

    Is that the right equation, or isn’t it?

    You CANNOT first average T, and then calculate P!

    The ONLY valid mathematical approach is to average T^4 and THEN calculate P!

    Joel, please, look at the equations! You cannot dispute what I have just said and get to keep your degree! Ignore your belief system for a moment, JUST DO THE MATH!

    Is the average of T converted to T^4 the same as the average of T^4 converted to T?

    IT IS NOT AND NO ONE WITH ANY FOUNDATION IN MATH WILL CLAIM OTHERWISE.

    Here is a dead simple, easy to understand example that proves my point. Take two data points on earth, one at +30C and one at 0C for an average of 15 C:

    D1 = 30C = 303K = 478 w/m2
    D2 = 0C = 273K = 315 w/m2

    “average” T = 15C
    “average” P = 396 w/m2

    Where did 390 go?

    Let’s make it more obvious and use +40 and – 10C. DO THE MATH!

    D1 = 40C = 313K = 544 w/m2
    D2 = -10C = 263K = 271 w/m2

    “average” T = 15C
    “average” P = 408 w/m2

    WHERE DID 390 GO?

    You’re rebuttal relies on 390 w/m2 squared being right. But given that it is calculate by averaging T and then converting to P, the only way it can POSSIBLY be right is by pure coincidence!

  389. Dan in Nevada says: January 1, 2012 at 10:13 am
    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    December 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Dr. Glickstein (can I call you Ira?), …

    Of course!

    Intuitively, it seems reasonable that any gas’s specific heat is higher at higher pressures, simply because you are heating more mass. …

    OK, take a quantity (mass) of air, which we can think of as a certain number M of molecules of O2, N2 and trace gases. Put that quantity M into a container #1 and a similar quantity M into container #2 which has twice the volume of container #1. Allow both to reach temperature equilibrium. The air in #1 has twice the density of that in #2. Since specific heat is related to the heat capacity of a given mass of gas, we heating or cooling exactly the same mass of gas M molecules in #1 as #2, so, to a first approximation, both will take the same amount of energy to heat to a higher temperature and will release the same amount of energy when cooled to a lower temperature. (All this assumes the temperatures are above freezing and not extremely hot, and the pressures involved are between 0.5 and 2 bar).

  390. Willis Eschenbach says:

    kwik says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “When a guy starts raving about “relatively enhanced energy”, I tune out and go read some actual science.”

    Now why being so hostile, Eschenbach?

    It is funny how certain groups of scientists refuse to understand what others write, just because they arent using the exact wording of the other “camp”. A human trait, I suspect.

    Maybe you need some more time to ponder on it.

    Hostile? This is me being bored. I’m bored because I can’t understand the raving. Instead of answering my questions (like what is “relatively enhanced energy”), you want to bitch about my point of view? Come back when you have something to add. Until then, lead, follow, or get out of the way. Complaining about my mental state is meaningless.

    w.

  391. shawnhet says: January 1, 2012 at 8:45 am
    For those who are interested – Roy Spencer has a good (IMO) takedown of this theory on his website.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/12/why-atmospheric-pressure-cannot-explain-the-elevated-surface-temperature-of-the-earth/#comment-32626

    Cheers, :)

    THANKS shawnhet for the link! I found it well worth reading. Spencer explains his take on Nikolov’s theory very well, in plain English. There are several comments by Nikolov in that thread along with some productive cross-discussion by other commenters.

  392. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

    “If you think you can uniquely determine the temperature from the pressure by using the ideal gas law, then by all means, demonstrate this.”

    Given n, V, and R, of course you can. What are you thinking?

  393. davidmhoffer says: January 1, 2012 at 11:12 am
    … P = 390 w/m2 is arrived at by taking the “average” temperature T of earth surface of 15 C and calculating P via SB Law. THAT IS A COLOSSAL MATHEMATICAL MISTAKE! …

    You CANNOT first average T, and then calculate P!

    The ONLY valid mathematical approach is to average T^4 and THEN calculate P!

    Yes, Dave, as I have agreed before, the exact method is as you describe it. But, if they average T, rather than T^4, how much does that change results?

    Here is a dead simple, easy to understand example that proves my point. Take two data points on earth, one at +30C and one at 0C for an average of 15 C:

    D1 = 30C = 303K = 478 w/m2
    D2 = 0C = 273K = 315 w/m2

    “average” T = 15C
    “average” P = 396 w/m2

    Where did 390 go? …

    You calculated the average (T) vs average (T^4) error correctly, and it amounts to 6 w/m2 out of 390 w/m2, which is only about 1.5% – way “close enough” for Climate Science work.

    For L&K to be correct about the GHE-free Effect to be 133K rather than the conventional 33K (i.e, GHE-Free Earth at 155K rather than 255K), the error in the conventional accounting would have to be 100/255 = +39% You have found -1.5%, and in the opposite direction, so now we need to find 39 + 1.5 = 40.5% error in the conventional accounting to make L&K correct.

  394. Joel Shore says:

    davidmhoffer says:

    P = 390 w/m2 is arrived at by taking the “average” temperature T of earth surface of 15 C and calculating P via SB Law. THAT IS A COLOSSAL MATHEMATICAL MISTAKE!

    Yes, I’m yelling! With just cause!

    For heaven’s sake, David. Everybody in the field already understands the correct way that the average should be done. I alone have mentioned this and Holder’s Inequality probably a thousand times (slight exaggeration). The point is that it does not make a very large difference for Earth-like temperature distributions. You may be able to argue about whether 390 W/m^2 or 396 W/m^2 is a more accurate measure of the emission (and, in fact, I believe this is a large part of the reason why the estimate of the emission did change by a few W/m^2 between Kiehl and Trenberth’s original paper in the late 1990s and the recent update), but it ain’t going to be anywhere close to 240 W/m^2. Another point is that the emissivities of most terrestrial surfaces in the infrared are very close to 1 but not exactly 1. This effect and the difference between the average of T^4 and the (average of T)^4 error act in opposite directions and tend to at least partly cancel each other out.

    These considerations are important if you are worried about getting the emission from the Earth down to better than a few W/m^2 but they are of zero importance for what we are talking about.

    David: In real science, approximations are always being made. It is useful to assess those approximations and figure out what the potential errors are. But scientists do not go around talking about colossal mathematical mistakes every time someone makes an approximation. That is what people who desperately want the answer to come out a certain way do.

  395. Joel Shore says:

    shawnhet says:

    For those who are interested – Roy Spencer has a good (IMO) takedown of this theory on his website.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/12/why-atmospheric-pressure-cannot-explain-the-elevated-surface-temperature-of-the-earth/#comment-32626

    While I am not always Roy’s biggest fan, I must say that he has done a very good job in that post. I sort of feel sorry for Roy (and Willis and Ira) having to deal with so many people on their side (in the larger debate about the importance of AGW) who are willing to believe complete and total nonsense! Folks who fall into this category should realize that, while they may convince a few who are similarly confused about the basic science, you make the AGW skeptic community look really, really bad in the eyes of real physical scientists!

  396. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    “If you think you can uniquely determine the temperature from the pressure by using the ideal gas law, then by all means, demonstrate this.”

    Given n, V, and R, of course you can. What are you thinking?

    …Which is demonstrating exactly what I said: that the pressure does not uniquely determine the temperature because you also have to know the number density. (What not having an enclosed box gets you is that you don’t have to know n and V independently, but only need n/V.)

  397. Willis Eschenbach says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    January 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Joel Shore;

    Yeah…Once you take away the fact that the surface emits 390 W/m^2 while the Earth and its atmosphere absorb only 240 W/m^2>>>

    But Joel…

    The whole point is that 390 w/m2 is WRONG!

    Demonstrably WRONG!

    David, the 390 can be estimated from the average temperature of the earth. It is also a part of the overall energy budget of the planet, so it can be estimated as a “missing term” in that balance.

    However, it also has been measured by satellites. Many satellites. Many times. It always gets measured at about the same, an average of somewhere around 390 w/m2.

    So if you wish to say it is wrong, you need to:

    1. Locate and understand the satellite records, and

    2. Show why they are incorrect.

    You are not arguing against theory as you seem to believe, David. You’re arguing against both theory and observations.

    w.

    PS – I find it hilarious that you say “DO THE MATH!” regarding averaging using T^4 rather than T … but you haven’t done the math for the planet to show your point.

    The HadCRUT3 global absolute temperaature data is here (zipped ascii file). I’ve just taken that data, converted it to the equivalent Stefan-Boltzmann radiation temperature, and area averaged the radiation temperatures as you recommend. Care to guess what the average radiation temperature is, using the HadCRUT3 absolute temperature data?

    391.6 W/m2.

    See, the scientists got there ahead of you … about 390 W/m2 is the answer we get when we do the average the way you recommend.

    If I average the temperature in the normal way, on the other hand, and then converted it to S-B radiation temperature in W/m2, the answer is …

    385.4 W/m2.

    The T^4 average is larger than the T average, which is as we’d expect. as for example the RMS average is greater than the regular average.

    In either case, however, Joel Shore’s point is still valid … as you would know if you had just decided to actually DO THE MATH rather than recommend that others do it.

  398. davidmhoffer says:

    Willis,

    Your hostility is palpable, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and your math is wrong.

    1. My point was to demonstrate that averaging T is mathematically incorrect, which I did.
    2. At no time did I make any claims as to what the “right” number should be. As per your own calculations, you have shown a 6.1 w/m2 difference between the two approaches. In the context of the climate debate, 6.1 w/m2 is huge.
    3. If you are going to caculate average P from a global data set, then to do it right, one cannot use the average annual T for a given grid cell. “T” for any given grid cell is an annual average derived from the monthly averages derived from the daily averages derived from the hourly averages. Given that daily fluctuations in T are often in the range of 20 degrees, and annual fluctations in T in temperate zones can be in the range of 80 degrees, simply calculating average P from an annualy averaged data set of T is making the exact same mathematical error I was trying to illustrate in the first place.
    4. FURTHER to the above, in order to arrive at any meaningful understanding of energy balance, one would have to calculate P by averaging T^4 on an hourly basis and global basis and then trending those values collectivelly over time. Doing the same with average T masks the fact that an increase (for example) of several degrees in the Antarctic could easily be more than off set by a decrease in T in the tropics of just a few tenths of a degree.

    I have a lot of respect for you Willis (though it is increasingly clear you have none for me) but in this case you are wrong and you are not being objective.

  399. Dan in Nevada says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    January 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Ira, thanks again for bearing with me. I should know better than showing up at a gunfight with only a knife, but here I go again:

    You said: “Since specific heat is related to the heat capacity of a given mass of gas, we [are] heating or cooling exactly the same mass of gas M molecules in #1 as #2, so, to a first approximation, both will take the same amount of energy to heat to a higher temperature and will release the same amount of energy when cooled to a lower temperature.”

    I do get that both containers have the same heat content if the same amount of energy is added to each (duh). But the same temperature? The authors made reference to the ideal gas law (which of course received a lot of criticism), but here’s where I think it might matter. Using PV=T (n and R are the same for each), you are essentially saying that when adding equal amounts of energy to each container, only the T term is affected. We’re assuming fixed volumes (one twice the other’s), but P can certainly be affected as well. It seems intuitive that the larger container, having less pressure, would manifest a larger portion of the heat input as increased pressure while the smaller container, at higher pressure, would increase temperature faster.

    Does this make any sense?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  400. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Which is demonstrating exactly what I said: that the pressure does not uniquely determine the temperature because you also have to know the number density.

    Which is confirming exactly what I said at January 1, 2012 at 7:36 am. No external reservoir of gas molecules, no increase in “n”.

  401. Bart says:

    TWIMC: I really haven’t taken a position one way or the other on whether GHGs or gravitationally induced dynamics are responsible for “greenhouse” warming. I’ve only been trying to get people to argue the question. It seems everyone is trying to avoid the real issues, either by arguing technicalities, or proposing weaknesses in the latter hypothesis which, if genuine, would also be weaknesses in the GHG hypothesis.

  402. Willis Eschenbach says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    January 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Willis,

    Your hostility is palpable, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and your math is wrong.

    Yeah, and I’m ugly in the bargain …

    David, you were responding to, or more accurately you were dodging Joel Shore’s question regarding the difference between ~ 240 W/m2 coming in from the sun, and the ~ 390 W/m2 upwelling from the surface.

    In response you have been trying to say the problem is averaging T rather than T^4. But it’s not. It doesn’t matter which way you average. You are still a long ways from 240, whether you are using 386 or 391 W/m2.

    So … what’s the answer to Joel’s question?

    w.

  403. Bart says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    “You are still a long ways from 240, whether you are using 386 or 391 W/m2.”

    Are you guys arguing about this? I did not think that diagram was meant to show a complete energy budget. Also, W/m^2 is still a density, and may not integrate over the same area.

  404. Richard S Courtney says:

    davidmhoffer:

    I agree much of what you say in your post addressed to Willis E. at January 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm.
    But I write to dispute your stated opinion that he is not being “objective”.

    Willis has disputed the Jelbring Hypothesis (JH) since it was published in 2003. He has rehearsed all the arguments over several years and he reached a conclusion long ago. And the same is true of me.

    Willis and I have repeatedly and vigorously disagreed about the JH. He assesses it to be wrong and I assess that I have yet to see anything which would confirm it or deny it.

    Our disagreement does not mean either of us is not being “objective” about the JH. Our different assessments indicate the different weightings we each apply to the evidence and the arguments.

    Please note that I am not writing to defend Willis: he is more than capable of looking after himself.
    I write to ensure that we all recognise objectivity can – and does – result in different conclusions when available evidence is not conclusive. (Incidently, when the evidence is conclusive then obtaining additional evidence may reveal our conclusion is wrong.)

    This is important because when a claim that those with whom we disagree must be failing to be objective then our objectivity is lost: we are then guilty of claiming “the science is settled”.

    Richard

  405. davidmhoffer says:

    Willis,
    If it is an ugly contest you want, sorry, but you’re not in my league ;-)

    “David, you were responding to, or more accurately you were dodging Joel Shore’s question regarding the difference between ~ 240 W/m2 coming in from the sun, and the ~ 390 W/m2 upwelling from the surface.”

    I was neither responding nor dodging. Joel is of course correct that there is a big difference that can only be accounted for by GH effect. My point to him was that he was relying on 390 w/m2 which is the value derived from SB Law using 15 C as the average, and that this is not a reliable calculation. In this case the wrongly calculated number happens to be the same order of magnitude as the actual number. Coincidence in this case masks the error, but it is still an error.

    Further, the point of the climate debate at day’s end is not how much the actual difference is due to GH effect. That number is only usefull in the context of trying to determing if we are in fact causing a significant energy balance by increasing levels of CO2. If we calculate changes to that number in order to determine if we have a positive or negative energy balance, and we calculate it via average of T instead of average of T^4, we’ve arrived at a meaningless number that only looks potentially usefull because it happens to be the right order of magnitude.

    Further still, if we measure P directly, we don’t NEED to know what the actual GH effect number is to determine if the energy balance is positive or negative. By measuring and trending P directly, we can make exactly that determination. Provided that we can measure P directly, why would we rely on indirect determinations of energy balance via calculation of the GH effect in the first place?

    Further still (sorry, I’m on a bit of a rant) what evidence is being presented to us nearly daily showing that the energy imbalance is positive (ie heating up the earth)? Let’s go through the list:

    NASA/GISS – average of T ona global basis.
    Hadcrut – average of T ona global basis.
    UAH/RSS – I expect they probably have data for P available, but casual glance at their web sites shows they display average of T first and foremost.
    KNMI Climate Explorer – how many T related data bases are there on that site? Lots. Is there even ONE that gives you P? Not last I checked (which has been a while I will admit).
    Paleo data – purports to provide a reconstruction of average T on a global basis.

    These are all trends in T. Without a mathematically accurate method of converting T data to P data, we can’t possibly come to any conclusions regarding the earth accumulating energy or losing it, which is at day’s end THE question we want to answer. That in turn cannot be achieved by averaging T and converting to P.

  406. ferd berple says:

    Whether the radiative transfer theory or the gravity theory of surface temperature is correct cannot be resolved through argument. That approach has repeatedly led to scientific blunders throughout history.

    Cause and effect lead to circular arguments in science, because every cause has its own cause. Eventually you run into a wall called the unknown – those things we have not yet discovered. Such is the case with gravity for example – we can predict the effects but the cause remains unknown.

    At the end of the day, the only tests that is meaningful in science is the ability to make predictions that are unexpected and can be verified. If a theory fails any test, it is likely incorrect. The leveling off of temperatures in the face of record increases in GHG is the mark of a failed theory.

    Had surface temperatures continued to increase and accelerate as was largely expected, then the gravity theory of surface temperature would not have gotten even a first look. Whether it is going to gain traction largely depends on the ability of the theory to predict things that are not obvious or expected.

    The CET shows something like a 0.7 C temperature increase per century for 3 centuries. So, a prediction of rising temperatures on its own is not unexpected. The observation that Argo is not showing an increase in ocean temperatures was unexpected and flies in the face of GHG theory. Falling oceans levels also fly in the face of GHG theory.

    All it takes to prove any theory wrong is a single example of where it is wrong.

  407. ferd berple says:

    Here is a series of plots of Argo data that demonstrates the GHG theory of AGW is likely a failed theory:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/57706237@N05/6616006705/in/photostream/lightbox

    If the earth is warming, then why do we see no warming in the oceans? Why specifically do we see no warming in the top 100, 200, 1000 meters? If the globe was warming, then the surface of the oceans should be warming. This directly contradicts GHG theory, given the record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    These plots were made with the Argo viewer downloaded from their site. One of the images gives an example of the typical settings to recreate the plots. The plots are mostly made in units of dbars, which are roughly equivalent to meters.

  408. Stephen Wilde says:

    The task now is to split the gravitational component from the radiative component.

    I agree with N & Z that the negative system responses to GHG thermal properties are likely to cancel the effects of GHGs mostly or entirely thereby leaving the gravitational component dominant.

    In several articles I have explained how and why I think that that process occurs within the climate system.

    The implication is that the total system energy content varies hardly at all being closely tied to the gravitational portion of the greenhouse effect.

    Climate change therefore boils down to changing rates of energy flow across the surface on its way to space and that will be a function of the average positions of the permanent climate zones as they shift to and fro over time in response to ANY changes that try to force a change in the balance between sea surface and surface air temperatures.

    Shifting climate zones is all we need to explain all observed climate changes to date.

    New science can now opren up before us. AGW theory has been falsified by the acknowledgment of alternative mechanisms to GHG quantities in the atmosphere.

    The big mistake was to prime the climate models with a weighting for the assumed effects of CO2 simply because no other cause for the observations was known.

    That could be sustained during the late 20th century but only for so long as we had an active sun and warm ocean oscillations.

    The disjunction now developing is too big to ignore R.I.P. AGW.

  409. Dan in Nevada says: January 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm
    Ira Glickstein, PhD says: January 1, 2012 at 11:26 am
    Ira, thanks again for bearing with me. … Using PV=T (n and R are the same for each), you are essentially saying that when adding equal amounts of energy to each container, only the T term is affected….

    EXACTLY – Dan, you solved the problem yourself, and did it correctly.

    Yes, n and R are the same for containers #1 and #2. #1 has the full volume V and #2 has half V. Say #1 has Pressure P. Since we jammed the same n into #2 it has double P. If we allow both containers to settle down to ambient Temperature, both have the same T. GREAT!

    Note: (#1) P x V = (#2) double P x half V = nRT

    We already agreed that n and R are the same for both containers, and the equilibrium temperature for both is the same ambient Temperature T. It is obvious that 1 x 1 = 1 Also that 2 x 0.5 = 1. QED

  410. ferd berple says:

    Ira, your model is faulty. On earth, the containers will not “settle down to ambient Temperature”, because the walls of the container are the contents of the container – the atmosphere – or the surface. Any energy lost from the container to the surface would warm the surface, which would warm the contents. Any energy lost from the container to the air would warm the air which would warm the contents.

    You model leads to a misleading conclusion due to the energy lost to the surrounding environment through the walls of the container not being accounted for in your model.

  411. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “…while they may convince a few who are similarly confused about the basic science, you make the AGW skeptic community look really, really bad in the eyes of real physical scientists!”

    That’s OK. “Real” physical scientists who predicted unrelenting warming from GHGs are looking worse and worse everyday, too. I highly recommend this book to you.

  412. Stephen Wilde says: January 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm
    The task now is to split the gravitational component from the radiative component. …

    Gravitational Component

    I remain unconvinced there is any specific “gravitational component”. Certainly, without gravity there would be no Atmosphere, and if gravity was stronger (due to a larger or more dense Earth) with the same Atmospheric mass, the Atmosphere would be denser at the bottom and would not extend as high. Also, Atmospheric pressure at various altitudes affects where and when H2O changes state, etc. In addition, during glaciation cycles, more or less of the H2O is condensed into water or ice, reducing or increasing the mass of the Atmosphere.

    If that is what N&Z and you Stephen Wilde mean by “gravitational component”, I agree. But, based on what we have been given to read by N&Z, including Ned Nikolov’s comments in this thread and on Spencer’s blog, among other places, I have no evidence of any kind of new theory, aside from some interesting correlations between Atmospheric parameters between Earth and a few planets and moons. I anxiously await further input from N&Z’s promised posting to WUWT next week.

    My mind is definitely not made up, but I am skeptical, as you should be given what we know at this point. I find it amazing that so many on the world’s leading “skeptic” blog are so lacking in skepticism – apparently mainly because they like the conclusions reached by the N&Z paper.

    Radiative Component

    I have been meaning to thank you (Stephen Wilde) for including my description of the “The Conventional Understanding” with a link back to my WUWT posting
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/30/skeptic-strategy-for-talking-about-global-warming/ in your .pdf file on The Setting And Maintaining Of Earth’s Equilibrium Temperature.

    Yes, I do support the basic truth of the role of the energy budget, which includes SWIR (Solar) and LWIR (upwelling and downwelling Earth/Atmosphere) radiation, but also includes what are called sensible and latent heat energy from the Earth to the Atmosphere.

    Sensible heat is the energy in the warmed parcels of air that take heat energy from the Surface and rise higher in the Atmosphere, carrying heat energy. Latent heat is contained in water vapor that has evaporated from the Surface due to warming by SWIR and the warmth of the Earth, and that latent heat is released at altitude when the water vapor condenses to rain or snow. Heat of vaporization is hundreds of times greater than raising a similar quantity of water by one degree. Both sensible and latent heat move heat energy from the Surface to the Atmosphere and have the effect of cooling the Surface. So, in addition to the “radiative component” the conventional understanding includes convection and conduction, sensible and latent heat, and the effect of weather (clouds, winds, precipitation, thunderstorms, etc.).

    I do not believe the Official Climate Team has properly accounted for either the radiative (GHG etc.) or weather aspects, particularly the role of clouds as a net negative feedback, and I suspect they have minimized these aspects in favor of the purely radiative aspect because of their focus on human-produced CO2.

    I agree with N & Z that the negative system responses to GHG thermal properties are likely to cancel the effects of GHGs mostly or entirely thereby leaving the gravitational component dominant.

    I hope this is true, but N&Z have, so far, failed to state their theory in a form I can understand. Perhaps next week.

    The disjunction now developing is too big to ignore R.I.P. AGW.

    Well, I am not ready to write any kind of obituary for AGW, but I have done so for Catastrophic CAGW.

    Predictions

    1) CO2 sensitivity (called “climate sensitivity” by the Team) will turn out to be a pussy cat rather than a tiger. It will come in, soaking wet, at no more than 1ºC per CO2 doubling, and perhaps as low as 0.5ºC or even 0.2ºC, but it will remain positive.

    2) CO2 and other GHGs, including those due to human actions, in the upper Atmosphere will indeed turn out to have a cooling effect, however, GHG’s in the lower Atmosphere, including CO2 caused by human actions, will turn out to have a warming effect.

    3) When weather, primarily clouds but also including winds, precipitation, thunderstorms, and so on are properly accounted for, it will turn out that they are net negative contributors to warming.

    4) Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory, relating the magnetic effects of Sunspot cycle strength to cloud formation, will turn out to be correct.

    5) N&Z’s theory will turn out to have greatly exaggerated the effects of “gravitational components”.

  413. Joel Shore says:

    Just to try to get back to the big picture, the point is this: The question is not an either-or dichotomy between “the gravitational component” (really, the lapse rate) and “the radiative component”. Both the radiative properties of the atmosphere and the lapse rate play a role in determining the greenhouse effect.

    And, in an indirect way, pressure itself plays a role: Atmospheres with higher surface pressures tend to have higher quantities of greenhouse gases. And, even the non-greenhouse-gases could be important because, for example, if you took our current atmosphere and removed all of the non-greenhouse gases, then I believe that because of the lapse rate, the difference in temperature between the effective radiating level and the surface would be less and hence the greenhouse effect would be smaller. (I say this last part tentatively because I haven’t really thought it all through that carefully…It is an interesting hypothetical question and might even be directly addressed in Ray Pierrehumbert’s book.) [It is also true that pressure can cause broadening of the absorption lines of the greenhouse gases, although I think that this is an effect that is still pretty small at Earth-like pressures.]

    And, the main point to realize is that to the extent that these thermodynamic aspects are important, they are already included in the models…And, they are included CORRECTLY, not in the frankly-incorrect way that Nikolov and others who have a very confused picture of the system are trying to include them!

  414. Willis Eschenbach says:

    David (or anyone else, Richard, anyone):

    Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?

    Here’s an example of what I mean. For the greenhouse explanation of the fact the earth is warmer than its corresponding blackbody radiation, I would offer the following pithy sentences.

    Part of the upwelling longwave radiation (ULR) from the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere. When it is re-radiated, part of the energy returns to the earth as downwelling longwave radiation (DLR). This leaves the earth warmer than it would be in the absence of that DLR.

    So what is the basic mechanism for the Nikolov hypothesis? I asked Nikolov, but he didn’t reply.

    w.

  415. Grey lensman says:

    Sorry guys, I just do not know what the fuss is about. Literally the old “how many angels can dance on the head of a needle”.

    Willis, how many clouds of hot gas are there in the cosmos? Why are they hot.

    Joel, what has the laws of conservation of energy got to do with it.

    Very simply, its just another expression of E=Mc2, the density of air at the surface equating to mass. Just a simple illustration.

    Now i put a bowl of gas in the microwave, apply power for one minute, and little happens.

    So i increase the density.

    Put a bowl of water in the microwave and supply the same power.

    Bloody hell it gets hot. Yes i know it has technical flaws but it is a mere parable

    That is all that N and Z are saying with the atmosphere. No laws broken, no missing energy or increased energy input, same energy but comparing different atmosphere compositions.

    Ok so in terms of atmospheric density the effect is really small but what are we considering, 0.5 degrees over 150 years, is that not a small effect compared with the size of the earth and the Kelvin scale.

    The supporters of man made global warming have caused so much damage, diverted and yeh stolen so much money resources and time, the need is to get them to cease now, not fight amongst ourselves and what better way to do that than just use simple science.and calmness.

    I look forward to N and Z responding with their clarification.

  416. gnomish says:

    i’ll be waiting, too.
    so far, it just seems like confusion about temperature vs density similar to the confusion between temperature and heat. maybe the same…except that it has the words ‘lapse rate’ mixed in.

  417. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD @ January 1, 5:37 pm
    Ira, extracted from your long comment:

    …I have no evidence of any kind of new theory, aside from some interesting correlations between Atmospheric parameters between Earth and a few planets and moons. I anxiously await further input from N&Z’s promised posting to WUWT next week. My mind is definitely not made up, but I am sceptical…

    That is an interesting comment that I’ll not labour on other than to say that maybe the “difficult language” so far from N&Z could be clarified next week after what amounts here to a peer review, which I reckon is a great process that they will appreciate. Meanwhile, concerning your opinions and analogies on cause and effect, let me go through something related that has me puzzled.

    a) The lapse rate in our real-world atmosphere is generally considered to be a significant average of ~6.5 C/Km. Thus, since the several energy inputs from the surface are continuous, there must be heat (thermal energy) loss with increasing altitude and the associated reducing pressure. So, how does that heat escape? No problem; the GHG’s apparently emit it as EMR to space as a consequence substantially of collisions with the vastly greater previously thermalised non-GHG molecules.
    b) Yesterday, Tim Folkerts, (a physicist of some fame at WUWT), claimed on a different thread that in an imaginary transparent Earth atmosphere of N2, the lapse rate would be about ~10 C/Km. Shrug, I have no problem with the value, and simply agree that there must be a lapse rate, both with and without GHG’s. The difficulty I have is: what is the mechanism by which an allegedly non emitting gas loses such heat? (within the temperature range being considered)
    c) BTW, your analogy in using pressure vessels does NOT simulate a column of the Earth’s atmosphere. (unrestrained in a gravitational field with a pronounced lapse rate and varying P etc.)

    I would appreciate your clarification on these issues.

  418. jae says:

    Heh, Hoel shore:

    “Man, Willis is clearly one biased dude! It’s good we have clear, unbiased thinkers like jae here to put things in perspective!”:

    PLEASE PROVIDE SOME SUBSTANCE HERE, FELLA! JUST WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING?

  419. jae says:

    LOL, JOEL:

    “Just to try to get back to the big picture, the point is this: The question is not an either-or dichotomy between “the gravitational component” (really, the lapse rate) and “the radiative component”. Both the radiative properties of the atmosphere and the lapse rate play a role in determining the greenhouse effect.”

    Just frigging fascinating that you are FINALLY realizing that you have been very mistaken. Congrats.

  420. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    “And, they are included CORRECTLY, not in the frankly-incorrect way that Nikolov and others who have a very confused picture of the system are trying to include them!”

    I don’t think it is necessary to insist on such a bellicose categorical imperative, nor that the statement is demonstrably true. I think the simple fact of the matter is that what they have shown is not sufficient to invalidate the theory of greenhouse gas warming, so really the whole argument is rather moot.

    It is already well known that simple assumptions using the ideal gas law and adiabaticity produce a power law relating pressure and temperature in the troposhpere, and that the necessity of a lower atmospheric heat sink to make everything balance is what leads to the GHG hypothesis (yes, I have done a little reading). That Nikolov has found a more complicated expression which apparently links pressure to temperature for a number of celestial bodies is thus not, ipso facto, a refutation of the GHG argument.

    So, as best I can tell, what we are left with is the discovery of an empirical relationship which appears to improve upon simplistic models in predicting the temperature/pressure relationship. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not particularly Earth shattering, at least not yet unless it leads to further understanding, IMHO.

  421. Grey lensman says:

    Joel, you are very concerned with the laws of thermodynamics. So have you considered this.

    In terms of its energy balance, the earth is a closed system. It inputs energy from the sun plus any residual heat from the core. Inputs and outputs must balance except if the earth is still cooling.

    Thus any increase in heat from so called greenhouse gasses must be balanced by an energy reduction elsewhere within the system.

  422. Joel Shore says:

    jae says:

    “Man, Willis is clearly one biased dude! It’s good we have clear, unbiased thinkers like jae here to put things in perspective!”:

    PLEASE PROVIDE SOME SUBSTANCE HERE, FELLA! JUST WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING?

    Try reading the two paragraphs above what you quoted that shows why your arguments are utter nonsense: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-climate-theory-may-confuse-cause-and-effect/#comment-849716

    Just frigging fascinating that you are FINALLY realizing that you have been very mistaken. Congrats.

    It is not a matter of having been mistaken. Everybody who has read anything about the greenhouse effect that goes beyond the most basic picture understands that the lapse rate plays a role in determining the magnitude of the effect. That you seem to think this is something new shows that you, after all this time, don’t even have a clue about the science you have been criticizing!

  423. Joel Shore says:

    I said:

    And, even the non-greenhouse-gases could be important because, for example, if you took our current atmosphere and removed all of the non-greenhouse gases, then I believe that because of the lapse rate, the difference in temperature between the effective radiating level and the surface would be less and hence the greenhouse effect would be smaller. (I say this last part tentatively because I haven’t really thought it all through that carefully…It is an interesting hypothetical question and might even be directly addressed in Ray Pierrehumbert’s book.)

    Actually, a quick perusal of Ray Pierrehumbert’s book shows that the scale height of the atmosphere does not change when one reduces the number of molecules, so the distance between the effective radiating level and the surface would not be expected to change. Thus, for the most important aspect that I was considering, removing all of the non-greenhouse gases would not appear to change the magnitude of the greenhouse effect. (The magnitude could still change somewhat due to other effects, e.g., due to the change in adiabatic lapse rate because the specific heat is different for an atmosphere without N_2 and O_2 than with it and due to there being less pressure broadening of the absorption lines.)

  424. Konrad says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    “David (or anyone else, Richard, anyone):
    Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?”
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    1. All planets with gas atmospheres experience a greenhouse effect.
    2. Just like a real greenhouse most of the effect is due to the blocking of convective cooling and part due to the blocking of outgoing LWIR.
    3. Convective flows occur slower in thicker fluids for a given gravity field.
    4. If you increase the mass and surface density of nitrogen and oxygen around Earth you will slow convective cooling and increase the amount energy that can be retained in the fluid shell around the planet.

    This would appear to be what Nikolov and Zeller mean by thermodynamic greenhouse effect. There would still be a radiative greenhouse effect on Earth. However much of this would be balanced by the ability of condensing greenhouse gasses to transport heat through the atmosphere and the ability of so called greenhouse gases in general to radiate energy acquired through conduction from non radiative gasses out to space. Further to this, the ability of radiative greenhouse gasses to back radiate the Earth’s surface and thereby slow cooling is limited over the oceans which are 71% of the surface. LWIR has a very limited ability to slow the cooling of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool.

    Willis,
    I would be interested in any further thoughts you would have on empirical experiment design to test the Nikolov & Zeller hypothesis.

  425. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    “…the scale height of the atmosphere does not change when one reduces the number of molecules…”

    But, it does change with the average mass of the air molecules, so changing the composition will affect the scale height.

  426. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Konrad says:
    January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Willis,
    I would be interested in any further thoughts you would have on empirical experiment design to test the Nikolov & Zeller hypothesis.

    I’d love to give my thoughts, my friend, but I don’t understand the hypothesis yet. You start by saying:

    1. All planets with gas atmospheres experience a greenhouse effect.

    Let me stop there to ask … including planets with atmospheres which contain no greenhouse gases? I ask because this is a crucial question that determines the further direction of inquiry.

    w.

  427. Stephen Wilde says:

    Willis,

    This is the simplest explanation of what N & Z are confirming with their equations but I see that Konrad has put forward a neat alternative:

    “A warming effect in the atmosphere arises because between coming in and going out the radiant energy is ‘processed’ by the molecules in the atmosphere into heat energy and then back again, often many times for a single parcel of radiant energy, the number of times being directly proportionate to the density of the atmosphere. It is the density, not the composition which gives more or less opportunities for such collisions between radiant energy and molecules whilst the incoming and outgoing radiant energy is negotiating the atmosphere. When an atmospheric molecule absorbs radiant energy it vibrates faster thereby becoming warmer. It is momentarily warmer than the surrounding molecules so it releases the radiant energy again almost immediately. The speed of release is again dictated by overall atmospheric density because greater density renders it less likely that the neighbouring molecules are cool enough for a release of radiant energy to occur. However the time scales remain miniscule on the level of an individual molecule BUT on a planetary scale they become highly significant and build up to a measurable delay between arrival of solar radiant energy and it’s release to space.

    It is that interruption in the flow of radiant energy in and out which gives rise to a warming effect. The warming effect is a single persistent phenomenon linked to the density of the atmosphere and not the composition. Once the appropriate planetary temperature increase has been set by the delay in transmission through the atmosphere then equilibrium is restored between radiant energy in and radiant energy out.”

    from here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1562&linkbox=true&position=19

    “Greenhouse Confusion Resolved” July 16th 2008.

    Now interestingly in about 2003 Hans Jelbring came to much the same conclusion:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/

    And even more interestingly I have always taken the proposition as read since my schooldays. I don’t know when the radiative processes became regarded as more influential but whenever it was it seems to have been wrong.

    N & Z’s calculations also support the supplementary proposition that the radiative component is completely ejected by the system leaving the gravitational component dominant. As it happens I concur with that and have always believed that to be the case intuitively.

    Anyway, the entire body of my work over the past 4 years has been based on those two propositions, namely:

    i) The gravitational component is dominant and

    ii) The radiative component is ejected by the system.

    So. if anyone does read my work they will find what I consider to be an almost complete climate description based on those two propositions.

    Jelbring, Nikolov and Zeller have provided me with the theoretical and quantitative underpinning for all that I have been working on.

  428. I’m a scientist with a background in the methodology of scientific research. Wattsupwiththat and its columnists are weak in this area. This afternoon I spent a couple of hours in composing a comment on the significance of the Nicolov and Zeller paper. When I submitted this comment to Wattsupwiththat for publication, it disappeared without a trace. My comment was polite, pithy and on target but the opinion which it expressed differed from the opinions of recently published Wattsupwiththat columnists that include Willis Eshenbach and Ira Glickman. Recently, I’ve twice had similar experiences. Have other wouldbe critics of the views of Wattsupwiththat columnists had similar experiences? Is Wattsupwiththat following RealClimate down the road of censuring criticism for self gain?

    [Sorry Terry that your comment disappeared. When that happens to me I suspect it is my own action (my fingers too close to the keyboard :^) and I try again. As far as I know, WUWT (unlike RC :^) does not censor contrary views unless they have bad words or personal attacks, which I am sure your comment did not contain. If any further of your comments disappear in one of my threads on WUWT, feel free to email them to me at ira@techie.com and I will post them for you. - Ira (Glickstein :^)]

  429. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Is Wattsupwiththat following RealClimate down the road of censuring criticism for self gain?”

    Unlikely.I am also disagreeing with Willis and Ira amongst others but have no problem.

    In the past I have had lengthy posts with numerous links blocked by the spam filter so perhaps the Mods could look there

    Always save lengthy comments before posting.

  430. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Let me stop there to ask … including planets with atmospheres which contain no greenhouse gases? I ask because this is a crucial question that determines the further direction of inquiry.”

    Yes, absolutely. Gravity only recognises mass, not thermal characteristics.

  431. gbaikie says:

    “David (or anyone else, Richard, anyone):

    Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?

    Here’s an example of what I mean. For the greenhouse explanation of the fact the earth is warmer than its corresponding blackbody radiation, I would offer the following pithy sentences.

    Part of the upwelling longwave radiation (ULR) from the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere. When it is re-radiated, part of the energy returns to the earth as downwelling longwave radiation (DLR). This leaves the earth warmer than it would be in the absence of that DLR.”
    I would respond in one way, by saying this radiant processes within earth atmosphere does not increase the planet temperature 33 K. But more precisely it does not make a planet without greenhouse gases 33 K warmer.

    “So what is the basic mechanism for the Nikolov hypothesis? I asked Nikolov, but he didn’t reply.”

    If Nikolov hypothesis is correct, it warms a planet by increasing the molecule speed of atmospheric gas. Or said differently, it’s how to capture more Kinetic energy in the molecules speeds of the gases.

    A blackbody is suppose to absorb all energy. The earth does not adsorb much of the sunlight that reaches earth. Humans using solar water heaters adsorb more energy per square meter as compared to earth surface These solar water heaters don’t get 90% or 80% but instead around 70% of the available solar energy, but it’s a marked improvement compare to the ground.

    So as a machine to absorb the sun’s energy, earth ground [not going get into discussing the ocean] Is very inefficient, Nikolov hypothesis provides clues of how to increase earth’s efficiency in retaining/absorbing solar energy.

  432. davidmhoffer says:

    Terry Oldberg,

    If the comment disappeared instantly upon submission it just means that the “bad word” filter caught it. Itz usually only a matter of time before the mods notice and restore it provided that the “bad word” which triggered the filter isn’t being used in a way that the filter was designed to prevent. We call it the “hidey hole”. When it happens to me, I just add another comment saying “mods – another down the hidey hole. Please rescue? TIA” and it is invariably back in minutes.

    If you will note, I have disputed both Ira and Willis in this thread, and my comments are there for all to see.

  433. gbaikie says:

    “I’d love to give my thoughts, my friend, but I don’t understand the hypothesis yet. You start by saying:

    1. All planets with gas atmospheres experience a greenhouse effect.

    Let me stop there to ask … including planets with atmospheres which contain no greenhouse gases? I ask because this is a crucial question that determines the further direction of inquiry.”

    Good point.
    I agree that all planets with any gas or atmosphere experiences what is badly named “greenhouse effect”.
    Not only is this known but it’s considered an unresolved problem.

    Spencer discribes it this way [discussion in refuting, Nikolov & Zeller hypothesis:
    "One of the first things you discover when putting numbers to the problem is the overriding importance of infrared radiative absorption and emission to explaining the atmospheric temperature profile. These IR flows would not occur without the presence of “greenhouse gases”, which simply means gases which absorb and emit IR radiation. Without those gases, there would be no way for the atmosphere to cool to outer space in the presence of continuous convective heat transport from the surface."

    To repeat: "Without those gases, there would be no way for the atmosphere to cool to outer space"
    But he is wrong. A way for non-greenhouse gases to radiate energy into space is by warming the surface [land or water] and the surface can radiate energy to space.
    And regardless of greenhouse gases and/or non-greenhouse gases this is the main mechanism to radiating the earth energy into space.
    I would say most of the sun’s energy which has been adsorbed [or since the term absorbed is misused, solar energy converted and kept as potential energy for more than one second [or a nanosecond] does leave the planet from liquids or solids rather any atmospheric gas radiation.

  434. Konrad says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm
    “Let me stop there to ask … including planets with atmospheres which contain no greenhouse gases? I ask because this is a crucial question that determines the further direction of inquiry.”
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Yes, that would be what the Nikolov and Zeller hypothysis indicates. A boring grey basalt planet with no atmosphere can radiate a wide IR spectrum freely. Add an atmosphere of “non” greenhouse gasses and things change. The added gas layer now removes energy from the basalt surface faster than it would have been radiated, however that energy now leaves the planet (basalt sphere with gas layer) at a slower rate, as it has been convected away from the solid surface that could most easily radiate it. A gas layer with even greater density and mass will conduct and trap even more of the energy that would have been radiated away from from an atmosphere free planet. Nitrogen and Oxygen may therefore be Earth’s primary greenhouse gasses.

    In this scenario it becomes difficult to quantify the effects of non condensing “greenhouse” gasses such as CO2. They do absorb and re-radiate LWIR as can be seen in Tyndall tube type experiments. However the effects of back radiation are not uniform for all Earth’s surface regions. Ocean cooling rates are only marginally effected. However the addition of these gasses to the atmospheric mix also improves the radiative ability of the atmosphere above microwave frequencies.

    From this I would hope you can understand my concerns. No amount of hand waving or black board scribbling will answer the questions at hand. Better empirical experiments are required.

  435. The iceman cometh says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones asks:
    “So, how does that heat escape? No problem; the GHG’s apparently emit it as EMR to space as a consequence substantially of collisions with the vastly greater previously thermalised non-GHG molecules. – - – The difficulty I have is: what is the mechanism by which an allegedly non emitting gas loses such heat?”

    The focus on greenhouse gases seems to have obscured the fact that all bodies radiate – even gases – and that a hot gas can lose heat by radiating it away. Does that answer your difficulty?

    The interesting question to me is how much energy a gas at a particular pressure can radiate. We need to understand how the 380W/m^2 (or whatever) leaves the planet. Convection can deliver this energy, but at a certain point above the surface the atmospheric pressure will be too low to radiate 380W/m^2.

  436. davidmhoffer says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    David (or anyone else, Richard, anyone):

    Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?>>>

    Given that they’ve committed to coming back next week with a follow on article to clarify matters, I’m inclined to just wait until then. That said, a large part of my job actually involves listening carefully to highly technical people and determining the gap between what they said and what they meant. So, given the opportunity to practice a primary skill set, I may as well take a crack at it.

    From the original thread, this comment by Nikolov wraps it up nicely in my opinion:

    “Instead, think about how is it possible for Equation 8 in our paper to predict so accurately mean surface temperatures of planets over such a broad range of atmospheric and radiative environments by using ONLY 2 independent variables – average surface pressure and TOA solar irradiance?”

    Going back to equation 8 in their article we see them explain the following:

    “Equation (7) allows us to derive a simple yet robust formula for predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure, i.e.
    T(s) = 25.3966(S(o)+0.0001325)^0.25*Nte(Ps)”

    **************

    [apologies, I don't know how to copy their formula with the super and sub scripts so reproduced it as best I could, please refer to their article for the original]

    So, their hypothesis seems pretty straight forward:

    ********************
    The atmosphere raises surface temperature by an amount dependant upon only two factors, these being insolation and mean atmospheric pressure.
    ********************

    I think a lot of the confusion lies in the fact that they’ve included a considerable amount of discussion which has no direct bearing on proving this hypothesis. They’ve attempted to demonstrate both that their hypothesis is accurate, and at the same time, have tried to explain why other long standing accepted norms such as GH effect on Earth being 33 degrees are innacurate. To expand on the above and re-word it a bit:

    ********************
    Atmosphere raises the surface temperature of a planet by an amount dependant upon insolation and mean surface pressure. All other factors including composition of the atmosphere appear to be immaterial, or so small as to make them insignificant. While the processes of convection, conduction, and even absorption/re-radiation of of surface radiance are clearly active, they appear to be tied together in a system of feedbacks in such a manner as to arrive at the same amount of warming of the planetary surface regardless of the actual ratios of atmospheric gases such as O2, N2, CO2 and so on.
    *********************

    They then use equation 8 to predict the surface temps of 8 celestial bodies using only insolation and mean surface temperature. Much of the additional discussion has nothing to do with proving their hypothesis, it has instead to do with discussing why earlier assumptions such as the GH effect on Earth being 33 degrees (which would cotradict their results) are flawed.

    I know you asked for a few pithy sentences but getting an answer like the above in just a few sentences from me is a lost cause. I’m verbose. So sue me! But thatz my answer.

  437. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Terry Oldberg @ January 1, 10:59 pm
    Hi Terry,
    Concerning your “disappearing posts”, I think you may have just been unlucky, maybe involving pressing the wrong buttons. I’ve sometimes experienced two kinds of difficulty:
    1) Making a post on the wrong thread
    2) Making a post that does not immediately appear with the advice; “…awaiting moderation”. Upon resubmitting it there is a message something like: “that looks like a repeat post”. Oh, OK, it seems like the spam filter has blocked it, but upon waiting the post ultimately appears.
    In short, I’ve never lost a post at WUWT, but have on other sites, and have even been excommunicated.
    If you still feel that you may have been victimised, perhaps you could discuss it with Ric Werme…. Just click: Ric Werme’s guide to WUWT in the RH sidebar, from where you can Email him

  438. gbaikie says:

    “But more precisely it does not make a planet without greenhouse gases 33 K warmer.”
    It meant: A planet with greenhouse gas is not made 33 K warmer, as compared to planet exactly
    the same but without these greenhouse gases.

  439. gbaikie says:

    Konrad says:
    “1. All planets with gas atmospheres experience a greenhouse effect.
    2. Just like a real greenhouse most of the effect is due to the blocking of convective cooling and part due to the blocking of outgoing LWIR.
    3. Convective flows occur slower in thicker fluids for a given gravity field.
    4. If you increase the mass and surface density of nitrogen and oxygen around Earth you will slow convective cooling and increase the amount energy that can be retained in the fluid shell around the planet.”

    I agee with 1
    Don’t agree with 2.
    “3. Convective flows occur slower in thicker fluids for a given gravity field.”
    Thicker fluids doesn’t mean much to me. Liquid or gases with higher density- or are talking about viscosity?
    A problem is Convective flows are movement of gas or liquid. And is addition include conduction and energy transfer of molecular gases.
    What is unmentioned is buoyancy. And buoyancy is required for movement
    of gas “packets” or bodies of liquids. Viscosity does slow speed of movement of liquids- but in term planetary climate issues, not significant.
    So higher gravity means faster buoyancy. On 2 gee world balloon go up faster, The air resistance or “viscosity” or density of air, will not change this. Buoyancy and upward flow of air or liquid is mostly about gravity.

    “4. If you increase the mass and surface density of nitrogen and oxygen around Earth you will slow convective cooling and increase the amount energy that can be retained in the fluid shell around the planet.”
    No, you will increase the amount energy transferred per second. The atmospheric gas will take more energy from the surface and give more energy to the surface.
    Convection heat transfer would more significant on 2 gee world as compared to 1 gee world [Earth] and is also true on a world higher higher air density.
    With 1 gee world and more density the “power” of buoyancy is increased.
    With 2 gee world, and same amount of atmosphere as earth, one has a bit more higher density- loosely you say you get both more speed and power.

  440. Richard S Courtney says:

    Willis Eschenbach:

    At January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm you ask:

    “David (or anyone else, Richard, anyone):

    Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?”

    And

    “So what is the basic mechanism for the Nikolov hypothesis? I asked Nikolov, but he didn’t reply.”

    Willis, as you usually do, you have put your finger on the nub of the issue and, therefore, I will give my responses to your questions.

    Firstly, (as I repeatedly point out above), the Nikolov Hypothesis (Nh) is a repeat of the Jelbring Hypothesis (Jh) which (as I repeatedly point out above) says (see my post above at December 31, 2011 at 12:56 am);

    “‘All the radiative, convective and evaporative effects in a planet’s atmosphere adjust such that the atmosphere obtains a temperature lapse rate close to that defined by –g/cp, and this lapse rate defines the planet’s average surface temperature. The average surface temperature is observed to agree with the Jelbring Hypothesis on each planet with a substantial atmosphere that has a mass which varies little through the year.’

    This is a hypothesis and it is not a theory because (as is also the case with the AGW hypothesis) to date it has failed to provide predictive information that can be verified.

    However, in this thread davidmhoffer has made two suggestions as to such predictive verification. These are:
    (a) The hypothesis should predict the seasonal range of the global temperature on Mars
    And
    (b) The hypothesis should predict the +/- 1.9 K seasonal variation of the Earth’s global temperature as being related to variations in atmospheric mass (i.e. variations in atmospheric moisture content) between summers in the northern and southern hemispheres.

    I most sincerely thank davidmhoffer for this because I have been seeking any possible predictive verifications of the Jh since 2003. Indeed, in my opinion, these suggestions of his are by far the most important outcome of this thread.

    And, Willis, I do not know the answer to your question;

    “So what is the basic mechanism for the Nikolov hypothesis?”

    Nobody knows that.
    Clearly, some atmospheric effects (e.g. convection) do adjust in response to gravity. At issue is whether the interaction of all the radiative, convective and evaporative effects provides the suggested adjustment.

    The fascinating fact is that (as Jelbring and Nikolov have each independently observed) the planets each seems to fulfil the hypothesis. This fulfilment may be pure coincidence and, therefore, it may merely be a curiosity. But the curiosity does deserve investigation as to whether it has a governing mechanism.

    Almost all science has progressed by the following sequence:
    1. observation of a curiosity,
    2. formulation of a hypothesis to explain the curiosity,
    3. acceptance, rejection or modification of the hypothesis, and
    4. determination of the mechanism(s) that generate the curiosity.
    And the ‘greats’ in science (e.g. Newton, Pasteur, Faraday, etc.) are those whose hypotheses were proven ‘true’ by their successful predictive verifications. But few ‘greats’ exist because most hypotheses fail the test of predictive verification.

    Importantly, identification of a mechanism is pointless at this stage in investigation of the Jh/Nh because we have yet to determine if the hypothesis can pass the test of predictive verification. So, at present we only have a conjecture which has not been empirically supported or disproved. The conjecture deserves to be put to the test of predictive verification.

    The sadness is that the AGW hypothesis has failed all predictive verification tests but there are people who reject the Jh/Nh hypothesis before it has been subjected to any such tests.

    Anyway, that is my view, and I hope it helps the discussion.

    Richard

  441. THANKS Konrad for the first explanation of N&Z in plain English! I hope Ned Nikolov will endorse your words when he does his promised posting this week at WUWT (assuming he agrees with you).

    Konrad says: January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says: January 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    “… Could someone please explain to me the Nikolov hypothesis in a few pithy sentences?”
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    1. All planets with gas atmospheres experience a greenhouse effect.
    2. Just like a real greenhouse most of the effect is due to the blocking of convective cooling and part due to the blocking of outgoing LWIR.
    3. Convective flows occur slower in thicker fluids for a given gravity field.
    4. If you increase the mass and surface density of nitrogen and oxygen around Earth you will slow convective cooling and increase the amount energy that can be retained in the fluid shell around the planet.

    My take on Konrad’s (L&Z’s?) four points:
    1. Agreed, so long as some of the gases absorb/emit in the LWIR spectrum and are relatively transparent to SWIR.
    2. HMMM. Yes a physical greenhouse works mainly by blocking convection and, if it is glass which blocks LWIR, partly due to that. The Earth’s Atmosphere, on the other hand, IMHO, works mainly by blocking (actually GHG absorbing/re-emitting) LWIR. I need to be convinced that convection is blocked (by non-GHGs or GHGs) in any meaningful way. Indeed, without those gases there would be no convection, right? And, convection is a way to move heat energy (sensible and latent) from the Surface to higher in the Atmosphere, which cools the Surface and seems to me the opposite of blocking. Please explain.
    Furthermore, as the parcel of air carrying sensible and/or latent energy rises, it radiates LWIR in all directions, including back down to the Surface. Also, when it reaches an altitude (temperature/pressure) where water vapor condenses, the latent heat energy is released, warming the air and increasing the LWIR radiation, again in all directions, some towards the Surface.
    3. Agreed. Molasses convects slower than water, so I guess a denser gas would convect more slowly than a thin one. But, over the past half-million years or more, our Atmospheric mass has been pretty much fixed at the current level, except for reduction during glacial periods when more H2O is in the form of ice and water and increase during warm periods when more H2O is in the form of gas. And, I do not think that mass change is very large. So, while (3.) is true, what practical effect does it have?
    4. Agreed, but, again, by how much? And how does that compare to, for example, a modest increase in GHGs?

    This would appear to be what Nikolov and Zeller mean by thermodynamic greenhouse effect. There would still be a radiative greenhouse effect on Earth. However much of this would be balanced by the ability of condensing greenhouse gasses to transport heat through the atmosphere and the ability of so called greenhouse gases in general to radiate energy acquired through conduction from non radiative gasses out to space.

    Absolutely!

    Further to this, the ability of radiative greenhouse gasses to back radiate the Earth’s surface and thereby slow cooling is limited over the oceans which are 71% of the surface. LWIR has a very limited ability to slow the cooling of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool. …

    I am not so sure about this last point. It seems to me that DW LWIR is the primary energy source for evaporative cooling of the ocean Surface, along with conducted heat energy from the SWIR-warmed oceans. The cool skin of the oceans is less than 1 mm thick and is only 0.1ºC to 0.5ºC cooler than the bulk ocean water near the Surface. Taking the average cooling effect, that is less than 0.001 (<0.1%), so, for a given bulk temperature, the oceans radiate only a tiny percentage less than the land.

  442. gbaikie says:

    “The focus on greenhouse gases seems to have obscured the fact that all bodies radiate – even gases – and that a hot gas can lose heat by radiating it away. Does that answer your difficulty?”

    Any gas that can absorb radiation, will radiate the same wavelength.
    Same statement: Any gas molecule which can receive a photon and emit same photon.
    Gas which is transparent to certain wavelength is not “receiving certain photons”. It may interfere with certain photons, such as bend or refract the path of photons.
    Does the alteration of path of a photon involve any kind energy transferred?
    It may. But being transparent is saying a particular gas is not absorbing a wavelength/photon of certain type of electromagnet radiation.

    I would say if gases radiated all their energy, stars could not form.
    Or we would not exist.

    Or a significant component of the energy of a gas is it’s velocity.
    And if a gas is emitting photons it’s not slowing it’s velocity. Nor is gas which
    absorbs a photon increasing it’s velocity.

    The energy of gases in your atmosphere is largely about the velocity of the molecules.
    Gas molecules can very obviously lose to velocity, by hitting slower gas molecules, or
    “colder” or lower temperature solids or liquids.

    [One can slow a molecule of gas by hitting with a laser [intense and directed radiation [an intense beam of photons]- that has been done.
    But a molecule of gas is going in a random directions, one photon is insignificant in terms it’s energy as compared to mass and velocity of a molecule. The energy density of sunlight has a weak affect upon molecules and the molecules going in all directions.
    Though if you consider the gas molecules as mass they could have average direction, and from this prospective if one concerned small affects, it’s possible that sunlight could decrease or increase the velocity of the molecules of gas. It’s possible that sunlight could slow the average velocity of gas [cool the gas]. This require that on average the motion of gas molecules heading in the direction of the Sun. If instead on average the molecules to heading away from the sun, then the sunlight could increase the velocity [slightly]. This affect because it is minor, should probably be ignore.]

    If you ignore the above mentioned affect, then the only thing affecting a gas molecule velocity
    is slower moving gas molecules [colder gas] or colder liquids or solids. Of course hotter gas, liquids, and solids increases a gas molecules velocity.
    Gas molecules within a container which has same temperature as the gas, never lose their velocity- so you can zillions molecules bouncing of each other and the container and in billion of years not slow down. Gas molecules [clouds of gas] in space bounce off each other and will make all the gases the same temperature [same velocity] and as long as nothing warmer or colder comes along will bounce off each other for forever.

    “The interesting question to me is how much energy a gas at a particular pressure can radiate. We need to understand how the 380W/m^2 (or whatever) leaves the planet. Convection can deliver this energy, but at a certain point above the surface the atmospheric pressure will be too low to radiate 380W/m^2.”

    I used to wonder a similar thing. The gas in your atmosphere is obviously low pressure at high elevations. A significant aspect of gas at high elevation is that for “a molecule” to “remain” up there it generally has to be moving fast. Molecules have mass and therefore must obey gravity.
    At low elevation molecules of gas sort of support themselves, but it’s not like a solid chunk of matter, which is using binding strength molecules to “defy gravity”. Nor is it like a pile of sand [also using "binding strength molecules"]. It’s super balls that bounce forever, but the infinite capability to bounce doesn’t defy gravity- gravity must be obeyed by gas molecules.
    Have a vacuum and bounce a molecule of gas from 1000′, and with the same temperature surface, it bounce forever- goes back up to 1000′ over and over again.
    But I am ignoring factors. Say you bounce the ball in direction of the spinning planet, the ball would gain it’s bouncing height, it would eventually bounce to escape velocity [leave earth though probably enter orbit. So a single molecule could achieve somewhere around 7.8 km/sec [orbital velocity]. If same moecule bounced in opposite direction it would loss it’s bounce.
    Now with atmosphere with zillion of bouncing balls, in the lower atmosphere, none of them bounce far, all them of bouncing fast. But say looking at 5 km up. Here there less bouncing balls, the bouncing balls are still bouncing at same velocity, but can go further before hitting another ball. Go higher, say 10 km, same thing less balls, roughly same speed, and even further before they hit another ball. At some point one going reach place where all balls are not bouncing “equally”. We going have “unjust society” at higher in the atmosphere- there is going to be “income discrepancy”. We going get higher velocity balls and balls moving slower than balls are traveling at lower elevation. So as you go up, there will very few of the fat cats and lots at equal income, but the higher you go, you get less low income, and more fat cats.
    This because to “survive” at higher elevation you need to go faster. But you can get upward mobility among the poor, a fast molecule can hit them, and steal the wealth. But as you higher, one gets more the fat cat and there hitting at longer distances, but they have obey gravity, they tend to fall more, but they hit more fat cats than the poor and tend stay higher and going on average much faster.
    Low elevation molecule speed is 500 meters per second. Fat cats could tend to be more than say 1000 meters per second on average. One could have a few molecules going say 2000 or 4000 meters per second. At some point you going to have some molecules traveling at orbital speed 7800 meters per second. They can’t goes say 10,000 meters per second or they leave earth. But the fat cats at this level are going to start to meet crazy super rich, molecules which could traveling at say 100,000 to 400,000 meter per second [solar wind]. The fat cats could leave the earth because of a rare enounter, or they transfer some this wealth by heading in direction of earth with gained velocity from the super rich.
    So anyways, at some velocity above 500 meters second, you could greenhouse gases or non-greenhouse reacting different when they get hit, maybe up to 2000 m/s doesn’t do anything strange, but some velocity on the way to 100,000 to 400,000 it seems likely something different occurs.
    Is this important in terms of climate- probably not.

  443. shawnhet says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:16 am

    “‘All the radiative, convective and evaporative effects in a planet’s atmosphere adjust such that the atmosphere obtains a temperature lapse rate close to that defined by –g/cp, and this lapse rate defines the planet’s average surface temperature. The average surface temperature is observed to agree with the Jelbring Hypothesis on each planet with a substantial atmosphere that has a mass which varies little through the year.’

    Thank you for that simple and easy to understand hypothesis. Unfortunately, however, it is fairly easy to falsify this as a cause of the GH effect (at least on Earth) IMO.

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-specific-heat-various-pressures-d_1535.html

    If you look at that website, you see that the specific heat of air(cp) at 0.01 atmospheres(approximately 1/2 the surface pressure of Mars) is only about 0.16% more than the current surface pressure of the Earth. IOW, if the Earth’s GH effect acted based on alterations to the lapse rate alone, there has been almost no change in the GH effect from the point where Earth’s atmosphere was less than that of Mars to its current surface pressure. This does not describe the *effects* predicted under the Unified Climate Theory nor, I assume the Jelbring hypothesis.

    In any case, respectfully, unless my reference above is wrong, your description of the mechanism producing the GH effect on Earth must be wrong.

    Cheers, :)

  444. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    So, as best I can tell, what we are left with is the discovery of an empirical relationship which appears to improve upon simplistic models in predicting the temperature/pressure relationship. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not particularly Earth shattering, at least not yet unless it leads to further understanding, IMHO.

    The empirical relationship had so many free parameters that it is very doubtful that it is anything but a fit to the available data…i.e., that it has any significant predictive power for out-of-sample data. (Furthermore, since their calculation of T_gb seems to be erroneous, it is a fit involving an incorrectly determined value.)

    “…the scale height of the atmosphere does not change when one reduces the number of molecules…”

    But, it does change with the average mass of the air molecules, so changing the composition will affect the scale height.

    Good point…I had missed that because Ray Pierrehumbert uses “R” in a rather non-standard way (as the ideal gas constant divided by the molecular weight rather than just the ideal gas constant). So, for that reason in addition to the other reasons that I mentioned, there will be SOME dependence of the greenhouse effect on the non-greenhouse gases present…although likely not the kind of dramatic dependence that I thought there might be if, for example, the scale height were in some way proportional to the total mass of atmosphere.

  445. jjthoms says:

    The adiabatic lapse rate is defined by the “gas Laws” not by gravity (other than of course high gravity gives high pressure!).
    The adiabatic lapse rate requires that a fixed number of molecules be moved between pressure differences. Once at a new pressure the new temperature will stabilise to the surroundings (but that is not what adiabatic lapse rate is about).

    However, for every molecule transported from high to low pressure there MUST be a molecule transported from low to high pressure. This means there is NO net flow of energy.

    Where the atmosphere blends into a vacuum there can be no convective/conductive transfer of energy (there is nothing to transfer the energy to!)

    Radiation is the only option. N2 H2 O2 etc. have little propensity to absorb and therefore to emit the required radiation. It has to be mainly from GHGs (CO2 H2O CH4 etc.)

    At the other end of the air column you have similar problems. The ground/sea warms through absorption of the shorter wavelengths of TSI (where most of the solar energy is). The heat is radiated from the ground/sea as LWIR and by contact at the boundary between earth and atmosphere. The heat must be transferred from molecule to molecule by contact or by convection. A slow process. Conduction will be enhanced by high pressure, convection will be slowed.
    The radiated energy is NOT significantly absorbed by O2 N2 H2 etc. no matter what the pressure. Even a solid glass fibre can be made extremely low loss 0.2dB per km and the molecules are pretty solidly packed http://www.fiberoptics4sale.com/wordpress/optical-fiber-loss-and-attenuation/ . Without a GHG this radiation would escape without attenuation straight to space. GHGs will “absorb” this LWIR at certain frequencies and re-emit it in all directions. The time for this energy to be “reabsorbed” in another molecule is dependent on the path length which is dependent on the proximity of other GHG molecules which is dependant on the pressure of the atmosphere.
    The time taken for the radiation to bounce from molecule to molecule increases the time it takes for the energy to travel from ground to space.
    The energy input to the system is at a constant rate. Slow down the output and the system gets hotter. A hotter system will radiate more energy (BB radiation).

    Where does the energy from static pressure difference come in to this?

  446. Bill Illis says:

    We are not taking to this right level – the Quantum level where energy and photons operate.

    The Earth receives 2.7 X 10+40 photons from the Sun each day (27 with 39 Zeros behind it).
    The Earth emits 1.6 X 10+41 infrared photons each day to space (yes there are more of them).

    The energy represented by those solar photons will spend time in about 32 billion different molecules on average before it finally emitted to space. That take TIME. A large fraction (35% perhaps) spend just a few seconds in the Earth system while a small, small fraction may take 1000 years to exit the system.

    Its not solar emission, hit surface, atmospheric window IR photon emitted directly to space, 15 um photon intercepted by CO2, half back-radiated, atmospheric window IR photon emitted directly to space.

    The energy represented by the solar photon is random walking around for 44 hours on average and spending picoseconds in 32 billion different molecules before it is emitted to space.

    Now we are talking about truly monstrous numbers and TIME. This all happens in TIME and at the quantum level and noone has taken that into account.

  447. Richard S Courtney says:

    shawnhet:

    Concerning your post at January 2, 2012 at 8:03 am, I shall not bother to look-up your link.

    Firstly, the hypothesis is NOT mine but your post repeatedly suggests it is.

    And, secondly, in my above post at December 31, 2011 at 6:36 am I explained why the hypothesis does not apply to Mars, but your post uses comparison with Mars “to falsify” the hypothesis.

    Hence, I suspect your post is an attempt at disruption of the thread.

    Richard

  448. Paul Bahlin says:

    Anytime I read a thread on this topic it seems there are people who get hung up, conceptually, long before they get to the math. The hang up seems to go like this, “Pressure increases can’t cause temperature increases.” When I think about the lapse rate I think of it differently because I agree that increasing pressure doesn’t ‘create’ higher temperature in anything more than a transitory manner. Sure there may be some effects from diurnal pressure changes but overall they can’t justify the observed gradients on their own, can they?

    I like to think of it more like this…. Higher pressures ‘support’ higher temperatures.

    If you isolate a column of air extending from the surface upwards it will have a pressure lapse rate totally dependent on mass. If you further assume that the column isn’t exchanging energy horizontally then it is solely the energy content of each, say, meter of gas that is holding up all the gas above it. From these assumptions isn’t it reasonable to assume that there is an energy lapse rate in the column that is dependent on mass? It’s also true that there is a density lapse rate dependent on mass of the column.

    Now each meter in the column will always (in practical terms or at least as an initial assumption) have the same differential pressure measured on its ends regardless of its temperature. If you heat the column at the bottom, the gas in that first meter will get more energetic. It will want to increase its differential pressure but it can’t because the column will simply expand upwards. So what happens? Well its density goes down. Each meter has a constant differential pressure, a constant volume and a variable number of molecules. So this energy is transferred all the way up the column. Each one meter chunk has to expel some molecules (upward, they’re going to seek lower pressure) as they get more energetic. Each meter gets less energy than the one below it. Each meter gets lower density.

    If that column had an ideal gas in it with absolutely no radiative absorbtion qualities you have little one meter chunks of constant pressure, constant volume, and a molecular lapse rate. Yielding a temperature lapse rate totally dependent on the mass of the column, no?

    Changing the column to nitrogen would be a pretty close approximation to ideal and nitrogen has very low radiative absorbtion. You would still get this lapse rate as long as you keep the heat on. You do have to keep the heat on because this descriptive process is NOT in equilibrium. There’s heat being applied at the bottom all the time. Take the heat away and each meter will eventually acquire enough molecules at appropriate energy levels to level out its temps.

    In fact I would conjecture that a column in equilibrium would in fact be isothermal (no temperature lapse rate) and that is a large part of why these threads go haywire. The fact that it is not in equilibrium (heat at the bottom) is what causes the mass dependent temperature lapse rate.

  449. Richard S Courtney says:

    jjthoms:

    At January 2, 2012 at 8:21 am you say:

    “The adiabatic lapse rate is defined by the “gas Laws” not by gravity (other than of course high gravity gives high pressure!).
    The adiabatic lapse rate requires that a fixed number of molecules be moved between pressure differences. Once at a new pressure the new temperature will stabilise to the surroundings (but that is not what adiabatic lapse rate is about).

    However, for every molecule transported from high to low pressure there MUST be a molecule transported from low to high pressure. This means there is NO net flow of energy.”

    That is nonsense!

    There is a net upward flow of energy. It is the thermal energy in a ‘parcel’ of air being greater than the surrounding air which causes it to rise. The parcel would not rise if it did not contain greater energy per unit volume than its surroundings. And it does rise (i.e. bouyancy) so it carries its greater energy upwards.

    I wonder where you obtained your strange idea; RealClimate?

    Richard

  450. ferd berple says:

    We know that at the TOA there is no convection to space. Thus radiation in = radiation out.

    However, lower in the atmosphere this is not true. Convection enters the equation so:

    (radiation + convection) in = (radiation + convection) out

    The question then becomes, what drives convection? As radiation increases the temperature of air, the air expands and becomes lighter than the surrounding air. WHY? Because of gravity. Without gravity giving weight to air, there would be no convection. This is the underlying reason why there is a lapse rate and why gravity determines temperature below the TOA.

    Convection in the atmosphere is a result of gravity. The rate of convection is controlled by radiation. The more radiation, the more convection. The less radiation, the less convection. All directed at maintaining the lapse rate which is a result of gravity.

  451. Paul Bahlin says:

    I’d like to add, after more thought, a question. I don’t think of the mechanism I’ve described as convection. It’s more like a dynamic process brought about strictly by molecular collisions. It doesn’t need convection to work. In fact if you have convection in this column it’s because of air parcels at a certain height that have somehow acquired more energy than the height would ‘support’ due to the mass dependent lapse rate. Those parcels have to seek a proper level appropriate to their energy ( density) content.

    Does this make sense?

  452. ferd berple says:

    Try this thought experiment yourself. Imagine one of Ira’s cylinders at the start of this post, in space orbiting the earth. These cylinders have a clearly defined top and bottom. The valve end is top.

    Apply a blow torch to heat the bottom up the cylinder. In which direction will the heated air inside the container travel? Will it in fact rise to the vale end? No, it will not.

    Convection in the absence of gravity does not take place. Convection is a result of gravity, plus the addition of heat (radiation). Gravity causes convection. Radiation determines the rate of convection. The more radiation, the more convection, until the rate of convection matches the lapse rate determined by gravity.

  453. jjthoms says:

    Richard S Courtney says:January 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

    However, for every molecule transported from high to low pressure there MUST be a molecule transported from low to high pressure. This means there is NO net flow of energy.”
    ======
    That is nonsense!
    ========
    I’m sure you agree the parcel that moves from zero altitude to 10km must be balanced by a parcel of the same size moving from 10km to zero?
    The adiabatic lapse rate is the same in both cases. 10K/km
    wiki: The adiabatic lapse rates – which refer to the change in temperature of a parcel of air as it moves upwards (or downwards) without exchanging heat with its surroundings. The temperature change that occurs within the air parcel reflects the adjusting balance between potential energy and kinetic energy of the molecules of gas that comprise the moving air mass.

    Is this statement in doubt?
    If so I need an explanation to be able to exist.

    In my books the potential energy+kinetic energy in both parcels is the same so n molecules at 10km will loose 10km worth of “potential energy” but gain 10kms worth of “kinetic energy”.

  454. kwik says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Richard, I am impressed by how you explain everything in this post. It seems like those who at first refused to even read the paper now finally understand how important it is to have an open mind about it. Even though one isnt sure about its correctness. Thanks!

    When observing how some, even in the sceptic camp, refused to even discuss it, it occured to me that the IPCC might not have been any better if they had been “in charge” there, either.

    Makes me wonder of it is a good idea at all to have an international body of “thruth-keepers”.
    A very soviet-like idea.

  455. Ric Werme says:

    jjthoms says:
    January 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Richard S Courtney says:January 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

    However, for every molecule transported from high to low pressure there MUST be a molecule transported from low to high pressure. This means there is NO net flow of energy.”
    ======
    That is nonsense!
    ========
    I’m sure you agree the parcel that moves from zero altitude to 10km must be balanced by a parcel of the same size moving from 10km to zero?

    Of course not – the handful of air that goes up to 10 km can be adequately balanced by a minuscule amount lowering of the entire rest of the atmosphere. In actuality, something in between happens, of course. A helium balloon, err, hot air balloon will rise. The upper part of the balloon will push air up and to the side, the lower part will suck (okay, the ambient air pressure of the surrounding air) will fill the space being vacated by the lower half of the balloon and gondola.

    The net effect is that hot air rises, air in a surrounding cylinder will sink a variable amount as the balloon passes through.

  456. davidmhoffer says:

    Folks, as I watch this discussion I keep seeing people get lost in the details. Stand back and look at the big picture.

    N&Z have provided a formula that appears to have predictive skill. One CANNOT falsify it by arguing the details! Sure radiative absorption and re-emission happens in a certain way. Sure convection happens in a certain way. Sure lapse rate works in a certain way.

    So What?

    If there is one thing we’ve learned over the last few years of the climate debate it is (or should be) that our understanding of the mechanisms and how they interact with one another is woefully incomplete. If we were anywhere near to understanding all the pieces of the puzzle and how they fit together, we’d have climate models with predictive skills coming out the yin yang. But the fact is we don’t.

    I liken this discussion to being given a pail full of gravel and being asked to determine the weight of the gravel. I could thoroughly mix the gravel, extract a representative sample, weigh each rock, pebble and grain of sand, extrapolate the expected change in distribution of the rocks, pebbles, and sand from top of the bucket to the bottom of the bucket based on known paramaters for the settling of gravel over time, and from there arrive at an estimate of the weight of the gravel in the pail.

    Or I could weigh the gravel and the pail, then pour the gravel out, and weigh the pail.

    What N&Z are purporting to do is the latter. One cannot falsify their results by arguing about what the proper distribution of grains of sand is or how gravel does or does not settle when poured into a pail. The only way to determine if they are on to something is to weigh the gravel.

    What they have said is that for a given TOA radiance, and a given mean surface atmospheric pressure, they can calculate the average surface temperature of a planet. They’ve even published their predictions for no less than EIGHT planetary bodies!

    The only question we should be interested in at this point (it seems to me) is this:

    Did they get the surface temps of those planetary bodies right or not?

    If no, then their formulas are wrong.

    If yes, then it seems to me there are only two possibilities.

    1. Their formulas are correct, we just don’t know exactly WHY they are correct.

    or

    2. They successfully predicted the surface temps of 8 celestial bodies by coincidence.

    If the latter, that’s one awfull big coincidence!

    So, would it not make sense to dispense with the arguments about the life time of a photon in earth atmosphere, how convection changes with pressure, what absorption bands various gases have and just answer the question:

    Did they nail the temps of those planetary bodies? Or not?

  457. shawnhet says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I seem to have given offence, but I can assure you it was not intentional nor was I intending to “derail” the thread. Respectfully, it may’ve been helpful if you actually took a look at my link. You would’ve seen that it was talking about (Earth) air not the Martian atmosphere. I only mentioned Mars to give a context to the range of changes in cp versus atmospheric pressure provided.

    Regardless of whose theory the idea that -g/cp accounts for the GH effect is, I believe that I have provided pretty convincing evidence that it cannot do so. Surely that is the core of the debate and not an attempt to “derail” it?

    In any case, how about it? Why doesn’t the link I provided demonstrate that hypothesis that the GH effect is solely an artifact of the lapse rate is false?

    Cheers, :)

  458. Richard S Courtney (January 2, 2012 at 2:16 am):

    I second your remarks regarding the”Nikolov hypothesis” (which as you rightly point out is no more than a conjecture) and AGW (which as you also rightly point out is no more than a conjecture). As neither conjecture is at this time predictive, neither can be properly labelled as a “hypothesis.”

    I’d like to add a bit of detail on the processes by which a conjecture can be elevated to the status of a hypothesis and a hypothesis to a theory, as both IPCC Working Group I climatologists and bloggers in wattsupwiththat exhibit misunderstanding of these processes.

    A conjecture is elevated to a hypothesis by: a) referencing the associated model to a statistical population whose elements are statistically independent events and b) adapting the model to predicting the probability of the various possible outcomes with repect to each event in the population.

    A hypothesis is elevated to a theory by statistical testing in which it is not invalidated by the evidence. This can be accomplished by: a) drawing from the populationj a sample of observed events that is independent of the construction of the model b) comparing the predicted probabilities of the outcomes to the observed relative frequencies of these outcomes and c) elevating the hypothesis to a theory if the predicted probabilities match the observed relative frequencies and the model passes various other statistical tests.

    IPCC climatologists and wattsupwiththat bloggers exhibit confusion of model “predictions” with model “projections.” Often in this way they reach the false conclusion that a conjecture has been elevated to a theory when in fact a statistical population has not yet been identified. In its 2007 report, IPCC Working Group I entices the readers of the report into making a false conclusion of this type by presenting a comparison of model projections of the global surface temperature to a global surface temperature time series. In truth, this sort of comparison serves neither to statistically validate the model nor to statistically invalidate it.

  459. gbaikie says:

    “A large fraction (35% perhaps) spend just a few seconds in the Earth system while a small, small fraction may take 1000 years to exit the system.”

    Any reflected sunlight would less than one second. The energy of a photon could make coal and coal could in the ground for millions of years, is the photon which converted [or used] considered to “die” or is it going followed in whatever form of energy it becomes?

    Suppose we look at a day of a rock- 3 diameter boulder, granite. Starting at midnite on earth during summer. the rock has warmed and is radiating energy. A portion of that energy can absorbed by CO2, and it radiate from the rock. How far does it get? An inch, a meter, a kilometer?
    It has a 50% chance of getting some distance.
    The smaller something is and the faster it goes the less chance it has of hitting anything. A proton [huge as compared to photon] can travel at the speed of light thru a human body without hitting anything- odds favor it not hitting the human body.
    Is this infrared light a wave or a particle, as photon particle it’s quite small. Could it be 1/2 the time a wave or particle?
    Let’s say it’s a wave:
    “CO2 is an important greenhouse gas as the main greenhouse-related frequency associated with absorption is at or near the planet’s black body emission peak, that being roughly 15 micrometers.”
    Compare to proton 15 micrometers is huge. Therefore maybe it has 50% chance in going 1 inch, and since so close to the rock, a 50 chance of returning to the rock. This takes how long?
    It could take a 1 billionth of a second. But let’s suppose it has 50% chance emit in one second.
    Maybe the time is dependent on how long it take to receive another photon.
    How of these photons does our rock emit in a hour?
    1.6 X 10+41 infrared photons. hmm well we have 510 million km miles, or 5.1 X 10^8 square meters. Or 5.1 X 10^12 square centimeters, therefore per square centimeter we have roughly
    1.6 X 10+41 divided by 5.1 X 10^12, so zillions per second and probably at billions per second
    of this particular wavelength.
    This seems to indicate that even shortest distance, the time traveled will somewhere around 1 billionth of second, to go a inch and back again. And then to go again.
    Hmm, I think it would nice to know how many CO2 molecules there was. So roughly 2 x 10^16.
    If we were to imagine 2 x 10^16 molecules were to transfer 1.6 X 10+41 photon in one day
    that mean. Well there are 86400 seconds, round to 100000 second wipes out 5 orders.
    One second 2 x 10^16 molecules need to transfer 1.6 X 10+36. What is 10^20 that the fraction of second it has to do it in, one transfer, if needs bang off 32 billion molecules. It is 10*20 times 32 billion of a second. Which seems, unlikely. One 10^20 is unlikely, adding 32 billion is 32 billion times more unlikely.

  460. Richard S Courtney says:

    jjthoms:

    In your post at January 2, 2012 at 10:08 am you say;

    “In my books the potential energy+kinetic energy in both parcels is the same so n molecules at 10km will loose 10km worth of “potential energy” but gain 10kms worth of “kinetic energy”.”

    Yes, but so what?
    The parcel that rises has more thermal energy than the parcel that replaces it by falling. So, the net result is upward movement of thermal energy.

    The only reason the lower parcel rises is because it has more thermal energy. Think about it.

    And, on average, parcels in contact with the Earth’s surface gain thermal energy because they are heated by conduction from the surface.

    Richard

  461. Tim Folkerts says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2011 at 8:02 am

    “At some point someoe seems to have decided that atmospheric composition involving radiative processes makes a significant difference to the temperature set by thermodynamic and gravitational influences.”

    Well … yes. Since the “radiative process” of absorption of thermal energy from IR photons by the atmosphere IS “a thermodynamic influence”, then it WILL make a difference in the temperature set by thermodynamic influences. The amount of absorption & emission is measured to be several 100 of W/m^2, so that is certainly significant.

    I’m just following your own logic.

  462. Bart says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    January 2, 2012 at 1:24 am

    “The atmosphere raises surface temperature by an amount dependant upon only two factors, these being insolation and mean atmospheric pressure.”

    Unfortunately, this is not dispositive. It is known that there is a relationship between pressure and temperature. Formulas for the relationship can be derived using various assumptions which lead to expressions which are not extremely different from what Drs. Nikolov and Zeller have proposed.

    The question, as Ira has asked, is which is the cause, and which is the effect?

    I think the question is, do you need to invoke greenhouse gases to explain the retention of heat, and the inversion of temperature such that it is hotter lower down and colder as altitude increases? And, is there a dependence on density, and how does it come into play?

    I think the answer is, there surely could be a dependence on density, as this quantity does figure prominently in the heat equation. Moreover, if you solve the heat equation in spherical coordinates, it is quite possible for the solution to show an inversion as a function of altitude.

    So, I think you do not need GHG forcing, but that is not the same as saying it does not exist. The problem I have always had with the concept is that the absorption lines, even with Doppler broadening, are extremely narrow, and I have a hard time seeing that they can appreciably absorb and re-emit the total radiation.

    Have actual experiments been conducted which demonstrate precise agreement between theory and prediction, or has everyone always assumed that, since the idea is consistent with observations, it is factual? Because mere consistency with an hypothesis is not enough for proof. It is always shocking to me when people point to consistency as proof, yet it happens alarmingly often. And, would we even be having this discussion if someone could point to actual experimental proof of the planetary greenhouse effect? How could you conduct a representative experiment, anyway?

  463. shawnhet says:

    Bill Illis
    January 2, 2012 at 8:29 am:

    “The energy represented by those solar photons will spend time in about 32 billion different molecules on average before it finally emitted to space. That take TIME. A large fraction (35% perhaps) spend just a few seconds in the Earth system while a small, small fraction may take 1000 years to exit the system.”

    This is an interesting idea – would you care to elaborate a bit more? What relationship does this have to the effective height of emission, for instance?

    Cheers, :)

  464. Richard S Courtney says:

    shawnhet:

    Your post at January 2, 2012 at 10:42 am says to me:

    “I seem to have given offence, but I can assure you it was not intentional nor was I intending to “derail” the thread. Respectfully, it may’ve been helpful if you actually took a look at my link. You would’ve seen that it was talking about (Earth) air not the Martian atmosphere. I only mentioned Mars to give a context to the range of changes in cp versus atmospheric pressure provided.

    Regardless of whose theory the idea that -g/cp accounts for the GH effect is, I believe that I have provided pretty convincing evidence that it cannot do so. Surely that is the core of the debate and not an attempt to “derail” it?

    In any case, how about it? Why doesn’t the link I provided demonstrate that hypothesis that the GH effect is solely an artifact of the lapse rate is false?”

    If your post was genuine then I apologise for my misunderstanding and consequent response.

    I have been seeking a proof or disproof of the Jelbring Hypothesis since 2003 so I did look at the link you provided; i.e.
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-specific-heat-various-pressures-d_1535.html

    The only things I found there were an advertisement for Preston Air Con Systems together with a Table and graph showing
    “Air – Specific Heat at Constant Temperature and Various Pressures
    Specific Heat of air at constant temperature 20oC and pressure ranging 0.01 to 100 atm”

    I fail to understand how your link provides any support or opposition of any kind pertaining to the Jelbring Hypothesis. And, therefore, I am not convinced by your saying your original post was not an attempt to disrupt this thread.

    Richard

  465. Richard S Courtney says:

    Terry Oldberg:

    Thankyou for your very fine post at January 2, 2012 at 10:44 am that introduces its argument saying;

    “I’d like to add a bit of detail on the processes by which a conjecture can be elevated to the status of a hypothesis and a hypothesis to a theory, as both IPCC Working Group I climatologists and bloggers in wattsupwiththat exhibit misunderstanding of these processes.”

    Yes!
    If you check you will find that I have repeatedly tried to explain these and similar issues on WUWT.
    I write this in hope that it will encourage people to read your post and take note of what it says because I would like to think you have more success than I have had.

    And I would be grateful if you were to keep providing explanations of what is – and what is not – the scientific method.

    Richard

  466. The iceman cometh says:

    .You said “Since the “radiative process” of absorption of thermal energy from IR photons by the atmosphere IS “a thermodynamic influence”, then it WILL make a difference in the temperature set by thermodynamic influences.” Aren’t you forgetting uv absorption? Ozone is always first in our minds, but nitrous oxide also adsorbs and I’m sure there are others. We are so stuck on the ir story that we tend to forget other energetics.

  467. Tim Folkerts says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones asks several interesting questions:

    “A) You assert that if all GHG’s, [and by implication all surface water?], are removed from the atmosphere, the surface temperature would be 255K. However, when I do an S-B calculation for outgoing radiation at 255K, I get about 240 W/m^2, and of course, this must ALL escape directly to space in a transparent atmosphere. (the alleged net radiative heat transfer from the surface is 240 W/m^2.) BUT; according to Trenberth et al, this greatly exceeds the incoming surface absorbed energy from the Sun, given as ~161 W/m^2. Would you please answer on what seems to be a major paradox?”

    The difference would primarily be the solar energy absorbed by the atmosphere (eg UV absorbed by the O3). This amounts to 78 W/m^2 on the relatively recent version of the Trenberth diagram I have handy. In my hypothetical transparent atmosphere, this energy would get to the surface. 161 + 78 = 239, which is close enough for our work here.

    “B) So you agree that there is a lapse rate, regardless of GHG’s?”

    Yes. Wikipedia shows a derivation of the the dry adiabatic lapse rate (DALR), getting the very simple result of DALR = g / Cp. The specific heat of air (and pure nitrogen) is very close to 1000, and g is very close to 10, so DALR ~ 0.01 K/m or 10 K/km. Changes in either the gravitational field or the composition of the atmosphere would change the DALR. Phase changes (ie condensation of H2O) will also affect the lapse rate (but then it is no longer “D” so DALR would not apply).

    As I believe Joel mentioned earlier, the lapse rate should depend on the presence/absence of GHGs. “Adiabatic” specifically means “no heat transfer”, which is a pretty good approximation for heat transfer by conduction, since the thermal conductivity of air is small, and adjacent parcels of air are usually about the same temperature. GHGs can and do transfer energy among different parcels of air (via IR radiation) so the “adiabatic” approximation would be less valid. I also suspect this will decrease the actual lapse rate, but that is just a gut feeling that I have not verified.

    “The difficulty I have is: what is the mechanism by which an allegedly non emitting gas loses such heat?”

    When I was first coming to grips with the DALR, I imagined an atmosphere with a single molecule! Suppose the molecule is released at the surface of a warm planet. It will have some considerable average (or “typical”) kinetic energy due to its interactions with the surface. That molecule will act as a “projectile” flying upward at several 100 m/s as it leave the surface. The higher it flies, the slower it will be going as it loses gravitational potential energy. So the average KE higher up will be smaller ==> lower temperature. Of course, as it falls back downward, it will regain the KE ==> higher temperature. (The interactions with other gas molecules complicate the simple thought experiment, although the derivation at wikipedia is remarkably simple).

    Near the ground: Low PE ==> high KE ==> high temperature
    Higher up: High PE ==> low KE ==> low temperature.

    ************************************************

    [IMPORTANT NOTE: Something has to determine the temperature at some elevation before you can predict any specific temperature at any specific altitude. With no GHGs, the radiation of ~ 240 W/m^s would come from the surface, leading to the ~ 255 K temperature at the surface with the lapse rate decreasing from there. If some of the radiation comes from high in the atmosphere where the temperature is well below 255 K, then some of the radiation must come from a source (the surface or clouds) with a temperature well well above 255 K (with the caveat that has been discussed numerous times that the we are averaging T^4, not T). The temperature profile between the surface and the high levels will be determined by the lapse rate.

  468. shawnhet says:

    Richard S. Courtney:
    January 2, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Ok, I broke down and did a quick scan of the Jelbring paper as posted on tallbloke’s website. From the abstract he says”The distinguishing premise[of this hypothesis] is that the bulk part of a planetary GE depends on its atmospheric surface mass density.” brackets added by me.

    then Jelbring goes on to say that “The temperature lapse rate in our model atmosphere also has to be –g/cp, since its atmosphere is organized adiabatically. Hence, it is possible to calculate the
    temperature difference (GE) between the surfaces with areas A and S in our three thought experiments. The solution is identical in all three experiments and its value is simply Dg/cp. Thus, the temperature difference (GE ) between the surfaces with areas A and S is independent of density in the atmosphere. It also follows that it is independent of the absolute average temperature of the model atmosphere since the initial constant energy content of the atmosphere can be chosen arbitrarily.”

    However, the very next paragraph Jelbring says that “The greenhouse effect (GE ), expressed as temperature lapse rate per meter, in a model atmosphere postulating energetic equilibrium, is constant and independent of the radiative properties of the ideal gases. It is also independent of the density of the atmosphere and of the absolute average temperature of the same.”

    Now maybe its just me but I think he describes the Greenhouse Effect in inconsistent ways in his paper. In the abstract he says that the GE depends on the surface mass density of the atmosphere. Then in the second section quoted it is a “temperature difference” but the expression for it is given as Dg/cp (I assume the D is for density). The units don’t make sense here though (so I could be mistaken what D stands for).

    Finally, in the last section quoted, he claims that the GE is “independent of the density of the atmosphere” which is in direct contradiction to the abstract (by the language I use anyways ;) ).

    My verdict: TRespectfully, this paper is a dog’s breakfast: The relationships between his variables seem to be contradictory and he doesn’t do a **single** calculation to prove his points. The Nikolov paper is head and shoulders over this one. My best guess is this hasn’t been falsified because it is too big a mess to evaluate properly.

    However, just in case I have missed something that puts this in context that you might understand. Can you show me algebraically how one calculates the GE under Gelbring? By that I mean can you give me an expression that would allow me to calculate the GE as defined by Gelbring? I don’t need actual numbers, just the algebra will be fine.

    Cheers, :)

  469. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    The iceman cometh @ January 2, 1:22 am

    Bob Fernley-Jones asks:
    “…So, how does that heat escape? No problem; the GHG’s apparently emit it as EMR to space as a consequence substantially of collisions with the vastly greater previously thermalised non-GHG molecules. – – – The difficulty I have is: what is the mechanism by which an allegedly non emitting gas loses such heat? [within the temperature range being considered]…”
    The focus on greenhouse gases seems to have obscured the fact that all bodies radiate – even gases – and that a hot gas can lose heat by radiating it away. Does that answer your difficulty?…

    Thanks for that, but as I understand it, emissions are partly dependent on the temperature of the subject gas, which is N2. In the terrestrial temperature range, the following graphic suggests zero or negligible emission from N2. Do you agree?
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png

  470. Richard S Courtney says:

    shawnhet:

    Your post at January 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm is a complete confirmation of my expressed fears concerning your posts here.

    You say you read the Jelbring 2003 paper posted today at tallbloke’s blog and not at the link I provided days ago in this thread.

    You rant against his paper saying e.g. it is “a dog’s breakfast”.

    You ask me;
    “By that I mean can you give me an expression that would allow me to calculate the GE as defined by Gelbring? ”
    Yes, I can, but I won’t.
    Hans Jelbring is answering questions on tallbloke’s blog where you say you read his paper. Clearly, you can ask him for his equations and there is no reason for me to provide equations that I (rightly or wrongly) think he would provide.

    Richard

  471. The iceman cometh says:

    Dear Bob – you are confusing transmission with emission. Think of a glass globe filled with air here on earth, then blasted into space. It will cool to a few degrees K because the gas will radiate – it cannot conduct (except through the glass) and it cannot convect.
    Our globe has a sphere of gas round it held there by the force of gravity. That gas can radiate into space just as the glass globe would. Hope that clarifies the question. You are not alone – everyone thinks of a black body as a solid and the ultimate radiator. They forget gases can radiate as well – the sun is surrounded by a gaseous photosphere and it is the radiation from that which keeps us going!

  472. Bart says:

    Tim Folkerts says:
    January 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    ““Adiabatic” specifically means “no heat transfer”, which is a pretty good approximation for heat transfer by conduction, since the thermal conductivity of air is small, and adjacent parcels of air are usually about the same temperature. GHGs can and do transfer energy among different parcels of air (via IR radiation) so the “adiabatic” approximation would be less valid.”

    Also, from “Introduction to Space Sciences”, Haymes, 1971:

    “If we make the adiabatic assumption (that there is no heat input except from the ground and that there is no heat “sink”), we may estimate what the lapse rate should be. Although the very fact that cloud formation takes place tells us that this assumption is hardly valid; considerable heat is released wherever water-vapor condensation occurs.”

    He then goes on to derive the usual temperature-pressure relationship from this assumption and the ideal gas law. But, it appears to me he is acknowledging that it is not an especially rigorous analysis. So, I really want to know – is there genuine experimental proof backing all this up, or is it just seat-of-the-pants, this-is-the-way-we-kinda-think-it-should-be and observations are consistent with the idea?

    “The higher it flies, the slower it will be going as it loses gravitational potential energy.”

    Only if you launch it straight up, or nearly so.

  473. shawnhet says:

    Honestly, Richard, don’t be so sensitive. My last post was not a personal attack or an attempt to derail this discussion or a rant or whatever. *It was my honest opinion*. Am I not allowed to say something looks like a dog’s breakfast if I think it does?

    In any case, all I was asking for was a formula. It would’ve taken much less time to provide that formula than to go off on a tangent assuming that I was planning to derail this discussion or what have you.

    So, in the interests of productive debate, I ask again: Can you provide me with the formula for the GE per Jelbring?

    I can’t promise will be exactly in the style or with the wording you are looking for, but I promise to do my best to give it a fair hearing.

    Cheers, :)

  474. Tim Folkerts says:

    >>“The higher it flies, the slower it will be going as it loses gravitational potential energy.”
    >Only if you launch it straight up, or nearly so.

    No.

    Delta(PE) = mg(delta(y)). At any angle, the projectile gains PE as it gets higher and consequently loses KE (and temperature). If the particle goes up 1 m at any speed or angle, it will gain the same PE and lose the same KE..

  475. Joel Shore says:

    davidmhoffer says:

    2. They successfully predicted the surface temps of 8 celestial bodies by coincidence.

    If the latter, that’s one awfull big coincidence!

    As I have pointed out in another thread that you posted this to, they have not PREDICTED anything. They have simply done an empirical fit to the data. And, since their fit involves 6 free parameters relating T_S to P_S, it is not at all surprising that they can fit things reasonably well.

  476. Bart says:

    Tim Folkerts says:
    January 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    “Delta(PE) = mg(delta(y)). At any angle, the projectile gains PE as it gets higher and consequently loses KE (and temperature). If the particle goes up 1 m at any speed or angle, it will gain the same PE and lose the same KE.”

    You are quibbling. Yes, exchanging KE for PE will always reduce the velocity at least a little. But, not necessarily by a significant fraction. Launched tangent to the Earth with enough energy, it theoretically could go all the way around before hitting the Earth again, and with very little variation in velocity.

  477. Bart says:

    Really, don’t bother responding to that. I’m just needling you for your imprecision in language. But, I’m far more interested in actual evidence for the “Greenhouse Effect”.

  478. jjthoms says:

    Richard S Courtney says: January 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

    “In my books the potential energy+kinetic energy in both parcels is the same so n molecules at 10km will loose 10km worth of “potential energy” but gain 10kms worth of “kinetic energy”.”
    =======
    Yes, but so what?
    The parcel that rises has more thermal energy than the parcel that replaces it by falling. So, the net result is upward movement of thermal energy.

    The only reason the lower parcel rises is because it has more thermal energy. Think about it.

    And, on average, parcels in contact with the Earth’s surface gain thermal energy because they are heated by conduction from the surface.
    ===================
    Richard We are talking about adiabatic lapse rate i.e. no input/output of energy to the system

    So yes the n molecules rising to 10km through convection is ok but now there are 2n molecules at 10km – something has to give or else all molecules congregate at 10km which is not sensible.

    There is no change in lapse rate going up or going down it is the same (providided one considers only dry lapse rates).
    From Wiki lapse rate = -dT/dz = 9.8K/km

    so for every molecule at 290K assending to 10km and losing 100K in temperature to reach the temperature (190K) you claim is set by gravity at that air pressure one molecule at 190K will fall to zero altitude (to balance the molecule counts) and gain 100K to reach a temp of 290K. Where is the energy change (adiabatic – there is none by definition)?

  479. Bart says:

    If nobody from the “anti-Nikolov/Zeller” camp can answer my question as to experimental backing for the “Greenhouse Effect”, I will be forced to assume it is a kluge which has been used to explain a phenomenon, much as the ancients invoked Gods to explain the weather (because “we” can’t think of or won’t accept any other cause), and put it as an hypothesis on an equal footing with N-Z et al.

    Anyone? Bueller?

  480. Konrad says:

    Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
    January 2, 2012 at 7:52 am
    ////////////////////////////////////////
    Ira,
    From a response over at Dr. Spencer’s blog, Ned Nikolov does seem to be in agreement at least with the basic direction of the physical experiment I conducted.

    With regard to the questions of blocking convection, I am suggesting that while convection cannot occur without a fluid layer, for a given gravity field the speed of convection will be governed by the density of the fluid. Our atmosphere has mass, and the speed of convection is limited by inertia and friction. “blocked” was a poor choice of word on my part, “speed limited” may have been a better description. The higher the density of a fluid, the lower that speed limit.

    As to your concerns about the impact of DW LWIR, I have based this conclusion again on empirical experiment. The Trenberth / Keihl diagram makes no distinction with regard surface type for the effects of DW LWIR, however I have found that evaporatively cooled water does not have Its cooling rate significantly altered by incident LWIR.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/konrad-empirical-test-of-ocean-cooling-and-back-radiation-theory/
    This would appear to be in agreement with one of your earlier posts about the Schmittner 2011 paper on multi-modal sensitivity.

    Like yourself I am waiting to see Ned Nikolov’s reply paper for clarification of many points.

  481. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Tim Folkerts @ January 2, 12:39 pm
    Tim, good to hear from you again, and thanks for your interest. I thought that item A) would grab your attention, but your solution only proves that Trenberth et al can do simple arithmetic. There are some other issues as we have discussed extensively before, but let’s not go there.

    I’m more interested in item B) or the implications of lapse rate. Putting aside some hesitations about whether it is adiabatic in an atmosphere with convection and whatnot going on, your explanation of KE at the surface converting to PE with altitude is good as far as molecular velocity is concerned. A key point is that you say this is a consequence of decelerating gravitational force. Other issues include that the mass per unit volume, pressure, and temperature, is greatest at the surface as a consequence of gravity acting upon the air-column above. (which seems to support N&Z)

    Whilst Ira’s suggestions about cause and effect are interesting, I cannot see the value of his analogy of pressure vessels responding to foreign environments. (very different ambients to a real atmosphere with lapse rate and stuff)
    To me, it seems a real possibility that Ira has confused cause and effect himself.
    Can you add to this Tim?
    You seem to have read my expansion on this issue in my comments to Ira here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-climate-theory-may-confuse-cause-and-effect/#comment-850340

  482. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    The iceman cometh @ January 2, 2:26 pm

    Dear Bob – you are confusing transmission with emission. Think of a glass globe filled with air here on earth, then blasted into space. It will cool to a few degrees K because the gas will radiate – it cannot conduct (except through the glass) and it cannot convect.

    Sorry pal, but there need not be any radiation from whatever gas you enclose in your glass container for its T to drop, and the allegedly non-terrestrially emitting nitrogen (N2) was the topic. At low temperatures the glass itself would be very close to a black body. (and opaque to a lot of the important longer wavelengths?). The glass would be subject to conductive heat transfer from any entrapped gas, so the gas would still get cold by that means.

    I’m interested, so had a sniff around for emission spectra for N2 at terrestrial temperatures, but couldn’t find anything. Do you have something?

  483. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    “And, since their fit involves 6 free parameters relating T_S to P_S, it is not at all surprising that they can fit things reasonably well.”

    From your lips to the climate modeler’s ears. How many free parameters in a typical GCM?

  484. Phil. says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    I’m interested, so had a sniff around for emission spectra for N2 at terrestrial temperatures, but couldn’t find anything. Do you have something?

    There’s a very weak band between 4 and 5 microns, about 10 orders of magnitude weaker than CO2.

  485. Baa Humbug says:

    I am hoping someone might like to help me with the following hypothetical.

    I have 2 identical boxes with an identical heating device in each.

    My task is to increase the rate of warming in one of the boxes (Box 1) whilst decreasing the rate of warming in the other (Box 2).
    I have available to me 2 types of paint. One is a High Thermal Emissivity (HTE) paint whilst the other is a Low Thermal Emissivity paint.

    Which box should be painted with which paint?

    p.s. disregard conduction and convection

  486. Bob Fernley-Jones says: January 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    …I’m interested, so had a sniff around for emission spectra for N2 at terrestrial temperatures, but couldn’t find anything. Do you have something?

    Bob Fernley-Jones, Nitrogen appears to have quite an extensive emission spectrum, at least according to the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO), which seems up and up but which I cannot vouch for. Their graphs shows emission at many wavelengths from 3000 to 8500 Angstrom [The strikeout that follows is wrong, see note at bottom of this comment](3μ to 8.5μ), but at quite low levels compared to other gases. For example, the largest emission is 5000 “Intensity (Counts)” as compared to water vapor that maxes at around 65,000 “Intensity (Counts)”, which is 13 times higher.

    If the above is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, it appears that Nitrogen can emit, albeit weakly, in parts of the LWIR spectrum. So, if we were to package a large amount of hot Nitrogen in a plastic wrapper that was transparent to LWIR, and placed it in empty Space, it would not remain hot forever. Good to know.

    PS: I seem to remember that Nitrogen also is active in part of the UV spectrum. The UNCO results linked to all seem to be the result of measurements confined to the Mid (3μ) to Long Wave (4μ to 11μ) IR spectrum, so they have no information about possible UV spectrum for Nitrogen.

    [Sorry all, the strikeout portion is incorrect. Thanks to Joel Shore (January 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm) for the correction, he wrote: "Ira: 3000 Angstroms is not 3 microns. It is 0.3 microns. Hence, this chart is showing emission in the visible and very-near-infrared. One can get emission from N_2 in the mid/far infrared part of the spectrum but it occurs due to collisions and hence increases as you make the density higher. At Earth-like densities, I am quite confident that any emissions in the infrared are many orders of magnitude smaller than emissions from greenhouse gases, not just a factor of 13!" My bad. - Ira]

  487. wayne says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I’m interested, so had a sniff around for emission spectra for N2 at terrestrial temperatures, but couldn’t find anything. Do you have something?

    >>

    Bob, be careful what that spectrum ‘is’ once or if you ever find one. Think at a machine or instrument level what you would be looking at. The spectrums are created by instruments and they are usually at ambient room temperature I assume, and in order to even show any lower lying gray-body radiation from N2, hopefully not rarified to magnify, the instrument would need to be cooled WAY down, near zero K. (another way to put it, the gray-body portion is zero’ed out) They are made to read and display stronger emission ‘lines’, for everything in the room and the instrument itself is also radiating as gray-bodies at the same temperature and any from the N2 would be invisible.

    The reason you never see one is that is that generally it is not what any experiment would ever be questioning, therefore, no experiments, and no papers, and nothing on the web.

    Maybe someone not pushing AGW “science” so we could trust it could clarify if I am wrong above. I too want to know conclusively, with a real experiment and paper to back it up. I could never find one either.

  488. Joel Shore says:

    Ira: 3000 Angstroms is not 3 microns. It is 0.3 microns. Hence, this chart is showing emission in the visible and very-near-infrared. One can get emission from N_2 in the mid/far infrared part of the spectrum but it occurs due to collisions and hence increases as you make the density higher. At Earth-like densities, I am quite confident that any emissions in the infrared are many orders of magnitude smaller than emissions from greenhouse gases, not just a factor of 13!

    [OOPS! Thanks for the correction, I will apply it to my original comment above (at January 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm). - Ira]

  489. Bart says:

    So, I might as well lob this stink bomb in as long as the discussion is continuing: The Wood experiment. This guy says his results contradict it. This guy says he repeated Wood’s results. The first guy’s test seems suspect to me in that he measured very different time constants for his boxes, which appears to me to suggest the boxes did not have similar heat capacities.

    An additional reason I find it suspect, and a knock on the experiment in general: As I mentioned previously, the absorption bands are really narrow. In Lebesgue terms, they have effectively zero measure. How, then, will an integral of an intercepted distribution leave you with anything but a net zero response?

    Would not the key to an atmospheric Greenhouse effect, in fact, be the Doppler broadening which occurs due to the wide distribution of relative velocities of absorbing particles?

  490. wayne says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones:
    January 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    And along that same line of thought on N2 spectrums… think… you said it in your own words.

    Getting a gray-body emission spectrum from a gas seems nearly impossible to even be performed, for the gas has to be in a glass container, and the glass itself would ALSO be radiating gray-body at whatever temperature the instrument was at. So, how would you ever separate the gray-body emissions from the glass from the gray-body emissions from the gas within? That hit my mind on the way to get some hot coffee and had to add that.

  491. The iceman cometh says:

    Am I the only one out of step, or what? My thought experiment – a thin glass globe filled with air at NTP and tossed into deep space. It will cool by radiation only. It has a low emissivity, but it will radiate. We happen to inhabit a globe where the gas is contained by gravity, but it can still emit. Jupiter is all gas, and it emits. Long live Max Planck!

  492. The iceman cometh says:

    I agree that my hypothetical glass globe will be warmed by the gas and it too will radiate – but there is also the radiation that will pass through the glass (if it is transparent – of low absorbtivity) at the wavelength of the emission. And another gaseous emitter is called the sun – and its photosphere is clearly gaseous.

  493. gbaikie says:

    “I agree that my hypothetical glass globe will be warmed by the gas and it too will radiate – but there is also the radiation that will pass through the glass (if it is transparent – of low absorbtivity) at the wavelength of the emission.”
    The glass globe would warm and largely control the temperature- empty globe should around same temperature as one filled with nitrogen. If filled CO2 this would also be the case.
    I

  494. The iceman cometh says:

    Mea Culpa! I had forgotten Kirchoff’s Law – emissivity = absorbtivity, and the symmetrical diatomics like O2 and N2 don’t absorb

  495. Brian H says:

    About saving comments, lest they disappear or get wiped while composing, two steps:
    1) Use FireFox;
    2) Install the Lazarus add-on.

    Done.

  496. Richard S Courtney says:

    jjthoms:

    At January 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm you say to me:
    “We are talking about adiabatic lapse rate i.e. no input/output of energy to the system.”

    NO!!
    We are talking about how a planet heated by a Sun maintains a lapse rate that always ‘seeks’ the adiabatic lapse rate. The Sun provides an input of energy to the system. And an equivalent flux of energy is radiated from the planet.

    So, the Sun heats the Earth’s surface, the surface heats the air it contacts, the heated parcel of air expands so rises (buoyancy), and the parcel carries the heat up with it until the profile of the adiabatic lapse rate is recovered.

    Are you trying to adopt the Joel Shore method of obfuscation: i.e. pretend an imaginary reality then claim reality must obey your imagination?

    Richard

  497. markx says:

    Brian H says: January 3, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Install the Lazarus add-on.

    You bloody beauty! Thanks!

  498. cba says:

    Bart says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’m not sure I saw the quote you’re referring to in Hayme’s book. (talking about obscure books to reference). Note that the book is a textbook at the graduate / senior undergrad level and its purpose is to educate, providing a survey course for space sciences. Note that Haymes was not an atmospheric specialist either (not that I saw anything wrong with his chapter on the atmosphere).
    You might prefer to dig up a vintage physical meteorology textbook instead.

  499. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    If nobody from the “anti-Nikolov/Zeller” camp can answer my question as to experimental backing for the “Greenhouse Effect”, I will be forced to assume it is a kluge which has been used to explain a phenomenon, much as the ancients invoked Gods to explain the weather (because “we” can’t think of or won’t accept any other cause), and put it as an hypothesis on an equal footing with N-Z et al.

    (1) The major piece of experimental evidence is that the temperature of the Earth’s surface is such that it is emitting 390 W/m^2 while the entire Earth-atmosphere system is only absorbing 240 W/m^2 from the sun. There is no way that I can think of to explain this except to claim that there is some huge magical source of energy OR that some of the 390 W/m^2 is absorbed by the atmosphere. And, no, the N-Z hypothesis is not on equal footing with the latter explanation because the N-Z hypothesis violates a bedrock principle of physics – conservation of energy, or at least, the proponents of the hypothesis are utterly unable to explain using any known physics how it does not violate this principle.

    (2) The fact that there is no such magical source of energy is confirmed by the fact that, as observed from space, the Earth is in fact only emitting energy at a rate of ~240 W/m^2 (not the higher amount that it would emit if there was a magical additional source of energy). This demonstrates that in fact it is the absorption by the atmosphere that is allowing the surface to be at an elevated temperature. And, then you have the fact that the spectrum of the observed emissions is in good agreement with what is expected on the basis of radiative transfer calculations using the empirically-measured absorption lines of the IR-absorbing elements in the atmosphere.

    (3) Finally, you also have the observed spectrum of radiation emitted by the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface.

  500. Joel Shore says: January 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm
    Ira: 3000 Angstroms is not 3 microns. It is 0.3 microns. Hence, this chart is showing emission in the visible and very-near-infrared. One can get emission from N_2 in the mid/far infrared part of the spectrum but it occurs due to collisions and hence increases as you make the density higher. At Earth-like densities, I am quite confident that any emissions in the infrared are many orders of magnitude smaller than emissions from greenhouse gases, not just a factor of 13!

    Thanks again for keeping me on the right track, Joel.

    Given the above, what would the result be if we took a large quantity of hot N2 and wrapped it in a very thin plastic bag that was transparent to visible and near IR, and placed it in empty Space far from any star or other mass. Would it remain hot forever? I don’t think so.

    Assume the very thin plastic bag has negligible mass compared to the mass of the large quantity of N2, so, as a first approximation, we can ignore the radiation from the warm bag. I.e., if the material of the bag itself does not radiate, will the N2 still cool over time?

    If we do not use a bag, and just dump the hot N2 into a location in empty Space, will the N2, being far from any other mass, maintain itself in a finite diameter ball shape via its own gravity?)

  501. Joel Shore says:

    Richard S Courtney says:

    NO!!
    We are talking about how a planet heated by a Sun maintains a lapse rate that always ‘seeks’ the adiabatic lapse rate. The Sun provides an input of energy to the system. And an equivalent flux of energy is radiated from the planet.

    If it does always seek the adiabatic lapse rate, it is doing a piss-poor job in the stratosphere! In fact, the lapse rate does not always seek the adiabatic lapse rate. Rather, the adiabatic lapse rate is a stability limit…i.e., lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate lead to convection, which indeed then does drive the lapse rate to the adiabatic lapse rate. However, lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are stable.

    As I have noted in the other thread on Nikolov’s “theory”. Here is the correct picture of what is going on:

    The adiabatic lapse rate matters but rather in sort of the opposite way as people are contending: The radiative effects are what provide the greenhouse effect and the adiabatic lapse rate is what limits the extent to which the radiative greenhouse effect can be offset by convection. So, in other words, if the adiabatic lapse rate were zero, i.e., any temperature decrease with height spurred convection, then the greenhouse effect would basically be canceled out by convection. However, the fact that the adiabatic lapse rate is non-zero is what allows the atmosphere to maintain a temperature profile which decreases with height and hence insures that the radiative greenhouse effect is not canceled out by convective effects (although its magnitude is reduced somewhat).

    This also explains where Nikolov has screwed up in Section 2.1B) where he discusses convection: His Equation (4) has put in convection in such a way that it tries to equalize the temperatures T_a and T_s even if they are such that the lapse rate is less than the adiabatic lapse rate. This is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

  502. Joel Shore says:

    @Brian H – Just wanted to add my thanks to those who are singing your praises by making us aware of that Lazarus add-on. It’s awesome!

  503. cba says:

    Ira,

    I thought you did a good job explaining things here.

    As for the N2, it will depend upon the T which determines the velocity of the gas molecules compared to the gravitational pull of the material, escape velocity.

  504. JJThoms says:

    Richard S Courtney says: January 3, 2012 at 2:42 am
    Are you trying to adopt the Joel Shore method of obfuscation: i.e. pretend an imaginary reality then claim reality must obey your imagination?
    ======
    There ain’t no such animal as adiabatic lapse rate in the real world – there is always exchange of energy with the surroundings – there is always moisture in the air. You may be comnfusing environmental lapse rate. A very variable quantity nominally abot 6,5K/km.

    Thought
    If you take a suitably proportioned (to allow for correct volume change with altitude) tube of aerogel 10km long.
    Rotate it to be horizontal the temperature will eventually stabilise to some average.
    Now rotate it to be vertical (big end at top)
    The air at the bottom will compress (and heat) and the air at the top will expand (and cool).
    I would suggest that eventually – because of the molecular collisions and motion the air temperature will average out over the full height to the same value as when horizontal.
    What do you suggest would happen?

  505. mkelly says:

    Joel Shore says:”…entire Earth-atmosphere system is only absorbing 240 W/m^2 from the sun.”
    Several folks have stated above so not directed specific to Mr. Shore.

    Avogadro’s number = 6.0221415 × 10^23
    molecules per mole of gas

    One mole of an ideal gas at STP occupies 22.4 liters

    1000 L per m^3
    1000/22.4=44.6 moles per m^3
    44.6 x 6.022E23=2.69E25 molecules
    cubed root of above 299,569,488 moles per m^2
    number of CO2 in above 113836 molecules

    240 W/m^2/113839 molecules per m^2 = .0021 W per CO2 molecule
    390 W/m^2/113839 molecules per m^2 = .0034 W per CO2 molecule

    I doubt this highly.

  506. mkelly says:

    cubed root of above 299,569,488 moles per m^2

    Should read molecules per m^2 not moles.

  507. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

    “The major piece of experimental evidence is that the temperature of the Earth’s surface is such that it is emitting 390 W/m^2 while the entire Earth-atmosphere system is only absorbing 240 W/m^2 from the sun.”

    Thank you, Joel. But, is the entire Earth-atmosphere system really only absorbing 240 W/m^2 from the sun? This, again, seems to be a calculation without experimental confirmation. I’d print more of my thoughts on this, but it is a sidetrack from the main thing I want to bring up at this moment.

    Anyway, the calculations appear assume that temperature is wholly determined by incoming flux minus outgoing S-B. This ought to be able to be expressed as an ordinary differential equation, something like

    dT/dt = f(S – sigma*eps*T^4)

    where T is temperature, S is incoming flux, and the rest is S-B radiation, and f() is a monotonic function which converts from energy flow to temperature. Setting dT/dt to zero then gives the quasi-steady state temperature.

    However, the heat equation says there is another term proportional to thermal diffusivity and the Laplacian of the temperature distribution, so that we would get a partial differential equation for the temperature as a function of time and space, perhaps of the form

    pT/pt = f(S – sigma*eps*T^4) + alpha*del^2(T)

    where “p” denotes the partial differential operator. That extra term would capture the influence of the energy required to establish temperature gradient divergence, which must be substantial for the spherical Earth if temperature isosurfaces are to exist at given altitudes. The “alpha” term is the thermal diffusivity, which very much depends on density.

  508. Bart says:

    It may be of interest for someone to try calculating (I might work on it a little when I have time):

    A) a representative thermal diffusivity coefficient for the Earth’s atmosphere
    B) the Laplacian of T assuming an isosurface at Earth radius
    C) the effective energy flux the term would represent which, wouldn’t it be fascinating if it came out to something near 150 W/m^2?

  509. The iceman cometh says:

    CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas. Water is the dominant absorber.

  510. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Konrad says:
    January 2, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    “Let me stop there to ask … including planets with atmospheres which contain no greenhouse gases? I ask because this is a crucial question that determines the further direction of inquiry.”

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Yes, that would be what the Nikolov and Zeller hypothysis indicates. A boring grey basalt planet with no atmosphere can radiate a wide IR spectrum freely. Add an atmosphere of “non” greenhouse gasses and things change. The added gas layer now removes energy from the basalt surface faster than it would have been radiated, however that energy now leaves the planet (basalt sphere with gas layer) at a slower rate, as it has been convected away from the solid surface that could most easily radiate it. A gas layer with even greater density and mass will conduct and trap even more of the energy that would have been radiated away from from an atmosphere free planet. Nitrogen and Oxygen may therefore be Earth’s primary greenhouse gasses.

    Great, thanks, Konrad, we’re getting somewhere. Now all I need is a few numbers and an explanation.

    1. You say that if there is an atmosphere with no ghgs, the planet will be warmer than a planet with no atmosphere. What is the actual series of steps by which this happens?

    2. How much does an atmosphere raise the planets temperature?

    For example, you say:

    A gas layer with even greater density and mass will conduct and trap even more of the energy that would have been radiated away from from an atmosphere free planet.

    I fear that is no explanation at all. Other than the trivially small amount of energy needed to initially warm the denser gas, why and how will a denser gas “trap more energy”?

    My basic question is this. The nature of non-GHG gases is that they don’t absorb or radiate in either the shortwave or longwave bands. So how do they slow down the radiation to space of the energy of the planet’s surface? Because that’s what you have to do to raise a planet’s temperature. The GHGs slow it down by absorbing some of it, then radiating part of that back to the surface.

    But how are non-GHG gases supposed to slow down radiation to space? It’s not by the warming and cooling of the atmosphere, that’s a net-zero process, and trivially small to boot because of the small thermal mass of the boundary layer.

    Because that is your claim, that somehow perfectly transparent gases slow down radiation to space … but neither you nor anyone else has explained how transparent gases slow down radiation to space. Saying that they will “conduct and trap more energy” is just handwaving.

    What energy do they “trap”, and how do they “trap” it, and what happens when the “trap” is full, and how much do they “trap”?

    w.

    PS—Like many folks, Nikolov seems to have misunderstood the lapse rate. The lapse rate does not ensure that the bottom of the atmosphere is warmer than the top.

    It ensures that the top of the atmosphere is cooler than the bottom. And since the temperature of the bottom-most layer of the atmosphere is set by the surface temperature …

  511. Stephen Wilde says:

    Willis, I think I see your oversight as regards non GHG gases.

    They warm up from conduction from the solar irradiated surface below and from each other.

    Gravity holds more of them near the surface so there are more of them bouncing around sharing energy with each other by collision and conduction.

    Every collision and sharing of energy between molecules reduces the rate of energy loss to space and the delay builds up in proportion to the number of molecules in a given space.

    So the greater the density, the greater the delay in energy loss to space and the higher the temperature can get.

    Meanwhile radiative energy loss occurs from the ground below and if the non GHG molecules get hotter than the ground they pass it back to the ground via conduction before the ground can radiate it out to space.

    So they do ‘trap’ energy.

    They ‘trap’ it by a process of passing the parcel between themselves and the ground via conduction over a period of time.

    When the ‘trap’ is full they pass the energy back to the surface which radiates it out to space.

    They trap an amount proportionate to density.

    Do you see it now ?

  512. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    Thank you, Joel. But, is the entire Earth-atmosphere system really only absorbing 240 W/m^2 from the sun? This, again, seems to be a calculation without experimental confirmation. I’d print more of my thoughts on this, but it is a sidetrack from the main thing I want to bring up at this moment.

    It is measured, or at least based on various measured quantities…and the amount that the Earth is actually emitting to space, as seen from satellites, is also measured and is the same (within the experimental errors, which are not more than 5 or 10 W/m^2.

    Anyway, the calculations appear assume that temperature is wholly determined by incoming flux minus outgoing S-B.

    No…what I am saying is that if the entire earth-atmosphere system is only absorbing 240 W/m^2 and the surface is emitting 390 W/m^2 back out into space by radiation then you’ve already got a problem. It doesn’t matter how the heat is moving around within the atmosphere. The only solution is that the atmosphere is absorbing some of the surface’s emissions, a fact that is well-confirmed, in spectral detail, by satellite measurements.

    Look, at this point you are simply flailing about wildly. Show at least a little scientific objectivity and admit when nonsense is nonsense. This “unified theory” is really exposing how desperate many people are to believe what they want to believe at all costs!

  513. Richard S Courtney says:

    Joel Shore and JJThoms:

    At January 3, 2012 at 2:42 am I wrote:

    “We are talking about how a planet heated by a Sun maintains a lapse rate that always ‘seeks’ the adiabatic lapse rate.”

    Joel Shore responds at January 3, 2012 at 7:51 am by saying;

    “If it does always seek the adiabatic lapse rate, it is doing a piss-poor job in the stratosphere! In fact, the lapse rate does not always seek the adiabatic lapse rate. Rather, the adiabatic lapse rate is a stability limit…i.e., lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate lead to convection, which indeed then does drive the lapse rate to the adiabatic lapse rate. However, lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are stable.”

    That is absolutely classic Joel Shore obfuscation. It is a distinction which makes no difference.
    “Lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate … drive the lapse rate to the adiabatic lapse rate”.
    “lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are stable” but conditions which permit them are transient.

    JJThoms says at January 3, 2012 at 8:23 am

    “ There ain’t no such animal as adiabatic lapse rate in the real world – there is always exchange of energy with the surroundings – there is always moisture in the air. You may be comnfusing (sic) environmental lapse rate. A very variable quantity nominally abot 6,5K/km.”

    Seeking the adiabatic lapse rate (which is what I said) is NOT achieving the adiabatic lapse rate.
    I am not confusing anything (n.b. I am not Joel Shore), and your point is why conditions permitting lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are transient.

    Richard

  514. Joel Shore says:

    The iceman cometh:

    CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas. Water is the dominant absorber.

    It is what it is. The radiative effects of each element making up the natural greenhouse effect can be calculated. CO2 contributes either ~9% or ~25% (if I remember correctly), depending on whether you measure by how much the forcing falls if you remove or measure by how much the forcing goes up if you start with an IR-inactive atmosphere and add it in.

    However, CO2 and the other non-condensable gases play a very important role because they control the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (because that is a strong function of the temperature). Hence, the best available evidence that we have is that if you remove the condensable greenhouse gases, you lose most of the greenhouse effect once such feedbacks are taken into account (see http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract )

  515. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

    “Look, at this point you are simply flailing about wildly.”

    Ah, no. If I were insisting that I knew that the current prevailing paradigm is wrong, and pulling everything but the kitchen sink in to try to maintain my intransigence, then I would be flailing. But, I am not doing that. I am discussing alternatives which may or may not have been previously considered to make sure something is not missing.

    I am not saying greenhouse theory is wrong, though I have suggested that I think Doppler broadening has to be key to it if it is right – I do not see how you can absorb more than a negligible width (or widths) out of the radiation distribution without it. Nor am I saying the alternative is right. I am just trying to look at the problem from all sides before forming a conclusion. That is what real scientists do.

    It is more or less an academic exercise because I do not think the increase in GHGs would be driving temperatures higher for a variety of reasons, particularly the negative feedback from clouds. Or, for that matter, that recorded temperatures to date have been observably anomalous. In fact, every indication right now is that we are heading into another ~30 year cooling cycle, such as is evident in the temperature record every ~60 years.

    “…what I am saying is that if the entire earth-atmosphere system is only absorbing 240 W/m^2 and the surface is emitting 390 W/m^2 back out into space by radiation then you’ve already got a problem.”

    The 390 W/m^2 figure is a derived quantity based on temperature. It is potentially balanced to some extent by the divergence of the temperature gradient which is part of the standard heat equation. I am suggesting this may well be the term which actualizes the principle which Stephen Wilde @ January 3, 2012 at 11:16 am somewhat inchoately describes as “the greater the density, the greater the delay in energy loss to space and the higher the temperature can get.” It doesn’t require any new heretofore undiscovered physics. It’s a known effect. And, I do not see anywhere it has been taken into consideration.

  516. Joel Shore says:

    Richard S Courtney says:

    That is absolutely classic Joel Shore obfuscation. It is a distinction which makes no difference.
    “Lapse rates greater than the adiabatic lapse rate … drive the lapse rate to the adiabatic lapse rate”.
    “lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are stable” but conditions which permit them are transient.

    Given the confusions that exist around here, it is important to clearly understand WHY the lapse rate in the troposphere tends to be near the adiabatic lapse rate. And, the reason is a combination of the fact that the troposphere is strongly heated from below and cooled from above (because of the combination of much of the sunlight being absorbed at the Earth’s surface and of the radiative effects of greenhouse gases) AND that lapse rates higher than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable to convection.

    The reason it is important to have this understanding is so one does not then fall prety to ignorant statements (made by people like Postma, among others) to the effect of “The adiabatic lapse rate is all you need to explain the elevated surface temperature of the Earth; there is no need to consider greenhouse gases.”

  517. Konrad says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 3, 2012 at 10:32 am
    “Now all I need is a few numbers and an explanation.”
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    First, about the numbers. It should be clear from the huge number of comments about the Nikolov and Zeller hypothesis over several blog sites that none of the numbers being used are answering the question. This seems to be because the physical system at play is not clearly understood. The first step to resolution is empirical testing to confirm the mechanism. Numbers to quantify this come second. It should be clear after over a thousand comments without resolution that this question will not be answered from behind a computer keyboard. I would also note that more money has now been spent on internet connection fees and electricity by all involved in commenting than a simple and robust empirical experiment would have cost.

    As to the question “how does an atmosphere raise a planets temperature”, the answer appears to be by transferring energy from a part of the planet that can radiate energy easily (the solid surface) to another part of the planet that cannot radiate easily (the gases in the atmosphere).

    Conduction by gas in contact with the surface removes heat from the surface faster than it would have been lost by radiation alone. The heat in the gas atmosphere then leaves the planet slower as the gas atmosphere is a poor radiator. The denser the atmosphere, the more heat it can absorb. The denser the atmosphere the higher the viscosity, and the slower the convection speed.

    The important question here is the one Ira is asking a few comments earlier. By what means do nitrogen and oxygen lose heat to space?

  518. Joel Shore says:

    I said:

    And, I plainly admit when I am wrong about something. For example, in this very thread, when cba claimed that Nikolov et al had made a calculational error in determining their T_sb, I said that he was wrong and that they had made only a poor assumption but had implemented their poor assumption for the surface temperature distribution correctly ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/#comment-849077 ). I believed this because Gerlich and Tscheuschner had gotten almost the same numerical answer making the same poor assumption. However, cba persisted that they had in fact made calculational errors and then, after looked more closely, I realized that he seemed to be correct…and I told him so: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/#comment-849744

    Well, having looked yet again at this issue, I am apparently now in the position of not only admitting that I was wrong, but admitting that I was wrong twice (i.e., wrong about being wrong) and I am now going back to my original claim on this! I just looked over Gerlich & Tscheuschner and, more importantly, Arthur Smith’s very nice reply to them ( http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.4324 ), and I now realize the mistake that cba and I were both making: We were imagining the polar angle theta to denote latitude and phi to denote longitude. However, the integral is more easily carried out if you make theta = 0 correspond to the point on the earth where the sun is directly overhead because you have symmetry about such an axis. And, in fact, the integral is then what Nikolov et al have written down.

    So, my conclusion is back to this: Nikolov et al.’s calculation of T_sb is carried out correctly but uses an extremely questionable approximation, namely that the planet’s temperature distribution is determined by that necessary to balance the local (in both space and time) insolation. I.e., it assumes no heat storage and no movement of heat about the planet. [The whole necessity of having to make any assumption at all about the temperature distribution could be eliminated by performing a fit of the pressure vs the ratio of the amount of power emitted by the surface to the total amount absorbed by the planet and its atmosphere from the sun, although these values for the various celestial bodies might be more difficult to come by.]

    At any rate, this problem is relatively minor in relation to the more serious problems that we have identified with their “theory”.

  519. cba says:

    Here’s some simple numbers that are averages. There’s 341W/m^2 coming in to the Earth system from the Sun when averaged over the whole Earth. There is about 30% reflected back to space which is the albedo. That means about 239 W/m^2 average is absorbed. For the Earth to be in balance at a temperature, the average radiated power leaving the Earth system has to balance the incoming 239 W/m^2. The average current surface temperature is around 288k and for an emissivity of 1 in the IR, that means the surface radiates away 390W/m^2. Note a 0.95 emissivity would radiate away 370 W/m^2. Earth nowadays has about a 62% cloud cover which is responsible for the vast majority of the albedo but is also responsible for blocking a good deal of surface radiation that would otherwise pass through the atmosphere to space. Clouds aren’t the only factor as there are particulates floating around which are not molecules with line spectrums.
    What all of these tidbits boil down to is that the surface emits around 390 W/m^2 on average and the Earth system must emit to space only about 239W/m^2 on average. That means the atmosphere must block 390-239 = 151 W/m^2 more than it contributes to outgoing radition. About 2/3 of this amount is attributed to ghg absorption and the rest must be clouds and non ghg factors. Essentially, co2 contributes about 28 W/m^2 of absorption and h2o vapor contributes the lion’s share.
    Note that these are all averages of the real world except for the detailed line by line calculations for the total and specific contributions to the 151 W/m^2. A black body airless object with a reasonable distribution of incoming power and relatively low average temperature variation would have to radiate the average 239 W/m^2 corresponds to 255K indicating a 33 deg C rise due to the atmosphere. Also, there is no reference as to how much impact conduction and convection have somewhere in the atmosphere nor is there a model of the atmosphere.
    These combine to show that 33 deg C / 151 W/m^2 = 0.218 deg C rise per W/m^2 increase in absorbed power or increased average incoming power or due to the decrease of albedo. This is a sensitivity to small changes. Multiplying by the 3.7 W/m^2 increased absorption due to a co2 doubling results in a 0.8 deg C rise. Note that this has all of the feedbacks (average) present in the atmosphere. A straight radiative calculation assuming 61% of the surface emission escapes to space indicates that for a 1 W/m^2 increase in outgoing power would raise the temperature by 0.3 deg C/W/m^2 increase or 1.1 deg C rise for a co2 doubling. Here’s the evidence that the actual feedbacks in the atmosphere are net negative on average and result in a temperature increase only 73% of the required temperature change for a simple model calculation without feedbacks.
    When one looks at what is involved in the modeling estimates by Lacis and Hansen that claim significant positive feedbacks, it get’s even more interesting. They use one dimensional modeling and choose assumptions that maximizes the feedback. The most offensive is the assumption that a rise in temperature results in less cloud formation. That means, among other things, that Earth is currently at its maximum sustainable cloud cover. Why? At lower temperatures, there is less h2o vapor present and the evaporation cycle must diminish. Because of their assumption, warmer temperatures will result in less cloud formation and that leaves us at some magical maxima. Hence, there is no way to achieve a cloud cover greater than 62% and a decrease in cloud cover will increase the average temperature. That, along with efforts to minimize cloud cover albedo effects and maximize thermal blocking are combined to imply that it really doesn’t have a significant effect. Amazing how the average cloud albedo is taken by these guys to be the minimum cloud albedo of the one cloud type which has the lowest reflectivity. I suspect that if you call them on it there will be some claim of it being best to err on the ‘safe’ side when dealing with poorly known details.

  520. Joel Shore says:

    cba says:

    These combine to show that 33 deg C / 151 W/m^2 = 0.218 deg C rise per W/m^2 increase in absorbed power or increased average incoming power or due to the decrease of albedo. This is a sensitivity to small changes. Multiplying by the 3.7 W/m^2 increased absorption due to a co2 doubling results in a 0.8 deg C rise. Note that this has all of the feedbacks (average) present in the atmosphere.

    Nope.,.It does not have the feedbacks included. Monckton is confused about the same point (as was Willis in a post a few months ago) and I have explained to him in gory detail with analogies why he is incorrect ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/30/feedback-about-feedbacks-and-suchlike-fooleries/#comment-848206 and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/30/feedback-about-feedbacks-and-suchlike-fooleries/#comment-848211 ).

    The basic point is this: The 151 W/m^2 includes the greenhouse effects of water vapor (and clouds). However, in doing this calculation, you are making the assumption that all of the water vapor is a forcing, not a feedback. Or, to put it another way, you are assuming that you have to remove all the water vapor explicitly in order to get that 33 deg C temperature drop. What the climate scientists, backed by various experimental evidence, theoretical considerations, and climate model simulations ( http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract ), would say is that if you remove just the condensable greenhouse gases (which are just some fraction of the 151 W/m^2), most of the water vapor would also condense out and you would lose most of the warming effect of the water vapor, hence dropping by almost that fall 33 deg C. (You would also increase the ice albedo of the planet.) Even if you don’t believe this scenario, you can’t prove that it does not occur by assuming that it does not occur…That is a circular argument.

    So, you are not correct in thinking that you have done a calculation that includes all of the feedbacks (as feedbacks). The only feedback that you have clearly included properly as a feedback is the negative feedback due to the lapse rate (because you calculated the temperature change at the surface). So, your 0.8 deg C result is the result that you get including the one known negative feedback and NONE of the known positive feedbacks (nor the cloud feedback, of unknown sign).

    [By the way, Monckton quotes a different number (or range), 86-125 W/m^2 for the total forcing from the Kiehl and Trenberth paper and I am a bit confused about which one of the various numbers in that paper is the most sensible to use. I kind of think that yours is, but then, as I say, you have clearly included the negative lapse rate feedback while not including any of the others. With the number that Monckton quotes, he does get an answer that is closer to the actual no-feedback value of 1.1 deg C, although whether this is meaningful or just due to fortuitous cancellations of the lapse rate feedback and an erroneous choice for the total forcing is unclear to me. But, at some point, this is all a mootpoint because the real problem is that you are not calculating a sensitivity that includes feedbacks in the proper way.]

  521. Joel Shore says:

    P.S. – cba, You might want to read my recent post here too, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-climate-theory-may-confuse-cause-and-effect/#comment-852111 , as I have concluded that the calculational error that we thought Nikolov was making in computing T_sb is not a calculational error but is due to a different definition of the “polar angle” theta than you and I were assuming: I.e., if one takes theta = 0 the point on the Earth where the sun is overhead then you get symmetry that makes the integration easier (i.e., the integration of the azimuthal angle is trivial). That is what Nikolov did.

  522. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Konrad says:
    January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

    “Now all I need is a few numbers and an explanation.”

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    First, about the numbers. It should be clear from the huge number of comments about the Nikolov and Zeller hypothesis over several blog sites that none of the numbers being used are answering the question. This seems to be because the physical system at play is not clearly understood.

    Thanks, Konrad. But if the physical system at play is “not clearly understood” … then what are they writing the paper about?

    The first step to resolution is empirical testing to confirm the mechanism. Numbers to quantify this come second.

    Couldn’t disagree more. First I need a crystal clear explanation of what you call “the mechanism”. Only then can I design an experiment to determine if said mechanism works.

    As to the question “how does an atmosphere raise a planets temperature”, the answer appears to be by transferring energy from a part of the planet that can radiate energy easily (the solid surface) to another part of the planet that cannot radiate easily (the gases in the atmosphere).

    I’m sorry, but I can’t make sense of that. If there is only nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, then the only thing that can radiate is the surface. That means that (on average) the surface is pinned to a temperature determined by emissivity and TSI/4.

    It has to stay at that temperature. If there were a mechanism such as you/Nikolov propose that warmed the surface, it would immediately be radiating more energy than it is intercepting … sorry, no can do.

    Conduction by gas in contact with the surface removes heat from the surface faster than it would have been lost by radiation alone. The heat in the gas atmosphere then leaves the planet slower as the gas atmosphere is a poor radiator. The denser the atmosphere, the more heat it can absorb. The denser the atmosphere the higher the viscosity, and the slower the convection speed.

    If there are no GHGs, then the only way for the atmosphere to warm and cool is to exchange heat with the surface. In such a situation, during the day the surface warms the atmosphere. During the night the atmosphere warms the surface.

    But that is a zero sum game. What the atmosphere gains during the day, it loses during the night.

    The important question here is the one Ira is asking a few comments earlier. By what means do nitrogen and oxygen lose heat to space?

    If there are no GHGs, then it is by heat exchange to the surface. Say a planet with no GHGs is receiving, on average, 235 W/m2 of solar energy. The planet’s been there a long time so it’s at some kind of equilibrium.

    1. The only thing that can radiate energy to space in that system is the planetary surface.

    2. At equilibrium, that planet’s surface must emit on average 235W/m2 of energy. This means that the temperature of the surface is fixed. No matter what the atmosphere does, the surface will still be radiating 235 W/m2 of energy.

    So what Jelbring and you and Nikolov propose can’t happen by the laws of thermodynamics. If a GHG-free atmosphere could somehow warm the surface of such a planet, it would be emitting more energy than it is absorbing. Can’t do that.

    All the best,

    w.

  523. Joel Shore says:

    Bart says:

    The 390 W/m^2 figure is a derived quantity based on temperature. It is potentially balanced to some extent by the divergence of the temperature gradient which is part of the standard heat equation.

    What the heck does that mean? Are you saying that heat flows from the (generally) colder atmosphere to the (generally) warmer earth’s surface in violation of the 2nd Law? [And, even if it did, that wouldn't solve the problem because the 240 W/m^2 represents all of the energy absorbed by the Earth + atmosphere. Really, the deficit for the earth's surface is 390 W/m^2 out by radiation vs. 160 W/m^2 in via radiation. I'm giving you another 80 W/m^2 absorbed by the atmosphere as a freebie, because for example one could argue that some of it will reach the Earth's surface once the greenhouse gases are removed..]

    Look, you guys can wave your hands around all you want but it won’t get you around conservation of energy. The fact that we even have to have this conversation is embarrassing!

  524. Joel Shore (January 3, 2012 at 7:51 am):

    Correction. Lapse rates less than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable under downward movement of energy by the back radiation. This movement continues to increase the lapse rate until it exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate. While the system is in this state, convection drives the lapse rate downward.

  525. Bart says:

    The only plot I could find of the measured Earth emission spectrum was here in figure 3. It appears from this that the spectrum is following something closer to a 300 degK isocline. So, why are people calling out numbers in the high 300′s?

    At lower wavenumbers, it appears more like following the 275K isocline. Then comes the H2O/CO2 dip, and suddenly we are at 300K. Why?

    Is it possible that the greenhouse effect, rather than masking out the emissions in the given wavenumber range, is actually just shifting them up (i.e., lower in frequency/energy?)

  526. Bart says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    “What the heck does that mean?”

    If you do not know what it means, how can you criticize it? Maybe reading my comment at January 3, 2012 at 9:15 am would help. I’m asking for information to help make a judgment. I do not know why you think that is embarrassing. I do not know how you think scientific innovation happens, but it is not by accepting everything you are told without question or full understanding.

  527. gbaikie says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    “My basic question is this. The nature of non-GHG gases is that they don’t absorb or radiate in either the shortwave or longwave bands. So how do they slow down the radiation to space of the energy of the planet’s surface? Because that’s what you have to do to raise a planet’s temperature. The GHGs slow it down by absorbing some of it, then radiating part of that back to the surface.”
    Konrad says:
    “As to the question “how does an atmosphere raise a planets temperature”, the answer appears to be by transferring energy from a part of the planet that can radiate energy easily (the solid surface) to another part of the planet that cannot radiate easily (the gases in the atmosphere).”

    re: Willis Eschenbach
    if greenhouse affect only refers to radiant aspect, then it’s not a greenhouse affect.
    But a greenhouse has little to do radiant aspects- a greenhouse works by preventing convection.
    So, I think the use of term “greenhouse effect” is referring keeping a planet warm- by whatever means.
    And there are different ways this can be done.
    But before going on, I get the idea that the only way heat can leave earth is by radiation.

    What seems to missing generally is that infrared heat [as in not hot balls stars- as in room temperature heat] does not radiate quickly into space.
    A human in spacesuit has lots of warmth- spacesuit have be designed to shed heat- having blocks of ice is an easy way to do this.
    Same goes for all spacecraft- they are designed to passively get rid of heat.

    Only because of spacecraft design were the Apollo 13 crew cold- a in simple tin can they would have been sweating.
    So space itself is a “greenhouse”- it stops all convection and conduction, leaving rather inefficient way getting rid of heat- radiation.

    How earth gets rid of all it’s heat, could a bit of mystery. Except, that earth doesn’t absorb “all this heat”. It absorbs a small fraction of the sunlight. It absorbs a small amount of sunlight that hits the ground.

    Which brings us to the point, any atmosphere allows for more energy to be absorbed.
    Denser atmosphere allows [generally] more energy from sunlight to be absorbed.
    And the energy absorbed in the ground or in the air, does not vanish as soon as the sun isn’t shining- if it did, it would require a massive surge of energy to leave the planet.

    The planet stores far more energy than the cumulative heating from the Sun for centuries of sun shining on earth.
    If the true average temperature [not just the atmosphere] were to lower by 10 C, it would take centuries to warm back up to “normal temperatures”.
    So the earth storing heat is a “greenhouse effect” [for want of a better term].
    Or the heat capacity of earth.

    This is for daily cycles and long term, if you have more atmosphere, then atmosphere will have more heat capacity.
    Which means in a desert, the temperature would drop less during the nite.

    Next point about denser atmosphere. [Denser than say an identical earth with 1/2 of Earth's current atmosphere.]
    It could absorb heat and give heat quicker. It’s a better battery.

    Now, for me, I am unresolved about what sheds the most heat- atmosphere or land and ocean surface. It doesn’t matter much, because I think people mostly believe the atmospheric heat loss occurs in less dense air. Or with twice the atmosphere it losing heat at about same air density as less dense atmosphere.

    At different factor, because the surface will have higher loses from convection, the ground will be slighter cooler- even less chance of frying eggs on a sidewalk.
    One factor is heat inversion- this in general inhibits convection. And with denser air, perhaps one has more heat inversion [don't know].

  528. jae says:

    Come on, folks, this is not that complicated. The Sun radiates energy, and the surface AND the IR-interactive gases (the “GHGs”) absorb energy. The surface and the air both absorb energy. The surface radiates and the GHGs help “spread” all the IR energy to the non-GHGs through collisions (It does not matter what percentage of GHGs there is–same difference–reason for all the confusion). The air gets warmer and STORES HEAT, but the convection ensues. The GHGs high in the atmosphere emit directly to space, as does the surface in the “window.” It gets warmer in the day and colder at night. It is no more complicated than that!

    AND the water also STORES a lot of energy for “tomorrow.”

    There is no need for some “backradiation” to help this very simple process.

    The end.

  529. Bart says:

    Well, my apologies if my rambling while trying to find any weakness I could in the greenhouse argument offended anybody. I’ve chased down every lead I could find. I’ve looked at all the evidence I could find, and I’ve made calculations based on density considerations which I believe are in the ballpark of what to expect. I see no mechanism of significant size relating to atmospheric density which can lead to significant impedance (or capacitance, for a better electrical analogy) of heat. It looks to me that the greenhouse interpretation is very likely to be correct.

    The main bit of evidence that convinces me is that yawning gap in the outgoing radiation measured by satellites where the water vapor absorption spectrum lies. That energy’s got to go somewhere, and if it isn’t coming out the top of the atmosphere, it’s going to heat things up.

  530. Bart says:

    …and create clouds which will counteract the heating by reflecting more sunlight out. I haven’t lost my marbles by becoming a climate alarmist or anything ;-)

  531. Stephen Wilde says:

    In the spirit of jae’s comment at 7.27pm I’d like to throw in a new concept.

    ANY system containing both radiative and non radiative processes is ALWAYS dominated by the non radiative processes such that the radiative processes only ever provide a mopping up activity for work that the non radiative processes fail to perform.

    Let’s apply that principle to the Earth system.

    Energy in equals energy out.

    Non radiative processes namely conduction, convection and the water cycle do their best to achieve equality of energy in and energy out by shifting energy through the system as fast as it comes in so that ultimately it can be radiated out.

    Only if the non radiative processes fail to do their job will purely radiative processes become relevant by raising the system temperature.

    Heat builds up as a result of energy accumulation within the system which increases until the job is done with energy coming in equal to energy radiated out.

    The interesting implication of that is that the gases around the Earth will only ever get hot enough to deal with the failure of non radiative processes to deal with any disequilibrium.

    Thus the composition or thermal characteristics of the gases is irrelevant. However high the so called radiative forcing capability of any single molecule might be it will never carry more energy than is required to allow the Earth system to achieve thermal equilibrium.

    Such molecules might try to achieve more but because NO additional energy is needed they will fail due to the sharing of the energy that IS available amongst ALL the molecules in the atmosphere whether GHGs or not. That sharing results from collisional activity which is density dependent hence the relationship with pressure noted by N & Z.

    So the feared radiative forcing capability of GHGs is never used. They simply perform at reduced capacity like a fast car keeping to the speed limit on a motorway.

    And that is why N & K are right and their equations are correct.

  532. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    Willis Eschenbach @ January 3, 3:57 pm
    Your comments sound devastatingly good on the surface, (pun intended), however, consider this thought exercise: Place a suitable thermometer ~1.4 metres above the surface on a totally airless planet, and confirm the ambient temperature is only a few degrees. Now add a substantial atmosphere of pure nitrogen, and wait a few years. Check the temperature again, and won’t it be warmer, as Konrad and others have said? There is other stuff going on you know.

  533. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm
    Willis Eschenbach @ January 3, 3:57 pm

    Your comments sound devastatingly good on the surface, (pun intended), however, consider this thought exercise: Place a suitable thermometer ~1.4 metres above the surface on a totally airless planet, and confirm the ambient temperature is only a few degrees. Now add a substantial atmosphere of pure nitrogen, and wait a few years. Check the temperature again, and won’t it be warmer, as Konrad and others have said? There is other stuff going on you know.

    Yes, you have clearly shown that a planet can heat the atmosphere.

    What you haven’t shown is that an atmosphere can heat the planet, as Nikolov/Jelbring claim.

    w.

  534. The iceman cometh says:

    “The important question here is the one Ira is asking a few comments earlier. By what means do nitrogen and oxygen lose heat to space?” It is not an important question, because the answer is known – they can’t. I thought they could, but when I dug deeper I realized I was wrong.

    The only means by which they could lose heat to space is by radiation (or by leaving the planet). For radiation, at thermal equilibrium absorption = emission, which is known as Kirchoff’s Law. Once you have differences in temperature, then heat is transferred according to T^4 law. But if you don’t have absorption, then you can’t have emission, and the symmetrical diatomic gases O2, N2 etc don’t absorb radiation – therefore they don’t heat up by radiation and they don’t cool by radiation. I hope that answers the question.

  535. gnomish says:

    the heat sink doesn’t make the cpu warm? wot a concept

  536. cba says:

    Joel,
    I did not make that mistake. The paper was clear in that integration was over the zenith angle. They still integrate over a hemisphere not the whole sphere and it looks like there’s a 4 pi factor for a whole spherical area present. They then have the totally unreal assumption that the other hemisphere is at 0 K with no heat capacity or heat flow present.

    As for the other post, the 151 w/m^2 and 33deg C rise are not really based upon any models nor are they contraversial values. 33/151 = 0.218 deg C rise per W/m^2 increase in power absorbed. Read through it more carefully. There’s not even a way to separate out the feedbacks, which are shown to be net negative since the 0.218 value is less than what a simple radiative solution would offer, 0.3 deg C rise per W/m^2.

  537. Willis Eschenbach says:

    OK, guys, let me try it this way. The Jelbring/Nikolov claim is that with a planet with no GHGs in the atmosphere, the planet will be above Stefan-Boltzmann greybody (or blackbody) temperature because of (insert handwaving explanation here about gravity and pressure induced alterations in the molecular collisions due to increased mass and viscosity and …)

    Suppose we have such a planet, but without an atmosphere, in thermal equilibrium. The surface will radiate at the same rate that it is absorbing energy. Lets assume the surface is absorbing 235 W/m2. It has to be radiating the same amount, 235 W/m2.

    Now, lets assume that the Jelbring/Nikolov hypothesis is true. We add an atmosphere to the planet, an atmosphere that is totally transparent to long- and shortwave. Somehow, the Jelbring mechanism warms up the surface to say 250 W/m2 or something. Note that in the entire system, the surface is the only thing capable of absorbing/emitting radiation. So when the Jelbring Mechanism kicks in and the surface warms, it starts emitting more energy than it’s receiving. And because the atmosphere is totally transparent to longwave, all that 250 W/m2 is emitted from the surface to space. [NOTE: numbers for purposes of illustration only.]

    At that point … the planet is emitting more energy than it is absorbing. It’s absorbing 235W/m2, and emitting 250 W/m2.

    And yet by some unknown mechanism, according to Jelbring/Nikolov, the planet doesn’t cool back down to equilibrium. Instead, presumably because the atmospheric pressure “enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision” or somesuch doubletalk, the surface stays warmer indefinitely, despite the planet emitting more energy than it is absorbing.